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We’re in a bit of a lull today with the offseason leagues winding down and the winter meetings set to start tomorrow, but there have been a few interesting transactions involving prospects. Next week’s rundown should be a tad meatier once the teams depart Vegas and have (hopefully) made some trades/moves. One of the teams that is kind of fascinating to watch right now is the Miami Marlins. I would expect them to move J.T. Realmuto this offseason (maybe this week), and I’d also expect the return to be centered around prospects. The team is obviously in rebuild mode, and since they’re not likely to be ready to compete in 2020, it makes no sense for them to hold the backstop. So let’s start with Miami, who signed a bunch of players to minor league contracts last Monday.

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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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Every single time I spend weeks sweating over my rankings a player emerges as under-ranked by yours truly almost immediately. The current thorn in my recently released rankings side is one Wander Franco. Ranked 82nd on my most recent Top 500, an uber-talented middle infielder with a highly touted bat. I figured being 20 spots or so into the Top 100 on a 17 year old was a pretty big statement. I was wrong. Since the final look over of my list, Franco has gone bonkers, 15-for-33, with 3 homers, 2 doubles, a triple, and 14 runs driven in. Oh, and by the way, over that period he’s struck out once. “Yeah, yeah Ralph that’s great, but it’s rookie ball!” Sure, but it’s advanced rookie ball and he’s the second youngest player in the league, and one of two 17 year olds (the Yankees Everson Pereira is the other). After last night’s game he’s sitting on a 24 game hit streak, and has nearly as many homers (6) as he does strikeouts (8), all this while he hits .384/.418/.652.

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If you google Ryan Mckenna without specifying Orioles, baseball, or something to that effect, you get some kid that took a selfie with Justin Timberlake at the Super Bowl. The kid was from Massachusetts so OF COURSE it’s a way bigger deal than it should be. Then again, here I am writing more about the selfie kid than the actual prospect at hand. That of course would be the baseball playing Ryan McKenna. The former fourth round pick from the New Hampshire prep ranks Ryan McKenna. The very same Ryan McKenna that was largely ignored by the industry, my self included, coming into the season. So much so, that he was left off the Baseball America system Top 30 entirely. That’s the Orioles list too, which coming into the season looked as barren as too be expected, outside the top 5 particularly. McKenna’s made a huge leap at the plate this year, in large part to improving pitch recognition skills. It’s not completely out of nowhere either, if you were paying attention to Delmarva late last season. He finished the season on a hot steak over his final 9 games hitting .324, before getting pegged in the back in the penultimate game of the season.

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Why can’t any of these elbows stay healthy? Why is Dr. Nick still the head of the Mets medical staff?!? I kid, I kid Mets fans! Or do I? Seriously, I’m not 100% joking, you know it, I know it, Fred Wilpon’s tailor knows it. The Mets have done an unbelievable job of messing up a good thing. They are not only in one of the biggest media markets on earth, they have a passionate and loyal fanbase. Yet, due to mismanagement on a gargantuan scale, they’ve come to be known as the cash strapped neighbors of the Yankees. The Mets have screwed up a golden generation of pitchers, to the point that their players’ elbows are a punchline. It’s not just their major league rotation either, there’s at least three players below with elbow injuries. Perhaps some of it’s bad luck, maybe there’s a curse, or it’s just a thing called Mets. Dude, they’re still paying Bobby Bonilla!!! Mets fans are good people, I know a few. This is for you, because with the yawn inspiring nature of this system, I needed something to keep me going. Anyway, this is one of the weaker systems in the game, it’s the New York Mets Top Prospects for 2018 Fantasy Baseball.

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Way back in the late fall, I released my Original edition of the first year player draft rankings. So, it’s been awhile since I first wrote those, and ranked these players out. I figured it was about time to update those now dated ranks. The question you may be asking yourself is “Ralph, why are you so handsome, and also what’s changed?” Well I’ll tell you, I “gots somes” experience now. Because, over the last month plus I’ve had several first year player drafts, meaning I “gots somes” actual real life draft knowledge to draw from. Not to mention my ever-evolving opinions and evaluations of players. So what better time to update the rankings, and give you an idea as to where my heads at after reviewing all of these youngins over the course of my team by team prospect rankings. I’ve fallen in love with some, soured on others, and been introduced to players I previously overlooked. If these rankings are too late for your league’s draft, my apologies, and I understand your angst. We’re deep into draft season, meaning our collective sweatpants smell of rot and butt cheeks, it’s okay to be ornery.  I’ll make it easy, use small words, and discuss lots of wildly inaccurate and inappropriate expectations to put on a teenager. It’s all good though because it’s in the name of fantasy baseball.

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After I finished my Top 100 Prospects post, I had a whole lot of leftovers of players who didn’t quite make the cut. The thing is many of these players were at one point in my Top 100, and therefore had a write up. Today’s post is those leftovers, it’s the turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving, or the album a band releases a year after a successful album of all the songs that didn’t make the cut. It’s me being lazy, but also kind of wanting you to have as much of my info as possible. I get a chance to go into detail on a few last minute subtractions, and get you familiar with some players that will be jumping into my top 100 by mid-season. These are the bubble players, those that are every bit a top 100 level player as those that just limboed under the line, some flameouts looking for redemption in 2017, and everything in between. There’s a little bit of everything! I hope you enjoy, it’s the Leftovers.

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I think this is the part of the article where I mention something about Mets starting pitching, and then something else about elbow injuries. Let’s check those two boxes right from the gate, and talk about how boring any, and all homegrown Mets hitters are. When was the last time the Mets produced a bat that wasn’t kind of boring? David Wright? Jose Reyes? Okay, okay Michael Conforto is exciting, but often for the wrong reasons. Like “I’m freaking excited to not own Michael Conforto any longer.” That was you after April 30th.  The problem is none of the upcoming bats have first round fantasy upside. Nevertheless, the divide between pitching talent and hitting talent is never so evident as it is at the major league level. The lineup is littered with talent acquired in trades and free agent mercenaries. While the rotation runs 7 deep with major league starters from within the organization. The stats bear this out too, as good as the Mets were at preventing runs (ranking third in 2016 in team ERA), were as bad as they were at scoring them (ranking 25th in runs scored). Maybe some of that’s park aided or maybe some of it’s talent. While the light (and I use that term lightly) at the end of the tunnel, is still more than likely a year or two away, there are some bats progressing through the system that should be on fantasy owners radar’s. Players like Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, and Brandon Nimmo all offer fantasy impact (to varying degrees) in the next two years.  However, true to form the best talent lies in the pitching ranks, with the highest upside prospects coming in the form of pitchers like Justin Dunn and Thomas Szapucki. I certainly wouldn’t rank Amazin’s system in the top 10, but they’re in the top half, and that’s better than being the Marlins. Enough of the lead-in, hop into the post, and learn why I’m moderately enthused about the Top New York Mets Prospects.

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New year, new Halph! Not that different from the old Halph, but Halph nevertheless. This week’s episode involves us delving into a duo of systems in the Mets and the Twins, with plenty of the typical mindless banter for good measure. We crush on Thomas Szupucki together, and figure out where Rosario slots in among the elite shortstop prospects. Over the course of the show we come to a pair of conclusions that Amazin’ has an underrated system, and that the Twins have 4 prospects. Seriously, 4. Maybe 5, could be a stretch. There’s a lot of pitching prospect talk on this one, but knowing top Mets prospect pitchers is to love them. Amirite? Yeah, you’re nodding your head, it’s cool. So grab a cold one, or a hot one, and tune into the latest episode of the Razzball prospect podcast.

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Two Saturdays ago, I released the top 15 picks in my First Year Player Draft Rankings. I then followed this up with the latest edition of the Prospect Podcast this past Saturday, where Halp and I mocked out the first 32 picks of a First Year Player draft with Matt Thompson of Friends With Fantasy Benefits, and Smokey. Today we complete the dynasty nerd trilogy with the resolution of my rankings. Because I’m incapable of making difficult decisions and setting boundaries I went a little past 30. Don’t complain, I’m giving you extra. How ungrateful can you be? In today’s post I get a little deeper into the J2’s, as I included 10 of them. This year we had a solid J2 class and a weak draft class, so there’s more of an International flavor in the 2017 rankings than there might have been in past years. (Hopefully the international flavor is Jerk seasoning, but I will settle for Chimichurri, or a solid curry.) It’s also a pitching heavy class, with it being an extremely soft year for college bats. I can’t remember having so many pitchers, particularly prep, in my rankings. Enough with the “Hi, hows ya fathers”, let’s get into it!

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