“What’s it short for?  Ya know, like Rosstopher?”  “Just Ross!”

I had cautious optimism heading into the year for Tyson Ross, and he looked pretty wild early on.  And not the good kind of wild.  No one in San Diego is wearing Wild Thing-Ross T-Shirts.  I caught most of his debut against the Dodgers, and he didn’t look right.  Hitchy delivery, lower velocity, and terrible control.  Since he was fringy anyway, in the one league I owned him (deeper 10-team), I cut him loose for some scrub closer.  I don’t even know who, probably Matt Lindstrom, who at least vultured a win for me yesterday.

Anyway, I saw Ross was bad again in his second effort, racking up 9 walks to only 9 Ks through two games, somehow escaping with a 4.50 ERA because he piled up 6 unearned runs.  Needless to say, I was pretty content to ignore him, but yesterday he turned it around against the offensively-charged Tigers.  Since it’s still early, maybe he had an early mechanical issue that got worked out, and he’s back to picking up where 2013 left off.  So I decided to break down his start, and see if he needs to be scooped off waivers in leagues where he was dropped or undrafted:

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There really is no place like home if you play for the Rockies. Charlie Blackmon aka Chuck Nazty knows this better than anyone, and helped Colorado drop 12 runs on Arizona last night at Coors. Now slashing .563/.588/.938 on the early season, Blackmon admits his nickname hasn’t caught on quite like he hoped yet, but that’s because it’s a terrible nickname. I ain’t mad at cha, and if you keep having games this this we’ll call you whatever you want! Chuck Nazty was perfect yesterday, going 6-for-6, with 3 doubles, a 2-run home run, 4 runs and 5 RBI as the Rox managed 13 hits in their home opener. Now you know Carlos Gonzalez wasn’t about to get overshadowed on opening day, he’s the real Chuck Nazty, if anyone is. CarGo added 4 RBI and 2 hits, including a 2-run jack and free tacos for the entire state of Colorado! Every-body-gets-a-taco! Something tells me after Colorado’s new legislation, they’re going to be needing all the tacos they can get. Chuck Nazty, legalization, and free tacos? Get in the car, honey, we’re moving! By the way, I call my laptop “Honey.” Anyway, it’s probably not a stretch to say that Rockies fans are pretty high on Blackmon after today. Ha, that’s the title! Well, don’t light up your celebratory doobies just yet, Centennial Staters. Despite the huge day, Blackmon remains in a platoon in a crowded outfield featuring Corey Dickerson, who is a also a fairly exciting prospect, but perhaps Blackmon’s stellar play will force Walt Weiss to play him consistently. For now, C. Nazty could provide decent streaming value, especially when he’s a mile high. He managed a .309 average in 82 games in 2013 and after a strong spring he is a hot little potato right now and could be worth the speculative add while he’s hitting.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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Our offseason prospect series is through — all 30 minor league previews with fantasy-specific top 10′s are in the books.  For years we’ve written this same series, finished it, and then just sort of rolled into the regular season stuff without any fanfare.  This year, though, we’re wrapping up the minor league previews, and adding a nice little bow on top.  This post will serve as the bow.  The purpose is twofold: (1) For the first time we have links to each of our MiLB previews all in one place, and (2) we’ve ranked each farm system from a fantasy perspective, giving you a simple guideline as to which orgs are stacked with fantasy impact, and which orgs are virtually void of it.  Let’s cut to it:

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As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries.  What positions are a lock?  What positions are being fought over?  What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the second part of this series will focus on AL Central… (You can check out the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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Welcome to the second annual Razzball Keepers Top-100 list-a-roo. I capped it AND italicized it, because it’s just that special. (The 2013 Top-100 can be found here.)

Spoiler Alert! We’re doing things keeper league style, dynasty style… which ever nomenclature you prefer. Basically, if you hold onto players for more than a year, these are the rankings you’ve been waiting your whole life for. Whole life man. Seriously.

Remember, the process for this list is quite unique. Unlike Grey, I didn’t type half of it with my mustache. Also, this isn’t your list. It’s my list. So, yeah, I’ll love guys a lot more than you will. I’ll also love your mom. Or vica versa. It’s just the way it is. If you stuck me in a keeper this very instant, this is pretty much the list, in order, of who I’d personally want long term. Things like previous production, expected 2014 production, projections for 2015-2017,  future potential, positional-scarcity, and injury-risk are all things I bake into the rankings. Regardless, the big takeaway here is that I believe in the Oxford comma. And I guess a lot of comma’s in general. And short sentences. And baking. And female nudity. Word.

Note: I’ve only ranked players who have pitched at least one inning or had one at-bat in their MLB career, sans Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Abreu. Our prospect maven, Scott Evans, has the low down on all those MiLB guys I left out. Go check out his 2014 rankings (Top-25, Top-50), he won’t bite… I think.) 

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To begin, I should make it clear that this is not a list of my top overall prospects.  No, this is a 2014-specific list, and it exists only to serve those of us in fantasyland.  The names that follow are, at this moment, the prospects who have the best chance at offering positive fantasy contributions during the 2014 season.  Those of you who follow my Prospect Power Rankings series during the season, understand that time-specific prospect rankings are fluid — it’s a tricky game, weighing potential impact against current opportunity, and outlooks can change drastically overnight.  There are too many variables at work to peg these ETA’s accurately, and that is precisely why we revisit these rankings often throughout the year with the aforementioned power rankings.  Consider this a starting point.  Numbers 26-50 will run next week, but for now, let’s dig into the top-25.

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Today we go over the top 80 outfielders for 2014 fantasy baseball, which comes after we went over the top 60 outfielders for 2014 fantasy baseball, which came after the top 40 outfielders for 2014 fantasy baseball which followed the top 20 outfielders for 2014 fantasy baseball. Link dump! Tomorrow we hit the 80-100 best outfielders then on to the top 100 starters. It’s the best day of your life because I’m bestowing on you wonderful like your father never did. Don’t ask me to go see you play Little League though, that’s not happening. As always, my tiers and projections are noted and all of the 2014 fantasy baseball rankings are there. Where? There. Dur. Anyway, here’s the top 80 outfielders for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (27) | 2012 (22) | 2011 (25) | 2010 (27) | 2009 (28)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [93-69] AL Central
AAA: [61-83] International League – Toledo
AA: [76-66] Eastern League – Erie
A+: [64-68] Florida State League – Lakeland
A: [69-70] Midwest League – West Michigan
A(ss):  [33-42] New York-Penn League — Connecticut

Arizona Fall League PlayersMesa Solar Sox
Tommy Collier (RHP); Kenny Faulk (LHP); Blaine Hardy (LHP); Corey Knebel (RHP); Dixon Machado (SS); Devon Travis (2B); Tyler Collins (OF)

Graduated Prospects
Jose Iglesias (SS); Darin Downs (LHP); Bruce Rondon (RHP)

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Nick Castellanos a ti, Nick Castellanos a ti, Nick Castellanos a ti… Oh, sorry, I didn’t here you walk in. I was just singing Happy Birthday in Spanish with a Greek player’s name to anyone that was born on September 2nd. I’m glad you’re here. Sit down. You just sat down on the birthday cake. Okay, forget that now. This weekend rosters expanded, and with it the promise of a greater tomorrow. Yay, Billy Hamilton is going to steal 78 bases in September. Nick Castellanos will hit 12 homers and fix this gaping hole in my lineup I call, “Josh Hamilton Sucks.” All of the guys called up will be great (no, they won’t, but some may). It doesn’t mean they will be great immediately or even have the playing time to succeed this year. In keepers, obviously you pursue these players hard and fast like you’re Gosh Johnson, Josh’s porn star brother. In redraft leagues where you are desperate for SAGNOF, I’d grab Billy Hamilton now. If you have an open spot in your lineup and Hamilton isn’t playing, I’d still insert him and watch him get a steal in a pinch running appearance. Nick Castellanos is another ball of fruit — a melon ball, if you will. If he doesn’t have playing time, he adds nothing for redraft leagues. I will reiterate what Prospect Scott said yesterday, “I like his former teammate, Avisail Garcia, better and Grey is an idiot.” Okay, I will only reiterate the first part of that. In redraft leagues, you don’t want someone who will be great next year, you want someone who is swinging a hot bat right now. Now, go clean the cake off your ass. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Right about now is when I expected to start hyping the arrival of Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. The 26-year-old Cuban defector reportedly signed with the Phillies in late July, and we covered his potential fantasy impact here and here. Given the nature of the contract and all the money involved, there was plenty of incentive on the Phillies’ part to push Gonzalez through to the bigs as quickly as possible in order to get him accustomed to performing on a MLB stage. He was set to be your savior for the H2H playoffs, your last-ditch effort at a late-season roto push. He easily would’ve been top-two on this list by now, provided he hadn’t already surfaced in Philly. Alas, folks tend to tread carefully when there’s $60 million on the table. Reports suggest that some concerns popped up regarding Gonzalez’s elbow, and as of today, he remains unsigned. Whether it’s with the Phillies or elsewhere, M.A.G. figures sign for a much more reasonable sum ($60 mil was a little ridic).

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