With the rapid speed at which Ronald Acuna has ascended through the minors, I ought to take every opportunity to write about him while I still can. If you hadn’t heard, Acuna was promoted to AAA on Wednesday evening, and the Braves best position prospect since Jason Heyward is now just a call away. Exciting news for dynasty league owners all over. In my updated Mid-Season Top 100 I ranked Acuna 5th in all of baseball, and after seeing the confidence the Braves have in the precocious 19 year old, how could you not? He brings to the table hard contact with an all-fields approach, 30 steal speed, and a huge ceiling. The plate discipline could be better, but to put things in perspective, he’s 19 and playing at the highest levels of full season ball while many of his contemporaries are just beginning short season and rookie ball. So I expect plate approach to be an area where things should improve as Acuna matures as a hitter. What he does at Gwinnett will be telling, particularly if he really struggles for the first time in his career. How he deals with that, adjusts, and rebounds will be the true test of his metal. It’s tough to say if he will struggle or not, but if he hits the ground running, I could picture a world, maybe as soon as a month, where Acuna is considered the top prospect in the game. Trust me I’ve made bold proclamations about Acuna before. Here’s what I said when I ranked him #42 overall in the pre-season, “Could be this season’s Victor Robles. Five tool player, that tore up Australia this winter, poised for a big jump in the mid-season list. Trade for him now”. I was right on both fronts, but was more conservative with his ETA setting it at 2019. That’s obviously no longer the case, outside of unforeseen circumstances of course. **KNOCK ON WOOD** Anyway, Acuna has a strong chance of seeing at least a few weeks of action in September, but I wouldn’t expect a call-up in the next few weeks. Though the possibility of Acuna breaking camp in 2018 is less remote than it was a few months ago, I’d be surprised by any promotion before mid-May next year. He’s a name to know for players in all formats, as this could be a stud in the making. Here’s what else I saw in the MiLB…

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There’s really no need for any introduction on this one, it’s the post upon which all prospectors are judged. It’s the Mid-Season Update to my Top 100 Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball. Full disclosure, I was loosey-goosey with the eligibility rules this time around. So, while some players in the majors and under their limits might appear on this list (Clint Frazier, Franklin Barreto, Etc.), others don’t (Raimel Tapia). No rhyme or reason to it, what-so-ever. This list feels more upside heavy to me, but there was no slant or algorithm for my ranks. Just good old fashioned personal bias, of which I have plenty. Seriously, I’m an opinionated lad! But that’s why I do this in the first place. Please keep in mind, this list is 100% fantasy focused. Meaning it might differ quite a bit from other Top 100’s you may come across. Anyway, thanks for reading and enjoy! The next 100 (101-200) will be out on Thursday.

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As the Durham Bulls took the best little minor league pitching circus this side of Mississippi, literally, on the road. I promised myself I’d check out at least one game during the nearest stop on their International (League) tour. This is a rotation that now features the struggling, but still talented Blake Snell, recently activated off-season acquisition Jose De Leon, top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell, and the strikeout king of AAA Jacob Faria. I’ve discussed Faria a lot of late, because he’s obviously a prospect that fascinates me. On Saturday in Pawtucket he went 4 strong innings before ending his night after completing the 4th. The early exit was more than likely due to the line drive he took off his leg earlier in the inning. It was really too bad, as Faria looked to have his best stuff on the night, outside a two run homer to Bryce Brentz nothing was hit hard at all. The first thing that strikes me when watching Faria is I love his change up. It has some nice break, and he throws it from a similar arm slot to the fastball. Speaking of the fastball, it too is a solid pitch getting some sink, and making it tougher on the hitters to barrel cleanly. This 1-2 punch gives Faria all the fuel he needs to pile up the strikeouts in bunches, however he has a tendency to nibble and that limits how deep into games he can get. Saturday was one of his more efficient performances, making the injury all the more upsetting. I have to admit I came away impressed by Faria, and think he has solid mid-rotation upside with some nice K potential. I mean look at that gif below and tell me you don’t like what you see. Amirite?!?  Today I venture back to Pawtucket to check out the Rays top prospect Brent Honeywell, who just so happens to check in as the 7th most valuable pitcher on Rudy’s Prospectornator. Don’t worry I promise to give you all the details on Honeywell….Here’s who else is making noise in the MiLB…

This isn’t a new take, but it’s one that bears repeating; baseball is the only sport where the best starting lineup isn’t on the field all season. The service time game does nobody any favors, actually that’s incorrect, it does huge favors for the owners of the biggest market clubs. It hurts the fans, it hurts the players, it hurts the small market teams, and most of all, it hurts the product on the field. The most glaring example at present is the peculiar case of Amed Rosario. The Mets’ farmhand has been smoking hot all season long, slashing .363/.400/.536 for AAA Las Vegas, while chipping in with 4 homers and 9 steals.

Just to compare and contrast, as of May 25th the Mets have gotten a .225/.307/.345 slashline from the shortstop position. I might be going out on a limb here, but that’s not good. The production from the hot corner for the Mess hasn’t been much better, as they’ve gotten a .240/.302/.374 line from the 3rd base position. It’s pop quiz time, hot shots! What do you think, could Amed Rosario possibly help the Mets? There’s only one answer, and it rhymes with mess. To add salt to the wounds of Mets fans (sorry 1 F), and Rosario owners alike, the shortstop prospect extended his hit streak to 11 games last night. The most remarkable part of that streak isn’t the 11 games, but the fact that 8 of those games have been multi-hit efforts. So not only is Rosario hitting in every game the last two weeks, he’s pretty much collecting multiple hits in each contest.

Admittedly, I’m not the biggest Rosario fan in the fantasy community, but that’s also not to say I don’t like Rosario, because I do. He has an excellent hit tool, never strikes out, and his glove will keep him in the lineup. My questions about Rosario lie in just how much pop is in his bat, and just how many steals are in those legs. There’s certainly pop, and there’s certainly speed, but just how much he possesses will determine his ultimate value. Don’t get me wrong Crabs, haters, and countrymen, I’m not saying a high batting average and lots of counting stats won’t be helpful, they will.  What I am saying, if Rosario can get to 15 homers and 20 steals in a single season, we could be talking about a superstar. Now, will he reach those numbers this year? Hell to the no, but 8 homers and 12 steals the rest of the way wouldn’t be absurd. If you’re wondering just how soon Rosario will be called up, my best guess is any day now. It could honestly be any time between today and mid-June. The Mets have had him take some reps at 3rd as of late too, so they’re looking at different ways of getting him into the lineup. Well, at least I think they want him in the lineup. After all, it’s The Mess. Here’s who else is making noise in the MiLB.

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It’s that time of year again when Ralph and Halp enter the Grey area and talk about Major Leaguers on the Prospect Podcast. It somehow felt more subversive when Ralph wasn’t writing the Top 100 Pitcher Ranks and I wasn’t co-hosting the Baseball Podcast, but them’s the breaks of going mainstream I guess. We start by discussing the value of slow starters such as Alex Bregman and Byron Buxton, before moving on to the power hitting breakouts of Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger, Eric Thames, and Yonder Alonso. On the pitching side, we debate just how good Michael Fulmer is, and if Marcus Stroman can be anything more than a solid fantasy starter. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Prospect Podcast.

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With roughly two months worth of baseball activity behind us, it’s time to re-rank some stuff. Sure, that’s an awful reason to rank things, and what’s baseball activity anyway? But Keith Law gets to update his after a couple of months, so why can’t cha boy Ralphie L? Some things have changed, for sure, some top prospects have either graduated, or are on the cusp of graduating. Most notably Andrew Benintendi, Dansby Swanson, Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, Aaron Judge, and Tyler Glasnow. I figure if you’re in the majors, I ain’t gonna rank ya no more. There’s been a few jumps, the most significant of which is Chicago Cubs prospect Ian Happ. For those of you who don’t follow minor league box scores, he’s pretty much the Eric Thames of the minors leagues. Only minus the beard or the Popeye muscles. My excitement over Lewis Brinson and Cody Bellinger should be easily identified, they slot second and third respectively. As for the rest of the list you’re going to have to see for yourself. No, I won’t be sliding Tyler Mahle into my Top 25, after the perfect game last night. I had to get it in somewhere, right?

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Growing up, some of the best players in baseball were legacies. Juniors, so to speak. Think Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, Cal Ripken Jr., so on and so forth. Well, the Toronto Blue Jays have taken it upon themselves to bring the Jr.’s back to the game. It started unsuccessfully with Dwight Smith Jr., but has taken a turn for the better with the latest crop of Juniors. On yesterday’s podcast we briefly discussed Vlad Guerrero Jr. and his Lansing Lugnuts debut. Mostly because it was going on while we were recording, and I for one, love a good distraction. What I’m getting at is, we might have done you a disservice not listing this team as one to watch. With an exciting combination of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette (son of Dante), they’re definitely the best set of juniors out there. In fact the pair showed their oodles of upside Friday night, as each homered in the game. On Saturday they continued their assault on A ball, combining to go 3 for 8 with a run and an RBI. Some solid start for the duo, huh? Scouts rank Vlad Jr. amongst the top power prospects in the minors, and Bichette is viewed as a high upside middle infield prospect with 20+ homer upside. For our first Minor League Update of the season, it’s only right we go back to the future. Here’s what else is going on during opening weekend of Minor League Baseball.

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It’s Sunday, and I’m feeling a little scatterbrained this morning. With my AM coffee I’m looking to cover a wide variety of dynasty/prospect/small righty related content. Some of the low hanging fruits from the tree of prospector knowledge. With such a bountiful harvest it’s a crime not to share. There’s a lot of nothing to talk about, which is a polite way to say spring training stats. If you’re anything like me, then you wish you could press fast forward on the next week, right up until the moment the games begin. Hit play, and immerse yourself in baseball until late October. So far in 2017 I’ve given you my sleepers, my breakouts, my Top 100 Prospects, and my top prospects from every damn team’s farm system. It’s been a busy offseason, to say the least. One that never really ended or began. As good Ole Rust Cohle would say, time is a flat circle. In my case it’s a flat circle that spans 30 minor league systems, and a non-stop quest to know every player that ever played baseball. Today’s post is me just rounding out some performances, and giving you some of my takes on names I feel we’ll be discussing quite a bit in 2017. If there’s anything or anyone you’d like to discuss, then you know the drill, come with any and all Fantasy related questions in the comments.

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Holy moly, are we talking actual live MLB players past their limits this week? Yessiree Bobby Jimmy! Michael Halpern the smooth, and debonair brains behind Imaginarybrickwall.com, and yours truly bust into our Top Dynasty Targets for 2017. While we do blur the lines of reality, and talk some major leaguers, we don’t leave you hanging on the prospect front. It’s an all out attack on the senses. Seriously, this episode is so good you can both smell and taste it. Yummy seafood chowder! Am I selling hard here? Good, because in all truthiness, this is the episode where you get a new Ralph, a subdued Ralph. A Ralph who writes about himself in the third person. Maybe I always do that. We go in on everyone from Marcus Stroman to Tyler O’Neill, it’s the whole lot of dynasty values. So take heed, listen up, and check out the latest episode of the Razzball Prospects Podcast.

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As the final days of spring training wind down, and teams make final cuts, opening day rosters begin to take shape. While many re-draft players are busy drafting their teams over the next week plus. Dynasty managers are on the other side of the spectrum, as this is the time when you look to acquire players that you see as potential breakouts. In my humble opinion these weeks leading up to the season can be amongst the most important for managers looking to reload and rebuild. So how should you approach this buying window? Who should you be looking to add? That’s a great question, but a difficult one to answer, because unlike re-draft not everyone is in contention every year. Values in dynasty and deep keeper leagues are dependent upon your team’s current window for competing. This is why player values from manager to manager within your league can vary greatly. So keep in mind, not every player is a fit for every roster. You need to decide what your window is, and build with that in mind. For example, if you have a win now team, with a great deal of aging vets you might be looking to get a little younger. Or you might throw caution to the wind, go full Dombrowski, and buy for today. While a non-competing team might be looking to acquire the best talent under 25, no matter position. Regardless of where your team falls on the competitive spectrum, it’s important to identify players you want to own, and those you’re looking to acquire. Below is a list I’ve made of the players I want to own. So all those in leagues with The God Emcee (that’s me) look away. I’m sure that worked. Now that my leaguemates are out of the room, let me just say I love these players. Some are prospects, while others are young vets. These are the guys I can see taking a step forward. These aren’t all that players with breakout upside, but they’re the ones I felt like writing about.

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