It seems like only yesterday the Astros were the laughing stock of the AL. Times were lean, with very little talent and a decade of futility, there seemed to be little to no light at the end of the tunnel. In just a few short years General Manager Jeff Luhnow has turned around both the farm system and major league club, to the point that each is bursting at the seams with talent. The last two years have brought about the dawn of a new era in Houston; defined by young talented players all over the field, and an aggressive approach in free agency, the trade market and draft. In the last two seasons alone the Astros have welcomed multiple impact rookies in the form of Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers, and Alex Bregman. With a host of others not too far behind, the ‘Stros look set to compete for years to come. Seriously, you can’t imagine how much work it is to do a Podcast on Houston Astros Prospects and follow it up with a magnum opus post about Houston Astros prospects? They have so much dynasty goodness it’s unbelievable. I’m not joking when I say I feel like I could just draft Astros players and manage to field a solid squad. Albeit one that needs to trade some of it’s prospect depth for pitching, but that’s besides the point. This is a long one, so enough with the small talk let’s discuss some Houston Astros Prospects! Wooooooo!!!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After a week of action like this week, I feel like I need a cigarette now that the winter meetings have come to a close. Lots of prospects moving, mostly to the Southside of Chicago, and lots of player evals to update. The work of a Prospector is truly never done. Of course your Loyal H.P.I.C, and my digital Sherpa Michael Halpern of imaginarybrickwall.com have to give you our two cents on the prospects changing laundry. We’ll let J.B. and the one true Fantasy Master Lothario Grey Albright update you on the re-draft league side of things. We have no need for yucky major leaguers. Oh and bee-t-dubs we go through the expansive and nearly never-ending talent pool that is the Houston Astros farm system. We talk some A.J. Reed, Francis Martes, Yuleski Gurriel, Kyle Tucker, and a whole bunch of others. It’s the closest thing Halp and I will ever have to a double album, it’s the Top Houston Astros Prospects on the latest episode of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

My years of sitting in French cafes, smoking really long cigarettes and wearing a beret, while sneering at children and puppies, has taken its toll.  I’m no longer the innocent fantasy baseballer who picks up just any potential rookie call-up.  I have more discerning tastes now.  When I was a mere jejune tot, I’d sip a combination of ale and grenadine my bartendress called a Monaco and talk about Super 2’s and so-and-so was going to be the next Ryan Braun-like call-up.  I’m no longer a tot; now, I’m a full potato, and I drink gin with extra juniper berries.  Crunching on juniper berries, coughing from a tumor, watching cyclists in spandex shorts, carrying baguettes.  The days bleed together.  I take out my daily planner and pencil, lick the pencil, turn the calendar day to make a note to, “Buy more Virginia Slim 120s,” when I read a note to myself, “It’s almost June, start picking up rookie call-ups, you dipshit!”  Ah, yes, Daily Planner Grey has a point.  Today, I decided to highlight Trea Turner.  At this point, he feels like the number one call-up.  A.J. Reed, Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, Orlando Arcia might make bigger impacts, but the Nats consider themselves a playoff team and they’re in a heated division battle right now.  I doubt they let Dusty simply ignore Turner because Espinosa is older.  Older really isn’t a reason to play someone.  An exec has to relay that to Dusty at some point.  Turner looks like he could be a Francisco Lindor-type from last year — 7-10 HRs, 15-18 steals, solid average.  Basically, a top ten shortstop from the time he’s called up.  I would stash him now–*coughs*  Sorry, I accidentally bought Virginia Slim 140s.  The extra 20 is killing me.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Hey, I’ll take two home runs from Khris Davis and be more than happy.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I’ll take one homer.  Gently farting in your direction, Prince Fielder.  Three homers?  Well that is too much for my little old heart.”  So began the monologue I told myself in my mirror last night.  I was wearing a fedora with a feather in it and no pants.  That’s added color for you to understand the scene.  Then, it was the ninth, the A’s in the lead and Davis’s night looked over with two homers until.  Dot dot dot.  Ian Desmond homered off Ryan Madson and sent the game into the bottom of the ninth inning.  Khris Davis came up to the plate, bases loaded, already with two homers on his scoresheet, could he hit one more?  Could my monologue presented to my reflection come to fruition?  Could my neighbors stop screaming for me to put on pants?  Yes on all three!  Finished the night with 3-for-5, 6 RBIs and three homers (9, 10, 11).  I had Davis ranked around eight rounds higher than anyone else because I thought he could easily hit 30 homers in an age when 30 homers doesn’t come that easily.  Has anything changed since the preseason?  Yeah, the date.  Dur.  I love Khris Davis and right now looks even better than his namelganger, Chris Davis.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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What a wild year for the Astros. They made the playoffs, called up their star shortstop Carlos Correa, and made some big trades that have changed the look of this farm heading into 2016. It’s still very strong and full of great fantasy options, but just look at the list of players who left this system – Brett Phillips, Mark Appel, Vincent Velasquez, Domingo Santana, Rio Ruiz, Mike Foltynewicz, Nick Tropeano. Not to mention losing Delino DeShields in the rule five draft and the quality graduations. That kind of hit would cripple most systems, and yet here we are with still one of the best farms in the game right now. Last year’s draft netted the Astros two top bats in Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker, and they saw a big breakout in A.J. Reed, who could be in line to play first base for Houston early in the 2016 season. It’s a good time to be an Astros fan.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With just over a month and a half left to play, it’s still a tight two-horse race between Razzball’s J-FOH and Hannibal Montana for the first Razznasty championship. The big story right now though is MattTruss (The Hippos). Truss has gained nearly 20 points in the standings since our last league update in early July and now sits comfortably in third place. How has he done it? Basically he’s dominated the rest of us since July 1st – leading the league in RBIs, wins, and strikeouts over that span. But that’s not all. The Hippos have also been top five in four other categories, including hitting the second most homers and posting the second best ERA since the beginning of last month. In other words, it’s been a balanced attack on the standings, and I am now officially scared of hippos. There is still a lot of ground between Truss and our two leaders, but anything can happen when you’re a 2-ton animal on the move.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (5) | 2013 (9) | 2012 (17) | 2011 (26) | 2010 (30)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [70-92] AL West
AAA: [74-70] Pacific Coast League – Oklahoma City (2015: Fresno)
AA: [67-73] Texas League – Corpus Christi
A+: [78-62] California League – Lancaster
A: [70-69] Midwest League – Quad Cities
A(ss): [48-28] New York-Penn League – Tri-City

Graduated Prospects
George Springer, OF | Jon Singleton, 1B | Jake Marisnick, OF (from Marlins) | Collin McHugh, RHP

The Gist
This is a fun system for fantasy prospects and reminds me of the Rangers’ farm with a stud building block, toolsy outfielders, and a couple of nice arms to round things out. The Astros have talented young players surfacing on the major league team as well, with George Springer entering his sophomore season and Jake Marisnick in the mix for an outfield gig. I like Marisnick as a sleeper this year, as he’s always had that 20/20 type of profile and now finds himself in a better park for hitting. Jon Singleton needs some polish after hitting just .168 in his rookie year, but I’m still buying the 23-year-old in dynasties thanks to his power potential. Mike Foltynewicz and Rio Ruiz would have both been towards the top half of this list prior to being traded to Atlanta.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The MiLB season may be winding down, but “the kids” continue to battle in an effort to catch everyone’s eye before off-season organizational meetings that will determine timetables and ETAs. The number of youngsters making noise as their seasons come to a close as players scramble for the chance to get a taste of “The Show” seems to grow each day.  Time once again for Razzball’s 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 late in 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.

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.

(Keep checking in daily for information regarding our end-of-season Top 100 and Organizational Top-10 Lists that will be rolling out as the minor league season ends – those of you following me on Twitter will be notified there as well.)

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Happy Fathers Day, Razzball Nation, especially to the dads we have here on staff: Rudy and Mike and Nick are proud fathers, and I’ve heard Tehol has offspring on every continent, although that rumor is unsubstantiated. I’m not a dad, but I have one, and I’ll be hanging with him today, doing our usual Fathers Day bonding (sipping fine booze while watching the US Open). I hope everyone can find something equally gratifying to do with their dads, or with their sons and daughters. And however it is that you choose to enjoy the day, here’s to all the good fathers out there. Cheers.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (5) | 2012 (28) | 2011 (29) | 2010 (8) | 2009 (2)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB:  [62-100] NL East
AAA:  [72-72] Pacific Coast League — New Orleans
AA:  [73-63] Southern League — Jacksonville
A+:  [68-69] Florida State League — Jupiter
A:  [65-72] South Atlantic League — Greensboro
A(ss):  [39-36] New York-Penn League — Batavia

Graduated Prospects
Ed Lucas (INF); Marcell Ozuna (OF); Christian Yelich (OF); Derek Dietrich (2B); Jose Fernandez (RHP); Tom Koehler (RHP); A.J. Ramos (RHP); Dan Jennings (LHP)

The Run Down
The Marlins graduated a slew of high-impact prospects in 2013, including Jose Fernandez, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna.  That sort of talent exodus will drag any system down the organizational ranks, but fortunately for Miami, this farm still features exciting fantasy potential in the form of Andrew Heaney, Colin Moran, and Jake Marisnick.  It’s probably safe to say that this system experienced the biggest drop-off from 2013 to 2014, but there’s still plenty of intrigue here.

Please, blog, may I have some more?