The MiLB season is now heading into the playoffs, and we should have answers for everyone about who will or will not be called up when rosters expand by midweek. For those of you that spent yesterday drafting your fantasy football team, went to bed early last night, slept late this morning, or have just been hiding under a rock, we do have the answer to one of the most asked about players – Joc Pederson WILL be added to the Dodgers roster. I mentioned that I felt that they might make a move to get him on their playoff-eligible roster prior to the deadline so he’d be eligible for postseason competition just in case someone gets hurt. Don Mattingly went out of his way to explain that Joc won’t be thrown to the wolves and that they don’t intend to cut anyone’s playing time to get him ABs. That statement would seem to reflect my theory – that he’s simply being added as an “insurance policy”. (The news broke before Pederson became the first PCL player to record a 30/30 season in 80 years last night BTW.)

We can now also assume that Colorado won’t be calling Jonathon Gray up – he was placed on the MiLB DL yesterday with “general soreness” – GM-Speak for “he’s reached his innings limit” for those of you who aren’t bi-lingual.

Our “Prospect Primer” reflects a handful of the prospects I’m keeping a close eye on heading into Week 22 (for both shallow and deep fantasy leagues). Our bi-weekly prospect columns (Sundays and Wednesdays) will continue to focus on the more “well-known” prospects (our Top-50/Top-100) that are likely going to affect shallow to mid-level fantasy teams.

Disclaimer: The bi-weekly lists AREN’T a “re-ranking” of our Top-50/Top-100/Organization Lists. The players mentioned will typically be guys that owners in somewhat regular leagues NEED to be aware of (regardless of their current level) to keep from slipping behind as they want to stay competitive in “keeper leagues”. There may be a sleeper mentioned from time-to-time, but they may be more important to managers in deeper and more long-term leagues. The players listed aren’t in any particular order (you’ll notice they’re listed alphabetically), they’re simply guys you need to keep an eye on and someone you might be interested in targeting when you’re wheeling and dealing.

(Keep checking in daily for information regarding our end-of-season Top 100 and Organizational Top-10 Lists that will be rolling out as the minor league season ends – those of you following me on Twitter will be notified there as well.)

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (23) | 2012 (25) | 2011 (30) | 2010 (14) | 2009 (10)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [74-88] NL Central
AAA: [57-87] Pacific Coast League — Nashville
AA: [59-79] Southern League — Huntsville
A+: [66-68] Florida State League — Brevard County
A: [59-76] Midwest League — Wisconsin

Arizona Fall League PlayersSurprise Saguaros
Tyler Cravy (RHP); David Goforth (RHP); Taylor Jungmann (RHP); Kevin Shackelford (RHP); Adam Weisenburger (C); Mitch Haniger (OF); Jason Rogers (OF)

Graduated Prospects
Logan Schafer (OF); Jeff Bianchi (INF); Scooter Gennett (2B); Khris Davis (OF); Caleb Gindl (OF); Wily Peralta (RHP); Brandon Kintzler (RHP); Alfredo Figaro (RHP); Donovan Hand (RHP); Tyler Thornburg (RHP)

The Run Down
The upper levels of the Brewers’ minor league system graduated quite a bit of talent into the bigs in 2013, as Wily Peralta, Tyler Thornburg, Khris Davis, and Scooter Gennett, among others, earned significant playing time in Milwaukee. What remains of the Brewers’ farm is a rather uninteresting mix of low-risk/low-upside, and high-risk/high-reward type prospects. It’s not the worst org in the game — no, the Angels have that locked up by a comfy margin — but it’s lacking severely in the high-impact department. Outfielders Victor Roache and Tyrone Taylor can change that outlook with big seasons in 2014. And Orlando Arcia and Devin Williams are gifted enough to bring some excitement to the lower levels of this system. But until further notice, you should probably try to avoid stocking up on Brewers in your dynasty leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This is always painful, but it’s also necessary. What follows is a look back at my preseason prospect rankings — a self audit, if you will. To be clear, this isn’t a re-ranking or anything, but it should suffice to remind all of you that I am mostly stupid. Please keep in mind that these guys are very early in their careers, and there is plenty of time for each to either figure it out, or get figured out. Anyway, let’s cut to it. Here’s the list as it appeared back in February:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With the constant influx of new talent, new names, new statistics, it can be easy to lose sight of a prospect who’s fallen from grace. A little more than a year ago, in their 2012 Prospect Handbook, Baseball America ranked Joe Benson as the #2 overall prospect in the Twins organization. Benson was coming off a 2011 in which he hit .285/.388/.495 with 16 homers at Double-A New Britain, finishing the year with a call-up to the big club and a spot on the 40-man. He was on the fantasy radar before injuries delayed his 2012 debut, but he hasn’t been relevant since then. Across four levels in 2012, the former 2nd round draft pick managed a line at .202/.288/.336. And after watching him hit .192/.256/.285 through 43 games at Triple-A Rochester this season, the Twins had seen enough and released Benson to make room for P.J. Walters. The Rangers claimed him have assigned him to Double-A. At 25 years old, there’s still a glimmer of hope for the toolsy outfielder, but that will fade quickly if the horrendous hitting continues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Gird your loins – we’re going to be navigating positions battles in each division. Today I’m talking about the NL Central, which loses the Astros this year, so you can basically knock off five wins from each team’s 2012 win total. It feels like this could be a close race for the first couple months until the Reds replace Dusty’s toothpick with bubblegum at the trade deadline. There’s also a good amount of both young and rebound pitchers spread out across the division, so this could be a boon for late round draft picks in mixed leagues. Am I telling you to draft a pitching staff solely from the NL Central? Those are your words, not mine. Although I kind of wish they had been my words (you quick thinker, you). You can also read about the position battles for the NL East and the AL Central. Anyway, here are some of the position battles to watch in the NL Central:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A quick primer to begin: This is not a list of my top overall prospects — Shelby Miller would not lead that list. No, this list exists only to serve those of us in fantasyland. The names that follow are, at this moment, the prospects who have the best chance at offering positive contributions for fantasy owners in 2013. My method here was quite simple: each player was assigned a grade for both potential fantasy impact, and for current opportunity. Those variables were weighed equally, totals were then tallied, and finally, I sorted out the ties and adjusted here and there as I saw fit. Opportunity grades are always tough. At this point in the year, circumstances can shift overnight and a prospect’s ETA can change dramatically (see Miller). My plan is to revisit this list before opening day, and also to keep a running Top Ten Fantasy Prospects throughout the year in order to keep us posted at any given moment as to which fantasy-relevant prospects are next to arrive in the bigs. In any case, this list should suffice for those of us drafting early.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (25) | 2011 (30) | 2010 (14) | 2009 (10) | 2008 (21)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB:  [83-79] NL Central
AAA:  [67-77] Pacific Coast League — Nashville
AA:  [65-74] Southern League — Huntsville
A+:  [63-72] Florida State League — Brevard County
A:  [78-61] Midwest League — Wisconsin

Arizona Fall League PlayersPhoenix Desert Dogs
Nick Bucci (RHP); Kyle Heckathorn (RHP); Johnny Hellweg (RHP); Jimmy Nelson (RHP); Hunter Morris (1B); Josh Prince (SS); Khris Davis (OF)

Graduated Prospects of Note
Jean Segura (SS); Michael Fiers (RHP); Taylor Green (1B)

The Run Down
Though he’s already graduated his prospect status, it’s impossible to discuss the Milwaukee Brewers’ young talent without mentioning Jean Segura, the prized piece acquired in the trade that sent Zack Grienke to the Angels.  Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Milwaukee Brewers 2011 Minor League Review
Overall farm ranking via Baseball America (2011)
2011 (30) | 2010 (14) | 2009 (10) | 2008 (21) | 2007 (5) | 2006 (5) | 2005 (3) | 2004 (1)

Record of Major and Minor League Teams
MLB: [94-65] NL Central (record as of 9/25/11
AAA: [71-73] Pacific Coast League – Nashville
AA: [64-73] Southern League – Huntsville
A+: [62-76] Florida League – Brevard County
A: [67-72] Midwest League – Wisconson
R: [30-46] Pioneer League – Helena
R: [17-39] Arizona League

The Run Down
Prior to the 2011 season start, the Brewers made several trades that depleted their farm system of top talent. Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?