The champ is here! The champ is here! Step aside, step aside y’all, we’re dancing into the winner’s circle to profile the top prospects of the World Series Champion Houston Astros. To say the Astros have built a winner through their astute drafting and international prowess is an understatement. Players like Dallas Keuchel, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Alex Bregman, and Lance McCullers all were developed in house, and plenty of additional homegrown talent was shipped out to reinforce the MLB club for the stretch run. So this is definitely a different system than the one profiled by yours truly over the last couple of offseasons. With a slew of graduations and trades, there’s a collection of high end talents from 1-4, followed by some above average high minors types, a handful of talented international lottery tickets, and a plethora of hard-throwing pen types. Houston seems to tread between a bunch of labels when it comes to pinpointing the best way to describe the system, but the most apt description is a good player development organization that needs to restock in the 2018 draft and international signing period. Without further ado it’s the Houston Astros Top Prospects.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Player projections for each of the next 7 days. A kick-ass DFS lineup optimizer and projections for DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo!.
Recently, I rather foolishly rekindled my interest in baseball cards. It was a cheap ploy under the Christmas Tree to spark my sons’ interest in not only a boyhood hobby of mine, but also to maybe teach them something about the game I love. To my oldest, age 7, I gifted a 1976 O-Pee-Chee Mike Schmidt, one of my all-time favorite players, and the fake autograph in my very first baseball mitt, courtesy of the good folks at Franklin. To my youngest son, age 2, it was an obvious choice. His first name is Nolan, and despite the hall of fame trajectory of one Mr. Arenado, for now at least, there is only one true King of House Nolan. That is Nolan Ryan, father of flames, bringer of whiffs, first of both his first names. All this to say, I bought him a 1979 Nolan Ryan. Which features my favorite Nolan Ryan, Angels Nolan Ryan. When you write your own fantasy articles you can have your favorite Nolan Ryan. You could go baby Nolan Ryan, Mets Nolan Ryan, Astros Nolan Ryan, Rangers Ryan, Cowboy Ryan, Executive Ryan, the possibilities are endless! Hell, you can picture Nolan Ryan singing lead for Skynyrd in front of an Angels band! Can you tell I dabbled in more of Aunt Sierra’s medicated brownies? They were leftover from Christmas, and technically I hadn’t eaten any this year. Anyway, where I’m all going with this is, my fascination with Nolan Ryan stems from two places. First, RBI baseball circa O.G. Nintendo 1988. Second, my best friend’s dad had a 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan rookie card, and it was one of the coolest rookie cards I had ever seen. It was particularly unusual to a child of the late 80’s – early 90’s card era, because it was a dual player card. He shared the card with Jerry Koosman, a lefty that won over 200 games with a 3.36 ERA over a 19 year MLB career. Drawing inspiration from this co-inhabited card, I decided to to do a dual 2018 Dynasty Sleeper post with a couple of Phillies pups I’m currently crushing on. A pair of teenage phenoms, outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz, and righthanded pitching prospect Francisco Morales. Check the artwork below, major props to Kenneth Cashman! Rotowear.com!Please, blog, may I have some more?
Thomas Jefferson once said “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom”. This is a lesson the 2017 Detroit Tigers took to heart. They knew their window was honestly closing, and sold off aging stars, and spare parts for something Detroit has lacked for a long time, organizational depth. Over the past two drafts and the 2017 trade deadline (both of them), the Tigers added seven of the top ten players on the list below. They’ve focused heavily on adding arms with front of the rotation upsides, and have succeeded for the most part, plucking a handful of exciting pitching talents. The positional side of things is a little thinner, but there’s a small collection of bats with some serious fantasy allure. With the top pick in the upcoming 2018 MLB draft there’s a good chance the Tigers add a couple of impact players before this time next year. The future is bright in the Motor City, with a majority of their top talents years away, this could be a system on the rise over the next 24 months. One side note, I was well trained for this post, by Tigers Prospect writer and friend Emily Waldon. If you’re not following Emily now on twitter you really should. I’ll give you a minute… Now that you’ve obeyed my every command, let’s get into the Detroit Tigers Top Prospects for 2018.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Not too long ago the words “Chicago Cubs Prospects” meant something. It was a system deep with talented positional players with premium fantasy upsides. In recent years those talented positional payers have debuted on the big stage, succeeded (for the most part), and broke an 108 year old curse. So to say things are good in Wrigleyville is an understatement. While the farm is not what it was two years ago, it’s been essential in reinforcing both of the Cubs recent playoff runs. This leaves Lance and myself to pick up the pieces of what remains. It’s a system lacking standout talent, but one that’s deep with mid-rotation starters, fringe positional players, and middle relief types. We go through the high points in Jose Albertos, Adbert Alzolay, and Aramis Ademan. Then cover some of the recent draftees, and scour the system for upside. Not the most exciting collection of talent we’ll cover, but there’s a few names to watch for. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 20% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Honestly, I wanted to take this whole week off. That was kind of my plan, but five minutes into getting my ass whipped by my 7 year old in video games, I decided to throw in the towel and retire to my study, determined to find Jesus. What I discovered instead was a 98 MPH fastball, a coaster from Dr. James Andrews waiting room, a video of Mike Rizzo writing his name and a smug photo of Billy Beane on a treadmill. What kind of Christmas caper did I find myself involved with? Is this the plot line to Ocean’s 16? A film I’m pitching to Grey about me and a bunch of unsigned international prospects storming Dan Duquette’s office, and demanding he sign them all… Why was the couch in my study talking to me? And what exactly was in my Aunt’s “medicated” candied bacon? I had to get to the bottom of this. But first, let’s talk about why Oakland Athletics lefthanded pitching prospect Jesus Luzardo has me ready to scorn my life of sin and debauchery for a higher purpose.Please, blog, may I have some more?
In the words of Frank Lucas, “Rockies hitters are a brand name; as much a brand name as Pepsi. I own it. I stand behind it. I guarantee it, and people know that even if they don’t know me.” So the story goes for Rockies prospects reports, all the kids want to know about all the potential future Rockie bats, and are quick to raspberry a talented arm before his future Coors date. With this in mind, I try and focus on some of the more unheralded hitting talent amongst the Purple’s ranks. There is loads of infield depth in this system, with a fair share of mid-rotation arms, and some speedy outfielders to boot. It’s not the Rockies farms of the past few offseasons, but it’s a talented group nevertheless. The Rocks have done an excellent job of developing talent, and cashing in at the major league level over the years. The roster currently boasts home grown talents like Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, Jon Gray, Trevor Story, and DJ LeMahieu among others. So the question remains, who is the next player to emerge a fantasy star? Go ahead and take your best guess, it’s the Rockies Top Prospects for 2018 Fantasy Baseball.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Wake up Sheeple! I bet the mainstream media will tell you that the Indians system is top heavy and that outside of the top four it’s all high upside teenagers. I bet you’re hearing that! I’m here to tell you that’s totally #fakenews. The Indians system is three really nice talents and a whole bunch of high upside teenagers. Then again I’m not sure where that leaves Yu-Cheng Chang, who is neither a teenager or one of those elite level talents. He’s a nice power and speed player in the Indians top 5, who happens to be currently generating traffic to this post from his homeland of Taiwan. I learned this trick from Halp. True Story! Any the hootie-hoo, this is one of the more hitter heavy lists I’ll write this year. Which is probably okay for the Indians, they won’t have too many spots to fill in the rotation with Kluber, Carrasco, Bauer, Salazar, and Mike Clevinger under contract until 2020. So, if you’re a fan of some of the quad-A types destined for middle relief littered throughout the Tribe’s system, then you’re going to be severely disappointed. Overall it’s a farm in flux, some talented players with an arrival window in the next two years, and a lot of lottery tickets with four year+ ETAs. Also switch-hitters, the Indians love switch-hitters. Don’t be frightened off though, there’s some jewels in these here blurbs! Read on noble future dynasty champion, it’s the 2018 Cleveland Indians Top Prospects.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Let’s just get this out of the way, my name is Ralph Lifshitz Esq., and I am an A.J. Preller fan boy. It hasn’t always been this way. Oh no, at one point I was just like you, wide-eyed and lost in his trades of the 2015 offseason. I appreciated the 2016 exodus of MLB stars, as Preller added top talents like Manuel Margot, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Anderson Espinoza. But where Preller really hooked me was the 2016 July 2nd International period. Over the duration of that signing window Preller landed the top rated Dominican talent in Luis Almanzar, Cuban starters Michel Baez, Adrian Morejon, and Ronald Bolanos, in addition to Jorge Ona, Tirso Ornelas, Jession Rosario, Jordy Barley, and today’s focus Gabriel Arias. At least four of these talents have found their way into various versions of my Top 100 and Top 200, while I was on Arias early, he was merely a mention earlier this offseason in my 2018 Dynasty Sleepers list. Since then, Arias has shipped off to the land down under to further hone his craft, with a head full of zombie. No word on whether there’s any truth to the rumor that a man from Brussels handed him a Vegamite sandwich. Anyway, here’s why Gabirel Arias is a 2018 Dynasty Sleeper.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Alright Cincinnati, let’s just get this out of the way, your chili is gross, but your prospects are tasty. With high picks over the last few years, and a definite Cuban connection, the Reds have done well to add to their farm system of late. Their first round drafting over the last two seasons in particular has been a source of real talent, adding Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammell, Hunter Greene, and Jeter Downs. While the days of highly volatile upside starters seem to be over, there’s still some upside arms to dream on, Tony Santillan specifically. With Tyler Mahle, Senzel, and Jesse Winker all in the mix for gigs on the major league squad out of camp, there’s some higher end close to the majors talent here too. I may not have any Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees takes, but I got plenty of Top Cincinnati Reds prospects to talk up. After all it’s the 2018 Cincinnati Reds Minor League Preview.Please, blog, may I have some more?