I’m becoming increasingly infatuated with Zac Gallen. Like any good researcher, I’ll first call attention to a significant bias. I could chuck a rock from my hometown and hit his hometown. South Jersey for the win. But home cooking aside, Gallen is currently the best pitcher in Triple-A, and it isn’t particularly close. This year that kind of dominance is especially impressive. Triple-A started using the same juiced ball as MLB, and the Pacific Coast League of Triple-A was already notoriously friendly to hitters. To quote a caller from the Mike Francesa show on Friday: “They took the juice out of the players and put it into the ball.”

We’ll dive deeper into the specifics of Gallen’s performance after the jump. In the meantime, take a hard look at stashing Gallen in all formats if you haven’t already done so. He’s begun to appear in Grey’s buy column, and has been a member of both the May and June stash lists. Consider today’s individual spotlight on Gallen similar to the giant neon sign I put up about Austin Riley a few weeks ago.

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It’s the holiday special edition of the prospect podcast, and Halp and I are full of cheer. There’s talk of Jelly Donuts, Egg Nog, the need for a craft rum movement, and so much more. We also lay it on you heavy for your naughty behavior, with a big olde lump of coal. Genuine and from a mine! We talk three of the most wretched systems in baseball, the Miami Marlins, Kansas City Royals, and Los Angeles Angels. Each system has only a few players to offer so we packed it into one. If you’re on the fence about whether you should tune into something I’m openly deeming awful or not, three words. Stabby the Cat. She’s back, but not really. Believe me, no one can make the Angels, Royals, and Marlins more fun than Halph! I mean come on Kansas City Royals Prospects!! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Festivus, it’s the latest edition of the Razzball Baseball Prospect Podcast.

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The Marlins have a young and talented big league roster that includes Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Jose Fernandez, and Marcell Ozuna. But at this point, the farm system is a dog. With most of the high-end specs graduated or traded away, there are just not many left to get excited about here, and none that fall in the elite tier. There are some good prospects, but they mostly check in as long-shots thanks to distant ETAs. Compounding the issue for fantasy is the fact that Crayola Canyon will be the final destination for the hitters if they stay within this organization. But hey, I’m not here to crap on the Marlins. I’m here to talk prospects. So while Miami will be at the bottom of most prospect power rankings this preseason, I still managed to scrape together fifteen names I think we should know.

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The MiLB season may be winding down, but “the kids” continue to battle in an effort to catch everyone’s eye before off-season organizational meetings that will determine timetables and ETAs. The number of youngsters making noise as their seasons come to a close as players scramble for the chance to get a taste of “The Show” seems to grow each day.  Time once again for Razzball’s midweek look at what’s become the most important commodity in our favorite game – prospects. Our “Prospect Primer” reflects a handful of the prospects I’m keeping a close eye on late in Week 20 (for both shallow and deep fantasy leagues). Our bi-weekly prospect columns (Sundays and Wednesdays) will continue to focus on the more “well-known” prospects (our Top-50/Top-100) that are likely going to affect shallow to mid-level fantasy teams.

Disclaimer: The bi-weekly lists AREN’T a “re-ranking” of our Top-50/Top-100/Organization Lists. The players mentioned will typically be guys that owners in somewhat regular leagues NEED to be aware of (regardless of their current level) to keep from slipping behind as they want to stay competitive in “keeper leagues”. There may be a sleeper mentioned from time-to-time, but they may be more important to managers in deeper and more long-term leagues. The players listed aren’t in any particular order (you’ll notice they’re listed alphabetically), they’re simply guys you need to keep an eye on and someone you might be interested in targeting when you’re wheeling and dealing.

(Keep checking in daily for information regarding our end-of-season Top 100 and Organizational Top-10 Lists that will be rolling out as the minor league season ends – those of you following me on Twitter will be notified there as well.)

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Welcome to the All-Star break gang – the unofficial beginning of the second half signals the time to reorganize, revamp, and re-think approaches for us, as well as the folks making the calls for your favorite MLB teams. And, coincidentally, it also marks the time for me to revisit my Prospect Rankings. These are the current top-50 guys on my board that haven’t accumulated the standard minimum 130 AB/50 IP at the MLB level that most fantasy leagues recognize. When compiling my rankings, I try to consider as many variables as possible, but my main focus tilts toward future “difference-makers”… those guys that have the potential to make significant impacts when they reach “The Show”. Some players you’ll find on this list may be further away from making that impact than others, some may be struggling a bit right now (they may have been recently promoted to the next level to challenge them and are adjusting to stiffer competition), some may be on the shelf because of injury, etc., but this list represents the top-50 players I’d pick if you give me the first 50 picks in the MiLB phase of a draft in a newly forming fantasy league. These are the prospects GMs “dream on”, regardless of their current minor league level – the players they plan to build their rosters around at some point in the near future.

So here we go…

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Roy Halladay.

Is he the next Tim Lincecum? Can he pitch at all any more? Should he get sent to the minors?! Is he fantasy ownable in a 10-team league?! Is he really a doctor? Are Phillies fans all really that mean?! Why does being good in baseball mean you have to have the highest WAR!? WAR – what is it good for?! What does all this mean!?!

Roy Halladay has been one of the biggest hot topics heading into the fantasy season and real MLB season alike. After two brutal starts seeing his ERA climb close to the age of consent with a “woman” in France (14.73 – only 0.27 away!), the write-off for Halladay had become as frequent as an Enron tax return.

Curious to me was that debut against the Braves where Halladay got tagged for 5 runs and 9 baserunners in 3.1 innings, but struck out 9! That’s only one out not by the strikeout. All or nothing.

Obviously all the hubbub from Spring Training and entering the season was the lost velocity. I wanna throw fast! If you’re not first, you’re last. I was never big on Halladay because of his hefty price tag in drafts due to name value, but I thought he could be a usable pitcher this season. So I decided to tune into his start yesterday afternoon against those lowly Marlins to see how he looked. After all, if he can’t mow these guys down, he’s gotta be toast, right?

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Razzball Nation!

The pitcher profiles are back for 2013.  Every Monday I will be breaking down a starting pitcher’s performance pitch-by-pitch so you can see an in-depth review of their velocity and how much luck factored into their numbers.

Jose Fernandez, the Miami Marlins 1st-round pick in 2011, had an unreal ascent through the Minors up until Spring Training a few months back, and in a surprise move a few days before Opening Day, decided to put the big righty in the rotation to start the season.  Similar comparison could be made to Michael Pineda when he came up with the Mariners in 2011.  A big, hard-thrower beginning in the Majors in the Opening Day rotation perhaps too early in their careers.  Just look at what happened to Pineda’s shoulder.  Hopefully Fernandez can avoid similar fate.

Listen, I know these can sometimes be a little drier than Grey’s mustache on a Caribbean beach.  But they offer a different perspective on a pitcher’s outing other than looking at only stats.  I will tend to pick young pitchers or fringe-owned starters, but if you have any suggestions of a pitcher you’d like broken down, pick a guy starting over next weekend and shoot that comment below.

Here’s how Fernandez looked:

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Baseball’s hot stove season has been largely dominated by the new-look Marlins. The last time a Miami team made such headlines in free agency, it was the controversial Miami Heat “Dream Team.” Although they did not have their own hour long ESPN special and subsequent public hatred like Lebron and his gang, the new-look Marlins […]

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