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Wednesday again already??? Time flies when you’re having fun (or the Braves are playing terrible baseball) it seems. That signals time for our Razzball midweek look at what’s become the most important commodity in our favorite game– prospects. Our “Prospect Primer” reflects a handful of the prospects I’m keeping a close eye on heading into Week 20 (for both shallow and deep fantasy leagues). Our bi-weekly prospect columns (Sundays and Wednesdays) will continue to focus on the more “well-known” prospects (our Top 50/Top 100) that are likely going to affect shallow to mid-level fantasy teams.

We will continue our “Panning For Gold” series moving forward for owners in deeper leagues, but these won’t be a regularly-scheduled feature, but keep checking in for true “sleepers” daily… I’ll continue trying to “shine the light” on players that may not impact your leagues in the short-term, while revealing players you might scoop your fellow owners with as time warrants and permits. Our prospect coverage will always be a work in progress as we try to provide pertinent information that will help owners that participate in deeper leagues as well, and features will be adjusted and added in our effort to be able to help fantasy GMs as much as possible regardless of the depth of league you compete in.

Disclaimer: the bi-weekly lists AREN’T a “re-ranking” of our Top 50/Top 100/Organization Lists. The players mentioned will typically be guys that owners in somewhat regular leagues NEED to be aware of (regardless of their current level) to keep from slipping behind as they want to stay competitive in “keeper leagues”. There may be a sleeper mentioned from time-to-time, but they may be more important to managers in deeper and more long-term leagues. The players listed aren’t in any particular order (you’ll notice they’re listed alphabetically), they’re simply guys you need to keep an eye on and someone you might be interested in targeting when you’re wheeling and dealing.

Now it’s time to refill that cup of coffee or take your lunch break and open your spreadsheets – here’s who I’m tracking over the next few days…

 

Jorge Alfaro, C, TEX

Alfaro received a promotion to AA Frisco last week, and his bat caught fire (he’s slashing .333/.429/.708/1.137 with 3 HRs and a 3/3 BB/K Ratio since getting his latest challenge. With a bat that projects as premium for a Catcher if he can continue to improve defensively (and no one providing a roadblock for him at higher levels), the Rangers could be trying to accelerate his timetable. If Jorge proves capable of handling a staff at higher levels, the path to him becoming Texas’ long-term answer at the position is clear, and he could conceivably become their regular Catcher as early as late next season.

Christian Bethancourt, C, ATL

Bethancourt’s a premium defensive C who’s coming on as a hitter. He’s now slashing .274/.298/.405/.704 at AAA Gwinnett, and projects to be the Braves’ Catcher of the future. If they don’t stop right the ship soon, it’s fair to expect to see the big club jumble things up soon by shifting Evan Gattis back to the OF and 1B on at least a part-time basis to give Christian more exposure to MLB-level pitching with an eye toward a major roster shakeup for the start of the 2015 season.

Archie Bradley, RHSP, ARI

Bradley has struggled all season since he got the news the D-Backs weren’t handing him a rotation spot, but it’s probably time to push him if they expect to have him compete for a 2015 rotation slot. He’s coming off one of his best starts of the season – holding a Tennessee Smokies lineup with Albert Almora and Addison Russell to 3 runs over 6 IP with 6 Ks and 1 BB. He’s still walking entirely too many batters to count on as a fantasy option, but it may be time for him to make a couple starts in front of Tony LaRussa so Tony can have a nice long sit-down chat with him. It’s not like getting his feet wet before shutting him down is going to make the Snakes’ 2014 campaign any worse at this point.

Alexander Guerrero, 2B, LAD — The Dodgers’ brass apparently is convinced he can’t handle SS defensively, which is pretty surprising considering the fact that they’ve continuously run Hanley Ramirez out there whenever he’s been healthy because there’s little to no chance he’s going to supplant Dee Gordon at 2B anytime soon. Following his 2-4 3 RBI night Monday, Alex is slashing .339/..384/.611/.995 with 13 2Bs, 4 3Bs, and 13 HRs over 221 MiLB ABs for various Dodgers’ affiliates thus far this year. He can’t POSSIBLY be worse defensively than Justin Turner, and Ramirez’ current DL stint should provide the organization the perfect opportunity to give Guerrero consistent ABs against MLB pitching to help prepare him for his likely addition to their playoff roster.

Rymer Liriano, OF, SDP — Liriano’s overall 2014 numbers (.265/.335/.442/.777 with 20 2Bs and 14 HRs) haven’t been particularly impressive, but he’s been scorchingly hot since his promotion to AAA El Paso slashing .452/.521/.661/1.182 with 11 2Bs and a 3B over 16 games (62 ABs) with an 8/13 BB/K Ratio following his bump to the Pacific Coast League. Rymer is one of the Padres’ high draft picks that they’ve had high hopes for in their effort to develop some kind of offensive presence, and he’s not being called up to watch. Owners looking for potential production from an OF flier over the last few weeks could probably do worse than taking a chance on Liriano.

Austin Meadows, OF, PIT — Meadows has been on fire of late since returning from injury, raising his 2014 slash line to .328/.386/.474/.860 with 9 2Bs, 1 3B, 2 HRs, and a 10/19 BB/K Ratio over 31 games and 116 ABs. He’s hitting .371 in August for Lo-A West Virginia (.356 over the last 30 days), and has raised his season OBP to .409. Meadows is the type of player that can move quickly if the Pirates choose to push him, but they’re more likely to let him force his own promotions in the hope that his power will continue to develop (unless they decide to include him in trade discussions) given the organization’s OF depth.

Daniel Norris, LHSP, TOR — Norris continues to impress, and hasn’t missed a beat since making the jump to AAA Buffalo. In one of the more impressive SP outings turned in Sunday Daniel baffled a Durham lineup (that had both Wil Myers and Nick Franklin in it), shutting the Bulls out for 6 innings – giving up 2 hits while striking out 10 and walking one batter.  He may not pitch in the Rogers Centre before next spring, but if you’re in a league where he’s available now would be the time to scoop him up – he should join the Jays’ rotation next season.

Kennys Vargas, 1B/DH, MIN — Vargas was putting up solid numbers for New Britain (.281/.360/.472/.832 with 17 2Bs and 17 HRs) before the Twins called him up a little over a week ago, and his numbers have remained pretty consistent since he got to Target Field. His power should improve as he adjusts to major league pitching, and he should become a fixture in the middle of the Twins’ long-term lineup with Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano once they’re promoted and healthy again. Kennys should see regular ABs for the rest of the season following the Josh Willingham to KC deal, and could be worth an add for owners in slightly deeper leagues that utilize a DH slot.

Taijuan Walker, RHSP, SEA — THIS is the Taijuan Walker that kept Jack Z from seriously getting into the David Price Sweepstakes at the deadline. Walker gave up 1 ER in 7 innings against Fresno on Sunday, only allowing 2 hits while striking out 13 and only walking one batter. The Ms may have him make one more start for Tacoma to make sure he’s going to have his motion and release point back under control, but he should be back with the big club next week. A potential playoff rotation consisting of King Felix, Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton, and Walker ought to have Mariners fans licking their chops and potential playoff opponents quivering quite a bit.

 

 

From Around The Web

  1. malamoney says:
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    So are you saying you expect the Dodgers to call up Guerrero?

    Any change Lindor comes up?

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @malamoney:

      I do expect Guerrero to be on the playoff roster – whether they call him up before that deadline is anybody’s guess. Like Jorge Soler, there are no service-time concerns – the Dodgers are paying him the same salary to work on things as they would be if he were playing in Atlanta tonight.

  2. J Boy says:
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    What are your thoughts on Michael Taylor? Im in a 14 team roto and own Werth so thinking he could be a nice short-term solution. Your thoughts?

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @J Boy:

      You could do worse than taking a flier on Taylor while Werth’s banged up – they didn’t call him up to watch.

  3. English says:
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    Any thoughts on Seth Streich? Seems to be breaking out a bit this year.

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @English:

      Streich’s K Rate has improved in 2014, but he’s not someone I expect to “break out” and climb particularly high on anyone’s year-end ranking lists. He’s a slightly bigger version of former A Tim Hudson – a low-90s sinker/slider guy with an average changeup.

      That doesn’t mean he won’t turn out to be a useful Pitcher at some point – just that I can think of at least 20-25 SP prospects I’d protect before him off the top of my head.

      • English says:
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        @Chris:
        I’m looking at him in a 30 team league with 30 man farms so it’s pretty deep. How would he rate against the likes of; Nick Petree, Felix Jorge, Thomas Shirley, Alex Claudio, Jacob Constante, Marcus Diplan?

        • Chris

          Chris says:
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          @English:

          I personally like Diplan better – live arm, better stuff, higher ceiling – but Streich likely turns out as good or better than the others.

  4. Lucky Luciano says:
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    How has Christian Walker not been called up yet? Kid is crushing it in the O’s farm system and Davis is struggling/hurt and Machado is now hurt?

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @Lucky Luciano:

      Baltimore management is as careful with service-time as any team in the league that isn’t located in Tampa, Pittsburgh, or Atlanta. They have little choice to be otherwise as long as Angelos is writing the checks. They’re not likely going to call anyone up unless they start sliding down the AL East standings and suddenly are in danger of missing the postseason.

  5. GBWR82 says:
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    H2H points league, normal scoring. Give up:

    Cano
    Miguel Cabrera
    Brandon Moss
    Rick Porcello
    Tori Hunter

    For:

    Jose Reyes
    Yoenis Cespedes
    Melky Cabrera
    Jon Lester
    Josh Harrison
    RA Dickey

    Is it a good trade, il need to trade Cano and Cabrera next year per our keeper rules.

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @GBWR82:

      I don’t think either side’s a BIG winner there, but don’t think you’re getting fleeced by any stretch. If you can keep Lester and couldn’t keep Cano or Cabrera that should be a huge upgrade on the pitching side.

  6. Chris

    Chris says:
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    Baltimore management is as careful with service-time as any team in the league that isn’t located in Tampa, Pittsburgh, or Atlanta. They have little choice to be otherwise as long as Angelos is writing the checks. They’re not likely going to call anyone up unless they start sliding down the AL East standings and suddenly are in danger of missing the postseason.

  7. Mike says:
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    Is segura or alcantara worth dropping for Rymer liriano
    12 team keeper league
    Alcantara and liriano would cost $6 each next year to keep.
    I can’t keep segura. He has been a doughnut anyway this year.

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @Mike:

      For as much as I (and everyone else) loves Alcantara, it’s awfully hard to recommend him as a long-term keeper at this point. He’s actually the ONE Cubs’ hitter I think is the most obvious to be moved. If they don’t trade him and actually promote the guys are “ready” to begin next season, he’s the one guy without a position. Baez is a better defender than Alcantara or Castro, and he’s been moved to 2B. Russell is their best infield defender (and it’s not real close), so if they want the best defensive infield you’d put Baez at 2B. Russell at SS, and Castro at 3B (because Castro’s a better defender than Bryant).

      Castro, Baez, Bryant, and Russell have significantly higher offensive upside than Alcantara – if Theo and Jed ultimately decide to keep Bryant on the infield, Russell projects as a better CF than Alcantara, meaning Alcantara would presumably shift to a corner. Unfortunately Almora, Soler, and Schwarber all project as better offensive performers at corner spots, so Alcantara could easily wind up as a “man without a position” if everyone stays.

      Super-Subs are terribly important commodities for contending MLB clubs, and even though they have value, they’re never nearly as valuable as someone who produces and gets consistent ABs.

      Assuming both players stay put, Liriano should have more value because he’s more likely to get consistent ABs where you can count on him bring in the lineup every day IMO.

        • Chris

          Chris says:
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          @jt:

          Your prerogative. I’m not aware of Brett’s qualifications, and using a sample size of 15 games and 140 innings to proclaim someone an “elite” defender is somewhat questionable for my liking.

          Alcantara started out as a SS and was moved off the position because both Castro and Baez were better defenders there. I’ve yet to hear one scout that has proclaimed that either Castro or Baez are better defenders at SS than Russell (not one). Alcantara was moved off of 2B because Baez was moved over there.

          If Alcantara is an elite defender in CF, it stands to reason that Russell would be even better since he was better at the tougher position.

          • jt says:
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            Agreed..very small sample size, the article states as much. AA was moved off 2nd because he is versatile and to make room for Baez’s bat, not his glove. I’m a life long cub fan, I love all their prospects. I do think you are right, Mendy currently is the most likely to be moved. Almora has struggled a bit since his promotion to AA though.(I personally would be in favor of moving him over Mendy)They are going to have a log jam of talented position players in the very near future, clearly they have to do something and acquire some pitching.

            • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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              @jt: if he gets traded he plays elsewhere though, so what’s problem with that.

  8. Verlander had reached the waiver wire in my League. I don’t think he can turn it around this year and I’m trying to talk myself into not putting in a claim. Who agrees? I keep thinking of how solid he was in September last year. Damn it Jim

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @Dnut eastwood:

      I’m with you. He was dropped 6-8 weeks ago in one of my redraft leagues, so of course I scooped him up and planned to let him just ride his “bad stretch” out on my bench. Dropped him about two weeks ago – he’s not worth wasting a spot I could rotate through to get production from at this point IMO.

  9. malamoney says:
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    Any chance Lindor comes up?

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @malamoney:

      I don’t see him coming up before September 1st. Cleveland is in no hurry to start his clock, and he’s probably not that ONE piece they need that’ll get them into the postseason at this point – no reason for them to rush it.

  10. Swfcdan says:
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    Is it time to give up on Carlos Martinez in a 10 team keeper? Players like J Alfaro, Nick Williams, A Almora and arms like Jorge Severino and Jose Berrios all available to be added to my farm.

    I just cant see C-mart being fantasy relevant in shallower leagues any time soon.

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @Swfcdan:

      I could see dropping him for Alfaro, Almora, or Berrios personally.

  11. MarkedMan says:
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    In a keeper league with no restrictions who would you want right now? I have Bryant and Buxton and an open spot. Not really sure on Buxton now either. What 2 guys do you think are must owns? Thanks!

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @MarkedMan:

      Bryant and Buxton for me. Drop either of those guys and you’ll wind up kicking yourself.

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @MarkedMan:

      Correia would be next, and Seager and Peraza are closing in on “elite” prospect status in a hurry.

      • MarkedMan says:
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        @Chris: Bryant is staying put for sure, but ive considered Seager or Correia before. I try to keep one guy that likely wont be up this year (Bryant) and one that may be up this year and can rotate him. Buxton has been dropped by 3 teams already this year and just got injured. I just dont think we see him until 2016.

        • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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          @MarkedMan: dumb people are dropping best prospect. sounds like same guys that quit leagues that they can’t win. no patience.

  12. Todd25 says:
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    Hey Chris,

    Looking forward a bit, what do you think Texas will do next year with Odor, Profar, and Andrus? do they move one of them (namely andrus)? or do one of them shift to another position outside of 2B/SS?

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @Todd25:

      I don’t think they’ll be able to make any kind of decisions until they see how Profar’s shoulder reacts to the throwing program he was just cleared to start. Assuming he’s OK, I’d have to strongly consider having a nice long chat with Brian Cashman about Andrus.

      I think Rangers fans may be a bit disappointed in the return they eventually might get for Andrus (as in, not “elite” prospects), but if Cash is willing to take that contract on and make him Jeter’s successor (a perfect fit IMO – he could slide right into the #2 hole, and a Gardner/Andrus/Ellsbury trio at the front of that lineup would be some kind of fun to watch) – in exchange for say Gary Sanchez or J. R. Murphy and Aaron Judge I’d make that deal to clear salary to spend elsewhere.

      • Big D says:
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        @Chris:

        Assuming Odor gets regular AB’s somewhere next season, what kind of stat line would you estimate for him?

        • Chris

          Chris says:
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          @Big D:

          Unfortunately I’m not the “numbers guy” here at Razzball – those questions are a little over my head. You’d be much better off asking Grey or our “numbers guys” for more reliable projections, sorry.

  13. Swfcdan says:
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    Pompey just became available. He the add over Almora/Alfaro despite his injury?

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @Swfcdan:

      I personally like him a little better than Almora, but I wouldn’t give up Alfora to get him.

  14. Hey Chris – Did you hear? Kris Bryant is still at third base.

  15. Josh says:
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    Roto Al-only keeper league. Considering grabbing Trevor May for JA Happ. Will I get anything out of May this season? The long -term is obvious, but I am still in a battle for money this year so whip, era, k’s and wins are critical. Not sure if the move will cost me in the short-term. Thanks.

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