I woke up from a cold sweat this morning, and decided to hammer out some miles on the treadmill at the 24 hour gym down the road. There I was, in the shortest of shorts, gonads dangerously on the edge of exposure, watching hours of Oakland Athletics tape. When getting into the mindset to write these posts, it’s important to mimic the approach and personalities of those General Managers you’re studying. DiPoto week in the Lifshitz house is a trip! I trade the kids for three older middle aged adults with poor credit, and mounting debt. Thank god I’m given permission to cosplay A.J. Preller in order to trade back for the kids. Wow, this got off track! Oh yeah, Oakland! The Athletics modus operandi is common knowledge. Trade for controllable talents, get the most out of the arb years, move along, and do the same damn thing. After a couple of molasses slow rebuild years, things progressed nicely toward the end of 2017, as a young core led by Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, and Franklin Barreto began to emerge. With a well stocked farm system, and some top level talents on the cusp, this is another great system for Dynasty managers looking to target strong rebuild pieces. Who wants to talk about the prospects? #MeToo. It’s the Oakland Athletics Top Prospects for 2018 Fantasy Baseball.Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s funny how much third baseman are like eggplants. Why am I drawing this off the wall parallel? No reason, other than I didn’t know how to open, and the first thing I saw was an eggplant. Yes, a real eggplant not a eggplant emoji, or item represented by said emoji. Here we are on a Sunday, not talking about the minor league happenings of the last week, but heading full steam ahead into the our off-season prospect coverage. Crazy to think we’re two seasons into my tenure here at Razzball as the resident Prospector In Chief. Memories, tears, and promise rings. Today we dive into the chilly waters of the hot corner. Not the most exciting group I’ll profile over the next few weeks, but not every position is as stacked as outfield. Ya dig? That’s not to say there aren’t a collection of future fantasy stars, as well as fantasy relevant talents outside the top 5. The top three names of Guerrero, Senzel, and McMahon should be familiar to all, as they’re some of the top talents presently in the minors. Unlike outfield and shortstop, there’s a particular profile associated with 3rd. It’s a power position, and one expected to produce some of the top middle of the order bats. The top 5 is filled with those, but the next 5 is where things get interesting. As always, remember my personal preference weighs heavy on this ranks (these ranks are my personal preference after all…), and the ability to stick at the position long term is taken with a grain of salt. I’m looking for the best bats with 3Bs on the back of their minor league baseball cards.Please, blog, may I have some more?
With the rapid speed at which Ronald Acuna has ascended through the minors, I ought to take every opportunity to write about him while I still can. If you hadn’t heard, Acuna was promoted to AAA on Wednesday evening, and the Braves best position prospect since Jason Heyward is now just a call away. Exciting news for dynasty league owners all over. In my updated Mid-Season Top 100 I ranked Acuna 5th in all of baseball, and after seeing the confidence the Braves have in the precocious 19 year old, how could you not? He brings to the table hard contact with an all-fields approach, 30 steal speed, and a huge ceiling. The plate discipline could be better, but to put things in perspective, he’s 19 and playing at the highest levels of full season ball while many of his contemporaries are just beginning short season and rookie ball. So I expect plate approach to be an area where things should improve as Acuna matures as a hitter. What he does at Gwinnett will be telling, particularly if he really struggles for the first time in his career. How he deals with that, adjusts, and rebounds will be the true test of his metal. It’s tough to say if he will struggle or not, but if he hits the ground running, I could picture a world, maybe as soon as a month, where Acuna is considered the top prospect in the game. Trust me I’ve made bold proclamations about Acuna before. Here’s what I said when I ranked him #42 overall in the pre-season, “Could be this season’s Victor Robles. Five tool player, that tore up Australia this winter, poised for a big jump in the mid-season list. Trade for him now”. I was right on both fronts, but was more conservative with his ETA setting it at 2019. That’s obviously no longer the case, outside of unforeseen circumstances of course. **KNOCK ON WOOD** Anyway, Acuna has a strong chance of seeing at least a few weeks of action in September, but I wouldn’t expect a call-up in the next few weeks. Though the possibility of Acuna breaking camp in 2018 is less remote than it was a few months ago, I’d be surprised by any promotion before mid-May next year. He’s a name to know for players in all formats, as this could be a stud in the making. Here’s what else I saw in the MiLB…Please, blog, may I have some more?
That’s right, we’re pushing well beyond the 100 threshold this year, and pushing it all the way to 200. I for one am excited, but that might just be the speedball of cocaine, redbull, meth, and the behind the counter cough syrup. I’m seeing the words and their auras, man. No jokes, this is all from a vision, an immaculate epiphany I was led to by a culturally appropriated wise character of some sort. Really, I just wanted to get into a whole bunch more prospects I didn’t get a chance to talk about. If you didn’t catch it, last week I dropped my Top 100, this is a continuation of that going from 101 – 200 with full writeups and statlines for each. Hopefully you get caught up on few off the radar names, brush up on some old ones, and get your prospecty fill for the All-Star Break. It’s the Top 200 Fantasy Baseball Prospects!Please, blog, may I have some more?
Around 7 PM yesterday evening, in a clear case of ominous foreshadowing, and bad juju. I added Gleyber in several RCL leagues. With his recent AAA numbers, I figured gotta pounce now. But of course, almost simultaneously in Buffalo, just as I add him, the real Gleyber Torres was sliding into home, head first, and hyper-extending his left elbow. Oh yeah, and it was in the process of being thrown out. Because of course it was. It’s a curse, some sort of bad luck butterfly effect I have here in 2017. What can I say? Such a shame my curse had to crush this potential star in the making. And trust me I sincerely believe that Gleyber Torres is just that. Prior to Saturday’s home plate incident, the Yankees top prospect seemed headed for a call-up within weeks. This is all obviously up in the air now, but the X-Rays were negative, and he’s going to be further evaluated on Monday. It’s tough knowing which direction to go when a situation is still developing. A lot could change, but there’s still a possibility it’s nothing, and he misses a couple games. I’d look to be stashing him again if that’s the case come game locks on Thursday. Let’s all hold hands, and pray for Gleyber’s safe return into the lineup. Do it for your boy Ralph, do it for all the father’s out there looking for middle infield help, do it for America, sick orphans, organ donors, brewmasters, iron workers, beautiful strippers, doctors who do breast enlargement, and the guy who’s happy as hell shining shoes. These people want Gleyber! No! These people need GLEYBER!!! Let’s go do some MiLB!!!!Please, blog, may I have some more?
During the winter I made a somewhat bold statement, that I’m not sure many agreed with it at the time. I stated that, I’d rather have Rhys Hoskins long term than Tommy Joseph. There was a great deal of skepticism regarding Hoskins 2016, mostly because it took place in the comfy confines of FirstEnergy (not a typo) Stadium. And really, who can blame them? The ballpark is so bananas, it tricked people into thinking Darin Ruf, and Dylan Cozens were actually good. That said, there was a lot to like about Hoskins profile, FirstEnergy (not a typo) Stadium not withstanding. Throughout his professional career he’s hit for power (.233 ISO), average (.291), gotten on base (.375), and walked at a high rate (10.4%). He’s also done all this while striking out at a sub-20% clip. Tell me that doesn’t scream MLB worthy? In the offseason I was by far the high man on Hoskins, ranking him 57th in my top 100. Fast forward two and half months, and Hoskins is the new danger, hitting a robust .350/.447/.675 with 8 homers, and 15 RBIs in just 24 games. Meanwhile Tommy J struggles in Philly, and the calls for Hoskins in Philly get louder. Sure he’s a righthanded throwing first baseman, but Paul Goldschmidt scoffs at you scoffs at your concerns. I put my money where my mouth is on Hoskins, and dealt Nick Gordon, and T.J. Friedl in the Basbeall Prospectus expert league, The Devil Rejects, back in November, and am quite happy with how my gamble looks to paying off. This prospector’s word of advice, go get Hoskins. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this week in the minors.Please, blog, may I have some more?
In our never ending quest to cover every single farm system in baseball, uncover every sleeper, upside youngster, and great name in the minor leagues. We bring you the Oakland Athletics for our watershed 23rd Episode. Let it be noted in the annuals of history that the most important thing to happen on January, 20th 2017 was Halp and Ralph’s discussion of Jharel Cotton’s changeup. Truly a great moment in Podcast, Fantasy Baseball, and American history. I mean what’s not to love about a Jharel? Or Cotton, I mean have you slept on Cotton? Come on in and learn about the Semi-Pro Wrestler I beat up as a child or why Franklin Barreto might be an underrated fantasy prospect. We do it all! We talk Puk, Chapman, Nunez, and Frankie Montas. As well as any A’s prospect worth discussing. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Whenever I write a post about Oakland, I open with a shout out to the King Of Hyphy, and fallen solider Mac Dre. I know he’s from the Valley-Jo, but the man gets a great deal of Oakland love. It’s only a half hour north after all. Or maybe all this is just a poor excuse to link to this video. So put on your best Thizz Face, and let’s get into some Moneyball A’s talk. You ready? After unloading eventual MVP, and mullet superstar Josh Donaldson, the A’s have been in full on rebuild mode. Of course treadmill hero extraordinaire Billy Beane is still pulling the strings behind the scenes, but the sort of prospect crop needed for the A’s to compete has alluded them for the better part of a decade. However, things changed last July, spearheaded by the signing of Cuban Hype Machine Lazarito. The A’s then became heavy players in an active trade deadline, settling on a solid trade with the Dodgers. Unloading the aging Rich Hill, and impending free agent Josh Reddick for three solid prospect arms with some upside. All three Jhael Cotton, Frankie Montas, and Grant Holmes should factor into Oakland’s rotation in the next few seasons. With Cotton the closest to the O.Co, followed by Montas, and Holmes bringing up the rear. They then followed both of those moves with the savvy December signing of Cuban pitcher Norge Ruiz for $2 million; a player many think was the best arm in the 2016 international class. Saying the rebuild of the once prospect and pitching rich A’s began this July is a little disingenuous, as they did swing a trade for 2016 breakout rookie pitcher Sean Manaea at the 2015 deadline. Unloading Ben Zobrist to the future World Series champion Royals in the process. With a crop of young hitters, and pitchers matriculating to Oakland over the next few years, we could be looking at an up and coming organization. Time will tell if that holds true. It’s the Top Oakland Athletics Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Hey yo! We’re back for another episode of the Prospect Podcast with Michael Halpern of Imaginarybrickwall.com, and of course, Prospector Ralph Esq!!! In this week’s edition, Michael calls me out for the high energy tongue lashings I’m throwing around on the football side in the Razzball Dream League. We then jump back into prospects, and go through some young guns making noise lately in the minors like A.J. Puk, Alec Hansen, and Steven Duggar. We drool over the tools, and future superstar potential of High School heavyweight Hunter Greene. Yes, he’s a Crayola crayon color, and a baller. Michael runs through a couple of high upside, off the radar specs, in Yermin Mercedes and Harol Gonzalez. We then go through our top 10 corner infielders, and debate the value of Joey Gallo, Nick Senzel, Bobby Bradley, and Rafael Devers, among others. We round it out with those that just missed the cut, and some of the sleepers that are out there at 3rd and 1st. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Prospect Podcast.
Note: And be sure to check out the latest Fantasy Football Podcast episode with special host Pod Vader (former ESPN producer) which covered BlogTalkRadio’s Expert League that Razzball is a part of!Please, blog, may I have some more?
So here we are more or less half way through the minor league season, Super Two has come and gone, and we wait for those sweet, sweet rookies to get the call and make an impact. More often than not my comments are filled with questions regarding who I think will have the greater impact this season, player A or player B. Today we take a look at the Top 25 prospects for 2016 impact. I’m going to start with a ranked list and follow that up with my general thoughts on the players listed. I’m ignoring anyone already in the majors like Jameson Taillon, Blake Snell, and Tim Anderson. Things I’ve taken into consideration when building this were impact, proximity, and team situation. So understand this is not a straight top 25. It’s strictly 2016 focused, which why a prospect like Lucas Giolito is further down the list than he would be in a straight top 25 prospects for dynasty list.Please, blog, may I have some more?