Danny Salazar was sent to the minors because the Indians are trying to make life difficult for themselves. As someone who needs to pat their lip with a kerchief after a sip of anything, I know about making your life difficult, but my mustache makes me sexy, Salazar going to the minors does the exact opposite. Behind this move was almost definitely The House of McAllister trying to boost their progeny, Zach. “I don’t need stirrups.” That’s Zach McAllister, talking to the Indians equipment manager, as he dons a kilt. McAllister isn’t terrible (or Allisn’terrible if portmanteaus light your fire), but he’s really nothing more than any standard 5th starter. He’ll have stretches where he’s usable in all leagues, and other stretches where your ratios will need stretchers. Pithy points! I’ve moved Salazar into my top 100 starters and down my top 400 and I’ve left McAllister unranked, because what will likely happen is he’ll be replaced by Salazar by June. The other half of the scheming House of McAllister is T.J. House, who will also be in the rotation. Sky gave you a T.J. House sleeper, and I’m a bit more excited about House’s foundation and have ranked him in the top 100 starters. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (11) | 2013 (21) | 2012 (16) | 2011 (10) | 2010 (10)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [66-96] NL West
AAA: [53-91] Pacific Coast League – Colorado Springs (2015: Albuquerque)
AA: [71-68] Texas League – Tulsa (2015: New Britain)
A+: [43-97] California League – Modesto
A: [89-49] South Atlantic League – Asheville
A(ss): [33-43] Northwest League – Tri-City (2015: Boise)

Graduated Prospects
Tyler Matzek, RHP | Chad Bettis, RHP | Charlie Culberson INF/OF

The Gist
The Rockies are a great system to turn to for big upside fantasy prospects. The fact that a few of these guys will one day call Coors Field their home park only adds to the appeal. If you haven’t bought in already, this might be a good time with several of the top hitters in this system expected to see at bats in the hitting-friendly California League this summer. The same can’t be said for the pitchers in this system, who take a large hit on this fantasy list compared to traditional prospect rankings thanks to the same park situation. Eddie Butler, who made his big league debut in 2014, fell off the list entirely thanks to a shoulder injury. The Rockies will see three new affiliations in 2015 – Albuquerque (AAA), New Britain (AA) and Boise (ss).

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This post will attempt to identify thirty prospects with the most value for 2015 only. These are players with less than 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched at the major league level, but who are expected to arrive in the bigs at some point this season. Typically, we’d rank prospects overall on one big list, but I’ve broken the list up into three groups to try to make it easier for fantasy players in 2015 redraft leagues. The prospects are ranked within groups that are based on the projected ETAs (early/mid/late). While they are still just projections, the groups should help sort through who you need to be drafting versus who you need to be picking up off waivers and when. There are a few general comments after each group and, like any list, there are a few names on the cusp that didn’t make it. We can tackle them in the comments if we need to. Here are the top 30 prospects for 2015 redraft leagues…

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Happy Hump Day (cue the Geico camel) fellow prospect hounds! Another week of minor league action is in the books as the top prospects continue jockeying for spots on various “up and coming” lists, and try to better position themselves for promotions closer to their ultimate goal — a call to “The Show”. Time for our weekly look at some of the prospects that have made some noise recently in the hope of climbing a little closer to the big leagues, whether that step ultimately comes this season or a little further down the road. Refill your coffee cup, get comfortable, and let us guide your continuing research as we try to help you scoop your fellow fantasy competitors with our Wednesday Twelve-Pack.

We’ll start by mentioning the obvious, Cubs fans that follow me on Twitter got the news Monday afternoon that Javier Baez was on his way to join the big club in Denver for last night’s game. Batting second and playing 2B (where he likely winds up for the long haul at this point), he struck out against Brett Anderson in the 1st, grounded out to Nolan Arrenado in the 3rd, struck out against Franklin Morales in the 4th and 6th, and lined out to Brandon Barnes in RF with the bases loaded in the 7th against Matt Belisle after the Rockies pen imploded and walked half the guys on the Cubs’ 40-Man Roster. (EDIT: Baez did deliver his first big league hit, a solo shot off of Boone Logan in the top of the 12th, and was 1-6 with 3 Ks at publishing deadline.) Don’t fret Chicago hopeful, Kris Bryant isn’t far behind.

A couple of the guys we’ll take a look at this week had help clearing their way when the smoke cleared on one of the wackier non-waiver trade deadline days in memory as players on their organizations’ big-club rosters were moved. The deals won’t necessarily create immediate openings for them at the MLB-level, but they’ll help move timetables and ETAs along. Here’s who I’m watching closer going into week 19…

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Ranking prospects for fantasy purposes is a tricky exercise. The variables involved are constantly in flux — talent emerges, talent regresses… opportunity comes, opportunity goes… clubs get cold feet because of service time, clubs don’t give a shizz about service time. So, given the fluid nature of this prospect business, we’re going to keep a running ranking throughout the season. This post will run every other Wednesday, providing a biweekly glimpse of the soon-to-arrive impact talent.

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On occasion, it works out where a notable prospect gets called-up to the bigs during the weekend, allowing me to post some notes on him before Grey gets the opportunity. That happens to be the case today, as LA has summoned 1B prospect, C.J. Cron, to the big club. Of course, when it’s me providing the spin on a call-up like this, we miss out on Grey’s clever wordplay in the title. Something like, “Angels Finally Embrace Pot Legalization, Will Roll with Cron(ic)” seems sufficient. In any case, Cron can mash. He established his power potential in 2012 at High-A, hitting 27 homers in 129 games. Then last season, he followed that effort with a puzzling 14 HR year at Double-A Arkansas, causing many to cool at the idea of Cron as an everyday 1B at the highest level. The pop appears to have returned in 2014, though: Through 28 games at Triple-A Salt Lake, Cron slugged .602 with 6 HR. At least for the short-term, there’s opportunity for the 24-year-old to earn regular plate appearances from the middle of the LA order. The upside in his stick is worth the gamble in deep leagues, especially if you’re hurting at CI.

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The early stages of the MiLB season have brought loads of speculation with regard to Oscar Taveras and Stephen Piscotty, and which prospect the Cardinals will summon to St. Louis first. I’d love to be able to provide some clarity to that question, but frankly, such call-ups depend on so many different proprietary factors, and it’d be pretty stupid of me say something like, “Piscotty is gonna be the guy ’cause he’s hitting a bunch of singles at Triple-A.”  Piscotty, by the way, has collected 15 hits (12 singles) through his first 37 AB at Memphis.  He’s a fine prospect, and he’s zoned in right now, but the gaudy average (.405) is probably drawing a bit more attention than it should.  Meanwhile, Taveras is slugging north of .500.  He’s still the higher-impact fantasy talent, and he’s still the better prospect.  This is not to suggest that Oscar will definitely be up before Piscotty — only that it’d be silly to lose perspective on the situation.  Taveras is the true prize.

Please, blog, may I have some more?