Yesterday, I went over the top 20 catchers for 2017 fantasy baseball, and, today, you guessed it (if you didn’t read the title and just fell here from outer space), it’s the top 20 1st baseman for 2017 fantasy baseball.  Something weird happened last year — okay, a lot weird happened last year, but I’m going to focus on fantasy baseball.  Middle infield got deep and 1st base got shallow.  I have some theories why this happened.  First theory, a lot of kids who are playing now grew up watching Bret Boone and Alex Rodriguez and their frosted hair and, like a moth to a flame, or peroxide to a hairstyle, kids became middle infielders.  Second theory, it happened just cuz.  So, I don’t have a lot of theories on it, per se, but offense is deep this year, but not 1st basemen.  My projections are included, and here’s all of our fantasy baseball rankings.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 1st basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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You literally can’t find a middle infielder with less than 20 homers.  You can’t.  Try it.  See?  This year there are more players with 20 homers than any other season in the history of baseball.  Some conspiracy theorists have said the new commissioner, Our Manfred, is sticking Capri Sun straws into baseballs and juicing them, but this year is odder than that and deserves a better conspiracy theory.  No one is hitting 50+ homers like during the Steroid Era.  Only one guy is even close to 50 homers.  Instead of a few guys doing insane damage in the power department, everyone is doing better, moderately.  It’s the trickle down theory.  If you’re not familiar with that, I’ll explain it.  When Kim Kardashian first appeared on the scene, only she was smoking hot, but rather than Kim hogging the hotness to herself, it trickled down.  Khloe went from a 3 to a 5, Kourtney went from a 5 to a 7, Kris went from a 6 to a 8, the two Jenner girls came of age, going from untouchable to 8’s, and even Bruce went from a zero to a three, becoming a woman that you’d throw one if you were drunk enough.  This is also what’s happened in the majors.  Jean Segura, and all middle infielders, went from fours or fives to 20s.  Yesterday, Segura went 1-for-4 with his 20th homer, hitting .316, to go with his 30 steals.  It’s going to be hard in 2017 to know if these are legitimate gains in power, for Segura and a whole slew of other players, or if half the league is going to regress.  Kinda like Brody Jenner, who was so popular before Kim, ahem, came on the scene.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Stephen Strasburg‘s MRI revealed a flexor strain, which is about the best news they could’ve hoped for.  It’s also likely not-true news.  Teams say all kinds of things; the truth is one of them, but it’s not always said.  I’ll tell you the truth, I have no idea if the Nats are telling the truth.  Gotta take their word for it, which means he’s droppable in redraft leagues, but he doesn’t need serious surgery so should be fine for 2017 and keepers.  That’s until next year when his inverted W stands once again for wince.  By the way, why is the inverted W not just called an M?  Can anyone please answer me this?  It hurts my brain.  I’m gonna take a nap.  *intern blows airhorn*  I’m up, I’m up, let’s do the post.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Hey everybody welcome back for another episode of the Razzball Prospects Podcast. This week JB Gilpin from the big show takes over the Prospect Pod, so of course Michael Halpern and I talk Brewers. Seriously, JB has blinders on with the Brew Crew, but he gives us his fan first perspective on our top 10 Brewers prospects lists. We jump into the hot callups and promotions throughout the majors and minors, talk some Tyler O’neill, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Tyler Hill, and of course Dansby Swanson. We also discuss why I’m so damn angry lately. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Prospect Podcast.

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Over the past few seasons, the blueprint for the New York Yankees franchise has been a predictable one: assemble an aging, overpriced roster, finish a few games over .500, rinse, repeat. Reload rather than rebuild. However, those days appear to be coming to an end. 41-year-old Alex Rodriguez and 39-year-old Carlos Beltran are gone. 36-year-old Mark Teixeira has been reduced to a part-time role. High priced relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller have been traded away for a boatload of prospects to restock the farm system. The youth movement is officially underway. One of the newest youngsters on the Yankee roster is this week’s most added player in ESPN leagues, 24-year-old outfielder Aaron Judge (34.8% owned; +31.1% over the past week). Judge’s 6-foot-7, 275 pound frame and impressive raw power have drawn comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton, but I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate. Stanton already had 154 homers on his MLB resumé by the end of his age-24 season while Judge is just getting started. I think that more reasonable comps would be along the lines of players such as Richie Sexson and Mark Trumbo – big, powerful righties who have racked up some impressive home run totals throughout their careers. Another trait that Judge shares with those sluggers is his propensity to strike out, as he’s whiffed in 24% of his plate appearances this season after doing so in 26% of his PAs last year. The homers could come in bunches at times, but there could be some cold streaks as well. A .250ish average with plus power is a reasonable projection for Judge moving forward. He’s worth an add in all leagues for his power upside alone.

Here are a couple of other recent Yankee call-ups who have drawn the attention of fantasy owners over the past week:

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Yesterday, Mookie Betts went 4-for-6, 4 runs, 8 RBIs with three homers (24, 25, 26).  In the long, storied history of the Red Sox, Mookie Betts is only the 2nd Sawx player to have two three-homer games in a season; the other is Ted Williams.  Mookie Ballgame.  The Splendid Splurger.  The Greatest Mookie Who Ever Lived With Apologies To Mookie Wilson and Mookie Blaylock.  The You Can’t Make This Up Because Your Imagination Can’t Come Up With Anything This Beautiful.  The Hamilton Musical In Baseball Form.  The Unfrozen Ted Williams.  I don’t think it’s hyperbole — which is not the chamber Michael Jackson used to sleep in — to think Mookie Betts will be a top three hitter in 2017 fantasy baseball drafts.  He’s now cemented himself in the three hole in one of the best offensive parks, surrounded by a team that is always potent on offense.  Betts or Trout?  There’s a legit case for Betts, The Splendid Splurger!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Psyche!  Before we get into the roundup, just wanted to announce our RCL fantasy football leagues are signing up.  So, go over there and rush the QB!  I’m pretty sure that doesn’t stand for Q-Bert.  Anyway II, here’s the roundup:

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The Yankees have a strong system, and by holding on to their prospects last summer they’re going to enter the 2016 season with a lot of potential energy. Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge are poised to help the big club this year. So is Greg Bird, although he technically lost his eligibility. Because the Yankees are active in the international market, there’s a solid crop of teenagers coming up in the low minors. It’s not going to be anytime soon, but you can sort of see how this might converge into an even stronger group in the next year or two, especially when you factor in their crop of new draftees stateside. Of course not all of them will make it, but the more lottery tickets you own the better your chances, right?

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (11) | 2012 (6) | 2011 (5) | 2010 (22) | 2009 (15)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [85-77] AL East
AAA: [68-76] International League – Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
AA: [74-67] Eastern League – Trenton
A+: [58-78] Florida State League – Tampa
A: [75-63] South Atlantic League – Charleston
A(ss):  [34-41] New York-Penn League — Staten Island

Graduated Prospects
David Adams (INF); Austsin Romine (C); Adam Warren (RHP); Preston Claiborne (RHP)

The Run Down
With a big league roster that’s seemingly always loaded with big money assets at every position, the Yankees don’t have a lot of room for homegrown prospects to arrive and make impacts, and it’s important to keep that in mind when scouring this farm system for future fantasy pieces.  Not to suggest that there isn’t value to be had here — prospects like Gary Sanchez and Eric Jagielo are must-owns in dynasty leagues — but historically, the Yankees are more inclined to address needs through spending on the free agent market, rather than exploring the cost-controlled options from their farm.  It’s a baseball ops model that’s worked out well for New York over the past 15 years — there’s no arguing that.  In 2014, though, the Yankees look frighteningly old and in desperate need of some youth in their lineup.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (6) | 2011 (5) | 2010 (22) | 2009 (15) | 2008 (5)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [95-67] AL East
AAA: [84-60] International League – Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
AA: [79-63] Eastern League – Trenton
A+: [65-70] Florida State League – Tampa
A: [73-63] South Atlantic League – Charleston
A(ss): [30-45] New York-Penn League — Staten Island

Graduated Prospects
Cody Eppley (RHP)

The Run Down
It was an interesting 2012 for this Yankees system, as high-impact bats (see Austin and Williams) took huge steps forward, while a slew of promising pitching prospects (see Campos, Banuelos, Hensley) were held up because of injury, or risk thereof. The Yankees also watched helplessly as the wheels completely fell off of the once highly-touted RHP, Dellin Betances. What’s left is a system that appears out of balance in favor of hitting. But that’s not to suggest there’s no hope for the arms — both Jose Campos and Manny Banuelos bring front-of-the-rotation potential if they’re able to stay on the field. Sure, the health factor makes the pitching depth incredibly uncertain here, but there are plenty of systems who are worse off with regard to starting pitching. And even if all these dudes have their arms fall off this summer, Yankees fans can rest assured that big league acquisitions will keep New York at (or near) the top of the AL East.

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