Please see our player page for Casey Mize 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.

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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!

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It’s that time of the year to talk about everyone’s favorite topic, rebuilding! The Detroit Tigers are in full rebuild mode and likely will be for the next two to three seasons. The front office claims they want to compete in 2020 but progress is a slow process in Detroit. The most exciting thing to happen for Tigers fans last season was trying to decipher what happened during the fight between local broadcasters Mario Impemba and Rod Allen. Miguel Cabrera DH and friends lost 98 games last year and finished 3rd in a weak AL Central, which boasts a few other rebuilding teams with high expectations this year (looking at you Twins and White Sox.) I’m going to keep writing DH every time I type Miguel Cabrera until it becomes true. Thoughts become things. Did you know Justin Verlander, J.D. Martinez, and David Price were once on this team? Of course you did, but I have to mention it or someone in the comments will say “I can’t believe you didn’t mention they used to have JV, JD, and David?!”

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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.

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The first year player draft is an annual event for dynasty leagues, especially the really deep ones where everybody and their brother is already owned. They consist of players from the previous season’s draft and any international signings. These rankings will sometimes include MLB-ready prospects from abroad, and they’ll be relevant in standard redraft leagues. I’m spending a little extra time with the top ten, and next week the rest of the top 50 will roll out. That should get you through at least the first few rounds of a first year player draft. I’ve played in some really deep dynasty leagues and the approach changes dramatically depending on your competitive window, your draft position, and how many picks you have (some people collect FYPD picks like an 80’s kid collects Pogs). These rankings don’t take any of that into account and instead occur in a vacuum. I tend to value hitters over pitchers, hit tools over every other tool, and up-the-middle defenders over other positions. Also, these rankings consider 2018 performances in addition to the players’ scouting grades (some fared better than others in their first go at pro ball).

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If your holiday wish list included a whatever minor league system comprised mostly of right-handed pitching prospects, then strap the eff in and thank Santy Claus for the Detroit Tigers. Speaking of which, what’s the hot gift this year? When I was a youngster I would get pretty jazzed if there was a Starting Lineup figure under the tree. I had all the greats…Randall Cunningham, Reggie White, Mike Schmidt, Von Hayes, and of course Steve “Bedrock” Bedrosian. Naturally, I didn’t know you aren’t supposed to take them out of their original packaging, so they ended up in violent skirmishes with Han Solo, Skeletor, and The Ultimate Warrior. Hey! I wonder if any of these Tigers prospects will end up with their own action figure? Nah!

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Another rainy weekend limited my looks on Saturday, as my intention to hit Lowell was washed out with a solid bout of the olde waterworks. Unfortunately, this forced on a Saturday of couch-sitting and MiLB.TV viewing. While nothing ever quite captures a player’s ability like a first person look, this at least allows me to be at several games at once from the comforts of my home. I’m starting to sound like copy for a commercial. Maybe it’s just regret eating me alive, and I’m apologizing in a round about way for not having anything first hand this Sunday. Doesn’t matter, the minors are in full swing and we got lots of players to cover. Because I’m just going to cover Vladimir Guerrero Jr. exclusively going forward we lead with him. Vlad kept his homer streak going Saturday, rising the number to four consecutive games. In fact it all started with the homer used in the lede on Thursday. He then hit another that night, followed by a homer Friday night, before sneaking (it was off the fielder’s glove) this one over the fence in right for a little Oppo-taco action.

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Lance and Ralph are at the games the last few weeks so you don’t have to be! Might as well lead the lede with a little tag line action, no? The thing is, it’s true! Over the last few weeks Lance and myself have taken in the best the Eastern League, Midwest League, and Cape Cod League have had to offer, while keeping an eye on all the talented minor leaguers changing squads. This week we start the show off with callups of note, before jumping right into our opinions on some of the prospects that are changing hands pre-trade deadline. We talk Dillon Tate, Forrest Wall, Chad Spanberger, and others, before jumping into our weekly 5 by 5, where we run through ten players of note. Lots of info, but jammed packed into an hour and 10 minutes. As always head over to Rotowear.com and use our promo-code SAGNOF to get 20% off the top t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Prospect Podcast:

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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.

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It’s a busy time in the world of prospecting, as I and many others that cover the Minor Leagues crunch on mid-season lists, we’re also inundated with new prospects to research, project, and rank. The hardest part is trying to balance the handful of categories, or types, these players fall into. First we have the college hitters; usually the highest floor options in terms of fantasy, we’ve seen quite a few of these types return nearly immediate value over the last 5-7 seasons in dynasty leagues. Next we have the high upside prep hitters; another category that has done well of late, notables like Royce Lewis, Jo Adell, and Brendan Rodgers fall into this bucket. Prep bats offer some of the highest upside, but the floor can be pretty low. The next variety is July 2nd hitters; a group with a long and exciting track record, but due to the age of these prospects, there’s a high rate of failure, and a good chance many of them fall off expectations quickly. While there are major red flags, you still think to yourself “that upside tho”. The next three flavors are all pitchers, and each of them offers their own set of unique benefits and challenges. College pitchers, are the closest to the finished product, but you get a lot of “strike-throwing-so-so-stuff” types, and those types of players are available on every wavier wire from here to Beijing. Then we have Prep Arms, the most deceptive of investments. If you read enough prospect ranks, scouting reports, and particularly draft coverage you’ll find yourself enamored with some of these arms. Think MacKenzie Gore, Riley Pint, Jason Groome, or Forrest Whitley, that’s a very up and down record of success. The final bucket is one that I don’t bother paying too much mind to in most dynasty formats, July 2nd pitchers. Really, there have been some great arms to emerge from this bucket, but it often takes two years until we even know which arms really have any MLB projection. All this to say, my ranks are heavily influenced by this simple mantra. Draft hitters, add pitchers from the wavier wire. That’s the process, and it’s not to say it’s perfect, but more often than not I find myself filled with regret after drafting a pitching prospect. I am not saying that Casey Mize isn’t awesome, he is, and if this were a “real-life” list I would have ranked him first or second, but if I’m entering a draft today, there’s for sure 3  hitters I take in front of him. It’s fine if you disagree, but process is process. Below is the early version of my first year player draft ranks. I reserve the right to change my mind over the coming months, and plan to update these in early to mid-October.

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The majors leagues and minor leagues are in full swing. We have larger samples sizes to digest and discuss. College baseball’s tournament is just getting interesting, and the MLB draft was Monday. What an exciting time in the baseball calendar. This all shines through in this week’s show. Lance and I roll through some quick news, jump into our 5×5 highlighted by Khalil Lee, and Brent Rooker. Then dive into some draft post-mortem, using some superlatives to navigate the top few rounds. As always, big shouts to our sponsor Rotowear! You can order the Rotowear Classic shirts I spoke about on the show by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 20% 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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