It’s funny how much third baseman are like eggplants. Why am I drawing this off the wall parallel? No reason, other than I didn’t know how to open, and the first thing I saw was an eggplant. Yes, a real eggplant not a eggplant emoji, or item represented by said emoji. Here we are on a Sunday, not talking about the minor league happenings of the last week, but heading full steam ahead into the our off-season prospect coverage. Crazy to think we’re two seasons into my tenure here at Razzball as the resident Prospector In Chief. Memories, tears, and promise rings. Today we dive into the chilly waters of the hot corner. Not the most exciting group I’ll profile over the next few weeks, but not every position is as stacked as outfield. Ya dig? That’s not to say there aren’t a collection of future fantasy stars, as well as fantasy relevant talents outside the top 5. The top three names of Guerrero, Senzel, and McMahon should be familiar to all, as they’re some of the top talents presently in the minors. Unlike outfield and shortstop, there’s a particular profile associated with 3rd. It’s a power position, and one expected to produce some of the top middle of the order bats. The top 5 is filled with those, but the next 5 is where things get interesting. As always, remember my personal preference weighs heavy on this ranks (these ranks are my personal preference after all…), and the ability to stick at the position long term is taken with a grain of salt. I’m looking for the best bats with 3Bs on the back of their minor league baseball cards.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If players are going to break out in a season, they don’t always break out the first week of a season.  I’m reminded of another Phillies player, Dominic Brown.  The year he broke out, it didn’t happen until June of that year.  Of course, in subsequent years, his swing got long like Don Johnson’s in The Harrad Experiment and rather than working his way back in the cages, Brown was preoccupied with avoiding his stalker, Tehol.  This brings us to another potential breakout, Aaron Altherr.  Or as Mystikal calls him, Altherr.  You don’t have to be scurred, he’s doing his thang.  Altherr hit two more homers yesterday (2-for-4, 4 RBIs, hitting .351), and is one of the hottest players in the majors this week.  Of course, this won’t continue, but to what degree will this tail off?  By the way, I want to be a judge at a twerking competition called a Tail Off.  In the minors, he’s shown speed (20-ish) and power (teen-ish).  With his Ks and BABIP, his average will come down a long way (maybe .250), but I see no reason why he can’t be a 17/20/.250 hitter on the year, and definitely a must own.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The fantasy gods have smiled upon Cody, my friends. Once feared that he would be sent back down with Joc Pederson’s return, Bellinger has been gifted another opportunity to prove he belongs in the MLB with Adrian Gonzalez miraculously hitting the DL (well, not so miraculous for A-Gone owners, I guess). And prove it he shall! Cody Bellinger continued to rake going  3-for-5 with two home runs (4) and 4 RBI last night. He’s hitting .400 with eight runs, four home runs, and nine RBI in the past week. Can Joc Pederson do dat? Nuh uh. Nah didn’t think so. Need more? He’s slashing .342/.390/.737 and the Dodgers are 6-2 with him in the line up. More? The Cranberries think that you have to, you have to, you have to add Bellinger. After batting .343 with five homers, 15 RBI and 7 steals in AAA this season it is clear Cody is more than ready to make some noise in the bigs. Whoa did you say seven steals! That’s right! We haven’t even seen him flash that speed yet, and when he does, fantasy glory can be ours. Grey has been telling you to BUY Bellinger for a few weeks now, and he’s still available in about 60% of ESPN leagues. He could be the Yasiel Puig-like player that’s not Yasiel Puig-like that the Dodgers and your fantasy team so desperately needs right now.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Astros corner infielder Yulieski Gurriel continues to mash going 3-for-4 with 2 runs, his second home run and two RBI. Opposing pitchers be like, why you all up in my Gurriel, Yuli? When you’re on fire and everyone knows you’re flame. The Gurriel is hot, where da burgers and dogs at? Dude is  hitting .436 (17-for-39) over the past two weeks with 7 runs, 2 homers and 6 RBI. Sure he hit just .260 with 3 homers and 15 RBI in 36 games last year with Houston, but he ALSO hit .500 with 15 homers in 50 games in Cuba in 2016 which are the better stats that I will cherry-pick for the purposes of this blurb. I’m just saying it’s not like this success is coming out of nowhere. He’s a good Gurriel and he knows it, and he’s batting 6th in a stacked Houston lineup. If we take a look at some of the advanced metrics (NERD!), the .371 BABIP may unsustainable, but fantasy is about riding streaks and Yuli Gurriel is a hot little potato right now. Grey told you to BUY and he’s available in about 75% of leagues. Pick him up you only Yuli once! Whoa, now that’s two Drake references in the same lede. That’s how you know it’s going to be a good day!

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Joey Gallo, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo walk into a bar.  The bar says, “Ow.”  There should be an All-Star Game weekend festivity where Gallo, Judge and Giancarlo hit home runs and people guess how far it went, but they guess in miles.  “I’m gonna say that went 4.5 miles.”  “Ooh, sorry, there’s no such number as ‘point.’  You don’t win a house.”  Gallo doesn’t hit mammoth shots.  Mammoth shots hit home runs and say, “That was a Gallo shot.”  Have you seen one of his homers?  Picture a ball sailing about 550 feet and screaming, “Holy crap, how am I getting back home?”  Home run balls he hits call Uber after Gallo hits ’em.  So, I’m obviously a fan, and Beltre doesn’t even have a return date yet.  This might be one of those situations where Beltre is gone for another month and, even when he returns, Gallo just moves to the outfield.  It’s slightly ridiculous he’s available in so many leagues, and I’d remedy that.  Immediatemente.  That’s immediately in Spanish.  I did take 13 years of Spanish, after all.  You’re gracias.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m picturing Clint Eastwood in Escape from Alcatraz, coiffing his hair (gorgeous hair) chipping away with his pickaxe.  I’m seeing Andy Dufresne also beautiful hair and a pickaxe.  Now that I think about it, you don’t need jail cells, just take away all prisoners’ blow dryers.  Any hoo!  Why am I seeing these great prison movies?  Because they are about breakouts.  Breakouts come in different shapes and sizes.  Some would say Cameron Diaz’s complexion is a breakout.  For a baseball breakout:  James Paxton.  Yesterday, Paxton went 7 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 1.39.  His K/9 and BB/9 are now 10.7 and 1.8, respectively.  That’s about as ace-like as you’re gonna find.  Okay, now for one small step back from the ledge of crazy excited.  In his last start, he did give up five earned in four innings and I don’t think he’s going to avoid all wonkiness, but there’s no one throwing as well as him right now.  Okay, maybe Kershaw and Ervin Santana.  Someone get these guys blow dryers.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Eric Thames went 2-for-3, 3 runs, 3 RBIs and hit two more homers (9, 10).  *does exaggerated yawn*  Justice Eric Ruth Thames is like, “Yeah, I had a harder time in Korea, ya’ll suck.”  Jer-Ru the Damaja is like, “The Sun Also Rises in the East, and sets in Milwaukee when I’m done hitting homers, goodnight.”  At this point, I’m surprised Justice didn’t hit, like, 80 homers a season in Korea.  Who got this guy out?  An NL team should sign that guy.  Or watch the Korean broadcasts of the games to see how they got him out, if for no other reason than the weird game show-like moments in-between innings when they’d have contestants try to find which part of the stadium is made of chocolate.  (I know this is Japanese, but it’s funny, so stop with your judging.  Leave that to the Justice!)

Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?