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 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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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:

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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.

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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!

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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:

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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:

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I know, you thought it was going to be 100 prospects right? Well, it’s a good news/bad news thing. The good news is I will be ranking the Top 100 Prospects and beyond, however I will be doing them in increments of 50. So the bad news is you only get 4,000+ words and 50 prospects to read. Lets be honest, we are amongst friends here right? Even 4,000 words is at least two, if not three bathroom sessions. I know that’s when you read these, and I’m cool with it. Now that we’ve made assumptions about your bathroom reading habits, lets move along. As always, I’ve tried to balance the right now value of “close to the majors” prospects vs the high end talent. While also trying to be somewhat objective, and conscientious of the general consensus, which is important to trade value. That’s not to say I don’t go rouge and aggressively rank some players I like. Ahhh, who am I kidding it’s all personal bias. So here you go, dig in. The next 50 will drop on Wednesday at the stroke of midnight.

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For those looking for pictures of ballplayers taking off their ballcap and recapping themselves, you’re in the wrong place!  Something I’ve noticed from recapping each position is not every hitting position was deep.  Outfielders?  Crazy deep.  1st basemen?  Deep, dawg.  2nd basemen?  Not bad.  Shortstops?  Awful.  3rd basemen?  I’ve seen better.  Travis Shaw was the 8th best 1st baseman, here he’s 4th.  Yeah, not that deep.  Scooter was the 9th best 2nd baseman, here he’s 8th.  Okay, 3rd basemen suck.  This recap ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments. The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked players in the preseason. Now, let’s get this, young money. Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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Here’s what I said last year, “We’re gonna find out if the top 20 shortstops are as Ken Bonerific as the top 20 2nd basemen.  Hint:  they are.  Damn, I gotta work on building suspense.  That hint pretty much gives the whole kit away and tacks the kaboodle onto its back as it’s walking out the door.  Goodbye, kit and kaboodle, I just gave you away for nothing.”  And that’s me quoting me!  This year?  Not so much.  Without further Machado, to recap, this final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments.  The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about four analyst mock drafts currently taking place at the benevolence of Justin Mason. With so much to digest, content ideas swirl around as I determine what would be most beneficial to the masses of Razzball. Ironically, this wavering over what to highlight in the mock drafts has delayed my reaction to what has unfolded so far. If there is one thing I’ve learned in this great community of fantasy baseball nuts, it’s the power Twitter has to spur ideas. I tip my hat to you, Mr. Farnsworth:

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