I’d like to take this time on a Tuesday morning to formally apologize to one Austin Riley, Braves third baseman. I should have ranked you at least 6th in my third base rankings. I didn’t, I ranked you 10th. I tried to make up for it by slipping you into the Top 100, at 95th, but even that feels a little low. You’ve really made good in the Fall League slashing .302/.362/.698 with 6 homers, and 17 RBI. He’s been part of a dynamic Braves quartet that I profiled in my Arizona Fall League check-in, and my Braves 2018 Minor League Preview. Riley comes along at a perfect time in prospects lists, as there’s a definite shortage on dynamic talent in the corner infield. After a difficult stretch in the Florida State League for the first two-thirds of his season, Riley was promoted to AA Mississippi, and the power returned. In 48 games at AA, Riley hit .315/.389/.511, with 8 homers, and 27 RBI, slugging numbers much more in line with his career norms. Riley has credited his continued improvement to the Braves developmental programs, who have worked at shortening Riley’s swing, and improving his conditioning. Both areas where he’s made significant strides. He’s eased concerns regarding his defense, getting mostly average grades with his glove, but plus and double plus grades on his arm. Meaning it’s increasingly likely Riley sticks at the hot corner long term. It’s usually the wrong time to buy a player when he’s coming off a noisy Fall League, but Riley is the rare exception where he’s widely unowned in dynasty formats of 14 teams or less. Here’s some other Minor League news…

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The Phils have Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis, who was played for 162 games last year, something I still cannot get over.  Imagine a team playing Freddy Galvis 162 games.  I can’t and it happened!  Any hoo!  Both of these guys are arbitration eligible which could make them attractive in a trade to a smaller market team.  As if you can’t imagine Cesar Hernandez or Galvis playing for the A’s next year.  Plus, the Phils just hired “Hottie With His Shirt Off” Gabe Kapler.  The Jacked Jew!  By the way, if you would tell anyone who doesn’t know better that there’s a Jewish manager for the Phils named Gabe and he’s sexy AF, they’d tell you that you are absolutely bonkers.  There hasn’t been a handsome Gabe since the 1979 Battle of the Network Stars when Isaac from The Love Boat sprayed water in Gable Kaplan’s face.  Gabe Kapler is like the visual representation of a John Legend song.  Okay, enough homoerotic fantasy baseball.  Scott Kingery!  That’s who we’re for.  I mention Cesar Hernandez and Galvis because they could be standing in the way of Kingery’s playing time.  Kingery plays predominantly 2nd base, which means Cesar would have to move, but Hernandez could play short, which works if Galvis moves.  So, what can we expect from Scott Kingery for 2018 fantasy baseball?

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I’ve spent a good two hours, racking my brain, trying to come up with a band with a few good songs, and a whole lot of garbage. The problem is, no matter who I say, some fan of some band is going to get triggered. We don’t need anyone triggered, it’s Sunday Morning baby, get high feel the good vibes. So I’ll instead say Collective Soul. They had a bunch of hits, can’t remember listening to an album, ever. But they had radio songs people knew. The Baltimore Orioles are Collective Soul. They’ve had some hits over the years, most notably Manny Machado, recently Jonathan Schoop, but overall they have a lot of mediocre talents and garbage. One of the strangest dynamics of GM Dan Duquette’s tenure is his detest for the international market. He routinely deals away his bonus pool slots, and now his cash allotment for players. Over the past 12 months he’s acquired Yerfy Ramirez, and a bunch of garbage for all of his tradable money. Needless to say, not venturing into the July 2nd market puts a lot of pressure on the Orioles to nail their draft picks. While they have hit on a couple, it’s few and far between. They’ve struggled to truly develop a frontline starter. As Kevin Gausman continues to flash equal parts brilliant and repugnant. Dylan Bundy showed promise, but still has a ways to go to reach his potential. This inability to develop frontline pitching is not due to a lack of trying. As the O’s have gone starter in the first round five of the past seven seasons. The question is, are any of them good? Short answer, more below… (Big Market Tease High Five>)

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After 25 minutes of intense Google searching, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt Willy Adames is not William Adama.  Though, 24 of those 25 minutes involved me removing a Firefox toolbar add-on that identified Cylons from humans.  Meanwhile, searching Willy Adames on Razzball, reveals a flurry of results that tells me he has fallen dramatically in Prospector Ralph’s eyes.  He was a top 25 prospect for 2017 fantasy baseball, where PR seemed to be self-soothing, saying things like, “Not the best start to his Triple-A career,” but “…lots of young players take a month to settle into a new level.”  Apparently, less players take two years to settle in, because PR dropped Willy Adames all the way to 57th overall on his top 100 prospects for 2018 fantasy baseball.   There, he seemed to still be excited about Adames, while couching his comments with much more room for disappointment, mentioning how others now think he’s overrated.  Underrated, overrated or simply rated that is the question, after “To be or not to be,” “How do I get my hand unstuck from a Pringles can?” and “Am I the only one that calls diarrhea, ‘The Squirt Locker?'”  Anyway, what can we expect from Willy Adames for 2018 fantasy baseball?

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Can’t stop, won’t stop, making these bad boys all about fantasy baseball rookie hitters, but every once in a while you need to remove the blinders and look at a pitcher.  This doesn’t mean get totally enamored by pitchers.  Like Teddy KGB would say in a terrible Russian accent, “Nyet, nyet, nyet!  You sons of beeeeech, you tricked me, nyet!”  We must focus on hitters, but sometimes a great pitcher comes along, and we have to take a peeksie-poo.  Brent Honeywell is one such pitcher.  Three quick GIFs, from me to you.

I have a big takeaway from these GIFs.  Honeywell looks pretty low energy like Jeb!  Whether it’s the fastball in the first two GIFs or the bye-bye junk in the third GIF.  You gotta feel bad for the hitter when he gets to the third drop-off-the-table-snap-don’t-need-no-police-just-stay-off-my-back-or-I-will-attack-with-an-offspeed-pitch-that-you-won’t-smack pitch.  That’s only two pitches of his possible six pitches.  The last one, which I can’t stop watching, is just unhittable.  Looks like a circle change to me, but he’s got so many pitches in his repertoire — change, curve, fastball, screwball, cutter, knuckle-curve — who knows what he’s throwing, the hitters definitely don’t.  So, what can we expect from Brent Honeywell for 2018 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

How angry would Braves fans be if I spent the entire opening to their personal prospect spank bank eulogizing Roy Halladay? I won’t do that, though I did think about just writing 1,000+ words about how much I loved Doc. Then again, perhaps a Doc Halladay eulogy, might be easier to swallow for Atlanta fans, than more talk of John Coppolella. That being said, I have no idea if they will lose Kevin Maitan, my guess is no. More on Maitan and disappearing value in a few. The best way to sum up the Braves farm is to say. “This system is deep AF!” That was the most millennial description of the Braves system possible. It’s true, I went 15 deep into the Diamondbacks system, I’m going 25 deep today! I hope the phallic undertones aren’t lost on you. Because make no mistake, the Braves are the biggest swinging johnson in the room. Their 10-20 is better than most team’s top tens. So whatever black magic, underhanded dirty shizz Coppolella was doing. It was working. This team has outsigned, outdrafted, and outtraded all comers. That includes you Yankees and White Sox! I’m talking the last two years of course. Any later than that is a different era. For you Prospect hounds this system has it all, future MLB arms of all types, a through the roof prospect superstar in Ronald Acuna, power bats, speedsters, glove first catchers, bat first catchers, relief arms, and Methodists!

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A lot of thoughts that make their way around the fantasy baseball industry contain some selection bias. I’m guilty of it all the time. I watch a pitcher dominate in a singular start and begin to sweat, thinking about how my exposure looks across leagues – Luiz Gohara’s September 29th start against the Phillies comes to mind (7 IP, 9 K, 7 baserunners). But this kind of bias implies some misallocated favorability. In Gohara’s case, I didn’t watch his debut start against the Rangers (4 IP, 6 ER, 8 baserunners), or his mediocre final start of 2017 against the Marlins (6 IP, 4 ER, 8 baserunners).

Applying this logic to the World Series produces similar results. Two of seven games were some of the best I’ve seen in awhile; we’ve been spoiled these last few years. Game 7, however, drew the most eyes, but was lackluster at best. I kept waiting for the Dodgers to crawl back and give us 2016’s Game 7 2.0, but my desires were unfullfilled.

Every time a baseball game is played – particularly at such a high level – we can learn something. Taking it in context with what has already happened and how it can affect – negatively or positively – the future is vital. Below let’s blend some World Series looks with in-season recollection and look at two players that stood out to me: Alex Bregman and Joc Pederson.

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Austin Hays‘ rebellion against minor league pitching was so alarming this past year that Jon Jay began arguing for a stronger centralized league office to ratify the MLB Constitution, and guarantee no prospect could take down the major leagues through sheer moxie.  “Your moxie is manifest, and we call on Washington to leave his family home in Mount Vernon and return to public life.”  That’s Jon Jay arguing to team representatives about UL Washington, who was minding his own business in Virginia.  “Say what now?”  That’s UL Washington as he sips sweet tea.  Then again, it might be because I went to see Hamilton this past weekend.  Of course, this rebellion I’m speaking of — the Hays’ Rebellion — thrust Austin Hays from also-ran minor leaguer to full-blown Trey Mancini clone.  I will call him Robotcini.  So, what can we expect from Austin Hays for 2018 fantasy baseball?

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Welcome my loyal Prospect disciples, sit back, relax, drink your coffee, crack a Beck’s if you wish, and get your popcorn ready. For Minor League Preview season has returned! Today we start with the improving Arizona Diamondbacks system, though improving might be disingenuous as this might have been the worst system I covered last season. Then again, there wasn’t even any mention of Jon Duplantier in last year’s write up, so maybe it was on me. Then again, again, when in doubt blame Dave Stewart, so I will. Dave Stewart, it’s your fault!! Your low brimed ice grille no longer has the same affect it had in your Oakland A’s salad days!!! Enough about Dave Stweart. For we are just a little over 12 months into the Mike Hazen era, and so far it is glorious. Big shouts to Abington, Massachusetts. Hazen has not only righted the ship on the major league level, he’s also coming off a strong draft, that was a thirst quenching boost to a thirsty system. In fact four of the players discussed in today’s breakdown were selected in last June’s draft. This shouldn’t come as a shock as the Princeton grad started his front office career in player development, and scouting, helping to build the Red Sox current young core. Needless to say Arizona is a system on the rise, let’s see what they have blooming on the farm.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

You’re getting double the Halph this week, as Ralph Lifshitz and I are back for another overstuffed episode worth of top 100 prospects talk. We cover prospects ranked 51-100 this episode, starting by discussing the ceilings of Yordan Alvarez, Jesus Sanchez, and Miguel Andujar. We can barely contain ourselves when we move on to potential shooting stars Heliot Ramos, Brandon Marsh, Bubba Thompson, Starling Heredia, Jhailyn Ortiz, Dermis Garcia, and Colton Welker, and then attempt to figure out which MLB players would make for fair trades with them. We discuss everybody from Matt Manning, Ian Anderson, A.J. Puk, and Riley Pint, to Jose Albertos, Jorge Guzman, Jordan Luplow, Edwin Rios, and many more. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com 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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