Greetings! Hmmm, it seems I’m leaving the good ole U.S. of A on Tuesday to go fishing, and I somehow just realized I don’t get internet reception where I’m headed. Ain’t that bout a be-yatch! I’m not fond of leaving my readers “hanging” as I prefer you all erect… err, anyway, your flaccidness shan’t be a problem, for I’m leaving you with a short post with my second half predictions. Oh, you think yourself to me more intelligent than the Elder Gods and myself, do you? Oh-hoho! Well, I’ll be your huckleberry. Leave all predictions in the comment section, but beware, the Elders seldom allow my defeat and are known to curse generations of my opposition’s families for centuries.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Frenemies and cohorts, it is that magical time of year where the player pool begins to grow. Summer harvest begins to reap the treasures of the seeds sown by unheralded draft pundits of years passed. The scout’s moment is now. Having spent their lives adorned with holey New Balances, wholly unrefined frozen dinners of Salisbury steak and discount diner breakfasts, they get to pound an Old Milwaukee and puff a few Doral’s as they revel in the glory of their hatred of sabremetrics. A life not fancied by us fantasy internet blogger moguls. No sirs and madams, we require a much fancier life—a life infused with excitement brought on by WHIPs and FIPs and wOBAs and WARs! The rest is mas o menos lo mismo— the same old shizz. Other than our baseball lens, the only other difference is that we stuttering B-Ball Bloggers need to score!!! Points…
Points is why we’re here, and June presents a unique opportunity where the player pool expands with talent that is usable and keepable. September offers a smorgasbord of young talent, but mostly it’s too late and the infusion of players nourish your team like an energy drink shooter with cinnamon whiskey. The hangover is awful and often begins before the luster of the buzz has worn off. The June callups are the cognacs, ladies men. Let’s take a look at these beauties.Please, blog, may I have some more?
For those of you who don’t remember, here’s the gist (and we’ll keep this blurb here all season so as not to confuse any newcomers): Ranking prospects for fantasy purposes is a tricky exercise. Back in February, I rolled out my Top 50 Fantasy Prospects for 2014 (part 1, part 2), and those are already garbage. 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 Wednesday, providing a weekly glimpse of the soon-to-arrive impact talent.
It’s our first PPR list of the year (don’t get confused, football meatheads), and I’m too excited to chat, so let’s get right to it:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Our offseason prospect series is through — all 30 minor league previews with fantasy-specific top 10’s are in the books. For years we’ve written this same series, finished it, and then just sort of rolled into the regular season stuff without any fanfare. This year, though, we’re wrapping up the minor league previews, and adding a nice little bow on top. This post will serve as the bow. The purpose is twofold: (1) For the first time we have links to each of our MiLB previews all in one place, and (2) we’ve ranked each farm system from a fantasy perspective, giving you a simple guideline as to which orgs are stacked with fantasy impact, and which orgs are virtually void of it. Let’s cut to it:Please, blog, may I have some more?
We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Rockies Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Bryan Kilpatrick from Purple Row.Please, blog, may I have some more?
To begin, I should make it clear that this is not a list of my top overall prospects. No, this is a 2014-specific list, and it exists only to serve those of us in fantasyland. The names that follow are, at this moment, the prospects who have the best chance at offering positive fantasy contributions during the 2014 season. Those of you who follow my Prospect Power Rankings series during the season, understand that time-specific prospect rankings are fluid — it’s a tricky game, weighing potential impact against current opportunity, and outlooks can change drastically overnight. There are too many variables at work to peg these ETA’s accurately, and that is precisely why we revisit these rankings often throughout the year with the aforementioned power rankings. Consider this a starting point. Numbers 26-50 will run next week, but for now, let’s dig into the top-25.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (21) | 2012 (16) | 2011 (10) | 2010 (10) | 2009 (20)
2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [74-88] NL West
AAA: [67-76] Pacific Coast League – Colorado Springs
AA: [68-70] Texas League — Tulsa
A+: [75-65] California League – Modesto
A: [63-73] South Atlantic League – Asheville
A(ss): [34-42] Northwest League — Tri-City
Nolan Arenado (3B); Corey Dickerson (OF)
The Run Down
I must admit, I’m quite impressed with this Rockies farm, and after writing a thousand or so words on its best and brightest prospects, I’m in need of cigarette and a shower. Don’t get me wrong here, this isn’t a top tier organization, but from the perspective of upside and potential fantasy impact, this Rockies org isn’t far behind the powerhouse systems of the Twins, Cubs, Astros, and Cardinals. Pitching headlines this group — Jonathan Gray brings a Gerrit Cole-type projection, and Eddie Butler could be the Michael Wacha of 2014. The seven hitters that follow Gray and Butler all bring considerable offensive tools and big fantasy ceilings, themselves. Sure, there’s plenty of risk with this group, but you gotta admire this collection of raw talent.
Back in May, I wrote a Courtney Hawkins fantasy. You can read it here. At that point in time, Hawkins was at High-A Winston Salem knocking homers at a good rate, but he was struggling to make contact, striking out more than 50% of the time he stepped to the plate. Near the end of the writeup, I said this: “The Sox must be thrilled with the huge power Hawkins is showing, but if the K’s continue at this rate, they’ll need to consider bumping him down the ladder to a level where he can more easily focus on approach and pitch recognition. There’s plenty of time for him to improve in that regard, and for fantasy baseball purposes, I truly hope he doesn’t go the way of the Donkey. Either way, though, he’s a fascinating dude to follow.” So here’s our Courtney Hawkins update, almost four months later: .182/.252/.407, 19 HR, 9 SB, 38% K-rate in 95 games at High-A. In other words, the whiffs continued, and the White Sox never demoted him. Hawkins is an extraordinary athlete with enormous upside, and I rarely am one to question a team’s development strategy, but it bothers me that the Sox have allowed their 19-year-old prized prospect to struggle so severely all season long. He won’t be ready for Double-A next spring, and I’m beginning to worry that this 1st rounder might never realize his potential.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The White Sox traded Jake Peavy to the Red Sox not long ago — perhaps you remember it. The three-team swap sent Peavy to Boston, Jose Iglesias to Detroit, and a handful of lower levels prospects to Chicago. It also sent 22-year-old outfielder, Avisail Garcia, to the Southsiders. In the aftermath of the trade, I rushed to add Garcia wherever I could, working under the assumption that Alex Rios would also be moved before the trade deadline, which would create an immediate opportunity for Avisail. Well, it took about ten days longer than I anticipated, but Rios is now playing for Texas, and Garcia is now a regular in Chicago. If you’ve been paying attention to my ramblings, you already know that I’m a big fan of Avisail. He has the tools to help across the board in the fantasy game, and high-impact potential in HR, AVG, and RBI categories. Garcia is still a little raw, and his approach needs some refinement, but I’m thrilled to see him finally getting an opportunity to play everyday in the bigs. If you’re in need of outfield help, I absolutely endorse adding him in mixed formats.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?