Monday starts the sleepers on the site. Thank forkin gawd, amiright? On Patreon, I’m starting the rankings. Holy schnikes! The best Black Friday sale ever! You’re giving a discount? No, Random Italicized Voice, I’m just saying Black Friday sale because everyone else is. Ah, very cool.

So, the Houston Astros got a bad rap for, uh, rapping on a trash can. I get it. Think it’s pretty unfair, since everyone has tried to cheat. The “Yankees Letter” from Manfred couldn’t have been more ignored by The Sportswriters. People are fatigued by the cheating scandal. Fatigue is pronounced fay-tee-gay, it’s Italian. I get it, I don’t want to talk about it, after apparently talking about it. All I wanted to say is Astros seem to not get the respect they’re due in fantasy, and I think it’s because people are biased, whether consciously or not. The Astros’ pitching staff, for unstints, have they ever had a bad pitcher? Trying to remember. *pinching my temples* Who was their last bad pitcher? Odorizzi? Okay, they traded him away for pen help. Astros, also, don’t develop bad arms. It’s one lights-out guy after another. Framber Valdez, Lance McCullers, Cristian Javier, Jose Urquidy, and Luis Garcia were all developed in-house. Forrest Whitley is like their last big bust, and I wouldn’t completely write him off yet. That brings us to Hunter Brown. Maybe I’m giving him unearned credit, due to other guys who have come up for the Astros, but he went 20 1/3 IP in the major leagues this year with a 0.89 ERA and 9.7 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and 2.78 xFIP, which came after completely housing the minor leagues: 106 IP in Triple-A, 11.4 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, and 2.55 ERA. Feels like a virtual lock to be yet another huge Astros arm. So, what can we expect from Hunter Brown for 2023 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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First off, let’s see what Prospect Itch has said about Eury Perez previously, “Best mechanics I’ve seen from a pitcher in the 6’ 8” range. Might have the best mechanics I’ve seen from an 18-year-old (now 19), especially his ability to repeat his calm, controlled delivery. His fastball gets up above the mid-90’s already, and his changeup stops and drops like a splitter. It’s a nightmare pitch the Marlins have had success teaching a lot of their young arms (see Cabrera, Edward). His curveball is plus too, but it’s the fastball/cambio combo that gives him an inside lane on becoming the game’s top pitching prospect after Grayson Rodriguez graduates, and I want to punch Grey so bad.” All right, not cool. My one question to Itch would be about, “Best mechanics I’ve seen from a pitcher in the 6’ 8” range.” Ha, you see a lot of pitchers in that range? Randy Johnson, Chris Young, Jon Rauch and…uh…Marcus Stroman standing on a stepladder? We (I) talk a lot about Lab Babies, in regards to hitters, but a 19-year-old, six-foot, eight-inch pitcher? Is this real life or is this Vincent Adultman on the mound? It’s real life? Okay, I know you’re saying that, but I barely believe you. What if he has one more growth spurt? Can he pitch in Tampa or will his head hit the ceiling? Does MLB have a rule against putting a foul pole on the mound because I think that’s what we might have here. So, what can we expect from Eury Perez for 2023 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here’s what I said last year about Triston Casas, “There’s likely a lot of factors that go into fantasy baseball prospects, but here’s two I look at:

1. Ready and it’s up to the club.

2. Not ready.

Frank Voila! That’s it! Well, maybe not it it, but it is close enough to it. That it is in the It Crowd. In the big broad, general sense. If the player is in the 2nd category, then I’m not going to cover them. It’s why we have Prospectors Itch and Hobbs. They’ll tell you the guys who will be ready, eventually. My job is to tell you the guys who are ready, then leave it up to the team on whether or not they’re going to promote them. Triston Casas aka The House of Triston, as he’s known to George RR Martin, is ready. Honestly, Triple-A is a way station, in general. If a guy is in Triple-A, he could be in the majors. There’s no more “learning” for Triple-A guys. Maybe some are just not good enough for the majors, so they sit in Triple-A for years, but even those guys are Quad-A guys, not Triple-A guys. See, there’s no such thing as Triple-A. You’ve been woke’d up. You’re welcome. This doesn’t mean the Red Sox will call up Triston Casas, just because he’s in Triple-A. But they could at any time.” And that’s me quoting me!

I quote that long passage because it annoys me so much, and I thought I’d annoy you too. You’re welcome! What were the Red Sox doing last year? I get it, manipulating service time, but when teams like the Red Sox are doing that, what hope do we have for a team like the Pirates? The Red Sox went to Yu Chang, Franchy Cordero, Eric Hosmer and do I have to continue with how terrible their 1st basemen were? It makes me sick. I have RedSoxbotcheditulism. Only cure of RedSoxbotcheditulism is they finally turn to Triston Casas this spring. So, what can we expect from Triston Casas for 2023 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Really don’t like how the Brewers used — or should say didn’t use — Esteury Ruiz this past year, after he was acquired. Bit worrisome that they acquired Esteury Ruiz at the end of August, then sent him to the minors until September, called him up for three games, then sent him right back down. Not instilling in me a lot of confidence. So, why even do this rookie outlook post to join all my other fantasy baseball rookies posts (not clickbait at all!)? Because Esteury Ruiz’s minor league numbers are some of the sheer goofiest I’ve ever seen. He’s only 23 (about to be 24 in February), but his minor league numbers are…Well, let me try something. His minor league stats are gorgeo827–Damn, tried to type that with the drool hanging from my bottom lip. All right, hold onto your seat and cover your pants tent, because this gonna get you excited: 16 homers, 86 steals between Double-A, Triple-A and the majors. That’s in only 472 at-bats! Oh, and he led all minor leaguers with a .447 OBP. What even, bro? Is this real life or am I tripping on peyote while staring at a Rickey Henderson rookie card? Prospects of note who had a line of .300/.400/.500: Gunnar Henderson, Miguel Vargas, Corbin Carroll and Esteury Ruiz. Welp, that’s great, I am now selling my car and reinvesting all my money into Esteury Ruiz rookie cards. See ya later! So, what can we expect from Esteury Ruiz for 2023 fantasy baseball?

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Robin Williams GIF, “What year is it?” Here’s a guy we’ve (I’ve) only covered for what, the last four years? Each year expecting him to debut. Oh my, I just realized something… Josh Jung — Carl Jung — Carl Jung — Josh Jung! Carl Jung who famously said, “The powers of my depths are predetermination and pleasure. Predetermination or fore-thinking is Prometheus, who, without determined thoughts, brings the chaotic to form and definition, who digs the channels and holds the object before pleasure.” You know what that means, don’t you? You do? Can you explain to me? I think what he’s saying is Josh Jung was held, due to forethinking about how good he was going to be, so putting the horse before the pleasure, and it withheld its true pleasures. Or Jung is just saying I shouldn’t have bothered covering Josh Jung for the past three or so years, and I am very dumb. Thanks a lot, Carl! Geez, what a bummer Carl Jung was, huh? Or am I projecting. Crap, Rudy’s going to sue me, projecting is his thing. So, what can we expect from Josh Jung for 2023 fantasy baseball?

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So, this is a tough one to write, that is even harder as I do this in November, when nothing’s been finalized about next year’s rosters. Anthony Volpe could break camp with the Yankees or he could be called up late in the year like the Oswald/o’s. Yankees desperately need to look back at what they did in the mid-90s, and turn the page on signing all these vets, who kinda suck. Israel Diner-Falafel was a terrible signing at the time and it never got better, but this is what the Yankees have done for almost 25 years now. There’s someone reading this who wasn’t even alive for when the Yankees used to promote prospects. Me, being 17 years old, I don’t know any of this. I blew dust off Wikipedia to read about it. That’s right, I started Razzball when I was 5 years old. I was the Doogie Howser of fantasy baseball ‘perts. I don’t even get the Doogie Howser reference that I just made. I’m too young. Was he related to Dick Howser? Dot dot dot. Who I also don’t know — again –> too young. When the Yanks had the Core Four just coming up, I was actually a Yankees fan. Fantasy baseball and moving away from Jersey deadened most of my Yankees fandom, and sanded-down the sharp edges of the rest, but there was one point when the Yankees didn’t just go out and sign every $200 million free agent. That’s why I don’t know how accurate this Anthony Volpe 2023 fantasy rookie post can be about his playing time. I could see the Yankees go to Anthony Volpe in April or sign Carlos Correa for a two-year deal and talk about teaching Volpe to play 2nd. Anything’s on the table. So, what can we expect from Anthony Volpe for 2023 fantasy baseball?

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“Keston Hiura, Tyrone Taylor, Christian Yelich…Every other bat the Brewers have ruined has nothing to do with Sal Frelick…” is what I chant to myself while surrounded by candles in a meditation room. Yelich had his own ground ball issues; Tyrone Taylor was never supposed to be that good, he only got hyped in the fantasy baseball community; Keston Hiura sucked, but maybe he was overrated by scouts and always kinda sucked, or maybe his batting stance got out of alignment or maybe or maybe or maybe! None of these guys have anything to do with Sal Frelick, and I need to stop trying to put that garbage on this guy. Let’s see what Itch said, “The 15th overall pick out of Boston College possesses double-plus bat control and contact abilities that should let the rest of his game flourish as Sal Frelick climbs the ladder, and someone push Grey off a ladder.” C’mon, man! Itch also said a lot of other stuff on Sal Frelick, that was, honestly, only a fraction of what was said about Frelick. Prospect Itch and Prospect Hobbs have covered Frelick a great deal; they are both very big fans. You can get a good 1000 words on Sal Frelick from Hobbs when Frelick was merely a guy in the 2021 MLB draft. It’s worth the read. So, what can we expect from Sal Frelick for 2023 fantasy baseball?

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Hey, a guy who’s already debuted. Let’s refresh the memory on Brett Baty:

And home run number two:

And pure unadulterated love to help weigh out all the hours you spend listening to true crime:

Sweet stuff. Not just the swing, but the family love. Speaking of family, it’s me, your daddy, with what I said back in August when he was called up, “It’s Brett Baty as in Brett “Beatty” — not “Batty,” because I know in your head, you see Brett Baty and think Batty. Oh, yeah, I know what is going on in your head. You’re thinking I also pronounced it Brett “Batty.” Wrong! I’m in your head, but you’re not in my head! In my head, I like to pronounce Brett’s last name “Bat-Why,” and with a flourish like it’s Pad Thai. I’ll tell you Bat-Why! Bat-Why because just last week he landed on Itch’s top 25 prospects for dynasty leagues, where he said, ‘Brett Baty has no business in AA. He’s repeating the level after posting a 118 wRC+ in 40 games last year, and he’s slashing .355/.427/.655 with eight home runs in his last 26 games. Who’s in charge of this stuff? What’s happening here? This is dumb, so I think somehow Grey’s behind it.’ Okay, not cool. Bat Why’s numbers at Double-A ended up 19 HRs, .312/.406 in 89 games, as he was finally promoted to Triple-A after Itch’s insistence, and he’s continued to hit there too. The Mets need a third baseman with Eduardo Escobar IL’d and Baty is being called up. I Bat-Why’d on all my teams where I too need a third baseman. He could be the last big call-up. By the why, who doesn’t need a 3rd baseman? The one team who drafted Jo-Jo-Ram in your league? Cool, not me, which is why I Bat-Why’d and that’s Bat-Because.” And that’s me quoting me quoting Itch! So, what can we expect from Brett Baty for 2023 fantasy baseball?

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“You’re going to be hearing a lot about Ezequiel Tovar this offseason, so why not get started now? *phone rings* One second, sorry. “Hello? Yes, this is Grey. Yes, Grey Albright. Yes, the one with the luscious mustache and full head of hair! Yes, the only person who is five-seven but looks at least six-one! Yes, you’re talking to him! This is Future Me? Grey? I thought your voice sounded familiar. What’s up, Future Me, if I may call you that…Call you Mr. Albright? Uh, okay. What’s up, Mr. Albright? Ezequiel Tovar is hitting .350 with power and speed next year? That’s awesome! What do you mean it’s not awesome? Why? Because Bud Black’s playing the 32-year-old Scott Schebler at shortstop? Is Scott Schebler hitting well? Should I pick him up in eight months as a hot schmotato? Hello…Hello…?” I think he hung up.” And that’s me quoting Future Me! That was from when Ezequiel Tovar got called up at the end of the year. Ya know what’s a little crazy? Your aunt? Yes, but I’m talking about how it’s a little crazy how Rockies writers, who seemingly know the club better than anyone else, never talk about how awful Bud Black is. Likely because Bud is where the bread is buttered for scoops — Bud buttered? Hmm, I wish I didn’t think that. I also think most Rockies fans like Bud. *shrugs* Well, there’s no accounting for good taste or sense. Am I still very worried Bud Black will inexplicably find someone random to play shortstop instead of Tovar? If you don’t learn from the past Future Me, you will only repeat Future Me’s past mistakes. So, what can we expect from Ezequiel Tovar for 2023 fantasy baseball?

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I did a google for Matt Mervis and his ETA and I found he’s going to be promoted to the Cubs in 2022. Very cool, let’s see how he did. Let me do another google for us. Hmm, I’m not seeing any stats for Matt Mervis with the Cubs. They must’ve had some great 1st baseman in the North Side of Chicago, huh? Let’s see…Alfonso Rivas? Hmm…I don’t remember him being, how do they say it, good. I kid, of course, Alfonso Rivas was great (if you don’t know what the word great means). Rivas hit three homers and .235, but in only 101 games. Maybe he needs more of a chance? Say, another 4,000 games? No? Okay. Oh, I’m being told Rivas was only the lefty side of the 1st base platoon for the Cubs! Of course! The righty side must’ve been so much better, right? Let’s see…P.J. Higgins got 38 games at first and hit six homers and .229. Pajamas Higgins must’ve just had a bad year! What? That’s his best season at the plate in eight years of pro ball? Oh, okay. So, my point is obviously that Matt Mervis is going to be the Cubs’ 1st baseman to start the season, unless they want to see more from Pajamas. *weighing options with hands as scales* Pajamas, who sucks worse than feety pee-jays…Or a good prospect. Hmm, tough call. So, what can we expect from Matt Mervis for 2023 fantasy baseball?

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Some players seem like they are MLB The Show “Create a player” players. Here I call them Lab Babies. Jordan Walker? Oh, he’s definitely a Lab Baby. You see him and think, “Well, that guy’s 28 years old and has been destroying minor leaguers for years, right?” Then you hear he’s 20 years old and you start stumbling around humping fire hydrants because you’re drunk on rookie nookie. You’re hitting the hooch on that 151 Rum of Sexy Prospect Liquor. You’re drunk all right, but on all natural 80-grade sativa. It’s a strain that grows in prospect journals and gets nothing but shine, no shade whatsoever. Here’s what Prospect Itch has said previously, “I made the trip to see Walker in High-A, but he was on the bench that night, or rather, atop the dugout steps cheering on his new teammates, looking like a human giant. I have no reason to argue against his listed 6’5” 220 lbs, but I can say he dwarfed everyone else on the team. I can also say I saw enough of Walker’s work on MiLB.tv that I want to be driving that bus in dynasty leagues. He features double-plus athleticism for a big man, a controlled swing that explodes through the zone, and plenty of foot speed to make himself a pest on the basepaths. He’s looking like a consensus top ten prospect sooner than later, and I’d like to punch Grey in his head.” Okay, putting aside that last part, this was from Itch last year! Think Itch would be the first person to tell you that Jordan Walker has only got better! So, what can we expect from Jordan Walker for 2023 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?