I’ve already given up on all of my resolutions. Cancel my Curves membership immediately! Where are my Camels? I need a pint of Canadian Club…ASAP! We’re still hacking through the minor league previews though. Emphasis on the hack when I’m doing them. The Rays have made some interesting moves this offseason. In chess we’d put a question mark next to them. But I’ll leave opinions to the opinion-makers. I’m just here to make sure you know who the top ten prospects are in this Rays organization. In my opinion, of course.

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This year my New Year’s resolution is to complete all thirty minor league previews by Opening Day. And lose 50 pounds. And stop drinking. And stop smoking. One of those is doable. I’ll let you figure out which one! We’re about through the AL East with this Yankees preview, who recently lost one of their best prospects in a trade (Justus Sheffield). Once we take the turn into the National League, we’ll pause and start cranking out the Top 100 list. Something to look forward to! For now, let’s discuss what I believe are the ten best specs in New York’s system. 

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Snap out of that egg nog coma…we’ve got more prospects to cover! Hopefully everyone had a safe and happy holiday. The Red Sox are the next minor league system to step to the plate, and while it’s not exactly the sexiest system in town, it’s doable. It’s corner infielder heavy with all three Grade A specs manning either first or third. After that, it gets a bit pitching happy with a few more corners mixed in for kicks. Maybe we’ll get a Christmas miracle and Prospector Rowf will chime in. I hear he’s a big Sawx fan!

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Happy holidays! For your present this year, I’m pushing out the Top 50 First Year Player Prospects. I chose those words precisely because rankings to me are like childbirth. Painful. Everybody wants to see. And then your in-laws complain about the name you picked out. Wonderful! For reals though, these specs are the most unsurest of an unsure bunch, so tiers are chunked in tens. I won’t put up much of a fuss within tiers, but if you want to talk about a player being in the wrong tier altogether, I think that’s a discussion worth having. I’ve already gone over my Top 10 First Year Player Prospects, and in that intro I talked a little about where my head’s at when I do these. (Insert “up my ass” joke here). Enjoy!

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Just as we start to pick up speed with the Twins, the prospect preview train comes grinding to a halt with a mediocre Orioles system. I think the horse from Ren and Stimpy said it best – no sir…I don’t like it. I skipped many a Sunday morning church service in favor of watching new episodes of R&S. I seem to be no worse for wear, except that when my kids ask me about their faith I usually dodge the question by offering to sell them some rubber nipples. With just two (questionable) Grade A prospects, this is the rubber nipple of minor league systems. I’m about to do my best to sell it.

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The first year player draft is an annual event for dynasty leagues, especially the really deep ones where everybody and their brother is already owned. They consist of players from the previous season’s draft and any international signings. These rankings will sometimes include MLB-ready prospects from abroad, and they’ll be relevant in standard redraft leagues. I’m spending a little extra time with the top ten, and next week the rest of the top 50 will roll out. That should get you through at least the first few rounds of a first year player draft. I’ve played in some really deep dynasty leagues and the approach changes dramatically depending on your competitive window, your draft position, and how many picks you have (some people collect FYPD picks like an 80’s kid collects Pogs). These rankings don’t take any of that into account and instead occur in a vacuum. I tend to value hitters over pitchers, hit tools over every other tool, and up-the-middle defenders over other positions. Also, these rankings consider 2018 performances in addition to the players’ scouting grades (some fared better than others in their first go at pro ball).

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I’ve learned several important lessons in my adult life. Cheez-its are the ideal snack. Lauder’s whisky is just as good as the expensive stuff. Children want you to spend time with them. And yet, soaking Cheez-its in whisky to sneak it into the movie that you’re attending with your children is somehow not a sound plan. Oh, and Byron Buxton is probably not the next Mike Trout. Lessons learned. This year’s Minnesota preview was really hard to whittle down to ten. There’s a nice balance between high upside guys, specs that are close, and some decent pitching. It’s just a good, deep system. Good and deep like the flavor of Lauder’s Blended Scotch Whiskey. This intro has been brought to you by Lauder’s Blended Scotch Whisky. I present the Minnesota Twins top ten fantasy prospects for your disapproval.

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We’re in a bit of a lull today with the offseason leagues winding down and the winter meetings set to start tomorrow, but there have been a few interesting transactions involving prospects. Next week’s rundown should be a tad meatier once the teams depart Vegas and have (hopefully) made some trades/moves. One of the teams that is kind of fascinating to watch right now is the Miami Marlins. I would expect them to move J.T. Realmuto this offseason (maybe this week), and I’d also expect the return to be centered around prospects. The team is obviously in rebuild mode, and since they’re not likely to be ready to compete in 2020, it makes no sense for them to hold the backstop. So let’s start with Miami, who signed a bunch of players to minor league contracts last Monday.

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I was born just days after the 1980 World Series – a match between my beloved Phils and the focus of this minor league preview…the Kansas City Royals. Since I wasn’t really conscious, I totally missed out on perhaps the two greatest third basemen of all time (yeah I see you Brooks) going head to head. I do have old pictures though. My favorite is Schmidt and Brett clinking glasses with what appears to be spiked lemonade while sitting in director’s chairs and leaning on baseball bats. I don’t think the next George Brett is in this year’s KC system. In fact, the Royals are limited to only one Grade A prospect (a recently drafted pitcher) and half of this year’s list fell into the ‘C’ tier. So it’s not exactly a powerhouse. But hey, at least the Royals provided (in my opinion) the greatest moment of the 2018 season…

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Baseball is beautiful and the thing I love the most about it is its minor league system. If you suck, there are a bunch of young, hungry players chomping at the bit to come up and take your job. But ETAs are difficult to pinpoint, and some players get straight up prosblocked. Some teams stir things up before spring training is even on our minds by simply saying sayonara to players at the non-tender deadline. So let’s discuss some of the major prospects that “won” on Friday thanks to a guy in front of him on the depth chart packing their bags. One small disclaimer…the offseason is still young, and a player could get signed or traded for, creating a situation where we’re right back to square one. Also, most of these players have been discussed by Grey (the guy who keeps his mustache beyond November) for their 2019 redraft value, so I’ve included links to his takes.

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