Whenever I write a post about Oakland, I open with a shout out to the King Of Hyphy, and fallen solider Mac Dre. I know he’s from the Valley-Jo, but the man gets a great deal of Oakland love. It’s only a half hour north after all. Or maybe all this is just a poor excuse to link to this video. So put on your best Thizz Face, and let’s get into some Moneyball A’s talk. You ready? After unloading eventual MVP, and mullet superstar Josh Donaldson, the A’s have been in full on rebuild mode. Of course treadmill hero extraordinaire Billy Beane is still pulling the strings behind the scenes, but the sort of prospect crop needed for the A’s to compete has alluded them for the better part of a decade. However, things changed last July, spearheaded by the signing of Cuban Hype Machine Lazarito. The A’s then became heavy players in an active trade deadline, settling on a solid trade with the Dodgers. Unloading the aging Rich Hill, and impending free agent Josh Reddick for three solid prospect arms with some upside. All three Jhael Cotton, Frankie Montas, and Grant Holmes should factor into Oakland’s rotation in the next few seasons. With Cotton the closest to the O.Co, followed by Montas, and Holmes bringing up the rear. They then followed both of those moves with the savvy December signing of Cuban pitcher Norge Ruiz for $2 million; a player many think was the best arm in the 2016 international class. Saying the rebuild of the once prospect and pitching rich A’s began this July is a little disingenuous, as they did swing a trade for 2016 breakout rookie pitcher Sean Manaea at the 2015 deadline. Unloading Ben Zobrist to the future World Series champion Royals in the process. With a crop of young hitters, and pitchers matriculating to Oakland over the next few years, we could be looking at an up and coming organization.  Time will tell if that holds true. It’s the Top Oakland Athletics Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball.

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Ayo whaddup, it’s ya boy Grey Albright aka the Fantasy Master Lothario aka White Chocolate aka The Ladder You Use To Reach New Heights aka The God Particle aka Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Judge Reinhold aka Paid Overtime aka Close Parking Spot When You’re In A Rush aka Al Swearengen’s Swearing Dictionary aka Teacher, We Don’t Need No Education aka The Weird Guy That Latches Onto The Main Character In Oscar Films I Think His Name Is Paul Dano aka The Butcher, The Baker and The Candlestick Maker aka The Stinging On Your Pinkie Toe When You Clip Too Close aka Paul Anka aka Forget How To Spell My Name And Just Get Me My Coffee!  I just spent thirty minutes looking up Mindy Cohn and whether or not she’s a lesbian.  Ah, the offseason.  You are a soothing mistress that touches my naughty bits with idle hands.  She’s apparently not a lesbian, but a confirmed friend of the gays, and she wanted to lose weight in the 80’s, but the producers asked her to avoid it for the character of Natalie.  They finally agreed to let her wear baggy clothes.  No comment, except the “no comment” comment has the weight of a thousand eye rolls.  A quick preamble about the 2017 fantasy baseball rookie series that is coming from me over the next few weeks.  Rookies could get a post if they meet MLB eligibility requirements, less than 130 ABs or 50 IP.  That means no Greg Bird, no Orlando Arcia, no Alex Bregman, and finally no Joey Gallo.  In 2012, the first player I highlighted was Mike Trout.  That wasn’t an accident.  I said in the Mike Trout post, “He’s ranked number one for me. Numero uno. The Big Mahoff.  He’s the big Statue of Liberty in New York, not that girly one in Paris!”  Since then, I’ve attempted to make the first rookie post about a prospect that will be the top rookie for fantasy the following year.  Last year, that honor went to Corey Seager.  Yes, it’s an honor, don’t be so condescending.  This year the top fantasy prospect isn’t no ordinary man, this is the prospect I be seeing in my sleep.  Yoan Moncada will be your number one 2017 fantasy baseball rookie.  Will Moncada be named to the All-Century Team in 85 years or edged out by a robot with grabby hands named the Hitter-Tron that my great-great-nephew will sue due to trademark infringement only to find out it’s the same Hitter-Tron that once graced this little fantasy baseball blog called Razzball?  Can Moncada be a top five 3rd basemen in 2017?  So many questions and so little time to look up Mindy Cohn info!  Anyway, what can we expect of Yoan Moncada for 2017 fantasy baseball?

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Hey yo! We’re back for another episode of the Prospect Podcast with Michael Halpern of Imaginarybrickwall.com, and of course, Prospector Ralph Esq!!! In this week’s edition, Michael calls me out for the high energy tongue lashings I’m throwing around on the football side in the Razzball Dream League. We then jump back into prospects, and go through some young guns making noise lately in the minors like A.J. Puk, Alec Hansen, and Steven Duggar. We drool over the tools, and future superstar potential of High School heavyweight Hunter Greene. Yes, he’s a Crayola crayon color, and a baller. Michael runs through a couple of high upside, off the radar specs, in Yermin Mercedes and Harol Gonzalez. We then go through our top 10 corner infielders, and debate the value of Joey Gallo, Nick Senzel, Bobby Bradley, and Rafael Devers, among others. We round it out with those that just missed the cut, and some of the sleepers that are out there at 3rd and 1st. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Prospect Podcast.

Note: And be sure to check out the latest Fantasy Football Podcast episode with special host Pod Vader (former ESPN producer) which covered BlogTalkRadio’s Expert League that Razzball is a part of!

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When Jonathan Lucroy vetoed the trade to the Indians this past weekend, I thought we were going to find out Lucroy was Joey Lauren Adams in Chasing Amy.  Other teams were going to try and convert him into one of their players, but he was always going to continue to play for the other team.  Then, at some point, he was going to describe oral sex in insane, graphic detail, using balls, bats, and a gear shift, and other teams were just going to give up trying to get him to play for their team.  Then it turned out the Brewers were not going to be “Holden” him forever, you can “Banky” on it.  Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress were Chinese finger-cuffed to each other and sent to the Rangers for Lewis Brinson and Luis Ortiz.  By the way, Luis/Lewis is the Spanish version of tomato-tomahto.  I wonder what the Brewers finally said to Lucroy.  “We love you, but, dude, if you really love this organization, you’ll get the eff out of here.  Go!”  Then cried in the rain all super-weepy like Ben Affleck.  So, Lucroy gets a small boost in value from the lineup, but the stadium change is nearly a push.  As for Jeremy Jeffress, who is Jason Lee in this scenario, will work set up for Sam Dyson, who will keep the job.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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This is the 2nd title this week referencing Willy Wonka, first being this week’s podcast.  It’s a gee-dee Gene Wilder renaissance up in here (up in here)!  I miss Gene Wilder, taken way too soon from us.  Oh, he’s not dead.  He just stopped being funny a’la Dan Aykroyd.  (By the way, Aykroyd is a good ten to twenty years younger than you think he is.  64?!  I thought he was 64 in Driving Miss Daisy.)  I’m thankful for Thomas Middleditch replacing Gene Wilder.  If you have no idea who that is, it’s the lead character on Silicon Valley, who is a dead ringer for a young and still alive Gene Wilder.  With all of this Wonka talk, tell me you can look at David Dahl in his purple uniform and not hear in your head, “Violet, you’re turning violet.”  Or look at the trough you pee in at the next baseball game and tell me you don’t hear, “What a disgusting, dirty river!  Industrial waste, that. You’ve ruined your watershed, Wonka:  it’s polluted.”  Only to realize it’s not poop, but chocolate.  Wait, it’s not chocolate, is it?  Well, if you want to view paradise, simply look around at David Dahl’s stats and view it.  There’s nothing to it.  Anything he wants to do, he can do it.  There’s no players I know to compare to a pure 30/30 player like David Dahl.  Oompa Loompa doopie-what-can-Rockies’-Dahl-do?   That’s another puzzle I have for you.  He can hit for power, steal bases and likely platoon on the strong side of the left field platoon, unless the Rockies trade CarGo or Blackmon.  Anything, that’s what Dahl can do.  Want to change the world?  There’s nothing to it.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Oh the deadline, where championships are dreamed about, and futures are mortgaged. Is there ever a time where the worlds of redraft and dynasty collide more? You have your redraft owners hoping their closers don’t lose their jobs, or that their hitters, and pitchers are moved to better surroundings. The dynasty owners are worried about those same things, but also hoping their blocked higher minors prospects get moved to greener pastures with opportunities waiting with a big league club. It’s also a time when veterans are moved out to make way for those potential future stars waiting in the wings. It’s a busy time for your humble Prospector. I have a lot of thoughts about prospects on the move, some got the call, some got the other kind of call, and some are waiting for one or the other. Obviously I’m alluding to a call from their doctors regarding their “tests results”….Actually I might have just had a flashback to that time I wrote for the Des Moines Medical Journal. Corn farm injuries are gruesome people.

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Oh man!  So close to a Joel Youngblood sighting!  Melvin Upton was traded from the Padres to the Blue Jays, a team they are currently facing.  Is it me or does it seem like this year the teams are so cheap, they’re not even using their cell minutes.  If they’re playing against a team, then they’re trading with them.  That’s it.  Surprised the Indians haven’t been more active then.  Ya know, cause they could use smoke signals.  By the way, nothing you could ever say about Native Americans is more racist than a team being called Redskins or the Indians’ mascot.  So, go ahead, try!  Melvin Upton shook the B.J. name, but you can’t take the Upton out of the B.J.’s, Blue Jays, that is.  The trade of Upton takes him from a mediocre team to a solid offensive team, but moves him from the middle of the order to the lower third of the order and potentially even hurts his playing time if the Jays want to get Smoak into the lineup.  I’m gonna say all things being equal, it’s a push, which technically means all things are equal, so there!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Whatta day, here’s how it started. I woke up around 5 am, drank lots of coffee, did work stuff, got word around 8:15 that Alex Bregman would get the call this weekend and was set to join the surging Astros in Seattle. I then proceeded to pat myself on the back, throw a finger to the haters, and all the people who lived in the buildings I was prospecting in front of that called the cops on me when I was trying to make some money to feed my daughter. It was show and prove time for mi numero uno perspectiva fantasia. No longer would readers lament my existence while they starred down a dead spot on their rosters. For it was Bregman day and it was glorious. Then POOF it wasn’t, as A.J. Hinch decided to open his fat mouth and tell everyone that numero uno perspectiva fantasia Alex Bregman , would NOT be joining the team in Seattle. He did offer one assurance, Bregman could help the team down the stretch. Ahhhhh, hi A.J., my name’s Ralph, NO SH**. I’ve only been saying that forever. Doesn’t matter, he’s coming up. Maybe not this weekend, but maybe next week. Hell, maybe Monday! I’m the captain of the SS prospector, and I will sink this ship before I change course! Knowing I was writing this post for today, I thought “how appropriate everything is coming together for Ralph, The Summer of Ralph!!!”. Meh, enough of that let’s talk about the rookies that will give your redraft team a boost in the second half.

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It’s easy to get lost in the scouting reports and tool grades from a million different resources. Buying too heavily into projection over production. I get caught up in it too, I Prospector Ralph am no scout. I’m one part Hemmingway, one part James Frey, blended heavily with an overly-enthusiastic approach to minor leaguers. In other words I’m a really, really fun minor league enthusiast. Saturday night at the Lifshitz house is like The Tunnel in its hey day. Let me tell you! (Queue the music, apply Timbos with the finest Polo swag) We have sleeping kids, lots of televised baseball, coffee, a baby named after a major leaguer learning to walk, then there’s a ruggedly handsome, but slightly dim witted looking gentleman typing away on his phone and laptop. Feverishly switching screens between gulps of java. That’s me and I’m combing through mounds of statistics and figuring out which ones I should report and which I should ignore. Why you ask? Well for this post where I look at 4-5+ of the minor league leaders in a handful of fantasy relevant categories. Most of it’s age based bias, if the leader is 28 in a particular category but number 3 is 21, I’m taking that young meat. Blah, blah, blah, blah, let’s get into it.

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So here we are more or less half way through the minor league season, Super Two has come and gone, and we wait for those sweet, sweet rookies to get the call and make an impact. More often than not my comments are filled with questions regarding who I think will have the greater impact this season, player A or player B. Today we take a look at the Top 25 prospects for 2016 impact. I’m going to start with a ranked list and follow that up with my general thoughts on the players  listed. I’m ignoring anyone already in the majors like Jameson Taillon, Blake Snell, and Tim Anderson. Things I’ve taken into consideration when building this were impact, proximity, and team situation. So understand this is not a straight top 25. It’s strictly 2016 focused, which why a prospect like Lucas Giolito is further down the list than he would be in a straight top 25 prospects for dynasty list.

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