I was all set to open with Triston McKenzie’s 6 no hit innings, but then Rafael Devers collected his third hit of the night in his AAA debut. In the midst of writing this post while regretting my choice to spend my Saturday afternoon, and early evening, and night watching that Marathon Red Sox and Yankees affair, I had the alert pop up on my phone that Devers was about to make his 4th at bat of the night. So I turned away from McKenzie, turned away from Ronald Acuna (2 for 4, 2R, 1Bb, 1 RBI) and Ozzie Albies (1 for 5, 1R) vs Yoan Moncada (1 for 4, 1R, 2 SO’s) in the Charlotte vs. Gwinnett game, and tuned into the PawSox vs Syracuse affair to witness Devers 4th at bat of the contest. The Chiefs (Washington’s AAA affiliate) brought in veteran Neal Cotts of 10 years MLB experience to get the lefty on lefty matchup with Devers. Ahead of Cotts in a 2-1 count Devers hit a ball middle-up to right field for his first AAA homer.

The following inning he made a bare-handed play on the run, throwing out Pedro Severino.

The rumors are swirling regarding Todd Frazier to the Red Sox, with Ken Rosenthal deducing the trade was “almost inevitable”. I for one as a life-long Red Sox fan, and avid follower and fan of prospects, team-building, and organizational depth make this plea to one David Dombrowski. Sir, please don’t trade anything for Todd Frazier and his .210 batting average. Give Lin another week or two, let Devers shine in Pawtucket, and call the kid up around the trade deadline. It costs you nothing but a 40 man spot, why delay the inevitable for a rental? Xander Bogaerts came up late in 2013, and was better for his experience down the stretch and into the post-season. Much like Ronald Acuna has in the early stages of his AAA career, Devers may force the Red Sox hand, as he just looks so much better than anything they can acquire. Simple logic really, why give up assets when you don’t have to?… Anyway, here’s what else I saw in MiLB.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With the rapid speed at which Ronald Acuna has ascended through the minors, I ought to take every opportunity to write about him while I still can. If you hadn’t heard, Acuna was promoted to AAA on Wednesday evening, and the Braves best position prospect since Jason Heyward is now just a call away. Exciting news for dynasty league owners all over. In my updated Mid-Season Top 100 I ranked Acuna 5th in all of baseball, and after seeing the confidence the Braves have in the precocious 19 year old, how could you not? He brings to the table hard contact with an all-fields approach, 30 steal speed, and a huge ceiling. The plate discipline could be better, but to put things in perspective, he’s 19 and playing at the highest levels of full season ball while many of his contemporaries are just beginning short season and rookie ball. So I expect plate approach to be an area where things should improve as Acuna matures as a hitter. What he does at Gwinnett will be telling, particularly if he really struggles for the first time in his career. How he deals with that, adjusts, and rebounds will be the true test of his metal. It’s tough to say if he will struggle or not, but if he hits the ground running, I could picture a world, maybe as soon as a month, where Acuna is considered the top prospect in the game. Trust me I’ve made bold proclamations about Acuna before. Here’s what I said when I ranked him #42 overall in the pre-season, “Could be this season’s Victor Robles. Five tool player, that tore up Australia this winter, poised for a big jump in the mid-season list. Trade for him now”. I was right on both fronts, but was more conservative with his ETA setting it at 2019. That’s obviously no longer the case, outside of unforeseen circumstances of course. **KNOCK ON WOOD** Anyway, Acuna has a strong chance of seeing at least a few weeks of action in September, but I wouldn’t expect a call-up in the next few weeks. Though the possibility of Acuna breaking camp in 2018 is less remote than it was a few months ago, I’d be surprised by any promotion before mid-May next year. He’s a name to know for players in all formats, as this could be a stud in the making. Here’s what else I saw in the MiLB…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s prospect list madness this week with mid-season top 100 prospect lists dropping faster than Ralph’s productivity at work. Ralph posted his top 100 last Sunday (and continued on to 200 earlier today) and I’ve been slowly ranking the top 100 over on my website ImaginaryBrickWall.com (currently up to 70). We discuss the discrepancies between our rankings, including Triston McKenzie vs. Walker Buehler and where we slot the 2017 MLB Draft guys, along with comparing our rankings to the behemoths of the industry, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. We talk similarities too, as we both gush over some of the top breakout prospects, such as Estevan Florial and Ryan McMahon. Finally, we rep our podcast sponsor RotoWear.com, who is hooking up all Razzball readers/listeners with 15% off their purchase by entering promo code “SAGNOF.” It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This podcast is step one of the process to start a real-life Ralph and Halp Dynasty Baseball Prospects All-Star Game presented by Razzball and sponsored by our friends at Rotowear. Like LaVar Ball, our plan right now mostly revolves around speaking it into existence. As the old saying goes, it’s 90% inspiration and 10% perspiration. Or did I get that backwards? Either way, Ralph and I pick our Dynasty Futures All-Star rosters sandlot style, going back and forth until we each have a full lineup and pitching staff, while discussing many of the top guys at each position along the way. We also begin the podcast with a mini update, talking about the Nick Williams and Franklin Barreto callups, Dustin Fowler’s devastating injury, Miguel Andujar’s short lived MLB debut, and Scott Kingery’s Triple-A assault. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I had this lede in my back pocket.  In the fantasy baseball writing world, it’s called ‘the early lede.’  It’s a form of sandbagging.  You know everyone wanted Mike Montgomery in the preseason, but his rotation spot wasn’t confirmed.  So, in March, you write a Mike Montgomery Buy lede like you’re filling in a Mad Libs.  You say how he’s been great/solid/surprisingly awful but will come around.    You can’t believe the Cubs took this long/moved this fast with him.  His rotation spot was all but guaranteed once (pitcher’s name) got injured.  That (same pitcher’s name) wasn’t good anyway and now Montgomery is here to stay for the season/the month/this next start.  So far this year, he has a 61% ground ball rate, which would be the 3rd best in the majors if he qualified, and has a 8.6% swinging strike rate, which would be around the top 40.  Those two numbers give the promise that his strikeout and walk rate aren’t giving yet.  His 2.26 ERA is a bit of a fairy tale in unicorn clothes, but there’s still enough to be encouraged by.  You better get him/have to get him/maybe should get him!  This could be the pickup of the year/maybe a streamer and you better act fast/moderately quick/sometime while you’re still drawing breath.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Around 7 PM yesterday evening, in a clear case of ominous foreshadowing, and bad juju. I added Gleyber in several RCL leagues. With his recent AAA numbers, I figured gotta pounce now. But of course, almost simultaneously in Buffalo, just as I add him, the real Gleyber Torres was sliding into home, head first, and hyper-extending his left elbow. Oh yeah, and it was in the process of being thrown out. Because of course it was. It’s a curse, some sort of bad luck butterfly effect I have here in 2017. What can I say? Such a shame my curse had to crush this potential star in the making. And trust me I sincerely believe that Gleyber Torres is just that. Prior to Saturday’s home plate incident, the Yankees top prospect seemed headed for a call-up within weeks. This is all obviously up in the air now, but the X-Rays were negative, and he’s going to be further evaluated on Monday. It’s tough knowing which direction to go when a situation is still developing. A lot could change, but there’s still a possibility it’s nothing, and he misses a couple games. I’d look to be stashing him again if that’s the case come game locks on Thursday. Let’s all hold hands, and pray for Gleyber’s safe return into the lineup. Do it for your boy Ralph, do it for all the father’s out there looking for middle infield help, do it for America, sick orphans, organ donors, brewmasters, iron workers, beautiful strippers, doctors who do breast enlargement, and the guy who’s happy as hell shining shoes. These people want Gleyber! No! These people need GLEYBER!!! Let’s go do some MiLB!!!!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It was only a year ago that Mickey Moniak entered our lives. After going with the first pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, the California prep star hit the Gulf Coast League, raked to the tune of .284/.340/.409 with 10 steals, plus a homer, and showed he was ready for a full season assignment in 2017. You could see all the tools were there, even if his power numbers were underwhelming. Then again, we knew the power would be a slow burn with Moniak, as it often is with prep players. He did show the ability to hit for average, get on base, and steal some bags. All worthy pursuits, but it’s not going to make Moniak a fantasy superstar. We need the power to develop, and of late Moniak has struggled, not just with power, but in all facets. In fact over the last two weeks he’s hitting .179, with 1 homer, and a caught stealing. That’s how you say? Awful! Yeah, so last night’s 4 for 5, Moniak’s first four hit game of his career, was a welcomed development. In my eyes Moniak is an elite top 50 prospect, even with the recent struggles. At a newly minted 19, you need to be patient with the kid as the skill set develops. No player’s future is set in stone, just ask Byron Buxton, but Moniak looks like a top of the order bat with elite contact skills, speed, and the dynamic ability to improve any offense he’s a part of. Think Christian Yelich, early Jacoby Ellsbury, or a Trea Turner type, though maybe not quite as dynamic as Turner. Take this post as a reminder to hold onto Moniak in dynasty leagues, especially as teams that own him approach the deadline in a month and a half. If you’re a dynasty manager looking to restock your farm, I’d be looking to add Moniak every where I could. Now you just have to hope your league mates don’t read Razzball……… Here’s what else went down in the MiLB.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On this lovely Thursday afternoon, I’m going to approach this post as sort of a potpourri of minor league topics. It’s callup season, which is the most joyous, stressful, and busy times of the year for us Prospectors. Everyone wants to know who’s the next big callup, and when to stash them. It’s a tricky game to master, because there might not be a task more impossible to perfect, than getting in these teams heads. So we’ll go over my top 10 callups for June and beyond, and cross my fingers that I’m more than 50% correct. We’ll also talk some prospects making noise this week, and maybe drop a couple jewels on the draft and impending July 2nd signings. There’s so much to talk about! There’s so much to take my mind off of my many mediocre teams, and general inadequacies in RCL gameplay when matched against luminaries like Grey, Cram It, Nick The Dick, and Matt Truss. Hey, at least J-FOH isn’t beating my ass this year! These are the times I’m glad dynasty exists, I can crawl back into my hole, and dig in on some prospecting. Just me, my gold pan, and a world of infinite possibilities. It’s a mixed bag of minor league magic. It’s the latest edition of the minor league update.

Please, blog, may I have some more?