Taijuan Walker was shut down for a week due to a bursa in his right shoulder. Isn’t a bursa a type of Ethiopian bread? Sounds more like Somalians are holding my beautiful, upside starting pitcher captive. Only Captain Phillips can get me out of this mess…by being taken captive for two hours of a two hour and twenty minute movie and then being saved by characters we don’t even empathize with. Snooze. True story, schmue story, give Phillips a hidden machine gun in his rectum and let him shoot his way out by farting! This is starting to sound bad for Walker. I haven’t moved him in my top 80 starters for 2014 fantasy baseball yet, and, since I only have him down for 170 IP in my projections, I’m not changing anything, but I’d definitely be careful about pairing Walker with lots of other risk. As of right now, Walker will not be ready to start the year in the rotation. Anyway, here’s what else I’ve seen in Spring Training for fantasy baseball:

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (10) | 2012 (19) | 2011 (13) | 2010 (6) | 2009 (22)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [66-96] AL Central
AAA: [77-67] International League – Rochester
AA: [66-76] Eastern League — New Britain
A+: [79-56] Florida State League – Fort Myers
A: [88-50] Midwest League – Cedar Rapids

Graduated Prospects
Oswaldo Arcia (OF); Aaron Hicks (OF); Chris Colabello (1B/OF); Chris Herrmann (C/OF); Ryan Pressly (RHP); Andrew Albers (LHP); Pedro Hernandez (LHP); Kyle Gibson (RHP)

The Run Down
With regard to fantasy impact on the farm, the Twins are right there with the Cubs at the top of the league.  And, narrowing our scope a bit, no team in baseball can boast a better one-two prospect punch than what Minnesota has with Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano.  But try not to distract yourself too much with the shiny, hyped-up names at the top of this list, because this org is loaded with talent from top to bottom.  The top ten we have here don’t even tell the whole story — we’ll have to let the steady flow of homegrown talent speak for itself over these next few seasons.

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Last week we rolled out our Top 25 Fantasy Baseball Prospects for 2014, and today we’re moving on to numbers 26-50.  Remember, this is a 2014-specific list — we’re doing our best here to identify prospects who have the best chance at contributing in the fantasy game this season.  A year ago, the second half of this same list included names like Christian Yelich, Matt Adams, Nolan Arenado, Tony Cingrani, Chris Archer, Michael Wacha, and Avisail Garcia.  I suspect that there will be a handful of impact players found in this group, as well.  Do take note.

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Many of you (none of you) have been asking me the same question, day after day (no one’s asked me), when are you going to mustache model? The 2nd most asked question (that no one is asking) is when are we going to get another Donkey. We’ve had Adam Dunn, the Big Donkey. Mark Reynolds, the Mini Donkey. Ian Stewart, the Mini Mini Donkey. Donkeys can hit 35 homers, give a handful of steals and hit .240 while being at a corner infield position. (Dunn’s speed was when he was younger; he once stole 19 bases, and Stewart’s power was when it seemed like he could hit in the major leagues). It’s Donkey season and there’s a new Donkey. Miguel Sano is Donkey Jr. The Donkey Jr. show is near, and you don’t have to turn away in disgust from this donkey show hoping you get no unwanted fluids on your shirt. In fact, you may want to take part in it without feeling like you need to change your name and leave a note to your family for the disgusting display you took part in. So, what can we expect of Miguel Sano for 2014 fantasy baseball?

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For the past few seasons, Jose Abreu has been regarded as Cuba’s best offensive talent. The 26-year-old slugger has spent the past decade playing pro ball in Cuba where he routinely was at the top of the league in AVG, OBP, SLG, RBI, and HR. Well, it now seems he’s played his last game in Cuba, as reports earlier this week explain that he has left his homeland and has begun the process of becoming a MLB free agent. At 6-3, 250, Abreu is a large man with next to zero defensive appeal. He’s a 1B/DH type, so he’d fit best with an AL club, but scouting reports suggest he has enough glove to get by at first, so don’t rule out the NL entirely. Wherever he signs, it’s gonna be for big money and an immediate big league opportunity. Abreu is an MLB-ready masher, and at age 26, there’ll be no reason to start him in the minors. If all goes as planned, he should be occupying a regular MLB role by Opening Day 2014. There’s upside here in the neighborhood of .300 AVG and 30+ HR. It’ll be interesting to see how early he’s off the board in mixed league drafts next spring.

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The Phillies paid a shizzload of dough to sign the big league-ready Cuban RHP, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. The deal is worth up to $60 million, $40+ million of which is guaranteed. So, if we’re taking for granted that Ruben Amaro knows what he’s doing, then it’s a safe assumption that Gonzalez is going to quickly blossom into a front-end starter and a coveted fantasy asset, a la Yu Darvish, who signed for similar money. But I’m not so sure about all that. Gonzalez is 26 years old and he’s been pitching in international ball long enough for talent evaluators to have come to a consensus on his projection, so it’s surprising to find such mixed opinions on the guy. The Phillies are paying him starter’s money, but there are plenty of folks around baseball who don’t even see Gonzalez working out long-term in a starter’s role. Clearly I’m skeptical about the Phillies’ financial commitment, but even so, I’m not completely writing off the possibility of M.A.G. earning every dime of that contract on the mound. With a deep arsenal of fastballs and various off-speed offerings, all of which he throws with deception and good command, Gonzalez appears to be a guy who’ll keep hitters guessing and tally up the whiffs — there’s certainly enough upside to be stashing him in deep leagues. Still, my inclination is that there’s not $60 million dollars worth of talent here.

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Quite a bit has changed since the 2013 MiLB season began in April, and folks have been clamoring for a mid-season prospect list. Well, here it is, 50-deep. But before we get into it, a quick primer on the criteria for this top 50: There was no specific timetable considered, so the rankings below can be considered a dynasty league list. You’ll notice that the ETA’s here range from this season all the way to 2016. To prevent any overlap with lists that Grey and JayWrong put together last week, I’ve included only prospects who are currently in the minor leagues. That means I had to remove Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick from the board after news of their call-ups — Yelich was #7, Marisnick #40. It also means I couldn’t list Carlos Martinez, who’s currently working in relief for the Cardinals — he would’ve been ranked right around #20.

Anyway, I’ll be writing notes on all of these fellas during the off-season, once the dust has settled on the 2013 season and I’ve had a chance to take a more thorough look at depth charts, injuries, etc. For now, I’ve included only a few pertinent details: age, current level, fantasy impact categories, and ETA. Each player is linked to his player card on Baseball-Reference.com, or his Razzball player card where possible. My hope is that this list will help dynasty leaguers sort out their rosters as keeper deadlines approach. Enjoy.

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The Futures Game will take place on July 14th at Citi Field as part of the MLB All-Star Game festivities. Rosters were announced earlier this week. Of the various all-star contests throughout Minor League Baseball, the Futures Game is King. Instead of league-specific all-stars, the Futures draws its talent from leagues at all levels, class-A to Triple-A. What we’re left with, then, are rosters that are crammed with real-deal prospects. The format is USA versus the World, and there’s still time to vote on the final roster spot for each squad, although that poll closes today. I went with Nick Castellanos and Javier Baez on my ballot. Who you got?

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I told you last week about the implications of Xander Bogaerts’s Triple-A promotion. This week, we celebrate another Triple-A promotion, as the Mariners have bumped Taijuan Walker from Double-A Jackson to Tacoma. Walker has everything you look for in a pitching prospect — size, stuff, athleticism… the works. He’s as elite as they come. After an up-and-down 2012 at Jackson, the 20-year-old returned to Double-A in 2013, performing with much greater consistency this time through. Walker cranked it up a notch in June, though, posting a 33/3 K/BB in 25 IP this month. He’s only 20, and it’s probably a little premature to wonder about a 2013 arrival considering the M’s have arms like Erasmo Ramirez and Danny Hultzen waiting for an opportunity, but Walker’s ceiling is the best of the bunch. By far. Now that he’s just one stop from the bigs, he needs to be on your fantasy radar.

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Last week’s draft poured a whole shizzload of new prospects into the realm of pro baseball, and damn near all of them carry zero fantasy relevance at the moment. Don’t let Harold Reynolds fool you. Mark Appel will not be pitching for the Astros this season. Also, Harold Reynolds is dumb. Appel, however, is one of a handful of draft prospects who could offer value to fantasy teams as soon as this time next year. And in a recent Scouting the Unknown series, I took a look at nine draft prospects who appeared destined to move quickly toward the bigs — the Michael Wacha/Kevin Gausman/Mike Zunino types of the 2013 draft. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, check out part 1, part 2, and part 3 by clicking those links.

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