Happy Hump Day (cue the Geico camel) fellow prospect hounds! Another week of minor league action is in the books as the top prospects continue jockeying for spots on various “up and coming” lists, and try to better position themselves for promotions closer to their ultimate goal — a call to “The Show”. Time for our weekly look at some of the prospects that have made some noise recently in the hope of climbing a little closer to the big leagues, whether that step ultimately comes this season or a little further down the road. Refill your coffee cup, get comfortable, and let us guide your continuing research as we try to help you scoop your fellow fantasy competitors with our Wednesday Twelve-Pack.

We’ll start by mentioning the obvious, Cubs fans that follow me on Twitter got the news Monday afternoon that Javier Baez was on his way to join the big club in Denver for last night’s game. Batting second and playing 2B (where he likely winds up for the long haul at this point), he struck out against Brett Anderson in the 1st, grounded out to Nolan Arrenado in the 3rd, struck out against Franklin Morales in the 4th and 6th, and lined out to Brandon Barnes in RF with the bases loaded in the 7th against Matt Belisle after the Rockies pen imploded and walked half the guys on the Cubs’ 40-Man Roster. (EDIT: Baez did deliver his first big league hit, a solo shot off of Boone Logan in the top of the 12th, and was 1-6 with 3 Ks at publishing deadline.) Don’t fret Chicago hopeful, Kris Bryant isn’t far behind.

A couple of the guys we’ll take a look at this week had help clearing their way when the smoke cleared on one of the wackier non-waiver trade deadline days in memory as players on their organizations’ big-club rosters were moved. The deals won’t necessarily create immediate openings for them at the MLB-level, but they’ll help move timetables and ETAs along. Here’s who I’m watching closer going into week 19…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Good morning fellow prospect nuts – one more week in the books, the trade activity picking up steam, and the prospects are beginning to move around all over the place. All this action prior to the juiciest rumored pieces being dealt in advance of this week’s non-waiver trade deadline gives us hope that there’s much more activity to look forward to and that we may get a look at some of the players that may be competing for 2015 MLB jobs during camp next spring earlier than September.

Time for our weekly look at some of the prospects that have made some noise recently in the hope of climbing a little closer to The Show, whether that step ultimately comes this season or a little further down the road. Refill your coffee cup, get comfortable, and let us guide your continuing research as we try to help you scoop your fellow fantasy competitors with our Sunday Twelve-Pack.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to the All-Star break gang – the unofficial beginning of the second half signals the time to reorganize, revamp, and re-think approaches for us, as well as the folks making the calls for your favorite MLB teams. And, coincidentally, it also marks the time for me to revisit my Prospect Rankings. These are the current top-50 guys on my board that haven’t accumulated the standard minimum 130 AB/50 IP at the MLB level that most fantasy leagues recognize. When compiling my rankings, I try to consider as many variables as possible, but my main focus tilts toward future “difference-makers”… those guys that have the potential to make significant impacts when they reach “The Show”. Some players you’ll find on this list may be further away from making that impact than others, some may be struggling a bit right now (they may have been recently promoted to the next level to challenge them and are adjusting to stiffer competition), some may be on the shelf because of injury, etc., but this list represents the top-50 players I’d pick if you give me the first 50 picks in the MiLB phase of a draft in a newly forming fantasy league. These are the prospects GMs “dream on”, regardless of their current minor league level – the players they plan to build their rosters around at some point in the near future.

So here we go…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Earlier this week, I played guarantee fairy by marking guys likely to rebound or drop-off based on their BABIP differentials (actual vs. expected). Justin Morneau was a red flag because his expected BABIP is 34+ points lower than his actual BABIP, however this is the case for other Rockies, Brandon Barnes and Troy Tulowitzki even more-so. Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado are just behind Morneau as well. What I’m saying is that it’s a generalizable (Colorado) effect, and isn’t too much of a concern in Morneau’s case. The lineup stack probably exacerbates the effect as well.

On the other hand, while Prince Fielder is likely to rebound based on expected BABIP, the ground ball increase and hitting into the defensive shift is really hurting him, meaning I think his issues will somewhat sustain all year.

For this post (using this same matrix), let’s look at some MLB catchers and corner infielders to replace Matt Wieters and Brandon Belt long-term, and who should rebound at least from an expected BABIP perspective (<10% ownership on ESPN as of 5/12). Here is how I have them ranked:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There are so many Tommy Boy quotes that I can manipulate to start this post, so you choose which one…

a) I can get a good look at Luck by sticking my head up BABIP’s a**, but I’d rather take xBABIP’s word for it.

b) I write fantasy baseball posts for the American working man, because that’s who I am and that’s who I care about.

c)  You: Prince Fielder, Hmmmm, he should get better.”

      Me: “This guy is batting .231, which is actually backed up because of the gross groundball rate (11+% jump) and hitting into the shift with a sense of urgency, and all you can say is, Hmmmm, he should get better?”

d) The season is drivin’ along, la-de-da, woo. And you have Justin Morneau batting .338. And then you look at your team. Tires go EEEEEEEEE! Whoa, that was close.

Now let’s see what happens if you have Prince Fielder on your team… You’re drivin’ along, Tires go EEEEEEEE! I CAN’T STOP! “Oh my God, I’m burning alive! And this isn’t a fire sale! No! I can’t feel my legs!” Here comes the meat wagon. And the medic gets out and says, “Oh my God”. New guy’s around the corner puking his guts out…

…Whichever quote you go with, if you own Fielder then consider yourself the new guy puking his guts out. This post is the meat wagon.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Long, long ago, in a realm us mere mortals would know nothing about, there was a secret assemblage of the Elder Gods, for something of vast importance had come to light. An event of this magnitude is the only thing that can force the congregation of the Elders, for you see, the Elders can’t help but bicker between themselves about who’s power is supreme, whose creations are superior, and who has bagged the hottest chicks.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As you all know, pitching is my favorite part of fantasy baseball and baseball in general.  It’s as overpoweringly addictive to me as gasoline is to the leather-clad gangs in The Road Warrior.  Now I most certainly don’t have any ass-less chaps, but I was on the edge of my seat watching some of thee performances, I’m not gonna lie mainly Chris Sale last night, just because he’s on many of my teams and I was on vacation over the weekend…

There were a lot of comments last week asking for a Shelby Miller breakdown, and as probably everyone knows (spoiler alert!  Wait it’s in the title.  Don’t look at the title…) all he did was go out and throw a 1-hitter.  So I went back to watch the tape and break down the start for all you loyal pitcher profile fans:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ah Coors Field.  One of the few baseball stadiums I’ve actually been to, it’s a magical land where hitters come to dream and pitchers come to die.  You see mountains, you see towers… sounds like some sort of Lord of the Rings babble…

However, some pitchers can overcome the treachery that is thin air, and who better than Alex Cobb yesterday afternoon?  A guy I haven’t followed too closely and is unfortunately on none of my teams (but I did get to see him pitch once in AAA for the Durham Bulls), Cobb boasts a 2.79 ERA and 33:8 K:BB ratio after yesterday’s start.  Drafted at the end of standard drafts and even undrafted in some leagues, Cobb has obviously had a great start, but I wanted a better gauge of where to place him.  He was cruising his last start out, then with two outs in the sixth couldn’t get out of the inning and a shutout turned into a 5.2 IP 10 H 4 ER shellacking   So I decided to break down a Cobb game for the first time and attempt to place where I think he is right now:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2013 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2013 Rockies Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Bryan Kilpatrick from Purple Row.

Please, blog, may I have some more?