I don’t pay much attention to Spring Training Statistics. You never know who the statistics are coming against. Baseball-Reference did, however, have an amazing tool last year that attempted to quantify the quality of opposing pitchers or batters faced during spring training games on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being MLB talent and 1-3 being high A to low A level. This tool is great, but it averages all the Plate Appearances or batters faced. You would still need a deeper dive to see if your stud prospect smacked a donger off of Chris Sale or off of your kid’s future pony league baseball coach. So what should we watch for in March when we’re starved for the crack of the bat? Ignore “best shape of their life” stories and Spring Training statistical leaderboards. Pay attention to injuries and lineup construction and position battles! Also pay attention to where Bryce Harper signs… Note that signing can instantly eliminate a position battle detailed herein (although it sounds like only NL teams are involved right now).Please, blog, may I have some more?
Please see our player page for Brendan McKay to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.
Moving right along through our Top 100, we have the back half of the top 50 prospects for 2019 fantasy baseball. I could say that this is where the list gets interesting, but it’s just a list of (potential) baseball players on the internet, so “interesting” might be giving myself too much credit. If you’re just joining us, you may want to check out the top 25 prospects for 2019 fantasy baseball. And for full reports on each team’s prospects, you’ll want to hit the 2019 minor league preview index. Two things you’ll notice about this chunk of the list: 1) it’s where the better 2018 signees reside; and 2) more pitching. I find that this section of the rankings goes nicely with a 12-year-old Highland Single Malt. Or Dewars. Either way. It’s ten in the morning.Please, blog, may I have some more?
I’ve already given up on all of my resolutions. Cancel my Curves membership immediately! Where are my Camels? I need a pint of Canadian Club…ASAP! We’re still hacking through the minor league previews though. Emphasis on the hack when I’m doing them. The Rays have made some interesting moves this offseason. In chess we’d put a question mark next to them. But I’ll leave opinions to the opinion-makers. I’m just here to make sure you know who the top ten prospects are in this Rays organization. In my opinion, of course.Please, blog, may I have some more?
We might be standing on the precipice of a seemingly non-stop string of Braves hurlers to emerge from their system. We’ve seen bits and pieces of Mike Soroka, Touki Toussaint, and Kolby Allard. Both 2017 first rounder Kyle Wright and my favorite Braves arm, Bryse Wilson, are at AAA. While another rotation worth of arms stew below; players like Ian Anderson, Kyle Muller, Joey Wentz, Huascar Ynoa, Freddy Tarnok, Etc. There’s reinforcements coming, and Bryse Wilson, after last night’s performance, might be squarely on the callup radar. In his third AAA start Wilson went 8 scoreless innings, allowing 1 hit, walking none, and striking out 13 batters, facing the minimum amount of batters for a 99 gamescore. A few weeks ago I discussed Wilson’s transition from a two-seam fastball to a four-seamer, and the subsequent results following a rough stretch early in AA. There’s obviously a great deal of credit that goes to the Braves staff, but ultimately it’s on the player. The fact that his transition was so swift and seamless, speaks to the intangibles of that prospect. While it’s somewhat unlikely, seeing Wilson in the bigs for some pen work or a few spot starts wouldn’t surprise me.
#Braves pitching prospect prowess …
Bryse Wilson, the @Braves‘ No. 13 prospect and just their 9th-highest-ranked pitcher, faced the minimum in 8 scoreless frames while setting a @GoStripers strikeout record: https://t.co/JMrfIJaqqM pic.twitter.com/YqS1rAHkWI
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 16, 2018
I’m just going to milk his Vlad Jr. thing as long as I can. After all, it’s only a matter of time before he’s out of my hands and off to the world of Grey A.M. writeups, and ESPN highlights. Make no mistake the heir to the Canadian baseball throne is the genuine article, and on the cusp of the majors. After destroying AA for two months, he missed the next five plus weeks with a knee injury. Only to return to the Fishercats lineup for a few weeks in July, before heading off to AAA. In his 8 games in Buffalo Vlad is slashing .455/.581/.682, smacking his first International League homer off highly touted Braves righthander Kyle Wright. In fact he abused Wright yesterday evening, going 3-for-3 with the aforementioned homer, a double, and a single. One of our loyal Crab Army members was in attendance and was nice enough to share the below video. At this point it’s just a waiting game, and unfortunately for those of us wishing on an impending callup it might not be in the cards. That’s not to say it won’t happen later in September. The problem is, after saying all this he could be called up tomorrow. Stash away if you have the room to spare, but I’d be prepared to burn that spot for most, if not all of August.
Please, blog, may I have some more?
— Ralph Lifshitz (@ProspectJesus) August 9, 2018
All the leagues are in full swing and the Razzball Prospect Podcast has updates on all the happenings in minor league baseball this week. With a ton of promotions by the Braves, Dodgers, and Red Sox, as well as an interesting trio of shortstops from June’s draft moving up, we touch on them all. Plus scouting looks on Eloy Jimenez, Gabriel Arias, Luis Patino, and more. We jump into our five by five highlighting ten players on our radar. Names like the Dodgers Miguel Vargas, the Reds Jonathan India, the Red Sox Bobby Dalbec, and slew of others. As always head over to Rotowear.com and use our promo-code SAGNOF to get 20% off Rotowear ‘s amazing shirts!Please, blog, may I have some more?
Hey world! (Hand waving emoji) Meet Eloy Jimenez, you might know who Eloy is. You might think “Ralph, he’s a top 2-3 prospect dude, we know Eloy!”. It’s true, you know Eloy, you’ve seen the production, you’ve seen me tell you Eloy for Jose Quintana was a mistake (please, lets not rehash this Cubs fans. Cool?), but what you haven’t seen, more than likely, is this big boy bang out in the flesh. I had the distinct pleasure of taking in Eloy over the weekend in Pawtucket, and man, he didn’t disappoint. Easy power, from a simple, but refined swing, breathtaking plate coverage, bat speed, and strike zone awareness. I’ve been fortunate this year to see some of the top bats in the minors since the beginning of the season. I’ve seen Vlad, more than I’ve seen my children since April, same goes for Bo Bichette, and Brendan Rodgers. Ronald Acuna, I caught in April in AAA, and in early May at Fenway. So suffice it to say, I have a good measuring stick for offensive prowess at the moment. From a hitting perspective, absent of athleticism, and other tools, only Vlad is better than Eloy in that regard. Really an impressive talent, he went 3-for-4 on Sunday, connecting for an opposite field shot in his first at bat, before knocking two singles later in the game, one to right, and the other to left. It’s really a beautiful swing, here’s a look at an open face swing on his homer in the third. Look how clean the bat path is, how quick his hands are, and how he engages his lower half. It’s beautiful.
Please, blog, may I have some more?
— Ralph Lifshitz (@ProspectJesus) July 29, 2018
Doesn’t it feel as though every year, a college hitter is taken near the top of the draft and immediately takes to the lower levels like a fish to water? In the grand tradition of recency bias, Nick Madrigal has emerged as our early favorite for the superlative “first to the majors”. Despite going 0-for-5 Saturday night, he’s hitting .389/.390/.472 with 2 steals through 10 games at Low-A Kannapolis. Here’s the remarkable thing, across 51 plate appearances between the AZL and Sally League he’s yet to strikeout. Zero. He hasn’t walked a ton, drawing a free pass just twice, and he hasn’t shown a ton of power either, he’s yet to homer in the 15 games he played. Instead knocking just two doubles. Hopefully due to the quality of contact he can fall into a dozen plus homers in his prime years. So I suppose that begs the question, is it a “better in real life” profile? There’s a good chance that’s the case, he could be a .285 hitter with 10-14 homers and a dozen steals. That’s a solid player, but it’s not what you’re looking for at the top of your first year player draft. That however is worst case scenario in my opinion. The ceiling looks like this; the power develops into a 17-20 homer number, with a .300+ batting average, and 15 or so steals. He scores a ton of runs, your team loves it, and everybody gets ice cream. That’s not a pipe dream to wish on either, this kid’s hit tool is a legit 70. That alone should give him a pretty good shot at being a top of the order, run producing type of player. I’m a big fan of Madrigal, and believe in the upside, but I’d be remiss to not mention the downside. Here’s some other players of note in MiLB.Please, blog, may I have some more?
This is for all the people that have come up to me over the last few weeks and asked “Yo, Ralph when’s that Top 100 droppin’ son?” And I said, “When it’s finished”. This is for y’all, one love! Oh but wait, there’s more to come too. This is simply a sweet, sweet 20% of the overall ranks. The full 500 will drop on Sunday. I want to thank all of my readers over the years for supporting me in all that I do here. These rankings posts are a lot of questioning your evaluations, and even more sleepless nights. So, I hope you enjoy. As for the Top 100, I’ve gone a little heavier in discounting pitching than in previous years, instead favoring upside bats. Why? Because pitching prospects are like reflections in side view mirrors, all much closer than they appear. Think about Shane Bieber vs. Tyler Glasnow, one guy was hyped to the max, the other was a boring strike-thrower that likely would never crack a top 250 for fantasy. Who would you rather own now? Speaking of upside, you’ll see the second half of this list is a little more upside heavy with some breakouts mixed in for good measure. What can I say? I like the young upside hitters. This exercise was a process,I began by listing nearly 700 players, then went player by player ranking each on a “would I trade this guy for this guy” trip, then I stared at the list changing ranks over and over again while I smoked like a German. That’s not a joke, this actually happened. All to whittle it down to the list below, the Top 100.Please, blog, may I have some more?
I have a soft-spot in my heart for the Tampa Bay Domers. Not only do they have to play in possibly the worst MLB stadium in active duty, they split much of their local media market with annoying snowbird Northerners with their Red Sox and Yankees caps! To the good people of Tampa, the Rays Up faithful, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t promise they’ll be up anytime in the next 4-20 years based on your callup principals and tendencies. There is hope. The Rays squeeze more service time out of prospects, than Tropicana does juice from Florida’s organ groves. Some might say it backfired on Brent Honeywell, but the most hardened Rays defender will say it was all part of the plan! Now Honeywell won’t start his service clock until September of 2029! I kid, I kid! But there is no team that gets more blood from their stones than the Rays. They have an impressive development track record spanning back a decade, and the current farm is full of talent with varying degrees of upside, but plenty of MLB futures. This is one of the more underrated systems in the game. It’s the Tampa Bay Rays Top Prospects for 2018 Fantasy Baseball.Please, blog, may I have some more?