I can imagine what Juan Nicasio season long owners are feeling right now. First week was straight gravy with some poutine hiding underneath. Next week? Heart attack with a cliffhanger heading into week 3. This shizz is like Knots Landing and I don’t even know what that show is! Either way, drama central is going on and we out here in DFS land be like okay, okay, Childish Gambino style. That’s the beauty of the Daily Fantasy life: No Ragrets. Or better put, no memory. I don’t care that Juan was terrible in his last start. It happened in Detroit against a stacked Tigers lineup. Back at home in the NL against a good but shaky Brew Crew lineup, I’m willing to take a gamble on Juan at his low end price of $6,100. Why? Pitchers that Ray Searage has salvaged include but are not limited to: AJ Burnett, Francisco Liriano, and JA Happ. So you can write the other two off as bouncebacks but Happ? That’s straight voodoo magic, brosephs, and I’m not about to start a Salem witch trial against this good man. So step into my humble abode as we put Juan in our SP2 spot and forget about it for the day. But what should we do with our SP1 spot, you ask? Well read on. Here’s my telenovela hot taeks for this Sunday DK slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s been a long time coming for the Kansas City Royals, but they finally tasted the sweet fizz of championship champagne last fall, and it was all due to Jonny Gomes. I’m not sure if you know this, but he’s the kind of guy you want to go to war with. Hacksaw Jonny musings aside, the Royals built a winner the old fashioned way. And by old fashioned I mean good drafting, solid player development, and excellent trading. In the process, they’ve graduated quite a few players onto their major league squad, traded some for established vets, and let others take the time needed to fully develop. The aftermath is there isn’t a ton of sexy fantasy prospects anymore, but the farm’s not barren, and there are some really intriguing players in the low minors. Dayton Moore and his constituents stuck to their philosophy, and in the end they’re the poster children for why prospects matter. Just ask Baseball America!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (8) | 2013 (18) | 2012 (3) | 2011 (1) | 2010 (16)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [89-73] AL Central
AAA: [76-67] Pacific Coast League – Omaha
AA: [53-87] Texas League – Northwest Arkansas
A+: [65-72] Carolina League – Wilmington
A: [57-83] South Atlantic League – Lexington

Graduated Prospects
Yordano Ventura, RHP

The Gist
The Royals went all the way to the World Series in 2014, helped in part by the pitching of rookie Yordano Ventura. He averaged 96 on his fastball, second only to Garrett Richards. The 23-year-old will enter 2015 as the ace of the Royals’ staff. No pressure or anything. Brandon Finnegan, the Royals’ first round pick in 2014, contributed to the major league club as well. While he was impressive in the bullpen, it looks like the Royals will lean towards stretching him out in the minors. Other top prospects in this system will look to “bounce back” either from injury or disappointing performances. If you’re in need of a short-term prospect for this year Terrance Gore is likely to provide some stolen bases, but he’s behind Jarrod Dyson on a crowded outfield depth chart.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Arizona Fall League is over, but prospect season is in full swing. Razzball is posting fantasy-driven top ten prospect lists every Wednesday this offseason so be sure to check them out. While the AFL isn’t a long season, it features some of the better prospects in baseball and it’s worth looking back at a few of the top performers in the league this year. Moving forward, we’ll focus on the winter leagues. Big leaguers and prospects from many MLB organizations are still playing baseball! There are several leagues like this, but I tend to gravitate toward the Dominican Winter League the most. Players like Maikel Franco, Joc Pederson, and Rymer Liriano are just a few of the names you’ll find on the DWL rosters. Last year’s MVP, Gregory Polanco, created quite the buzz in 2014. The league runs until the end of December and I’ll check in on some of the performances there periodically in this Minor Accomplishments series. To follow along, you can live stream games here, here, and here. Just brush up on some Spanish first! Back to the AFL…here were this year’s top performers with some commentary:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

No prospect in baseball brings a higher ceiling than Javier Baez. That much is noted. He gave us a glimpse of the limitless potential last summer when he reached Double-A, drilling 35 XBH (20 HR) in 240 plate appearances during the season’s final two months. Then he showed up at big league camp this spring and knocked 5 HR in 18 games, and baseball began to wonder how long the Cubs could keep a talent like this in the minors. I drank the Baez Kool-Aid — I drank lots of it. I fantasized about scenarios that would’ve had Javy in the bigs by now, and I advised you to stash him in redraft leagues, and not let go. But then the cant-miss 21-year-old proceeded to miss. He missed just about everything that was thrown to him, to be clear, racking up a K% at Triple-A Iowa north of 35% through the first month and a half of the season. Throughout it all, though, I told you to be patient. I told you he’d turn it around, and once he did, he wouldn’t be long for the minors. I admit, anxious feelings about Baez began to creep into the back of my mind in recent weeks, and to a degree, they’re still present. These past 10 days, however, have provided much needed relief, as Baez has posted a slash line at .414/.419/.897 with 3 homers and 5 doubles. It’ll take several more weeks like this one to repair his line on the year, which sits at .201/.268/.388, but I believe Javy will be up to the challenge. And if, by chance, too much damage has been done to salvage the Triple-A line, he’ll still have a clean slate to work with when he surfaces at Wrigley later this summer.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (18) | 2012 (3) | 2011 (1) | 2010 (16) | 2009 (11)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [86-76] AL Central
AAA: [70-74] Pacific Coast League – Omaha
AA: [59-81] Texas League – Northwest Arkansas
A+: [63-77] Carolina League – Wilmington
A: [68-70] South Atlantic League – Lexington

Graduated Prospect
David Lough (OF)

The Run Down
For fantasy purposes, this Royals farm needs to be considered among the more exciting groups in the game.  There’s big time appeal for the fantasy game from numbers one through eight on this list, and that talent is spread out across the developmental stages, with high-impact prospects at almost every level of the org.  That distribution will make for a steady flow of mixed league-relevant arrivals over the next handful of years, and that includes this year, as front-end arms, Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer, prepare to surface in the bigs.

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The Arizona Fall League has announced its preliminary rosters, and as usual, this year’s AFL is loaded with high impact talent. Offensive headliners include Byron Buxton, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Jorge Soler. On the pitching side of things, we’ve got Kyle Crick, Alex Meyer, Andrew Heaney, and Marcus Stroman. I’m leaving out plenty of other notable prospects, too. These rosters are always a welcome relief for us prospect enthusiasts who fear the onset of the withdrawal symptoms that inevitably come with the baseball off-season. The AFL should keep the nervous twitching and general malaise at bay, if only for a little while.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (3) | 2011 (1) | 2010 (16) | 2009 (11) | 2008 (24)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [72-90] AL Central
AAA: [83-61] Pacific Coast League – Omaha
AA: [58-81] Texas League – Northwest Arkansas
A+: [66-74] Carolina League – Wilmington
A: [68-72] Midwest League – Kane County (SAL Lexington beginning 2013)

Graduated Prospects
Will Smith (LHP); Kelvin Herrera (RHP); Everett Teaford (LHP)

The Run Down
The Royals traded away a decent chunk of their upper-levels talent in the James Shields deal with the Rays. Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, and Mike Montgomery are all gone, and what’s left is a very young system. It also happens to be a very good system. But with youth comes risk. There’s as much upside here as there is in any other organization — numbers 1-10 below are all capable of bringing significant value to fantasy owners — and there are some college arms that should move quickly. But for the most part, this farm system is unproven. Unless Yordano Ventura is converted to relief, I don’t see much fantasy value pushing through until 2014. Even so, this group will be a lot of fun to watch in the upcoming season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Last Wednesday, I joined Rudy and Nick for the Razzball Baseball Podcast.  On the show, we counted down my top 15 prospects, but truth be told, I was fully prepared to discuss my top 20.  So, with the MiLB season winding down and all, I thought now would be a good opportunity to put the entire list out there in written form.  Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

By the numbers, Manny Machado struggled through his first two months of Double-A baseball.  It seemed like most nights I looked at Bowie’s box, Machado’s line was 0-fer.  But then I’d read something from the O’s about how his current production was of no concern, that he was tweaking his approach, that scouts are still encouraged.  Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?