Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (17) | 2012 (20) | 2011 (21) | 2010 (8) | 2009 (9)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [85-77] AL East
AAA: [77-67] International League – Norfolk
AA: [71-71] Eastern League – Bowie
A+: [61-78] Carolina League – Frederick
A: [54-82] South Atlantic League – Delmarva
A(ss): [40-32] New York-Penn League — Aberdeen

Graduated Prospects
 T.J. McFarland (LHP); Steve Johnson (RHP)

The Run Down
Hey, it’s our first weekend post! Draft season must be near. Rejoice!  And when you’re done rejoicing, feel free to take in some words about the Baltimore Orioles farm, a top heavy group, but its headliners are extreme high-impact.  There’s a case to be made for Kevin Gausman being the top rookie pitcher in 2014, and it’s equally plausible that Dylan Bundy could carry that title in 2015.  The top three arms in this group are about as impressive a trio as you’ll find across Minor League Baseball.  On the other side of things, however, there aren’t many heavy hitters here.  This Baltimore system is depleted when it comes to power bats, and it’s fairly light on offensive talent as a whole.  But considering the absurd power and general awesomeness of their big league hitters, I doubt that O’s fans are too concerned right now with that aspect of their farm.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Why don’t I have Yu Darvish on any teams? Why don’t I have him on every team? It’s not like I ranked him low in the preseason. Maybe not crazy high, but I should’ve drafted him once. In ten leagues, you would’ve thought it had to happen. I wanna find a Japanese man and feed him grapes and tell him, “Yu are beautiful.” I wanna walk five paces in front of a Japanese woman and tell her how much I love Yu. He just jazzes me up so much I wanna do weird shizz with Japanese people! Something that takes my mind off not owning Yu in fantasy and transports me to living in some kind of weird fantasy with Yu surrogates. Cradle me in your arms, Japanese surrogate that I found on the street, and tell me Yu love me too. So, yesterday, Yu was dazzling again. This was his fourth game with 14 strikeouts as he went seven strong with zero earned runs and only five baserunners, resurrecting the Diamondhacks. After yesterday’s game, Arizona now wants to close all borders. It’s a little early to be talking about this, but I want Yu Darvish in every fantasy league in 2014, but I know now I won’t be able to afford him. Come here, Japanese surrogate, you fill in for Yu. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Bob Seger, Chevrolet’s poet laureate, once wrote, “Who wants to play those eights and aces/Who wants a raise/Who needs a stake/Who wants to take that long shot gamble?” The tune was “Fire Lake” and while not his best, (Give me “The Famous Final Scene”) or the best thing out of Detroit (give me The Stooges any day), I do like the line on taking a long shot. I’m a ramblin’ gamblin’ man. Recently we rolled the dice on Marlon Byrd and hit it like a hard ten/a woman’s best friend (For all our Mormon readers, that’s a good thing). Sometimes taking a chance pays off big and it’s Cristal and caviar, sometimes you’re busted and it’s Pabst and pork rinds. We have taken our chances this season, often throwing stats and logic aside. I got a feelin’! Oh, it’s just gas. Stupid pork rinds. Yes indeed, fellow Razzballer’s, we had jammer/crammers that we hit on like Raul Ibanez, Nick Franklin and Koji Uehara. Others left us bankrupt. Damn you Ike Davis! I’m crying real tears over my fake baseball team here. It’s time to take some risks and find us a longshot. Time to put on some Seger, don the Ray-Ban’s and slide across the living room floor in our underwear. It’s time to jam it or cram it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Homer has so many different meanings. When I say ‘Homer’, I could be referring to Mr. Simpson himself (or Mr. Plow if you prefer). Conversely, I could be referring to when a player hits the ball out of the park. That would make sense given the context but I’m not going that route either. Even further, I could be referring to the Greek poet but we all know I’m not smart enough for that reference. Or better yet, since we’re talking about a Padre, I could be referring to Jaywrong and his dirty affliction for all things Friars. But nay, I talk not of any of these things. I’m here to talk about being a homer like I’m a rapper and I get to make shizz up. I’m gonna call Yonder Alonso a homer for the coming week for 2013 fantasy baseball and if you’d like to find out why, you’ll have to read on into the next paragraph. Be careful with that first step and I’ll meet you there!

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You wrote a letter to your leaguemates, but before you sent it to them, you asked me to proofread it but not share it. Too bad, here it is, “Yo, what’s up, snitches?! I have six closers and am sticking it to the rest of the league in their whole bum, then acting that out like Knight from MTV’s The Challenge. I don’t need no one! All I need is Huston Street, Kevin Gregg, Ernesto Frieri, Joaquin Benoit, Brad Ziegler and this chair, I need this chair. I got saves for days! Open up your ‘kitten-playing-with-motherf**king-yarn’ calendar and mark September 28th down for the day when you concede the championship to me. Use your rainbow-colored pencil. Is it okay to use that word? Any the hoo! Rather than recount all of that SAGNOF g’dness, let me take this time to instead ask you if you watched the most recent Top Chef Masters. I’m lonely and looking for friends.” Solid letter, I probably wouldn’t put single quote marks around kitten-playing-with-motherf**king-yarn but it’s fine to send it off as is. The only other problem is you might also lose more than half of your closers in less than a week. This is also the last week when you and your opponents can gain major saves if you’re hurting in that category. On July 31st there could be as many as 10 new closers. At no point from now until October do you have a chance for this much turn over. Guys that could move into the closer role in under a week includes, but is not limited to: Luke Gregerson, Blake Parker, Ryan Webb, James Russell, Antonio Bastardo, Carter Capps, Dale Thayer, John Axford (still even with Henderson taking over the job), Jose Cisnero, Pedro Strop and Antonio Alfonseca, because he has six fingers on each hand and you can’t ever count him out, at least not without removing your pants and a shoe. Granted, guys like Huston Street or Tom Wilhelmsen or Glen Perkins might be traded and stay in the closer role on their new team, but that means someone else would lose their job. Or maybe Huston Street will go to the Yankees and become the 8th inning man and Robertson moves to the 7th. Or maybe Jonathan Papelbon goes to the Tigers and Benoit owners have to call the Ben-wambulance. A lot could happen in the next few days or nothing, but I’d absolutely stash as many middle relievers as I could right now. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Like Billy Joel, Alfonso Soriano is washed up and in a New York state of mind. Don’t tell A-Rod, Christie Brinkley is his type of gal. Soriano getting traded to the Yankees is the best news for him in some time. That’s the magical elixir calling to fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!). Soriano will now revert back to his younger self — when he was still in his forties — and start mashing the ball, stealing bases and doing an extra springy hop when he catches fly balls. Playing for the Yankees is a youth tonic made of juniper berries and grounded-up mints Steinbrenner hoarded from restaurants. There’s just an air about playing with other guys in their fifties that brings everything to life. It’s a real life Cocoon in the Bronx. Don Ameche will be played by Vernon Wells, Wilford Brimley will be played by Travis Hafner and Alfonso Soriano is Steve Guttenberg! Girardi might be the third youngest guy on the bench. Birth certificates are inconclusive. Or! Soriano is who he is at this point. This second scenario seems more likely. It’s not like Wrigley is a bad hitters’ park. Nothing’s gonna change for him in Yankee Stadium. He could hit a few homers, give you a .260 average and throw out his hip at a moment’s notice. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Wow. Dot, dot, dot. I mean, WOW. Dot, dot, dot. Pause for reaction. WOW. Wow. WOW. Stunned silence. I mean, we all knew the suspension was coming, but everyone also figured he’d appeal it like Papa Smurf, you know, until he was blue in the face. The only explanation is the MLB had him dead to rights, which isn’t the same as an epitaph for a pigeon you feed instant rice; that’s dead to rice. Ryan Braun probably realized that 1) The Brewers aren’t going anywhere this year. 2) He’s injured. 3) There’s no three. With the suspension of the Jewish Braun by the Jewish Selig, Selig becomes the 1st Jew ever sanctioned by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, but Selig received high marks from the Jewish Self-Deprecation League. “As Selig was suspending Braun, Bud also pointed out how he had to bring out his media-friendly toupee,” said Jewish Self-Deprecation League president, Yitz Steinberg. Mr. Steinberg added, “That kind of self-deprecation is hard to pull off.” Obviously, Braun is droppable in all redraft leagues, and, if you’re holding onto an expensive Braun in keepers, I’d look to drop him there too, if I needed the room. The good news is you can find off of waivers what Braun has been giving you thus far this year. The bad news, now they have to add an asterisk to the Famous Jewish Athlete pamphlet. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, the latest Cuban raftee, is set to sign with the Dodgers. Hey, I’m no Quicken magician, but with the money the Dodgers spent on Yasiel Puig and Gonzalez, couldn’t they just have bought the island nation of Cuba and had all of their baseball players? Shoot, for an extra million in designer green camo fatigues, they could have Castro too. “I like the green camo fatigues that Heidi Klum wears in Munich. But no fur hood! If it has fur hood, you Marxist down the price.” That’s Castro consulting with his fashion police. Gonzalez’s repertoire consists of a mid-90′s fastball, changeup, curveball and forkball. Anyone that’s seen him believes he’s major-league ready now, but M.A.G.’s will probably be sent to the minors for at least a few weeks, so it’s doubtful he makes any real impact this year for fantasy. Maybe we’ll see him start two, three or six times in September, depending on how bad the Dodgers need a starter. If nothing else, this signing will give Puig someone to commiserate with on why there’s so much Gulden’s on Cuban sandwiches made here. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We haven’t spent much time discussing Henry Urrutia in these parts, and that’s a factor of two items: (1) I really don’t know that much about the guy. The Cuban-born prospect signed with Baltimore way back in 2009, but defection issues followed by visa troubles delayed his stateside debut until this season. (2) What I do know about Urrutia — or at least what I’ve seen reported most consistently about the 26-year-old — is that he’s a defensive liability, a well below-average outfielder with game instincts that probably mirror yours and mine. Those reports, I thought, didn’t bode well for a hasty arrival in the bigs. Don’t get me wrong, I knew the O’s had planned to use him in a DH/PH capacity this season, but I was thinking that’d be more of a September thing. In any case, Nolan Reimold’s injury has sped up the timetable, and beginning yesterday, Henry Urrutia is Baltimore’s DH. The fantasy implications of this arrival are tough to gauge. Urrutia hit .365/.427/.531 with 28 XBH (7 HR) through 288 PA between Double- and Triple-A, which is a nice line, reflective of an advanced approach and modest power. That skill set should help him adapt quickly to big league pitching, but there’s little upside here outside of OBP and AVG. Still, Urrutia is a guy to keep an eye on, and he’s maybe even worth a speculative grab now if you have room. He’s certainly not another Puig, but his stick is probably advanced enough to provide some help to those in need.

Please, blog, may I have some more?