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]

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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Despite their lack of fanfare from a player development standpoint, the Baltimore Orioles have done as good a job as any in developing major league talent. The usual knocks are their inability to develop, and keep major league starters. As players like Jake Arrieta, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Zack Davies have found varying degrees of success outside of Avon Barksdale’s home turf. While starters have alluded the Orioles, top notch bullpen talent has not. There’s little questions as to who’s developed the best homegrown bullpen in the world. In addition to the pen they’ve cultivated young superstar Manny Machado, and nurtured Rangers washout Chris Davis into a perennial 40 home run threat. In fact they were tied for the most homegrown players of any team in the 2016 MLB playoffs. At present the Orioles system lacks high impact fantasy talent, but features several intriguing players for deeper dynasty leagues. In other words, it could suck more than it does….

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After a two week hiatus so the Lifshitz clan could take Disneyworld by storm, the Razzball Fantasy Prospect Podcast is back. But wha wha wha wait it gets worse! We’re not gone yet so we’re givin our first…minor league system preview of the season. This week’s episode focuses on the prospect laden Braves system, with a little Orioles and D-Backs talk sprinkled in. So it’s prospects a plenty this week. I mean it’s the top Atlanta Braves Prospects people! There’s a lot of them! It’s a freaking prospect podcast right? Feels like a rhetorical question? Is that rhetorical? Nevermind it’s the Braves-centric latest episode of the Razzball Fantasy Prospect Podcast

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We’re back, and this time with 100% less cracking mics, and Candy Crush breaks! Do people still play Candy Crush? Anywho…This week on the Prospect Podcast Michael Halpern of Imaginarybrickwall.com and I talk the recent callups of Roman Quinn and Dan Vogelbach. Touch on Chance Adams 2016, the return of Benintendi, and the end of Aaron Judge’s season. I promise I won’t gloat. From there, we discuss next season value for the big three rookie catchers, Sanchez, Contreras, and Murphy for those of you not in the know. Then again, you’re listening to a fantasy prospect podcast in September, so you know. We round out the episode with our top 10 prospect catchers, and follow that up with some interesting sleepers. Ladies and Gents it’s episode 7 of the Razzball Fantasy Prospect Podcast!!

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We all have certain prospects we’re partial to. Players that for whatever reason strike your fancy, and you’ll forever view them through rose colored glasses. For example I think Peter Gammons is still hyping up Matt Murton. Grey wrote like 7 sleeper posts about Jedd Gyorko. Former prospector Mike legally changed his name to Maikel Franco. I on the other hand trekked down to Pawtucket, RI on consecutive days in April to watch Nick Williams first hand. Did I like what I saw? Was I impressed? Click that button, find out.

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I got you something for Chrimbus! It’s a jar of tartar sauce. Oh, you don’t like it? Then how about some Baltimore Orioles pitching prospects instead? That tartar sauce is looking a lot better now, you ungrateful reader. Pitching prospects break all the time, but the Orioles seem especially good at it. Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey still have a lot of upside, and of course they will still be perched atop most Orioles lists, but both will also need to prove healthy to regain their lost fantasy value. I own a share of Bundy myself, so I feel your pain out there. Harvey is just a big bowl of I don’t know. Get past those two risky arms, and there are two hitting prospects I like a lot…power lolita Jomar Reyes and 2015 breakout Trey Mancini. If you need more instant gratification, Baltimore is currently in the process of signing Korean import Hyun-soo Kim. Praise Rang! So while this system isn’t a treasure trove of impact fantasy talent, there’s at least enough here to pass the time while you wait in line to see Winter Man. Remember – keep your Chrimbus bush trimmed and wet for Winter Man and he’ll bring you that pasta bear you’ve had your eye on.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (12) | 2013 (17) | 2012 (20) | 2011 (21) | 2010 (8)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [96-66] AL East
AAA: [65-79] International League – Norfolk
AA: [72-70] Eastern League – Bowie
A+: [65-72] Carolina League – Frederick
A: [66-73] South Atlantic League – Delmarva
A(ss): [27-48] New York-Penn League – Aberdeen

Graduated Prospects
Jonathan Schoop, INF | Kevin Gausman, RHP

The Gist
The Orioles’ farm is headlined by two solid pitching prospects, although both have dealt with elbow injuries of late. Dylan Bundy may see MLB time later this year along with hitting prospects Christian Walker and Dariel Alvarez. The top half of this farm is pretty solid from a fantasy standpoint, and the Orioles already have nice young talent at the major league level in Manny Machado, Kevin Gausman, and Jonathan Schoop. Gausman was a good arm to own in the second half of 2014 after yo-yoing in the first, and may take a major step forward this year. Meanwhile, Schoop popped 16 homers in his rookie campaign. Machado is still just 22 years old and obviously has massive potential. With a bounce back from Chris Davis, this could be a very nasty offense in 2015.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (17) | 2012 (20) | 2011 (21) | 2010 (8) | 2009 (9)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [85-77] AL East
AAA: [77-67] International League – Norfolk
AA: [71-71] Eastern League – Bowie
A+: [61-78] Carolina League – Frederick
A: [54-82] South Atlantic League – Delmarva
A(ss): [40-32] New York-Penn League — Aberdeen

Graduated Prospects
 T.J. McFarland (LHP); Steve Johnson (RHP)

The Run Down
Hey, it’s our first weekend post! Draft season must be near. Rejoice!  And when you’re done rejoicing, feel free to take in some words about the Baltimore Orioles farm, a top heavy group, but its headliners are extreme high-impact.  There’s a case to be made for Kevin Gausman being the top rookie pitcher in 2014, and it’s equally plausible that Dylan Bundy could carry that title in 2015.  The top three arms in this group are about as impressive a trio as you’ll find across Minor League Baseball.  On the other side of things, however, there aren’t many heavy hitters here.  This Baltimore system is depleted when it comes to power bats, and it’s fairly light on offensive talent as a whole.  But considering the absurd power and general awesomeness of their big league hitters, I doubt that O’s fans are too concerned right now with that aspect of their farm.

Please, blog, may I have some more?