David Dahl‘s 2015 season is already over after lacerating his spleen in a nasty collision. Fun fact time. Back in the day, when humans were even dumber than they are now, folks thought that the spleen produced a kind of black bile that was related to melancholy. Their descendants can now be found trolling blogs across the interwebs with a brand new arsenal of misinformation. Dahl ranked numero uno on my Rockies Top 10 Fantasy Prospects list this offseason and #12 on my Top 50 Fantasy Prospects, so this is a major injury to a very good player. Missed time is starting to pile up, as Dahl had already missed a large part of his 2013 season with a torn hammy. The 21-year-old also suffered a concussion in this week’s collision. Just talking about this makes me all melancholic. I blame my spleen. 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 (11) | 2013 (21) | 2012 (16) | 2011 (10) | 2010 (10)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [66-96] NL West
AAA: [53-91] Pacific Coast League – Colorado Springs (2015: Albuquerque)
AA: [71-68] Texas League – Tulsa (2015: New Britain)
A+: [43-97] California League – Modesto
A: [89-49] South Atlantic League – Asheville
A(ss): [33-43] Northwest League – Tri-City (2015: Boise)

Graduated Prospects
Tyler Matzek, RHP | Chad Bettis, RHP | Charlie Culberson INF/OF

The Gist
The Rockies are a great system to turn to for big upside fantasy prospects. The fact that a few of these guys will one day call Coors Field their home park only adds to the appeal. If you haven’t bought in already, this might be a good time with several of the top hitters in this system expected to see at bats in the hitting-friendly California League this summer. The same can’t be said for the pitchers in this system, who take a large hit on this fantasy list compared to traditional prospect rankings thanks to the same park situation. Eddie Butler, who made his big league debut in 2014, fell off the list entirely thanks to a shoulder injury. The Rockies will see three new affiliations in 2015 – Albuquerque (AAA), New Britain (AA) and Boise (ss).

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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…

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David Dahl | OF, Rockies | Born:  4/1/1994

Background

The Rockies drafted Dahl 10th overall in 2012 out of high school. The lofty draft status was warranted — Dahl’s raw tools had baseball folks tabbing his upside among the highest in the class. His pro debut only reaffirmed his touters, as the 18-year-old’s impact was profound from the moment he stepped on the diamond at Grand Junction for his rookie-level assignment. Through 67 games that year, Dahl posted a line at .379/.423/.625 with 9 HR and 12 SB, earning the Pioneer League MVP. Naturally, he entered 2013 with enormous expectations. But after a curious misjudgment to begin the season brought fourth character concerns, and then a subsequent hamstring injury ended his season early, Dahl faded somewhat from the prospect spotlight.

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In his first plate appearance of spring training, a big league camp AB versus David Phelps, Gregory Polanco turned on a breaking pitch, sending it over the right field wall. Such things happen to 22-year-olds during spring training, and most of the time, they’re anomalies. In Polanco’s case, however, that moment, in retrospect, seems profound — a statement as to his readiness to produce at the highest level from the instant he stepped on a diamond this spring. Reassigned to Triple-A to begin the season, Polanco’s statements have only grown louder. Through 92 PA, he’s hitting .417/.467/.679 with 4 HR and 4 SB, making him the best mixed league stash in the minors. The Bucs have been fortunate thus far to squeeze some production out of their Travis Snyder/Jose Tabata platoon, but the upside with Polanco is unquestionably higher and it’s only a matter of time before Pittsburgh slots him into their lineup as the everyday RF. His incredible start at Indianapolis should allow him to segue into big league ball with a shizzload of confidence.

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The early stages of the MiLB season have brought loads of speculation with regard to Oscar Taveras and Stephen Piscotty, and which prospect the Cardinals will summon to St. Louis first. I’d love to be able to provide some clarity to that question, but frankly, such call-ups depend on so many different proprietary factors, and it’d be pretty stupid of me say something like, “Piscotty is gonna be the guy ’cause he’s hitting a bunch of singles at Triple-A.”  Piscotty, by the way, has collected 15 hits (12 singles) through his first 37 AB at Memphis.  He’s a fine prospect, and he’s zoned in right now, but the gaudy average (.405) is probably drawing a bit more attention than it should.  Meanwhile, Taveras is slugging north of .500.  He’s still the higher-impact fantasy talent, and he’s still the better prospect.  This is not to suggest that Oscar will definitely be up before Piscotty — only that it’d be silly to lose perspective on the situation.  Taveras is the true prize.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (21) | 2012 (16) | 2011 (10) | 2010 (10) | 2009 (20)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [74-88] NL West
AAA: [67-76] Pacific Coast League – Colorado Springs
AA: [68-70] Texas League — Tulsa
A+: [75-65] California League – Modesto
A: [63-73] South Atlantic League – Asheville
A(ss): [34-42] Northwest League — Tri-City

Graduated Prospects
Nolan Arenado (3B); Corey Dickerson (OF)

The Run Down
I must admit, I’m quite impressed with this Rockies farm, and after writing a thousand or so words on its best and brightest prospects, I’m in need of cigarette and a shower. Don’t get me wrong here, this isn’t a top tier organization, but from the perspective of upside and potential fantasy impact, this Rockies org isn’t far behind the powerhouse systems of the Twins, Cubs, Astros, and Cardinals. Pitching headlines this group — Jonathan Gray brings a Gerrit Cole-type projection, and Eddie Butler could be the Michael Wacha of 2014. The seven hitters that follow Gray and Butler all bring considerable offensive tools and big fantasy ceilings, themselves. Sure, there’s plenty of risk with this group, but you gotta admire this collection of raw talent.

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Quite a bit has changed since the 2013 MiLB season began in April, and folks have been clamoring for a mid-season prospect list. Well, here it is, 50-deep. But before we get into it, a quick primer on the criteria for this top 50: There was no specific timetable considered, so the rankings below can be considered a dynasty league list. You’ll notice that the ETA’s here range from this season all the way to 2016. To prevent any overlap with lists that Grey and JayWrong put together last week, I’ve included only prospects who are currently in the minor leagues. That means I had to remove Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick from the board after news of their call-ups — Yelich was #7, Marisnick #40. It also means I couldn’t list Carlos Martinez, who’s currently working in relief for the Cardinals — he would’ve been ranked right around #20.

Anyway, I’ll be writing notes on all of these fellas during the off-season, once the dust has settled on the 2013 season and I’ve had a chance to take a more thorough look at depth charts, injuries, etc. For now, I’ve included only a few pertinent details: age, current level, fantasy impact categories, and ETA. Each player is linked to his player card on Baseball-Reference.com, or his Razzball player card where possible. My hope is that this list will help dynasty leaguers sort out their rosters as keeper deadlines approach. Enjoy.

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Bear with me for a moment while I venture outside stateside baseball for a look at a marvelous moment in Korean pro ball. The always great Ben Badler of Baseball America brought this clip to my attention this past Wednesday, and you really gotta give this one a look. Outfielder Jun-Woo Jeon is the batter. His team is down two runs with a runner on first and one out in the bottom of the ninth. He recognizes the fat breaker, turns on it, and lifts it to left field. He thinks it’s gone and the game tied, so he flips his bat triumphantly and does one of those cool jogging finger points toward his dugout. It’s not gone. No, the ball dies at the track, and not long after, the opposition dies of laughter. This is why you never bat flip. #Scouting.

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