The trade of Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood to the Reds means one thing, the Dodgers are signing Manny Machado or Bryce Harper.  I’m kidding, in the non-funny way.  Maybe it means that, but I kinda hope it doesn’t, so Muncy, Pederson and others have room to play.  Not sure why the Dodgers rehired Dave Roberts, but I’m impressed the Dodgers realized that Dave Roberts had zero capacity for managing a team.  “What’s he doing?”  “I don’t know.”  That’s two Dodgers execs watching Dave Roberts juggle three VHS copies of the movie Platoon.  “I don’t think he understands what we meant when we asked him to juggle platoons.”  “Yeah.”  “So, we should trade Puig?”  “Maybe trade like five guys.”  “Okay.”  So, Puig goes back to the Reds, but they’re no longer an island nation in the Caribbean.  Now, they’re in Ohio.  In five years, people will be like, “I forgot Puig played for the Reds for three months.”  Yes, I think he’ll likely be traded in July.  Either way, he will get everyday at-bats and should get a nice boost in fantasy value.  The Reds were surprising solid last year on offense, and I see no reason why that would end.  For 2019, I’ll give Yasiel Puig projections 73/27/83/.273/11 in 502 ABs.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason in 2019 fantasy baseball:

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Happy holidays! For your present this year, I’m pushing out the Top 50 First Year Player Prospects. I chose those words precisely because rankings to me are like childbirth. Painful. Everybody wants to see. And then your in-laws complain about the name you picked out. Wonderful! For reals though, these specs are the most unsurest of an unsure bunch, so tiers are chunked in tens. I won’t put up much of a fuss within tiers, but if you want to talk about a player being in the wrong tier altogether, I think that’s a discussion worth having. I’ve already gone over my Top 10 First Year Player Prospects, and in that intro I talked a little about where my head’s at when I do these. (Insert “up my ass” joke here). Enjoy!

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After a painful hiatus Lance and your boy Ralph are back at it again. Lance is fresh off the Winter Meetings, and I’m just fresh off. We open the show with some interesting tidbits Lance picked up out in Vegas and follow it up with some discussion of the Rockies recent acquisition of Daniel Murphy. What’s to become of Brendan Rodgers and Garrett Hampson? Don’t worry, we’ll tell ya! We finish the show with some dynasty strategy talk, walking through the first half of a recent startup league I’m participating in. It’s another dynamite performance from Lance, and a slightly above-average phone in job on my end. It’s the Razzball Prospect Podcast powered by ProspectsLive.com. As always make sure you stop by Rotowear.com, and support our sponsor by picking up some of the freshest T-shirts out there.

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Some guys who I label sleepers are about where they’re being drafted vs. where they should be drafted.  With Jonathan Villar, I just want to write about him.  I don’t really care where he’s being drafted.  I’m pretty sure he’s being drafted too low.  He definitely is compared to where I think he can perform.  Even more so, if you consider where a guy like Adalberto Mondesi is being drafted.  I know some of you are turning your nose up at anyone on the Orioles.  I kapeesh that, but what if I told you a team had to start a guy 155 games because they’re next best option is Breyvic Valera.  Would you say, “Crap, I didn’t know they had Breyvic Valera” or would you say, “You just made up the name Breyvic Valera?”  Or would you say, “Breyvic Valera is the mayor of my town in the Ukraine.”  How about that Steve Wilkerson, huh?  He’s gonna steal time from Villar?  No, Steve Wilkerson is not the guy in your office who makes uncomfortably long eye contact with you.  He’s some schmohawk the Orioles have on their depth chart.  The Orioles’ depth chart is a lot like an eye chart.  Everyone who looks at it squints.  Villar also has the ability to play all around the field if the Orioles have the terrible misfortune to lose Chris Davis, Renato Nunez or any other schmohawk currently penciled into the lineup.  If Villar can stay healthy, he might see 600 ABs.  Just thinking of that made my eyes spin rapidly and land on cherries.  Anyway, what can we expect from Jonathan Villar for 2019 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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Dave Roberts just shuddered when he read the title.  “Listen, Max Muncy was just great, but you don’t want great out there, you want…” Then Dave Roberts ran through a stop sign and took home without a throw, but, that was because he was in his car and no one tries to throw you out when you’re heading to your home in a car.  Dave Roberts then kicked over a pile of leaves, and, when he was obstructed from our view, he rubbed dirt on his jersey, then he smelled his armpits and said, “Hustle,” like he was Molly Shannon saying, “Superstar.”  As of right now, Max Muncy is penciled in as a starter, but where?  1st base?  2nd base?  3rd base?  Outfield?  Who’s on 1st?  What’s on 2nd?  I don’t know!  3rd base?  He played them all last year, so I’m assuming Dave Roberts can have the decency to find 400 ABs for his best hitter last year.  For as late as I’ve been seeing him drafted (as late as 150 overall), if he gets 400 ABs, Muncy is going to blow away anyone drafted around him.  If Roberts has a brain fart, and poofs out something that makes sense, Muncy could sneak into 450+ ABs, and shock the world for the 2nd time in two seasons.  Anyway, what can you expect from Max Muncy for 2019 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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Just as we start to pick up speed with the Twins, the prospect preview train comes grinding to a halt with a mediocre Orioles system. I think the horse from Ren and Stimpy said it best – no sir…I don’t like it. I skipped many a Sunday morning church service in favor of watching new episodes of R&S. I seem to be no worse for wear, except that when my kids ask me about their faith I usually dodge the question by offering to sell them some rubber nipples. With just two (questionable) Grade A prospects, this is the rubber nipple of minor league systems. I’m about to do my best to sell it.

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I considered making this post:  Tyler Austin and Jake Cave, 2019 Fantasy Baseball SleeperS!  Though, I likely wouldn’t have capped the S.  I did that for you, Dear Reader.  I didn’t make this a duo sleeper post, because I think I have OCD and I like to keep shizz tidy and stylized as all previous sleepers.  That doesn’t mean if Jake Cave breaks out I won’t continue to go back to this post, because I’m equally excited about both Tyler Austin and Jake Cave.  Or as Google suggests, Jake Man Cave.  Yes, he is a man, but I don’t think we’re talking about the same thing.  So, why not just do a separate post for Jake Cave?  Because no one cares about him.  I tweeted at Jake Cave and he seems to barely care:

He responds with a GIF?  Really?  That doesn’t scream confidence to me.  What, you can’t reply fully to a random Twitter person who you don’t know who is obviously only interested in you as a fantasy baseball entity who wants to keep calling you Jack Cave?  Anyone that apathetic worries me.  Though, you can’t spell apathetic without Pac.  So…hmm.  Even with his inability to hit lefties (.194 vs. lefties), he had the 22nd highest barrels per at-bat, the same as Javier Baez, and Cave’s average home run distance was 419 feet, which was 5th in the majors for that many plate appearances.  If this were about Jake Cave, and not Tyler Austin, I’d tell you Cave was the 2nd lowest for soft contact (8.6%), making better contact overall than Joey Votto, Voit, Matt Carpenter, Freeman, Betts, Just Dong and, well, every other player in the majors except Eugenio Suarez.  Unlike Tyler Austin, Cave looks like he has the starting job, and could be the one guy who no one drafts who ends up on 100% of fantasy teams by season’s end, cranking so many homers that everyone is going to be like, “What?”  Pause. Eyes bulge.  “WHAT?”  If this were about Jake Cave and not Tyler Austin, I’d tell you my Jake Cave 2019 projections were 61/22/68/.259/4 in 476 ABs with a chance for more.  However, this is not about Jake Cave.  Anyway, what can we expect from Tyler Austin for 2019 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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There’s gonna be a lot to like with Luke Voit, but it’s fair to get out of the way upfront the issues. The Yankees haven’t fully committed to him.  Aaron Boone said Voit “has a leg up” on the 1st base job for 2019.  That sounds positive, but if Boone was watching a dog pee on a fire hydrant while saying this, then it might be a negative.  My guess is Boone wasn’t watching Animal Planet, and it’s good news.  Well, relatively good.  It says a lot about the Yankees that they’re not just handing Voit the job.  On the other hand (were we weighing options on hands?), the Yankees did give Greg Bird so many chances to win the 1st base job.  Since we’re using our hands anyway, I’m going to count on my fingers, and say Bird was given three seasons to win the job, and the third finger in is the middle finger, which is appropriate for flipping the Bird.  So, the Yankees don’t need a ‘big’ name at 1st base.  Now that Bird’s flew the coop, and is likely headed to being a throw-in a trade, the Yankees don’t have any immediate other obvious option, besides Voit.  So, Cashman has proven he will give the 1st base job to someone as unhearlded previously as Voit, and the Yankees should also know from this past season, they can win a lot of games with Voit as the 1st baseman.  Pitching is more of a real baseball team need, than 1st base.  So, what can we expect from Luke Voit for 2019 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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The first year player draft is an annual event for dynasty leagues, especially the really deep ones where everybody and their brother is already owned. They consist of players from the previous season’s draft and any international signings. These rankings will sometimes include MLB-ready prospects from abroad, and they’ll be relevant in standard redraft leagues. I’m spending a little extra time with the top ten, and next week the rest of the top 50 will roll out. That should get you through at least the first few rounds of a first year player draft. I’ve played in some really deep dynasty leagues and the approach changes dramatically depending on your competitive window, your draft position, and how many picks you have (some people collect FYPD picks like an 80’s kid collects Pogs). These rankings don’t take any of that into account and instead occur in a vacuum. I tend to value hitters over pitchers, hit tools over every other tool, and up-the-middle defenders over other positions. Also, these rankings consider 2018 performances in addition to the players’ scouting grades (some fared better than others in their first go at pro ball).

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Major League Baseball Looks to Smack a Home Run as Legal Online Sports Betting Grows in Popularity

Professional baseball players will officially lace up their cleats for opening day 2019, earlier than ever before in history. This news will certainly attract some level of interest, especially in places where winter hasn’t yet given up its grip.  There is also going to be another first that will have the baseball world talking even louder. For the first time in modern history, it will be legal in designated venues to bet on Major League Baseball games.

When the United States Supreme Court struck down the law that forbade states from permitting sports betting, the door was opened, if only slightly ajar. Delaware and New Jersey were the first states to swing that door wide open. So, now that sports betting is no longer against federal law, what should you expect from MLB’s stance concerning online sports betting?

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