I was all set to open with Triston McKenzie’s 6 no hit innings, but then Rafael Devers collected his third hit of the night in his AAA debut. In the midst of writing this post while regretting my choice to spend my Saturday afternoon, and early evening, and night watching that Marathon Red Sox and Yankees affair, I had the alert pop up on my phone that Devers was about to make his 4th at bat of the night. So I turned away from McKenzie, turned away from Ronald Acuna (2 for 4, 2R, 1Bb, 1 RBI) and Ozzie Albies (1 for 5, 1R) vs Yoan Moncada (1 for 4, 1R, 2 SO’s) in the Charlotte vs. Gwinnett game, and tuned into the PawSox vs Syracuse affair to witness Devers 4th at bat of the contest. The Chiefs (Washington’s AAA affiliate) brought in veteran Neal Cotts of 10 years MLB experience to get the lefty on lefty matchup with Devers. Ahead of Cotts in a 2-1 count Devers hit a ball middle-up to right field for his first AAA homer.

The following inning he made a bare-handed play on the run, throwing out Pedro Severino.

The rumors are swirling regarding Todd Frazier to the Red Sox, with Ken Rosenthal deducing the trade was “almost inevitable”. I for one as a life-long Red Sox fan, and avid follower and fan of prospects, team-building, and organizational depth make this plea to one David Dombrowski. Sir, please don’t trade anything for Todd Frazier and his .210 batting average. Give Lin another week or two, let Devers shine in Pawtucket, and call the kid up around the trade deadline. It costs you nothing but a 40 man spot, why delay the inevitable for a rental? Xander Bogaerts came up late in 2013, and was better for his experience down the stretch and into the post-season. Much like Ronald Acuna has in the early stages of his AAA career, Devers may force the Red Sox hand, as he just looks so much better than anything they can acquire. Simple logic really, why give up assets when you don’t have to?… Anyway, here’s what else I saw in MiLB.

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There’s really no need for any introduction on this one, it’s the post upon which all prospectors are judged. It’s the Mid-Season Update to my Top 100 Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball. Full disclosure, I was loosey-goosey with the eligibility rules this time around. So, while some players in the majors and under their limits might appear on this list (Clint Frazier, Franklin Barreto, Etc.), others don’t (Raimel Tapia). No rhyme or reason to it, what-so-ever. This list feels more upside heavy to me, but there was no slant or algorithm for my ranks. Just good old fashioned personal bias, of which I have plenty. Seriously, I’m an opinionated lad! But that’s why I do this in the first place. Please keep in mind, this list is 100% fantasy focused. Meaning it might differ quite a bit from other Top 100’s you may come across. Anyway, thanks for reading and enjoy! The next 100 (101-200) will be out on Thursday.

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This podcast is step one of the process to start a real-life Ralph and Halp Dynasty Baseball Prospects All-Star Game presented by Razzball and sponsored by our friends at Rotowear. Like LaVar Ball, our plan right now mostly revolves around speaking it into existence. As the old saying goes, it’s 90% inspiration and 10% perspiration. Or did I get that backwards? Either way, Ralph and I pick our Dynasty Futures All-Star rosters sandlot style, going back and forth until we each have a full lineup and pitching staff, while discussing many of the top guys at each position along the way. We also begin the podcast with a mini update, talking about the Nick Williams and Franklin Barreto callups, Dustin Fowler’s devastating injury, Miguel Andujar’s short lived MLB debut, and Scott Kingery’s Triple-A assault. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:

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It was only a year ago that Mickey Moniak entered our lives. After going with the first pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, the California prep star hit the Gulf Coast League, raked to the tune of .284/.340/.409 with 10 steals, plus a homer, and showed he was ready for a full season assignment in 2017. You could see all the tools were there, even if his power numbers were underwhelming. Then again, we knew the power would be a slow burn with Moniak, as it often is with prep players. He did show the ability to hit for average, get on base, and steal some bags. All worthy pursuits, but it’s not going to make Moniak a fantasy superstar. We need the power to develop, and of late Moniak has struggled, not just with power, but in all facets. In fact over the last two weeks he’s hitting .179, with 1 homer, and a caught stealing. That’s how you say? Awful! Yeah, so last night’s 4 for 5, Moniak’s first four hit game of his career, was a welcomed development. In my eyes Moniak is an elite top 50 prospect, even with the recent struggles. At a newly minted 19, you need to be patient with the kid as the skill set develops. No player’s future is set in stone, just ask Byron Buxton, but Moniak looks like a top of the order bat with elite contact skills, speed, and the dynamic ability to improve any offense he’s a part of. Think Christian Yelich, early Jacoby Ellsbury, or a Trea Turner type, though maybe not quite as dynamic as Turner. Take this post as a reminder to hold onto Moniak in dynasty leagues, especially as teams that own him approach the deadline in a month and a half. If you’re a dynasty manager looking to restock your farm, I’d be looking to add Moniak every where I could. Now you just have to hope your league mates don’t read Razzball……… Here’s what else went down in the MiLB.

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As the Durham Bulls took the best little minor league pitching circus this side of Mississippi, literally, on the road. I promised myself I’d check out at least one game during the nearest stop on their International (League) tour. This is a rotation that now features the struggling, but still talented Blake Snell, recently activated off-season acquisition Jose De Leon, top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell, and the strikeout king of AAA Jacob Faria. I’ve discussed Faria a lot of late, because he’s obviously a prospect that fascinates me. On Saturday in Pawtucket he went 4 strong innings before ending his night after completing the 4th. The early exit was more than likely due to the line drive he took off his leg earlier in the inning. It was really too bad, as Faria looked to have his best stuff on the night, outside a two run homer to Bryce Brentz nothing was hit hard at all. The first thing that strikes me when watching Faria is I love his change up. It has some nice break, and he throws it from a similar arm slot to the fastball. Speaking of the fastball, it too is a solid pitch getting some sink, and making it tougher on the hitters to barrel cleanly. This 1-2 punch gives Faria all the fuel he needs to pile up the strikeouts in bunches, however he has a tendency to nibble and that limits how deep into games he can get. Saturday was one of his more efficient performances, making the injury all the more upsetting. I have to admit I came away impressed by Faria, and think he has solid mid-rotation upside with some nice K potential. I mean look at that gif below and tell me you don’t like what you see. Amirite?!?  Today I venture back to Pawtucket to check out the Rays top prospect Brent Honeywell, who just so happens to check in as the 7th most valuable pitcher on Rudy’s Prospectornator. Don’t worry I promise to give you all the details on Honeywell….Here’s who else is making noise in the MiLB…

It’s gotta be tough having the same name as a famous person. You’re some how indirectly responsible for whatever they’re doing, or have ever done. I can relate, for mine is the same as world renowned fashion designer Ralph Lauren. Well, at least his government name. So perhaps that’s my bias when rooting for Astros outfield prospect Derek Fisher. I feel his pain… While sharing a name with the former Lakers point guard turned homewrecker isn’t what it used to be. He’s got to be sick to death of silly puns like my title, Amirite?  Celebrity names aside, Fisher has been one of the best performers in the minors this season. He’s in the midst of a 16 game hitting streak, that’s seen him slash .394/.429/.712 with 5 homers, and 2 steals. An Astros outfield that once seemed so hard to crack doesn’t seem so insurmountable. Make no mistake that last statement has as much to do with Fisher, as it does anyone else’s lack of production. Since first being promoted to AAA on August 7th of last season, Fisher’s numbers are eye-popping. Over his first 52 AAA games the outfielder is slashing .309/.373/.547 with 13 homers, 9 steals, and a 8.3% walk rate. That’s not to say there aren’t some flaws, he’s always struck out around 25% of the time, and he’s not the most efficient basestealer either. So it wouldn’t surprise me if he struckout over 25% of the time in the majors, and saw his steal totals capped around 10-12 per season. But that’s not why I’m excited, it’s the fact that Fisher seems to be getting better. Following a roughish start to 2016 in AA, Fisher was promoted to Fresno as a challenge last season, and he rose to the occasion. I think he can be a very ownable outfielder in 12 team mixed leagues, if he finds himself seeing a majority of the starts in Houston this summer. Expect a .270ish average 20+ home run pop, and some steals mixed in. He’s an exciting player, and one that should be owned in all leagues with prospects or minor leagues of any kind. Here’s who else is making noise in the MiLB.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With roughly two months worth of baseball activity behind us, it’s time to re-rank some stuff. Sure, that’s an awful reason to rank things, and what’s baseball activity anyway? But Keith Law gets to update his after a couple of months, so why can’t cha boy Ralphie L? Some things have changed, for sure, some top prospects have either graduated, or are on the cusp of graduating. Most notably Andrew Benintendi, Dansby Swanson, Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, Aaron Judge, and Tyler Glasnow. I figure if you’re in the majors, I ain’t gonna rank ya no more. There’s been a few jumps, the most significant of which is Chicago Cubs prospect Ian Happ. For those of you who don’t follow minor league box scores, he’s pretty much the Eric Thames of the minors leagues. Only minus the beard or the Popeye muscles. My excitement over Lewis Brinson and Cody Bellinger should be easily identified, they slot second and third respectively. As for the rest of the list you’re going to have to see for yourself. No, I won’t be sliding Tyler Mahle into my Top 25, after the perfect game last night. I had to get it in somewhere, right?

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Welcome to the most wonderful time of the year. It’s Prospector Christmas/Holidays/Festivus/Chanukah it’s Top 100 Prospects list time. Michael Halpern my cunning co-host, and I discuss the differences in our Top Prospect lists. Halp decided to be an overachiever and went a full 200 prospects over on his site Imaginarybrickwall.com. It’s brilliant, check it out. We flip flop Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi in our rankings. We then fight over Benintendi, and make up over Austin Meadows. We have some big swings on Cody Bellinger, Manuel Margot, Francis Martes, and Kyle Tucker. We mix in a little talk about my affinity for hit tool first baseman that no one else likes. Then Halp wonders how Stephen Gonsalves ended up on his Top 100 and not mine. It’s the latest episode of The Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast.

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Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you my pièce de résistance!! Yes, applaud for me, revel in my greatness. I even broke out a fancy accent marked phrase, who does that but a pretentious liberal arts major with delusions of grandeur? This is my title fight, the list for which all prospectors are measured. It’s my Top 100 Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball. Now that I’ve gotten beyond all the muckedy muck, let me explain a little about my list, and ranks. First: Yes I 100% factor in proximity, and it effects my rankings. Second: Upside is the most important factor. Third: Production in the minors matters to me. Unless it’s in a crazy ballpark (cough, cough FirstEnergy Stadium: Reading, Pa), or contradictory to batted ball data. I’ve been deep in my hole since early October breaking down every system in the minors, reviewing video on Youtube, looking at batted ball data, checking the stats, and reading any and every scouting report I can get my hands on. It’s one part eye test/ one part player profile/ one part production. I’ve been training all offseason for this, only my training involves sweat pants, a laptop, and lots of snacks. Speaking of snacks, I’m hungry let’s get into the list!! You already know who’s ranked first… It’s Top 100 Prospects day!

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Some prospectors talk about the #Prospectlife and others live it. Michael Halpern and I live that prospect life all day errday. It’s why we’re bringing you our next installment of system previews with the well stocked Colorado Rockies. We talk about our love of Coors inflated bats, and our distaste for Rocks pitchers. Maybe you disagree, maybe you’re a non-conformist type that bucks the trend. That’s okay, we embrace all types here on the Prospect Podcast. While we’re at it join any and all of my leagues. We also discuss some hot stove, and how I was molested by a senior citizen at a family party. Yes this episode has it all! Colorado Rockies Prospects mostly though. Raise your pinkie rings to the air, it’s the latest edition of the Razzball Prospect Podcast.

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