On Monday night, my top scout (aka my daughter) and I, loaded up our rented scouting station (mini-van), and headed out to LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida to check out some Florida State League action. LECOM Park is actually the corporate name of McKechnie Field, often called the Fenway Park of Spring Training. Funny, I didn’t feel like my seat was designed for a garden gnome, but hey, everything is bigger in Florida right? Wait, that doesn’t sound right. Any the Arsenio Hall, my daughter and I headed out to go scout, and I use that term loosely, some of Bradenton and Clearwater’s top players. Bradenton is the Pirates Class Advanced A affiliate, and Clearwater is the Phillies. While my daughter and I munched on pretzels, hot dogs, and other assorted ballpark foods, I was reminded of why I love the minor leagues. Where else can you see potential future stars mere feet away, chat with coaches about breaking balls, and shoot some sweet scouting video without an usher booting you out of the stadium? Where am I going with all this? Be patient and I’ll tell you. Why are you so hasty bro? Well, I had an idea while shooting some scouting videos of Will Craig, and Cornelius Randolph. What if we had an army of amateur scouts throughout the country sharing their first hand video accounts?

Why not have my readers, and listeners, shoot scouting videos at the minor league games they attend throughout the year? From there, we’ll take your raw footage, edit it, and post it on Razzball’s YouTube channel. It’s crowdsourced scouting, and with smart phones more common than smart people what could be easier. So if you’re taking in a minor league game at anytime this season, whip out your phone and shoot some videos of top prospects you see. Once you do shoot them over to me via email at [email protected]

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Every year, after finishing my Top 100 post, I have a player or two I immediately regret not ranking higher. This year those prospects were Zack Collins, and Kyle Tucker. The funny thing is, Tucker wasn’t ranked that low at 32. Granted my prospecting brother from another mother Halp ranked him 21st, and based on last night it looks like Halp’s right. What happened last night? Welp, Tucker: Man and My Dreams, went 4 for 5 with a homer, 2 doubles, and 7 RBIs. He’s now hitting .343 in the Carolina League, can you imagine what he would have done with a full season in Lancaster? BTW Lancaster is one of the most homer and hitter friendly environments in minors, and was the class A advanced affiliate of the Astros up until this season. As for Tucker, he’s a 5×5 player’s dream, with hit tool, speed, developing power, and massive upside. Seems only appropriate that I would open this week’s Minor League Update with a native son of Tampa, while I’m on vacation here. How meta.

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Growing up, some of the best players in baseball were legacies. Juniors, so to speak. Think Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, Cal Ripken Jr., so on and so forth. Well, the Toronto Blue Jays have taken it upon themselves to bring the Jr.’s back to the game. It started unsuccessfully with Dwight Smith Jr., but has taken a turn for the better with the latest crop of Juniors. On yesterday’s podcast we briefly discussed Vlad Guerrero Jr. and his Lansing Lugnuts debut. Mostly because it was going on while we were recording, and I for one, love a good distraction. What I’m getting at is, we might have done you a disservice not listing this team as one to watch. With an exciting combination of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette (son of Dante), they’re definitely the best set of juniors out there. In fact the pair showed their oodles of upside Friday night, as each homered in the game. On Saturday they continued their assault on A ball, combining to go 3 for 8 with a run and an RBI. Some solid start for the duo, huh? Scouts rank Vlad Jr. amongst the top power prospects in the minors, and Bichette is viewed as a high upside middle infield prospect with 20+ homer upside. For our first Minor League Update of the season, it’s only right we go back to the future. Here’s what else is going on during opening weekend of Minor League Baseball.

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Way back in the late fall, I released my Original edition of the first year player draft rankings. So, it’s been awhile since I first wrote those, and ranked these players out. I figured it was about time to update those now dated ranks. The question you may be asking yourself is “Ralph, why are you so handsome, and also what’s changed?” Well I’ll tell you, I “gots somes” experience now. Because, over the last month plus I’ve had several first year player drafts, meaning I “gots somes” actual real life draft knowledge to draw from. Not to mention my ever-evolving opinions and evaluations of players. So what better time to update the rankings, and give you an idea as to where my heads at after reviewing all of these youngins over the course of my team by team prospect rankings. I’ve fallen in love with some, soured on others, and been introduced to players I previously overlooked. If these rankings are too late for your league’s draft, my apologies, and I understand your angst. We’re deep into draft season, meaning our collective sweatpants smell of rot and butt cheeks, it’s okay to be ornery.  I’ll make it easy, use small words, and discuss lots of wildly inaccurate and inappropriate expectations to put on a teenager. It’s all good though because it’s in the name of fantasy baseball.

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The dynamic duo known as Halph is back again! For those of you who don’t know who Halph is, that would be yours truly the God MC, and the notorious Michael Halpern of Imaginarybrickwall.com. We’re a super duo, we’re Halph! It’s California week on the Prospect Podcast, as we touch on two teams in the Golden State. We start with the sunny San Diego Padres system, a farm overflowing with talented prospects. The discussion opens with a look at Anderson Espionza’s real life value vs fantasy value. We then play would you rather with Hunter Renfroe and Aaron Judge, discuss Manuel Margot’s future value, and discuss why Chris Paddack is worth a stash in dynasty. I continue to wax poetic about my love of A.J. Preller, and it’s to the point now that you could turn it into a drinking game on this episode. There’s some Razz 30 FYPD talk, oh yeah that’s our new 30 team dynasty league, run by yours truly. We then briefly touch on some of the options in the Giants system. So it’s 80% Padres, 10% bullshizz, and 10% Giants. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Prospect Podcast.

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The Giants are one of the more unheralded organization’s in sports when you step back and consider the immense success they’ve achieved over the past 10 years. Yet they seem to rarely get credit when talking about the top teams of the last decade. And from a player development standpoint they’re just as underrated. While they’re certainly no juggernaut on par with the Astros, Red Sox, and Dodgers of the world; they’ve done a good job of developing a solid core of players, including two of the best at their respective positions in Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey. However, in recent years the Giants have been short on high impact prospects, instead churning out role players, and back end of the rotation pitchers. While not much has changed in that regard, there’s hope that Bryan Reynolds, Heath Quinn, and 2015 2nd rounder Andrew Suarez could give them a few above average major league players in the making. Real baseball Ralph…… Why do I care? Honestly, depending upon league size you don’t have to. But for those of you who are deep league junkies like myself, there’s a core of interesting fringe prospects that could offer sneaky value in the short term. So you’ll notice there’s no Tier 1: Specs On the Beach in this system, but they’re overflowing with Tier 2: Floorbored types, led by 2014 first rounder Tyler Beede. This falls in line with their overall draft strategy over the past few seasons, preferring high floor picks to those with higher ceilings. I think this year’s crop strayed from that mantra a little in the later rounds but I’m sure San Fran will boring them up. Okay, now that I’ve attached one hundred qualifiers to this intro, let’s talk some prospects! It’s the Top San Francisco Giants Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball.

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Two Saturdays ago, I released the top 15 picks in my First Year Player Draft Rankings. I then followed this up with the latest edition of the Prospect Podcast this past Saturday, where Halp and I mocked out the first 32 picks of a First Year Player draft with Matt Thompson of Friends With Fantasy Benefits, and Smokey. Today we complete the dynasty nerd trilogy with the resolution of my rankings. Because I’m incapable of making difficult decisions and setting boundaries I went a little past 30. Don’t complain, I’m giving you extra. How ungrateful can you be? In today’s post I get a little deeper into the J2’s, as I included 10 of them. This year we had a solid J2 class and a weak draft class, so there’s more of an International flavor in the 2017 rankings than there might have been in past years. (Hopefully the international flavor is Jerk seasoning, but I will settle for Chimichurri, or a solid curry.) It’s also a pitching heavy class, with it being an extremely soft year for college bats. I can’t remember having so many pitchers, particularly prep, in my rankings. Enough with the “Hi, hows ya fathers”, let’s get into it!

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After a two week hiatus we’re back in the saddle again. This time we brought along a couple of friends to help us, well sort of. This week’s episode is a live mock first year player draft featuring two very knowledgeable prospect hounds in Matt Thompson, lead prospect writer for Friendswithfantasybenefits.com, and the ghost of Razzball’s very own Smokey. The four of us mocked out the first 32 picks on Twitter, so technically it’s not “live”, but not to worry this allowed us to discuss each player in detail. The goal is to get you prepared for your upcoming FYPD drafts this offseason. I know, I know, we’re such givers! Though it’s not all sunshine and Rose wine. Due to technical difficulties we lost out first run-through of the show with Smokey. So, this episode features Halp, Matt, and I trying our damndest to fill the void left behind by our grizzled vet, and to give you the rational behind the LOOGY’s picks. No need to fear prospect hounds, the Razzball Prospect Podcast is back, and stroking the flames of the hot stove all offseason.

P.S. For those following along at home I’ve included the draft results here

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We’re back….to back! That’s right, it’s a double shot week of your favorite Fantasy Prospectors. We are your favorites right? Or at least among your favorites? Regardless of where we rank on your lists, Michael Halpern of Imaginarybrickwall.com and yours truly, the Prosepctor and Chief Ralph Lifshitz, are back with our world famous lists. On this week’s edition, we rank out the top middle infield prospects for Dynasty and Fantasy Baseball. We discuss Yoan Moncada, Brendan Rodgers, Isan Diaz, and “Sweet” Willie Calhoun amongst others. We also touch on the recent hot streaks of the Dodgers Cody Bellinger, and Giants Dylan Davis. Heck, we even talk a little Tebow try out. For sure an episode you don’t want to miss! It’s this week’s edition of the Razzball Prospect Podcast….

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So it happened…. What????? The 2016 MLB Draft stoopid! I mean I am Ralph Lifshitz Prospector Esquire, and what else would I be talking about on a Sunday? Everyone else deals with the right now, but I, I deal with the future, the dreams of dynasty owners everywhere. So let’s get into the most difficult thing to predict, project, or understand. No, not Donald Trump’s campaign!!!! Are you even paying attention?!? The MLB Draft wake up!!! If you need proof as to why the MLB Draft is unpredictable, then click here and see how badly I missed on like 90% of my picks. Seriously after months of study and careful and thoughtful attention, I hit on 5 picks..FIVE out of 34! It’s cool I own it, I wear my mistakes like the rings of a pimp. So, let’s get into the steals, the stupid, the possible, and my general thoughts on the first few rounds of the draft.

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