Ralph Lifshitz and I start the podcast by reminiscing about the good ol’ days when we played tackle football without pads on and were constantly breaking our fingers, ribs, noses, and orbital bones. Nowadays, my biggest concern is this stiff neck I’ve had all day from sleeping the wrong way. We then move right into bemoaning the fact that Willie Calhoun personally declared, “I will not get called up,” along with talking about a few players who did get the call, including Jack Flaherty, Tyler Mahle, Francisco Mejia, and Alex Verdugo. The meat of the show is all about ranking the top starting pitchers, discussing everybody from Michael Kopech, Brent Honeywell, Forrest Whitley, and Sixto Sanchez, to Michel Baez, Joey Wentz, Corbin Burnes, Trevor Rogers and everyone in between. As always, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 15% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game (now shipping to Canada). It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m going to open up with a somewhat blasphemous statement for a prospector, so bear with me loyal Prospect Disciples. Here it goes… Top 100 lists are crap. There I said! I know, how dare I bite the hand that feeds me. Insulting my own signature post. Before you storm my castle built on the backs of talented minor league stars, hear me out. Top 100 lists are a snapshot at a given moment, and lose much of their value nearly weeks after they’re out. Are there ultimate truths within these posts? Abso-freaking-lutely, but development is fluid, always changing shape, regressing, and developing. For example, a player we’ll talk about today in Michael Kopech is viewed as significantly less risky than he was even a month and a half ago. Why? Because Kopech made tweaks to his mechanics and tightened up his control. My greater point is while these lists can be great discussion points, the league and these prospects are constantly in flux, improving, and struggling with each passing day. With this in mind I’ve decided to spend the next 8-9 Thursday’s updating my ranks with the top 10 players at each respective position. I’m undecided about catchers, but we’ll see how my off-season plans out. Sorry, unlike Vanessa Williams I save the worst for last. Laugh now millennials, and use the google when your ass gets home.

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Doesn’t it seem like every summer the national press needs a narrative to link onto and dubs it the “year of the something or other”? Think about it for a second, in recent seasons we’ve had “The year of the rookie”, “The other year of the rookie”, “The year of the homer”, “The year of the juiced ball”, so on and so forth. You get the point, sports writers are boring and unoriginal the whole lot. Well, I for one would like to follow in the grand tradition of sport writers, and apply this lazy, tired, haphazard, and cliche approach to my minor league baseball coverage. Therefore, I am dubbing 2017 MiLB “The Year of the 19 year old”.  Why? Because between Ronald Acuna, Bo Bichette, Kolby Allard, Mike Soroka, and now the Astros Forrest Whitley, the biggest news-makers have been 19 years of age.

Speaking of Whitley, recently promoted to AA Corpus Christi, the righty went 6 scoreless Thursday, allowing two hits, and striking out a career high 11 batters. Not too shabby for a kid facing high school competition 15 months ago. I ranked Whitley 75th overall in my top 100 back on July 2nd. Which was right about the point that his season took off. It was a high rank on a fantasy focused list for a teenage starter in A ball. I can recall really not being able to explain why I liked Whitley 25 spots higher than Ian Anderson when asked by Halp on the Prospect Podcast. I just fell in love with the idea of a 6’7 240 lbs monster with a arsenal of offerings. Since that date Whitley has rewarded my faith, dominating the Carolina League in a way no teenager should. Going 3-1 over his next 6 starts, while racking up 50 k’s to 9 walks in 31.1 innings.

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It’s been well documented, my love for Tyler O’Neill, the muscle bound Hercules I dubbed the King In The North. So while it came as a shock that the Mariners would move such an erupting talent, it really didn’t because, Dipoto. After praising his recent drafting, the Segura-Haniger deal, and the organizational shift toward plate approach development he repays me with this? He goes ahead and trades a talent Taylor-made for the modern game. A workaholic, on base machine, with 70 grade power. It’s easy to get lost in O’Neill’s batting average, and strikeouts rates without exploring deeper. I don’t blame fans that haven’t taken the time to isolate his production since late May to the present. I say this because O’Neill is on an absolute tear. Since May 20th O’Neill has slashed .275/.362/.569 with 16 homers and 5 steals. I understand the value of a controllable starter, I’m just not completely on the level with why this starter was the target. Marco Gonzales had some prospect status a few years back, but he’s dealt with multiple injuries and a history of bouts with command. I’m just a lowly prospect writer so my opinion doesn’t matter, but I’m clueless as to what Dipoto is thinking here.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I start the podcast by letting Ralph’s real first name slip on air by accident in a conversation about me fearing that I would let Ralph’s real first name slip on air by accident (I don’t think he heard me, though, shhhh). We then discuss the blockbuster Eloy Jimenez trade, along with how much the news of Jay Groome’s father’s arrest should impact his fantasy value, if at all. We talk fake call-ups (Yoan Moncada), real call-ups (Zack Granite), and prospective call-ups (Amed Rosario, Rhys Hoskins, Brent Honeywell, Dominic Smith, Scott Kingery, and many more). Finally, I look forward to Rappin’ Ralph and Nick the Smooth Dick being featured on an upcoming RotoRhymes track, but in the meantime, make sure to head over to RotoWear.com and enter promo code “SAGNOF” to get 15% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy game right now. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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Does anyone remember when Vince Vaughn was funny? It was a time long ago in a land far, far away, your wife was still dating guys wearing Armani Exchange shirts, and George W. Bush was using words like strategrey. It was long before the abortion that was True Detective Season 2, or Couples Retreat, and sometime between Swingers, and The Breakup. In that wrinkle in time Vince Vaughn ruled the box office, and the douchy part of our soul where things like Ed Hardy t-shirts, mirror selfies, and Criss Angel performances still roam free. So where am I going with this awkwardly constructed analogy? I’ll hurry up and get to the point, today’s subject Vince Velasquez has much in common with his big screen brother in initials, way beyond his first name and banal use of the word “Bae-be”. He too started his career with a bang, and universal love during his brief stay in Houston, and then the early season dominance in 2016. And much like Mr. Vaughn, Velasquez took on the task of leading man in the drama that is the Philadelphia Phillies 2017, but unfortunately he just hasn’t been able to recapture the magic. Maybe Velasquez’s nightmare seems less like a heroin dream, and more like a string of poor performances. But the effect is still the same, you just don’t view their latest release with the same excitement you used to. So when I was tasked with covering Velasquez this week by our fearless leader Grey Albright, it felt like a choir singing to me. Perhaps it was the angelic voice of Mr. Albright, perhaps it was my paycheck. Either way, when Grey Albright comes to you and asks “Can you see what’s happin’ with this young brother”, you A. wonder when he became a member of 5% Nation, B. you profile Vince Velasquez. So to the God Grey Albright this is for you…

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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…