Ranking prospects for fantasy purposes is a tricky exercise. 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, we’re going 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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

No prospect in baseball brings a higher ceiling than Javier Baez. That much is noted. He gave us a glimpse of the limitless potential last summer when he reached Double-A, drilling 35 XBH (20 HR) in 240 plate appearances during the season’s final two months. Then he showed up at big league camp this spring and knocked 5 HR in 18 games, and baseball began to wonder how long the Cubs could keep a talent like this in the minors. I drank the Baez Kool-Aid — I drank lots of it. I fantasized about scenarios that would’ve had Javy in the bigs by now, and I advised you to stash him in redraft leagues, and not let go. But then the cant-miss 21-year-old proceeded to miss. He missed just about everything that was thrown to him, to be clear, racking up a K% at Triple-A Iowa north of 35% through the first month and a half of the season. Throughout it all, though, I told you to be patient. I told you he’d turn it around, and once he did, he wouldn’t be long for the minors. I admit, anxious feelings about Baez began to creep into the back of my mind in recent weeks, and to a degree, they’re still present. These past 10 days, however, have provided much needed relief, as Baez has posted a slash line at .414/.419/.897 with 3 homers and 5 doubles. It’ll take several more weeks like this one to repair his line on the year, which sits at .201/.268/.388, but I believe Javy will be up to the challenge. And if, by chance, too much damage has been done to salvage the Triple-A line, he’ll still have a clean slate to work with when he surfaces at Wrigley later this summer.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s about that time, prematurely balding men and four girl readers. Gregory Polanco is nearing his call-up date. He is basically a young version of Starling Marte. As of this writing, he’s 22 years old. I’m hoping he’s still 22 years old when I’m done writing this post otherwise I spent way too much time on it. He can be a superstar, which has me excited. He won’t be a superstar this year, which takes the wind out of my sails for redraft leagues. Usually when I’m talking about wind in my sails, I’m wearing only my boxers and just ate a can of beans, so maybe it’s best if we ignore how much wind is in my sails. Polanco can hit 12 homers and steal 40 bags without killing you in average. Yes, I know, you love him too now. It’s okay, just because your father never loved you doesn’t mean you can’t love another man. In Single-A, Polanco had 16 homers and 40 steals. In Single-A, Marte had 3 homers and 24 steals. Granted, Polanco had 200 extra at-bats in his Single-A year. Granted, Part II: Granted Lives; Polanco was two years younger in his Single-A year. Marte doesn’t have anywhere near the plate discipline of Polanco, so, if anything, Marte will become a poor man’s Polanco. Polanco has the kind of pedigree right now that could mean he’s a top three rounder and one day supplanting The Dread Pirate as the best outfielder in Pittsburgh. I.e., The Sexy Dish That Ate Pittsburgh. Yes, I’m really excited for him. This past year between the two levels, he hit 12 homers and 37 steals while hitting .286. Christian Yelich went from Double-A to the majors and hit fine. Lots of players do. The Pirates weren’t that aggressive. If they were, then Polanco would’ve shot up my preseason rankings and I would’ve told everyone to draft him in every single league. Instead, Polanco went to Triple-A and continued to bash like your 12-year-old self idealizing Jose Canseco. As with rookies, you need to keep expectations in check. To misquote the immortal words of John Popper, “Nobody should think or expect too much while everyone is calling for the movie rights. Singing, ‘Hey, babe, let’s keep in touch. Hey, baby, let’s keep in touch.” He will be up in early June and now is the time to stash him. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 32/8/36/.250/15 in 300 ABs. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

King Salomon Brothers, the overseer of the Iron Bank, was mortgaging castles that he shouldn’t have been and fighting to get repaid, so he decided to sell his crown that was bespeckled in quinoa and Boca Burgers. The crown itself was worth more than all castles together. The world could be saved of economic ruin if the crown could get safely to the world’s largest pawn broker, Wei-Yin Chains. Unable to leave the kingdom himself, King Salomon Brothers gave Prince Fielder the crown, entrusting it to his overweight son, knowing if there was one person not interested in the healthy adornments on the crown it would be he. Unfortunately, heavy is the neck that wears Prince’s crown, and he gobbled up the crown like he gobbled up all the fantasy trust I put in him when I drafted this man the size of four horses. Goddammit! Dubya tee eff, doode! You can’t put on a neck brace and get up to bat? Shoot some cortisone is your cellulite! DAH!!! The only positive in this travesty that has befallen the fattest POS in the seven kingdoms? You’ll get to drop him! Fielder exclamation mark, exclamation mark, exclamation mark, I hate you. Sincerely, Your Drafter. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ranking prospects for fantasy purposes is a tricky exercise. 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, we’re going 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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ranking prospects for fantasy purposes is a tricky exercise. 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, we’re going 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.

1.  Gregory Polanco, OF, Pirates (Previously Ranked #2): He’s hitting .400/.457/.632 with 4 HR and 4 SB through 105 PA at Triple-A Indianapolis. Need I say more? If I do need to say more, then please refer to Sunday’s Minor Accomplishments post, where Polanco headlined.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In his first plate appearance of spring training, a big league camp AB versus David Phelps, Gregory Polanco turned on a breaking pitch, sending it over the right field wall. Such things happen to 22-year-olds during spring training, and most of the time, they’re anomalies. In Polanco’s case, however, that moment, in retrospect, seems profound — a statement as to his readiness to produce at the highest level from the instant he stepped on a diamond this spring. Reassigned to Triple-A to begin the season, Polanco’s statements have only grown louder. Through 92 PA, he’s hitting .417/.467/.679 with 4 HR and 4 SB, making him the best mixed league stash in the minors. The Bucs have been fortunate thus far to squeeze some production out of their Travis Snyder/Jose Tabata platoon, but the upside with Polanco is unquestionably higher and it’s only a matter of time before Pittsburgh slots him into their lineup as the everyday RF. His incredible start at Indianapolis should allow him to segue into big league ball with a shizzload of confidence.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The H is O! Oh, no, Jose Fernandez has me so jazzed, I need to bust some rhymes. I came in the door, I said it before. I never let a top starter magnetize me no more, but watching Fernandez yesterday is biting me, fighting me, inviting me to want a number one starter just this one time. I can’t hold it back, I’m looking at his pitching line — 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 14Ks. Taking off my coat, and that’s me quoting Rakim’s quote, his pitches were kicking it until his last hitter, Ryan Doumit. My mind remains refined, all kinds of ideas. Self-esteem makes it seem like his pitching took years to build, but his age is just twenty-one. Prepared, never scared, he’s just a blessed one. And you know that I’ve never seen that terrible movie with Jamie Foxx, think it was called The Soloist, so Jose F. make ‘em clap to this. I said it the other day, but in case you weren’t reading, Fernandez is going to be the best pitcher going into next year. Thought he was a donut, you tried to glaze him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m all about the win-now. This means I will rarely own a top prospect, because I’ll trade them for short term MLB value and/or I just won’t spend the dough on those guys, because I can look a bit deeper for translatable prospects that don’t have as much associated hype. Therefore, I’m not going to whine about not owning and emphasizing the obvious: Oscar Tavares, George Springer, Gregory Polanco or even Jackie Bradley Jr. Instead I’ll draft sure-thing offense so long as they’re healthy (Michael Morse and Yasmani Grandal), and then go with upside starters/or solid veterans like Marco Estrada, Alex Wood, Corey Kluber, Tyson Ross, Kyle Lohse and Tim Hudson (all were available around the same time as these prospects in deep leagues). I literally own all of these guys, and the following ESPN’ers <10% owned as of 4/14:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ranking prospects for fantasy purposes is a tricky exercise. 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, we’re going to keep a running ranking throughout the season. This post will run every other Wednesday, providing a weekly glimpse of the soon-to-arrive impact talent.

Please, blog, may I have some more?