Please see our player page for Joey Bart 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.

Phillies top prospect Alec Bohm went yard for the first time this week. He’s off to a strong start with Lakewood in the Sally – hitting .311 with four doubles, three steals, and the dong. More importantly, he’s walking at a 15% clip with a .400 on base percentage. After going 121 plate appearances in his pro debut last summer without a homer, this was a welcome display of power from the 22-year-old, who should advance quickly in the Phils system. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

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Nestled between Moldova and Romania, Gormania is also known as the land of offense. Its lone citizen – Nolan Gorman – rules this tiny country with a mighty bat. Some say he was born human. Others say he emerged fully grown from the earth – eyeblack applied. Still others remember seeing him appear one night in a glowing crater, as if sent from some far away planet where he was weaned on Dubble Bubble, Skoal, and beer by the baseball gods. Wherever he came from, Gorman appears to be special. After hitting two more homers – in consecutive innings – on Monday, Gorman is now slashing .306/.393/.605 with 19 home runs in 298 minor league plate appearances dating back to last summer. He’ll turn 20 in a month, and my guess is the Cards will push him to High-A by the end of this season. Here’s what else is happening in the minor leagues…

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NL WestNL Central | NL East | AL West | AL Central | AL East

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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Another week, another division bites the dust. We wrap the NL West with the San Francisco Giants…a team that I’m not sure I could name five players on. Good thing I’m only responsible for the minors! Er, fantasy baseball minor leagues that is. Be specific, Mike. First lesson in Blog Academy…we are precise with our words…we are precise with our words. This is just the opposite of the Padres – only one Top 100 (a catcher…vomit!) and a bunch of 45s or lower, and I don’t mean cool records. I mean guys that don’t really project to be everyday players. But don’t worry. I’ve included my favorite video of San Francisco to make this worth your while!

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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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Prospects are funny, when things are going well all is expected of them. The sky’s the limit, the loftiest of comparisons are strewn about, and the helium pumps. Then the player struggles. Whether it be a command bout for a live arm, or a hitter stalling a little in his development. We all quickly jump off the boat. When often times, that player bounces back the following year, or late in the season, only to leave egg on our faces. Development takes time, and it’s just that, developing skills that lead to success at the major league level. Once such case of struggle, and recent revival is Yankees outfield prospect Estevan Florial. After an unproductive and injury plagued first half, the Haitian talent has returned with a vengeance. He’s looking more comfortable at the plate, and his swing and miss issues are trending the right way. If Florial can get his hit tool to a 45-50 level, his combination of speed and power could turn him into an impact player at the major league level. For now there’s still hit tool concerns, but you scout the athlete, and there’s few more impressive than Florial. I won’t back down from Florial as a top 25-50 prospect, and he’ll be around there in my update.

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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.

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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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First we baked the cake, then we made the frosting. Today we put the whole thing together, for your consumption. What the hell am I talking about? It’s First Year Player Draft day for Monday’s 2018 MLB Draft. As has become annual tradition on the show, Lance and I release, debate and discuss the first edition of our 2018 First Year Player Draft rankings. We of course start the show with some of the top minor league news like Forrest Whitley’s return, and Shane Bieber’s promotion. We then jump into our 5×5, where Lance and I each choose 5 minor leaguers to discuss. Around minute 50 we start the ranks, making it as deep as 15-20 players. If that’s not enough coverage for you, Lance, myself, as well as others will be doing a live draft reaction show on Monday night. Make sure to check Twitter for that. And as always big shouts to our sponsor Rotowear! You can order the 1.01 Dad shirt 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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