Welcome to the All-Star break gang – the unofficial beginning of the second half signals the time to reorganize, revamp, and re-think approaches for us, as well as the folks making the calls for your favorite MLB teams. And, coincidentally, it also marks the time for me to revisit my Prospect Rankings. These are the current top-50 guys on my board that haven’t accumulated the standard minimum 130 AB/50 IP at the MLB level that most fantasy leagues recognize. When compiling my rankings, I try to consider as many variables as possible, but my main focus tilts toward future “difference-makers”… those guys that have the potential to make significant impacts when they reach “The Show”. Some players you’ll find on this list may be further away from making that impact than others, some may be struggling a bit right now (they may have been recently promoted to the next level to challenge them and are adjusting to stiffer competition), some may be on the shelf because of injury, etc., but this list represents the top-50 players I’d pick if you give me the first 50 picks in the MiLB phase of a draft in a newly forming fantasy league. These are the prospects GMs “dream on”, regardless of their current minor league level – the players they plan to build their rosters around at some point in the near future.

So here we go…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With Dylan Bundy having returned to live baseball, the focus around the 21-year-old phenom shifts from “when will he throw again?”, to “when will he throw in the bigs again?”. At the time of this writing, Bundy is preparing to take mound in Aberdeen for a start in the short-season New York Penn League. It’ll be his second outing since Tommy John surgery — the first one was quite good: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Now, while it’s terrific see Bundy pitching so well upon returning to game action, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s still a long rehab process ahead of him, and the O’s won’t jeopardize his progress by pushing him too quickly. Baltimore has scripted Bundy’s recovery, and barring any setbacks, I believe their plan includes some big league action this season, but I wouldn’t expect more than 1 or 2 starts in August/September.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Happy Fathers Day, Razzball Nation, especially to the dads we have here on staff: Rudy and Mike and Nick are proud fathers, and I’ve heard Tehol has offspring on every continent, although that rumor is unsubstantiated. I’m not a dad, but I have one, and I’ll be hanging with him today, doing our usual Fathers Day bonding (sipping fine booze while watching the US Open). I hope everyone can find something equally gratifying to do with their dads, or with their sons and daughters. And however it is that you choose to enjoy the day, here’s to all the good fathers out there. Cheers.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A friend of mine has this morbid fascination with the demise of Major League Baseball through TV ratings, and what’s most bizarre about his complex is the fact that he happens to work for a big league org. Every so often I’ll get a gchat from him that goes like, “dude, male viewership between ages 31 and 33 has dropped a quarter point off last year’s pace. Terrible news for baseball.” Such messages usually go ignored, but a couple weeks ago one of these IM’s caught me off guard: “You realize the WNBA draft drew a better rating than the MLB Draft last year?” I didn’t bother fact-checking this one, so perhaps my friend got his numbers mixed up, but in any case, if this news is even close to being accurate, I find it deeply disturbing. The MLB first-year player draft begins tomorrow at 6pm central time on MLB Network, and if you care enough about baseball to be reading a blog post about fantasy prospects, then you should probably tune in. Offering further intrigue, I’ve identified some early-impact draft prospects below. We’re sticking to college products for this exercise, as they carry a quicker path to the bigs and far less risk than their prep counterparts.

Please, blog, may I have some more?