Wednesday again already??? Time flies when you’re having fun (or the Braves are playing terrible baseball) it seems. That signals time for our Razzball midweek look at what’s become the most important commodity in our favorite game– prospects. Our “Prospect Primer” reflects a handful of the prospects I’m keeping a close eye on heading into Week 20 (for both shallow and deep fantasy leagues). Our bi-weekly prospect columns (Sundays and Wednesdays) will continue to focus on the more “well-known” prospects (our Top 50/Top 100) that are likely going to affect shallow to mid-level fantasy teams.

We will continue our “Panning For Gold” series moving forward for owners in deeper leagues, but these won’t be a regularly-scheduled feature, but keep checking in for true “sleepers” daily… I’ll continue trying to “shine the light” on players that may not impact your leagues in the short-term, while revealing players you might scoop your fellow owners with as time warrants and permits. Our prospect coverage will always be a work in progress as we try to provide pertinent information that will help owners that participate in deeper leagues as well, and features will be adjusted and added in our effort to be able to help fantasy GMs as much as possible regardless of the depth of league you compete in.

Disclaimer: the bi-weekly lists AREN’T a “re-ranking” of our Top 50/Top 100/Organization Lists. The players mentioned will typically be guys that owners in somewhat regular leagues NEED to be aware of (regardless of their current level) to keep from slipping behind as they want to stay competitive in “keeper leagues”. There may be a sleeper mentioned from time-to-time, but they may be more important to managers in deeper and more long-term leagues. The players listed aren’t in any particular order (you’ll notice they’re listed alphabetically), they’re simply guys you need to keep an eye on and someone you might be interested in targeting when you’re wheeling and dealing.

Now it’s time to refill that cup of coffee or take your lunch break and open your spreadsheets – here’s who I’m tracking over the next few days…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Another week completed, another step closer to excitement for prospect-watchers waiting impatiently for the next round of call-ups, and the ultimate “Christmas In July” for prospect-hounds across the globe as we get to spend the day with the ultimate showcase – the Futures Game. In honor of this great event, this week’s Minor Accomplishments Sunday Twelve-Pack will include several players that will be participating in the game, as well as some that would’ve been at Target Field for it (yes, I’m looking at you Arismendy Alcantara, Jimmy Nelson, and Christian Bethancourt).

The All-Star Break is upon us, the playoff picture’s beginning to come into focus for several teams that were “on the fence” a week ago, and trades completed over the next three weeks will lead to many more openings for prospects to get a look at the MLB level, as well as advancement opportunities for players further down each organizational pecking order.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Most things that can be enjoyed in life are temporary and fleeting. When it comes to owning Carlos Gonzalez (OF, $4,700) in fantasy, the previous statement couldn’t be more accurate. The only thing CarGo is better at than putting up big fantasy numbers is racking up DL stints and games missed. Which is why he is the perfect player for Daily Fantasy formats like DraftKings. When he’s in the lineup and playing, he’s typically hitting and there are few players in baseball more exciting to watch. When he’s not in the lineup and he’s taking up residence in your DL spot, there are few players more infuriating to own. I typically avoid Gonzalez in drafts because the price is high and the risk is great. My approach in the first few rounds is to buy low risk/high floor players. In DFS I just want great players and great matchups. With Cargo returning to the Rockies lineup yesterday and a home matchup with punching bag Kevin Correia, he’s both! In the early set the Rockies stack is very much in play. Even better there are some great low cost pitching options on the slate to help fit those premium Colorado bats into your lineups.

We have a couple of 20 Teamers setup again today, one for the earlier set and another for the later bunch. We filled two 20 Teamers for last nights games and they’ve been filled every night for the last couple of weeks. We’ve had Razzball personalities like Sky, The Guru, J-Foh, Tehol, Schlurricane, BTXJ, and Nick Cappozzi. To extremely competitive players from our Comments section like LoneRiders, ddmcd 1974, nrk5014, Resnati, and heatster. Going forward they’re going to be a daily drop in our DraftKings blogs. So get yourself together and join DraftKings today. In case you didn’t know, DraftKings will give you a ticket for a contest just for joining with us by clicking here. So let’s review, you get to compete against your favorite Razzball personalities and fellow readers, and you get a ticket for the sweet price of Free.99. Don’t forget we have some great tools to help you optimize your lineups in the DFSBot, the Stream-o-nator, and the Hitter-tron. So use them and thank Rudy!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I love when I tell you to pick up a player and he comes up days later. It makes me smile, and not one of those weird Japanese emoji smiles, but a full-faced grin. So, Andrew Heaney, you’re already okay in my book, even if that book is called, “Rookie Pitchers Will Fill You With Enthusiasm Until They Actually Pitch For Your Fantasy Team.” If you missed my Andrew Heaney fantasy with Friday’s Buy, where were you? Playing Patty Cake without your hands on the dance floor to Jason Derulo’s Wiggle song? Good story, brah. You should turn that into a novella. I’m giggling with excitement for Heaney like I’m Lisa Simpson, only instead of hehe I’m going HeHeaney. Pitching his home games in Crayola Canyon won’t hurt him, and the NL East is filled with a bunch of sad, sad hitting teams. Didja know the Marlins are the best NL East hitting team, and it’s not close? Fact! The Braves, Phillies, Nats and Mets could hold a two week round robin tournament and score less runs than goals scored in the World Cup. I went over the dangers of rookie pitchers in my Friday Buy, and what Heaney’s been doing this year in the minors. It’s all there. I will say now he should be owned in every league and is capable of winning the NL Rookie of the Year in only a little over a half a season. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m in three dynasty leagues that I impulsively attend to. I’m all about the win-now, so I’ll trade my top prospects for immediate impact. In all three of these leagues, I was looking to displace an empty prospect slot, and with my MLB catchers lacking value…

The following catchers were already owned in at least 2/3rd’s of those leagues: Austin Hedges, Jorge Alfaro, Gary Sanchez, Blake Swihart (be me, in one league), Christian Bethancourt and Reese McGuireTom Murphy (probably because of his eventual stomping ground, Colorado) and Stryker Trahan are also owned in at least one of the leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (26) | 2012 (15) | 2011 (2) | 2010 (9) | 2009 (6)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [96-66] NL East
AAA: [60-84] International League – Gwinnett
AA: [76-63] Southern League – Mississippi
A+: [69-70] Carolina League – Lynchburg
A: [73-66] South Atlantic League – Rome

Arizona Fall League PlayersScottsdale Scorpions
John Cornerly (RHP); Juan Jaime (RHP); Aaron Northcraft (RHP); Shae Simmons (RHP); Kyle Kubitza (3B); Tommy La Stella (2B); Elmer Reyes (SS); Robby Hefflinger (OF)

Graduated Prospects
Evan Gattis (C/OF); Julio Teheran (RHP); Alex Wood (LHP); Anthony Varvaro (RHP); Luis Avilan (LHP); Cory Gearrin (RHP);

The Run Down
The high-impact fantasy potential on this list starts and ends with Lucas Sims.  Still, I view this Braves farm system as an underrated group, in that, there are a number of intriguing college arms here, and Atlanta, as an organization, has proven itself in recent years to be quite adept at developing college pitchers into MLB assets. (See Mike Minor and Alex Wood.)  On the offensive side of things, there’s far less appeal.  Hitting prospects like Bethancourt, La Stella, and Salcedo could all be spending time with the big club in 2014, and they each bring a glimmer of fantasy upside, but it’s the variety of upside that barely garners consideration in mixed leagues.  With a decent amount of talent pushing through the upper levels, this is a group worth monitoring early on next season, but there’s truly nothing here to get too excited over until Sims makes his way to Turner Field.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Felix Hernandez was scratched from his Wednesday start with an oblique strain. Guys and four girl readers, you can’t be too precious with your guys. That whole credo “dance with the one who brought you” is real cavalier. You’re a real gentleman as you lounge about in sweat pants while your woman cooks you dinner. It’s honorable. Remind me to submit you to the Reader’s Digest Five Humans That Make A Difference contest. It’s also silly for fantasy baseball. Save your loyalty for your kids when they ask you, “Daddy, do you like me more than your automobile?” Or, “Daddy, how come you were hugging the mail lady for ten minutes with your hands on her butt?” Forget your loyalty for your starting pitchers (or hitters). Felix could throw this weekend to see if he can start again this year. If you’re strapped for space, I’d absolutely look elsewhere. What’s the worst thing that happens? You miss two starts from him? His last starts weren’t even great. You could find better starts off of waivers. Look at me having faith in you! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (15) | 2011 (2) | 2010 (9) | 2009 (6) | 2008 (8)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [94-68] NL East
AAA: [62-82] International League – Gwinnett
AA: [62-77] Southern League – Mississippi
A+: [72-68] Carolina League – Lynchburg
A: [62-76] South Atlantic League – Rome

Arizona Fall League PlayersPhoenix Desert Dogs
Chris Jones (LHP); Cory Rasmus (RHP); Zeke Spruill (RHP); Cory Brownsten (C); Edward Salcedo (3B);

Graduated Prospects
Tyler Pastornicky (SS); Andrelton Simmons (SS); Jose Constanza (OF); Randall Delgado (RHP)

The Run Down
Pitching depth is a beautiful thing. Injuries and whatnot can destroy Major League rotations and bullpens, so to have a pool of talented, cost-controlled options waiting in the upper levels of the farm is a luxury every team strives for. The Braves are overflowing with pitching depth in their minor leagues — some of it elite, some of it average, but the depth is real, and it’s hugely important. The same cannot be said for Atlanta’s prospects at the plate, however. Not to suggest that this system is void of promising hitting prospects, but the state of the farm in this regard is lagging behind. There is a fair amount of upside — a guy like Evan Gattis could blossom into a catcher-eligible masher as soon as this year. He also could bust and never see the bigs. The other bats here are rather young, and as we know, youth is volatile. So what the Braves have here is a bit of a lopsided system, but it’s a good system, and it brings plenty of fantasy intrigue. And along with the fantasy impact, it should keep Atlanta competitive in the NL East for the foreseeable future.

Please, blog, may I have some more?