For your viewing and thinking pleasure, I have played a game of Would You Rather using the entire prospect universe.

Or wait, am I thinking of the right game? Not that F, marry, kill game but the one where you have to decide on either/or propositions . . . there’s not sex stuff in that one, too, is there?

Sorry, I’ve been thinking about these young men a long time.

Hope you get some fun out of considering the sequence, reading some words, and playing your own (sex) games!

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No one who speaks German could be an evil man.” There may never be another show as perfect as The Simpsons in its heyday. Guten Tag! It’s time to talk about Rays prospect Nick Schnell (3-for-4, 2 HR). The 19-year-old outfielder has four homers and four steals through 33 games in rookie ball albeit with a not-so-gut strikeout rate. That’s about what to expect from the former first-round pick. He’s a power-speed combo with just enough smarts at the dish to make it all click. I see Schnell as a left-handed bat that should be pretty easy to acquire in dynasty formats right now. I’d bet on him becoming a major league regular. Maybe it’s his height/frame (6’3”/180) or his lefty swing, but he reminds me a little of Yelich. You’ll need to be patient though, as Schnell still has several levels to work through – ETA is probably late 2021/early 2022 at best. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

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Welcome to the post where I copy and paste…er…uh…I mean rerank the Top 50 prospects for fantasy baseball. I know I shouldn’t have to say this, but this is a fantasy prospect list – not a real one. Therefore ergo such and such, you get the drift. I’ll say this about my rankings approach – I tend to chunk it and don’t get too caught up in ranks that are close to one another. So if you want to debate #35 versus #36 I’m going to have to put you in a timeout where you can debate yourself. I’m sure you are all master debaters. Anyhoo, I try not to let the first half of this season completely change the scouting reports we came in with at the beginning of the year. Then again, you do have to take this season into consideration, along with recent signings. Also, these are composite ranks averaged between myself and my five alternate personalities. My doctor says it’s healthy to include them in this process. It’s all an extremely complex algorithm that involves me, a bowl of cold spaghetti marinara, and a clean white wall. Oh, and one more thing…I don’t include players that I expect to exceed the rookie limits this year. That’s 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched for those keeping score. Not trying to waste your time on players that likely won’t be prospects in the fall. On to the list…

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I’m Ralph Lifshitz, and I am not on this podcast. It’s a strange phenomenon. Work pulled me away from the show for the week, so Lance returned and brought Jason Woodell on to bless us with his top notch insights. The boys talk The Mets, as well as a few of Jason’s favorite prospects coming into 2019. They then wrap up the show with some discussion of their mentalities when working on the forthcoming Top 100 list. It’s guaranteed to be a classic show so tune in to catch all that. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Prospect Podcast powered by Prospects Live. 

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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!

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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.

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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 is with great honor I submit to the fantastic readers of Razzball my first prospect-centered column. The concept will be a fun one for anybody looking forward to Ralph’s prospect omnibus that will drop in the coming days (stay tuned!).

Two prominent lists dropped in the last few weeks. One comes from Fangraphs, the other comes from Baseball America. Below I look at a few players with large differentials between the two lists. This gets tricky with players who are on one list and not on another, but I made it work.

Before we launch ourselves into the prospect stratosphere, a few logistics…

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There’s times where you just need to trust your gut. About 14 months ago I added a UCLA righthander with impressive stats in one “open universe” league I’m in. His name was Griffin Canning, and while there were some mechanical knocks, injury history, and a lack of premium stuff. I saw something in early March of 2017.  He mowed down the Michigan lineup going 8 strong, allowing 6 baserunners on 3 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 12. He showed a curveball with depth, a fastball in the low 90’s that he commanded well, a slider, and an off-speed pitch. Despite a very good 2017 season in the PAC-12, Canning dropped down boards due to his size, injury history, and the aforementioned mechanical issues. He dropped all the way to the Angels in the second round, and in what is becoming an increasingly reality based narrative, Billy Eppler stole another one. Coming off consecutive seasons at UCLA where he exceeded 100 innings, the Angels were prudent to delay his professional debut until 2018. The righty was assigned to High-A Upland out of camp, and such begins Canning’s second act. His first two professional starts produced 8.1 scoreless frames, with 14 punchouts, and 7 baserunners. He saw promotion immediately to AA Mobile and while his next few starts were struggles, Canning clicked in his next six allowing a single earned run over 32.1 frames. A few starts later Canning was promoted to AAA Salt Lake where he made his debut this Thursday, going four, allowing five baserunners on 2 hits, and 3 walks. Over his time in the Southern League he made 10 starts, going 1-0 with a 1.97 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, and 3.7 Bb/9.

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