We all have our things, Grey has Giancarlo and mustaches, Smokey has bullpens and go-go bars, and I have pantsuited women and over aged power prospects. What can I say there’s just something about a professional lady that gets the blood flowing. Same goes for mid-20’s hitters in the minors with the boom-boom. I drafted Adam Duvall everywhere in re-draft for that reason, and there’s a new old ass prospect to fill the void in my heart. This hunk of thunderstick goes by the name of Daniel Palka, and he’s a newly minted AAA outfielder and cleanup hitter for the prospect flush Twins. In his AAA debut Thursday night Palka went yard twice as the Red Wings downed the Iron Pigs 8-7 in a slugfest. Palka entered the season in non-prospect territory, not making Baseball America’s prospect bible, and not appearing on any organizational top 30 list for the Twins or Diamondbacks (his previous employer). He strikes-out a ton, 29ish% k rates over the last couple of years, but he also walks a ton, never walking at a clip lower than 8% at any one level. My real interest in Palka isn’t his path to the high minors or even his glorious walk rates, but his hot steaming power. Power that’s produced a 25 homer campaign in 2014, a 29 homer campaign in 2015, and a projected 35+ homer campaign this season.

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Seattle’s farm produced two interesting players for the 2016 fantasy baseball season. I like Ketel Marte as a late-round flyer at a shallow middle infield position. He can hit and steal, and should be a good source of runs if he bats in front of Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz as he’s currently projected. Then there’s Carson Smith, who I imagine a lot of fantasy owners will be drafting as the closer in waiting if he hasn’t already taken the reins by opening day. The first thing I noticed when putting together this preview is the plethora of outfield prospects in the Mariners’ system, as well as the lack of impact talent from the 2015 draft (they didn’t pick in the first round). It’s a bit dicey gambling on hitters that may call Seattle their home one day, so this has never been my go-to system for fantasy prospects. Of course the flip side of that is that their pitching prospects have a little more room to breathe.

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Winter leagues are starting up with notable prospects playing in most of them. One player who’s just happy to be back on the field is Roman Quinn. The Phillies’ switch-hitting outfielder was off to a great start in 2015, and was even named an Eastern League All-Star, but a hip flexor tear essentially ended his season. Quinn’s not a blue chip prospect, and he likely won’t be relevant until 2017 at this point, but he’s a prospect I’ve always personally liked and have wanted to see succeed. His best tool is his elite speed, but in the first half of 2015 he seemed to have figured something out with his bat as well – hitting .306 with four homers. He could eventually be a top-of-the-lineup runs and steals producer for fantasy teams, with a little bit of pop sprinkled in (~8 homers) but that will hinge squarely on how his hit tool progresses. He’ll play for Licey this offseason, and I’m hoping that the improvements he made in 2015 have carried over. Things went well for him in his debut – going 3-for-5 with a triple and a steal. Here are some notes on other prospects playing in the offseason leagues…

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Here’s a look at the best prospects for fantasy baseball right now. It’s a fluid list, and you’ll see some big changes as well as some new faces from the preseason Top 50. I’m sticking to a cap of 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched in the major leagues when determining who is still eligible for this list. So while some of the names have already been promoted this year and are expected to graduate, I’m still going to rank them. If Miguel Sano drinks too much nerve tonic with only 100 MLB at bats, he’d still qualify for prospect lists heading into next year, so he’s included on this one. This list does not include any 2015 draftees or J2 signees. The +/- column on the right shows how much each prospect rose or fell from my preseason list. I wouldn’t sweat players who moved just a few slots. Instead, I’d focus on the double-digit changes and the new additions. For lengthier notes on some of the biggest movers, you should check out last week’s post. Personally I skew towards hitters and rank only a handful of pitchers that I really like. Keep in mind that I’m coming at you from the perspective of our fantasy game, so it may differ from a traditional prospect list when it comes to certain players. Now that the housekeeping is out of the way, here is this year’s midseason Top 50 prospects for fantasy baseball…

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The midseason prospect rankings are upon us, and as I put together our own list here at Razzball, there are a few players who have seen significant changes in their rankings since my preseason list published. While most of the Top 50 will be familiar, there have been graduations and a couple of dropouts. That means a few new names will crack the list, which is pretty exciting. The full midseason Top 50 will publish a week from today, and unlike traditional lists, ours will be completely geared towards each prospect’s potential fantasy impact. If next week’s list is the main course, then I guess today is the appetizer. To be eligible, a prospect simply needs to retain their rookie eligibility, or less than 130 AB/50 IP. Here are ten players who were big ‘movers’…

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So he’s not technically a prospect, but Jon Singleton returned to the majors on Friday after spending the first three months in Triple-A. Still just 23 years old, the slugging first baseman/designated hitter was on point in the minors to start the year – leading the Pacific Coast League in homers (17) and RBI (66!) while slashing .280/.387/.553 in 70 games with Fresno. Singleton got a taste of the bigs last year and hit 13 homers in 362 plate appearances. He also hit .168 and struck out at a 37% clip though, so the Astros put him back in the easy bake oven to start 2015. Hopefully the extra time in the minors has him better prepared for major league pitching this time around. The Astros seem to think so, as GM Jeff Luhnow mentioned that Singleton would likely eat into both Chris Carter and Evan Gattis’ playing time. He’s worth a look in pretty much any format thanks to his power, but don’t expect much more than .240 from him in the batting average department. It’s also worth mentioning that after hitting ten homers in May, Singleton only hit three in June and saw his slugging percentage dip to .457. Wet blanket…engaged! Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

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The title pretty much says it all, so instead of a big intro this opening paragraph will link you to some more helpful information regarding prospects. Here are the Top 30 prospects for 2015 redraft leagues. Here are the American League and National League Top 10 prospect indexes. We also have the Top 20 2014 signees for first-year player drafts in dynasty formats. Last but not least, here are my Top 100 keeper rankings. In the prospect rankings below, more specific ETAs are given as well as links to the organizational top ten list for each player. Just click on the team abbreviation to view my comments on individual prospects. Only two-thirds of the teams are written up, so apologies if not all of the links are live just yet. Ages listed are as of Opening Day 2015. Here are the Top 50 prospects for 2015 fantasy baseball…

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (25) | 2013 (2) | 2012 (9) | 2011 (18) | 2010 (12)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [87-75] AL West
AAA: [74-70] Pacific Coast League – Tacoma
AA: [63-76] Southern League – Jackson
A+: [66-74] California League – High Desert (2015: Bakersfield)
A: [61-77] Midwest League – Clinton
A(ss): [28-48] Northwest League – Everett

Graduated Prospects
Taijuan Walker, RHP | James Paxton, LHP | Roenis Elias, RHP | Stefen Romero, OF | James Jones, OF | Dominic Leone, RHP

The Gist
The Mariners just missed the playoffs in 2014 and graduated several quality prospects along the way. Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma will be joined by Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, and Roenis Elias. Elias had a solid rookie season and will look to keep that going, while Walker aims to show why he was the organization’s top pitching prospect. The Mariners took one of the most exciting players in this year’s draft when they selected Alex Jackson sixth overall. The farm is stocked with enough pieces to make moves at the trade deadline if they go into buy mode either in the offseason or in July. On a side note, Seattle moved out of the launching pad of High Desert and now calls Bakersfield their High-A home after this year’s affiliation shuffle.

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A Scottsdale Surprise might sound like something you’d find listed in the Urban Dictionary, but it’s really just the last two teams in our Arizona Fall League preview series. Some of the best prospects in baseball will be getting their extra reps in this fall. Each team in the majors is represented across the six Arizona Fall League teams and we’ve already covered a few of the fantasy relevant prospects on Mesa, Glendale, Salt River, and Peoria. You can follow the links at the end of this post to view those. Stats included are the cumulative stats for 2014 across all minor league levels. Strong farm systems like the Pirates and Red Sox are represented on the Scottsdale and Surprise rosters, so let’s take a look at some fantasy prospects from each to put a bow on this thing.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (2) | 2012 (9) | 2011 (18) | 2010 (12) | 2009 (24)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [71-91] AL West
AAA: [76-68] Pacific Coast League – Tacoma
AA: [62-73] Southern League – Jackson
A+: [64-76] California League – High Desert
A: [67-72] Midwest League – Clinton
A(ss):  [44-32] Northwest League — Everett

Graduated Prospects
Nick Franklin (2B); Brad Miller (SS/2B); Mike Zunino (C); Danny Farquhar (RHP)

The Run Down
When considering the Mariners farm for fantasy purposes, it’s impossible to ignore the Safeco effect.  Every pitcher on this list should carry inflated fantasy value thanks to the ballpark at which they’ll be spending most of their time.  On the flip side of that statement, however, the M’s offensive prospects aren’t necessarily as exciting as they could be.  We apply the same principle when evaluating the Padres or Giants farm systems — never shy away from a pitching prospect pushing through the Seattle org.

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