Robert Downey Jr. and Phil Hughes have more in common than you might think. Both dealt with notoriously weak starts to their careers in The Big Apple. Hughes in pinstripes had four straight years of a 4+ ERA, and Downey on SNL. Both had to deal with brace-faced divas, Joe Girardi and Anthony Michael Hall. One was scouted by Gene Michael, the other Lorne Michaels. One wanted to impress Pettitte, one wanted to avoid petting Randy Quaid’s pet squirrel. One had to wait for A-Rod to finish frosting his hair before he could use the bathroom, one made frosting out of cocaine. But once they were out of New York, the world opened up to each. Yesterday, Hughes won his 16th game, going 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks, and lowering his ERA to 3.52. His K-rate is 8 and his walk rate is 0.7, as he set the all-time strikeout-to-walk ratio at 11.63. Think about that walk rate for a second. Okay, the second is up. He walked 16 guys in 209 2/3 IP. That’s as terrific as 186 Ks, which is what he had. His ERA doesn’t look amazing in today’s day and age where everyone has a sub-3 ERA, but Hughes was actually unlucky and had a 3.15 xFIP. Everything together has me excited about Hughes for 2015 fantasy baseball. I could see him being relegated to 2nd fiddle status with some other 3rd or 4th fantasy starters, but outperforming his draft spot. Circling back to AMH, any time a guy like Hughes strikes out as much as Anthony Michael Hall and walks less than Uncle Buck, color me excited. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Rusney Castillo is expected to join the Sawx on Tuesday. Whoa, did you see that? There was a rainbow going over the world and when I said that it turned red. I wonder if that’s because he’s Cuban. Oh, it’s probably because the Red Sox paid to sponsor the rainbow. That makes more sense. I didn’t think Mother Nature would sell rainbow naming rights, but there ya go. Someone’s gotta pay for the sun; the world we live in. So, Rusney’s getting a little taste of how’s your father with the Red Sox, but I don’t think he’ll A) Play every day. B) Be much a factor this year. C) There’s no C. Now, for 2015 fantasy baseball, well, there we’re gonna have to talk for a sec. Sorry, I know you’re late to be moral support at your wife’s surgery, but she can wait. Here’s what Prospect Mike said about him previously, “The one tool that is not in question is (Rusney’s) speed. A 30+ steal season from Castillo is a possibility as soon as 2015. The power is still up in the air. Some have tagged him more as an 8-12 homer type guy while others have said 15 or maybe even 20 homers could be in the cards. With any player, we get lots of comps thrown around. Two of the comps I’ve heard the most are Shane Victorino and Rajai Davis. Honestly, the Davis comp makes the most sense to me. The one that makes the least sense is Grey, he’s just a buffoon.” Hey, what’s that all about? To me, the Rajai comparison feels heavy on the speed; Victorino seems a better equivalent, but, honestly, there’s a ton of unknown here. He could be anywhere from a 7 HR/20 SB fourth outfielder to a 20 HR/40 SB superstar. Victorino feels about right — 12 homers, 30 steals. The more I read that he only had 66 steals in 1097 plate appearances in Cuba, I wonder if the hype machine hasn’t taken Rusney and thrown him into the spin cycle, making him more than he is. Shizzton of risk either way you slice the cake, and, brucely, I love cake, so I hope you’re sharing. For this year, I’d take a flyer if I could platoon him. For 2015, I’d take the risk for something special, but don’t expect more than Victorino. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You make plans, and the Fantasy Baseball Overlord laughs. I believe that is how the saying goes. Yesterday, Carlos Gonzalez succumbed to his time-honored tradition of hitting the DL. This time it was due to his finger inflammation. I wonder if his finger plumped up like a Ballpark Frank. By the by, you know the secret ingredient that is used for Ballpark Franks to plump up when you cook them, why is that not used in other foods? This seems to be the cure for world hunger. Inject everything and ship it to Africa. “Nice pancake, colonizer, but can you plump it up?” Yes, we can now little African kid! On his trips to Africa, why is Bono not armed with Ballpark Franks? We need some sodium nitrate up in here! On the bright side of things, Corey Dickerson is now definitely going to get everyday looks for at least the next two weeks and I’d guess it’ll be more like three to four weeks. Grab Dickerson! Whew, glad his name isn’t Dick, er, son. On a side note, “precious cargo” is the stupidest Urban Dictionary definition I’ve ever seen. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (3) | 2012 (2) | 2011 (15) | 2010 (2) | 2009 (1)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [91-72] AL West
AAA: [73-71] Pacific Coast League – Round Rock
AA: [70-70] Texas League – Frisco
A+: [77-62] Carolina League – Myrtle Beach
A: [76-63] South Atlantic League – Hickory
A(ss):  [38-38] Northwest League — Spokane

Graduated Prospects
Leonys Martin (OF); Jurickson Profar (INF); Martin Perez (LHP); Nick Tepesch (RHP); Tanner Scheppers (RHP)

The Run Down
The fact that the Rangers can graduate Jurickson Profar, Leonys Martin, and Martin Perez all in the same summer, and return the next spring with a farm system that continues to rank among the best in baseball should speak volumes about the savvy of the organization’s procurement and development systems.  Texas is heavily involved of all aspects of baseball development, and the top ten I’ve listed here features prospects who were drafted, signed out of Latin America, or acquired via trade.  The mix of talent as a whole is oozing with high-impact potential, and while this group brings perhaps a smidge more risk than other orgs near the top of the league, it still needs to be considered among the top tier of fantasy farms.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (2) | 2011 (15) | 2010 (2) | 2009 (1) | 2008 (4)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [93-69] AL West
AAA: [69-75] Pacific Coast League – Round Rock
AA: [80-60] Texas League – Frisco
A+: [74-65] Carolina League – Myrtle Beach
A: [74-65] South Atlantic League – Hickory
A(ss): [28-48] Northwest League — Spokane

Graduated Prospects
Yu Darvish (RHP); Robbie Ross (LHP); Michael Kirkman (LHP)

The Run Down
This Rangers system is stacked. I could’ve gone 20 deep here, and I’d still be listing guys with bigger upside than most systems feature at the back-end of their top tens. One guy I had a hard time not listing here is 2012 first-rounder Lewis Brinson. Consider him #11 for now, but Brinson has the type of explosive athleticism that could carry him to the top of this list in a year’s time (that’s assuming guys like Profar and Olt graduate, of course). There are other youthful, high-upside types, too, in Jorge Alfaro and Joey Gallo. And as we know, there’s a slew of high-impact potential at the upper reaches of the organization. I’ve been outspoken about the St. Louis system being the best system in baseball for fantasy purposes and otherwise, but this Texas Rangers system is not far behind.

Please, blog, may I have some more?