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Unless you’re a greasy teenager or the warden of Shawshank Penitentiary breakouts are good. Particularly when we’re talking about athletes, and even more so when we’re talking about up and coming athletes. Heck, I can still remember when I first saw young Ariel Winter blossom from younger sister on Modern Family to busty sexpot. After writing that last sentence I feel like I’m ghostwriting Tehol’s posts again. Who knows maybe I am, throw in a Dom Brown reference and a couple of lords and BOOM you got a Tehol post. That’s not why we’re here though. No we’re here to talk about the breakout stars of the minor leagues. The guys jumping up, and in some cases, into the top 100. It’s a great time to review this for a few reasons. Chief among them is three and a half months of data to crunch. Not to mention a plethora of updated top 100 have hit the streets. So who am I lovin, who do I want to be huggin? Let’s get into it.

 

Eloy Jimenez, OF Cubs (South Bend A): If you watched the futures game you should be aware of three things, Alex Bregman is good, Yoan Moncada is better, and Eloy Jimenez ain’t far off. Yes I just used ain’t in a sentence. Wha wha what? N.O.R.E! Anyway, Jimenez is my top breakout guy, and I discuss as much in my first weekly Fantasy Prospect Podcast I’m doing with Michael Halpern of Imaginary Brick Wall (check it out NOW!!!). Jimenez is hitting for power, average, and stealing bases. He hit a bomb in the 9th inning of the Futures Game, and also made an absolutely beautiful catch in the outfield. This season he’s slashing .331/.370/.520 at Class A South Bend, and at just 19 he looks like the next big Cubs prospect. He’s big at 6’4 205 lbs with a quick right handed swing, with enough power and speed to be a future 20/10 threat. As the title suggests Eloy is reaching the rarified air of single name recognition among us prospect hounds. Woof!

Francisco Mejia, C Indians (Lynchburg A+):  When any player in the low minors gains .220 OPS points year over year you take notice. When it’s a 20 year old catcher that does it, you go crazy and rank that guy in your top 50ish or so prospects. That’s the case with Mejia as he’s gone from slashing .243/.324/.345 in 2015 with class A Lake County to slashing .345/.373/.526 across two levels this season. He’s still just 20 but is in the midst of a 36 game hitting streak, not bad for a guy off most everyone’s radar just a few months ago.

Dylan Cozens, OF Phillies (Reading AA):Who doesn’t want a 6’6 monster with a tasty power/speed combo in their minors? If the answer is no, I’d gladly trade you all shares of Chad Pinder. After a decent season in 2015 that saw him go from rookie ball to AA Reading, Cozens has exploded this year hitting 25 bombs to date to go with 17 steals. The outfielder has always had some power but topped out at 16 with class A Lakewood back in 2014. He’s paired with soon to be discussed Rhys Hoskins to form the most powerful 1-2 combo in all of the minors. The one red flag with the developing power is that only 5 of Cozens homers have come outside the power aiding confines of Reading’s FirstEnergy Stadium. Regardless, when someone puts up a 80/25/82/17/.286 line it’s tough to ignore. The speed is for real, shown by the 17 for 18 success rate this season.

Rhys Hoskins, 1B Phillies (Reading AA): The masher in the dynamic Reading duo, Hoskins is your prototypical slow footed first baseman. The former 5th rounder from Cal State Sacramento showed signs of his breakout last year across two levels of A ball, but was old for the level so his .319/.395/.518 fell on deaf ears. This season however Hoskins has continued the mashing at AA Reading. There’s still some questions, particularly now that he’s struggled in July, but there’s no denying the power and approach.

Christin Stewart, OF Tigers (Lakeland A+): This one should be less of a surprise, because quite frankly Stewart was a first rounder just last season. Not sure anyone but the Tigers Brass envisioned he’d hit the notoriously pitching heavy Florida State league like Barry Bonds in his most chemically induced state. Through 676 professional plate appearances Stewart has slashed .269/.389/.516 with 30 homers, 90 runs scored, and 99 rbi’s. Not too shabby for a 22 year old in his first 158 games. There is some risk as he’s striking out 25% of the time, but it’s balanced by an absurd 17.8% Bb rate.

Josh Ockimey, 1B Red Sox (Greenville A): Here’s my Boston homer pick for the week, much like most of these guys I’ve been beating the drum on them for months. So much of this post is vindication or what we like to call in the sales world, account rounding. Ockimey has hit A ball with a vengeance slashing .260/.390/.493, the average is obviously barely acceptable, but I’m not interested in Ockimey to boost my average. It’s for the power and the on base skills, particularly in a system starving for first base prospects after Sam Travis went all Derrick Rose on his knee. Much like Stewart, Ockimey balances a 25% K rate with a, nearly identical to Stewart, 17.7% Bb rate. One of the other big red flags with Ockimey is his pull happy approach, and difficulty when facing southpaws. If he can learn to hit to all fields, and raise his .211 average vs southpaws he’s got a shot at fantasy stardom. He draws a lot of Ryan Howard comparisons, but I wonder how much of that is his Philly roots. Let’s just hope in 8-9 years the Red Sox don’t burden themselves with a bad contract. I’ll take Ryan Howard-lite prior to that point.

Travis Demeritte, 2B Rangers (High Desert A+): I’ve been apprehensive about touting Demeritte all season, but it’s tough to ignore a 22 homer-12 steal season from a middle infielder. The reasons I’ve been apprehensive are simple, his PED suspension last season, and his whopping 33% K rate. He has contact issues for sure, but the kind of upside that has seen him rocket into top 100 conversations. It will be interesting to see what he does upon promotion to AA Frisco, and out of the very power friendly California League. Damn, does the Rangers system have power.

Adalberto Mejia, LHP Giants (Sacramento AAA): Damn do I love me some lefties, in almost all of my teams I hoard lefty arms the way your crazy uncle hoards soup cans for the coming apocalypse. Problem is I shook off Mejia in all my leagues and own zero shares. He’s been a big target of a couple of my colleagues in J-FOH and Yes Cheese in a few of our leagues. He’s done nothing but destroy the upper minors this season putting up a 2.57 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 8.4 K/9 across AA and AAA. He pairs a four seamer that touches 95, with a slider that gets swings and misses, with an above average change. Could end up sneaking into the majors at some point this season as a spot starter or for some pen help. Got to love any arm coming from the Giants farm system, as they’ve had a pretty solid track record of graduating some good ones.

Chris Paddack, RHP Padres (Fort Wayne A): When the 2016 in season trades made by A.J. Preller are discussed in 4-5 years it might be the Fernando Rodney trade and not the Drew Pomeranz trade that’s discussed as the real jewel. Not because Paddack will be better than Espinoza one day, but because they stole a high ceiling pitching prospect for ancient Fernando Rodney. I’ve wrote about Paddack a lot and the 14.2 SO/W might be all I have to bring up.

Luke Weaver, RHP Cardinals (Springfield AA): After a nice full year in professional ball in 2015 for Weaver he was on my radar, but he seemed a bit bring. After being assigned to AA Springfield to start the season that’s all changed. He’s more or less the prospect pitching version of Ariel Winter, only his breasts are smaller. Boy, am I perverted today. Any who, we’ve got the kind of package that could make Grey’s mustache sweat, no not Giancarlo in a tight fitting thong (wow Tehol again!), but a K/9 of 10.6 to a Bb/9 of 1.3. The k’s have really jumped this going from a respectable 7.5 in the Florida league to what we have this year. He’s always had pinpoint control, and looks to be working his way up into top 20 prospect pitcher territory.

 

Follow me on Twitter @Ralphlifshitzbb

 
  1. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    love this,thanks

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @AL KOHOLIC: Al! Thank you good sir!

  2. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Frazier!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Grey: May you choke on the carnitas in your next burrito!

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Glad I don’t eat Mexican. My tummy is sensitive

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Grey: Then I hope you choke on an irregular meatball/chicken nugget/broccoli crown

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Haha

  3. Jensen says:
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    Ralph, 12team dynasty league question. Would you consider any of these guys to be must own prospects? I do appreciate that you anticipated my needs and previewed three of these guys for me.

    Mike Hauschild
    Brady Rodgers
    John Andreoli
    Alen Hanson
    Dylan Cozens
    Rhys Hoskins
    Luke Weaver
    Jordan Montgomery
    Anthoy Banda
    Ryan Cordell.

    Also worth knowing, we have smaller farm systems due to the fact we increase the price of players every year. My current farm team is Bobby Bradley, Bradley Zimmer, Victor Robles, Brendan Rodgers, Delino DeShields, Cody Bellinger. I have room to pick up maybe 3-4 guys.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Jensen: I’d grab Cozens, Hoskins, and Weaver

  4. Dave says:
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    Vogelbach headed to the M’s. I just scooped him up! Thanks Ralph.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Dave: I love that man!

  5. Prague says:
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    Ralph – always love the updates. ESPN just added Gurriel to the player pool recently, and I was able to snag him off waivers. Could you help me set reasonable expectations for him? I’m not expecting much ROS, but what are you hoping for by this time next year? I’m in a keeper league, and waiver wire adds who are still rostered by late August can be kept at a really friendly price. Thanks for any insights here.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Prague: I wrote about him Sunday. Probably a .280 hitter with 15-20 homer pop floor. He should hit, I think he’s better than Olivera.

  6. Ninaaw says:
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    Expect more from mejia then manaea?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Ninaaw: Yes, he’s less risky IMO

  7. The JoGarza says:
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    Hey, good stuff teaming up with IBW! He’s a regular over at Reddit with his prospect round up and seems like an all-around cool guy. How’d the podcast come about?

    As a Marlins fan, I wish I could erase Chris Paddack from my mind. /sigh.

    Lastly, any thoughts on Yohander Mendez? He’s gone from a generally unknown guy to someone that just fracked Keith Law’s top 50 and has been getting nice praise from the Prospectus guys.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @The JoGarza: Click the link check it out. He is pretty cool.

      I considered Mendez but truthfully I ran out of time lol. There’s a post coming.

  8. Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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    16 team h2h with keep 6 (no costs, just binary keep or not) per year. OPS and hits added
    C hundley
    1B goldy
    2B odor SS segura
    3B arenado
    OF (3) duvall/upton/saunders
    util (2) c.santana/rajai
    BN sano/reed
    DL pollock
    SP thor/liriano/b.norris/peavy/chen/hendricks/hill/j.guerra
    RP kintzler/rondon/blanton/siegrist/jeffress (holds and QS here added)
    DL diekman
    it seems i don’t need 2 BN bats and would be better off with a 3rd holds guy. if rajai keeps getting jerked around on playing time i could grab SD steals guy with also job security issues coming up soon, or one of dickerson, revere,
    1. i have an NA slot open with reed up, stash with that lineup which of de leon/margot/vogelbach/berrios/winker/j.thompson/dahl
    2. do i drop reed yet here to stash the NA guy, peavy/norris are other options, but FA SP are really trash.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Mantis Toboggan MD: Id grab Dickerson and just keep my eyes peeled for hitters.

      1. Does Sano have OF eligibility? If so grab Vogelbach, he’ll be up immediately you can swap him when Reed is down. Dahl is the best guy listed.

      • Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: didn’t know about reed being sent down, but with that trade news i quickly acted, grabbed the de leon Grey advised and added vogel immediately afterward. so for this minute, right now i have de leon stashed, with vogel taking up the same space reed used to. he almost can’t be worse just having that dead spot for a few days or so was the thinking. yeah sano more has OF it’s yahoo. i just noticed that corey dickerson has become so useless and unowned (even in like 20 teamers with only 3 OF spots, wow) that i didn’t have the a.dickerson sticking in my head as something i even needed to say, which is straight up crazy when ya think about it. after that norris debacle i dropped him too for r.ray.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph LIfshitz says:
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          @Mantis Toboggan MD: Reed hasn’t been sent down, but it’s seems to be in the cards. He’s not doing much. I like those two moves Vogelbach should be up in short order.

          • Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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            @Ralph LIfshitz: if you mean reed the fall guy when bregman gets up that would make sense.

  9. Troutmaskreplica says:
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    Any early 2016 draft performances under the radar catching your eye?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Troutmaskreplica: Cody Thomas, Nick Zammarelli, Bo Bichette, Reggie McClain, Peter Alonso, to name a few. I have a list of guys

      • Troutmaskreplica says:
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        Thanks

        • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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          @Troutmaskreplica: groening’s fav album too. my human gets me blues

  10. Josh-NYC says:
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    Redraft league.. Who do you like more this year? Berrios or Jose de Leon

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Josh-NYC: Whoeber makes more starts!!!

      Seriously Berrios

      • Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: crap, have this backwards.

  11. Billy Tell says:
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    Who would you rather have ROS and in a dynasty league between AJ Reed and Dan Vogelbach? And could Seattle bring him up soon?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Billy Tell: Vogelbach but just for this season. The floor is higher. I think he could be up almost immediately.

  12. J-FOH says:
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    You for got a master of the rings: winter is starting comment to make it a tehol post.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph LIfshitz says:
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      @J-FOH: Fair enough

  13. One man crusade says:
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    Keeper league question. I send Strasbug and rice Felix Hernandez, Trea Turner and two early round picks. I am I a rebuild this year, and should be in competition next year

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph LIfshitz says:
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      @One man crusade: Is rice Price? You can do better than that.

      • One man crusade says:
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        @Ralph LIfshitz: @Ralph LIfshitz: I missed that. It was supposed to read I send Strasburg and receive Felix, Turner and two early round picks (2nd and 4th rounder)

  14. Holala says:
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    Love your stuff! Very helpful

    18 teams, 15 keepers

    Would you trade Stroman for Gallo?
    What about Stroman for Conforto?
    Which one do you prefer?

    Thanks!!!

    • Holala says:
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      @Holala:
      Would Brendan Rodgers be a better get?

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph LIfshitz says:
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        @Holala: I prefer Rodgers

  15. Crabman says:
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    In a keeper league and my 2b is just pitiful. What’s the likelihood of Mondesi shifting over to second to inherit 2b duties over the slumping Merrifield? Also Calhoun up to the bigs next year with the departure of Utley? Any other 2b prospect recommendations that may have impact this year or next other than the acclaimed Moncada?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph LIfshitz says:
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      @Crabman: That’s possible, I feel like it’s a year away but it’s possible. I don’t know with Calhoun, the Dodgers are a tough read, really any team with the money to spend on FA is.

      What about someone like Asuaje or Ryan Schimpf? If you need any production might be worth picking up Schimpf and adding Asuaje.

  16. Puk is Wrong with You says:
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    Ian anderson or Matt Manning, any preference between the two ? Who is on the fast track? Who has the better overall potential?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph LIfshitz says:
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      @Puk is Wrong with You: I like Anderson a little more, not sure about fast track. They’re prep arms. So far Anderson is out pitching Manning in the GCL, but the sample size is like 6 innings.

  17. Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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    with this supposed archer trade to LAD, which would almost have to screw with a deleon uprising, is berrios the better stash, same league as above. without that news is surely looked as if deleon was first up out of him and berrios.

    • Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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      @Mantis Toboggan MD: this of course could be a giant tire fire (validity speaking), intended to do god knows what:
      “http://www.rotoworld.com/player/mlb/5892/chris-archer”

    • Mantis Toboggan MD says:
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      @Mantis Toboggan MD: nevermind this,as one owner who’s been known to read my mail here at this site added berrios, as he’s far enough ahead in1st tohave like 4 NA’s stashed even without slots for it.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Mantis Toboggan MD: I don’t think that changes anything for De Leon, Urias can’t get into the 6th. I’m of the mind they’d be better served using Urias in the pen ROS, or sending him back to AAA. De Leon should get a shot.

  18. Micah says:
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    Would you trade DeLeon for Lewis Brinson?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Micah: It’s a fair swap, but you’re taking on significant injury risk. I’d want de Leon in the short term, but Brinson in the long term. So I probably wouldn’t do the deal.

  19. thorbs says:
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    Ralph – great stuff as always!

    Running into a ‘good’ problem in a 12-team, 10×10 dynasty league (NS + H)…prospects coming up and not enough bench space for all of them. Currently 3rd place and a pushing for a first round bye.

    Short version, filthy bats with excess power (Trout/Bryant/Betts/Arenado/Votto/etc.), filthy pen (Chap/Miller/Britton/Diaz/Jeffress/etc.), inconsistent/unproven starters (Kluber/Greinke/Tanaka/Felix/Keuchel/Duffy/Guerra/etc.).

    My prospects include Robles, Tapia, Verdugo, Bader, Wall, Vogelbach, Paulino, Skaggs

    Skaggs is pure speculation, and I’m waiting to replace him with one of Mejia, Diplan, Ockimey, Paddack or Weaver after seeing how he goes when he’s called up.

    Been in talks surrounding moving:

    1. Conforto for Trea Turner
    2. Vogelbach for Joe Ross
    3. Conforto for Betances + his 3rd rounder
    4. My 3rd rounder for Betances

    It’s selling low on Conforto, but I’m thinking I do #1 and #4, so net out is Conforto + 3rd rounder for Turner/Betances, so I get a bit of speed/run scoring and really lock down a disgusting relief corps to offset my starters.

    Turner also eligible for 2B/SS/OF in my league, so he’s a bit more versatile, and I could see him being a 10/25 guy in a couple years.

    Do any of these deals make sense?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @thorbs: Turner is a better player than Conforto IMO. That’s not selling low. Do that deal now. I’d do 2 and 4 as well. You’ll be loaded.

  20. Serenading unicorn says:
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    What website do y’all do your dynasty leagues on?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Serenading unicorn: I have a few that I’m in and they’re all on Fantrax and CBS.

  21. Brian says:
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    I’m in a 16 team dynasty, 6×6 H2H with K/BB and OPS extra cats, plus QS instead of W. the leader of each roto cat at the end of the season wins $. Here is my roster. C – Wilson Ramos, 1B – hosmer, 2B – kipnis, SS – correa, 3B – bryant, OF – Blackmon, nelson cruz, marte UTIL – beltre, ortiz BN – brantley, stanton, harrison, jose ramirez SP – price, teheran, sonny gray, Quintana, jose fernandez, salazar, gausman, liriano, jamie Garcia RP – papelbon, seung oh, melancon, neris, dull, madson, mau cabrera, karns. Minors roster is Susac, Lara, Mateo, Guerra, Verdugo, Yusniel Diaz, phillips, tyler o’neill, pete o’brien luis alexander basabe, austin voth, alex reyes, Jorge lopez, clevinger, cease, Oscar de la cruz, kuhl. back of rotation (gausman, liriano, sonny, karns, jaime garcia) has been garbage behind jofer, price, teheran, quintana, salazar. looking for another SP. doesn’t necessarily have to be young. considering offering jorge mateo and a 2nd for one of verlander, bauer, or duffy. What order would you go after them in? and if you had to bump it up to mateo and a 1st for any of them, would you? I’m in first so my pick projects to be at the end of the round between 14 and 16.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Brian: in that order. That’s way too much for those guys IMO though. If you need to make it do it though.

  22. Squints Palledorous says:
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    Saw that the Padres are telling teams that Melvin is on his way to another team shortly. Renfroe or Margot? Who gets the call?

    Thanks Ralph

  23. ichirosan says:
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    Hi Ralph, nice work as always :)

    I’m in the middle of my prospect draft (managed to get Derek Fisher and Rhys Hoskins with my first two picks). I’m looking to grab a pitcher with my last pick, as I already have too many hitters (the aforementioned Fisher and Hoskins, plus Moncada, Dahl, and the younger Gourriel) and just one pitcher (Dillon Tate).

    I’m trying to decided between Tyler Jay, David Paulino, Chris Paddack and Yadier Álvarez. I usually never draft a pitcher who doesn’t have a ceiling of at least a #2, but since Paddack’s and Álvarez’ ETA is waaaay too far, I’m leaning towards Paulino. Thoughts?

    BTW, your darlings Cozens and Francisco Mejía are still available, if you think that would be a better choice.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @ichirosan: if you need a pitcher take Jay. I like Mejia if you want another hitter. Jay is the highest ceiling with the lowest risk. Paulino seems to have some personal issues.

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