Since surviving a vicious industry wide-Cub Fan driven smear campaign, Eloy Jimenez has been a man with a mission. Since joining Winston-Salem, the Chi-Sox high A affiliate, he’s slashed .352/.418/.690 with 5 homers and 18 RBI’s in his first 20 games. The 20 year old slugger has continued to make improvements at the plate in 2017, walking at a 10% clip, while maintaining K rates at or below 20%. The combination of contact, patience, and power is a rare one. This is why I rank Eloy amongst the very elite prospects in the game, with such contemporaries as Acuna, Robles, Guerrero, and Tucker. He’s likely to spend the remainder of 2017 in Winston-Salem, before being assigned to AA next season out of camp. He has a real shot at the number one prospect in all of baseball, once Ronald Acuna heads to the majors. Despite all of his recent success and oodles of upside, it will be years before we find out just how high of a price the Cubs paid for Quintana. That’s not to say that Jimenez is can’t miss, though he’s a close as they come. The Chicago White Sox system is full of future potential stars, but none shine brighter at the moment than Eloy. A future .280/35/100 player is the ceiling, with a power hitting DH floor. It wouldn’t shock me if we saw Jimenez some time in late 2018, with the mostly likely time frame being September. Here’s what else I saw in the MiLB…

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Way back in the late fall, I released my Original edition of the first year player draft rankings. So, it’s been awhile since I first wrote those, and ranked these players out. I figured it was about time to update those now dated ranks. The question you may be asking yourself is “Ralph, why are you so handsome, and also what’s changed?” Well I’ll tell you, I “gots somes” experience now. Because, over the last month plus I’ve had several first year player drafts, meaning I “gots somes” actual real life draft knowledge to draw from. Not to mention my ever-evolving opinions and evaluations of players. So what better time to update the rankings, and give you an idea as to where my heads at after reviewing all of these youngins over the course of my team by team prospect rankings. I’ve fallen in love with some, soured on others, and been introduced to players I previously overlooked. If these rankings are too late for your league’s draft, my apologies, and I understand your angst. We’re deep into draft season, meaning our collective sweatpants smell of rot and butt cheeks, it’s okay to be ornery.  I’ll make it easy, use small words, and discuss lots of wildly inaccurate and inappropriate expectations to put on a teenager. It’s all good though because it’s in the name of fantasy baseball.

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Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you my pièce de résistance!! Yes, applaud for me, revel in my greatness. I even broke out a fancy accent marked phrase, who does that but a pretentious liberal arts major with delusions of grandeur? This is my title fight, the list for which all prospectors are measured. It’s my Top 100 Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball. Now that I’ve gotten beyond all the muckedy muck, let me explain a little about my list, and ranks. First: Yes I 100% factor in proximity, and it effects my rankings. Second: Upside is the most important factor. Third: Production in the minors matters to me. Unless it’s in a crazy ballpark (cough, cough FirstEnergy Stadium: Reading, Pa), or contradictory to batted ball data. I’ve been deep in my hole since early October breaking down every system in the minors, reviewing video on Youtube, looking at batted ball data, checking the stats, and reading any and every scouting report I can get my hands on. It’s one part eye test/ one part player profile/ one part production. I’ve been training all offseason for this, only my training involves sweat pants, a laptop, and lots of snacks. Speaking of snacks, I’m hungry let’s get into the list!! You already know who’s ranked first… It’s Top 100 Prospects day!

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Imagine the horror on Michael Halpern’s face when he found out that he was going to have to talk Red Sox Prospects this week with yours truly “The Funk Docta Spot”. Well we back, and we’re talking Sox Prospects, both of the Sox, the Red and the White. Both of the Sox is a euphemism for a whole lot of Red Sox and a like four White Sox guys. No worries, if Mr. Halpern speaks ill of any personal Boston Binkies of mine I’ll cuss him out over on ImaginaryBrickWall. In all seriousness we talk Andrew Benintendi, Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Rafael Devers, and a host of others. On the White Sox side we hit on Zack Collins and contemplate a hypothetical future one-two punch of Zack Burdi and Carson Fulmer in the White Sox pen. After that we fight about politics….No, we don’t it’s a lovefest! It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Prospect Podcast.

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Ralph, on the Red Sox? This is sure to be the most homer post ever, or most homah post eva round my way. Now that I’ve gotten my obligatory Boston accent joke out of the way, and played into all your stereotypes. Which aren’t really stereotypes, as much as they’re totally spot on truth bombs….(but don’t tell the others I said that). Moving on, if I may. Let’s get into the gloating glowing review of the Top Boston Red Sox Prospects for Fantasy Baseball. (SEO hi-5) This is a system that’s churned out a host of fantasy stars in recent years. Just in the last three seasons alone, players like Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. have matriculated. With another crop of players on the come up, names like Moncada, Benintendi, and Devers have become synonymous with top prospect status. The exciting part about covering the Boston system, is the prospects are deep and diverse in terms of skills sets. It helps that outside a few high end arms in Kopech and Groome, it’s mostly hitting prospects. Personal bias aside, it’s a good system and one with several players worth your attention.

**Updated December 6th 2016 Post-Sale Trade**

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After a two week hiatus we’re back in the saddle again. This time we brought along a couple of friends to help us, well sort of. This week’s episode is a live mock first year player draft featuring two very knowledgeable prospect hounds in Matt Thompson, lead prospect writer for Friendswithfantasybenefits.com, and the ghost of Razzball’s very own Smokey. The four of us mocked out the first 32 picks on Twitter, so technically it’s not “live”, but not to worry this allowed us to discuss each player in detail. The goal is to get you prepared for your upcoming FYPD drafts this offseason. I know, I know, we’re such givers! Though it’s not all sunshine and Rose wine. Due to technical difficulties we lost out first run-through of the show with Smokey. So, this episode features Halp, Matt, and I trying our damndest to fill the void left behind by our grizzled vet, and to give you the rational behind the LOOGY’s picks. No need to fear prospect hounds, the Razzball Prospect Podcast is back, and stroking the flames of the hot stove all offseason.

P.S. For those following along at home I’ve included the draft results here

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It’s been a rough couple days. What can I say, sometimes I leave fantasy behind, and actually dabble in the realm of investing my emotions into real baseball. For shame, my Red Sox have let me down. It’s okay, I have things to take my mind off these hard losses. Sure, I have my loving wife, and three beautiful children; most normal people would seek solace in those they hold most dear. Not me, I’m far too twisted for that. I need to bury my face in minor league stats and scouting reports. Thinking somewhere in all this I’ll find my happy place. Well now that I’ve gotten my rambling incoherent emotional discharge out of the way. Let me tell you I’m excited. Not because I’ve been doing Google image searches of busty actresses, but because it’s time to release my First Year Player Draft (FYPD) post. I’ve been working on it, and kicking around the names for a few weeks to a month now. Hopefully this can help you navigate the upcoming first year player drafts in your leagues. In addition to today’s post, Michael Halpern and I will be inviting two special guests onto next week’s episode of the Prospect Podcast. The four of us will mock out our top 32 picks, and speak a little on each. Look out for that… Speaking of Halp, he put out his first year player draft top 10 over on imaginarybrickwall earlier this week. Make sure you check that out. Today I’ll hit you with my top 15, and finish off the top 30 on Wednesday.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again the 2015 MLB draft was a damn good one. In just 14 months this class has already produced three everyday MLB players. It’s pretty much unheard of for THAT many players to move THAT quickly through the minors, and it’s not like any of the three look particularly lost. The real beauty lies here, the draft wasn’t particularly top heavy, we’ve had plenty of very interesting players already emerge from outside the first round; Willie Calhoun, Harrison Bader, Thomas Szapucki, and Cody Ponce to name a few. On the heels of this dynasty windfall, the question on everyone’s mind is; who are the studs and gems from this draft? Over the next few posts (today and Sunday) we’ll take a long look, maybe an awkwardly long look, at the first round and the gems of the later rounds. Did I say that already? I feel like I did….I try to sound like a sports reporter, but I kill too many brain cells to pull off the act. Meh, whatevs let’s talk about Nick Senzel!

Want to take on Razzball contributors and readers in a Fantasy Football League for prizes? Join here!

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Scatter brained, unfocused, all over the place, just a few terms you might use to describe this hodge-podge of prospect analysis I bring to you here on this the lord’s day. We’re going to break this into three parts, first part will be a little analysis of the recent transactions involving Yulieski Gourriel and Anderson Espinoza, then we’ll jump into some updates on 2016 draft picks, now that they’re roughly a month into their professional careers, and we’ll close with some updates on international signings. If you’re looking for more than this I suggest you seek wisdom from those smarter than I. Yes, those people exist, roughly 79% of you reading this fall into that category in fact.

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So it happened…. What????? The 2016 MLB Draft stoopid! I mean I am Ralph Lifshitz Prospector Esquire, and what else would I be talking about on a Sunday? Everyone else deals with the right now, but I, I deal with the future, the dreams of dynasty owners everywhere. So let’s get into the most difficult thing to predict, project, or understand. No, not Donald Trump’s campaign!!!! Are you even paying attention?!? The MLB Draft wake up!!! If you need proof as to why the MLB Draft is unpredictable, then click here and see how badly I missed on like 90% of my picks. Seriously after months of study and careful and thoughtful attention, I hit on 5 picks..FIVE out of 34! It’s cool I own it, I wear my mistakes like the rings of a pimp. So, let’s get into the steals, the stupid, the possible, and my general thoughts on the first few rounds of the draft.

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