Please see our player page for MacKenzie Gore 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.

Tigers prospect Matt Manning threw another gem this week. That makes two great starts to kick off the 21-year-old’s 2019 campaign for Double-A Erie. In 12 innings pitched, the former first round pick now has 15 strikeouts compared to three walks and has allowed just one earned run on two hits. In deep formats, I’d consider stashing him away now in case the Tigers decide to promote. In shallow leagues, he’s a name to be familiar with if you’re desperate for pitching and don’t mind some rookie nookie later this summer. Here’s what else is happening in the minor leagues…

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Whoa this system is deep. And I don’t mean the Swinging Friar’s “No Man Is An Island” kind of deep. I mean it took me a while to get to a player that didn’t have a 50 overall value slapped on them. I counted eight Padres in my Top 100 for 2019, which is pretty crazytown. San Diego has a nice balance of good hitting prospects and good pitching prospects, high ceilings and high floors. It really runs the gamut and should be a fun system to follow for the next year or two.

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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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Piece by piece, pick by pick, signing by signing the Tampa Bay Rays have quietly built the best farm system in baseball. Stocked at all levels with players of all types. This balanced blend of pitching and hitting, power and speed, big stuff guys and pitchability types. There’s no shortage of prospects to discuss on the Rays farm. While much of the recent discussion and helium has followed wunderkind Wander Franco and his assault on the Appy League. He’s not the hottest player in the Tampa system at the moment. That honor belongs to recently promoted second baseman Vidal Brujan. The 20 year old switch-hitter is a contact machine, showing an uncanny ability to get his bat on balls in all quadrants of the zone. With a mature approach at the plate, it’s apparent right away that Brujan has a plan. His ability to recognize and make in swing adjustments is rare. When I caught the spark-plug (coded short person language) in the New York-Penn League last year with Hudson Valley, he stuck out like a green hat with an orange bill. Rarely do you see a player this athletic in short season ball, that seemingly has the foundations figured out. But there was Brujan. He’s never going to be an impactful power hitter, but his swing does have loft, and he has the ability to drive balls to the gaps. Quick hands generate his plus bat speed, but it’s his laid back approach, and ability to make split second reads on spin that really set him apart. That’s before we even talk about his speed and base-running ability. He’s quick, getting clocked at 4.26 on the turn by Jason Woodell just weeks ago. He uses that speed too, wrecking havoc this season between the Midwest League and Florida State League, stealing 49 bases on 67 attempts. I envision a top of the order table setter with 25+ steals, a high batting average and 12-15 homers, but 30+ doubles. If I was in a dynasty that used points scoring, I’d make it a priority to add Brujan. Through 12 games in High-A he’s slashing .409/.519/.614 with a homer and 6 steals. Go add Brujan da 5’9 (that’s his listed height) before he goes BOOM!

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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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This might be my favorite time of the year to do the Prospect Podcast. With so many trades, and prospects changing hands, the content writes itself. Not to mention the influx of talent from the most recent draft, and the typical stateside debuts of last year’s July 2nd class. All of this happens simultaneously, giving us endless topics to research and debate. So that we did! Lance and I kickoff  the show with some Francisco Mejia and Yusniel Diaz talk, in the aftermath of their respective moves. Follow that up with our general thoughts, impressions, and takeaways from this year’s edition of the MLB Futures Game. The last half hour or so of the show is comprised of our weekly 5 by 5 where we dive into some low minors breakouts, and get some first hand scouting notes from Lance’s recent trips to Fort Wayne. It’s another banner week on the Podcast with the Mostast… or something. As always make sure you head over to Rotowear.com and use our promo-code SAGNOF to get 20% off all of your purchases.

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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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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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One of the things I’m tasked to do around these parts, is to identify the ETAs of some of the best and brightest prospects. Often the most difficult part of my job is weighing need vs service time vs development for each of their respective clubs. Sometimes numbers, even in the high minors, can be deceiving. Not to mention, each team has a unique approach to its handling of home grown talent. One player I’ve been asked about, almost as much as any in 2018, is the Astros Kyle Tucker. While Tony Kemp, Jake Marisnick, Josh Reddick, and Marwin Gonzalez split time in the Houston outfield, Tucker waits. The waiting game however, has not halted Tucker. Instead, he’s been in full fledged assault-mode the past few weeks, slashing a silly .400/.444/.650 with 9 runs, 8 RBI, a homer, and a perfect 4-for-4 on the basepaths. The lefthanded hitting Tucker has the ability to contribute in a full 5 categories in roto leagues, bringing an advanced approach, and a swing conducive for power growth. He’s worth stashing and streaming in RCLs, on the off chance he gets the call, and is 100% a priority stash in deeper mixed leagues, though he’s likely owned. Tucker is a top five fantasy prospect at the moment and needs your attention. Here’s what else I’ve seen over the past few days.

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It took us nearly six months, but we got through all of the 30 systems, ranking and debating each player along the way. The culmination of this work is today’s show, the Top 25 Prospects for 2018 Fantasy Baseball. We begin with our weekly Vladimir Guerrero Jr. update, followed by a deeper discussion of his perspective call-up date. We then round into our weekly update in the five by five, where Lance picks five players from his pre-season Top 50, and I run through some surging bats over the last week, including Franmil Reyes and Carter Kieboom. The next 40 plus minutes is devoted to the Top 25, and a general discussion of the risers and the fallers. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor 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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