I tried to re-create the magic of last week’s podcast, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t take. Instead, Grey goes full Reality TV villain mode, and not so sneakily tries to chip away at the unbreakable Halph relationship. He’s an only child, he doesn’t like to share! He then announces I will be sold off to the 16th person to sign up for next week’s Razzball Only FantasyDraft Contest (there won’t be a contest this week), in our new “Win a Date with Halp” segment. Yes, even if it’s a dude (apparently, I didn’t read the fine print in my contract). I also congratulate MattTruss for breaking through and absolutely dominating the field in last week’s tournament. On the fantasy baseball side, I point out that nobody in “the industry” (that term just bothers me for some reason) was as high as Grey in the preseason rankings on two of the bigger pitching breakouts this year, Lance McCullers and Michael Pineda, while also discussing the past and future rankings of Mookie Betts, Charlie Blackmon, Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, and many more. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast.
I start the podcast with what I thought was the excitement of Lucas Giolito’s no hitter on Thursday, but it turns out Ralph couldn’t have cared any less about it. I then try to lighten the mood and ask about his weekend, but it just sends him into a deeper spiral of despair. Amed Rosario and Luis Robert did start to pull him out of it, though, and then we really hit our stride by digging into the upcoming 2017 MLB Draft and First-Year Player Fantasy Baseball Drafts. We discuss if Hunter Greene is worthy of the #1 overall pick, and who the other top contenders for that slot are, including Brendan McKay, Royce Lewis, and MacKenzie Gore. We also debate the strategy of taking high risk/reward prospects, such as Austin Beck and Jordon Adell, over some of the safer college players, like Kyle Wright, JB Bukauskas, Adam Haseley and Pavin Smith.
Grey Albright drops a bomb to start the podcast. A Twitter bomb to be exact. Head over to Razzball’s Twitter page to see if you notice a difference. I then use that as an opportunity to pepper Grey with questions about what he is really up to out in Hollywood. We eventually shift focus back to fantasy baseball, and talk about the ramifications of Freddie Freeman’s injury, along with the impending return of Steven Matz and David Price. The meat of the podcast is all about general trade strategies and specific trade targets. We discuss strategies based on where you are in the standings, such as “buying high” on recent breakouts rather than trading your best player for four mediocre ones. We also dig into the merits of specific targets, including Danny Salazar, Justin Verlander, Rich Hill, Michael Conforto, Mitch Haniger, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Sano, Jose Berrios, and many more. Finally, I congratulate the winner of last week’s Razzball Only FantasyDraft Contest, MuneForNothing (who I believe is VictoriaB), and look forward to JOINING THIS WEEK’S CONTEST.
I remember when I got the call to the big leagues like it was just a few weeks ago. I was lounging on the couch, re-watching all of my favorite Paul Giamatti flicks, Lady in the Water in particular, when the name “Grey Albright” flashed across my cell phone. I knew immediately. I was being called up to the big league podcast. I texted Ralph, and he confirmed what I already suspected, that he was being called up to the MLB pitching staff, as well. All of this to say, Ralph and I could perfectly relate to Ian Happ, Brad Zimmer, and Anthony Alford getting called up to the Major Leagues this week. We discuss just how long we expect them to stay up, along with how much damage they can potentially do. We then move on to some of the other minor leaguers knocking on the door, including Rhys Hoskins, Dylan Cozens, Austin Meadows, Derek Fisher, Erick Fedde, and many more.
You won’t find a bigger proponent of drafting college players, in particular, college bats, at the top of the MLB Draft/First-Year Player Fantasy Baseball Draft, but this year’s college class is so uninspiring, I’m shooting for the moon in 2017. The college players are still the much safer play, but the combination of their lack of upside and the extreme upside of the top high schoolers, has me thinking this is the year to roll the dice. Here is the 2017 MLB Draft Fantasy/Dynasty Baseball Prospect Rankings: 1-6:
1) Hunter Greene (6’3’’, 205) HS, RHP/SS – Greene is the type of generational talent you just don’t pass up. He is both a power hitting shortstop and a flame throwing starting pitcher. The first “comp” to pop in my mind when watching him pitch was Satchel Paige from those old black and white documentaries where the film was sped up so everything looked so fast, except with Greene’s videos, that’s just his normal speed. His secondary pitches are still raw, but the easy mid-90’s heat, extremely athletic delivery, and top notch work ethic/mindset makes him the best bet to emerge as a superstar from this class, regardless of where he plays on the field.
2) Royce Lewis (6’1’’, 190) HS, SS/OF – The best combination of tools, athleticism, speed, and feel to hit in the entire draft. The 17-year-old Lewis can also take some vicious hacks at the plate that foreshadows his future power potential. The best case scenario in his early professional career would be a Victor Robles type, but it’s doubtful the hit tool will be quite that good.
3) Austin Beck (6’1’’, 200) HS, OF – Controlled aggression is the best description of his swing, as it looks like Beck has channeled all of his pent up anger into crushing baseballs. The plus bat speed is almost guaranteed to play at any level, and he mixes that with plus raw power and plus speed. He can still struggle against breaking pitches, and hasn’t gotten many reps against elite competition, which is partially due to tearing his ACL and meniscus last May, but his power/speed combo is truly elite.
4) Jordon Adell (6’3’’, 200) HS, OF – When Major League Baseball talks about losing the best athletes in the country to football, Adell is usually the type of player they are talking about. His dad was actually a star football player at North Carolina State, and was selected in the 30th round of the 1992 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. But Jordon smartly wanted nothing to do with football, and the only choice he had to make was between pitching or hitting. It looks like hitting is winning out, as Adell has put on a massive power display this Spring (video of him hitting 3 homers in a game on May 3rd) while rarely striking out. He is still far more projection than current refinement, but this is a recently turned 18-year-old kid, not a college junior. I’m betting on plenty of refinement down the line, and count me among the Adell believers.
5) MacKenzie Gore (6’2’’, 180) HS, LHP – I am a sucker for a big lefty with a funky delivery, and Gore not only checks those boxes, but he also has elite control of a low 90’s fastball, along with three different secondary pitches (slider, curveball, changeup) that flash plus and project as above average or better. Nothing about him screams ace, and maybe we are all being pulled in by that leg kick (something I am seriously considering, ha), but all together, there doesn’t seem to be many weakness, either.
6) Adam Haseley (6’1’’, 195) Virginia, OF – Haseley possesses the best combination of contact, power, and speed in the college class, slashing .402/.492/.693 with 14 homers, 9 steals, and a 19/35 K/BB in 51 games. He currently looks more like a solid across the board type, rather than a true impact 5-category fantasy contributor, but if any college bat is going to creep up the rankings as draft day approaches, it will likely be Haseley … unless Brendan McKay gets drafted as a hitter (more on that next week).
Not even fantasy baseball is safe from the Robot Revolution, but fear not, it is situations like this that Razzball has a standing militia on call, The Crab Army. Lord Tehol Beddict is not your true enemy! We must all unite and take aim at the bots! Or, we can just give up and admit that Rudy’s Streaming Tools are far superior to human intellect. Grey and I bring on Razzball’s own MattTruss to discuss the robot takeover and try to make sense of the entire thing. We also talk about how last week’s Razzball Only FantasyDraft Contest was our most competitive yet. Congrats to “therizzo” for taking home first place, and make sure to get in on the fun by JOINING THIS WEEK’S CONTEST. Between all the robot talk, we do manage to squeeze in some fantasy baseball analysis, as we discuss just how good Alex Wood and Jose Berrios are, along with the buy low merits of Masahiro Tanaka, Rougned Odor, Jonathan Villar, and Alex Bregman.
It’s that time of year again when Ralph and Halp enter the Grey area and talk about Major Leaguers on the Prospect Podcast. It somehow felt more subversive when Ralph wasn’t writing the Top 100 Pitcher Ranks and I wasn’t co-hosting the Baseball Podcast, but them’s the breaks of going mainstream I guess. We start by discussing the value of slow starters such as Alex Bregman and Byron Buxton, before moving on to the power hitting breakouts of Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger, Eric Thames, and Yonder Alonso. On the pitching side, we debate just how good Michael Fulmer is, and also if Marcus Stroman can be anything more than a solid fantasy starter.
It’s been a little while since I banged one of these out, so let’s forego the small talk and get right to it. Here is the 2017 Fantasy/Dynasty Baseball Minor League Prospects Rundown: Week 5-ish:
Yoan Moncada CHW, 2B – Apparently, a triple-slash of .342/.414/.538 with 6 homers and 9 steals at Triple-A isn’t enough for the Chicago White Sox to call up one of the best 21-year-old baseball players in the world. Sorry baseball fans, you’ll have pay $50 for MiLB.TV if you want to catch a glimpse of Moncada on video equipment that looks like it was purchased from the Salvation Army.
Derek Fisher HOU, OF – One of my favorite sleepers for two years running, Fisher is going ham at Triple-A, slashing .325/.390/.563 with 7 homers and a 35/13 K/BB in 31 games. Unfortunately, due to Houston’s outfield surplus, the only other place Fisher can go ham is at Boston Market, because that is all he can afford with a Minor League per diem of $25.
Brendan Rodgers COL, SS – Don’t forget about Rodgers, who is slashing .365/.388/.566 with 2 homers and a 12/3 K/BB in 15 games at High-A since returning from a hand injury. With Trevor Story struggling, the odds are increasing Rodgers sticks at SS.
Raimel Tapia COL, OF – Hitting over .400 in 24 games at Triple-A, and isn’t hitting the ball on the ground an exorbitant amount of the time either (44.5%). Without Coors Field, his fantasy value would take a major hit, and with Colorado in the playoff hunt this year, I’m a little worried.
Aaron Judge NYY, OF – Just a friendly reminder that I was the only person on Earth (can’t account for the advanced civilization that is living inside of Earth) to have Judge as the #1 ranked prospect in the Yankees system, as evidenced by my off-season New York Yankees Top 10 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings. Would you trade Judge for Gleybor Torres right now?
Cody Bellinger LAD, 1B/OF – Just an unfriendly reminder that I was close to the low man on Bellinger this off-season, but I stand by my analysis of his insane swing when nobody else was really mentioning it. Turns out I should have just been insanely high on it, instead of worrying it was too extreme. Viva la Swing Path Revolucion!
Hunter Renfroe SD, OF – .202/.226/.349 with 5 homers and a 38/4 K/BB in 34 games in the Majors. I know it is the era of the K and everything, but turns out you still have to take a walk every now and then too.
Kyle Tucker HOU, OF – I ranked Tucker in the top 10 in my off-season Top 200 due to his late season power surge, and that has continued into this year with 8 homers in 31 games at High-A. Houston’s High-A affiliate isn’t in Lancaster anymore either, so nobody can just mindlessly dismiss the power numbers.
Andrew Benintendi BOS, OF – On pace for 103/24/108/.328/14 in his rookie season, but I’m sure Texas and Minnesota are just as happy with Dillon Tate (er, 2 months of Carlos Beltran) and Tyler Jay (already being converted back to a reliever), respectively. Please MLB, get better at drafting.
Nick Senzel CIN, 3B – Coming on after a slow start, slashing .339/.397/.516 with 2 homers and 3 steals in his last 16 games. The 20+ homerun power is still a question mark, but the floor is a solid 5-category contributor.
Zack Collins CHW, C – Another top college bat from the 2016 class who is coming on after a slow start, Collins is slashing .324/.415/.500 with 1 homer and a 6/5 K/BB in his last 10 games. More importantly, all reports on his defense have been positive.
Mitch Keller PIT, RHP – Pulled early from his latest start when a bee stung his forearm. I was watching MLB Network last week when host Lauren Shehadi mentioned an ex-boyfriend of hers would sting himself with frozen bees, because bee venom supposedly has some amazing healing qualities. I’m giving it a 50/50 chance that Keller now has a superhuman forearm.
Luke Weaver STL, RHP – Looked strong in his return from lower-back stiffness, going 13 IP, 7 Hits, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K in two starts. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, odds are good that he sees plenty of time in the Majors this year.
Josh Naylor SD, 1B – After focusing on contact earlier in his career, Naylor is unleashing the beast this season, slashing .306/.358/.531 with 5 homers and a 22/7 K/BB in 23 games as a 19-year-old at High-A. He hit the ball on the ground almost 50% of the time last season, and he has that number down to 38% this year. Considering his raw power, it is safe to say this is the power breakout we were waiting for.
Jorge Mateo NYY, SS/OF – It might be time to officially jump off the Mateo bandwagon, if you haven’t already. He is slashing .220/.270/.315 with 0 homers and a 38/8 K/BB in 32 games at High-A. The elite speed probably makes him a Major Leaguer, but the lack of hard contact could preclude him from a starting job.
Eric Lauer SD, LHP – Don’t sleep on my boy Eric Lauer, who is putting up a 2.22 ERA with a 10.8 K/9 in 28.1 IP in the Cal League. There isn’t one thing that stands out with him, but he couldn’t have found himself in a better situation than with San Diego and the NL West.
Patrick Weigel ATL, RHP – Everyone’s favorite pitching prospect sleeper was promoted to Triple-A this week. The early numbers on SunTrust Park put it firmly as a hitter’s park, so while it is still the NL East, it’s something to keep in mind with Atlanta prospects in general from here on out.
Scott Kingery PHI, 2B – A recent comment I got from Paste says it best, “Halp! I’m kinda diggin’ on Scott Kingery. Looks like he has joined the launch angle revolution this year and is hitting a TON of fly balls (54.5%) and very few ground balls (24.7%), which is a far departure from his previous seasons in the Minors. Also, he’s showing a much better approach at the dish with an 11.8% walk rate while striking out 22.8%. He’s a smallish dude listed at 5’10” 180, but also has speed to burn. I’d love to hear you and Ralph go in on him and perhaps his teammate at AA Reading Andrew Pullin. Let’s find some sleepers! Shhhhhh” … Sorry, Paste. Couldn’t keep it a secret for very long 😉
We don’t want to lead off every podcast by bashing the New York Mets, but they leave us no choice. Grey Albright and I get right into it with the Matt Harvey fiasco, before moving on to discuss the merits of Luis Severino, Freddie Freeman, Gerrit Cole, Andrew Benintendi, Corey Kluber, and many more. I then talk about MattTruss razzing me over winning last week’s Razzball Only FantasyDraft Contest due to a lack of competition. He’s stepping up to the plate and playing this week too, so make sure to JOIN THIS WEEK’S CONTEST and take both of us down. Finally, we close the show by dreading the ramifications of Arizona’s prospective humidor, and ponder what kind of anti-gravity chamber Elon Musk would come up with if he turned his focus to baseball. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Baseball Podcast:
They said our chemistry would never be the same. They said Halp couldn’t do two podcasts a week. They said Ralph couldn’t handle a third article, along with this podcast, a Youtube show, a full time job, a wife, three kids, etc … Who said this? Probably no one. But you have to find something to motivate you, ya know? Ralph starts off the podcast by talking about his road trip to Yankee Stadium last weekend. We then move onto some of the hot performers over the last week, including Rhys Hoskins, Dustin Fowler, Clint Frazier, Rafael Devers, Kolby Allard, and Walker Buehler. Finally, we save the best for last, and close the show by talking about Yoan Moncada and Aaron Judge. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Prospect Podcast: