That’s right, we’re pushing well beyond the 100 threshold this year, and pushing it all the way to 200. I for one am excited, but that might just be the speedball of cocaine, redbull, meth, and the behind the counter cough syrup. I’m seeing the words and their auras, man. No jokes, this is all from a vision, an immaculate epiphany I was led to by a culturally appropriated wise character of some sort. Really, I just wanted to get into a whole bunch more prospects I didn’t get a chance to talk about. If you didn’t catch it, last week I dropped my Top 100, this is a continuation of that going from 101 – 200 with full writeups and statlines for each. Hopefully you get caught up on few off the radar names, brush up on some old ones, and get your prospecty fill for the All-Star Break. It’s the Top 200 Fantasy Baseball Prospects!

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Lots of little piddly injuries this week that don’t seem to be of much consequence. Self-proclaimed MVP candidate Yoenis Cespedes missed a few games with hamstring soreness, but seems ready to return. Stephen Strasburg must have had a great time on his July 20th birthday, because here we are nine months later and he is missing a start to be with his wife as they have their second child. Lil’ DP, Dustin Pedroia, has missed a few games after getting taken out by a Manny Machado slide that would make Ty Cobb proud until Cobb looked at a picture of Machado. And Justin Upton injured his forearm hustling into second base trying to outrun all the lofty hype and expectations we’ve heaped on him for a decade now.

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It seems like only yesterday the Astros were the laughing stock of the AL. Times were lean, with very little talent and a decade of futility, there seemed to be little to no light at the end of the tunnel. In just a few short years General Manager Jeff Luhnow has turned around both the farm system and major league club, to the point that each is bursting at the seams with talent. The last two years have brought about the dawn of a new era in Houston; defined by young talented players all over the field, and an aggressive approach in free agency, the trade market and draft. In the last two seasons alone the Astros have welcomed multiple impact rookies in the form of Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers, and Alex Bregman. With a host of others not too far behind, the ‘Stros look set to compete for years to come. Seriously, you can’t imagine how much work it is to do a Podcast on Houston Astros Prospects and follow it up with a magnum opus post about Houston Astros prospects? They have so much dynasty goodness it’s unbelievable. I’m not joking when I say I feel like I could just draft Astros players and manage to field a solid squad. Albeit one that needs to trade some of it’s prospect depth for pitching, but that’s besides the point. This is a long one, so enough with the small talk let’s discuss some Houston Astros Prospects! Wooooooo!!!

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After a week of action like this week, I feel like I need a cigarette now that the winter meetings have come to a close. Lots of prospects moving, mostly to the Southside of Chicago, and lots of player evals to update. The work of a Prospector is truly never done. Of course your Loyal H.P.I.C, and my digital Sherpa Michael Halpern of imaginarybrickwall.com have to give you our two cents on the prospects changing laundry. We’ll let J.B. and the one true Fantasy Master Lothario Grey Albright update you on the re-draft league side of things. We have no need for yucky major leaguers. Oh and bee-t-dubs we go through the expansive and nearly never-ending talent pool that is the Houston Astros farm system. We talk some A.J. Reed, Francis Martes, Yuleski Gurriel, Kyle Tucker, and a whole bunch of others. It’s the closest thing Halp and I will ever have to a double album, it’s the Top Houston Astros Prospects on the latest episode of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast.

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At Stephen Strasburg‘s summer DL rental, the driveway is an inverted W and he timeshares with Ryan Zimmerman.  The Nationals said Strasburg’s elbow issue is not structural.  Yeah, it’s deconstructed like a Cobb salad at some overpriced restaurant.  I’m sure Strasburg is totally fine and it’s completely coincidental that he has a 10.19 ERA in August.  Totally unrelated, guys and five girl readers, totally unrelated.  Strasburg feels like the kind of pitcher that we can never rely on for more than 150 IP.  In five years, he’s thrown 200+ IP once and he’s 28 years old.  Oh, and ‘member how Strasburg was supposed to bounce back this year?  He currently has the worst ERA of his career.  Yeah, great.  In my fantasy team news, because who doesn’t love someone talking about their fantasy team, Strasburg hit the DL about an hour after my weekly Scout league locked.  The same league where I was in first a week ago before Strasburg went to Coors and Lackey went to the DL.  The same league where I’m now in 2nd.  The same league where I needed Strasburg to start twice this week and Lackey was set to face the Padres.  The same league that ends at the end of August.  The same league that just made me cry.  I need a tissue, you karmic bullies!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The Astros offense had some fun with the Orioles pitching staff Friday and Saturday night, collecting a total of 32 hits and scoring 27 runs. Solar plexus! Now those are some rockets that would make NASA proud. George Springer lead the way going 7-for-9, with 2 home runs (24), 6 runs and 4 RBI. Jose Altuve was 5-for-10 with a home run (20),  Evan Gattis was 5-for-9 with a homer (19) and a stolen base, and rookie Teoscar Hernandez was 3-for-6 with 4 runs, a homer (2) and 3 RBI. Well, I guess I know one team that prefers the sticky swampiness of the Baltimore humidity in the air. Even with all Houston’s stars doing their part it was the rookie phenom, Alex Bregman, who really impressed me, going 6-for-11, with four runs, his third home run and five RBI. Oh, hello there. What did you say your name was again? Alex slashed .306/.406/.580 with 20 homers and 7 steals in 80 games at AAA, but struggled to start his MLB career a miserable 2-for-38. But the top-prospect has come on strong of late batting .317 with 3 homers, 13 runs, and 10 RBI over the past two weeks. He extended his hitting streak to five games Saturday night, and has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 contests. The best part? While all your real life non-internet friends are off drafting their fantasy football teams, Alex Bregman sits on the waiver wire available in over 70% of leagues. I don’t want to brag, man, but it sounds like most of you gave up on Bregman too soon and he’s just now getting going. Grey told you to BUY this week and I’d grab Bregman everywhere he’s available for some sweet Houston upside in an even sweeter Houston line up. Don’t make me Breg, man! This kid’s gonna be a star! Ha-cha-cha!

Here’s what else I saw Friday and Saturday in fantasy baseball:Sv

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Joe Musgrove shut down the mighty Toronto Blue Jays for the second time, going seven strong innings, allowing just six hits, two runs, a walk and striking out seven for his first major league win. He looked dominant. Like Michael Phelps dominates the pool, or Simone Biles dominates her sport, and all sports, for ever and ever. Simone though. Have you ever seen such dominance? Clearly, ESPN has not. Regardless, Joey Joe Joe now sports a sparkling 1.47 ERA, 0.76 WHIP and 21/2 K/BB ratio though 18.1 innings. Did you miss out on Jameson Taillon, Michael Fulmer, Lucas Giolito or Blake Snell? Well frown no-more, my frowny-faced friend, because Joe Musgrove may just be the best performing of the rookie-nookie bunch, and while everyone is off drafting their fantasy football teams, Musgrove is still available in over half of baseball leagues. Who is this Musgrove character, and what makes him a must-own pitcher, you ask? In 16 games in AA and AAA (85.1 IP), Joe was 7-4 with a 2.74 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 87/10 K/BB rate. Oh yeah. For those of you playing at home, that will help your fantasy team. He also plays for the Houston Astros, a team in dire need of all the help they can get as they make their playoff push. Grey told you told BUY and Joe Musgrove needs to be added in all leagues as soon as you finish reading this…sandwich! Gotcha! Now make like Katie Ledecky and 100m fly to the waiver wire!

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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Sometimes things in life don’t work out. Despite your best efforts, some things just aren’t meant to be. Today, my friends isn’t one of those times. No, quite the opposite in fact. Today is one of those days when everything goes right. All the lights you hit are green, everyone greets you with a smile, and you start writing a post about Dodgers farmhand Brock Stewart, and he’s called up. Things rarely turn out this way in life, at least mine, maybe yours is different. I’m going to stop there before this turns into a more self indulgent undertaking than any mid-aughts emo band. My apologies to anyone listening to a Dashboard Confessional song while reading along (P.S. Kick your own ass). Today we’ll take a deeper look at the Dodgers latest rotation member, and see what we can expect from Stewart in the near future. We’ll then close things out with a truncated minor league update, just so I can get some nuggets of info into your heads. We’ll be skipping our usual bi-weekly Minor League Update post this Sunday, for the midseason top 100 fantasy baseball prospects. That’s right! Get excited, we can all argue about my over-ranking, under-ranking, and just general ignorance on your favorite prospects.

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It’s easy to get lost in the scouting reports and tool grades from a million different resources. Buying too heavily into projection over production. I get caught up in it too, I Prospector Ralph am no scout. I’m one part Hemmingway, one part James Frey, blended heavily with an overly-enthusiastic approach to minor leaguers. In other words I’m a really, really fun minor league enthusiast. Saturday night at the Lifshitz house is like The Tunnel in its hey day. Let me tell you! (Queue the music, apply Timbos with the finest Polo swag) We have sleeping kids, lots of televised baseball, coffee, a baby named after a major leaguer learning to walk, then there’s a ruggedly handsome, but slightly dim witted looking gentleman typing away on his phone and laptop. Feverishly switching screens between gulps of java. That’s me and I’m combing through mounds of statistics and figuring out which ones I should report and which I should ignore. Why you ask? Well for this post where I look at 4-5+ of the minor league leaders in a handful of fantasy relevant categories. Most of it’s age based bias, if the leader is 28 in a particular category but number 3 is 21, I’m taking that young meat. Blah, blah, blah, blah, let’s get into it.

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What a wild year for the Astros. They made the playoffs, called up their star shortstop Carlos Correa, and made some big trades that have changed the look of this farm heading into 2016. It’s still very strong and full of great fantasy options, but just look at the list of players who left this system – Brett Phillips, Mark Appel, Vincent Velasquez, Domingo Santana, Rio Ruiz, Mike Foltynewicz, Nick Tropeano. Not to mention losing Delino DeShields in the rule five draft and the quality graduations. That kind of hit would cripple most systems, and yet here we are with still one of the best farms in the game right now. Last year’s draft netted the Astros two top bats in Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker, and they saw a big breakout in A.J. Reed, who could be in line to play first base for Houston early in the 2016 season. It’s a good time to be an Astros fan.

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