It’s my favorite time of the year, the time when I start to research the first taste of pro-ball for all recent draftees, and prepare for the first year player drafts in several of my leagues. Depending upon the league the rules can vary, but by in large, you’re picking players from the recent draft, the July 2nd International class, and the remaining players on the free agent pool. I’m going to be breaking this post into two parts, first the Top 25 today, followed by the next 25 on Sunday. If my math is right I’m ranking 50, but I had to use my hands three times, and my toes twice. Plus I have to double count my fourth toe, because I lost my pinkie toes after starting Kevin Gausman early in the season. So toe math aside, if you’re in a 12 team league with limited minors (5-10 per team), this is the only post you’re going to need. Ya dig? Moving on, I have to say, now that I’m finished with the top 50, and I’ve researched each team’s draft class from top to bottom, this year’s crop is far more interesting that I thought. There’s tons of talented hitters with combinations of power, and speed, high end power arms from all levels of amateur ball with ace upsides, and  some talented bats in the middle infield. These rankings are subject to change, but it’s unlikely, as all of these players are done with competitive baseball for the season. Feel free to chime in with players you love, players you think will bust, and the players you hope to see in the next 25. Thanks for reading, and good luck in all your first year player drafts this off-season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Ayo whaddup, it’s ya boy Grey Albright aka the Fantasy Master Lothario aka White Chocolate aka The Ladder You Use To Reach New Heights aka The God Particle aka Trump’s Next Supreme Court Nominee Judge Reinhold aka Paid Overtime aka A Close Parking Spot When You’re In A Rush aka Al Swearengen’s Swearing Dictionary aka Teacher, We Don’t Need No Education aka The Weird Guy That Latches Onto The Main Character In Oscar Films I Think His Name Is Paul Dano aka The Butcher, The Baker and The Candlestick Maker aka The Stinging On Your Pinkie Toe When You Clip Too Close aka Paul Anka aka Forget How You Spell My Name And Just Get Me My Coffee!  I just spent thirty minutes looking up Mindy Cohn and whether or not she’s a lesbian.  Ah, the offseason.  You are a soothing mistress that touches my naughty bits with idle hands.  She’s apparently not a lesbian, but a confirmed friend of the gays, and she wanted to lose weight in the 80’s, but the producers asked her to avoid it for the character of Natalie.  They finally agreed to let her wear baggy clothes.  No comment, except the “no comment” comment has the weight of a thousand eye rolls.  A quick preamble about the 2018 fantasy baseball rookie series that is coming from me over the next few weeks.  Rookies could get a post if they meet MLB eligibility requirements, less than 130 ABs or 50 IP.  That means no Yoan Moncada, no Rhys Hoskins, no Rafael Devers, and finally no Amed Rosario.  In 2012, the first player I highlighted was Mike Trout.  That wasn’t an accident.  I said in the Mike Trout post, “He’s ranked number one for me. Numero uno. The Big Mahoff.  He’s the big Statue of Liberty in New York, not that girly one in Paris!”  Since then, I’ve attempted to make the first rookie post about a prospect that will be the top rookie for fantasy the following year.  Two years ago, that honor went to Corey Seager.  Yes, it’s an honor, don’t be so condescending.  Last year, it was Yoan Moncada. (But the 2nd rookie post was Aaron Judge!  If this were horseshoes, I’d be so money.)  This year the top fantasy prospect isn’t no ordinary man, this is the prospect I be seeing in my sleep.  Ronald Acuna will be your number one 2018 fantasy baseball rookie.  Will Acuna be named to the All-Century Team in 85 years or edged out by a robot with grabby hands named the Hitter-Tron that my great-great-nephew will sue due to trademark infringement only to find out it’s the same Hitter-Tron that once graced this little fantasy baseball blog called Razzball?  Can Acuna be a top ten outfielder in 2018?  So many questions and so little time to look up Mindy Cohn info!  Anyway, what can we expect of Ronald Acuna for 2018 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, how’s everyone holding up without baseball every day?  I don’t know what to do with myself!  Yesterday I wandered into a Starbucks and told the coffeerista about Marcus Stroman for 2018.  Then I sobbed into a cheddar scone until someone asked me to leave.  We’ve gone over the final 2017 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters and the top 20 starters.  This is different than Final Fantasy rankings where you rank Final Fantasy 1 thru Final Fantasy 15.  That’s hardcore nerd shizz!  This is simply fantasy baseball, we’re softcore nerds like Emmanuelle is to porn.  So, there’s no more of these godforsaken recap posts left.  You’re welcome.  I, my over-the-internet friend, will be talking next about 2018 rookies.  Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

According to Whitney Houston the “Greatest Love of All” had something to do with children’s laughter or something like that. I however, Ralph Z. Lifshitz, Prospector for Hire, Prospect Jesus, Bringer of Light, Master of his Domain; believe the ‘Greatest Love of All” is the satisfaction I gain from combing through scouting reports, end of season statistics, used garbage cans at minor league complexes, and sleeping with the wives of scouts for information. Some of those women aren’t handsome, or maybe they are. I usually get rather “engulfed” in the Olde E before I make it through the door. I’m jumping around aren’t I? Sorry, I started drinking early today. I actually was trying to explain how much I like sleepers but really got caught up in the Whitney analogy, and the Mother of Dragons name thing. So, to my original point, every off-season I build a list, usually starting around mid-August, of under the radar names to target in the later rounds of my 30 team dynasty draft. Last year my list included Sixto Sanchez, Jose Albertos, Jesus Luzardo, Seuly Matias, and Ty Blach, nailed my pitching, but hitters either didn’t pan out (Ramon Laureano), or are still too young to be blowing up (Eguy Rosario). This year however, I feel my list is full of strong hitters that just might be difference-makers. I’m a giver, so I decided to share a few of the names I’m going to be targeting this offseason. You won’t see the 50 plus names down there, but you will see 8 players I’ve highlighted from my list that I hold in the highest regard.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Willie Calhoun vs. Gleyber Torres. Nick Senzel vs. Willie Calhoun. Willie Calhoun vs. Michael Kopech. These are just a few of the Willie Calhoun centric conversations Ralph Lifshitz and I engaged in during this week’s prospect podcast. We also got to a few of the other guys in our 2017 end-of-season top 20 prospect rankings, debating how high Scott Kingery’s upside is, is Ryan McMahon worthy of a top 20 ranking, and if Royce Lewis could be the next Victor Robles. We discuss everybody from Ronald Acuna, Vlad Guerrero Jr., and Eloy Jimenez, to Taylor Trammell, Juan Soto, and Alex Reyes. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 15% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:

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All the final 2017 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters are done.  For those that skipped today’s title, this starts the top 20 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball.  This is NOT for 2018 (caps for those who can’t read titles; supposedly it’s easier to read caps, I have my doubts).  This is a recap.  Will these affect next year’s rankings?  Sure.  But not entirely.  To recapitulate, these rankings are from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  We’re (me’re) using it to fairly gauge our (my) preseason rankings.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This is an extremely tall task.

Picking entrants into the “elite four” starter tier as we coast towards 2018 and beyond is a punishment that really isn’t a punishment. Take this story as an example. (It’s the fantasy offseason, I can start columns with stories like the true millennial that I am!).

Listening to an episode of the SI Media Podcast with Richard Deitsch – *nerd alert* – an entrepreneur candidly dropped this phrase in regards to his Pittsburgh-based sports blog: “Hope sells…”

Local beats are often a way to build up a following as a aspiring writer, and as many are saturated with talent, the prospect of covering a team that doesn’t have a “face” on the national scene and possesses some hope for the future intrigues me.

Right about now is the time you’ll realize how absolutely insane I am – the San Diego Padres came to mind.

Tatis Jr., Baez, Morejon, Gore – Ralph loves them and so do I. Yeah, they suck, but abiding by that entrepreneur, once hope starts to accumulate, all those Padres-centric blogs – well, all two of them – will see an uptick in views.

This is a beautiful example of a punishment that isn’t really a punishment.

It may seem dismal that I’d have to write about a team that has hovered around the 70-win mark for all of eternity, but when you’re obsessed with baseball – and possess the lunacy gene – I see it as a treat.

Here, I’m speculating on pitchers who can not only become good, but excel into the echelon of objectively elite; the absolute studs that perennially cost a top pick. Let’s first look at three names that I think can transcend in 2018 – a much smaller crop – before busting the door wide open with the overly-generic “Beyond” timeframe.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m the one man army Ason, I’ve never been tooken out, I keep Prospectors looking out, I drop knowledge like Lancy dropping babies, enough to make an Albright go craaaaaazy! Sorry, always wanted to start a post like that, and I decided it shall be done over my morning coffee. In case you missed it I released the top 50 Prospects for 2018 on Sunday. Funny enough this is the perfect segue to today’s post, the second part of my top 100, this time with even more words! We’re going through 51-100, and I have to say this is by far the most difficult section of all my prospect rankings. It’s in intersection where up and comers full of helium, mix with droppers, solid-close-to-the-majors types, and super-young pure upside plays. I try to balance them all, and at times tiers dovetail, and weave together more than they stay in any sort of specific order. It’s an inexact science this prospecting. There’s so many unknown variables within each player and each player’s opportunities in a given organization at a given time. Constantly changing and evolving. All this to say that there’s a lot of educated guessing, and there’s bound to be some serious misses. Hello Tyler Glasnow!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With the top 40 outfielders for 2017 fantasy baseball, we’ve finished all the hitter recaps.  We meaning me, but I’ll include you.  No, that’s not a cue to try to hold my hand.  Why are you now patting my butt?  Don’t muss my hair!  The pitching recap will begin next.  You can hardly wait.  No, you!  To recap, the end of the season rankings are based on our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  I felt the easiest way to keep it objective would to go this route.  This way when I say someone finished 30th and I ranked them 23rd in the preseason, it carries more weight like a non-vegan Bill Clinton.  Anyway, here’s the top 40 outfielders for 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Went over the catchers1st basemen2nd basemen and shortstops and top 20 3rd basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball.  Guess what’s next!  No, not pitchers. Read the title, man.  In 2010, there were only 5 outfielders that hit 30 homers, in 2011 there were 9, 14 in 2012, in 2013 there were 3, a small bounce back with 6 in 2014, eight in 2015.  Last year, 11 outfielders hit 30 homers.  This year…DRUM ROLL!….15 outfielders hit 30 homers.  Obvious trend.  As for steals, there were 14 outfielders who stole 30 bases in 2012, 10 in 2013, 11 in 2014, five in 2015 and seven in 2016.  This year:  two (!) outfielders stole 30 (Hamilton and Maybin) and only six players overall.  So, how about that power, huh?  As before, these rankings are from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 outfielders for 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
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