Over the past few seasons few positions have gotten more hype than shortstop. With players like Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Alex Bregman, Addison Russell, Amed Rosario, the names go on and on. Some of these names were obviously major difference makers in fantasy, while others have ridden “real baseball” prospect hype to overrated status. Much like with catchers on the mainstream prospect lists, the demands of the position defensively significantly increase these player’s values. We don’t care about defense though, there’s only two questions we ask ourselves as dynasty managers. Does this Rotowear shirt make me look fat? No, wait, wrong question. We ask ourselves A. Can he hit? B. Will he stick at the position? The latter of which is ehhh, with a side of meh sauce. I really only care if they can hit. If a player is moved to second, third, or center, it really doesn’t matter, you know, as long as the skills play. I understand position scarcity, but my focus when drafting, adding, or trading for prospects in fantasy leagues is to land the best possible hitters. With this in mind I present to you the Top 10 Shortstop Prospects for 2018 Fantasy Baseball.

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July 9th at 4pm marks the exact time I’m certain Prospector Ralph’s mind will explode with excitement. That feeling of pure elation can only be achieved in one scenario. Watching the game’s budding talents in the 2017 Futures Game – streaming on MLB.com – after spending countless hours researching and following prospects of this caliber (From the Razzball family and its incredible base of readers, we sincerely thank you for your work Ralph!). Well, maybe there are a few other scenarios. According to BuzzFeed there are 42 others where this pure form of joy and satisfaction arises. They include unraveling knittingcrunching leaves, and breaking the yolk. Aside from the fact that I’m certain breaking the yolk is a sexual innuendo for something completely different, we live in a truly sad world if these things make people as happy as Ralph on Futures Game Sunday.

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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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During the winter I made a somewhat bold statement, that I’m not sure many agreed with it at the time. I stated that, I’d rather have Rhys Hoskins long term than Tommy Joseph. There was a great deal of skepticism regarding Hoskins 2016, mostly because it took place in the comfy confines of FirstEnergy (not a typo) Stadium. And really, who can blame them? The ballpark is so bananas, it tricked people into thinking Darin Ruf, and Dylan Cozens were actually good. That said, there was a lot to like about Hoskins profile,  FirstEnergy (not a typo) Stadium not withstanding. Throughout his professional career he’s hit for power (.233 ISO), average (.291), gotten on base (.375), and walked at a high rate (10.4%). He’s also done all this while striking out at a sub-20% clip. Tell me that doesn’t scream MLB worthy? In the offseason I was by far the high man on Hoskins, ranking him 57th in my top 100. Fast forward two and half months, and Hoskins is the new danger, hitting a robust .350/.447/.675 with 8 homers, and 15 RBIs in just 24 games. Meanwhile Tommy J struggles in Philly, and the calls for Hoskins in Philly get louder. Sure he’s a righthanded throwing first baseman, but Paul Goldschmidt scoffs at you scoffs at your concerns. I put my money where my mouth is on Hoskins, and dealt Nick Gordon, and T.J. Friedl in the Basbeall Prospectus expert league, The Devil Rejects, back in November, and am quite happy with how my gamble looks to paying off. This prospector’s word of advice, go get Hoskins. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this week in the minors.

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It’s been a rough year for Minnesota, it started with the death of Prince, and just snowballed from there. The Twins were awful, finishing with the worst record in the majors by 9 games. The Vikings crapped out after beginning the season with so much promise. Jose Berrios is not quite the ace the Target Field faithful were dreaming on, and Atmosphere, though still entertaining, has seen better days. Well Minnesota, it’s 2017 and I’m going to continue to pile on. Sorry…. While the system looks bare, it should be mentioned that the Twinkies have graduated a group of elite prospects over the last few seasons in Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, and the aforementioned Berrios. Unfortunately, none of them have provided elite returns, as of yet. So what’s left in the pipeline oh Prospect Jesus, please tell us? Yes, my children, there ain’t much. Yup, Prospect Jesus uses the word ain’t, he’s a man of the people. As for immediate impact there are a handful of useful bullpen arms, and some back end starters, but the really exciting prospects are at minimum a year away, sometimes more in first rounder Alex Kirilloff’s case. Minnesota is truly a team that needs to re-tool the farm with so many of their young talented players already on the big league club. So sit back, put your feet up, and get up to date on the Top Minnesota Twins Prospects. Can you dig it?

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New year, new Halph! Not that different from the old Halph, but Halph nevertheless. This week’s episode involves us delving into a duo of systems in the Mets and the Twins, with plenty of the typical mindless banter for good measure. We crush on Thomas Szupucki together, and figure out where Rosario slots in among the elite shortstop prospects. Over the course of the show we come to a pair of conclusions that Amazin’ has an underrated system, and that the Twins have 4 prospects. Seriously, 4. Maybe 5, could be a stretch. There’s a lot of pitching prospect talk on this one, but knowing top Mets prospect pitchers is to love them. Amirite? Yeah, you’re nodding your head, it’s cool. So grab a cold one, or a hot one, and tune into the latest episode of the Razzball prospect podcast.

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Let’s be honest there’s no need to pussyfoot around the truth, we all give shortstop prospects a value boost in fantasy. We’re all looking for the next Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, or Francisco Lindor. Being able to fill our shortstop slot with a productive player doesn’t only sound homo-erotic, but is also a desirable position to be in as a fantasy owner. Wow, yeah, that didn’t sound much better. Moving along now, this lazy Sunday morning we discuss the next wave of those to man the six. We’re going to ignore the quintet of Seager, Turner, Arcia, Mondesi, and Anderson, if you don’t know all five of those guys and don’t have them marked on your watch lists in your RCL’s and re-draft leagues we have more work than I thought to do. For now let’s assume you have a general knowledge of top fantasy baseball prospects, and are looking to get beyond the surface of the big names with looming ETA’s. So we’re going to dive into some of the better up and comers at the SS position. Some of these guys are closer than others, but none are any higher in the minors than AA, and more than likely have ETA’s no closer than 2017. That’s enough of the small talk, let’s get to it.

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The Twins are a fun system to look at. They have the elite guys like Buxton and Berrios, but now we have the breakout Max Kepler and the international signee Byung-ho Park. Outside of the Aaron Hicks trade to New York, the Park signing was the biggest news of the Minnesota offseason. The Twins had some surprising success in 2015, thanks in part to the arrival of their young slugger Miguel Sano. 2016 will see even more prospect talent surface in Minnesota though, and things could gel together quickly. It’s probably do or die time for Danny Santana and Oswaldo Arcia, but there’s a lot of young talent to work with this year at Target Field.

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The Indians just unloaded Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher to the Braves, which created some breathing room on the roster. Bradley Zimmer could be one of the guys that benefits the most from all that extra oxygen. I ranked Zimmer 14th on my power rankings last week on a whim, but this recent trade has me looking at him as a legit call-up option as we head into September – one that could make a fantasy impact. I get to the Rubber Duck games in Akron a bunch, and seeing Zimmer in person you can definitely see where the Yelich comps come from. He has a long stride with sneaky plus speed, squares everything up, and shows good instincts on the basepaths. He’s one of those players that stands out on the field without even seeing him make a play. Already big and tall, it looks like a frame that could pack on even more muscle. Zimmer is following the typical path of a college bat, and while Double-A is one of the hardest jumps for a prospect, he’s holding his own with a .244/.359/.462 slash line, three homers, six doubles, and six steals through 21 games. He has yet to be caught stealing and his strikeout rate hasn’t spiked against the tougher arms either. He passes the eye test, the stats are yummy, and we could be looking at not only a September call-up but also a quick promotion to the bigs next summer. His ceiling would look something like .270 with 20 homers and 20+ steals in center or right field. Scoop him up in keepers and keep your eyes on him in redrafts for help down the stretch. Speaking of Akron, come say hi if you’re at the Jim Gaffigan show or the Hamburger Festival today. I’m easy to find. Just look for the depressed guy in the Expos cap. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (3) | 2013 (10) | 2012 (19) | 2011 (13) | 2010 (6)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [70-92] AL Central
AAA: [77-67] International League – Rochester
AA: [73-69] Eastern League – New Britain (2015 Chattanooga)
A+: [82-57] Florida State League – Fort Myers
A: [73-67] Midwest League – Cedar Rapids

Graduated Prospects
Danny Santana, SS, OF | Kennys Vargas, 1B

The Gist
After setting up a base camp with the Angels way back in November, we’re now getting close to the summit of the minor league previews with this well-stocked farm system in Minnesota. The Twins have two of my top 10 fantasy prospects overall. While both Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano are looking to bounce back from injuries, they also both possess the tools to become future fantasy stars. The pair could see time in the majors later this season, joining sophomores Danny Santana and Kennys Vargas in the Twins’ young core. If the position players aren’t enough, Minnesota also boasts several qualilty arms that should contribute to the major league club sometime in the next two years.

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