Please see our player page for Oneil Cruz 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.

During the moments I could focus enough to exercise the fantasy part of my brain, I’ve been brainstorming for what I should explore during the virus break. 

A fast forward to next March’s Top 100 list landed pretty high on my to-do list, but the task of going back to the future quickly became a complicated proposition. 

Will the Tigers have any incentive to promote Skubal, Manning and Mize? 

In a full season, players can push for the next level through dominance, putting a variety of pressures on the organization: fan frustration, developmental stall, player frustration, etc. 

It’s easy to project Julio Rodriguez, Jarred Kelenic, and Wander Franco to push their way up given a full season, but the math is all variables now. And mostly negative ones for young studs on non-contenders. 

Nonetheless, I grabbed some plutonium and had a lot of fun in the process. Feeling pretty good about the whole thing on publication day. Will have more to say about the future in future, specifically this Sunday. In the meantime, to paraphrase the great Red Green: if you don’t find this list handsome, I hope at least you’ll find it handy.

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One of my favorite traditions as a young fan was Peter Gammons profiling each team’s spring training focus points. 

I loved the spittle and shake of his voice, the depth of his details, and especially how he always shot the segments in front of people playing catch, gloves popping symphonically as Gammons explained how excited St. Louis fans were to see Ray Lankford and Brian Jordan roaming the same outfield and Rick Ankiel on the mound. 

It’s in that spirit that I begin our next prospect series—one that works in concert with Razzball’s Gammonsian team previews and one that involves a few nods to some non-prospects. Graduating from eligibility requirements doesn’t mean you’re a known quantity, nor that you’ve graduated to an everyday opportunity. Yesterday’s failed prospects are often tomorrow’s sleepers, so let’s take a lap around the division looking for some fantasy profit. 

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The baseball Pirates could learn a thing or two from real pirates. Some tips from the Pirate-code Handbook:

  • Wear one eye patch—not two 
  • Find treasure 
  • Collect treasure 
  • Guard treasure with your life

The baseball Pirates have been sailing blind, making the worst and weirdest trade in recent memory when they sold low on Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow and Shane Baz so they could buy high on Chris Archer in July of 2018. Baz alone is probably worth more than Archer on the market today, almost 16 months after the move. 

So first things first, lose an eye-patch and watch where you’re going. And maybe don’t listen to the parrot panicking on your shoulder. 

To be fair, Pittsburgh’s Pirates have actually been quite good at finding and collecting treasures, arguably too good at collecting during their best contention window, which is one reason it’s so wild they bought Archer when they did at the price they paid after they’d sold Gerrit Cole for chestnuts over the winter. Thus it’s this last Pirate-code piece about guarding your treasure that seems lost on Pittsburgh. Stop giving away your booty!

All that said, the Andrew McCutchen trade that netted Bryan Reynolds was a stroke of brilliance. If they can get similar return for Starling Marte, they’ll be a nautical mile closer to their next window. 

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For your viewing and thinking pleasure, I have arranged a list of top 25 prospects for fantasy baseball. It’s just a snapshot, subject to change after hustle and bustle of Fall, but I had a lot of fun working through the scenarios. Would I trade Gavin Lux for Jo Adell? I’m not sure. Would depend on that build in that moment. But I am sure I’d lose some sleep over it because I already have.

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Razzball is not responsible if you contract scurvy while reading this post. Ahoy readers! We’re on the high seas! Feel the wind on your face, the salty sea air in your lungs, and the vomit in your upper esophagus. You should have told us about the sea sickness before we left port. I’ll be guiding you through ten of the most notorious buccaneers in these waters. After a long night of cracking Jenny’s teacup, you’ll want to put up your peg leg(s), take a shot of rum, and enjoy a bit o’ light reading. Blow me down! I see booty ye bilge-sucking grog blossom!

Want to take me on in the RCLs? Join now, free to play!

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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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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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Let’s talk. In what’s been titled “The Surgical Summer” by the longest running trapper of the year, we stand on the edge of one of the greatest times to be a fantasy baseballer (everyone’s mom’s term, sorry Grey). It’s just about to be summer callup season. Chop the tops off the coupes! Through this confusing period of hyped up small samples and overreactions to adjustments emerges a shiny SAGNOF. One with a name out of a nursery rhyme. A man known as Myles Straw. A former 2015 12th round pick out of St. Johns River Community College, world renowned as the best Juco program on the St. Johns River. So far in 2018 Straw has left Texas League base-paths ablaze. Through 50 games Straw is 31 for 37 on the bases while he slashes .371/.466/.441. Yes, the slugging is lower than the on base percentage. Yes, there’s no over the fence power. BUT if you have the kind of speed and base running instincts Straw has in spades, your speed, contact, and on base ability can translate to fantasy success. At 23 he’s a touch on the older side, and in an organization with loads of outfielders, so he might need a trade. However, over the last few seasons we’ve seen Houston outfield standouts star for other organizations. Teoscar Hernandez comes to mind in particular, but Jason Martin (who we will discuss late) has also been tremendous.

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It’s been a long off-season, but we still have some systems to preview. So today, I get back on the horse and dig into a talented Pittsburgh Pirates farm system. For years now the Pirates have done an excellent job of drafting, scouting, and developing talent. Unfortunately this post comes a few days before I attend some extended spring work down in Bradenton, Florida, the off-season home of the Pirates. Annually I’m down in the Bradenton area for a week or two to see my in-laws, and I always sneak away and catch a couple of Bradenton games, or at least make it to the Pirates facility about 5 miles down the road from LECOM Park. So all this to say, I get a decent amount of looks every year at the Pirates talent in the lower levels. Last year I got first hand looks at top pitching prospect Mitch Keller, underrated speedster Cole Tucker, draft-bust Will Craig, and 2015 first rounder Ke’Bryan Hayes. This year I’m hoping to get some looks at some of the members of the Pirates strong 2017 draft class, as well as J2 standouts like Sherten Apostel. Once I have more info on Apostel, I’ll share it, but info is limited. Today we focus more on the bigger names in the system, and those with shorter ETAs. Regardless of your flavor of prospect, there’s something for everyone in this Pittsburgh system. It’s the Pittsburgh Pirates Top Prospects for 2018 Fantasy Baseball.

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