Big Game James went into Milwaukee and clinched at least a 16 win season for the Padres. Clutch!

This was a flashback Shields start – 7 IP, 9 K, 1 BB, 0 HR. I thought the NL would extend his fantasy acehood a little longer – like it did for Jon Lester and his fried chicken and beer buddy, John Lackey – but Shields’ BB and HR rates spiked insanely last year.

The HR rate (a near league-leading 1.47 HR/9 IP) was due to regress a bit (now around 1 HR/9 IP) but his BB rate is still 3.6/9 which relegates him to streaming in shallow leagues and an Ian Kennedy-like SP4/SP5 in 15-team leagues. If he could regain his control, he has a shot at a 3rd act as a KaBoB.

So Grey handed me the roundup keys on a short slate Thursday. I’m so excited. I’m so scared. I’m so tired (I’m shocked Grey hasn’t moved to Hawaii yet so he doesn’t have to write at night). I asked him to return the favor and give me a title and all he came up with was, “Brooke Shields Is Handsome” and “The Shields Start Was RiChiklis”. Oy.

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So far this season we’ve focused our prospect content on dynasty specific purposes with the intent of getting you prepped up to master your leaguemates and colleagues for years to come. We’ve looked at incoming players for 2017, re-ranked the top 25, profiled numerous players, while also updating you on Razzball’s in house dynasty the Razznasty. Today we’re going to take a bit of a different approach, today we look at the more immediate impact of up and coming prospects. The players we’ll review have short ETA’s, and could be up within the next two-three months. I’ll add in a guesstimate ETA on my behalf. I mean I’ve had a sterling record with such prognostications so far, and by sterling I mean awful. I am the man that told you Turner would up by today, which now looks like June, as well as the man in the preseason predicting Nomar Mazara wouldn’t be up until August. So yeah, I’m great!

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I’m going to be honest, I’m a little tipsy right now, I didn’t listen to Malamoney’s advice and got a little silly with my brahs at my CBS points keeper league draft. You know, the one where the kid made the video…. I’m sipping on some Cold Harbor Willow Tree IPA, a kick ass brewery down the road from mi casa. Wow this is like a giant unsolicited advertisement for things I’m not getting paid to promote. Then again, maybe….. So anyway, in my never ending quest to hold off on deep league prospect player profiles until the season starts, and in my secondary never ending quest to prepare you for any and every scenario in dynasty leagues, deep leagues, RCL’s and everything else under the sun. Today on this holiest of sunday’s – Hallelujah!!! – I bestow upon you Razzscalians, the truest of true, the purest of heat, the protectors of the fantasy baseball shield, the real shizz, that shizz that make you feel shizz, nah mean. Imma bring back hip-hop Sunday, church, and snap bracelets. Raw Imma give to ya, no trivia, raw like ROOKIES TO TARGET!!!! Say what? That’s right, I’m hitting you with the rookie players to draft and stash in those Yahoo N/A spots (shouts to Goodfold, all 6 of y’all), minors spots in fantrax/CBS, and whatever ESPN probably doesn’t have. Unless a few of these make the roster (Peraza), most of them will probably be in AAA until their service clocks tick back one sweet year of arbitration, but they will all be mixed league relevant at some point. Who knows a few might break into the top 100, I mean, last year, right?

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Ever get an invitation to a party you shouldn’t have been invited to? You know, like that IQ party you got invited to junior year of college, because you dated way outside your social circle, and spent 6 months with the hot girl from the rockets and brain surgery school. You had no idea how you got there, but there you were, with the future rocket scientists and Ben Carsons of America. Hopefully you wore your largest belt buckle to protect you from the brain surgeon’s steely knives, and also steered clear of any conversations involving jet propulsion, or other “rocketry”. So why am I asking you to dig through the painful cobwebbed recesses of your brain? Because I found myself in a similar position just a few short weeks ago, and was hoping to draw upon your ability to feel empathy. I know, look at me treating you like a fully developed well rounded adult. What can I say? I think highly of you. But why this long diatribe, begging for empathy? Because I somehow weaseled my way into the Couch Managers Expert Mock with some rather reputable names. People like Adam Ronis, Mike Gianella, and you know yada, yada, yada, I’m in the draft. Me!….Ralph, the Prospector, or whatever I am, so here’s my team..

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It’s going to be a tough act to follow for the rookies of 2016. After the “Year of the Rookie” in 2015, what can we expect from the freshman class this year? Will we have another deep class featuring numerous high impact players to fill our fantasy squads? Or will we scale back this year, and only have a few true must own froshes? Below we’ll dive into the high impact rookies to target in drafts, and keep an eye on for later season call ups. For these reasons, I’ve broken them into two tiers; those that should break camp with big league club, and those that should be high impact call ups during the season. Just for fun I’ve added top 5 lists from some of your favorite Razzball personalities to give you idea of what others besides myself are thinking. Enjoy!

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Well here it is the post you’ve been hollering for in the comments since November hit. That’s right ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, cats and dogs, pastrami sandwiches and tuna melts, white wall tires and low profile tires, good guys and bad guys, curved brims hats and flat billed caps, and anyone else that reads Razzball; it’s the top 100 live from my garage in suburban Massachusetts. Ahh-huh you’re being magically whisked away to a garage, with flickering lights and an awkwardly handsome gentleman with a laptop. That’s me, and on my computer is a list, it is yours to read, berate, discuss, commit to memory, burn to keep you warm. What you do with it, is really up to you I suppose. This ranking is pretty straightforward, it lists each player, their position, and a link to their team’s minor league preview. Within each preview you’ll find that players blurb. On one final note, all of these ranks take into consideration a variety of factors including ceiling, proximity, and floor. Consider this post interactive, instead of me waxing poetic after each player explaining why I rank so and so where, I leave it to you to call me to the mat and defend my rankings. Without further ado the 2016 Top 100 Prospects for Fantasy Baseball

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The Yankees have a strong system, and by holding on to their prospects last summer they’re going to enter the 2016 season with a lot of potential energy. Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge are poised to help the big club this year. So is Greg Bird, although he technically lost his eligibility. Because the Yankees are active in the international market, there’s a solid crop of teenagers coming up in the low minors. It’s not going to be anytime soon, but you can sort of see how this might converge into an even stronger group in the next year or two, especially when you factor in their crop of new draftees stateside. Of course not all of them will make it, but the more lottery tickets you own the better your chances, right?

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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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All year we’ve been ranking the top prospects closest to the majors. With September call-ups quickly approaching, this post is a little different. Instead of limiting the list to players with their rookie eligibility intact, this will include any players currently in the minor leagues regardless of their at bats or innings pitched totals. There’s a catch, though. It’s only going to list players who are currently healthy and on their team’s 40-man roster. If you see a big name omitted, it’s probably because they aren’t currently on the 40-man. That can still be manipulated of course, but if a player is already on the roster, it increases the chances they’ll get a look next month. I also decided to weed through it for players that I thought could actually have some relevance in fantasy. With guys like Domingo Santana, Trea Turner, and even Aaron Altherr already up, this isn’t exactly the sexiest group. But there are some nice players in here, and if they can find playing time, they could also help your fantasy team down the stretch. When looking at who to pick up, I’d recommend focusing on teams that are out of the playoff hunt and who may be more inclined to give their younger players a look. Zeroing in on injuries (or potential ones) is also a good move. I bolded a few of the names that I think are interesting gambles…

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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.

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