The Red Sox season is like the guy that knocks over the Jenga structure with the first block pulled, then manages to somehow knock every single block off the table, even the ones on the very bottom. Koji Uehara hit the DL with a fractured wrist, and is done for the season, as originally speculated here after reading between the lines at other sites. I also read between the lines that aliens constructed Tikal in Guatemala. And I thought Tikal was constructed by Method Man. Also, I have a bone to pick with read, why is the past tense still spelled read? Siri can’t even figure that shizz out to speak. You messed up, English language! Any the hoo! With Uehara out, this opens a hole for Jean Machi or Junichi Tazawa to walk through. Tazawa is Asian, though I’m not sure that’s a requirement, Machi is ugly. Again, may not matter. Either way, I’d go Machi first since Sawx manager, John Farrell, indicated that Machi would fill-in as the closer, adding, “And Sandoval is still fat.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Happy day after Dre Day Kids! Do kids even know who Dr. Dre is? “Ahhhhh do you mean the headphone guy makes music too?” (Shakes head and walks away) I’m listening to “Compton” as we speak and it’s had it’s highs and lows so far, but it’s a first listen so we’ll see. Still Dr. Dre was the soundtrack of my middle school and high school years. No matter where you went in the 18 months following “Chronic 2001″‘s release you were hearing something from that record. I mean unless you were going to a country club or a klan rally. Then again Tiger Woods was probably sneaking porn stars into his Buick while listening to Xxplosive. So maybe it was just klan rallies. Then again again I’ve never been to a klan rally, so I’m uncertain of what goes on. If I’m to guess, I’d assume they listen to nazi punk, but then again again again I’ve never heard nazi punk. But I do know Jello Biafra really wanted them to F off. BOOM! Off track like Carl Lewis, where were we? Oh yeah this week’s theme is Dr. Dre!!! I just want to be clear I’m picking Dre produced projects that fit the quality of the starter not the five best Dre laced joints. That would be Straight Outta Compton, Chronic 2001, Chronic, 100 Miles and Running, No One Can Do it Better, and The Slim Shady LP. Okay so that’s 6 but I couldn’t leave off my favorite Eminem record. So let’s get into the Two Start Pitchers for Week 19.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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

Graduated Prospects
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.

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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.

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