It’s my favorite time of the year, the time when I start to research the first taste of pro-ball for all recent draftees, and prepare for the first year player drafts in several of my leagues. Depending upon the league the rules can vary, but by in large, you’re picking players from the recent draft, the July 2nd International class, and the remaining players on the free agent pool. I’m going to be breaking this post into two parts, first the Top 25 today, followed by the next 25 on Sunday. If my math is right I’m ranking 50, but I had to use my hands three times, and my toes twice. Plus I have to double count my fourth toe, because I lost my pinkie toes after starting Kevin Gausman early in the season. So toe math aside, if you’re in a 12 team league with limited minors (5-10 per team), this is the only post you’re going to need. Ya dig? Moving on, I have to say, now that I’m finished with the top 50, and I’ve researched each team’s draft class from top to bottom, this year’s crop is far more interesting that I thought. There’s tons of talented hitters with combinations of power, and speed, high end power arms from all levels of amateur ball with ace upsides, and  some talented bats in the middle infield. These rankings are subject to change, but it’s unlikely, as all of these players are done with competitive baseball for the season. Feel free to chime in with players you love, players you think will bust, and the players you hope to see in the next 25. Thanks for reading, and good luck in all your first year player drafts this off-season.

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I would say the 2017 end-of-season first base prospect rankings are filled with underrated prospects, but to be a first base prospect is to be underrated. Ralph Lifshitz and I attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff in this very hard to separate group, debating Yordan Alvarez vs. Bobby Bradley, Brent Rooker vs. Peter Alonso, and how much power we expect Pavin Smith and Jake Bauers to develop. We both sour on Brendan McKay, and fawn over Nick Pratto. We discuss everyone from Chris Shaw, Ronald Guzman, and Dan Vogelbach, to Edwin Rios, Lewin Diaz, Evan White, Josh Naylor, Cristian Santana, and many more. 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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Have you ever ranked M&Ms? Or Skittles? Or really anything that looks different but is really exactly the same? That my friends is what it’s like to rank first base prospects at this point in history. The Cody Bellingers, Rhys Hoskins, Dominic Smiths, and the like have moved onto the show, and we’re left with a bunch of guys that should all be ranked tenth. Seriously, you’ve heard of 1A and 1B, but have you ever seen 1A through 1Z? Realistically I’m splitting more hairs than a louse with an ax on this post. As I type this I’m looking down at a sticky note with about 27 names scribbled on it. I’m old school, I crush sticky notes all day, everyday. My brain is more or less a table with 1,000’s of yellow sticky notes. Does that mean I’m organized or a mess? You decide. I don’t have time to figure this stuff out, I have first baseman to rank! So far we’ve covered starting pitchers, outfielders, shortstops, third basemen, and 2nd basemen in our 2017 positional wrap up. Which leaves us just catchers to cover after today, and I think you know how I feel about catching prospects (psst why bother?). Anyway onto the shallowest position in the minors, which is funny because it’s possibly the deepest position in the majors. Well, the deepest from a fantasy perspective. On to the rankings!

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I was all set to open with Triston McKenzie’s 6 no hit innings, but then Rafael Devers collected his third hit of the night in his AAA debut. In the midst of writing this post while regretting my choice to spend my Saturday afternoon, and early evening, and night watching that Marathon Red Sox and Yankees affair, I had the alert pop up on my phone that Devers was about to make his 4th at bat of the night. So I turned away from McKenzie, turned away from Ronald Acuna (2 for 4, 2R, 1Bb, 1 RBI) and Ozzie Albies (1 for 5, 1R) vs Yoan Moncada (1 for 4, 1R, 2 SO’s) in the Charlotte vs. Gwinnett game, and tuned into the PawSox vs Syracuse affair to witness Devers 4th at bat of the contest. The Chiefs (Washington’s AAA affiliate) brought in veteran Neal Cotts of 10 years MLB experience to get the lefty on lefty matchup with Devers. Ahead of Cotts in a 2-1 count Devers hit a ball middle-up to right field for his first AAA homer.

The following inning he made a bare-handed play on the run, throwing out Pedro Severino.

The rumors are swirling regarding Todd Frazier to the Red Sox, with Ken Rosenthal deducing the trade was “almost inevitable”. I for one as a life-long Red Sox fan, and avid follower and fan of prospects, team-building, and organizational depth make this plea to one David Dombrowski. Sir, please don’t trade anything for Todd Frazier and his .210 batting average. Give Lin another week or two, let Devers shine in Pawtucket, and call the kid up around the trade deadline. It costs you nothing but a 40 man spot, why delay the inevitable for a rental? Xander Bogaerts came up late in 2013, and was better for his experience down the stretch and into the post-season. Much like Ronald Acuna has in the early stages of his AAA career, Devers may force the Red Sox hand, as he just looks so much better than anything they can acquire. Simple logic really, why give up assets when you don’t have to?… Anyway, here’s what else I saw in MiLB.

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July 9th at 4pm marks the exact time I’m certain Prospector Ralph’s mind will explode with excitement. That feeling of pure elation can only be achieved in one scenario. Watching the game’s budding talents in the 2017 Futures Game – streaming on MLB.com – after spending countless hours researching and following prospects of this caliber (From the Razzball family and its incredible base of readers, we sincerely thank you for your work Ralph!). Well, maybe there are a few other scenarios. According to BuzzFeed there are 42 others where this pure form of joy and satisfaction arises. They include unraveling knittingcrunching leaves, and breaking the yolk. Aside from the fact that I’m certain breaking the yolk is a sexual innuendo for something completely different, we live in a truly sad world if these things make people as happy as Ralph on Futures Game Sunday.

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There’s really no need for any introduction on this one, it’s the post upon which all prospectors are judged. It’s the Mid-Season Update to my Top 100 Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball. Full disclosure, I was loosey-goosey with the eligibility rules this time around. So, while some players in the majors and under their limits might appear on this list (Clint Frazier, Franklin Barreto, Etc.), others don’t (Raimel Tapia). No rhyme or reason to it, what-so-ever. This list feels more upside heavy to me, but there was no slant or algorithm for my ranks. Just good old fashioned personal bias, of which I have plenty. Seriously, I’m an opinionated lad! But that’s why I do this in the first place. Please keep in mind, this list is 100% fantasy focused. Meaning it might differ quite a bit from other Top 100’s you may come across. Anyway, thanks for reading and enjoy! The next 100 (101-200) will be out on Thursday.

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The MLB Draft is finally upon us and I’m sure about 10% of Razzball’s readership actually cares. It’s cool, I’ll sit here and nurture these babes into big strong fantasy studs, feeding them from my prospector teet. I’ll do the dirty work too, scolding the bad seeds, and killing off the runts. Wow, in two sentences I pissed off 90% of Razzball and animal rights folks. Picketers please stay off my newly planted grass, it’s taken rather well with the deluge of rain recently and I’d like to see it reach full lush maturity. Now back to the lecture at hand, this post is really just my big board from the most recent episode of the Prospect Podcast where Halp and I mocked out the Top 30. I’ll touch on each player so you’ll have a general familiarity with their skills and profile. I might also include turn-ons, and dream dates, but you’ll have to read and find out. As always there’s been lots of flips and flops in my ranks since I dropped my Top 10. So don’t judge me for being a dirty flip-flopper! Forgive me, I fell in love with some high schoolers…. ummmm I mean prep players. Found some reliable college studs…ummm hitters! So on and so forth. You get the point, it’s my MLB Draft Top 25 Fantasy Prospects.

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Lisa Ann just followed me back on Twitter! Oh wait, where am I … ummm … the podcast, right, the prospect podcast! Ralph and Halp deliver a jam-packed episode this week, starting with the recent call-ups of Francis Martes, Sean Newcomb, Jacob Faria, and Brett Phillips (we recorded too early to cover Josh Hader’s call-up). We then get into a 2-man mock draft of 2017 MLB Draft prospects for fantasy baseball purposes, discussing everybody from Hunter Greene, Kyle Wright, and Brendan McKay, to Tristen Lutz, Stuart Fairchild, and Brian Miller. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:

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On this lovely Thursday afternoon, I’m going to approach this post as sort of a potpourri of minor league topics. It’s callup season, which is the most joyous, stressful, and busy times of the year for us Prospectors. Everyone wants to know who’s the next big callup, and when to stash them. It’s a tricky game to master, because there might not be a task more impossible to perfect, than getting in these teams heads. So we’ll go over my top 10 callups for June and beyond, and cross my fingers that I’m more than 50% correct. We’ll also talk some prospects making noise this week, and maybe drop a couple jewels on the draft and impending July 2nd signings. There’s so much to talk about! There’s so much to take my mind off of my many mediocre teams, and general inadequacies in RCL gameplay when matched against luminaries like Grey, Cram It, Nick The Dick, and Matt Truss. Hey, at least J-FOH isn’t beating my ass this year! These are the times I’m glad dynasty exists, I can crawl back into my hole, and dig in on some prospecting. Just me, my gold pan, and a world of infinite possibilities. It’s a mixed bag of minor league magic. It’s the latest edition of the minor league update.

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As the Durham Bulls took the best little minor league pitching circus this side of Mississippi, literally, on the road. I promised myself I’d check out at least one game during the nearest stop on their International (League) tour. This is a rotation that now features the struggling, but still talented Blake Snell, recently activated off-season acquisition Jose De Leon, top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell, and the strikeout king of AAA Jacob Faria. I’ve discussed Faria a lot of late, because he’s obviously a prospect that fascinates me. On Saturday in Pawtucket he went 4 strong innings before ending his night after completing the 4th. The early exit was more than likely due to the line drive he took off his leg earlier in the inning. It was really too bad, as Faria looked to have his best stuff on the night, outside a two run homer to Bryce Brentz nothing was hit hard at all. The first thing that strikes me when watching Faria is I love his change up. It has some nice break, and he throws it from a similar arm slot to the fastball. Speaking of the fastball, it too is a solid pitch getting some sink, and making it tougher on the hitters to barrel cleanly. This 1-2 punch gives Faria all the fuel he needs to pile up the strikeouts in bunches, however he has a tendency to nibble and that limits how deep into games he can get. Saturday was one of his more efficient performances, making the injury all the more upsetting. I have to admit I came away impressed by Faria, and think he has solid mid-rotation upside with some nice K potential. I mean look at that gif below and tell me you don’t like what you see. Amirite?!?  Today I venture back to Pawtucket to check out the Rays top prospect Brent Honeywell, who just so happens to check in as the 7th most valuable pitcher on Rudy’s Prospectornator. Don’t worry I promise to give you all the details on Honeywell….Here’s who else is making noise in the MiLB…