A couple items before we get started: (1) Carlos Martinez is currently on the big league roster, so I can’t really rank him here and break the rules I established to begin the season. Now, I suppose I could always rewrite the rules, but I’m an honorable dude, and that wouldn’t be right. Anyway, Martinez is still an extremely stashable arm as the Cardinals decide on his future role. There’s a good chance he’ll end up in a starter’s role before long, and he’ll be a must-own if that should be the case. (2) George Springer is currently torching Triple-A pitching, and there’s little doubt that he’s ready for Major League Baseball. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but he’s not gonna surface this season. The Astros are giving Springer the Wil Myers treatment, and it’s very unlikely that we’ll see him in the bigs before next June. Now for the top ten:Please, blog, may I have some more?
There hasn’t been much turnover from our last revision until now, so the names here are pretty much the same ones we’ve been talking about for a few weeks. There are a few exceptions, though: Grant Green was on the list much earlier this season, but disappeared from these ranks for the last several weeks. His recent hot streak in conjunction with Oakland’s need of a reliable second baseman has propelled him all the way up to #3. Xander Bogaerts also makes his top 10 debut this week. Other than that, there’s a little bit of shuffling around, but the core group (Erasmo, Yelich, C-Mart, Taveras, Castellanos, Hamilton) is still intact.Please, blog, may I have some more?
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.Please, blog, may I have some more?
As expected, the passing of the Super Two deadline has decimated our list here. Six of our previous top ten are gone. Poof. That means lots of turnover. We’ve got a new number one and we’ve got some guys making big moves up the board. The overall upside of the list has sunk for obvious reasons, but there’s still plenty of fantasy help looming in the minor leagues. Also, notice two exciting names in the Next Five group — Gary Brown is on fire at Triple-A, finally unlocking some of his five-tool potential, and Archie Bradley continues to pitch too damn well to be ignored.Please, blog, may I have some more?
In case you missed it, May rolled over into June yesterday, which is an exciting development for those of us who’ve been stashing guys like Wil Myers, Zack Wheeler, and Christian Yelich. Most folks are projecting dates in mid-June for the Super Two cutoff, so we’re likely just a couple weeks away from some high-impact call-ups. Of course, these Super Two projections are an inexact science, and it’s always possible that ball clubs err on the side of caution, and give it an extra week or two for cushion. In any case, Myers, in particular, is heating up at just the right time. I’d already speculated that his cold start wouldn’t delay his timetable much, but you can forget that conversation entirely now. Through his last ten, Myers is batting .341 with 5 homers and 19 RBI. If he’s somehow available in your league, now is a good time to stash him.Please, blog, may I have some more?
We’re back for our first revision of the prospect power rankings. For those who are new, or just kinda slow, this is where we’ll take a biweekly look at the best fantasy stashes in Minor League Baseball. To see the inaugural list, click that link. While there’s no change in the top two spots, there was quite a bit of shuffling around the rest of the way through. One notable guy dropping off the list is Travis D’Anaud, who suffered a broken foot. The injury will set him back a couple months — terrible news for the 24-year-old who missed most of last season to a knee injury.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Jorge Soler was off to a great start at High-A Daytona, batting .435/.519/.739 with 2 homers through his first six games. The was promising news for the Cubs, who inked him to a nine-year, $30 million contract last summer. The 21-year-old Cuban is not a cost-controlled prospect — there’s an opt-out clause that would make him eligible for arbitration after three years service time, but both sides would be thrilled if it came to that. In any case, there’s incentive for the Cubs to develop him quickly in order to make sure the bulk of those nine years are spent at the highest level. Chicago was smart to make such a long-term investment in Soler — it gives them a little developmental cushion — but they’re still trying to avoid unnecessary setbacks. Things were going well in that department up until Wednesday, when Soler decided to brandish a baseball bat as he sprinted toward the opponent’s dugout following a benches-clearing incident. The league suspended him five games, which isn’t a huge setback, but the Cubs are reportedly investigating the matter further and could tack on more time. I doubt it’ll come to that, but the ordeal still raises some major character concerns. Let’s hope this was an isolated incident and that the new regime in Chicago doesn’t enable such behavior as the old group did with headcases like Carlos Zambrano.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Ranking prospects for fantasy purposes is a tricky exercise. Back in February, I rolled out my Top 50 Fantasy Prospects for 2013 (part 1, part 2), and those are already garbage. The variables involved are constantly in flux — talent emerges, talent regresses… opportunity comes, opportunity goes… clubs get cold feet because of service time, clubs don’t give a shizz about service time. So, given the fluid nature of this prospect business, I thought it might be helpful to keep a running ranking throughout the season. This post will run every other Wednesday, providing a biweekly glimpse of the soon-to-arrive impact talent. Let’s get started.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
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.
The title of this post was nearly, “F*ck Luis Cruz.” If that guy gets in the way of my last round draft pick of Dee Gordon, I’m gonna be none too happy! Or is that “I’m gonna be some unhappy?” While Hanley Ramirez is out with a thumb injury, I want Dee Gordon to play for a month and for the Dodgers to say they won’t play Luis Cruz. I homophoned you! If anyone out there drafted Hanley already, I want to see your faces. Push them against your computer monitors or your handheld mobile devices. You are traitors to Razzball. I said specifically — or pacifically if you’re on a boat off the coast of California — not to draft Hanley. Word for word, “I’m done with Hanley until we see a return to his previous glory.” I didn’t even bury the lede. That’s the first freakin’ sentence of my Hanley blurb on the top 20 shortstops for 2013 fantasy baseball. I hope Hanley’s out for 3 months, returns to hit 7 homers with 12 steals and someone drafts him in the 3rd round of 2014, too. Know why? Because no matter how many times I tell people to ignore position scarcity, they don’t listen. You need to jam a cotton swab in your noggin like Lena Dunham and clean out your wax. (BTW, season two of Girls — meandering, pointless, adjective. Biggest drop in quality from season one to season two for a TV show since Heroes.) The Dodgers are saying Hanley could be out anywhere from two weeks to ten weeks. If you drafted him, you don’t read this so I’m talking to all the people who didn’t draft him. Send an email to the Hanley drafters. Subject: Trade Offer. Body of email: Any interest in trading for Yunel Escobar? I’ll take Paul Goldschmidt. Click send. Now unfriend them on Facebook. Done. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in Spring Training for 2013 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?