Please see our player page for Will Benson 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.

Tough starts can really tank a prospects perceived value. There might be nothing worse for dynasty managers, than watching one of your blue chips struggle very publicly for the better part of the first half. It’s only magnified when a player is on the cusp of the majors, and touted as a potential impact player from the jump. Think about how far Willie Calhoun has fallen. Earlier this year, I could have moved Calhoun for legit MLB talent in one of my more competitive dynasty leagues. Coming into the season Calhoun was a hot commodity, as I turned down deals for James Paxton and David Price amongst others. Just a few days ago in the same league, my Willie Calhoun for Max Muncy trade was scoffed at. All this to say a few things; 1. Things change quickly in the world of dynasty baseball. 2. Is a much more important lesson, and one tough for struggling Calhoun owners. Don’t write off players you believe in. At the moment there might be no better example of this lesson than the Indians Francisco Mejia. The young backstop moved through Cleveland’s minor league ranks like a rocket the past few seasons, before being assigned to Glendale of the Arizona Fall League. There, the Indians tried Mejia at the hot corner to less than stellar results. Everything started to go south. Mejia’s hitting wasn’t what it was billed to be, and the struggles carried through the beginning of 2018. Hitting just .189 entering June, the diminutive catcher has gone on a tear slashing .419/.438/.640, with four more hits on the month than his prior two months combined. In fact he has 15 multi-hit games in his last 21! That’s raking, but the point should hit you like a ton of bricks. We knew Mejia was a talented switch-hitter with plus-plus hit, even through his struggles we shouldn’t have lost sight of just how good this player is. Will he win you a fantasy league one day? Not likely, but he can be one of the better offensive talents behind the plate. Which leads me to my next question, what’s his future at catcher? While he might never be an everyday catcher, he’s still played a majority of his games behind the pate this season. Which could work out to be a best case scenario in fantasy. If he has the ability to play enough games every year to keep catcher eligibility, but not to breakdown over the course of the year it could amount to a perfect storm. A plus hitter at the catcher position that avoids the daily wear and tear that can negatively impact offensive output.

 

When I say two you say fer! TWO!!! FER!!! That’s correct we have a twofer on our hands, as we combine the top heavy Indians system with the barren Royals Farm. The show runs long, but that’s traditionally what happens when you expect a short show. We touch on Francisco Mejia, Triston Mckenzie, Bobby Bradley, Nolan Jones, and others, before finishing up with Nick Pratto, Khalil Lee, and Seuly Matias. I mean combined it’s a hell of a system! Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor 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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Wake up Sheeple! I bet the mainstream media will tell you that the Indians system is top heavy and that outside of the top four it’s all high upside teenagers. I bet you’re hearing that! I’m here to tell you that’s totally #fakenews. The Indians system is three really nice talents and a whole bunch of high upside teenagers. Then again I’m not sure where that leaves Yu-Cheng Chang, who is neither a teenager or one of those elite level talents. He’s a nice power and speed player in the Indians top 5, who happens to be currently generating traffic to this post from his homeland of Taiwan. I learned this trick from Halp. True Story! Any the hootie-hoo, this is one of the more hitter heavy lists I’ll write this year. Which is probably okay for the Indians, they won’t have too many spots to fill in the rotation with Kluber, Carrasco, Bauer, Salazar, and Mike Clevinger under contract until 2020. So, if you’re a fan of some of the quad-A types destined for middle relief littered throughout the Tribe’s system, then you’re going to be severely disappointed. Overall it’s a farm in flux, some talented players with an arrival window in the next two years, and a lot of lottery tickets with four year+ ETAs. Also switch-hitters, the Indians love switch-hitters. Don’t be frightened off though, there’s some jewels in these here blurbs! Read on noble future dynasty champion, it’s the 2018 Cleveland Indians Top Prospects.

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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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It’s been a big year for Cleveland sports, but that all takes a back seat to a big week for Cleveland here on Razzball. Earlier in the week Grey gave you his take on top prospect Bradley Zimmer, yesterday we gave you the latest edition of the prospect podcast where we went through the top prospects in the Indians system. Always one to beat a dead horse, today we go over Zimmer and the Indians system again. Will we discuss anything new? Maybe. Sort of depends, if you read Grey’s post and listened along to the podcast, I’d lean toward the negative. If not than everything is new. Dollars to doughnuts it’s not a bad system to get hung up on. They have solid talent at the upper levels of the system and solid talent at the lower levels as well. Players like Francisco Mejia, Triston McKenzie, and Greg Allen all enjoyed breakouts. While Chris Antonetti and Mike Chernoff took home another haul in this year’s draft. Needless to say it’s a fun system to dive into. So let’s dive into it, shall we?

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A very special Black Friday edition of the Prospect Podcast this week. Where we discuss two teams that are like stores with completely different inventory. One being the well stocked Cleveland Indians system with plenty of merchandise for prospect hounds. The other being the Detroit Tigers and their going out of business sale with only candle holders and shell shaped soap on the shelves. Yes Ohio vs Michigan and just in time for Ohio vs Michigan. Myself and Michael Halpern of ImaginaryBrickWall.com maintain order so no one can rush the doors and crush other shoppers. Wow I’m really lost in this analogy. Nevertheless it’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Prospect Podcast.

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Two Saturdays ago, I released the top 15 picks in my First Year Player Draft Rankings. I then followed this up with the latest edition of the Prospect Podcast this past Saturday, where Halp and I mocked out the first 32 picks of a First Year Player draft with Matt Thompson of Friends With Fantasy Benefits, and Smokey. Today we complete the dynasty nerd trilogy with the resolution of my rankings. Because I’m incapable of making difficult decisions and setting boundaries I went a little past 30. Don’t complain, I’m giving you extra. How ungrateful can you be? In today’s post I get a little deeper into the J2’s, as I included 10 of them. This year we had a solid J2 class and a weak draft class, so there’s more of an International flavor in the 2017 rankings than there might have been in past years. (Hopefully the international flavor is Jerk seasoning, but I will settle for Chimichurri, or a solid curry.) It’s also a pitching heavy class, with it being an extremely soft year for college bats. I can’t remember having so many pitchers, particularly prep, in my rankings. Enough with the “Hi, hows ya fathers”, let’s get into it!

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again the 2015 MLB draft was a damn good one. In just 14 months this class has already produced three everyday MLB players. It’s pretty much unheard of for THAT many players to move THAT quickly through the minors, and it’s not like any of the three look particularly lost. The real beauty lies here, the draft wasn’t particularly top heavy, we’ve had plenty of very interesting players already emerge from outside the first round; Willie Calhoun, Harrison Bader, Thomas Szapucki, and Cody Ponce to name a few. On the heels of this dynasty windfall, the question on everyone’s mind is; who are the studs and gems from this draft? Over the next few posts (today and Sunday) we’ll take a long look, maybe an awkwardly long look, at the first round and the gems of the later rounds. Did I say that already? I feel like I did….I try to sound like a sports reporter, but I kill too many brain cells to pull off the act. Meh, whatevs let’s talk about Nick Senzel!

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So it happened…. What????? The 2016 MLB Draft stoopid! I mean I am Ralph Lifshitz Prospector Esquire, and what else would I be talking about on a Sunday? Everyone else deals with the right now, but I, I deal with the future, the dreams of dynasty owners everywhere. So let’s get into the most difficult thing to predict, project, or understand. No, not Donald Trump’s campaign!!!! Are you even paying attention?!? The MLB Draft wake up!!! If you need proof as to why the MLB Draft is unpredictable, then click here and see how badly I missed on like 90% of my picks. Seriously after months of study and careful and thoughtful attention, I hit on 5 picks..FIVE out of 34! It’s cool I own it, I wear my mistakes like the rings of a pimp. So, let’s get into the steals, the stupid, the possible, and my general thoughts on the first few rounds of the draft.

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In just 24 hours MLB draft madness will be upon us. While it certainly has the least amount of fanfare among the four major sports, I find it to be by far the most fascinating. In Football and Basketball so much of the focus is immediate, mostly due to the older nature of prospects, particularly in football. This relies heavily on opportunity and fit with a team’s style and system. The NHL in many ways sits in the middle between the other two sports and baseball. But baseball, that’s a whole different story. In baseball it’s all about projection and development. Even the most MLB ready player spends a year plus in the minors developing. The other end of the spectrum is prep players that can marinate in the lower levels for 3-4 years. It’s an animal unto itself. So today I give you the final installment of my pre-draft posts. You can check the other two here and here. I’m going to begin with a quick mock, and follow that up with some general notes and thoughts. Let’s make this interactive, as more information matriculates, and the draft rumors circulate feel free to post what you’re hearing in the comments.

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