With the rapid speed at which Ronald Acuna has ascended through the minors, I ought to take every opportunity to write about him while I still can. If you hadn’t heard, Acuna was promoted to AAA on Wednesday evening, and the Braves best position prospect since Jason Heyward is now just a call away. Exciting news for dynasty league owners all over. In my updated Mid-Season Top 100 I ranked Acuna 5th in all of baseball, and after seeing the confidence the Braves have in the precocious 19 year old, how could you not? He brings to the table hard contact with an all-fields approach, 30 steal speed, and a huge ceiling. The plate discipline could be better, but to put things in perspective, he’s 19 and playing at the highest levels of full season ball while many of his contemporaries are just beginning short season and rookie ball. So I expect plate approach to be an area where things should improve as Acuna matures as a hitter. What he does at Gwinnett will be telling, particularly if he really struggles for the first time in his career. How he deals with that, adjusts, and rebounds will be the true test of his metal. It’s tough to say if he will struggle or not, but if he hits the ground running, I could picture a world, maybe as soon as a month, where Acuna is considered the top prospect in the game. Trust me I’ve made bold proclamations about Acuna before. Here’s what I said when I ranked him #42 overall in the pre-season, “Could be this season’s Victor Robles. Five tool player, that tore up Australia this winter, poised for a big jump in the mid-season list. Trade for him now”. I was right on both fronts, but was more conservative with his ETA setting it at 2019. That’s obviously no longer the case, outside of unforeseen circumstances of course. **KNOCK ON WOOD** Anyway, Acuna has a strong chance of seeing at least a few weeks of action in September, but I wouldn’t expect a call-up in the next few weeks. Though the possibility of Acuna breaking camp in 2018 is less remote than it was a few months ago, I’d be surprised by any promotion before mid-May next year. He’s a name to know for players in all formats, as this could be a stud in the making. Here’s what else I saw in the MiLB…Please, blog, may I have some more?
That’s right, we’re pushing well beyond the 100 threshold this year, and pushing it all the way to 200. I for one am excited, but that might just be the speedball of cocaine, redbull, meth, and the behind the counter cough syrup. I’m seeing the words and their auras, man. No jokes, this is all from a vision, an immaculate epiphany I was led to by a culturally appropriated wise character of some sort. Really, I just wanted to get into a whole bunch more prospects I didn’t get a chance to talk about. If you didn’t catch it, last week I dropped my Top 100, this is a continuation of that going from 101 – 200 with full writeups and statlines for each. Hopefully you get caught up on few off the radar names, brush up on some old ones, and get your prospecty fill for the All-Star Break. It’s the Top 200 Fantasy Baseball Prospects!Please, blog, may I have some more?
Yesterday summer came to New England, after months of teetering between 12 degrees, and 47 and rainy, the sun finally showed and warmed our frozen souls with it’s powerful rays. Perfect timing for me to, as Wednesday’s are by far the busiest days of my week. I have a work related meeting every “Hump Day” at 7 AM in downtown Boston, and that’s no joy to wake up and get to. So my day starts at 5 AM. I perform my usual “triple S”, make my coffee, finish the latest episode of Halp and Grey in the (insert time slot here) on the ride in, while I think about how badly I mis-ranked Alex Wood in my weekly pitching rankings. I mean there’s always one, right? So my day chugs along like a shiny steam engine from morning meeting, to morning workout, to morning meeting, to lunch, to afternoon meeting, to afternoon meeting. By 5 o’clock I’m toast, but there’s no rest for The Prospector, becuase it’s time to pickup my oldest from after-school care. Yesterday was a special one, as my son greeted me with his newest homemade “SpongeBob Squarepants” book, let’s just say he needs to work on his spelling. With all this to do, a man needs some time to his self, just him and his Schrock. I learned as a young man making time for one’s Schrock can make all the difference when it comes to your daily outlook, and just general disposition. Enough about my day, let’s discuss my Schrock. Now my Schrock is a well maintained smooth Schrock, what it lacks in size, it makes up for with heart, technique, and advanced approach. My Schrock might look undersized, but it packs surprising power. In fact this spring my Schrock, let’s call him Max, made quite the impression in the Arizona sun. If by this point you haven’t figured out that I’m talking about Oakland A’s 2nd base prospect Max Schrock, then you my friend have a dirty mind. So who is this little SOB? Well if you’ve been paying attention then you’d know that Schrock’s been discussed in this space before, as well as on the prospect podcast. For my podcast co-host Michael C. Halpern of Imaginarybrickwall.com loves Schrock! Loves him! So far in 2017 Schrock has struggled a bit to pick up where he left off in spring training. Yesterday, however, Schrock finally broke out his boom stick, and put the wood to two Yohander Mendez pitches. Going double dong on his way to a 3 for 4 day with two solo jobs. Schrock can always get it done by his lonesome, even if the Rockhounds lost to the Roughriders 7-4. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. As for Schrock’s 2017 he’s currently slashing .277/.315/.433 with 5 homers and 3 steals.Please, blog, may I have some more?
They said our chemistry would never be the same. They said Halp couldn’t do two podcasts a week. They said Ralph couldn’t handle a third article, along with this podcast, a Youtube show, a full time job, a wife, three kids, etc … Who said this? Probably no one. But you have to find something to motivate you, ya know? Ralph starts off the podcast by talking about his road trip to Yankee Stadium last weekend. We then move onto some of the hot performers over the last week, including Rhys Hoskins, Dustin Fowler, Clint Frazier, Rafael Devers, Kolby Allard, and Walker Buehler. Finally, we save the best for last, and close the show by talking about Yoan Moncada and Aaron Judge. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Prospect Podcast:Please, blog, may I have some more?
During the winter I made a somewhat bold statement, that I’m not sure many agreed with it at the time. I stated that, I’d rather have Rhys Hoskins long term than Tommy Joseph. There was a great deal of skepticism regarding Hoskins 2016, mostly because it took place in the comfy confines of FirstEnergy (not a typo) Stadium. And really, who can blame them? The ballpark is so bananas, it tricked people into thinking Darin Ruf, and Dylan Cozens were actually good. That said, there was a lot to like about Hoskins profile, FirstEnergy (not a typo) Stadium not withstanding. Throughout his professional career he’s hit for power (.233 ISO), average (.291), gotten on base (.375), and walked at a high rate (10.4%). He’s also done all this while striking out at a sub-20% clip. Tell me that doesn’t scream MLB worthy? In the offseason I was by far the high man on Hoskins, ranking him 57th in my top 100. Fast forward two and half months, and Hoskins is the new danger, hitting a robust .350/.447/.675 with 8 homers, and 15 RBIs in just 24 games. Meanwhile Tommy J struggles in Philly, and the calls for Hoskins in Philly get louder. Sure he’s a righthanded throwing first baseman, but Paul Goldschmidt scoffs at you scoffs at your concerns. I put my money where my mouth is on Hoskins, and dealt Nick Gordon, and T.J. Friedl in the Basbeall Prospectus expert league, The Devil Rejects, back in November, and am quite happy with how my gamble looks to paying off. This prospector’s word of advice, go get Hoskins. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this week in the minors.Please, blog, may I have some more?
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.Please, blog, may I have some more?
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.Please, blog, may I have some more?
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.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Damn this system is deep, after spending the last few days studying the Padres farm system like Jay Wrong looking to drown the sorrow of another losing season, that’s all I can say. In fact, I’ve come to have an even greater appreciation for GM A.J. Preller, and the sheer depth of this system. Since Preller took control of the organization he’s turned over the farm system in a failed attempt to compete, and then almost immediately sold off the win now pieces to land himself a new and better crop of prospect talent. Long known for his savvy signings on the international market during his time with the Rangers, Preller went bananas in the international period in 2016 landing seemingly everyone but Kevin Maitan. With the first wave of talent making it’s way to Petco in 2017, the future is looking bright for long suffering Padres fans. Preller has been aggressive on the trade market too, constantly reminding Dave Dombrowski that he has some ungodly incriminating evidence against him. Seriously, it’s got to be so good… Then came the Rule 5 draft, where the Padres pulled the unprecedented task of acquiring the top three picks, and adding a fourth player later. It’s his cold, calculated, and creative approach to acquiring talent that has made him one of my favorite executives in baseball. So believe me, I was more than happy to check in on his dragon eggs for this Sunday’s post. It’s the Top San Diego Padres Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball.Please, blog, may I have some more?
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.Please, blog, may I have some more?