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Way back in the wild west days of the international market, teams like the Dodgers, Yankees, and Red Sox approached the July 2nd signing period the same way Glenn Quagmire approached a night at the strip club. Cash in hand ready to make it rain on the first young talent that caught their eye. It was in one of these talent-laden spending sprees that a strapping young Dominican power hitter by the name of Starling Heredia first surfaced. In one of the more gluttonous international splurge’s since your creepy Uncle took that “trip” to Bangkok, the Dodgers dropped $45.38 million in that period on players like Yadier Alvarez, Yusinel Diaz, Omar Estevez, Ronny Brito, Oneal Cruz, and of course Heredia. The Dominican outfielder was ranked 9th in the class by Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, two spots behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and ahead of such currently buzzy names as Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, Leody Taveras, and Aramis Ademan. He was described in the scouting reports at that time as a “the best corner outfield prospect in the class by some scouts, in part because of his raw power and projectable body.” Tools grades rated his raw power at a 60, and his hit tool at 55, pretty aggressive grades for teenage hitter. Don’t be too frightened, but at that time he listed Yasiel Puig as his role model. Then again Puig was good then. So what’s to Heredia? Is this just another rookie season flash or are we looking at a potential star in the making from the notorious Dodger pipeline.

 

Since that time the player nicknamed “Pitbull” has shown flashes of brilliance, but in very small samples. In 64 Dominican Summer League games in 2016, Heredia slashed .258/.338/.408 with 5 homers and 10 steals. Not awful production, but certainly not worthy of a top international prospect considered within shouting distance of the great Vlad Jr. at one time. Fast forward to 2017, and in his stateside debut Heredia is setting rookie ball on fire, to the tune of a .450/.516/.825 between the Dodgers AZL affiliate, and Ogden of the short season Pioneer League. The 18 year old slugger is quickly rising up dynasty prospect rankings, and was probably a somewhat glaring omission looking back on my top 200, but in all fairness he was 4 games into his season when the post was written. If I was to re-rank him today, I’d list Heredia slightly behind Yusniel Diaz at 130th.

Heredia is built, in a way my father in law would describe, as a brick shizz-house. A stout 6’2, 210 lbs, Heredia’s build fits his Pitbull moniker, and his violent swing evokes the strength, and malignity of the breed. His bat speed, power, and ability to mash a fastball have played up in 2017, but his ability to fly down the line surprises scouts who watch him. Particularly when his body has been described by Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs as “late-career Juan Uribe”. Damn Logenhagen is really into body shaming huh? Tisk, tisk Longie! Anyway, Heredia dominated similarly aged competition in the AZL, showing just how advanced the bat was for an 18 year old. After 7 games Heredia was promoted to the Pioneer league affiliate of Ogden, and has continued to show advanced approach, and elite power to all fields. Take a look at the below gif where he gives a ball a ride to the opposite field off the tip of the bat it seems. It’s almost like a lazy flyball it hangs up there so long.

 

It hasn’t been all roses and sunshine in Heredia’s development. It should be mentioned that entering this year breaking ball recognition concerns have left many cautious in their grades, and rankings of Heredia despite the prodigious power, and natural hitting ability. The trouble with the curve is more than just an awful Clint Eastwood movie, it can also be the root of many a prospect’s swing and miss issues, and Heredia is no different. As the whiffs have plagued him early in his career. However, the early reports in 2017, are bursting with optimism, and it sounds like he’s turning a corner in this regard. As a dynasty owner it’s still something to be cognizant of as he more than likely takes a full season assignment next spring.

His batting stance currently employees a big leg kick, with his hands held high, and bat flat. Some of his swing mechanics and stance might be altered, as he reaches the upper levels to help aid in his pitch recognition. As the batting stance in it’s current state is rather closed, and opening up his front side eventually, might aid in improving his ability to identify breaking and off-speed stuff. Though at the moment, with Starling racking up big game after big game in Ogden there’s no reason to fix what isn’t broke. In fact he teamed up with Dodgers first rounder Jeren Kendall, in his professional debut on Tuesday night, to lead Ogden to a 17-8 victory, as each collected 3 hits a piece. Man, it must be amazing to cover the Dodgers minor leagues full-time, the organization is just busting at the seams with talent.

In closing Heredia is a high upside lotto ticket, but one who’s prospect status is growing by the day. Could Heredia slot into a spot in the Top 50 on next season’s Pre-Season Top 100? Yes, but he’ll need to keep up his current level of production from now until the end of the season, and continue to make strides with his pitch recognition. Even in the shallowest of dynasty formats Heredia is a buy.

 

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  1. GP says:
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    Ralph ,
    I truly enjoy and greatly appreciate all of this wonderful information.
    Great work and extremely helpful and insightful .
    Your mid season top 100 was excellent !
    I should probably have posed this first question to you there , but here goes :
    Which player would you build your dynasty team around :
    Clint Red Thunder Frazier / Rafael most complete hitter in the minors Devers / Ronald super star Acuna ???
    Which guy would you pick ( I know your a sawx fan ) ?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @GP: I think I’d go Acuna because he provides the most upside across the board. He has a Trout-like ceiling. Devers would be a close second.

  2. Oddball Herrera says:
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    Thoughts on the Adames start at 2B yesterday? Should we be in callup watch given the team need there?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Oddball Herrera: I think so, should be interesting to see how the three teams at the top of the AL East shake out up to the deadline.

      • Oddball Herrera says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: ooh and he is in there again today

  3. Stewzilla says:
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    Thx for the info!

    Would you do Chavis or Isan Diaz and Bregman for Manaea in a dynasty H2H w/ QS and OPS?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Stewzilla: Probably not, but it might make sense for your league. That I wouldn’t know

  4. Jose says:
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    Thanks for keeping us updated Ralph! My keeper league isn’t really a dynasty league as its only 10 teams, but we do have the option to keep a full 25 man roster from year to year. I’ve been holding Moncada, but could use some SP help. It’s a H2H points league and a batter is penalized -2 for Ks. Do you think Moncada will ever be a league average K rate, or is 25%+ probably going to be what he is?

    I’ve got an offer of sending Moncada for Eduardo Rodriguez. My current staff is Arrieta, Lester, Stroman, Cole, Berrios, Morton, Bundy and a Streamer until Salazar comes off this weekend. I also have Syndergaard and C. Anderson on the bench. We can hold 9 SP so he wouldn’t neccesarily be replacing anyone. I’ve just been hoarding offense since pitching has been down and my team will make the playoffs. I’m #1 by record and #2 by score, but the guy ahead of me has a stacked team! I’m also holding Rosario, but have Segura and Turner at SS.

    That’s a lot of info, but trying to give you the big picture. Thanks Ralph!

    My current 2B and 2B for next year is Ian Happ.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Jose: Id hold Moncada, even if he strikes out he walks hits and runs. Plus I far prefer him to Happ long term.

  5. Richard Davis says:
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    I guess it’s hard to actually give a good answer to this, since we don’t know where Seth Beer will land. But I really like him as a prospect, and I think this draft class is kind of weak. I have the #5 and #20 pick in this year’s FIRST year player draft, and have a chance to trade them both for the worst team in the league’s #1 pick NEXT year. I could also trade them both for the #1 pick this year as well, but I don’t think Otani is coming over anyways. I have plenty of OF prospects like Florial, Trammel, and Leody Tavares, so I don’t really need Luis Robert, even though I’d love to have him. I’d just really rather have a stud 1B prospect like Seth Beer next year. So I guess my questions are, how would you compare Seth Beer to Luis Robert in terms of DYNASTY value? Do you think Beer will be a 1B and not and OF? And do you think Otani comes over for NEXT season? Thanks for all the hard work you do, love your prospect knowledge and scouting

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Richard Davis: I think Otani comes over. It seems like everything has pointed that way. Unless there’s info I haven’t heard.

      I prefer Robert to Beer, are we sure he’s even better than Pavin Smith? I saw him a couple weeks ago, and he can hit, but I wouldn’t say he’s can’t miss.

      • Richard Davis says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: That’s why you are the man! Thanks for the response

  6. malamoney says:
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    Who do you think has a bigger fantasy impact next year?

    Brendan Rodgers, Walker Buehler, AJ Puk or Eloy Jimenez?

    Do you see any of them breaking camp?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @malamoney: Buehler for me for both questions. He could see some innings in LA this year.

  7. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    the 20 teamer in yahoo where i have to have at least 9 active (DL slots would count, you just can’t stash guys to count against the minimum 9) TEX players at all times. lots of stats added like hits/BB’s/putouts/assists/OF assists/fielding %/OPS/double plays (for hitters and pitchers) holds/QS/K per 9/complete games/shutouts/pickoffs/relief wins/relief appearances/OBPA. h2h. 10 NA slots, 5 DL slots. 25 max keepers per year. i’ll put the likely keepers in caps, i already traded away happ and a 1st rounder (it’ll be a bad one anyway) for odor.
    C suzuki (streamer)
    1B DESMOND (CF/LF)
    2B ODOR
    SS ANDRUS unless retires, then no keeper
    3B BELTRE
    LF MAZOUZA (LF/RF)
    CF BLACKMON
    RF STANTON
    util CHOO (RF), unless traded away then no keeper
    BN napoli (1B), GALLO (1B/3B), avila (C/1B)
    NA kelly/DAHL/MEJIA/ELOY/BRINSON/adames/CALHOUN/collins
    SP (max 6 to prevent hoarding) DARVISH/ARCHER/COBB/chacin/morton/montero (streamer)
    RP (7 slots) GILES/LECLERC/claudio/phelps/maton/KELA/morrow
    DL edinson, andriese, ryu,
    NA y.mendez/URIAS

    this means i can keep 4 more of them, probably mendez, morton, maybe claudio and another bullpen guy (maton maybe) or another prospect guy.

    1. stash l.taveras and assume he’s a keeper over one of the catchers (kelly or collins, mejia is kept for sure)
    2. finally got a fair trade offer for collins. guy sees idiots in this league taking garbage offers so he tried trading like 5 guys he got off FA in less than a month + a.diaz (traded n.gordon to get) + peacock for eloy/collins and something else. the fair offer:
    my cobb + collins for his martes (HOU) + peacock. only issue here is that since martes is pretty useless for now (and i’m a top 4 team competing) he’d take ryu and the stream spot away, and we do have 35 min innings per week. if martes was in minors i’d probably be smart to do this though.

    • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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      @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: the “retires” above obv refers to beltre, not andrus.

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: but do NOT do 2 due to either one or both of
        1. martes having bad short term value and he’d use up a valuable roster spot for a contender
        2. cobb worth more than peacock long term maybe

        and kelly’s up for at least today (hard to believe he’d be up longer though, as i’m sure they want him playing more than 1 out of 6 or so days, UNLESS they intend to start say spelling molina in the 6th or so inning EVERY DAY, in which case this could make some sense for his development)

  8. Ronald says:
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    Alex Meyer, Jon Gray, Luis Castillo and Dinelson Lamet? I need to drop one. Which one needs to go?

    • Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:
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      @Ronald: other than the next one @ CLE meyer has good home matchups after that, in case you can reacquire. lamet has enough blowups that he’s probably the easiest to reacquire. gray’s probably too good to drop.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Ronald: Lamet

  9. your mom says:
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    Hi. 20 team h2h which side: springer/abreu/lackey or rizzo/merrifield/kimbrel?

    Thanks

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @your mom: Rizzo side

      • your mom says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: so my team is c-avila 1b-abreu 2b-murphy 3b-shaw ss-owings 3of and 1 util – bryant/domingo/springer/polanco/dickerson.
        Sp-kluber/nelson/j.montgomery/wacha/perdomo/lackey
        Rp- rivero/reed/claudio

        Should i take rizzo side still?

        Thanks!

  10. Mike

    Mike says:
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    Mitch Walding, Jason Foley, Andres Munoz, Brad Zunic
    anything there?

    • Swfcdan says:
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      @Mike: Prospector Mike!! Good to see you around dude, you helped me out many a time in the past. Definately an honorary Razz member for all your past prospecty work.

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Prospect Mike? Where?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          he gone…I buried him in the back yard with my kids’ fish, our first dog, and my aunt

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        thx man!

    • JeF WiTh 1 F says:
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      @Mike: Mikey!!!!! I want to light your tits up tonight.

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        my tits and I are ready

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Mike: Walding seems like this year’s Reading rocket. Never know, he can walk, and does put the ball in the air.

      Foley was missing earlier in the year, getting lots of grounders and he’s got prototypical size. Need to see how his remaining season in A+ goes.

      Munoz has some upside but real raw.

      Zunica has some boom-boom don’t know much about his fielding.

      Were these your TP signings? All I got was Cumberland. I bid out da azz on Michel Baez, and still missed $31 million! I should have bid higher on Barria

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        thank you! yup, I legit picked four random guys to bid on this year in TP

        yeah man I felt kinda bad about your Baez loss, that was a ton of money

  11. Swfcdan says:
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    Ralphie how do you go about comparing prospects who rank higher but aren’t performing so well, vs less ranked players who are killing it- the stats vs scouting debate. Would you trade Barretto (very poor K/BB rate in AAA and looks raw) for R Hoskins (much lower ranked by sites but he’s destroying it and K/BB suggests he’s legit)? When do the stats force you to go against the universal rankings.

    Another similar debate is Z Collins vs M Chavis. I think we’ve had that one before though haha. Still holding Collins (my weakest prospect) but I’m very close to making the switch.

    P.S If I called myself Dan from England which football (soccer to you) player would immediately come to mind. Bit tougher these days isn’t it, Harry Kane?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Swfcdan: Prolly Danny Welbeck or Daniel Sturridge. Are you hurt a lot?

      I’d go Hoskins if you’re looking for safety and need CI help. Really it comes down to team need.

  12. Cory Iler says:
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    In a 6X6 OPS Dynasty league I got offered Lewis Brinson for Christian Yelich. I feel like the ceiling is higher for Brinson but also a lower floor. Hold or pull the trigger?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Cory Iler: I’d deal Yelich for those two.

  13. Raoul Duke says:
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    Have you seen a grade placed on Heliot Ramos’ speed? Are the steals supposed to follow him as he moves through the minors?

  14. rotoFip says:
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    Ralph..great work here and with Andy on the baseball show..I’ve got some open minor league spots where i can stash guys for later this year but cant keep them..any guys on your radar i should consider that could be up soon?

    some guys on my watch list are:

    Mcmahon
    Moran
    Brett Phillips
    Woodruff
    Eshelman
    Sims
    Burnes
    Mahle

    any of these guys stand out more than the others or have anyone else?

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