Many famous gingers have helped make me the man I am today. Lion-O from Thundercats, Jessica Rabbit, and the fat kid from The Sandlot immediately come to mind. Then there have been a few nightmares featuring this guy. But now that prospects are my focus, my new bro with the orange fro is Clint Frazier. Frazier got some hype as a stud fantasy prospect when he was drafted 5th overall by the Indians in 2013, but when he didn’t completely murder A-ball pitchers last year he may have lulled us to sleep. After a roller coaster first half, Frazier is killing it again in July – hitting .486 with three homers and three steals in his last ten games alone. He now has 11 homers, 23 doubles, and 12 steals on the year despite a really poor June where he hit .216/.337/.364. Bradley Zimmer recently leap-frogged Frazier to Double-A, but keep in mind Zimmer is also two years older than him. Practice patience with Frazier if you own shares and you’ll be rewarded. He’s more Lion-O than Carrot Top…trust me. Here’s what else is happening around the minor 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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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (6) | 2013 (14) | 2012 (8) | 2011 (8) | 2010 (20)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [77-85] NL West
AAA: [72-72] Pacific Coast League – Tucson
AA: [68-72] Texas League – San Antonio
A+: [75-65] California League – Lake Elsinore
A: [63-76] Midwest League – Fort Wayne
A(ss): [30-46] Northwest League – Eugene (2015: Tri-City)

Graduated Prospects
Jesse Hahn, RHP (traded to OAK)

The Gist
New general manager A.J. Preller wasted no time turning the league’s worst offense into the land of 1,000 outfielders this offseason. At the price of a few good prospects, Upton, Myers, and Kemp make up the new Padres starting outfield. Trea Turner, last year’s first round pick, is in a unique situation in that he’s technically been traded to the Nationals but will remain in the Padres’ minor league system until June. He ended up in top ten list limbo, but you can find some notes on him in the NL East roundup. Yangervis Solarte is projected to lead off and play third for San Diego, but both Will Middlebrooks and Cory Spangenberg could see time there this year. Keep them on the radar for NL-only leagues or deeper mixed formats. Spangenberg is technically still a prospect and as a utility infielder could also spell Gyorko at second base.

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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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The Arizona Fall League is over, but prospect season is in full swing. Razzball is posting fantasy-driven top ten prospect lists every Wednesday this offseason so be sure to check them out. While the AFL isn’t a long season, it features some of the better prospects in baseball and it’s worth looking back at a few of the top performers in the league this year. Moving forward, we’ll focus on the winter leagues. Big leaguers and prospects from many MLB organizations are still playing baseball! There are several leagues like this, but I tend to gravitate toward the Dominican Winter League the most. Players like Maikel Franco, Joc Pederson, and Rymer Liriano are just a few of the names you’ll find on the DWL rosters. Last year’s MVP, Gregory Polanco, created quite the buzz in 2014. The league runs until the end of December and I’ll check in on some of the performances there periodically in this Minor Accomplishments series. To follow along, you can live stream games here, here, and here. Just brush up on some Spanish first! Back to the AFL…here were this year’s top performers with some commentary:

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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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With Dylan Bundy having returned to live baseball, the focus around the 21-year-old phenom shifts from “when will he throw again?”, to “when will he throw in the bigs again?”. At the time of this writing, Bundy is preparing to take mound in Aberdeen for a start in the short-season New York Penn League. It’ll be his second outing since Tommy John surgery — the first one was quite good: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Now, while it’s terrific see Bundy pitching so well upon returning to game action, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s still a long rehab process ahead of him, and the O’s won’t jeopardize his progress by pushing him too quickly. Baltimore has scripted Bundy’s recovery, and barring any setbacks, I believe their plan includes some big league action this season, but I wouldn’t expect more than 1 or 2 starts in August/September.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (14) | 2012 (8) | 2011 (8) | 2010 (20) | 2009 (29)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [76-86] NL West
AAA: [77-67] Pacific Coast League – Tucson
AA: [78-61] Texas League – San Antonio
A+: [61-79] California League – Lake Elsinore
A: [72-67] Midwest League – Fort Wayne
A(ss):  [27-49] Northwest League — Eugene

Graduated Prospects
Jedd Gyorko (2B/3B); Robbie Erlin (LHP); Nick Vincent (RHP)

The Run Down
When gauging this Padres farm from a fantasy perspective, the ballpark factor cannot be ignored.  Virtually any arm in contention for regular starts at Petco is an arm that carries great fantasy potential — all of the pitchers here have a chance to outperform their tools thanks to the cavernous confines of their park.  Conversely, the upsides of the hitters in this org are limited for the same reason.  All that said, there are exciting pieces in this San Diego org on both sides of the fantasy game.  This Padres system has plenty of depth, as usual, and there’s some high-end talent sprinkled in too.  Quietly, San Diego has been one of the more impactful organizations with regard to the fantasy game.  That trend should continue into the foreseeable future.

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