Ralph Lifshitz and I start the podcast by reminiscing about the good ol’ days when we played tackle football without pads on and were constantly breaking our fingers, ribs, noses, and orbital bones. Nowadays, my biggest concern is this stiff neck I’ve had all day from sleeping the wrong way. We then move right into bemoaning the fact that Willie Calhoun personally declared, “I will not get called up,” along with talking about a few players who did get the call, including Jack Flaherty, Tyler Mahle, Francisco Mejia, and Alex Verdugo. The meat of the show is all about ranking the top starting pitchers, discussing everybody from Michael Kopech, Brent Honeywell, Forrest Whitley, and Sixto Sanchez, to Michel Baez, Joey Wentz, Corbin Burnes, Trevor Rogers and everyone in between. As always, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 15% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game (now shipping to Canada). It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:

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Okay so who watched the fight? Anyone? Anyone? Let me begin today’s post by thanking all the little people that delayed my progress on this post. First and foremost all the MVPs, heroes, saints, etc that walk amongst us, live streaming expensive pay per view fights. Thank you, this is for you. I hope you play dynasty baseball.

Sincerely,

Ralph

P.S. So how about that Brandon Marsh guy? Don’t remember where you might have heard about him before (shameless self promotion)? Doesn’t matter, moving along. Marsh is riding high on a 10 game hitting streak, slashing .420/.442/.580 with 2 homers, and 3 steals. I discussed Marsh on the recent episode of the Prospect Podcast, listing him as one of my favorite sleepers outside my Top 10 Outfield Ranks. He’s an athletic specimen, with a sweet lefty swing, and bag full of tools. The Angels farmhand ranked 62nd on my mid-season Top 100, and I believe he should be owned in every dynasty format where 5 or more minor leaguers can be stashed per team.

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I’m going to open up with a somewhat blasphemous statement for a prospector, so bear with me loyal Prospect Disciples. Here it goes… Top 100 lists are crap. There I said! I know, how dare I bite the hand that feeds me. Insulting my own signature post. Before you storm my castle built on the backs of talented minor league stars, hear me out. Top 100 lists are a snapshot at a given moment, and lose much of their value nearly weeks after they’re out. Are there ultimate truths within these posts? Abso-freaking-lutely, but development is fluid, always changing shape, regressing, and developing. For example, a player we’ll talk about today in Michael Kopech is viewed as significantly less risky than he was even a month and a half ago. Why? Because Kopech made tweaks to his mechanics and tightened up his control. My greater point is while these lists can be great discussion points, the league and these prospects are constantly in flux, improving, and struggling with each passing day. With this in mind I’ve decided to spend the next 8-9 Thursday’s updating my ranks with the top 10 players at each respective position. I’m undecided about catchers, but we’ll see how my off-season plans out. Sorry, unlike Vanessa Williams I save the worst for last. Laugh now millennials, and use the google when your ass gets home.

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Doesn’t it seem like every summer the national press needs a narrative to link onto and dubs it the “year of the something or other”? Think about it for a second, in recent seasons we’ve had “The year of the rookie”, “The other year of the rookie”, “The year of the homer”, “The year of the juiced ball”, so on and so forth. You get the point, sports writers are boring and unoriginal the whole lot. Well, I for one would like to follow in the grand tradition of sport writers, and apply this lazy, tired, haphazard, and cliche approach to my minor league baseball coverage. Therefore, I am dubbing 2017 MiLB “The Year of the 19 year old”.  Why? Because between Ronald Acuna, Bo Bichette, Kolby Allard, Mike Soroka, and now the Astros Forrest Whitley, the biggest news-makers have been 19 years of age.

Speaking of Whitley, recently promoted to AA Corpus Christi, the righty went 6 scoreless Thursday, allowing two hits, and striking out a career high 11 batters. Not too shabby for a kid facing high school competition 15 months ago. I ranked Whitley 75th overall in my top 100 back on July 2nd. Which was right about the point that his season took off. It was a high rank on a fantasy focused list for a teenage starter in A ball. I can recall really not being able to explain why I liked Whitley 25 spots higher than Ian Anderson when asked by Halp on the Prospect Podcast. I just fell in love with the idea of a 6’7 240 lbs monster with a arsenal of offerings. Since that date Whitley has rewarded my faith, dominating the Carolina League in a way no teenager should. Going 3-1 over his next 6 starts, while racking up 50 k’s to 9 walks in 31.1 innings.

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On Saturday’s edition of the prospect podcast Halp and I discussed our updated first year player draft rankings. Each of us agreed that the number 1 pick in this June’s draft had slipped ahead of Hunter Greene and into the top spot on our respective ranks. Yesterday afternoon, the Twins did us a great service. They affirmed our decision with the promotion of Royce Lewis to full season Cedar Rapids of the Midwest league. So far the top pick has been an exciting take, and surprisingly polished. The numbers are more good than great, but then again, he was playing high school baseball three months ago. Still .271/.390/.414 with 3 homers and 15 steals, ain’t too shabby in 36 games. The young shortstop has the ability to be an impact fantasy player in multiple categories at peak. Meaning his ability to stick in the middle infield doesn’t dictate his value. He was in the lineup hitting leadoff last night for Cedar Rapids, and went 4 for 5 in his debut, with 2 runs scored, an RBI, and a steal. As for my updated first player draft rankings, you can hear my thoughts on this week’s podcast, but the actual updated list we’ll save for October… Here’s what else I saw in the MiLB

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Since surviving a vicious industry wide-Cub Fan driven smear campaign, Eloy Jimenez has been a man with a mission. Since joining Winston-Salem, the Chi-Sox high A affiliate, he’s slashed .352/.418/.690 with 5 homers and 18 RBI’s in his first 20 games. The 20 year old slugger has continued to make improvements at the plate in 2017, walking at a 10% clip, while maintaining K rates at or below 20%. The combination of contact, patience, and power is a rare one. This is why I rank Eloy amongst the very elite prospects in the game, with such contemporaries as Acuna, Robles, Guerrero, and Tucker. He’s likely to spend the remainder of 2017 in Winston-Salem, before being assigned to AA next season out of camp. He has a real shot at the number one prospect in all of baseball, once Ronald Acuna heads to the majors. Despite all of his recent success and oodles of upside, it will be years before we find out just how high of a price the Cubs paid for Quintana. That’s not to say that Jimenez is can’t miss, though he’s a close as they come. The Chicago White Sox system is full of future potential stars, but none shine brighter at the moment than Eloy. A future .280/35/100 player is the ceiling, with a power hitting DH floor. It wouldn’t shock me if we saw Jimenez some time in late 2018, with the mostly likely time frame being September. Here’s what else I saw in the MiLB…

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It’s been well documented, my love for Tyler O’Neill, the muscle bound Hercules I dubbed the King In The North. So while it came as a shock that the Mariners would move such an erupting talent, it really didn’t because, Dipoto. After praising his recent drafting, the Segura-Haniger deal, and the organizational shift toward plate approach development he repays me with this? He goes ahead and trades a talent Taylor-made for the modern game. A workaholic, on base machine, with 70 grade power. It’s easy to get lost in O’Neill’s batting average, and strikeouts rates without exploring deeper. I don’t blame fans that haven’t taken the time to isolate his production since late May to the present. I say this because O’Neill is on an absolute tear. Since May 20th O’Neill has slashed .275/.362/.569 with 16 homers and 5 steals. I understand the value of a controllable starter, I’m just not completely on the level with why this starter was the target. Marco Gonzales had some prospect status a few years back, but he’s dealt with multiple injuries and a history of bouts with command. I’m just a lowly prospect writer so my opinion doesn’t matter, but I’m clueless as to what Dipoto is thinking here.

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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.

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This podcast is step one of the process to start a real-life Ralph and Halp Dynasty Baseball Prospects All-Star Game presented by Razzball and sponsored by our friends at Rotowear. Like LaVar Ball, our plan right now mostly revolves around speaking it into existence. As the old saying goes, it’s 90% inspiration and 10% perspiration. Or did I get that backwards? Either way, Ralph and I pick our Dynasty Futures All-Star rosters sandlot style, going back and forth until we each have a full lineup and pitching staff, while discussing many of the top guys at each position along the way. We also begin the podcast with a mini update, talking about the Nick Williams and Franklin Barreto callups, Dustin Fowler’s devastating injury, Miguel Andujar’s short lived MLB debut, and Scott Kingery’s Triple-A assault. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:

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It only took a little over 24 hours for the Luis Robert sweepstakes to come to a close. As news broke yesterday afternoon that the Chicago White Sox had struck a deal in the $25 million to $30 million dollar range with the 19 year old Cuban phenom. This is a significant development on a few fronts; for real life baseball, this will be the last deal signed under the old rules, where teams weren’t capped on international free agents under the age of 23. It’s also significant because, the White Sox, might just have in their possession, 2 to 3 of the top ceiling prospects in the minors at the moment. Those of course being Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, and now Luis Robert. The other element to this story is Moncada and Robert will forever be linked to each other, not just by nationally, or organization, but also by dollars and the expectations attached to those presidential flashcards. As for Luis Robert the player, much like Moncada, he’s as high end in terms of talent as they come. Many have graded Robert’s hit tool a touch below Moncada’s at a 55, with some concern about his swing and miss. Where Robert edges out Moncada is in his 70 grade speed mark, and 60 grade fielding. Some scouts see Robert’s power ceiling being higher, but even those scouts mark it as a splitting hairs difference. So we’re talking about a true 5 tool talent, with some additional polish to his fielding. Though it tends to be overlooked in fantasy it’s actually a major positive for his owners, as it might accelerate his ETA two years from now. There’s little doubt in my mind he’s the clearcut top overall choice in 2017-18 First Year Player Drafts, and it’s really not close at the moment. Here’s who else is making noise in the MiLB…

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