Alright Cincinnati, let’s just get this out of the way, your chili is gross, but your prospects are tasty. With high picks over the last few years, and a definite Cuban connection, the Reds have done well to add to their farm system of late. Their first round drafting over the last two seasons in particular has been a source of real talent, adding Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammell, Hunter Greene, and Jeter Downs. While the days of highly volatile upside starters seem to be over, there’s still some upside arms to dream on, Tony Santillan specifically. With Tyler Mahle, Senzel, and Jesse Winker all in the mix for gigs on the major league squad out of camp, there’s some higher end close to the majors talent here too. I may not have any Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees takes, but I got plenty of Top Cincinnati Reds prospects to talk up. After all it’s the 2018 Cincinnati Reds Minor League Preview.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Willie Calhoun vs. Gleyber Torres. Nick Senzel vs. Willie Calhoun. Willie Calhoun vs. Michael Kopech. These are just a few of the Willie Calhoun centric conversations Ralph Lifshitz and I engaged in during this week’s prospect podcast. We also got to a few of the other guys in our 2017 end-of-season top 20 prospect rankings, debating how high Scott Kingery’s upside is, is Ryan McMahon worthy of a top 20 ranking, and if Royce Lewis could be the next Victor Robles. We discuss everybody from Ronald Acuna, Vlad Guerrero Jr., and Eloy Jimenez, to Taylor Trammell, Juan Soto, and Alex Reyes. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 15% 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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I know, you thought it was going to be 100 prospects right? Well, it’s a good news/bad news thing. The good news is I will be ranking the Top 100 Prospects and beyond, however I will be doing them in increments of 50. So the bad news is you only get 4,000+ words and 50 prospects to read. Lets be honest, we are amongst friends here right? Even 4,000 words is at least two, if not three bathroom sessions. I know that’s when you read these, and I’m cool with it. Now that we’ve made assumptions about your bathroom reading habits, lets move along. As always, I’ve tried to balance the right now value of “close to the majors” prospects vs the high end talent. While also trying to be somewhat objective, and conscientious of the general consensus, which is important to trade value. That’s not to say I don’t go rouge and aggressively rank some players I like. Ahhh, who am I kidding it’s all personal bias. So here you go, dig in. The next 50 will drop on Wednesday at the stroke of midnight.

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If you’ve been following along with the Prospect Podcast over the last few weeks. Then you’ll know that last week’s episode was a cheat sheet for today’s post. It’s not like discussing players like Ronald Acuna, Eloy Jimenez, or Victor Robles ever really gets old. I could talk about that trio of players all day. In fact if you check the Guinness World Records Book/Site/Twitter I’m listed as having spoke about nothing but Ronald Acuna, Eloy Jimenez, and Victor Robles for 37 hours consecutively. Needless to say it was a hell of a day(s). Quick aside, do people still call it the Guinness Book of World Records, or has that been scrapped because no one really reads actual physical books anymore? Seriously reading a book with a binding is right up there on the crazy meter just behind trench coats, which is just behind army fatigues. Sorry Stephen King but you look crazy with that book, now pay attention to the baseball game. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, google Stephen King Red Sox. It will just be images of him reading books from the front row at Fenway. Wow I got really off track there. Anyway you know what this post is about, outfielders, my favorite outfielders, the top 10 favorite outfielders right now. Remember these are my thoughts ladies and gentlemen, right or wrong, just what I was feeling at the time. Vibe with me,,,,(CU!)

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What do Ryen Russillo, Louis CK (allegedly), and Ralph Lifshitz all have in common? Hint: It has nothing to do with the fact that they are all from Boston. After getting that out of the way, we dive into the very deep and talented class of minor league outfielders. We discuss if Ronald Acuna is the #1 prospect in the game, how far should Austin Meadows fall, Victor Robles vs. Kyle Tucker, and if we are still underrating Willie Calhoun. We debate the rankings of Alex Verdugo, Anthony Alford, Kyle Lewis, Tyler O’Neill, Estevan Florial, Austin Hays, Taylor Trammell and many more. We close the show by talking our favorite sleepers (Tristen Lutz, Bubba Thompson, Brandon Marsh, Christian Pache, etc ..) and also our biggest fallers (Mickey Moniak, Blake Rutherford, and Corey Ray.) As always, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 15% 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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I was all set to open with Triston McKenzie’s 6 no hit innings, but then Rafael Devers collected his third hit of the night in his AAA debut. In the midst of writing this post while regretting my choice to spend my Saturday afternoon, and early evening, and night watching that Marathon Red Sox and Yankees affair, I had the alert pop up on my phone that Devers was about to make his 4th at bat of the night. So I turned away from McKenzie, turned away from Ronald Acuna (2 for 4, 2R, 1Bb, 1 RBI) and Ozzie Albies (1 for 5, 1R) vs Yoan Moncada (1 for 4, 1R, 2 SO’s) in the Charlotte vs. Gwinnett game, and tuned into the PawSox vs Syracuse affair to witness Devers 4th at bat of the contest. The Chiefs (Washington’s AAA affiliate) brought in veteran Neal Cotts of 10 years MLB experience to get the lefty on lefty matchup with Devers. Ahead of Cotts in a 2-1 count Devers hit a ball middle-up to right field for his first AAA homer.

The following inning he made a bare-handed play on the run, throwing out Pedro Severino.

The rumors are swirling regarding Todd Frazier to the Red Sox, with Ken Rosenthal deducing the trade was “almost inevitable”. I for one as a life-long Red Sox fan, and avid follower and fan of prospects, team-building, and organizational depth make this plea to one David Dombrowski. Sir, please don’t trade anything for Todd Frazier and his .210 batting average. Give Lin another week or two, let Devers shine in Pawtucket, and call the kid up around the trade deadline. It costs you nothing but a 40 man spot, why delay the inevitable for a rental? Xander Bogaerts came up late in 2013, and was better for his experience down the stretch and into the post-season. Much like Ronald Acuna has in the early stages of his AAA career, Devers may force the Red Sox hand, as he just looks so much better than anything they can acquire. Simple logic really, why give up assets when you don’t have to?… Anyway, here’s what else I saw in MiLB.

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There’s really no need for any introduction on this one, it’s the post upon which all prospectors are judged. It’s the Mid-Season Update to my Top 100 Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball. Full disclosure, I was loosey-goosey with the eligibility rules this time around. So, while some players in the majors and under their limits might appear on this list (Clint Frazier, Franklin Barreto, Etc.), others don’t (Raimel Tapia). No rhyme or reason to it, what-so-ever. This list feels more upside heavy to me, but there was no slant or algorithm for my ranks. Just good old fashioned personal bias, of which I have plenty. Seriously, I’m an opinionated lad! But that’s why I do this in the first place. Please keep in mind, this list is 100% fantasy focused. Meaning it might differ quite a bit from other Top 100’s you may come across. Anyway, thanks for reading and enjoy! The next 100 (101-200) will be out on Thursday.

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Yesterday summer came to New England, after months of teetering between 12 degrees, and 47 and rainy, the sun finally showed and warmed our frozen souls with it’s powerful rays. Perfect timing for me to, as Wednesday’s are by far the busiest days of my week. I have a work related meeting every “Hump Day” at 7 AM in downtown Boston, and that’s no joy to wake up and get to. So my day starts at 5 AM. I perform my usual “triple S”, make my coffee, finish the latest episode of Halp and Grey in the (insert time slot here) on the ride in, while I think about how badly I mis-ranked Alex Wood in my weekly pitching rankings. I mean there’s always one, right? So my day chugs along like a shiny steam engine from morning meeting, to morning workout, to morning meeting, to lunch, to afternoon meeting, to afternoon meeting. By 5 o’clock I’m toast, but there’s no rest for The Prospector, becuase it’s time to pickup my oldest from after-school care. Yesterday was a special one, as my son greeted me with his newest homemade “SpongeBob Squarepants” book, let’s just say he needs to work on his spelling. With all this to do, a man needs some time to his self, just him and his Schrock. I learned as a young man making time for one’s Schrock can make all the difference when it comes to your daily outlook, and just general disposition. Enough about my day, let’s discuss my Schrock. Now my Schrock is a well maintained smooth Schrock, what it lacks in size, it makes up for with heart, technique, and advanced approach. My Schrock might look undersized, but it packs surprising power. In fact this spring my Schrock, let’s call him Max, made quite the impression in the Arizona sun. If by this point you haven’t figured out that I’m talking about Oakland A’s 2nd base prospect Max Schrock, then you my friend have a dirty mind. So who is this little SOB? Well if you’ve been paying attention then you’d know that Schrock’s been discussed in this space before, as well as on the prospect podcast. For my podcast co-host Michael C. Halpern of Imaginarybrickwall.com loves Schrock! Loves him! So far in 2017 Schrock has struggled a bit to pick up where he left off in spring training. Yesterday, however, Schrock finally broke out his boom stick, and put the wood to two Yohander Mendez pitches. Going double dong on his way to a 3 for 4 day with two solo jobs. Schrock can always get it done by his lonesome, even if the Rockhounds lost to the Roughriders 7-4. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. As for Schrock’s 2017 he’s currently slashing .277/.315/.433 with 5 homers and 3 steals.

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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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In the Natti things just ain’t been the same. The chili has been more disgusting than usual, Hi-Tek’s beats just don’t slam like they used to, and Jerry Springer is no longer mayor. Outside of those three things I don’t know much about Cincinnati. What I do know about however is their Red’s freshly re-stocked farm system. After an excellent 2016 draft and international period the Reds boast a wide array of pitching prospects, and a handful of hitting prospects of note for owners in dynasty leagues. Of course the most sought after being this year’s number two overall pick Nick Senzel. Not only did the Reds net the best college bat in the draft, they also picked a high upside athlete in Taylor Trammell, and arguably the best catcher in the draft in Chris Okey. The international period saw the Reds make major splashes in the Cuban market adding top pitching prospect Vladimir Gutierrez. As well as a saavy signing in “through the cracks’ talent TJ Friedl. While the big league club struggles, the system shows glimpses of light at the end of the tunnel for the Reds, though it’s still year’s away. It’s the Cincinnati Reds Prospects from A-Z…

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