So he’s not technically a prospect, but Jon Singleton returned to the majors on Friday after spending the first three months in Triple-A. Still just 23 years old, the slugging first baseman/designated hitter was on point in the minors to start the year – leading the Pacific Coast League in homers (17) and RBI (66!) while slashing .280/.387/.553 in 70 games with Fresno. Singleton got a taste of the bigs last year and hit 13 homers in 362 plate appearances. He also hit .168 and struck out at a 37% clip though, so the Astros put him back in the easy bake oven to start 2015. Hopefully the extra time in the minors has him better prepared for major league pitching this time around. The Astros seem to think so, as GM Jeff Luhnow mentioned that Singleton would likely eat into both Chris Carter and Evan Gattis’ playing time. He’s worth a look in pretty much any format thanks to his power, but don’t expect much more than .240 from him in the batting average department. It’s also worth mentioning that after hitting ten homers in May, Singleton only hit three in June and saw his slugging percentage dip to .457. Wet blanket…engaged! Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

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Welcome again to what is tacitly known as your one-stop-shop for all things Razzball. You bring the stop, I bring the shop. That makes little sense. Well, we’re also tacitly known for that as well! This week, I’m here to proclaim that the past six (or seven, whichever way you do the math) days have been the best yet here at the house of Razz. Why is that? I have no idea. You’ll probably just have to follow me after the jump to figure that part out… HAVE I INTRIGUED YOU? No? Oh, well then. My bad. You should still keep reading. (P.S., you should also take a peek inside to not just take a look back, but also a look forward with some player suggestions for next week, straight from Razzball’s Streamonator, Hitter-Tron, and DFSBot!)

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When we started this series in the offseason, I asked for suggestions of who you’d like to see profiled. Alexander Reyes was one of the names that popped up immediately, so let’s take a look at the Cardinals’ right-hander as our first pick from the request line. Reyes checked in at #3 in my Cardinals Top 10 this offseason, just behind outfielder Stephen Piscotty and southpaw Marco Gonzales. The 20-year-old Reyes is off to a fantastic start this season with High-A Palm Beach and he’s a player that should get even more buzz when midseason prospect lists are launched over the next few weeks. Let’s see what all the fuss is about. WARNING: The velocity discussed in this post is not suitable for children.

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It’s not all bad news for Phillies fans. The major league squad looks pretty lousy, and when Aaron Harang is your best arm the fans probably won’t be dancing down Broad Street. But there’s hope on the farm, and this week’s Minor Accomplishments leads off with some Phillies prospects who are off to hot starts. Maikel Franco had a cold April in 2014, but this year he’s hitting .371/.436/.686 with a homer and six doubles at AAA Lehigh Valley. With only Ryan Howard and Cody Asche standing in his way, expect Franco to be a fixture in this year’s Prospect Power Rankings. Drop down a level to find Roman Quinn, who has stolen seven bases through seven games and leads the Eastern League in that category. He’s not all wheels, as he’s also hitting a cool .471 with a home run. At Single-A Lakewood, Carlos Tocci is also off to a good start. The 19-year-old is hitting .361/.439/.528 with a homer, three doubles, and four steals through his first nine games. Here are some of the other notable performances from the start of the minor league season…

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (7) | 2013 (1) | 2012 (12) | 2011 (24) | 2010 (29)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [90-72] NL Central
AAA: [79-64] Pacific Coast League – Memphis
AA: [68-72] Texas League – Springfield
A+: [76-63] Florida State League – Palm Beach
A: [72-67] Midwest League – Peoria
A(ss): [48-28] New York-Penn League – State College

Graduated Prospects
Kolten Wong, 2B | Carlos Martinez, RHP | Oscar Taveras, OF

The Gist
Heading into 2015, the Cardinals have another strong farm system featuring interesting fantasy plays for the current season as well as down the road. As always one of the strengths of this system is its pitching, but there are also a handful of attractive outfielders. There’s plenty of young talent emerging on the major league squad as well. Kolten Wong is a sexy pick this year at second base and fellow sophomore Carlos Martinez could break camp in the rotation. It’s hard not to mention Oscar Taveras, who we lost before we really had the chance to see what he could do.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (1) | 2012 (12) | 2011 (24) | 2010 (29) | 2009 (8)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [97-65] NL Central
AAA: [69-75] Pacific Coast League – Memphis
AA: [64-74] Texas League – Springfield
A+: [64-71] Florida State League – Palm Beach
A: [68-69] Midwest League – Peoria
A(ss):  [48-27] New York-Penn League — State College

Graduated Prospects
Matt Adams (1B); Shelby Miller (RHP); Trevor Rosenthal (RHP); Michael Wacha (RHP); Kevin Siegrist (LHP); Tyler Lyons (LHP); Seth Maness (RHP)

The Run Down
In the business of talent procurement and development, the Cardinals are the best.  That’s the only way to explain how an organization can graduate prospects like Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Trevor Rosenthal, and Matt Adams, and still come back the following year with a top 5 farm.  The Cardinals churning out homegrown fantasy-relevance is something you should be conditioned to expect by now, and it’ll continue this year with Oscar Taveras, Carlos Martinez, and Kolten Wong… and next year with Stephen Piscotty, and Marco Gonzalez… and the following year with [insert awesome prospects].  You get the idea.

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