I know, you thought it was going to be 100 prospects right? Well, it’s a good news/bad news thing. The good news is I will be ranking the Top 100 Prospects and beyond, however I will be doing them in increments of 50. So the bad news is you only get 4,000+ words and 50 prospects to read. Lets be honest, we are amongst friends here right? Even 4,000 words is at least two, if not three bathroom sessions. I know that’s when you read these, and I’m cool with it. Now that we’ve made assumptions about your bathroom reading habits, lets move along. As always, I’ve tried to balance the right now value of “close to the majors” prospects vs the high end talent. While also trying to be somewhat objective, and conscientious of the general consensus, which is important to trade value. That’s not to say I don’t go rouge and aggressively rank some players I like. Ahhh, who am I kidding it’s all personal bias. So here you go, dig in. The next 50 will drop on Wednesday at the stroke of midnight.

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It’s the last day of fantasy baseball. Bummer… I know, I don’t want to talk about it either, but I’ve run out of ways to open posts at this point in the season. So, I’m going to just state the obvious, and awkwardly fumble into the purpose of this pointless, yet verbose opening. I have a surprise for you, a sneak peak if you will of my forthcoming memoir “Fights & Prospects: Life as a Crab & The Top 100 Prospect List”. I’ve decided in an effort to market myself as a Rick Flair-esque persona, I’m going to write a tell all autobiography. Only I’m not going to talk about myself at all, but simply give you an updated Top 100 next Sunday. Today is the first ten from that list. So the Top 10 Prospects for 2018 Fantasy Baseball if you will. Titles are fun! It’s drawing heavily from my Positional ranks that we just finished, and bridges the gap to the Top 100 and beyond. In closing, thanks for reading this season, and remember to check here for prospects rundowns for all 30 MLB systems throughout the off-season.

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Ladies (4-5 of you) & Gentlemen, we are officially in the off-season!!! Please contain your excitement, and use the bags in the front seat pocket should you feel the need to blow chunks. PROSPECTING SEASON HAS RETURNED! Over the coming weeks, and months, you’ll be inundated with content to help you prepare for your dynasty prospect drafts, first year player drafts, and keeper/dynasty decisions. We’ll start with an update of my Top 100 Prospects, followed by a the 2018 first year player draft ranking, followed by keeper ranks for pitchers and hitters, followed by a very special mock prospects drafts with some of the top prospectors in the industry, and of course my team previews, and corresponding podcasts for all 30 MLB franchises. For all those wondering “followed by” is my “and then“. Long story short, there’s lots to come. Fear not kind citizen, for this post, the 2018 Minor League Preview Index is your one stop hub for all of our off-season dynasty content. So, bookmark this page, set a google alert, or just keep this page open until April. One way or the other you’re going to get all of my offseason brain droppings.

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Last year, my brother from another mother, Michael C. Halpern, predicted a new wave of offensive catchers. Players like Gary Sanchez, Tom Murphy, and Willson Contreras were here to lead the first wave in a new generation. Fast forward one year later, and Gary Sanchez and Contreras are in fact leading a new generation of good hitting catchers, while the other guy has been erased from my memory. Or at least I thought, I’m shocked I can even recall Tom Murphy’s name. But that’s neither here nor there. We have some exciting catchers to cover. That’s right, I used the words exciting and catchers in the same sentence! This sounds like Razzball sacrilege! But it’s true, because, for the first time since the Clinton administration, there’s as many as 10 crouching tigers I would own in dynasty. Here’s to this wave of talented backstops being better than the previous. And may that apply in the most double entendre of ways possible to all aspects of your life, loyal reader. I appreciate you for committing this time to something as trivial as catching prospects. Pray hands… So the least I can do is wish you good luck in your love life. Today’s post concludes my positional top 10s, we’ve already dug through Pitchers, outfielders, shortstops, third baseman, second baseman, and first baseman. Onto catchers!

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Have you ever ranked M&Ms? Or Skittles? Or really anything that looks different but is really exactly the same? That my friends is what it’s like to rank first base prospects at this point in history. The Cody Bellingers, Rhys Hoskins, Dominic Smiths, and the like have moved onto the show, and we’re left with a bunch of guys that should all be ranked tenth. Seriously, you’ve heard of 1A and 1B, but have you ever seen 1A through 1Z? Realistically I’m splitting more hairs than a louse with an ax on this post. As I type this I’m looking down at a sticky note with about 27 names scribbled on it. I’m old school, I crush sticky notes all day, everyday. My brain is more or less a table with 1,000’s of yellow sticky notes. Does that mean I’m organized or a mess? You decide. I don’t have time to figure this stuff out, I have first baseman to rank! So far we’ve covered starting pitchers, outfielders, shortstops, third basemen, and 2nd basemen in our 2017 positional wrap up. Which leaves us just catchers to cover after today, and I think you know how I feel about catching prospects (psst why bother?). Anyway onto the shallowest position in the minors, which is funny because it’s possibly the deepest position in the majors. Well, the deepest from a fantasy perspective. On to the rankings!

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What a difference a year makes. Had I wrote this post in 2016 we’d be discussing one of the deepest positional player pools going. But just 12 months later, and there’s no Moncadas, Albies, or Calhouns to be found. Players that would have graced the back end of my top 10 last year, are now ranked at the top of the heap. That’s not to say there aren’t some impact bats in the mix at the keystone. But it’s a mix of transformative players losing rookie status, and the talent not being as close to the majors as it had been in previous years. There’s another element to all this too. Much like with third base, some of the top 2nd baseman are still playing shortstop. It wouldn’t shock anybody if Bo Bichette, Brendan Rodgers, Franklin Barreto, or even Gleyber Torres ended up at 2nd. So there’s a lot to debate in this ranking. Everyone is bound to have some variance and disagreement. But what’s wrong with some disagreement amongst the consensus? Call me crazy, but it’s a lot more fun when there’s debate and a wide range of opinion. I mean you’ve seen my twitter, right? Without further delay, it’s the Top 10 2nd Base Prospects for 2018.

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Is September 13th the earliest the hot stove has ever been fired up? We have about a month and a half left of baseball, including the playoffs, and at the moment the biggest story in the game is an international free agent. Granted this is no average international free agent, it’s Shohei Otani, the 23 year old pitcher/outfielder/designated hitter, described by many as the Japanese Babe Ruth. In my opinion that’s a bit hyperbolic, he’s neither fat nor drunk, and his home run trot isn’t a full on shuffle. Do you people even know who Babe Ruth is? I scoff at you! All joking aside, with the rumor coming out of Japan yesterday that Otani will in fact enter the posting process, the offseason has unofficially started. Over the course of today’s post we’ll go over my novice take on the business side of his signing, and the MLB roster rules governing his free agency, his profile as both a hitter and starter, and we’ll close with a very early prediction of his pre-season ranking in both re-draft leagues, and dynasty first year player drafts. It’s important to view this from all angles, as there’s a wide range of possibilities for how Otani is handled next season by his future MLB team, the league, and fantasy sites. If there’s anything I missed or explained poorly (probably haha) hit me up in the comments, and set me straight. I promise I won’t bite… this time.

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It’s funny how much third baseman are like eggplants. Why am I drawing this off the wall parallel? No reason, other than I didn’t know how to open, and the first thing I saw was an eggplant. Yes, a real eggplant not a eggplant emoji, or item represented by said emoji. Here we are on a Sunday, not talking about the minor league happenings of the last week, but heading full steam ahead into the our off-season prospect coverage. Crazy to think we’re two seasons into my tenure here at Razzball as the resident Prospector In Chief. Memories, tears, and promise rings. Today we dive into the chilly waters of the hot corner. Not the most exciting group I’ll profile over the next few weeks, but not every position is as stacked as outfield. Ya dig? That’s not to say there aren’t a collection of future fantasy stars, as well as fantasy relevant talents outside the top 5. The top three names of Guerrero, Senzel, and McMahon should be familiar to all, as they’re some of the top talents presently in the minors. Unlike outfield and shortstop, there’s a particular profile associated with 3rd. It’s a power position, and one expected to produce some of the top middle of the order bats. The top 5 is filled with those, but the next 5 is where things get interesting. As always, remember my personal preference weighs heavy on this ranks (these ranks are my personal preference after all…), and the ability to stick at the position long term is taken with a grain of salt. I’m looking for the best bats with 3Bs on the back of their minor league baseball cards.

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Over the past few seasons few positions have gotten more hype than shortstop. With players like Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Alex Bregman, Addison Russell, Amed Rosario, the names go on and on. Some of these names were obviously major difference makers in fantasy, while others have ridden “real baseball” prospect hype to overrated status. Much like with catchers on the mainstream prospect lists, the demands of the position defensively significantly increase these player’s values. We don’t care about defense though, there’s only two questions we ask ourselves as dynasty managers. Does this Rotowear shirt make me look fat? No, wait, wrong question. We ask ourselves A. Can he hit? B. Will he stick at the position? The latter of which is ehhh, with a side of meh sauce. I really only care if they can hit. If a player is moved to second, third, or center, it really doesn’t matter, you know, as long as the skills play. I understand position scarcity, but my focus when drafting, adding, or trading for prospects in fantasy leagues is to land the best possible hitters. With this in mind I present to you the Top 10 Shortstop Prospects for 2018 Fantasy Baseball.

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With a rash of Callups in the last week, there’s guaranteed to be numerous players exceeding their rookie limits over the coming weeks. This new batch of players will move up top 100 lists and into the discussion of the top 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100 prospects in the game. A player who finds himself squarely in the conversation for top overall prospect in the game is the Dunedin Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The highly touted 3rd baseman is easily one of the top 5 bats in all of the minor leagues at the tender age of 18. Over the last month he’s added to his already impressive 2017 campaign by slashing .385/.483/.646 with 6 homers and 23 RBI. With the power stroke taking a step forward it wouldn’t surprise me to see Vlad Jr. ranked as high as 1st overall in some off-season prospect lists. He’s easily the top prospect in the Florida State League this season, and in all levels of A ball. He matches his father’s uncanny ability to make contact with balls anywhere in and out of the zone, with a far more patient approach than his namesake. At this point Guerrero should be owned in all dynasty formats. Here’s what else is going down in the MiLB.

P.S. Here’s Vlad Jr. hitting a homer to clinch a FSL playoff spot on Thursday Night.

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