Way back in the wild west days of the international market, teams like the Dodgers, Yankees, and Red Sox approached the July 2nd signing period the same way Glenn Quagmire approached a night at the strip club. Cash in hand ready to make it rain on the first young talent that caught their eye. It was in one of these talent-laden spending sprees that a strapping young Dominican power hitter by the name of Starling Heredia first surfaced. In one of the more gluttonous international splurge’s since your creepy Uncle took that “trip” to Bangkok, the Dodgers dropped $45.38 million in that period on players like Yadier Alvarez, Yusinel Diaz, Omar Estevez, Ronny Brito, Oneal Cruz, and of course Heredia. The Dominican outfielder was ranked 9th in the class by Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, two spots behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and ahead of such currently buzzy names as Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, Leody Taveras, and Aramis Ademan. He was described in the scouting reports at that time as a “the best corner outfield prospect in the class by some scouts, in part because of his raw power and projectable body.” Tools grades rated his raw power at a 60, and his hit tool at 55, pretty aggressive grades for teenage hitter. Don’t be too frightened, but at that time he listed Yasiel Puig as his role model. Then again Puig was good then. So what’s to Heredia? Is this just another rookie season flash or are we looking at a potential star in the making from the notorious Dodger pipeline.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

July 9th at 4pm marks the exact time I’m certain Prospector Ralph’s mind will explode with excitement. That feeling of pure elation can only be achieved in one scenario. Watching the game’s budding talents in the 2017 Futures Game – streaming on MLB.com – after spending countless hours researching and following prospects of this caliber (From the Razzball family and its incredible base of readers, we sincerely thank you for your work Ralph!). Well, maybe there are a few other scenarios. According to BuzzFeed there are 42 others where this pure form of joy and satisfaction arises. They include unraveling knittingcrunching leaves, and breaking the yolk. Aside from the fact that I’m certain breaking the yolk is a sexual innuendo for something completely different, we live in a truly sad world if these things make people as happy as Ralph on Futures Game Sunday.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s really no need for any introduction on this one, it’s the post upon which all prospectors are judged. It’s the Mid-Season Update to my Top 100 Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball. Full disclosure, I was loosey-goosey with the eligibility rules this time around. So, while some players in the majors and under their limits might appear on this list (Clint Frazier, Franklin Barreto, Etc.), others don’t (Raimel Tapia). No rhyme or reason to it, what-so-ever. This list feels more upside heavy to me, but there was no slant or algorithm for my ranks. Just good old fashioned personal bias, of which I have plenty. Seriously, I’m an opinionated lad! But that’s why I do this in the first place. Please keep in mind, this list is 100% fantasy focused. Meaning it might differ quite a bit from other Top 100’s you may come across. Anyway, thanks for reading and enjoy! The next 100 (101-200) will be out on Thursday.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Every year, after finishing my Top 100 post, I have a player or two I immediately regret not ranking higher. This year those prospects were Zack Collins, and Kyle Tucker. The funny thing is, Tucker wasn’t ranked that low at 32. Granted my prospecting brother from another mother Halp ranked him 21st, and based on last night it looks like Halp’s right. What happened last night? Welp, Tucker: Man and My Dreams, went 4 for 5 with a homer, 2 doubles, and 7 RBIs. He’s now hitting .343 in the Carolina League, can you imagine what he would have done with a full season in Lancaster? BTW Lancaster is one of the most homer and hitter friendly environments in minors, and was the class A advanced affiliate of the Astros up until this season. As for Tucker, he’s a 5×5 player’s dream, with hit tool, speed, developing power, and massive upside. Seems only appropriate that I would open this week’s Minor League Update with a native son of Tampa, while I’m on vacation here. How meta.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Under the guidance of Gm Mike Rizzo, the Nationals have experienced a successful, yet frustrating run in their franchise’s history. With five straight winning seasons, but nothing to show for it, the Nationals were once again aggressive on the trade market. Sending top prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, along with 2016 first rounder Dane Dunning to the White Sox for Adam Eaton. Despite moving some very good prospects in Giolito and Lopez, the Nationals activity in the International market, and a strong 2016 draft crop, has helped restock the lower levels of the system. Due to diligent scouting, and astute drafting, Washington has been able to maintain organizational balance throughout all of the levels of the system. They have a potentially ready made replacement for Bryce Harper, should “Make Baseball Fun Again” walk for Greener Pa$trues. There’s far less arms in the upper reaches of the system than there used to be, but Erick Fedde isn’t that far from contributing on the major league level. There’s exciting young power hitter Juan Soto, and top international signing Yasel Antuna, as well as another Tommy John reclamation project in Jesus Luzardo. The Nats keep churning out the talent, and there’s no reason to think it won’t continue. It’s the Top Washington Nationals Prospects.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re more than halfway through the minor league previews, and this Nationals list was the first one I really had a hard time whittling down to fifteen names. It’s not that it’s packed with studs, it’s more that there’s lots of interesting upside. You’ve got your no brainers like Lucas Giolito and Trea Turner of course, but we also saw a big breakout with Victor Robles. There seems to be a focus on speed, toolsy outfielders with good defensive skills, and up-the-middle talent. It’s all good stuff for fantasy players, and since even your great-grandmother has heard of Giolito, I find the lower levels of this system to be a lot more interesting to talk about. Don’t believe me? She has a cross-stitching of his curveball grip. Stepping away from the farm, 2016 will be the sophomore campaign of Michael Taylor, whose power and speed will probably come cheap in drafts this year. He doesn’t have to rack up that many more hits to make his average palatable as a 4th or 5th outfielder. Hey, I managed to write the whole intro without mentioning Bryce Harper! D’oh!

Please, blog, may I have some more?