The Indians just unloaded Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher to the Braves, which created some breathing room on the roster. Bradley Zimmer could be one of the guys that benefits the most from all that extra oxygen. I ranked Zimmer 14th on my power rankings last week on a whim, but this recent trade has me looking at him as a legit call-up option as we head into September – one that could make a fantasy impact. I get to the Rubber Duck games in Akron a bunch, and seeing Zimmer in person you can definitely see where the Yelich comps come from. He has a long stride with sneaky plus speed, squares everything up, and shows good instincts on the basepaths. He’s one of those players that stands out on the field without even seeing him make a play. Already big and tall, it looks like a frame that could pack on even more muscle. Zimmer is following the typical path of a college bat, and while Double-A is one of the hardest jumps for a prospect, he’s holding his own with a .244/.359/.462 slash line, three homers, six doubles, and six steals through 21 games. He has yet to be caught stealing and his strikeout rate hasn’t spiked against the tougher arms either. He passes the eye test, the stats are yummy, and we could be looking at not only a September call-up but also a quick promotion to the bigs next summer. His ceiling would look something like .270 with 20 homers and 20+ steals in center or right field. Scoop him up in keepers and keep your eyes on him in redrafts for help down the stretch. Speaking of Akron, come say hi if you’re at the Jim Gaffigan show or the Hamburger Festival today. I’m easy to find. Just look for the depressed guy in the Expos cap. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (10) | 2013 (16) | 2012 (24) | 2011 (20) | 2010 (25)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [79-83] NL East
AAA: [81-63] Pacific Coast League – Las Vegas
AA: [83-59] Eastern League – Binghamton
A+: [76-62] Florida State League – St. Lucie
A: [85-51] South Atlantic League – Savannah
A(ss): [42-34] New York-Penn League – Brooklyn

Graduated Prospects
Travis d’Arnaud, C | Jake deGrom, RHP | Jeurys Familia, RHP | Wilmer Flores INF

The Gist
This is a strong farm system that boasts both talent up the middle and arms to bolster a young rotation headlined by Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Jacob deGrom. Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud were acquired in the R.A. Dickey trade, and with Syndergaard arriving sometime this summer, Mets fans will finally see the fruits of that trade at Citi Field. Dilson Herrera should also stick in the majors at some point this season. One of 2014’s pleasant surprises was the recently graduated deGrom, who will look to build on a 2014 rookie campaign in which he posted a 2.69 ERA with 144 strikeouts in 140 innings pitched. After a demotion to Triple-A early in the year, Travis d’Arnaud also posted good numbers with 13 homers in 421 plate appearances.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A Scottsdale Surprise might sound like something you’d find listed in the Urban Dictionary, but it’s really just the last two teams in our Arizona Fall League preview series. Some of the best prospects in baseball will be getting their extra reps in this fall. Each team in the majors is represented across the six Arizona Fall League teams and we’ve already covered a few of the fantasy relevant prospects on Mesa, Glendale, Salt River, and Peoria. You can follow the links at the end of this post to view those. Stats included are the cumulative stats for 2014 across all minor league levels. Strong farm systems like the Pirates and Red Sox are represented on the Scottsdale and Surprise rosters, so let’s take a look at some fantasy prospects from each to put a bow on this thing.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Happy Wednesday gang!!! The non-waiver trade deadline is now upon us – deals have to be completed and submitted to the Commissioner’s Office by 4:00 PM eastern tomorrow, so we should gain a lot of prospect clarity over the next 24 hours. Time for another Panning For Gold: Finding The Prospect Hidden Gems, our weekly look at some of those lesser-known prospects that are beginning to generate the type of buzz that starts their climb up organizational ranking lists, leading to more discussion about them in more well-known circles. Think of these guys as players you may not necessarily have at the top of your lists in shallow keeper leagues, but names you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on, the types of players you can wind up scooping up before your mates in your quest to become another fantasy baseball “guru”…respected and adored whenever draft time rolls around (not to mention mumbled about under your opponents’ breath) for years to come.

This week we’re going to shine the light on Brandon Nimmo, an outfielder for the New York Mets.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (16) | 2012 (24) | 2011 (20) | 2010 (25) | 2009 (17)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB:  [74-88] NL East
AAA:  [81-63] Pacific Coast League — Las Vegas
AA:  [86-55] Eastern League — Binghamton
A+:  [71-60] Florida State League — St. Lucie
A:  [77-61] South Atlantic League — Savannah
A(ss):  [38-37] New York-Penn League — Brooklyn

Graduated Prospects
Juan Lagares (OF); Josh Satin (INF); Anthony Recker (C); Zack Wheeler (RHP); Scott Rice (LHP)

The Run Down
Hoo boy, Mets fans, that R.A. Dickey trade is looking mighty nice these days.  I liked the swap for the Mets from the moment it went down, but in the year that’s passed since the transaction, we’ve seen Dickey regress considerably and Noah Syndergaard emerge as a front-of-the-rotation prospect.  Provided Travis d’Arnaud can stay healthy, that trade should be perceived as one of the more lopsided moves in recent history.  Syndergaard and d’Arnaud are the headliners in this org, but there’s impact depth behind them, and plenty of it is set to surface in the bigs this season.  For 2014 fantasy purposes, this Mets system should be one of the more influential groups in the game, as the top 5 names on this list prepare to step up to the highest level.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Note: As I explained yesterday, I’m in Mexico. Turns out, the internet blows here. Being so, I haven’t included the usual Baseball-Reference links. Apologies. (*They have been added – Ed.)

July 2nd marked the opening of the international signing period, which is a facet of player procurement that probably doesn’t get the attention it deserves. We spend a lot of time mouthing off on the June draft, but when you look at the names near the top of prospect lists – Oscar Taveras, Miguel Sano, Jurickson Profar – it’s difficult to discount the significance of the 2nd of July. It’s important to note that this signing window is not limited to just one day – contracts for various Dominican ballplayers, Venezuelan ballplayers, etc., will keep trickling in over the next weeks. But, for the most part, the action is concentrated to the 2nd. This year featured a nice crop of young international prospects, but the prized piece, Eloy Jimenez, signed with the Cubs. Jimenez, from the Dominican, profiles as a corner outfielder with the potential to become a monster in the fantasy game. At 16 years old, though, clearly there’s a long way to go.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (24) | 2011 (20) | 2010 (25) | 2009 (17) | 2008 (28)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB:  [77-88] NL East
AAA:  [67-76] International League — Buffalo (PCL Las Vegas beginning 2013)
AA:  [68-74] Eastern League — Binghamton
A+:  [83-52] Florida State League — St. Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The draft was being hyped as the deepest in years, and was littered with lots of starting pitching prospects. It also makes anyone who has been around fantasy baseball awhile feel old.  With the offspring of Dante Bichette, Dwight Smith and Bobby Bonilla being some of the names eligible to be drafted. Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?