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…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Please see our player page for Jordan Groshans 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.
This is my kind of system. It’s heavy on hitters…hitter heavy?…heavy hitting!? This means I won’t have to lull you to sleep with descriptions of potential mid-rotation starters recovering from their second Tommy John surgery. Goodnight moon. Goodnight brush. Goodnight boy whose arm is now mush. Oh yeah, and Toronto has the numero uno spec in all the land! You may have heard of him. If not, check out Grey’s redraft analysis, then click back here and scroll down like two inches. Then keep scrolling because I talk about nine more prospects. I’ll wait here and stare into the middle distance while you do all that.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Happy holidays! For your present this year, I’m pushing out the Top 50 First Year Player Prospects. I chose those words precisely because rankings to me are like childbirth. Painful. Everybody wants to see. And then your in-laws complain about the name you picked out. Wonderful! For reals though, these specs are the most unsurest of an unsure bunch, so tiers are chunked in tens. I won’t put up much of a fuss within tiers, but if you want to talk about a player being in the wrong tier altogether, I think that’s a discussion worth having. I’ve already gone over my Top 10 First Year Player Prospects, and in that intro I talked a little about where my head’s at when I do these. (Insert “up my ass” joke here). Enjoy!Please, blog, may I have some more?
Late in the minor league season is a trip. It constantly has the ability to skew everything you’ve come to know over the course of an entire season. That can be good, and bad. On one hand, you might be guilty of reacting to smaller sample sizes. That’s obviously never great, but to act as if we’re not all going to fall victim to it, is naive. However, on the rare occasion a true breakthrough has taken place, we have to be agile, and prepared enough to adjust to that new information. While there’s numerous examples of the former late this season, there might be no better example of the latter than the Astros 2017 first rounder JB Bukauskas. The right-hander from UNC made his AA debut on Sunday with the Corpus Christi Hooks. Facing a San Antonio lineup featuring Josh Naylor, Austin Allen, Hudson Potts, and Buddy Reed, Bukauskas made quick work of the Missions. Going six scoreless frames, he allowed three base-runners, two via the walk, and a single hit (that came in his final inning of work). While striking out 8, throwing 94 pitches, 60 of them for strikes. I watched the entire game Sunday night, with extra attention on Bukauskas, and the verdict is he looked legit. Mixing the, as advertised, plus slider, with two plane break, and sharp downward movement, with (what looked like) a pair of fastballs, a plus mid-90’s sinking two-seamer with nasty downhill angle, and a four-seamer he wasn’t scared to elevate. He mixed in an inconsistent, but promising changeup, that looked nasty with fade and drop, to lefties, while at other times showed no shape at all. His Two-seamer + slider combo is a serious weapon, tunneling together and making it difficult to differentiate until late in the zone. The downward movement on his sinker is so sharp, he buried it a few times a s a wipeout pitch inside to lefties for ugly hacks. I came away from the start thoroughly impressed. He 100% looked like a starter to me, which has always been one of the biggest knocks on Bukauskas’ profile. I’d say take a flier if you’re looking for a high floor arm with some strikeout upside.
Please, blog, may I have some more?
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 3, 2018
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?
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.Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s a running joke among prospect nerds that “the Yankees have a tree down in Tampa, that they shake, and some guy who throws 95 falls out.” Well, in the 18th round of the 2017 draft they shook that (palm?) tree, and a tall righthander out of UAB named Garrett Whitlock tumbled into the Yanks hands. A draft eligible Sophomore due to an early birthday, Whitlock is an interesting story, and a lesson that often in the MLB draft later round guys can be more than their draft pick number. In other words, don’t let the 18th round tag fool you, he had some pedigree. In the summer of 2016, a strong performance for Chatham in the Cape Cod League, planted Whitlock onto the draft radar. Many believed he was a day two pick when rounds three through ten are conducted. Unfortunately for Whitlock, and fortunate for the Yankees, a back injury hampered his season, and his stock dropped. The Yankees stepped up, paid him above slot, and all he’s done since is make everybody look smart. According to the numbers and the scouting reports from people like Jason Woodell, he might just be the Yankees best kept secret. Here’s a look from Jason, and after we’ll discuss why I’m buying all over.
Please, blog, may I have some more?
68 seconds of Garrett Whitlock abusing hitters
FB 93-94 T 95 with sink
Deceptive delivery. Commands the zone. Changes eye level, pounds both sides of the plate. As a prospect, SP3, should stick in rotation. Ahead of Abreu, Medina, Freicer Perez #Yankees pic.twitter.com/4PMXF1OCn4
— Jason Woodell (@JasonAtTheGame) June 23, 2018
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.
Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Griffin Canning curveball is fun. pic.twitter.com/fIOrBrkBXH
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) June 12, 2018
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:Please, blog, may I have some more?