Guess who’s back? *presses button on tape deck for my intro music, jams the buttons a few times trying to get it to work, calls up unemployed tape deck repairman, asks unemployed tape deck repairman why my tape deck doesn’t work, unemployed tape deck repairman patches me through to customer service person in India that his job was outsourced to, tries to communicate with Indian replacement tape deck repairman customer service agent, instead finds out about vacation rentals in Bangalore, gives up on tape deck* Forget the intro music; I’m having problems with my tape deck. I’m back, snitches! You miss me? I missed you too. Please stop touching my leg. I’m married now or as my new e-book title will be called, “Twenty-Two Days Left For An Annulment.” Now, I’ve gone over my Archie Bradley fantasy and Taijuan Walker fantasy and others. In the past, I’ve gone over what I think of rookie pitchers. They’re a lottery ticket that rarely pays dividends. I don’t mind grabbing one off waivers, but that’s usually all they’re worth. For every Jose Fernandez, there’s about three dozen Erasmo Ramirezes (Ramii?). There’s also a crapton of Carlos Martinezes. (Carlos Martini? Hey, Yovani Gallardo would like them. “I’ll have three Carlos Martinis and make them dirty.” That’s Yovani right before he’s about to drive home.) Rookie pitchers are guys that could be decent, but their usage is all over the map. Wacha would fall into this group too. With that said (reversal time!), I’m not sure why Jameson Taillon hasn’t been promoted to the majors yet. He doesn’t look like he needs to prove anything else in the minors. He could’ve helped the Pirates this year, and will help them next year. Only thing that was stopping the Pirates from promoting him was starting his arbitration clock. Like a Catholic school girl, the Pirates were trying to keep their booty to themselves for a little while longer. Why are all Pirates prudes? Cause they consider their booty a treasure. Take it, Highlights, it’s yours. I’d imagine if the Pirates waited this long, they’re gonna go the same route in 2014 for the first two months. We won’t see Taillon in the majors until June. So, what can we expect of Jameson Taillon for 2014 fantasy baseball?Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Pittsburgh Pirates have the best record in baseball. At least right now, as I’m typing this, they do. The Bucs are an exciting big league club composed with a seemingly perfect balance of youthful talent and veteran savvy, and they have a legitimate chance at a pennant this year. But if we’re looking ahead to 2014, 2015, and beyond, Pittsburgh has a chance to be frighteningly good. Their system has already graduated top-shelf prospects like Starling Marte and Gerrit Cole, and there’s plenty more on the way. Gregory Polanco — currently at Double-A — is one of the brightest outfield prospects in the game, ranked #10 on my Mid-Season Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects list. One spot ahead of Polanco on that list is the 6-foot-6 RHP, Jameson Taillon. Taillon’s projectable frame and elite stuff have him profiling as a top-of-the-rotation arm, and there are plenty folks around baseball who like his upside just as much as Gerrit Cole’s. The 21-year-old has showed some inconsistency this season at Double-A Altoona (3.67 ERA, 1.34 WHIP), but the Pirates, holding to their development plan, have promoted him to Triple-A. He looks to be exactly one year behind Cole, so it’s safe to assume we’ll be seeing Taillon with the big club next summer.Please, blog, may I have some more?
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.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Jorge Soler was off to a great start at High-A Daytona, batting .435/.519/.739 with 2 homers through his first six games. The was promising news for the Cubs, who inked him to a nine-year, $30 million contract last summer. The 21-year-old Cuban is not a cost-controlled prospect — there’s an opt-out clause that would make him eligible for arbitration after three years service time, but both sides would be thrilled if it came to that. In any case, there’s incentive for the Cubs to develop him quickly in order to make sure the bulk of those nine years are spent at the highest level. Chicago was smart to make such a long-term investment in Soler — it gives them a little developmental cushion — but they’re still trying to avoid unnecessary setbacks. Things were going well in that department up until Wednesday, when Soler decided to brandish a baseball bat as he sprinted toward the opponent’s dugout following a benches-clearing incident. The league suspended him five games, which isn’t a huge setback, but the Cubs are reportedly investigating the matter further and could tack on more time. I doubt it’ll come to that, but the ordeal still raises some major character concerns. Let’s hope this was an isolated incident and that the new regime in Chicago doesn’t enable such behavior as the old group did with headcases like Carlos Zambrano.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Having already covered my Top 25 Fantasy Baseball Prospects for 2013, I thought I’d expand our scope a bit and take a look at 25 more who could offer fantasy value this year. Again, predicting for arrivals is an inexact science, and there’s plenty of time between now and opening day for circumstances to change. No doubt, this list is missing some prospects who’ll surface in the bigs and make an impact in the fantasy game a la 2012 Kyle Seager. Likewise, there’ll be plenty of duds here too. Anyway, here’s how I see the next 25 2013 fantasy baseball prospects:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (13) | 2011 (19) | 2010 (15) | 2009 (18) | 2008 (26)
2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [79-83] NL Central
AAA: [89-55] International League – Indianapolis
AA: [72-70] Eastern League – Altoona
A+: [60-77] Florida State League – Bradenton
A: [61-79] South Atlantic League – West Virginia
A(ss): [35-41] New York-Penn League — State College (Jamestown beginning 2013)
Arizona Fall League Players — Scottsdale Scorpions
Vic Black (RHP); Brandon Cumpton (RHP); Tyler Waldron (RHP); Matt Curry (1B); Gift Ngoepe (SS); Adalberto Santos (OF)
Starling Marte (OF); Yamaico Navarro (INF); Jared Hughes (RHP); Jeff Locke (LHP)
The Run Down
There are systems out there that have more quality depth than Pittsburgh in the starting pitching department, but no other club boasts a one-two pitching punch that can match Pirates’. Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon are future front-line starters and they’ll both be knocking on the big league door this season. Pirates fans have lots to look forward to, as Cole and Taillon prepare to surface in the bigs alongside a solid and youthful core of offensive talent that includes Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, Starling Marte, and Pedro Alvarez. Given what they currently have and what’s set to arrive, it’s difficult to imagine this Pittsburgh team not contending for a NL Central division title within the next few years, but with the Reds and Cardinals set for long-term success, and the Cubs creeping back toward relevance, the competition will be supreme. But regardless of whether or not they’re playing postseason baseball in Pittsburgh, the Pirates organization figures to continue its recent trend of helping us fantasy owners.
Last Wednesday, I joined Rudy and Nick for the Razzball Baseball Podcast. On the show, we counted down my top 15 prospects, but truth be told, I was fully prepared to discuss my top 20. So, with the MiLB season winding down and all, I thought now would be a good opportunity to put the entire list out there in written form. This is a preliminary ranking — I’ll roll out more official and specific ranks during the off-season, once the dust has settled and I’ve had a chance to gather more intel. Please keep in mind that this list is limited to prospects still in the minors prior to September 1st call-ups. Also, in the interest of not being too farsighted, I included only guys who’ll be making their impacts within the next year or two (which is certainly a matter up for debate). Anyway, my top 20:
1. Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers – Current Level: MLB Age: 19 – Five-tool shortstop projects to go 20/20 annually, and he’s certainly gifted enough to do more.Please, blog, may I have some more?
For the past few weeks I’ve been super pumped for Dan Straily‘s arrival — like, Brett Lawrie-on-a-shizzload-of-RedBull pumped. I first wrote about him here, providing a little background and a brief scouting report. Then, earlier this week, I rolled out my Top Ten Prospects for the Stretch Run, and Straily topped the list. He debuted on Friday night. I watched. And what I saw was pretty much what we expected: Straily worked his fastball at 91-92, touching 93 a handfull of times, commanding it all over the zone, and drawing variable contact. He countered with his sharp slider and his fading change often. Both offerings looked like plus pitches, generating whiff-rates right around 25%. He also threw a few curveballs, but he used the pitch sparingly, and it looked like nothing more than a get-me-over type. When he needed to throw strikes, he threw strikes. And as his pitch count reached toward triple-digits, his velocity didn’t dip, and his pitch movement remained steady. There was one glaring mistake, however: the run he allowed in the fourth inning on a sac fly from Rajai Davis. Straily flat out hung that slider — zero movement, 82 mph, fat part of the plate. Davis should’ve blasted that pitch. Check it out the Brooks Baseball charts from that at bat and see what I mean. And check out the rest of Straily’s Brooks charts here — the site is off-the-chain cool. In all, though, I was impressed. The A’s ‘pen squandered his W, but Straily looks like he’ll handle himself very well going forward. Go ahead and blow out your FAAB.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Transparency isn’t a strong suit of Major League front offices, nor should it be. Nowhere is this fact more glaring than in the case of the Kansas City Royals and the immediate future of top hitting prospect Wil Myers. The Royals have insisted that they’ll practice patience with Myers and let him marinate in Omaha for the duration of the season. Meanwhile, in Jeff Francoeur, KC holds an outstanding trade chip — an experienced bat who’ll undoubtedly be pursued by contenders across the bigs. The Royals have been pretty wishy-washy regarding Francouer’s availability, but with guys like Kevin Youkilis and Carlos Lee off the market already, one would imagine that buyers will look aggressively toward the veteran outfielder. Kansas City will be hearing offers for Frenchy, indeed, and I’m thinking there’s a good possibility he’ll be shipped out. And if this scenario plays out, the path will be cleared for Myers, who continues to post monstrous numbers at Triple-A. There’s still plenty of uncertainty surrounding this situation — a trade of this sort might not even be necessary for a Myers call-up. Nonetheless, it’ll be worth keeping an eye on the KC rumor mill during the coming weeks.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Perhaps Bryan LaHair isn’t quite the slob I thought he was. Through 110 PA, LaHair is batting .359/.455/.717 with eight homers and it no longer looks as if he’ll be simply stepping aside to make room for top prospect Anthony Rizzo. If Rizzo is to arrive this season, the Cubs are going to have to find a way to build a lineup that accommodates both players. LaHair made 14 appearances at OF last year, one so far this year, and slotting him permanently at a corner OF post would appear to be the move. With other players (Soriano) complicating the matter, though, it might take another trade from the Cubbies to make space available. Meanwhile, Rizzo’s OPS at Triple-A Iowa sits at 1.077 and with every game that passes, it becomes clearer that he’s too advanced for minor league ball.Please, blog, may I have some more?