In our never ending quest to cover every single farm system in baseball, uncover every sleeper, upside youngster, and great name in the minor leagues. We bring you the Oakland Athletics for our watershed 23rd Episode. Let it be noted in the annuals of history that the most important thing to happen on January, 20th 2017 was Halp and Ralph’s discussion of Jharel Cotton’s changeup. Truly a great moment in Podcast, Fantasy Baseball, and American history. I mean what’s not to love about a Jharel? Or Cotton, I mean have you slept on Cotton? Come on in and learn about the Semi-Pro Wrestler I beat up as a child or why Franklin Barreto might be an underrated fantasy prospect. We do it all! We talk Puk, Chapman, Nunez, and Frankie Montas. As well as any A’s prospect worth discussing. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Whenever I write a post about Oakland, I open with a shout out to the King Of Hyphy, and fallen solider Mac Dre. I know he’s from the Valley-Jo, but the man gets a great deal of Oakland love. It’s only a half hour north after all. Or maybe all this is just a poor excuse to link to this video. So put on your best Thizz Face, and let’s get into some Moneyball A’s talk. You ready? After unloading eventual MVP, and mullet superstar Josh Donaldson, the A’s have been in full on rebuild mode. Of course treadmill hero extraordinaire Billy Beane is still pulling the strings behind the scenes, but the sort of prospect crop needed for the A’s to compete has alluded them for the better part of a decade. However, things changed last July, spearheaded by the signing of Cuban Hype Machine Lazarito. The A’s then became heavy players in an active trade deadline, settling on a solid trade with the Dodgers. Unloading the aging Rich Hill, and impending free agent Josh Reddick for three solid prospect arms with some upside. All three Jhael Cotton, Frankie Montas, and Grant Holmes should factor into Oakland’s rotation in the next few seasons. With Cotton the closest to the O.Co, followed by Montas, and Holmes bringing up the rear. They then followed both of those moves with the savvy December signing of Cuban pitcher Norge Ruiz for $2 million; a player many think was the best arm in the 2016 international class. Saying the rebuild of the once prospect and pitching rich A’s began this July is a little disingenuous, as they did swing a trade for 2016 breakout rookie pitcher Sean Manaea at the 2015 deadline. Unloading Ben Zobrist to the future World Series champion Royals in the process. With a crop of young hitters, and pitchers matriculating to Oakland over the next few years, we could be looking at an up and coming organization. Time will tell if that holds true. It’s the Top Oakland Athletics Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Sometimes you ask and you shall receive and in that vein, I begin this month’s Razznasty update. Now I know the two questions you’re asking, what did you ask for and receive? And which vein? First, it’s the main vein, you know the one in the middle…. Secondly, I asked our very own Hippo in the bush Matt Truss to make a push in the standings over the course of June so I could name the next update “Can’t Truss It”. Done and done. I told Mr. Truss-ah Truss that I’d dress as Flavor Flav from this video while I wrote it. Truss, that I held up my end of the bargain, picture me decked out in white tuxedo with top hat and Batman glasses. Unfortunately I can’t share with all of you due to a shortage on the correct cartridges for my vintage Polaroid Sun 600. Sorry boys, and whatever number of girls are reading this year. I believe we were up to five, but we might have lost a few after the Jose Canseco interview. There’s nothing that upsets the ladies more than invasive question about Madonna’s early 90’s sperm brokering. Enough of the bollocks, onto the Razznasty update for June. Dynasty League Baseball at it’s finest.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Well here it is the post you’ve been hollering for in the comments since November hit. That’s right ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, cats and dogs, pastrami sandwiches and tuna melts, white wall tires and low profile tires, good guys and bad guys, curved brims hats and flat billed caps, and anyone else that reads Razzball; it’s the top 100 live from my garage in suburban Massachusetts. Ahh-huh you’re being magically whisked away to a garage, with flickering lights and an awkwardly handsome gentleman with a laptop. That’s me, and on my computer is a list, it is yours to read, berate, discuss, commit to memory, burn to keep you warm. What you do with it, is really up to you I suppose. This ranking is pretty straightforward, it lists each player, their position, and a link to their team’s minor league preview. Within each preview you’ll find that players blurb. On one final note, all of these ranks take into consideration a variety of factors including ceiling, proximity, and floor. Consider this post interactive, instead of me waxing poetic after each player explaining why I rank so and so where, I leave it to you to call me to the mat and defend my rankings. Without further ado the 2016 Top 100 Prospects for Fantasy BaseballPlease, blog, may I have some more?
Oakland’s pitching-friendly park might ding the overall upside of its hitting prospects, but on the flip side the pitching gets a slight boost. The Athletics have a balanced farm with solid prospects both in the box and on the mound. What this organization lacks in blue chip prospects, it makes up for with depth and a slew of players on the verge of joining the show. At the 2015 trade deadline, the A’s turned Scott Kazmir, Ben Zobrist, and Tyler Clippard into three of the prospects listed below. Billy Burns emerged as a table-setter, while fellow graduate Mark Canha was third on the team in both homers and runs batted in. Oakland will pick sixth overall in the 2016 draft.Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s not all bad news for Phillies fans. The major league squad looks pretty lousy, and when Aaron Harang is your best arm the fans probably won’t be dancing down Broad Street. But there’s hope on the farm, and this week’s Minor Accomplishments leads off with some Phillies prospects who are off to hot starts. Maikel Franco had a cold April in 2014, but this year he’s hitting .371/.436/.686 with a homer and six doubles at AAA Lehigh Valley. With only Ryan Howard and Cody Asche standing in his way, expect Franco to be a fixture in this year’s Prospect Power Rankings. Drop down a level to find Roman Quinn, who has stolen seven bases through seven games and leads the Eastern League in that category. He’s not all wheels, as he’s also hitting a cool .471 with a home run. At Single-A Lakewood, Carlos Tocci is also off to a good start. The 19-year-old is hitting .361/.439/.528 with a homer, three doubles, and four steals through his first nine games. Here are some of the other notable performances from the start of the minor league season…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (21) | 2013 (25) | 2012 (26) | 2011 (28) | 2010 (12)
2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [88-74] AL West
AAA: [79-65] Pacific Coast League – Sacramento (2015: Nashville)
AA: [77-63] Texas League – Midland
A+: [85-55] California League – Stockton
A: [55-84] Midwest League – Beloit
A(ss): [33-43] New York-Penn League – Vermont
Marcus Semien, INF (from CWS)
The Athletics were in win-now mode in 2014, which prompted them to trade their prized prospect Addison Russell (and to a lesser extent Billy McKinney) to the Cubs for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. That left this already light system even lighter, but recent offseason moves have restocked the farm moving forward. By trading Samardzija to the White Sox and Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays, the A’s acquired four of the ten prospects listed below as well as recently graduated middle infield prospect Marcus Semien. There may not be any “elite” fantasy prospects in this top ten now that Russell is gone, but there are still several players that could be useful fantasy options in the near future. High-A Stockton was loaded with talent and three of the top four on this list played their 2014 seasons on that team.
The Arizona Fall League is a couple of weeks old now, so we’ll peek at a few of the highlights and lowlights. In a league with only six teams, there is a limited pool of players and we’ll have to take the small sample sizes with a grain of salt. There have been a few standout performances, and this league is a good way to get eyes on prospects returning from injuries or facing some tougher competition for the first time. One name from the AFL that has surfaced quite a bit this year is Reds’ outfielder Jesse Winker. Reports on Winker like his approach and power, with left field a likely destination when he reaches the bigs. Despite a concussion early in the season and a wrist injury that ended his season prematurely, the 21-year-old hit .327/.426/.580 with 13 homers in the hitter-friendly California League before a brief stint in Double-A. In 38 AFL at bats, Winker has two homers, two doubles, and a league-leading 13 runs batted in. He’s top 5 in average (.368), on-base percentage (.479), and slugging percentage (.632). I’m not totally on board the Winker train yet since he hasn’t seen much of Double-A, but I am at the station in line to buy a ticket. Here are some other noteworthy AFL prospect performances so far…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Prospect hounds looking for some action now that the minor league season is over can turn their attention towards the 2014 Arizona Fall League. The league is made up of six teams and each of those teams is affiliated with five major league clubs. MLB clubs will typically send prospects that need some more reps to refine their skills against different (sometimes tougher) competition. Other players on these rosters may have been injured at some point in the past season and need the extra game action to continue their rehab and development. The preliminary rosters have been released for each AFL squad and there are a bunch of fantasy relevant prospects for us to take a look at. For the next three weeks I’ll write up two teams and a few of the significant names from each, what their 2014 MiLB season looked like, and what we might expect from them in fantasy baseball going forward. Let’s get right to it with Mesa and Glendale…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (25) | 2012 (26) | 2011 (28) | 2010 (12) | 2009 (3)
2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [96-66] AL West
AAA: [79-65] Pacific Coast League — Sacramento
AA: [62-78] Texas League — Midland
A+: [69-71] California League — Stockton
A: [77-62] Midwest League — Beloit
A(ss): [33-43] New York-Penn League — Vermont
Arizona Fall League Players — Mesa Solar Sox
Ryan Dull (RHP); Omar Duran (LHP); Seth Frankoff (RHP); Bruce Maxwell (C); Max Muncy (1B); Addison Russell (SS)
Nate Freiman (1B); Stephen Vogt (C); Dan Straily (RHP); Sonny Gray (RHP)
The Run Down
The first rule of Oakland Athletics prospecting is to never write off a pitcher. These guys are going to be spending the bulk of their time pitching in the cavernous O.co Coliseum, so any starting pitching prospect who’s pushing through the Athletics system is probably worth consideration in fantasy leagues. That said, the list that follows is a little light on the pitching side of things — with arms like Sonny Gray and Dan Straily graduating their prospect status, there aren’t many high-impact starters left in this group. Michael Ynoa can certainly fill that void with a healthy year, but for now, the bulk of the fantasy excitement is focused around Addison Russell and Michael Choice.