Rumors abound that the 2020 MLB season will begin sometime soon in some shape or form. And boy do we need real games, so much so that ESPN is showing our brethren in Korea live in the early AM hours. On the bad side, Blake Snell speaking out can go from praised to vilified in moments. On the good, spring is about hope, and hope right now springs eternal, especially in places like Baltimore. The Orioles are among many teams that can figure in a shortened season with a potentially expanded playoffs ‘Why not us?’. They were dealt a blow with the Trey Mancini news. Ryan Mountcastle has the best chance to fill Mancini’s shoes in the lineup, but he’s at first base. So who is left to fill his shoes in the outfield?

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With pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training now less than a month away prep for 2020 fantasy baseball is ramping up. With that in mind we’re kicking off New Faces in New Places with the Star Wars budget level contract of Gerrit Cole. Cole is leaving the comfy confines of Minute Maid Park for the bright lights of and pinstripes of the New York Yankees. Will he live up to the Broadway billing, or be overbought and overdrafted in 2020 fantasy leagues?

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Despite their lack of fanfare from a player development standpoint, the Baltimore Orioles have done as good a job as any in developing major league talent. The usual knocks are their inability to develop, and keep major league starters. As players like Jake Arrieta, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Zack Davies have found varying degrees of success outside of Avon Barksdale’s home turf. While starters have alluded the Orioles, top notch bullpen talent has not. There’s little questions as to who’s developed the best homegrown bullpen in the world. In addition to the pen they’ve cultivated young superstar Manny Machado, and nurtured Rangers washout Chris Davis into a perennial 40 home run threat. In fact they were tied for the most homegrown players of any team in the 2016 MLB playoffs. At present the Orioles system lacks high impact fantasy talent, but features several intriguing players for deeper dynasty leagues. In other words, it could suck more than it does….

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I got you something for Chrimbus! It’s a jar of tartar sauce. Oh, you don’t like it? Then how about some Baltimore Orioles pitching prospects instead? That tartar sauce is looking a lot better now, you ungrateful reader. Pitching prospects break all the time, but the Orioles seem especially good at it. Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey still have a lot of upside, and of course they will still be perched atop most Orioles lists, but both will also need to prove healthy to regain their lost fantasy value. I own a share of Bundy myself, so I feel your pain out there. Harvey is just a big bowl of I don’t know. Get past those two risky arms, and there are two hitting prospects I like a lot…power lolita Jomar Reyes and 2015 breakout Trey Mancini. If you need more instant gratification, Baltimore is currently in the process of signing Korean import Hyun-soo Kim. Praise Rang! So while this system isn’t a treasure trove of impact fantasy talent, there’s at least enough here to pass the time while you wait in line to see Winter Man. Remember – keep your Chrimbus bush trimmed and wet for Winter Man and he’ll bring you that pasta bear you’ve had your eye on.

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Good Sunday morning gang!!! The weather forecast remains unseasonably cool and rainy here in the south, but it’s having little effect on many of us who look forward to this time of year regardless of what Mother Nature has in store. It’s only been a couple of days since the unofficial second half started but the MLB non-waiver trade deadline looms, the days seem to flash by in minutes, and every baseball nut everywhere barely looks outside to see if the sun is shining since they’re too busy refreshing Twitter, MLBTR, and every other information source they can find on the internets. The deals are coming, the playoff races are changing, and the prospects are rising – seemingly quicker than the sun.

Here’s our weekly Sunday Twelve-Pack – our peek at prospects who may be taking another step up their ladder as they climb towards The Show (including my thoughts on Taylor Lindsey, the prime piece acquired by the Padres this weekend). These are twelve players to keep your eye on as someone you can potentially expect to see a promotion to the next level soon as paths become cleared when deals are made and performances simply can’t be ignored much longer.

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Welcome to the All-Star break gang – the unofficial beginning of the second half signals the time to reorganize, revamp, and re-think approaches for us, as well as the folks making the calls for your favorite MLB teams. And, coincidentally, it also marks the time for me to revisit my Prospect Rankings. These are the current top-50 guys on my board that haven’t accumulated the standard minimum 130 AB/50 IP at the MLB level that most fantasy leagues recognize. When compiling my rankings, I try to consider as many variables as possible, but my main focus tilts toward future “difference-makers”… those guys that have the potential to make significant impacts when they reach “The Show”. Some players you’ll find on this list may be further away from making that impact than others, some may be struggling a bit right now (they may have been recently promoted to the next level to challenge them and are adjusting to stiffer competition), some may be on the shelf because of injury, etc., but this list represents the top-50 players I’d pick if you give me the first 50 picks in the MiLB phase of a draft in a newly forming fantasy league. These are the prospects GMs “dream on”, regardless of their current minor league level – the players they plan to build their rosters around at some point in the near future.

So here we go…

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South Korean native Hyun-Jin Ryu burst onto the scene this season, racking 20 strikeouts in his first three outings, notching two wins with a sub-3.00 ERA.  Like many baseball fans and fantasy die-hards, I didn’t know much about Ryu’s repertoire and did little research into his scouting reports from overseas, mainly because it’s difficult to project a guy like Ryu’s prospects in the Majors with success in the Korean leagues, as language-barriers, increased talent level, and moving half a world away can completely change a pitcher’s approach.

Without much info and never having seen him pitch, I decided (and was suggested by a commenter) to watch his start on Saturday against the Orioles to see what his stuff really looks like:

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We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2013 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2013 Orioles Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy Mike Petriello from Camden Crazies.

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