After a long winter full of anticipation, baseball is all the way back. With the minor leagues kicking off on Thursday night, the duo know as the awesome two, aka Halph has returned. Michael Halpern and I take you on a magical journey through the minor leagues. As we drop in on the opening night for a ton of the top prospects throughout the league. We talk Moncada, Fisher, Bader, Espinoza and Kaprielian injuries, and more. We discuss the importance of Andrew Benintendi’s core strength, and his underrated power by the elitist mainstream prospectors. Then jump into some of the top teams to watch in the minors this season. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Prospect Podcast.

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You don’t really care about prospects, and I get that. You’re a redraft player, and probably a damn good one. You don’t want a top 100 list where half the guys won’t sniff a major league field for the next 2 years +. You need the right now, the rookie nookie, the sleepers in the waivers. The ones waiting in the weeds until the call comes, and the earliest bird plucks them minutes before the rest of the league, to a collective of moans and groans. This is the song of the RCL rookie scavenger. The man beating you to Trea Turner by 3 minutes, the guy who stashed Alex Bregman on and off for a month. You need to beat him this year, let this be your map, and the Twitter/MLB/Traderumors alerts be your batphone. I think I just mixed metaphors. Whatevs!!! You get the jist. Behold! The Top 25 Rookies for 2017 Fantasy Baseball. By the by, this list is 100% 2017 focused, so ETA, lack of a platoon or temporary fill-in status matters. I don’t care what he’s going to be in 2 years. THAT DOESN’T MATTER!!! It’s all about the right now, the present. I’m listening to Right Now by Van Halen. I’m wearing white jeans. I’m holding up signs that say, “Right now someone is drafting Ian Desmond unaware of his injury”. It’s that real.

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This episode is going to be uuuuuuuuugggge, it’s the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers Top Prospects all crammed into one. Both really tremendous, tremendous farm systems. Okay, neither of them are really that great, but our Presidential Trump filter makes everything bigly. So Halp and myself delve into both systems and our favorites from each. We talk Jose De Leon for at least the 20th time on the prospect podcast. Not because we love him or anything, but mostly because he gives us tons of reasons. Well the rest you can listen to and find out, it’s the latest episode of the Razzball Prospect Podcast.

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I wonder if the Rays are mad at the Yankees for stealing their style? The kings of drafting/signing and stashing are back, with a whole new crop of youngsters, and there’s some underrated names to come. While their top specs may not have the name value the Yankees, or say the Braves have, many of them are destined to make an impact on fantasy in the coming years. One of my favorite shortstop prospects calls the Rays home in Willy Adames, who is at most a year away. As well as one of the more slept on corner infield prospects in Casey Gillaspie, who could have an impact this year. In fact the Rays have a lot of high floor, low ceiling types waiting in the wings in Durham ready to become wavier wire fodder, and hot schmotato’s. Not only do we have some Top 100 types, and some floorboreds, we also have some talented far off youngsters, ’round here we call them Lolita’s, for you to crush on. Without further ado, it’s the Top Tampa Bay Rays Prospects. That’s right, it’s TAMPA! Stevie J.

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Over the course of the past few days, I’ve wondered if mentioning Colin Kaepernick in any way, shape, or form would boost readership here in the doldrums of the fantasy baseball season. Maybe I could say “click here to see so and so nearly naked”, or “this celebrity didn’t want this to get out”. What if I took the plunge into full on click bait and left the days of insightful minor league analysis for dynasty and fantasy baseball behind. Would it be me whining about Odell Beckham Jr. ignoring me at the Met Gala? Imagine prospector Ralph rubbing elbows with the A list. I mean seems appropriate, they’re A-list and I’m known for making a list. Thank you, thank you, you’re all too kind I’ll be here all week. In all seriousness, we’ve come to the end of the regular season in minor league baseball, and with it the end of my minor league updates for 2016. Don’t worry I’m going absolutely nowhere. I’ll be updating you on all things dynasty and prospects throughout the offseason. In fact you’ll probably have a triple dose of me with the podcast and all. So pump the volume on this track, throw some BBQ on the grill, and save some sticky ribs for your homie Ralph. The final minor league update of the 2 dot oh 1-6 is here!

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Hey yo! We’re back for another episode of the Prospect Podcast with Michael Halpern of Imaginarybrickwall.com, and of course, Prospector Ralph Esq!!! In this week’s edition, Michael calls me out for the high energy tongue lashings I’m throwing around on the football side in the Razzball Dream League. We then jump back into prospects, and go through some young guns making noise lately in the minors like A.J. Puk, Alec Hansen, and Steven Duggar. We drool over the tools, and future superstar potential of High School heavyweight Hunter Greene. Yes, he’s a Crayola crayon color, and a baller. Michael runs through a couple of high upside, off the radar specs, in Yermin Mercedes and Harol Gonzalez. We then go through our top 10 corner infielders, and debate the value of Joey Gallo, Nick Senzel, Bobby Bradley, and Rafael Devers, among others. We round it out with those that just missed the cut, and some of the sleepers that are out there at 3rd and 1st. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Prospect Podcast.

Note: And be sure to check out the latest Fantasy Football Podcast episode with special host Pod Vader (former ESPN producer) which covered BlogTalkRadio’s Expert League that Razzball is a part of!

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Tell me this isn’t the most American thing you’ve ever heard. I sit mere miles from Cooperstown, NY, sipping an American made brew, working away on the final stretches of my Mid-Season Top 100 Prospects for Fantasy Baseball, while fireworks crackle overhead. The smell of beer and lawn clippings fill the air, and I just cooked some bacon on the barrel of my rifle. The last sentence was complete bullshizz, but the part before it is fairly accurate. I mean I’m not enough of a tool that I would sit in the yard with my laptop writing. But I am enough of a tool that I was formulating what I would type, once the pack of wild animals I affectionately call my children decide to finally retire to their beds for the evening. Well, the time has come and here I am writing to you, and you alone. Without anymore rambling incoherent non-sense, allow me to introduce the Top 100 Prospects Fantasy Baseball. This list is built with an eye to the future, in other words my goal is for this list to be more reflective of a pre-season 2017 list than the pre-season 2016 lists. I went bold, and I avoided the boring. Meaning I have no use for your Julio Urias’, your Lucas Giolito’s, A.J. Reed’s, Cody Reed’s and the like. You know those guys, they’re playing in the bigs, at this point they’re A. owned in your dynasty or B. owned in your redraft league so C. they’re owned. You thought I was going to say there’s no C right? What do I look like Grey? Nope I’m much taller and my facial hair is more Don Johnson than John Oates.

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I know I promised all of you the second installment of my MLB draft preview…..I lied. Sometimes I get an idea between Wednesday and Saturday, and I just go with it. Forgive me, if you can find space in your heart to do that. Besides, we have plenty of time before the draft to get into another 25-40 players, and we will. Not mention some sweet, sweet international action before the J-2 signings. But not today! No, today we update you on the ongoing happenings of the minor leagues, and players making news. So, in that light it’s only appropriate we open with what has to be the buzziest name in all of minor league baseball at the moment. Tyler Glasnow. He who went 7 strong and punched out 11 hapless Louisville Bats hitters last night, the second time he reached that number in his past three starts. His ERA now sits at 1.64, with a ridiculous K/9 of 13! If it wasn’t for The Man and his oppressive super two rules, he’d be facing major league hitting right now. But we’re just not living in a perfect world run by Supreme Leader-Emperor Trump…. just yet. Don’t laugh I’ve been to the future…Regardless, Glasnow needs to be stashed NOW in any league where starting pitching matters. So pretty much everywhere. Unfortunately, you’re probably going to be sitting on him for a month or more. Just bite the bullet and do it, he’s got huge K potential, for a winning team in the National League. That’s a tasty package…..

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Tampa Bay’s farm system isn’t the best on the block for shallow league players, but there are a bunch of interesting fantasy pieces here to sift through if you play in a deeper dynasty format. The biggest news from the 2015 season was the explosion of left hander Blake Snell. He earned all kinds of accolades with his performance and now he’s set up to join the rotation in 2016. The Rays have good pitching depth again this year, and they’ll get Alex Cobb back at some point as well. Outfielder Steven Souza was a trendy sleeper prospect in 2015, but injury and strikeouts limited his value in his rookie year. He could be a decent buy low in dynasty leagues since the power and speed that made him interesting in the first place are still there.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (20) | 2013 (4) | 2012 (11) | 2011 (3) | 2010 (1)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [77-85] AL East
AAA: [75-69] International League – Durham
AA: [66-74] Southern League – Montgomery
A+: [63-70] Florida State League – Charlotte
A: [61-77] Midwest League – Bowling Green
A(ss): [46-30] New York-Penn League – Hudson Valley

Graduated Prospects
Jake Odorizzi, RHP | Brad Boxberger, RHP | Kevin Kiermaier, OF

The Gist
The Rays have had a very busy six months. They moved their ace David Price in a three-team deal that landed Willy Adames and major leaguers Nick Franklin and Drew Smyly. In July, they signed arguably the best international prospect available for just under $3M, which put them over their bonus pool limit. More recently they traded Jeremy Hellickson to Arizona for two quality prospects and sent Wil Myers in a surprising three-team deal that brought back another package of young talent headlined by Steven Souza of the Nationals. 2014 saw young arms like Jake Odorizzi, Brad Boxberger, and Chris Archer take steps forward in their development. It also surprised us with Kevin Kiermaier, who filled in for Wil Myers during his DL stint and proved to be a nice little power/speed combo in deep fantasy leagues. The Rays’ small budget won’t be any different in 2015, but the front office will – Andrew Friedman left for the Dodgers after ten years with Tampa Bay.

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