Salutations my loyal Razzscalians, and welcome to the latest installment of The Minor League update. I’m your Prospector and Chief Ralph Lifshitz and today I’d like to discuss a mighty slugger from The Great White North. A man with the forearms of a spinach swigging Popeye. A hitter with a swing so strong, that balls explode off his bat head like forgotten land mines in former war zones. The thunderous prospect I speak of is none other than the Mariners Tyler O’neill. The outfielder was a player that popped into many managers favorite prospects lists over the past few months, including yours truly. I mean what’s not to like about Tyler O’Neill “Prospect Power King of the North.”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We all have our things, Grey has Giancarlo and mustaches, Smokey has bullpens and go-go bars, and I have pantsuited women and over aged power prospects. What can I say there’s just something about a professional lady that gets the blood flowing. Same goes for mid-20’s hitters in the minors with the boom-boom. I drafted Adam Duvall everywhere in re-draft for that reason, and there’s a new old ass prospect to fill the void in my heart. This hunk of thunderstick goes by the name of Daniel Palka, and he’s a newly minted AAA outfielder and cleanup hitter for the prospect flush Twins. In his AAA debut Thursday night Palka went yard twice as the Red Wings downed the Iron Pigs 8-7 in a slugfest. Palka entered the season in non-prospect territory, not making Baseball America’s prospect bible, and not appearing on any organizational top 30 list for the Twins or Diamondbacks (his previous employer). He strikes-out a ton, 29ish% k rates over the last couple of years, but he also walks a ton, never walking at a clip lower than 8% at any one level. My real interest in Palka isn’t his path to the high minors or even his glorious walk rates, but his hot steaming power. Power that’s produced a 25 homer campaign in 2014, a 29 homer campaign in 2015, and a projected 35+ homer campaign this season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Tell me this isn’t the most American thing you’ve ever heard. I sit mere miles from Cooperstown, NY, sipping an American made brew, working away on the final stretches of my Mid-Season Top 100 Prospects for Fantasy Baseball, while fireworks crackle overhead. The smell of beer and lawn clippings fill the air, and I just cooked some bacon on the barrel of my rifle. The last sentence was complete bullshizz, but the part before it is fairly accurate. I mean I’m not enough of a tool that I would sit in the yard with my laptop writing. But I am enough of a tool that I was formulating what I would type, once the pack of wild animals I affectionately call my children decide to finally retire to their beds for the evening. Well, the time has come and here I am writing to you, and you alone. Without anymore rambling incoherent non-sense, allow me to introduce the Top 100 Prospects Fantasy Baseball. This list is built with an eye to the future, in other words my goal is for this list to be more reflective of a pre-season 2017 list than the pre-season 2016 lists. I went bold, and I avoided the boring. Meaning I have no use for your Julio Urias’, your Lucas Giolito’s, A.J. Reed’s, Cody Reed’s and the like. You know those guys, they’re playing in the bigs, at this point they’re A. owned in your dynasty or B. owned in your redraft league so C. they’re owned. You thought I was going to say there’s no C right? What do I look like Grey? Nope I’m much taller and my facial hair is more Don Johnson than John Oates.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One of the most common questions I encounter on a semi-weekly basis is “Ralph, who’s this year’s Victor Robles/Francis Martes/Cody Bellinger”. It’s a question that’s difficult to answer, but especially difficult to answer during Spring Training or the week following. Why? Well, it’s easy, we don’t have anything to base it off. No real games, no real at bats, no real stats. Unfortunately I have a day job, and Grey is yet to hand me a six figure salary to jet-set around the country to scout amateur and minor league baseball. Instead I’m paid in Helluva Good Cheese coupons and asked to scout little league games on a black and white TV with broken bunny ears. No matter because between games at the Taunton West Little League complex I have time to watch a few AAA and AA games a week while scouring through loads of leaderboards of all minor league levels. So through this deep data collection, I’ve developed the below list of players that are flashing promise, while simultaneously boosting their prospect status. Below are 20 or so names that have caught my interest in the early going.

Now that the intro is out of the way I’d like to acknowledge a personal milestone here on the baseball side of things, my 100th baseball post……Yeah! Thanks for reading all this drivel.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Seattle’s farm produced two interesting players for the 2016 fantasy baseball season. I like Ketel Marte as a late-round flyer at a shallow middle infield position. He can hit and steal, and should be a good source of runs if he bats in front of Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz as he’s currently projected. Then there’s Carson Smith, who I imagine a lot of fantasy owners will be drafting as the closer in waiting if he hasn’t already taken the reins by opening day. The first thing I noticed when putting together this preview is the plethora of outfield prospects in the Mariners’ system, as well as the lack of impact talent from the 2015 draft (they didn’t pick in the first round). It’s a bit dicey gambling on hitters that may call Seattle their home one day, so this has never been my go-to system for fantasy prospects. Of course the flip side of that is that their pitching prospects have a little more room to breathe.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’ve been focusing on a breakout prospect from each team (broken down by division) while we wait for offseason leagues to kick in. These are players who “broke out” statistically in 2015 and were either ranked in the bottom half of their team’s preseason top ten list or didn’t make their team’s list at all. Some of these names will look familiar and have already been scooped up in many dynasty formats. Others may still be flying low enough that their big performances have gone undetected. Today we’ll look at five breakout prospects from the AL West.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (2) | 2012 (9) | 2011 (18) | 2010 (12) | 2009 (24)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [71-91] AL West
AAA: [76-68] Pacific Coast League – Tacoma
AA: [62-73] Southern League – Jackson
A+: [64-76] California League – High Desert
A: [67-72] Midwest League – Clinton
A(ss):  [44-32] Northwest League — Everett

Graduated Prospects
Nick Franklin (2B); Brad Miller (SS/2B); Mike Zunino (C); Danny Farquhar (RHP)

The Run Down
When considering the Mariners farm for fantasy purposes, it’s impossible to ignore the Safeco effect.  Every pitcher on this list should carry inflated fantasy value thanks to the ballpark at which they’ll be spending most of their time.  On the flip side of that statement, however, the M’s offensive prospects aren’t necessarily as exciting as they could be.  We apply the same principle when evaluating the Padres or Giants farm systems — never shy away from a pitching prospect pushing through the Seattle org.

Please, blog, may I have some more?