Over the past few seasons few positions have gotten more hype than shortstop. With players like Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Alex Bregman, Addison Russell, Amed Rosario, the names go on and on. Some of these names were obviously major difference makers in fantasy, while others have ridden “real baseball” prospect hype to overrated status. Much like with catchers on the mainstream prospect lists, the demands of the position defensively significantly increase these player’s values. We don’t care about defense though, there’s only two questions we ask ourselves as dynasty managers. Does this Rotowear shirt make me look fat? No, wait, wrong question. We ask ourselves A. Can he hit? B. Will he stick at the position? The latter of which is ehhh, with a side of meh sauce. I really only care if they can hit. If a player is moved to second, third, or center, it really doesn’t matter, you know, as long as the skills play. I understand position scarcity, but my focus when drafting, adding, or trading for prospects in fantasy leagues is to land the best possible hitters. With this in mind I present to you the Top 10 Shortstop Prospects for 2018 Fantasy Baseball.

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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!

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Every few years a farm system develops to the point that it’s busting at the seams with talent. An organization builds  and before you know it they’ve cultivated more talent than they can possibly use, and therefore have reached what I call the “embarrassment of riches” phase. This time is now for the Atlanta Braves farm system, long thought to be propped up by the organizations pitching depth, that is no longer the case. So far early in the 2017 campaign the Braves have produced two of the breakout stars of the young season in Ronald Acuna, and newly (re)converted catcher Alex Jackson. To call Acuna a breakout star is probably a bit disingenuous, as he was well within my Top 100 in the pre-season, ranking 42nd overall. This is how I described him then, “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 hope you listened to my advice and traded for him then, because after his entrance to AA on Tuesday he might be tough to wrangle from his owners. What exactly has the 19 year old outfielder done since his promotion on Tuesday? How about going 6/8 with 2 homers, 2 steals, 4 runs, and 4 RBIs. It’s funny how Acuna has exploded the last few weeks after initially struggling to start the season. After slashing .209/.261/.349 in the season’s first 11 games, Acuna is hitting .355/.398/.605 with 4 homers and 10 steals in the 18 matches since. As I said calling him a breakout is disingenuous, but he looks to be rising into another tier of prospects. As for his former and future teammate Alex Jackson the story is quite different. As the former 6th overall pick in the 2014 draft struggled for 2 1/2 years in the Mariners organization, before being traded to the Braves this offseason for a pair of fringe major league starters. Jackson at one point in time was one of the more decorated high school players in recent memory. Having been named a three time Baseball America All-American, a two time Under Armor All-American, and even winning Baseball Prospectus Prospect of the Year before even being drafted. A catcher in high school, the Mariners decided to move him to the outfield, where Jackson struggled. Slowly his body and skill set deteriorated, and many minor league experts, myself included had written him off. Bad move on our part. Since joining the Braves organization and being moved back to catcher, all Jackson has done is take siege of the notoriously pitching friendly Florida State League, hitting .296/.348/.592 with 10 homers and 27 RBIs in 31 contests. He seems to have abandoned some patience in lieu of power, but when the results are good I’d take it every time. It’s getting to the point with Jackson, that if this continues into the summer he could easily rank within the top 5 fantasy catchers in the minors. Here’s the other happenings in the MiLB over the last few days.

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Oh the Pirates, a team I was excited to write about due to my fondness for their high end prospects. But much like a beautiful woman with a pretty face and a giant set of sweater puppets, they top heavy. I mean top heavy AF, as the kids say on the Snapface. Seriously, after Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow, Mitch Keller, and Josh Bell, the system falls off a cliff. I found myself 10 players in trying to figure out if there was anyone else to write about besides Steven “freaking” Brault. Sorry Noise, I really didn’t want to add insult to injury after that thorough stomping the Pats gave the Steelers, but it is what it is. Razzing aside, it is RAZZ-ball after all, the Pirates have 4 prospects I’d like to own everywhere. Meadows, Glasnow, Bell, and Keller, and all offer potentially premium ceilings with relatively safe floors. Though Meadows is blocked at the MLB level now, I think we all anticipate that changing. One of the great things about owning prospects from small market systems, is they need those players to strive at the major league level to control costs. I’m not saying it’s a value boost, but it leaves their futures less murky than say a Dodgers, Yankees, or Red Sox prospect. Ahhhh whatevs, let’s talk the Top Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball.

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Avast ye mateys treasures of prospective goodness lies within. It’s everybody’s favorite C+ student back again with our second to last minor league preview of the year. Our top 100 prospect list will drop a week from today, so for those of you asking, it’s coming. Now for all of you swashbuckling buckaroos out there let’s have a deeper look at one of the more successful minor league systems over the past decade, the Pirates. In fact in the past 10 years they’ve graduated players like Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, and Gerrit Cole. Despite the recent MLB success, the Pirates still own one of the top farms in all of MLB. Boasting at least 4 top 100 guys on most lists as well as a handful of specs just outside. From a fantasy perspective their aren’t many teams with a more exciting group of perspective players.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (1) | 2013 (7) | 2012 (13) | 2011 (19) | 2010 (15)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [88-74] NL Central
AAA: [73-71] International League – Indianapolis
AA: [61-81] Eastern League – Altoona
A+: [78-61] Florida State League – Bradenton
A: [54-81] South Atlantic League – West Virginia
A(ss): [35-40] New York-Penn League – Jamestown

Graduated Prospects
Gregory Polanco, OF | Tony Sanchez, C

The Gist
30 teams…300 prospects…and we’ve reached the mountaintop. The Pirates continue to have a very strong farm system this year with a nice balance of hitting and pitching. Adding IFA Jung-Ho Kang makes it even stronger. While they’re thin on southpaws, they’re stacked with solid right-handed pitching. Gerrit Cole has already come up and established his value, but Tyler Glasnow, Jameson Taillon, and Nick Kingham should be ready to join him in the rotation at some point this year or next. The Pirates have had success developing Latin American talent like Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte, and they’ll look to continue that trend with prospects like Alen Hanson, Harold Ramirez, and Tito Polo. On a side note, this last minor league preview is a little bittersweet for me, as it will also be my last post with the site. I’ve accepted an offer to scout for the Phillies. The offer was just too good to pass up and hopefully I can help them find the next Domonic Brown. I wish you all the best and really appreciated my time here at Razzball.

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