Here’s a look at the best prospects for fantasy baseball right now. It’s a fluid list, and you’ll see some big changes as well as some new faces from the preseason Top 50. I’m sticking to a cap of 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched in the major leagues when determining who is still eligible for this list. So while some of the names have already been promoted this year and are expected to graduate, I’m still going to rank them. If Miguel Sano drinks too much nerve tonic with only 100 MLB at bats, he’d still qualify for prospect lists heading into next year, so he’s included on this one. This list does not include any 2015 draftees or J2 signees. The +/- column on the right shows how much each prospect rose or fell from my preseason list. I wouldn’t sweat players who moved just a few slots. Instead, I’d focus on the double-digit changes and the new additions. For lengthier notes on some of the biggest movers, you should check out last week’s post. Personally I skew towards hitters and rank only a handful of pitchers that I really like. Keep in mind that I’m coming at you from the perspective of our fantasy game, so it may differ from a traditional prospect list when it comes to certain players. Now that the housekeeping is out of the way, here is this year’s midseason Top 50 prospects for fantasy baseball…

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David Dahl‘s 2015 season is already over after lacerating his spleen in a nasty collision. Fun fact time. Back in the day, when humans were even dumber than they are now, folks thought that the spleen produced a kind of black bile that was related to melancholy. Their descendants can now be found trolling blogs across the interwebs with a brand new arsenal of misinformation. Dahl ranked numero uno on my Rockies Top 10 Fantasy Prospects list this offseason and #12 on my Top 50 Fantasy Prospects, so this is a major injury to a very good player. Missed time is starting to pile up, as Dahl had already missed a large part of his 2013 season with a torn hammy. The 21-year-old also suffered a concussion in this week’s collision. Just talking about this makes me all melancholic. I blame my spleen. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

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Greetings! Surprise, tis not Grey the Elder God, nor Dan Pants, but I, Tehol Beddict, wordsmith and fantasy baseball extraordinaire. Some of you may have been wondering where my Game of Thrones post was this week (okay, maybe, like, two of you), but truth be told, I was in the type of NyQuil induced coma that would make Anna Nicole Smith (RIP Bae) jealous. (And if you’d like to hear me in my NyQuil induced coma while talking about Game of Thrones, be sure to check out the newest Fantasy Football podcast.) Say one thing for Tehol Beddict, he loves NyQuil. You see, when I’m sick, I despise doing anything, so I just skip the DayQuil and just stay home and take the night-time stuff, dozing off every few hours, awaiting the end of the torture that is the common cold. During these moments of sedation, I’ve realized some interesting side effects from NyQuil that I believe could change an entire industry. And what industry is that you ask? The porn industry of course! That tasty green liquid makes it extremely difficult to orgasm and also thickens the Au jus, making for the ultimate money shot! The only problem I foresee with introducing this into the adult entertainment world is that, being that it makes one so tired, how can one bring the energy forth to really slam it home? An IV with sugar free Red Bull perhaps? Either way, I think I’ve found something… Wait, am I supposed to be writing about baseball? [Jay’s Note: One can only hope…] Ahhh, yes.

Speaking of drugs, Josh Hamilton is BACK! Back with the team with which he rose to fame. Back to dropping double-dongage on the opposition as if they were Paula Abdul on a Tuesday night in autumn (do-do ya love me!?). I was high on Hamilton (no pun intended, MAYBE) before the season began, but now that he’s back in Texas, where he’s comfortable, I couldn’t be higher… unless I took a double dose of NyQuil. NEVER DO THAT!  I’m sure Hambone was immediately swooped in leagues he wasn’t previously owned after yesterday’s two-bomb performance, but needless to say, if he’s there, go head and make that happen friends.

Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball, TAKE HEED!

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The title pretty much says it all, so instead of a big intro this opening paragraph will link you to some more helpful information regarding prospects. Here are the Top 30 prospects for 2015 redraft leagues. Here are the American League and National League Top 10 prospect indexes. We also have the Top 20 2014 signees for first-year player drafts in dynasty formats. Last but not least, here are my Top 100 keeper rankings. In the prospect rankings below, more specific ETAs are given as well as links to the organizational top ten list for each player. Just click on the team abbreviation to view my comments on individual prospects. Only two-thirds of the teams are written up, so apologies if not all of the links are live just yet. Ages listed are as of Opening Day 2015. Here are the Top 50 prospects for 2015 fantasy baseball…

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (17) | 2013 (15) | 2012 (7) | 2011 (6) | 2010 (17)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [76-86] NL Central
AAA: [68-75] International League – Louisville
AA: [60-80] Southern League – Pensacola
A+: [78-62] California League – Bakersfield (2015: Daytona)
A: [68-70] Midwest League – Dayton

Graduated Prospects
Billy Hamilton, OF | Donald Lutz, 1B/OF | Jumbo Diaz, RHP

The Gist
The Reds had a disappointing 2014 season thanks in part to the loss of Joey Votto and a power outage from right fielder Jay Bruce. Billy Hamilton had an up and down year but still managed to swipe 56 bags in his rookie campaign. His six homers were a pleasant surprise, but fantasy owners would probably trade them in for a better batting average and more stolen bases. The Reds’ farm has a clear 1/1A at the top, but one of the most intriguing players on this list is Raisel Iglesias. Cincinnati signed the Cuban pitcher to a seven-year deal and he could make an impact with the big league club as soon as this summer. Ben Lively, who would have made this list, was traded to the Phillies for Marlon Byrd this offseason.

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Welcome to the All-Star break gang – the unofficial beginning of the second half signals the time to reorganize, revamp, and re-think approaches for us, as well as the folks making the calls for your favorite MLB teams. And, coincidentally, it also marks the time for me to revisit my Prospect Rankings. These are the current top-50 guys on my board that haven’t accumulated the standard minimum 130 AB/50 IP at the MLB level that most fantasy leagues recognize. When compiling my rankings, I try to consider as many variables as possible, but my main focus tilts toward future “difference-makers”… those guys that have the potential to make significant impacts when they reach “The Show”. Some players you’ll find on this list may be further away from making that impact than others, some may be struggling a bit right now (they may have been recently promoted to the next level to challenge them and are adjusting to stiffer competition), some may be on the shelf because of injury, etc., but this list represents the top-50 players I’d pick if you give me the first 50 picks in the MiLB phase of a draft in a newly forming fantasy league. These are the prospects GMs “dream on”, regardless of their current minor league level – the players they plan to build their rosters around at some point in the near future.

So here we go…

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2013 was supposed to be a breakout year for Trevor Story, who was coming off of an exciting 2012 campaign at Low-A Asheville where hit .277/.367/.505 with 18 HR and 15 SB. That line, combined with the fact he was stepping up to the hitter-friendly environment of the Cali League, made for some serious hype last spring – hype which his on-field performance couldn’t match. Story ended 2013 with a forgettable .233/.305/.394, 12 HR, 23 SB line. He’s out to repair his image in 2014, though. In a repeat assignment at High-A Modesto, the 21-year-old SS/3B is hitting .306/.394/.516 with 9 XBH (1 HR), and 11 SB in 71 PA.

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Our offseason prospect series is through — all 30 minor league previews with fantasy-specific top 10’s are in the books.  For years we’ve written this same series, finished it, and then just sort of rolled into the regular season stuff without any fanfare.  This year, though, we’re wrapping up the minor league previews, and adding a nice little bow on top.  This post will serve as the bow.  The purpose is twofold: (1) For the first time we have links to each of our MiLB previews all in one place, and (2) we’ve ranked each farm system from a fantasy perspective, giving you a simple guideline as to which orgs are stacked with fantasy impact, and which orgs are virtually void of it.  Let’s cut to it:

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (15) | 2012 (7) | 2011 (6) | 2010 (17) | 2009 (14)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [90-72] NL Central
AAA: [69-75] International League – Louisville
AA: [59-79] Southern League – Pensacola
A+: [55-85] California League – Bakersfield
A: [65-74] Midwest League – Dayton

Graduated Prospects
Derrick Robinson (OF); Tony Cingrani (LHP); J.J. Hoover (RHP)

The Run Down
The fantasy buzz surrounding this group of Reds prospects is largely focused on Billy Hamilton and his mind-bending speed.  The Hamilton hype is certainly warranted, but what goes overlooked amid all that talk is the fact that he’s not even the highest impact prospect in this org.  No, that title belongs to Robert Stephenson, who headlines this top 10, and is soon to be headlining rotations across the fantasy game.  Behind the top two, the Reds have compiled a nice collection of prospects with polish, and prospects with upside.  From top to bottom, it’s not an extreme high-impact farm, but for fantasy purposes, this is a group to watch closely.

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Quite a bit has changed since the 2013 MiLB season began in April, and folks have been clamoring for a mid-season prospect list. Well, here it is, 50-deep. But before we get into it, a quick primer on the criteria for this top 50: There was no specific timetable considered, so the rankings below can be considered a dynasty league list. You’ll notice that the ETA’s here range from this season all the way to 2016. To prevent any overlap with lists that Grey and JayWrong put together last week, I’ve included only prospects who are currently in the minor leagues. That means I had to remove Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick from the board after news of their call-ups — Yelich was #7, Marisnick #40. It also means I couldn’t list Carlos Martinez, who’s currently working in relief for the Cardinals — he would’ve been ranked right around #20.

Anyway, I’ll be writing notes on all of these fellas during the off-season, once the dust has settled on the 2013 season and I’ve had a chance to take a more thorough look at depth charts, injuries, etc. For now, I’ve included only a few pertinent details: age, current level, fantasy impact categories, and ETA. Each player is linked to his player card on Baseball-Reference.com, or his Razzball player card where possible. My hope is that this list will help dynasty leaguers sort out their rosters as keeper deadlines approach. Enjoy.

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