Prospects, prospects, and MORE PROSPECTS!!! Plenty of youngsters making noise as their seasons wind down and players scramble for the chance to get their feet wet when organizations call players up at the end of the month to get a taste of “The Show”.  That signals time for Razzball’s Sunday morning look at what’s become the most important commodity in our favorite game – prospects. Our “Prospect Primer” reflects a handful of the prospects I’m keeping a close eye on heading into Week 21 (for both shallow and deep fantasy leagues). Our bi-weekly prospect columns (Sundays and Wednesdays) will continue to focus on the more “well-known” prospects (our Top-50/Top-100) that are likely going to affect shallow to mid-level fantasy teams.

Disclaimer: The bi-weekly lists AREN’T a “re-ranking” of our Top-50/Top-100/Organization Lists. The players mentioned will typically be guys that owners in somewhat regular leagues NEED to be aware of (regardless of their current level) to keep from slipping behind as they want to stay competitive in “keeper leagues”. There may be a sleeper mentioned from time-to-time, but they may be more important to managers in deeper and more long-term leagues. The players listed aren’t in any particular order (you’ll notice they’re listed alphabetically), they’re simply guys you need to keep an eye on and someone you might be interested in targeting when you’re wheeling and dealing.

Now it’s time to refill that cup of coffee or take your lunch break and open your spreadsheets – here’s who I’m tracking over the next few days…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sorry, I was just testing out these new three-ply tissues Cougs bought for me. I wasn’t crying. I was cutting onions while watching Manny Machado get hurt. When you think you’ve had too much of this life, hang on. Everyone hurts…sometimes! Michael Stipe, you are my bald little friend that sits in my glove compartment and waits for me to be sad to come out and sing to me. Sit on my lap, Stipe, and tell me it’s going to be okay. Tell me Machado won’t struggle to be healthy again by next year. Alas… Jesus, what a depressing way to start a sentence. Alas? Alas my ass, Machado’s hurt bad. It’s a shame. Not because I own him this year, but I don’t want anything to stand in the way of me liking him in 2014 and a knee injury is the kind of thing that could deflate my enthusiasm. Oh, well, guess we’ll see how he’s doing next February. For right now, feel free to drop him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (11) | 2011 (3) | 2010 (1) | 2009 (4) | 2008 (1)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [90-72] AL East
AAA: [66-78] International League – Durham
AA: [74-63] Southern League – Montgomery
A+: [55-79] Florida State League – Charlotte
A: [80-60] Midwest League – Bowling Green
A(ss): [52-24] New York-Penn League — Hudson Valley

Arizona Fall League PlayersPhoenix Desert Dogs
Lenny Linsky (RHP); Tim Beckham (2B); Hak-Ju Lee (SS); Richie Shaffer (3B); Kevin Kiermaier (OF)

Graduated Prospects
Matt Moore (RHP); Jake McGee (LHP)

The Run Down
The Rays’ player development systems have always been top-notch, and for the past several years, they’ve maintained one of the better farm systems in the game. As a matter of timing more than anything else — some bad luck, too (see Beckham) — the system was a little lighter than usual in the high-impact department near the end of last season. They were growing older, and more expensive at the big league level. It appeared that they were deviating from Andrew Friedman’s operational model — a patient, bottom-up approach that had discovered and nurtured talent better than just about any other organization — that had made them a year-to-year contender in baseball’s toughest division. And then the James Shields deal happened and the natural order was restored to the baseball universe. All of a sudden, Wil Myers became a Ray, and the once-lacking high-impact department was replenished with one of the more high-impacty dudes in the minors. Beyond Myers, Tampa added MLB-ready pitching depth in Jake Odorizzi. They also nabbed Mike Montgomery on the cheap — sure, he pitched like a pile of hot garbage in 2012, but one year does not ruin a prospect. When considering this top ten back in October, I was kinda worried about having to cover a slew high-upside 18-year-olds who hadn’t yet played outside of instructional league. Thank you, Andrew Friedman, for making this post more interesting.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America

2012 (11) | 2011 (3) | 2010 (1) | 2009 (4) | 2008 (1) | 2007 (1)

2011 Affiliate Records

MLB: [91-71] AL East

AAA: [80-62] International League – Durham

AA: [65-74] Southern League – Montgomery

A+: [64-75] Florida State League – Charlotte

A: [77-63] Midwest League – Bowling Green

A(ss): [37-39] New York-Penn League – Hudson Valley

The Run Down

It’s no secret that the Rays’ player development systems are tremendous.  

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Tampa Bay Rays 2010 Minor League Review
Overall farm rankings via Baseball America (2010)
2010 (1) | 2009 (4) | 2008 (1) | 2007 (1) | 2006 (10) | 2005 (9) | 2004 (9)

Record of Major and Minor League Teams
MLB: [84 – 78] AL East
AAA: [88 – 55] International League – Durham
AA: [72 – 65] Southern League – Montgomery
A+: [80 – 59] Florida League – Charlotte
A: [61 – 78] Midwest League – Bowling Green
A(ss): [39 – 36] New York – Pennsylvania – Hudson Valley

The Run Down
The Rays have enough young, good pitchers that they can just pull one out for a spot start with mild success like Alex Cobb.

Please, blog, may I have some more?