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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Jose Siri is locked in, not just because he’s found a way to avoid iPhone jokes for a majority of the season, but because lately Siri has the answer. What? You didn’t think I’d go there? It’s like you hardly know me. (BASEBALL FOCUS.) Not since Francisco Mejia’s 50 game hit streak have we had a streak so epic. So not since last year, and even that, meh not really true. Regardless Reds outfield prospect Jose Siri is in the midst of a 34 game hitting streak, one that’s raised his average to .299, and left him with the very healthy slashline of .299/.343/.541. Siri has never been much of a contact guy, and has fallen into the power/speed upside camp. So far in 2017 the strikeouts are way down, the walks are up, the average is up, and the homers and steals have nearly doubled! So things are going good for Siri. Here’s a look at Siri cranking a homer against South Bend earlier this season.

He is however, still only a depth prospect in most dynasty formats. Despite recent success, he’s had a history of swinging and missing, inconsistency with his approach, and some off the field concerns. Despite all that a high upside low minor player remains, and one that might be worth a speculative grab in 16+ team leagues. At 22 he’s old for A ball and he could use a promotion to high A to really put this breakout to the test. No matter the details the streak pushes on… Here’s the rest of the happenings in MiLB.

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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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There’s no time for small talk this week, because Ralph Lifshitz and I set out to break the record for most prospects talked about in a single podcast episode. Here are just a few of the names we discuss: Julio Urias (recorded before news broke of his season ending shoulder surgery), Patrick Weigel, Lewis Brinson, Brendan Rodgers, Rafael Devers, Gleyber Torres, Nick Senzel, Shed Long, Michael Chavis, Yordan Alvarez, Bo Bichette, Austin Hays, Ryan Mountcastle, Colton Welker, Logan Allen, Nick Neidert, Tyler Mahle, Joey Lucchesi, Jordan Humphreys, Estevan Florial, Taylor Trammell, Brett Cumberland, Tyler Wells, Randy Arrozarena, Jordan Luplow, Luis Escobar, Zack Littell, Zac Gallen, Beau Burrows, Nabil Crismatt, Jesus Sanchez, Khalil Lee, Monte Harrison, Mario Feliciano, Josh Ockimey, and many more. Also, on this week’s episode of Real Husbands of the Crab Army, El Presidente Lifshitz begins to fear a military coup is afoot. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast.

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As the Durham Bulls took the best little minor league pitching circus this side of Mississippi, literally, on the road. I promised myself I’d check out at least one game during the nearest stop on their International (League) tour. This is a rotation that now features the struggling, but still talented Blake Snell, recently activated off-season acquisition Jose De Leon, top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell, and the strikeout king of AAA Jacob Faria. I’ve discussed Faria a lot of late, because he’s obviously a prospect that fascinates me. On Saturday in Pawtucket he went 4 strong innings before ending his night after completing the 4th. The early exit was more than likely due to the line drive he took off his leg earlier in the inning. It was really too bad, as Faria looked to have his best stuff on the night, outside a two run homer to Bryce Brentz nothing was hit hard at all. The first thing that strikes me when watching Faria is I love his change up. It has some nice break, and he throws it from a similar arm slot to the fastball. Speaking of the fastball, it too is a solid pitch getting some sink, and making it tougher on the hitters to barrel cleanly. This 1-2 punch gives Faria all the fuel he needs to pile up the strikeouts in bunches, however he has a tendency to nibble and that limits how deep into games he can get. Saturday was one of his more efficient performances, making the injury all the more upsetting. I have to admit I came away impressed by Faria, and think he has solid mid-rotation upside with some nice K potential. I mean look at that gif below and tell me you don’t like what you see. Amirite?!?  Today I venture back to Pawtucket to check out the Rays top prospect Brent Honeywell, who just so happens to check in as the 7th most valuable pitcher on Rudy’s Prospectornator. Don’t worry I promise to give you all the details on Honeywell….Here’s who else is making noise in the MiLB…

Yesterday summer came to New England, after months of teetering between 12 degrees, and 47 and rainy, the sun finally showed and warmed our frozen souls with it’s powerful rays. Perfect timing for me to, as Wednesday’s are by far the busiest days of my week. I have a work related meeting every “Hump Day” at 7 AM in downtown Boston, and that’s no joy to wake up and get to. So my day starts at 5 AM. I perform my usual “triple S”, make my coffee, finish the latest episode of Halp and Grey in the (insert time slot here) on the ride in, while I think about how badly I mis-ranked Alex Wood in my weekly pitching rankings. I mean there’s always one, right? So my day chugs along like a shiny steam engine from morning meeting, to morning workout, to morning meeting, to lunch, to afternoon meeting, to afternoon meeting. By 5 o’clock I’m toast, but there’s no rest for The Prospector, becuase it’s time to pickup my oldest from after-school care. Yesterday was a special one, as my son greeted me with his newest homemade “SpongeBob Squarepants” book, let’s just say he needs to work on his spelling. With all this to do, a man needs some time to his self, just him and his Schrock. I learned as a young man making time for one’s Schrock can make all the difference when it comes to your daily outlook, and just general disposition. Enough about my day, let’s discuss my Schrock. Now my Schrock is a well maintained smooth Schrock, what it lacks in size, it makes up for with heart, technique, and advanced approach. My Schrock might look undersized, but it packs surprising power. In fact this spring my Schrock, let’s call him Max, made quite the impression in the Arizona sun. If by this point you haven’t figured out that I’m talking about Oakland A’s 2nd base prospect Max Schrock, then you my friend have a dirty mind. So who is this little SOB? Well if you’ve been paying attention then you’d know that Schrock’s been discussed in this space before, as well as on the prospect podcast. For my podcast co-host Michael C. Halpern of Imaginarybrickwall.com loves Schrock! Loves him! So far in 2017 Schrock has struggled a bit to pick up where he left off in spring training. Yesterday, however, Schrock finally broke out his boom stick, and put the wood to two Yohander Mendez pitches. Going double dong on his way to a 3 for 4 day with two solo jobs. Schrock can always get it done by his lonesome, even if the Rockhounds lost to the Roughriders 7-4. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. As for Schrock’s 2017 he’s currently slashing .277/.315/.433 with 5 homers and 3 steals.

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It’s that time of year again when Ralph and Halp enter the Grey area and talk about Major Leaguers on the Prospect Podcast. It somehow felt more subversive when Ralph wasn’t writing the Top 100 Pitcher Ranks and I wasn’t co-hosting the Baseball Podcast, but them’s the breaks of going mainstream I guess. We start by discussing the value of slow starters such as Alex Bregman and Byron Buxton, before moving on to the power hitting breakouts of Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger, Eric Thames, and Yonder Alonso. On the pitching side, we debate just how good Michael Fulmer is, and if Marcus Stroman can be anything more than a solid fantasy starter. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Prospect Podcast.

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With roughly two months worth of baseball activity behind us, it’s time to re-rank some stuff. Sure, that’s an awful reason to rank things, and what’s baseball activity anyway? But Keith Law gets to update his after a couple of months, so why can’t cha boy Ralphie L? Some things have changed, for sure, some top prospects have either graduated, or are on the cusp of graduating. Most notably Andrew Benintendi, Dansby Swanson, Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, Aaron Judge, and Tyler Glasnow. I figure if you’re in the majors, I ain’t gonna rank ya no more. There’s been a few jumps, the most significant of which is Chicago Cubs prospect Ian Happ. For those of you who don’t follow minor league box scores, he’s pretty much the Eric Thames of the minors leagues. Only minus the beard or the Popeye muscles. My excitement over Lewis Brinson and Cody Bellinger should be easily identified, they slot second and third respectively. As for the rest of the list you’re going to have to see for yourself. No, I won’t be sliding Tyler Mahle into my Top 25, after the perfect game last night. I had to get it in somewhere, right?

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You don’t really care about prospects, and I get that. You’re a redraft player, and probably a damn good one. You don’t want a top 100 list where half the guys won’t sniff a major league field for the next 2 years +. You need the right now, the rookie nookie, the sleepers in the waivers. The ones waiting in the weeds until the call comes, and the earliest bird plucks them minutes before the rest of the league, to a collective of moans and groans. This is the song of the RCL rookie scavenger. The man beating you to Trea Turner by 3 minutes, the guy who stashed Alex Bregman on and off for a month. You need to beat him this year, let this be your map, and the Twitter/MLB/Traderumors alerts be your batphone. I think I just mixed metaphors. Whatevs!!! You get the jist. Behold! The Top 25 Rookies for 2017 Fantasy Baseball. By the by, this list is 100% 2017 focused, so ETA, lack of a platoon or temporary fill-in status matters. I don’t care what he’s going to be in 2 years. THAT DOESN’T MATTER!!! It’s all about the right now, the present. I’m listening to Right Now by Van Halen. I’m wearing white jeans. I’m holding up signs that say, “Right now someone is drafting Ian Desmond unaware of his injury”. It’s that real.

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