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Avast ye mateys treasures of prospective goodness lies within. It’s everybody’s favorite C+ student back again with our second to last minor league preview of the year. Our top 100 prospect list will drop a week from today, so for those of you asking, it’s coming. Now for all of you swashbuckling buckaroos out there let’s have a deeper look at one of the more successful minor league systems over the past decade, the Pirates. In fact in the past 10 years they’ve graduated players like Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, and Gerrit Cole. Despite the recent MLB success, the Pirates still own one of the top farms in all of MLB. Boasting at least 4 top 100 guys on most lists as well as a handful of specs just outside. From a fantasy perspective their aren’t many teams with a more exciting group of perspective players.

 

2015 Graduates
Jung Ho Kang | Arquimedes Caminero

 

Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.

Tyler Glasnow, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level:A+/AA/AAA
2015 Stats:
109.1 IP, 2.39ERA, 3.5 BB/9, 11.2 K/9

Outside of Julio Urias and Lucus Giolito there are no better pitching specs in the game, and just like the aforementioned duo Glasnow finds himself on the cusp of breaking through to the big league roster. A 6’8 giant with a power arm capable of hitting 99 on the gun, Glasnow cruised through the upper levels of the minors last season, posting a 2.39 ERA, with a 11.2 K/9 and a 3.16 SO/W ratio. He’s the owner of two plus pitches in the fastball and curveball, as well as an average third pitch in his change. He has all the makings of a future ace.

Austin Meadows, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats: 584 PA, .310/.360/.420, 7 HR, 21 SB, 7.3% BB, 14.3% K

What if I told you that the Pirates had an outfielder with speed, a plus hit tool and approach, and some raw power upside? Would you think you were looking at a scouting report from years back on McCuthchen, Marte, or Polanco? Well you’re not! The outfield factory know as Pittsburgh minors is at it again with a high end outfield prospect. Meadows was the compensation pick after Mark Appel failed to sign with the Pirates following the 2012 draft. Meadows hangs his hat on a plus hit tool, excellent command of the zone, and puts it all together in a compact left handed swing. He’s a solid runner capable of stealing 15-20 bases, and once his power develops you’re looking at a 15/15 threat. Should be up in 2017, but who he replaces in the Pirates outfield or if he plays for the Bucs at all is the bigger question.

Josh Bell, 1B/OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA/AAA
2015 Stats: 489 PA, .317/.393/.446, 7 HR, 9 SB, 11.3% BB, 11.3% K

Let’s just get this out of the way, I heart Josh Bell. I have his name on my Lisa Frank trapper keeper and I’m not crossing his name off for nobody. Bell’s been in the minors for what seems like forever, but he’s still young (23), and has shown the ability across all levels to hit for a high average, and walk as much as he K’s. The knock on Bell is obvious, where’s the power? He hasn’t had double digit homers since 2013 in A ball, and only managed 7 over 570 PA in AA/AAA. With that said he did show improved pop last year slugging .504 over the final 35 games in AAA. Unless John Jaso and Michael Morse A. Stay healthy B. Exceed expectations/don’t suck, Bell should be up this season.

Jameson Taillon, RHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: N/A
2015 Stats: N/A

It’s been two years since we’ve seen the big righty with the hard fastball, but he’s never really left the conciseness of the fantasy baseball collective. He had the unfortunate luck of needing TJ in April of 2014, which led to him missing nearly two years before returning in instructional ball late last season. A sports hernia ended his 2015, but if he can stay healthy and pickup where he left off in 2013 then Taillon could find himself making an impact in the Buc’s rotation this season.

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Tier 2: Floorboreds

Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.


Harold Ramirez, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+

2015 Stats: 344 PA, .337/.399/.458, 4 HR, 22 SB, 7.2% BB, 13.9% K

Right handed hitting centerfielder who’s batted .306 throughout his minor league career. He’s thickly built, but at this point is more of a line drive hitter. He’s got above average wheels and puts them to use, stealing 22 bases last year in high A Bradenton. He’s looking to hit, but will take a walk. I think he’s one of the more underrated future fantasy bats in the minors.

Alen Hanson, 2B | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA
2015 Stats: 529 PA, .263/.313/.387, 6 HR, 35 SB, 6.9% BB, 17.2% K

Are we talking Neil Walker’s replacement or a future utility guy? Hanson brings one premier skill and that’s his speed on the bases. He led the International League in stolen bases last season and has flashed a little pop, but he’s more of a 10 homer type. He’s seems likely to break camp with Pirates as the starting second baseman.

Kevin Newman, SS | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 283 PA, .257/.318/.350, 2 HR, 13 SB, 6.7% BB, 10.6% K

A first round pick this year out of Arizona, he’s a singles hitter that can talk a walk. He’s still two years away but with good speed and on base ability he could develop into a solid leadoff guy. His defense should keep him at shortstop long term.

Reese McGuire, C | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 412 PA, .254/.301/.294, 0 HR, 14 SB, 6.3% BB, 9.4% K

Here’s s player that’s plastered all over top 100 lists that you probably want to ignore in fantasy. McGuire has built his rep on good catching and all that come with it. He’s a good athlete and actually offers something in the way of steals, but it ends there. He’s a .250 hitter with little power at all, not even that gap stuff.

Nick Kingham, RHP |Age: 24 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: AAA
2015 Stats: 31.1 IP, 4.31 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, 9.2 K/9

After injuring his elbow in May of last year Kingham is more than likely on the shelf for 2016. It’s unfortunate and eerily similar to the timing with Taillon. So we won’t see him in the majors until 2017. Floor is pretty solid, probably a 8 k/9 guy, with decent WHIP and ERA.

Willy Garcia, OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA/AAA
2015 Stats: 515 PA, .275/.314/.431, 14 HR, 4 SB, 4.4% BB, 23.8% K

A toolsy raw outfielder with some decent power, if he can further refine his game, aka take a walk, he has a shot at a callup. I think the hope here is a 20-25 homer guy with some speed and a passable average.

Others: Elias Diaz, Steven Brault, Stephen Trapley, Clay Holmes

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Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexyceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs.

Cole Tucker, SS | Age: 19 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 329 PA, .293/.322/.377, 2 HR, 25 SB, 4.8% BB, 14.8% K

A switch-hitting shortstop that should stick at the position. Tucker was hitting a solid .293 in his first full pro season before a labrum tear ended it prematurely. He’ll most likely miss most of 2016, but he’s an intriguing prospect of only for the speed and average from the shortstop position.

Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B | Age: 19 | ETA: 2020 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 227 PA, .308/.408/.346, 0 HR, 8 SB, 12.3% BB, 13.6% K

A young third baseman with a plus hit tool, Hayes is the son of former major leaguer Charlie Hayes. He rarely chases bad pitches and shows approach beyond his years.

Jordan Luplow, 3B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 465 PA, .264/.366/.464, 12 HR, 11 SB, 12.6 % BB, 14.4% K

This is one of the least talked about players in the Pirates system with some of the bigger upside. He’s shown the ability to hit for power, average, and take a walk. Has had some injury issues but worth keeping an eye on.


Yeudy Garcia, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A

2015 Stats: 124.1 IP, 2.10 ERA, 3.0 BB/9, 8.1 K/9

An older international signing, Garcia has taken time to develop and still needs more. Put up pretty nice numbers this season at low A West Virginia. Some think his ceiling is a mid-rotation starter or closer.

Others: Mitch Keller, Trey Supak, Gage Hinsz, Casey Hughston

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2016 Minor League Preview Index

   
  1. J-FOH says:
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    I agree that meadows could/should be moved at some point. Pittsburgh is so close to that next level and from what I’ve read his arm is not so good. Maybe one day they might try and get a real hitter to play 1st, but who knows, they might continue with their scrubs and stars approach.

    • Yescheese says:
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      @J-FOH: this might be the year. They are spending $10m on Melancon. Very uncharacteristic of the Bucs.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Yescheese: Go Bucs go!

  2. Yescheese says:
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    Speaking of buckaroos, I bet Buckaroo Bonzai, PhD could be an 80 grade prospect.

    Add me to the Harold Ramirez is under-appreciated club.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Yescheese: Buck a roo! The man!

      I really like Ramirez but some people view him kind of blah

  3. Tehol Beddict says:
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    What does my chode look like from underneath when my nuts on ur forehead?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Tehol Beddict: Is that rhetorical?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Wow, I could’ve sworn those were frown lines

  4. Shill Team 6 B- says:
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    Does Sean Rodriguez have the defensive chops to suppress Hanson’s chances? Like Rod at 3rd and Harrison at 2nd?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Shill Team 6 B-: The B- is everything! Probably not I think Hanson gets a shot

      • Shill Team 6 B - says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Thanks. I’d like that. I’ve got quite a bit of Hanson stock. I might sell half my shares and save half. Avoid “eggs in one basket” thing for my MI future.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Shill Team 6 B –: now if only you knew who you wanted to take in Razznasty. J-FOH is going to slap your bum

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: I slapped everyones bum last year

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @J-FOH: I blame Giancarlo and his baseball magnet

  5. Martin Harris says:
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    Would yo keep josh bell for$6 in a national league only dynasty league $260 budget. Value goes up by $5 each year. Keeping Rizzo 29 clutch 36 seager 7 Franco 7 yelich 18 cole 19 melancon 11 iglesias 6 and maybe Braun 37 and Duvall 6. 5bu5 Roto 10 teams

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Martin Harris: tough call maybe Duvall. Tough cause Duvall might help you more this season

  6. primetime says:
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    I am in the 10 team keeper league, we keep 7 players so a total of 70 players are kept. I have been offered C Seager for my 1st pick which would be my 7 or 8th pick. in retrn I get a 4th rd back. I already traded my 3rd rd pick for JD Mart last season. below is my team from last year so I was going to keep Arenado, JD mart, Lindor Darvish Salazar Kershaw and straus.

    But now this offer came along, make me think seager, arenado buxton and jd mart plus Salazar ker and straus keepers.. what do you thinki should do?

    My current team
    Martin
    Fielder
    Lemiehun
    Arenado
    lindor
    Brantley
    JDMart
    Pence
    CarGo

    Kershaw
    Salazar
    Strausburg
    Darvish

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @primetime: Replace Darvish with Seager

  7. Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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    in a league with OPS/slugging/BB/K’s for hitters added and my team in particular is weak in SS (k.marte only), and 1B (E5 with no back up), and 2B (pedroia/harrison only) is this list look about right. i have 3 picks at 8th, 20th, and 32nd. i already have a.reyes/stephenson/tapia/t.anderson/b.zimmer and we have large benches (about 14 SP optimally owned due to what hitters i have), but 5 max NA slots. after i finish drafting the guys i’ll get i’ll be able to keep 5/8th of these once they get their NA tags.

    THIS RANKING: rodgers/benintendi/swanson/g.torres/bregman/devers/mazara/brinson/barreto/mateo/reed/phillips/mondesi/mcmahon/alford/d.smith/a.rosario/guerra/adames/wall. i’ve already got about 8 pitchers too, trying to figure out the hitter ranks.

    • Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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      @Mantis Toboggan MD: oops, last 3 got cut off they were
      guerra/adames/wall

      • Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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        @Mantis Toboggan MD: nevermind. i got swanson/d.smith/mcmahon (went swanson over benintendi being SS weak)

        • Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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          @Mantis Toboggan MD: but went d.smith and mcmahon over those other MI once i had swanson (along with t.anderson i already have)

            • Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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              @Ralph Lifshitz: yahoo’s such a joke, after not even having mazara in their system till about 3 weeks ago, now since he doesn’t count as NA yet he wasn’t draftable.

  8. Running Frog says:
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    The assumption in PGH is that the Bucs can’t possibly afford to renew Cutch, and one of two things will happen. Either Cutch returns to his former glory, which makes the team option in 2018 attractive value, and the Pirates trade him to get some value out of him. Or his 2015 decline is a marker of further declines to come in 2016 and 2017 and they will simply choose not to renew his option in 2018.

    This year’s FA market showed that teams are a lot less likely to spend on over-30 hitters than they used to be. And that is unlikely to reverse course in the next two years. If Cutch goes 5 WAR in 2016 and 4.5 WAR in 2017, there’s zero chance the Pirates commit to him after that, and Meadows will be roaming center field full time in 2018.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Running Frog: Good insight

    • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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      @Running Frog: most teams finally getting smarter, at least in contract stuff. get em real smart if they wanted parity and put in a cap. those guys that compete in football almost every year (NE) are really good, can’t just throw extra money other teams have at stuff.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: It’s all about drafting well or signing well in the international market, then developing players.

        • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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          @Ralph Lifshitz: exactly, that’s the smart thing long term, but in capped sports that’s THE ONLY way to remain competitive each year. in baseball BOS/NYY/LAD/LAA others could just spend more, even if contract ends up being complete garbage (josh hamilton) they can just eat the money.

  9. Rusty Trombone says:
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    Hi guys,

    I was offered Springer and Jose Fernandez for Stanton. Hold or go for it?

    Thanks for any and all advice,
    Rusty

  10. Speill says:
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    Keeper question. I have been offered Kluber $4 and Mikiel Franco $4 for Bogearts $6 and Conforto $2. Asking in terms of value not knowing my teams needs. Thanks.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Speill: I’d take Kluber and Franco at those prices. In fact They’re the two best players in the deal.

  11. NATION says:
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    Not pirates related but more a prospect/dynasty question. 16 team 8×6 league (so hitters favored with ops total bases and ks and win AND qs for pitchers). Inherited a pretty bad team and so looking to restock hitters.

    Was offered khris Davis for wade Davis, and seems like a slam dunk trade given hitter/pitcher cats, but the move is to move Davis regardless right (SAGNOF)?biggest qualm making the deal as is is Khris Davis seems like hell age out by time I’m ready to contend. Or should I be looking to net a couple prospects with relatively soonish ETAs instead? Thanks in advance!

  12. Ralph Lifshitz

    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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    I’d try and move Wade Davis for a top 25-50 spec, and then some low 100 guys or up and comers.

  13. Kenneth says:
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    I just don’t see a whole lot of upside with this review.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Kenneth: Ha! Is this the guy from Dynasty Guru?

      • Kenneth says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Buxton, yep. Lol. After I saw that C+ remark, I had to mess with you a little bit.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Kenneth: Yup! It’s all in good fun

          • Kenneth says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: Great work taking over for Mike. Feels like we haven’t missed a step. Thanks!

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @Kenneth: Thanks!

  14. Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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    ok, post NA draft (can only draft those) waivers come off tomorrow. this team
    C beef welington/mesoraco (one catcher league, but they were clearly better options than demoted/minor league pitchers to keep, we have huge benches)
    1B E5
    2B pedroia/harrison
    SS k.marte
    3B franco/harrison
    LF upton/k.davis
    CF cain sugar/delino
    RF soler/polanco
    1 util
    BN tapia
    NA swanson/t.anderson/dom smith/mcmahon/b.zimmer
    SP carrasco/arreita/kluber/richards/iglesias/carmart/cashner/k.hendricks/bauer (later will grab at least 4-6 more of these, but they are all streamer types)
    RP f-rod/perkins/osuna/strop (1 spot open)
    BN stephenson/reyes (STL)
    Later unless Stephenson stays up to start year i’ll need to cut at least 1 NA guy (i’m already cutting tapia)

    1. who is the cut? (probably dom smith or mcmahon)
    2. if i can waiver mazara (dropping tapia) tomorrow should i cut a 2nd NA guy? I know mazara is ranked higher in a vacuum but my team is 1B/SS/2B weak and RF strong. other options to waiver are b.park, SS improvement (semien/segura small increase), buchholz (best SP), or just grab my 5th RP.

    • Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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      @Mantis Toboggan MD: max 5 NA rule, we have 2 weeks from date guy is tagged. right now mazara isn’t NA but he will be preseason.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Mantis Toboggan MD: I say keep Mazara and dump Dom Smith. Dom is still two years away minimum. At worst you trade Mazara for a spec 1b upgrade maybe target AJ Reed

        • Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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          @Ralph Lifshitz: reed went like 3rd overall, guy was weak in 1B. but of course we don’t know where mazara might’ve gone, as he was illegal due to yahoo leaving him active. no guarantee i get mazara anyway with 8th waiver. will likely get one of bung hole park/vince velasquez/buchholes if i don’t get mazara. bunch of weird stuff had to happen for me to get swanson at 8th. g.torres went ahead of him, rodgers at 6th.

          • Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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            @Mantis Toboggan MD: later in preseason if i get mazara who would 2nd cut be out of those (this would be after dom smith is cut, i’m guessing it’s mcmahon). i would have at least all of these in NA slots late in preseason: reyes/mazara/b.zimmer/t.anderson/swanson/mcmahon, and actually, if stephenson also was NA’d id have to drop another of these (which really sucks). maybe t.anderson (even though he’s closer and i could use it) since his overall ceiling isn’t as high as these others. I would of course try to trade one of them first. with as many SP as we can roster (H2H league) and my OF’ers already being strong and numerous it’s hard to drop a possible ace pitcher like my two.

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @Mantis Toboggan MD: Yeah I think you’re right on McMahon

  15. B says:
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    Please rank in order you’d like to have for the next 3 years: Giolito, Mazara, Peraza, Arcia, Reed, Berrios.

    Thank you.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @B: Giolito, Reed, Berrios, Mazara, Arcia, Peraza. 2-4 is a toss up. I just think Reed and Berrios have more vale this year into the first 2-3 months of next.

  16. S.H says:
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    Ralph my man good write up. I have been away for a month or so. Are you the new prospect guy here on the razz. If so when is the top 50 prospects list coming out. Also in my dynasty 50 man roster all can be keepers would you deal Archer for Urias, or keep Archer. That would give me a rotation next year of Archie bradley, Giolito Urias Berrios and a lesser extent Blair and Shipley.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @S.H: There’s already a lot of upside and it’s tough to pass on a talent like Urias. BUT! Archer is there and still young (27 all season). I’d hold and try and move Bradley. If you keep Archer you mitigate your risk and have a rotation ready to go with globs of upside for next season.

      Top 100 is Sunday and yes I’m the new Prospector.

  17. MB says:
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    Hey man, in a dynasty draft right now and my options are pretty much Hoskins or Kilome. Tons of arms later available too. Am I crazy to try to get the upside of Hoskins or is Kilome too much to pass up?

    Thanks for your time

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @MB: Sure go Kilome

  18. Lougle says:
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    Any idea when the aggregate minors rankings will come up? I have a dynasty draft coming up and those would be useful. Thanks.

Comments are closed.