Alright 12 readers still with us in late October, get your firecrackers, noisemakers, and elated cheers ready. For the return of Minor League Preview season is upon us. I know, I know, exciting times across Razz Nation. With that said let’s curb your enthusiasm a little, we’re starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Lower case yay…. What can be said about the Diamondbacks system that hasn’t already been said about Detroit? It’s been decimated, depleted, and burned to the ground. Mostly by Dave Stewart, but I’m sure Tony LaRussa had a hand in that too. Top prospects like Dansby Swanson, Isan Diaz, and Aaron Blair were shipped off, and to make matters worse they lost their first round draft pick after signing Zack Greinke. So we’re looking at a handful of second division regular types, some back of the rotation arms, and some long term toolsy players. Not exactly the bang you were looking for, but at least we have the Braves to look forward to. Heck they have at least 70 former Diamondback prospects. Holla Touki!!!

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The Brewers picked up three solid prospects in trades this past summer – acquiring Domingo Santana, Brett Phillips, and Zach Davies. Santana has already graduated and should be an interesting power upside play in 2016, while Davies should start the year in the rotation. Phillips migh have the most upside of any of them, but likely won’t reach the majors until 2017. After being one of the weaker systems entering the 2015 season, these trades and the 2015 draft have done a lot to bolster the farm. They’ll add another strong piece this summer with the fifth pick in the MLB draft.

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All year we’ve been ranking the top prospects closest to the majors. With September call-ups quickly approaching, this post is a little different. Instead of limiting the list to players with their rookie eligibility intact, this will include any players currently in the minor leagues regardless of their at bats or innings pitched totals. There’s a catch, though. It’s only going to list players who are currently healthy and on their team’s 40-man roster. If you see a big name omitted, it’s probably because they aren’t currently on the 40-man. That can still be manipulated of course, but if a player is already on the roster, it increases the chances they’ll get a look next month. I also decided to weed through it for players that I thought could actually have some relevance in fantasy. With guys like Domingo Santana, Trea Turner, and even Aaron Altherr already up, this isn’t exactly the sexiest group. But there are some nice players in here, and if they can find playing time, they could also help your fantasy team down the stretch. When looking at who to pick up, I’d recommend focusing on teams that are out of the playoff hunt and who may be more inclined to give their younger players a look. Zeroing in on injuries (or potential ones) is also a good move. I bolded a few of the names that I think are interesting gambles…

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David Dahl‘s 2015 season is already over after lacerating his spleen in a nasty collision. Fun fact time. Back in the day, when humans were even dumber than they are now, folks thought that the spleen produced a kind of black bile that was related to melancholy. Their descendants can now be found trolling blogs across the interwebs with a brand new arsenal of misinformation. Dahl ranked numero uno on my Rockies Top 10 Fantasy Prospects list this offseason and #12 on my Top 50 Fantasy Prospects, so this is a major injury to a very good player. Missed time is starting to pile up, as Dahl had already missed a large part of his 2013 season with a torn hammy. The 21-year-old also suffered a concussion in this week’s collision. Just talking about this makes me all melancholic. I blame my spleen. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (29) | 2013 (23) | 2012 (25) | 2011 (30) | 2010 (14)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [82-80] NL Central
AAA: [77-67] Pacific Coast League – Nashville (2015: Colorado Springs)
AA: [77-63] Southern League – Huntsville
A+: [73-62] Florida State League – Brevard County
A: [72-67] Midwest League – Wisconsin

Graduated Prospects
Jimmy Nelson, RHP

The Gist
Heading into 2014, the Brewers checked in as the 29th ranked farm system according to Baseball America. This season was a step in the right direction though. The major league club looked like a playoff team for much of the first half before things fell apart in the second. Jimmy Nelson logged over 69 innings in the bigs and looks like a quality major league starter. Prospect Mitch Haniger was moved in the Gerardo Parra deal, but for the most part the farm stayed intact. With three picks in the top 50 of the June draft, the organization added a solid left-handed pitcher and two promising bats. This year saw a shake-up among minor league affiliates across all levels, and the Brewers were a part of that. Their AAA club is now Colorado Springs, formerly affiliated with the Rockies.

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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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