Yesterday, Rafael Devers was called up by the Red Sox.  Meh, if he’s anything like Danvers, Mass., I’m good.  Somewhere, Prospector Ralph just Hulk-smashed his computer.  Say something bad about Rafael Devers and Prospector Ralph goes full Clubber Lang at the Rocky statue.  “You want a real man to play third base with your wife?”  Devers’ minor league numbers (20 HRs, near-.310 across two levels this year in 85 games) look like yet another Benintendi, but with more power.  The Sons of Sam Horn will go legit Sophie’s Choice if you try to get them to choose between Benintendi and Devers.  “I’d prefer to eat at a Wahlburgers every day for the rest of my life than choose between those two.  Oh, and Yankees suck!”  After owning Benintendi for the past four months, I think I might prefer Devers next year, if he’s all that he’s cracked up to be.  Not to get too crazy, but can anyone say a lefty Miggy?  If you can’t say it, you might need to see a speech therapist.  Devers is absolutely a grab in all leagues to see how looks.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In his first game since being called up on Tuesday, Astros rookie Colin Moran had himself a 2017 debut going 2-for-4 with a triple and a home run and driving in two runs Friday night versus the Orioles. You can see how upset his teammates were with his performance here. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the Astros desperately need another young, extremely talented infielder, and Colin Moran could be that missing piece. Called up to to play while Carlos Correa misses the next month and a half with an injured thumb, Collin could see time at 3rd base, especially if he keeps having games like this one. Did you miss out on the Astros sweepstakes this year? Did you ignore the prophetic Sports Illustrated article that all but guaranteed a World Series victory for the Houston Astros in the year 2017? Are even the Yulieski Guerriel’s and Marwin Gonzalez’s owned already? Well my over-the-internet friends, this could be your last chance to get in on this action and add Moran. In 79 games (338 ABs) at AAA Fresno this season, Moran slashed .308/.373/.543 with 18 dingers and 63 RBI. With 18 homers and 15 doubles, he was having his best offensive season to date. Although part of that could be the hitter friendly PCL as the 55/31 K/BB rate isn’t really impressing. Still, the 24 year old left-handed rookie could see some serious playing time if he starts hot, and in a stacked line up like the Houston’s a player like Moran can really make some noise. He also has a really cool red beard. If you you missed out on Yoan Moncada and want a rookie with upside it’d be moronic not to take a chance and add Colin Moran in deeper mixed and AL-Only leagues. In shallower league its best to see how his playing time will shake out, but I’ll be watching him closer than the Game of Thrones premiere. Which judging by the ratings, you all watched. (Arya is BAE). So check out Moran, he’s Colin to you!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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!!!

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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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?