I like this White Sox club *dodges tomato*. Geez, that one wasn’t even ripe! Harsh. Seriously though. Hear me out. You’ve got the anchor at first with Abreu. That’s a solid middle infield of Moncada and Anderson. And you’ve got three decent arms to build around in Rodon, Lopez, and Giolito. If Kopech weren’t recovering from Tommy John, he’d have been a good bet to join them (spoiler: he”ll still rank somewhere on this list). But Mike, that’s only like six players. That’s true my over-the-internet-friend-holding-an-unripened-kumquat. But this is where our prospect list comes into play. The reinforcements are on the move, and right now this system has arguably the best outfield prospect in baseball scheduled to arrive in early 2019. Am I predicting they win the Central? Nah, I still think that’ll go to the Tribe. But I’ll bet Chicago leapfrogs the Twins and Tigers and puts together a winning record.

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Luis Robert will rank highly in the White Sox top ten, which happens to be the system on deck to publish here. The outfielder extended his AFL hit streak to 14 games on Friday with three hits, two runs, and a steal for good measure. This raised his average to .386 – good for second in the league behind Tyler Nevin. Where you at Vlad Jr.? Step it up! Robert is an easy like for fantasy players with the ability to contribute in all five categories. He draws comps to fellow Pale Hoser Yoan Moncada, and while the profile right now is centered around his speed, he projects to trade some of that for power as he matures. With only one week left in the Arizona Fall League, there’s a good chance he’ll finish as one of this year’s top performers, sending his offseason stock even higher. Here’s what else happened in the desert this week…

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I haven’t slept since Red Dead 2 came out, so I’m probably going to confuse these Ranger prospects with actual Texas Rangers galloping around with Litchfield repeaters, shooting deer, and antagonizing passersby. There’s something about virtual cowboying that brings me joy. It’s all of the glory and none of the chafing! I’m rocking a $300 bounty in Strawberry, but we have business to take care of here and I’m willing to risk my hide for my tens of readers. We’ve reached the border of the AL West, and this Rangers system features a trio of Grade A outfield prospects inching their way closer to the bigs. After that, it gets a bit pitching heavy. So down a pint of whiskey, grab your revolver (aka PS4 controller), mount your horse (aka couch), and let’s ride through the 2019 Texas Rangers minor league preview!

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Last night, MLB streamed the Arizona Fall League equivalent of an All-Star Game. In a cunning twist, it’s named the Fall Star Game. The game ended too late for a recap, so this is a preview of a game that has already been played. Welcome to time travel. I’d explain the intricacies of writing in the present about something in the future that will publish in the future about something that happened in the past, but it’s a bit complicated. All I’ll say is it requires weapons-grade plutonium, an internet connection, and a fifth of Dewar’s. The player I’m most excited to see is Keston Hiura (2B), the Brew Crew’s top prospect with the 70 hit tool. He’s kicking keisters in the AFL, hitting .343 with four bombs, five steals, and 27 runs batted in (the league lead). Here are a few other prospects I’m scoping out tonight (last night) in the Fall Stars Game… 

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Happy Halloween! Go figure…sometimes the universe seems to match things up perfectly. This system is an effing house of horrors. Honestly, the only thing more boring than writing up this Mariners list in late October would be writing up a top ten ranking of actual mariners. Hmmm…Captain Phillips has a lot of upside but you can’t argue with Ahab’s floor. And let’s be honest, the Gorton’s fisherman has a double-plus beard. Anythehoo, this is our first list void of any Grade A prospects. With no real standouts and a couple of extremely young players, this system is tailored more for a deep dynasty leaguer than a 2019 redrafter. To pumpkin spice latte things up and give myself and the tens of people reading this post something to argue about, I’m including my top ten Treehouse of Horror shorts. Boo!

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It’s the marvelous Mesa Brothers! Witness these Cuban compadres crush all comers with their colossal clout! Where do these sensational siblings get their serious swagger? By smoking Chesterfields of course. Chesterfields – on the war front AND the home front. Whoa…so sorry. I had the 1940 newsreel plugin enabled. Okay, we should be good now. The Marlins recently signed a living Doublemint gum commercial for a cool $6 million, and since it’s my job to make things up about prospects so Grey will think I’m useful, let’s see if either Victor Mesa Jr. or Victor Victor Mesa are going to be worth our time in 2019 fantasy baseball. Pass the inter-dimensional clicker. It’s two brothers. Old women are coming, but these brothers have a strong bond. You better bet your bottom dollar that these two brothers know how to handle business. It’s two brothers. It’s just two brothers!

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I have a confession to make. I grew up in South Jersey and I bleed Phillies burgundy. But over the past few years, I’ve grown more and more fond of the A’s. I’m even staying up past my bedtime to watch them. Maybe it was Moneyball. Maybe it’s exciting players like Chapman. Maybe it’s their fans. Maybe it’s the way they approach personnel. Whatever it is…they’re fun. And this minor league system is fun. It has a bit of everything. Heisman candidate? Check. First-round arm recovering from TJS? Check. Cuban stud muffin? Check. It’s deep, and it was difficult to whittle this list down to ten (pro tip: if you want to sound cool…say the ‘h’ before the ‘w’ in whittle…thank me later). It would have been even harder to put this together if Franklin Barreto, Renato Nunez, Dustin Fowler, and Ramon Laureano hadn’t graduated. But that’s the fun/challenging part of the gig. I have to pick ten guys in a system with more than ten decent specs to talk about. Then I get to defend my choices on the interwebs. #Blessed.

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Two weeks ago the 2019 Astros prospects list published. One of the more difficult players to figure from that group was Forrest Whitley. He’s one of the most talented arms in the minors, but simply didn’t pitch much in 2018 due to suspension and injury. That’s where leagues like the AFL (Arizona Fall League) and LIDOM (Dominican Winter League) come in handy. They give us an extended look at prospects that would otherwise be haunted by question marks heading into spring training. So far, Whitley’s numbers in the AFL should quell any fears. Through two games started with the Scottsdale Scorpions, he’s struck out 14 batters in seven-plus innings while allowing just three free passes and two earned runs. Those are the ace-like numbers his fantasy owners need in their life, and they were enough to earn him Pitcher of the Week honors. Here’s what else is happening around the offseason leagues…

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The Angels are a funny team. Not the ha-ha kind of funny. More like the “that’s funny, I could have sworn I turned the stove off…why does my house smell like burning?” kind of funny. It’s like they made this weird deal with the devil where they got to draft the best player in the universe twenty spots after Matt Hobgood (edit: HobWELL) and in return they aren’t allowed to do anything in the playoffs. But good news everyone! The farm system is looking a lot better. When I left Razzball to bottle bathtub gin in 2016 this system was a dumpster fire. And the dumpster was full of tires. And the tires were full of cat hair. Flash forward to 2019 and there are several fantasy-relevant options. Friends…let’s pretend heaven exists and peep the 2019 Angels prospects.

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The Astros are the defending world champions and just punched their ticket to the 2018 ALCS with a roster full of homegrown studs. So we can excuse them if the current system doesn’t stack up to previous years. And yet, this top ten still boasts three specs that should appear on just about every top 100 list this preseason. The Colin Moran trade and David Paulino’s graduation are the only notable changes to the group from last year. They’re a bit pitching heavy and the current MLB roster doesn’t leave much room for new talent to step into everyday roles, but that’s picking nits. On the plus side, any prospects that do manage to graduate in 2019 – I’m looking at you Kyle Tucker – are stepping into a winning environment and a stacked lineup. This year’s previews will use a simple A, B, C grading system to tier/group the prospects and as always I’m attacking these lists as a fantasy player.

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