Will computer programmers for billion-dollar corporations find a way for Shohei Otani to be eligible as both a pitcher and a hitter in fantasy? These are the tough questions Abner Doubleday surely pondered when he invented baseball in 1839 (Doubleday invented baseball like Al Gore invented the internet and global warming). It’s also the question that Ralph Lifshitz and I ponder to start the podcast, along with touching on Willie Calhoun and Tyler Glasnow’s recent call-ups. We then dive deep into our third base rankings, debating if Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the #1 prospect in baseball, Colton Welker vs. Dermis Garcia, and how to value the proximity and safety of Jeimer Candelario and Brian Anderson. We cover everybody from Nick Senzel, Michael Chavis, and Miguel Andujar, to Nolan Jones, Sheldon Neuse, Yairo Munoz, Ryan Vilade, and many more. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 15% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:

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It’s funny how much third baseman are like eggplants. Why am I drawing this off the wall parallel? No reason, other than I didn’t know how to open, and the first thing I saw was an eggplant. Yes, a real eggplant not a eggplant emoji, or item represented by said emoji. Here we are on a Sunday, not talking about the minor league happenings of the last week, but heading full steam ahead into the our off-season prospect coverage. Crazy to think we’re two seasons into my tenure here at Razzball as the resident Prospector In Chief. Memories, tears, and promise rings. Today we dive into the chilly waters of the hot corner. Not the most exciting group I’ll profile over the next few weeks, but not every position is as stacked as outfield. Ya dig? That’s not to say there aren’t a collection of future fantasy stars, as well as fantasy relevant talents outside the top 5. The top three names of Guerrero, Senzel, and McMahon should be familiar to all, as they’re some of the top talents presently in the minors. Unlike outfield and shortstop, there’s a particular profile associated with 3rd. It’s a power position, and one expected to produce some of the top middle of the order bats. The top 5 is filled with those, but the next 5 is where things get interesting. As always, remember my personal preference weighs heavy on this ranks (these ranks are my personal preference after all…), and the ability to stick at the position long term is taken with a grain of salt. I’m looking for the best bats with 3Bs on the back of their minor league baseball cards.

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There’s no time of the year better for baseball junkies like us, than the dog days of August. The playoff races are starting to take shape, all levels and leagues in the minors are in full swing, the Cape Cod League playoffs are going, and there’s always a game, boxscore, or lineup to check. My wife calls this Ralphie-Phone-Hands season. Sorry I’m the creative one in the relationship, my wife just awkwardly creates puns from Tim Burton movie titles. Believe me, you don’t want to hear what she’s done with Big Fish. Any the who, this leads me to our lede topic for today, (lead-lede?) Brewers 2017 first rounder Keston Hiura. Coming into the draft many considered Hiura to be the most/best/pro-ready hitter in the draft. Once you’re done choosing your hyperbolic label, we’ll move along. Okay you done? Good, great, grand. There’s one issue with Hiura though, he hasn’t played the field in pretty much a year due to an elbow injury, that up to now, has not required Tommy John. Have I scared you off yet? If so, I hope we share a league and you’ve already gone back to asking Grey catcher questions. Why? Because I want Keston Hiura on all my dynasty teams. In a year where far off prep hitters, and high school arms are the crème de la crème, I’ll gladly target the advanced college bat with contact, power, and approach.

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Way back in the late fall, I released my Original edition of the first year player draft rankings. So, it’s been awhile since I first wrote those, and ranked these players out. I figured it was about time to update those now dated ranks. The question you may be asking yourself is “Ralph, why are you so handsome, and also what’s changed?” Well I’ll tell you, I “gots somes” experience now. Because, over the last month plus I’ve had several first year player drafts, meaning I “gots somes” actual real life draft knowledge to draw from. Not to mention my ever-evolving opinions and evaluations of players. So what better time to update the rankings, and give you an idea as to where my heads at after reviewing all of these youngins over the course of my team by team prospect rankings. I’ve fallen in love with some, soured on others, and been introduced to players I previously overlooked. If these rankings are too late for your league’s draft, my apologies, and I understand your angst. We’re deep into draft season, meaning our collective sweatpants smell of rot and butt cheeks, it’s okay to be ornery.  I’ll make it easy, use small words, and discuss lots of wildly inaccurate and inappropriate expectations to put on a teenager. It’s all good though because it’s in the name of fantasy baseball.

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It’s been a big year for Cleveland sports, but that all takes a back seat to a big week for Cleveland here on Razzball. Earlier in the week Grey gave you his take on top prospect Bradley Zimmer, yesterday we gave you the latest edition of the prospect podcast where we went through the top prospects in the Indians system. Always one to beat a dead horse, today we go over Zimmer and the Indians system again. Will we discuss anything new? Maybe. Sort of depends, if you read Grey’s post and listened along to the podcast, I’d lean toward the negative. If not than everything is new. Dollars to doughnuts it’s not a bad system to get hung up on. They have solid talent at the upper levels of the system and solid talent at the lower levels as well. Players like Francisco Mejia, Triston McKenzie, and Greg Allen all enjoyed breakouts. While Chris Antonetti and Mike Chernoff took home another haul in this year’s draft. Needless to say it’s a fun system to dive into. So let’s dive into it, shall we?

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A very special Black Friday edition of the Prospect Podcast this week. Where we discuss two teams that are like stores with completely different inventory. One being the well stocked Cleveland Indians system with plenty of merchandise for prospect hounds. The other being the Detroit Tigers and their going out of business sale with only candle holders and shell shaped soap on the shelves. Yes Ohio vs Michigan and just in time for Ohio vs Michigan. Myself and Michael Halpern of ImaginaryBrickWall.com maintain order so no one can rush the doors and crush other shoppers. Wow I’m really lost in this analogy. Nevertheless it’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Prospect Podcast.

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Two Saturdays ago, I released the top 15 picks in my First Year Player Draft Rankings. I then followed this up with the latest edition of the Prospect Podcast this past Saturday, where Halp and I mocked out the first 32 picks of a First Year Player draft with Matt Thompson of Friends With Fantasy Benefits, and Smokey. Today we complete the dynasty nerd trilogy with the resolution of my rankings. Because I’m incapable of making difficult decisions and setting boundaries I went a little past 30. Don’t complain, I’m giving you extra. How ungrateful can you be? In today’s post I get a little deeper into the J2’s, as I included 10 of them. This year we had a solid J2 class and a weak draft class, so there’s more of an International flavor in the 2017 rankings than there might have been in past years. (Hopefully the international flavor is Jerk seasoning, but I will settle for Chimichurri, or a solid curry.) It’s also a pitching heavy class, with it being an extremely soft year for college bats. I can’t remember having so many pitchers, particularly prep, in my rankings. Enough with the “Hi, hows ya fathers”, let’s get into it!

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After a two week hiatus we’re back in the saddle again. This time we brought along a couple of friends to help us, well sort of. This week’s episode is a live mock first year player draft featuring two very knowledgeable prospect hounds in Matt Thompson, lead prospect writer for Friendswithfantasybenefits.com, and the ghost of Razzball’s very own Smokey. The four of us mocked out the first 32 picks on Twitter, so technically it’s not “live”, but not to worry this allowed us to discuss each player in detail. The goal is to get you prepared for your upcoming FYPD drafts this offseason. I know, I know, we’re such givers! Though it’s not all sunshine and Rose wine. Due to technical difficulties we lost out first run-through of the show with Smokey. So, this episode features Halp, Matt, and I trying our damndest to fill the void left behind by our grizzled vet, and to give you the rational behind the LOOGY’s picks. No need to fear prospect hounds, the Razzball Prospect Podcast is back, and stroking the flames of the hot stove all offseason.

P.S. For those following along at home I’ve included the draft results here

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So it happened…. What????? The 2016 MLB Draft stoopid! I mean I am Ralph Lifshitz Prospector Esquire, and what else would I be talking about on a Sunday? Everyone else deals with the right now, but I, I deal with the future, the dreams of dynasty owners everywhere. So let’s get into the most difficult thing to predict, project, or understand. No, not Donald Trump’s campaign!!!! Are you even paying attention?!? The MLB Draft wake up!!! If you need proof as to why the MLB Draft is unpredictable, then click here and see how badly I missed on like 90% of my picks. Seriously after months of study and careful and thoughtful attention, I hit on 5 picks..FIVE out of 34! It’s cool I own it, I wear my mistakes like the rings of a pimp. So, let’s get into the steals, the stupid, the possible, and my general thoughts on the first few rounds of the draft.

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In just 24 hours MLB draft madness will be upon us. While it certainly has the least amount of fanfare among the four major sports, I find it to be by far the most fascinating. In Football and Basketball so much of the focus is immediate, mostly due to the older nature of prospects, particularly in football. This relies heavily on opportunity and fit with a team’s style and system. The NHL in many ways sits in the middle between the other two sports and baseball. But baseball, that’s a whole different story. In baseball it’s all about projection and development. Even the most MLB ready player spends a year plus in the minors developing. The other end of the spectrum is prep players that can marinate in the lower levels for 3-4 years. It’s an animal unto itself. So today I give you the final installment of my pre-draft posts. You can check the other two here and here. I’m going to begin with a quick mock, and follow that up with some general notes and thoughts. Let’s make this interactive, as more information matriculates, and the draft rumors circulate feel free to post what you’re hearing in the comments.

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