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By the numbers, Manny Machado struggled through his first two months of Double-A baseball.  It seemed like most nights I looked at Bowie’s box, Machado’s line was 0-fer.  But then I’d read something from the O’s about how his current production was of no concern, that he was tweaking his approach, that scouts are still encouraged.  Still, it’s hard not to be a little worried when the guy I ranked No. 2 on this list is slugging just .375 at the end of May.  Well, it appears now that whatever tweaks Machado had been working on are beginning to take hold.  Since the calendar rolled over into June, Machado has been a different guy at the plate, peaking especially during his last ten:  .444/.500/.806, 3 HR, 16 RBI.  He’ll be a fun guy to keep an eye on the rest of the way.

Starling Marte | OF, Pirates — Marte is another guy who’s picked up his pace considerably following a slow start.  Last ten:  .419/.468/.791, 3 HR, 13 RBI.  He leads the minors in triples with ten, and he’s certainly a candidate to join Pittsburgh’s outfield for the 2nd half.

Shelby Miller | RHP, Cardinals – I noted last week that Miller was going to be skipped in the Memphis rotation in order to work on mechanics.  He returned to game action on Wednesday and was much improved, allowing one run on one hit, while striking out eight over five frames.

Dellin Betances | RHP, Yankees – Struggling severely at Triple-A, the Yankees demoted Betances to Double-A.  He responded well to the move, tossing six clean innings on Saturday while whiffing five.

Jake Marisnick | OF, Blue Jays — Marisnick seems to have found his power stroke recently, as his last eight hits have all been for extra bases, including 3 HR.  On the season he’s hit .258/.337/.444 in the High-A Florida State League.

Travis D’Arnaud | C, Blue Jays — D’Arnaud hits the shelf for a couple months after tearing his PCL on Monday.  He was among the hottest hitters in the minors post-April, on track for a 2nd half promotion to Toronto, so this is disappointing news.

Tim Beckham | SS, Rays — 50 games go by fast, don’t they?  Beckham, 2008’s No. 1 overall pick, is back from his suspension for recreational drug use.  He homered on Tuesday, his first of the year.

Andre Rienzo | RHP, White Sox – Rienzo got busted for drugs too, but his drugs were of the performance-enhancing variety.  He jumped up to Double-A upon his return, and through his first three outings he’s posted a 0.49 ERA along with 14 K’s.  

Hak-Ju Lee | SS, Rays – Lee leads the Southern League with 27 stolen bases, and he’s heating up at the plate too, batting .391/.429/.543 through his last 49 PA.  The Rays always practice patience with their prospects so it’s tough to say with certainty, but given their struggles at shortstop this year, there’s a good chance we’ll see Lee up in 2013.

Matt Adams | 1B, Cardinals – Adams has blasted four homers and knocked in nine runs in seven games since returning to Memphis.  After a tough go for a month in the bigs, it’s nice to see him get back on track in Triple-A.  He could find his way back to St. Louis this year should their injury woes persist.

Bubba Starling | OF, Royals – Starling, the No. 5 overall pick in 2011, has finally debuted as a pro.  The 19-year-old is oozing with plus tools and he’ll get started at the rookie-level with the Burlington Royals for the Appalachian League.

From Around The Web

  1. TheNewGuy says:
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    Hi Scott got a trade involving prospects for you to dig you teeth into!

    I get J Altuve and N Castellanos (prospect) for A Dunn and T May.

    Ok deal? I’m wondeing particularly about Castellanos and your thoughts on him long term, his numbers suggest he’s a pure hitter type (like Arenado) who’s not shown much power yet, could it still come? Still high celing? I tried for Yelich or Parker instead but he’s not budging, is May to Castellanos a nice improvement. ETA on Casty?

    • TheNewGuy says:
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      @TheNewGuy, Just noticed he’s got a bizarre higher AVG than OBP right now, is his patience a concern? It is an on base keeper league, though I see he took a fair amount of walks at his previous stop so maybe it’s just a short term thing.

      Dude’s been raking though at his previous level and is hot now, even showing some power.

      • Scott Evans

        Scott Evans says:
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        @TheNewGuy, Castellanos will always feature good AVG, figures to develop solid power, ETA 2014. But dunno that I like the deal… you out of contention already? Why selling Dunn?

        • TheNewGuy says:
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          @Scott Evans, No im currently leading lol. Selling Dunn basically because im loaded with CI power bats (Craig, E5, Butler etc), and am dying at 2B (Ackley/ R Weeks… yuck). Plus im way ahead in the power cats and need more speed in my lineup…so though Altuve fits the bill pretty well. Also like Altuve’s keeper price ($3) compared to Dunn’s ($6).

          Feel Dunn’s season could be on the verge of falling flat on its face too. He’s been abysmal recently and his strikeout rate is worse than ever before, i really dont think he is back.

          But anyway wanted to focus more on the prospects side here (Greys already given the deal the green light lol). No worries Castellanos will be a free-swinger type with lowish on-base then? He’s much the better prospect than May right?

          • Scott Evans

            Scott Evans says:
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            @TheNewGuy, I like Castellanos quite a bit & I think he’ll learn to get on base more as he matures. Certainly an upgrade over May. I see where you’re coming from now with the deal, but I’m kind of an Adam Dunn apologist. I know his lines can look sloppy value he brings in power cats & OBP is significant. That said, sounds like you have the depth to compensate. Go for it.

            • TheNewGuy says:
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              @Scott Evans, Thanks man I took it, pleased that im improving my farm too as it’s very much depleted of talent. You reckon when he comes up he plays 3B, Miggy shifts to 1B and Prince to DH?

              Crazy thing is I’ve been lacking at 2B in both my leagues all year long and yet on one day I address both of them. Also just done this deal in my other league (16 team H2H non-keeper):

              Get Cano and Latos for Trout/Bauer/Clippard

              I know this is the probably the wrong place to be talking about trading away young studs lol, I loved Trout but I needed pop and had speed to deal. Solid deal? Even cooler thing is every one of these guys I just traded I claimed on FA!

              • Scott Evans

                Scott Evans says:
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                @TheNewGuy, I like that deal for a no-keep league, yes. Probably not for a keeper, however. Always nice to get value for FA scoops, isn’t it?

                And yea, I think Miggy to first & Price to DH when Castellanos is up in a couple years.

  2. Crumpy says:
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    Who do you got ROS between two recent C call-ups, Grandal and Norris? I am in a two-catcher league and dying for some production from my second slot.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Crumpy, Grandal has the potential to do more with the bat. I nabbed Norris in a 2C format, but missed out on Grandal the other night… would’ve swapped ‘em if I’d been there in time.

  3. bobbo says:
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    Anyone starting Liriano today vs KC? KC has been swinging a hot bat lately…

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @bobbo, Green light on Liriano — best start last month came vs. KC

      • bobbo says:
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        @Scott Evans, Probably overthinking it because I have Gordon and Butler in my lineup. Thanks for the advice!

      • bobbo says:
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        @Scott Evans, Play Altuve over Alex Gordon at UTIL if I’m starting Liriano? Or too much overthinking…

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          @bobbo, I don’t think you’re overthinking it, but I never fret too much about starting guys on offense that my pitchers are going against. It’s a way to hedge against a bad start, in a sense… and we all know that Liriano isn’t immune to the bad start.

          • bobbo says:
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            @Scott Evans, Damnit, I thought we were safe through 5 innings… why send him back out there with 92 pitches on the arm. It’s not like he was looking good.

  4. fitz says:
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    Scott, what side of this deal do you like better?

    Hanley/Youk for Longoria/Plouffe.

    I’d be getting the Hanley side and the guy is a big time Rays fan.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @fitz, I like the Hanley/Yoouuuuk side. Do it.

  5. Howard says:
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    @Scott I have a couple of guys stashed in deep keepers, Anthony Gose from Toronto and Billy Hamilton from Cincy (has he hit 100 SB yet?). Any ETA on these guys for this year or beyond?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Howard, Gose has a chance to see some time later this season, and if not, he’s on track to arrive early on in 2013. Hamilton’s at 96 bags, ready for a bump up to AA. He could see the bigs midway through 2013 if things go well at the next level.

  6. Poo Holes says:
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    Yo Scott,

    So one of my leagues features a 2 round prospect draft where you pick players with zero major league experience. I’ve picked up guys like Middlebrooks, Taillon, Mesoraco, and others though this draft. This summer I had the 10th and 18th picks. I lucked out and everyone forgot about Jorge Soler, who finally signed. For my other pick, I went with Zach Lee of the Dodgers. Any insight on him?

    P.S. you’re the man.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Poo Holes, First, how can I be the man when you’re the man? About Lee, he recently earned a promotion to AA. Before the bump, he posted okay-ish numbers at Hi-A in the hitter-friendly Cali league. Dodgers are moving him along aggressively, though. His first start in AA went well, but still looking like a 2014 arrival. Deep repertoire & great athleticism should make him a solid #2-type starter at his peak.

      • Poo Holes says:
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        @Scott Evans, I like the sound of that. My minor league roster holds 8 so I have Taillon. Jonathan Singleton, Billy Hamilton. Starling Marte, Chris Archer, Johnny Giavotella, and now Soler and Lee. Definitely pumped for the future.

  7. Hulk Hogan says:
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    Hey Brother!

    While I am tanning I like to take vitamins and play fantasy baseball.

    Me, Virgil, Brutus Beefcake and King Kong Bundy (he replaced Randy Savage), along with the Demolitions and Hart Foundation, play in a league with holds and saves.

    How would you rank these holds dudes: Grilli, Romo, Downs and Pestano?

    Is Betancourt or C Janssen a fair trade for one of those guys?

    thanks

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Hulk Hogan, Sorry for the delay on this Hulk… hope you caught some PTR’s (prime-time rays) again today. Anyway. I rank ‘em as follows: Romo, Grilli, Pestano, Downs. And tough to gauge a deal like that without knowing where you stand in saves — if you’re well positioned, go after the holds & don’t feel bad about parting with higher-profile closer for a holds guy. It’s all about the points, baby.

  8. airweino says:
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    Worth dropping Arenado in a 12 team mixed keeper league to get Grandal? My catchers are Avila and Ellis right now. Was trying to use Arenado as trade bait, but nothing biting – Moustakas is my current 3B with MCab, Pujols, and Hosmer as my other CI.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @airweino, Really depends on depth. If you have an inactive roster or a fantasy farm, then I’d probably hang onto Arenado — he’s gonna be a good one. But if you’re stashing him on your active roster, I think you can feel comfortable swapping him for Grandal. Yasmani is a great prospect in his own right.

  9. 240p says:
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    Do you think Starling Marte will make an impact this year? His MLE isn’t particularly appealing (.215/.263/.352) and his strikeouts and caught stealing #s have me worried he will flame out fast…

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @240p, For the same reasons you point out, I doubt that he’ll be worth much in the fantasy game this year. He’ll struggle w/ K’s early on in his career, but speed/arm/defense should keep him in the bigs. Pirates practice patient approaches w/ young hitters, a la Pedro Alvarez.

  10. TheNewGuy says:
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    Hi Scott, will the curse of Petco Park affect Yasmani Grandal (epic name) like it affects Cameron Maybin, or does he have more power potential? I have recently swapped him and godDoumit who was doing little, hope this move works out cos I’ve been rough at catcher all year in this league.

    Thoughts on Hultzen’s last start? Definately better but still only something like 4 innings prob due to the walks, might he not be up till Aug/Sept if he can’t start going deep into games in AAA soon? Trying to decide if he’s still worth a stash in a 16 teamer, or if theres someone else (myers) worth grabbing.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @TheNewGuy, Grandal has pop, but not enough to overcome Petco — very few guys have power that plays there day-in-day-out. It hurts his value, sure, but his hit tool is solid & I still think he’ll put up better numbers than a guy like Doumit.

      Re Hultzen: 7 baserunners in 4 innings is somewhat of an improvement, but it still aint pretty. I’d monitor him closely during the next start… they won’t give him the call if his efficiency is this bad.

  11. TheNewGuy says:
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    Have Wieters and Salty (raking right now) in a 1C league so thinking of trading one (probably Salty as its OBP league). This is the league im top in by a clear margin (19 pts currently), so don’t actually need that much right now :)

    Therefore was thinking I could maybe use Salty to upgrade my farm further, even if it’s just to later send the prospect to sellers in my league down the road.

    Found one potential buyer (frustrated Jesus owner). He’s got a lot of names I like including: Arenado, B Hamilton, Taj Walker, in particular, and Middlebrooks, S Marte, M Adams, Yaz. Question is though who is fair value, and who would you recommend? I’d love to get one of those top 3 guys but have no idea if Salty’s enough.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @TheNewGuy, Maybe this other owner is a little down on Arenado — most thought he’d be a call-up candidate by now. Might be an opportunity to buy low on him. Walker’s had some struggles recently too, so you could always inquire about him. I’m sure Hamilton is untouchable in his eyes, however.

      With these dynasty league trades, I don’t think it’s insulting to the other owner to aim high if you’re offering an established big leaguer for one of his prospects. If he’s got a brain, I’m thinking he won’t bite on the top three. Certainly worth a try, though.

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Scott Evans, He’s told me he wants to keep all his prospects even though he’s currently 3rd and in a money position ($100)…pretty baffling. Especially now Jesus is hurt to go along with his stuggles.

        I’ve asked him to reconsider and told him I can’t do the offer he proposed which was Gordon- don’t need another OF, especially one with no speed and not even hitting for power.

        I can tell going by what he’s said that Arenado, Walker and probably Hamilton are going nowhere soon. But if he does come around to the idea of one of his lesser prospects, which if any would you accept? Options are Yaz Grandal, Starling Marte, Will Middlebrooks, Willin Rosario, Matt Adams. (10 team OBP league).

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          @TheNewGuy, Adams. Still big on him, especially on OBP league, even after poor MLB stint. Grandal is a pretty intriguing guy too, but we already talked about the Petco factor…

          • TheNewGuy says:
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            @Scott Evans, Thanks man. Not worried that his poor physique/ conditioning may hold him back then…starting job next year? Presume you’ve bumped down Marte/Middlebrooks because of their lack of walks, can’t that improve as they mature though?

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