Bear with me for a moment while I venture outside stateside baseball for a look at a marvelous moment in Korean pro ball. The always great Ben Badler of Baseball America brought this clip to my attention this past Wednesday, and you really gotta give this one a look. Outfielder Jun-Woo Jeon is the batter. His team is down two runs with a runner on first and one out in the bottom of the ninth. He recognizes the fat breaker, turns on it, and lifts it to left field. He thinks it’s gone and the game tied, so he flips his bat triumphantly and does one of those cool jogging finger points toward his dugout. It’s not gone. No, the ball dies at the track, and not long after, the opposition dies of laughter. This is why you never bat flip. #Scouting.Please, blog, may I have some more?
I have to admit that I am completely tired of talking about all the Nick Green‘s and Hector Jimenez‘s of the fantasy baseball world. I could use a one-week recharge from rummaging through the free agency trash heap of our deep leagues, which means you do to. I’m the driver, so you never really had a choice anyways. That being said, today’s subject might be useful as you begin to get a feel for what your team is and what it needs. Whether or not you are thinking about buying for a run at the championship, or already day-dreaming about drowning your team in a fire-sale, I’d like to tackle some players you should be asking for as throw-ins. And by throw-ins, I’m talking about prospects outside of the Top-100 that you should ask for in every trade proposal. My goal is to name names that aren’t expensive, don’t move the dynamic of your proposal, but could pay dividends a couple years down the road. Remember, there were 1,026 players taken in the 1988 draft before Mike Piazza. Let’s find ours.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Twins fans might be in for a frustrating year at the big league level, but trust me, the future is bright in Minnesota. No other organization can boast such a high-profile pair of hitting prospects as the Twins can with Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton. Sano, who boasts raw power unmatched by any other minor leaguer, is simply on fire. The 19-year-old is hitting .370/.429/.765 with 9 homers in 91 trips to the plate with High-A Fort Myers. Meanwhile, Buxton, the 2nd overall pick last June, is having no trouble with his first taste of full-season baseball, batting .400/.524/.662 with 3 homers and 8 stolen bases through 82 PA. I went over my Byron Buxton fantasy the other week, in case you missed it. Judging by tools alone, these two are among the most exciting talents in baseball. The fact that they’re backing up their tools with such serious production on the field only vaults their stock to new heights — I’m talkin’ top ten overall for both. 2016 can’t arrive soon enough for Twins fans.Please, blog, may I have some more?
A year ago, Nolan Arenado was entering the 2012 season with loads of hype. Minor League production expectations were enormous, and most folks around baseball were already penciling the young 3B into the Rockies’ mid-season lineup. But a slow start at Double-A and a concerning lack of over-the-wall power quickly put an end to those 2012 Arenado arrival fantasies. The 21-year-old watched his prospect stock slip this off-season, dropping out of the top 50 on prospect lists from almost every publication. Fast forward to 2013: Arenado put together a terrific spring in big league camp, blasting four homers and posting a .852 OPS in 52 PA. And after reassignment to Triple-A Colorado Springs, he hasn’t slowed down whatsoever, going 7/14 through his first two games, including two long balls. Chris Nelson is not a long-term option for the Rockies at third, and Arenado finally appears to be ready to step into Coors field and entrench himself at the hot corner. He’ll be fantasy-relevant once he’s up, and I imagine that’ll be no later than mid-June.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Jedd Gyorko wins 2nd base job, yay says fantasy baseballers and Richard Kelly. The next thing you know, ol’ Jedd will head off to Beverly, Hills that is. On road trips to Los Angeles. Or Magic Johnson will just give him $100 million to sit next to Dee Gordon and Ryu. “You use your free tickets yet to see Jack the Giant Slayer at Magic Johnson theaters?” That’s Ryu talking to Gordon. They’re good friends. So, Gyorko is reportedly the new 2nd baseman in San Diego. I say bravo to the Friars. In one week, a new Pope and a new 2nd baseman. What did you do this week? Stretch your Sunday meal out into Thursday? Nice work! This might be the Year of the Snake, but it’s the week of the Gyorko, after mentioning him already three times. The hype’s been building in my pants for a while. Did I just say in my pants? No, I don’t think I did, but this post is a locomotive that can’t be stopped. In November, I wrote a Jedd Gyorko fantasy. There, I said I’d be surprised if he didn’t start the year in the majors. *shrugs, combs mustache, waits for balloons to fall from ceiling* I wrote that shizz in November! Okay, no ceiling balloons, fine. Blowing a frickin’ noisemaker wouldn’t hurt you. Gyorko has been a beast through the minors, and should hit in the majors + Petco = Linda Ronstadt. Wow, my math was way off there. It was supposed to equal a 2nd baseman with upside. Since I figured Gyorko would be in the majors to start the year, his projections were already in my top 400 for 2013 fantasy baseball, but I did move him up in the top 20 2nd basemen and top 20 3rd basemen posts. I almost moved Jedd up even further, but Petco and cold sores from previous bouts of rookie nookie kept him in the early 200′s overall range. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for 2013 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (9) | 2011 (18) | 2010 (12) | 2009 (24) | 2008 (12)
2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [75-87] AL West
AAA: [63-81] Pacific Coast League – Tacoma
AA: [79-61] Southern League – Jackson
A+: [83-57] California League – High Desert
A: [71-67] Midwest League – Clinton
A(ss): [46-30] Northwest League — Everett
Kyle Seager (SS); Jesus Montero (C); Alex Liddi (3B/1B/OF); Hisashi Iwakuma (RHP); Erasmo Ramirez (RHP)
The Run DownPlease, blog, may I have some more?
Having already covered my Top 25 Fantasy Baseball Prospects for 2013, I thought I’d expand our scope a bit and take a look at 25 more who could offer fantasy value this year. Again, predicting for arrivals is an inexact science, and there’s plenty of time between now and opening day for circumstances to change. No doubt, this list is missing some prospects who’ll surface in the bigs and make an impact in the fantasy game a la 2012 Kyle Seager. Likewise, there’ll be plenty of duds here too. Anyway, here’s how I see the next 25 2013 fantasy baseball prospects:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Minor League Baseball season has reached it’s glorious culmination. Well, actually, it’s not very glorious. No, no one really cares who wins in the New York-Penn semis, or the International League title, or the Midwest League championship. It’s just not that interesting. Not even for me. Sure, organizations do their best to instill winning attitudes throughout their farm systems, and I absolutely agree that’s important. It’s why Jeff Luhnow is still tweeting crap like “#JETHAWKS WIN”. Yay, Jethawks… It’s fun for the players, I suppose. It’s fun for the small-town fans, too. And it’s a small source of pride for player development types. But that’s about the extent of it. All that said, the various MiLB playoffs are still worth keeping an eye on, if only for the handful of real-deal prospects who’re performing on a slightly grander stage than usual. So, to wrap up this year’s Minor Accomplishments series, I leave you with a brief rundown of what’s happening with some of the more notable prospects in their respective postseasons:
Mike Zunino | C, Mariners – The third overall pick this past June has been simply incredible since signing. His dominance has continued in the Double-A Southern League playoffs: Zunino’s blasted 3 homers and posted a .400+ AVG for Jackson.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Last Wednesday, I joined Rudy and Nick for the Razzball Baseball Podcast. On the show, we counted down my top 15 prospects, but truth be told, I was fully prepared to discuss my top 20. So, with the MiLB season winding down and all, I thought now would be a good opportunity to put the entire list out there in written form. This is a preliminary ranking — I’ll roll out more official and specific ranks during the off-season, once the dust has settled and I’ve had a chance to gather more intel. Please keep in mind that this list is limited to prospects still in the minors prior to September 1st call-ups. Also, in the interest of not being too farsighted, I included only guys who’ll be making their impacts within the next year or two (which is certainly a matter up for debate). Anyway, my top 20:
1. Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers – Current Level: MLB Age: 19 – Five-tool shortstop projects to go 20/20 annually, and he’s certainly gifted enough to do more.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Once considered an elite prospect, Brett Wallace now has few lingering believers. The 2008 1st round pick has already been with four organizations, and is currently passing time in the Pacific Coast League at Oklahoma City, Triple-A affiliate of the Astros. Houston gave Wallace ample opportunity to prove his worth in 2011, but he effectively squandered the 350+ PA, posting a .259 AVG and a .110 ISO, which is pretty miserable coming from a 1B. During a brief stint in the bigs earlier this year, the 25-year-old was much improved, batting .333/.429/.583 in 42 PA. Granted, it’s a small sample, but it conjured memories of why we touted Wallace in the first place — outstanding plate coverage, lightning-quick hands, beautiful lefty stroke, advanced approach, power potential… the works, really, from a hitting perspective. Jeff Luhnow — Houston’s brilliant 1st-year GM, and the man who drafted Wallace in 2008 while handling player procurement for the Cardinals — recently acknowledged that the first baseman should resurface in the bigs before long, which is kind of an ambiguous timetable. Regardless, Wallace’s Triple-A production has been big of recent (.371/.476/.600 through last ten), and he could be useful in NL-Only and deep mixed formats should he return to Houston anytime soon.Please, blog, may I have some more?