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Happy Sunday again gang – hope there weren’t too many of you that overdid it with your personal firework shows to celebrate the 4th – baseball (as always) seems to help us in that regard every year around this time, and the big Billy Beane shocker provided everyone a great finale for a lot of contenders. Of course this also helps bring more clarity for those looking to make a run at the MLB-level (obviously defining the market for ANY contender looking to shore up their rotation) just as it will ultimately lead to even more prospect machinations and opportunities as we move forward.

Given the rising level of prospect interest this time of year (both in potential trade/promotion opportunities, but in general as well), and in addition to our hopes of expanding our prospect coverage and helpful information and discussion for you guys in our Razzball community, Sundays will feature, what I’ll refer to as my Sunday Twelve-Pack, as opposed to a Sunday Six-Pack. As always, pace yourselves – Monday morning still looms, and never drink and drive!!!

1.) Addison RussellThe key piece in the Samardzija/Hammel blockbuster further clouds the Cubs’ crowded position player prospect picture, but Theo and Jed are seriously loading up with impressive talent that may not ultimately play their current position when they get to The Show. Does this signal a potential willingness to rent Samardzija out and move Starlin Castro (and/or others) in an effort to land a David Price to pair with him (assuming they can extend Price) following next season as some have speculated? Who knows? The one thing the Russell addition certainly does do is give the Cubs’ brass yet another impressive young offensive asset to play fantasy baseball with. Russell almost made the A’s roster coming out of camp this past spring and is considered “ready” by most reports, having been considered as Jed Lowrie’s replacement in their 2015 everyday lineup by many projections.

2.) Dan Straily – Yes, Straily had lost his spot in the A’s rotation earlier in the season (to the still impressive Jesse Chavez). Yes, he had been struggling at Sacramento (4.71 ERA with 9 bombs allowed in 10 starts covering 63 IP). But you always have to look a little closer at the Sacramento splits – PCL numbers for Pitchers never seem to tell the whole story. He’s only given up 44 hits that didn’t leave the yard during that span, and the strikeouts are still there (67 of them against 26 BBs). Straily led the minors with 190 Ks in 152.1 IP in 2012, and the Chicago pitching team seems to have been pretty successful “fixing” another seemingly stalled guy by the name of Jake Arrieta – plugging him into their rotation and having them room together on the road the rest of this season would seem to be a pretty good idea IMO.

3.) Kris Bryant - The strikeouts are the lone (somewhat) legitimate reason the Cubs braintrust can make for this guy not being in the middle of the Cubs’ current MLB lineup every day. His numbers have gotten better since his promotion to AAA – now .365/.429/.794/1.222 with 7 more bombs in Iowa. The Ks aren’t hurting his OBP whether Theo and Jed try to sell Cubs fans that line or not. Time to put him out in RF (where he’ll have more time to think about lowering his K Rate between ABs instead of worrying about smashes coming at him at 3B) and cut bait on someone in that OF group in Wrigley. He’s “ready”, and giving him a taste of MLB-level pitching during the second half can’t do anything but help him be more comfortable by the time the team is in position to be competitive.

4.) Christian Colon – Great first taste of the majors this week (3-4 with 2 2Bs and 3 runs yesterday) for the kid Dayton Moore (and Royals fans everywhere, of course) hope finally solves the team’s 2B issues. Omar Infante continues to be a useful player, but he’s always been better suited as a “super sub” (and has trouble staying healthy when having to play every day). Colon was doing just fine before being called up from Omaha (.296/.360/3.84/.744 with 14 2Bs and 14 SBs), and he may be here to stay.

5.) Daniel Robertson - The most obvious beneficiary of the Russell trade in the Oakland system, Robertson’s performance in Stockton (Hi-A slash line of .302/.406/.480/.886 to go along with 19 2Bs and 12 HRs) puts him in line for the A’s to be a little more aggressive with his development. He could see time in AA during the second half with an Beane & Company keeping a close eye on him as a potential Lowrie replacement next spring if he continues to impress.

6.) Josh Bell - With Gregory Polanco now patrolling RF in PNC Park, look for the Pirates to consider challenging the former surprise 2nd Round signee. Bell’s battled injuries early in his career, but he’s currently slashing .330/.375/.500/.875 with 20 2Bs, 3 3Bs, and 9 HRs in Bradenton, and he’d make for an awfully attractive trade piece should the Pittsburgh brass decide to try to upgrade their rotation for a stretch run.

7.) Marcus Stroman - We’ve discussed him in earlier as someone to keep your eye on. If he’s still available in your league and you don’t have him, it’s time to go get him. 7 shutout innings in a no-decision Friday against a tough Oakland offense (combined with both Samardzija and Hammel as potential trade additions) likely cements Stroman’s spot in the rotation moving forward. His ERA’s down to 3.44 (with even better periphals including a 7.8 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9), and he’s over the initial butterflies.

8.) A.J. Cole - Unless the Nationals decided to make a play for David Price (for some unknown reason), they’re not likely to be in the market for pitching help during the second half. Cole has been bumped up to Syracuse (AAA), and had a 2.92 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and 4/1 K/BB Ratio prior to his promotion. He’s not a front of the rotation guy (over 10 hits per 9 IP), but he’d likely hold his own if Washington needs him to step into the rotation for a couple starts down the stretch.

9.) Jake Lamb – Lamb’s slashing .316/.392/.561/.953 with 28 2Bs, 5 3Bs, and 12 HRs at Mobile (AA). If (and more likely when) the order to sell comes from Tony LaRussa and either/or Aaron Hill or Martin Prado are dealt, look for the Diamondbacks to be more aggressive with the former 2012 6th Round pick from the University of Washington.

10.) Jose Peraza – The Braves won’t be overly aggressive (and don’t need to) with Peraza, but if he keeps this up you can expect a promotion to Gwinnett (AAA) during the second half to set up a potential spring training showdown for the 2015 2B job between Jose and Tommy La Stella. Peraza hasn’t flinched since his promotion to Mississippi (AA), slashing .333/.371/.455/.826 in 15 games with 3 2Bs, 1 3B, 1 HR, and 6 SBs.

11.) Dallas Beeler – Beeler becomes another candidate to see action in the Cubs rotation during the second half following the Samardzija/Hammel subtraction. He held his own in an earlier spot start against the Nationals, and his impressive 1.58 GO/AO Ratio can’t hurt if he can maintain it in Wrigley.

12.) Jimmy Nelson – Nelson still struggles with his control (his 4.8 BB/9 IP is worrisome when projecting it against more refined eyes and plate approaches at the next level), but he’s 10-2 with a 1.56 ERA and 110 Ks in 104 IP with a 1.95 GO/AO Ratio in the hitter-friendly PCL. With Hammel off the market, look for Nelson to step in if the Brewers need rotation help down the stretch.

 

Two Aspirin for the Monday Morning Hangover

A solid Friday performance from Brian Roberts might’ve bought him a little more time, but his Yankees’ tenure is perilously close to coming to an end and is on life-support. Rob Refsnyder is banging on the door and is slashing .286/.432/.571/1.003 with 3 bombs in his last 10 games.

With Theo and Jed finally pulling the plug on the Cubs’ 2014 campaign, look for Arismendy Alcantara any day now. Without Samardzija and Hammel on the bump, there’s little need to continue giving ABs to Darwin Barney and Nate Schierholtz – neither is likely to bring the club any notable decent pitching prospect in return at this point.

From Around The Web

  1. donnie james says:
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    drop my baez for bundy to fill my NA spot? (seasonal league)

  2. Chris

    Chris says:
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    “Seasonal league” as in you can only keep either of them for the remainder of the year???

    Assuming that’s not the case, it’s Bundy for me. Baez is going to be special in time (and once the Cubs decide where he’s ultimately going to play defensively), but it’s tough to find potential available “Aces”. It looks like the Orioles are going to try to stick to their plan to limit Dylan’s pitch counts the rest of the way in 2014, but he’ll be awfully tough to pry away from someone if his rehab continues without setbacks.

  3. Baezaworldseries says:
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    Will May or Meyer make an impact in Minnesota soon? Is it time to snap up one or both? Are either an SP 3 or better? Thanks.

    • Baezaworldseries says:
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      Does Pino project better than May?
      If Alcantera gets the call. Is he a Segura type? I got questions!!

      • Chris

        Chris says:
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        @Baezaworldseries:

        Pink and May are pretty comparable for me. Alcantara’s value will likely wind up being tied to his position – he’s obviously not as impressive when you’re comparing him to other OF prospects as he is when you look at him as a 2B option.

        • Chris

          Chris says:
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          @Chris:

          Pino, sorry – gotta love autocorrect!!!

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @Baezaworldseries:

      I’m not as high on May, but Meyer should be no worse than a #3. If things fall right he projects as even better, but I’m usually pretty stingy when it comes to handing out TOR (#1 or #2) projections – I’ve just seen pundits hype entirely too many guys as potential “Aces” over the years to buy in before I see long stretches of dominance. You have to be about as close as it gets to a slam dunk before I’ll hang that kind of label on a young Pitcher.

  4. Jonesy says:
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    Hey Chris, we do a prospect draft in about 10 days. Any suggestions on where I can find good updated prospect rankings? The main stuff I’m finding is from pre-season rankings that haven’t been refreshed yet. We draft 3 players with no MLB experience, and we can keep 3 for this year + two more. I’ve already got Taillon and Zimmer, so I’m hoping to stock up on stud bats – but many of the biggest names are not available.

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @Jonesy:

      Sorry for the delayed response Jonesy – was having a little technical difficulty with notifications earlier. You can find my answer in the Kyle Wren comment section where you asked initially. Hoping we’ve got everything ironed out now!!!

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @Jonesy:

      My Midseason Top 50 Prospect List will be rolling out next Sunday morning – hopefully it will contain several guys that turn out to be helpful for you!!!

      • Jonesy says:
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        @Chris: Thanks Chris, I’ll check it out – that’s right in time for my draft. By the way, earlier in the season I read an article about Jeong Choi, “the David Wright of Korea.” Do you know much about him, and how would you consider him in comparison to the top prospects, considering he’s no guarantee to come over to MLB, or make an impact?

        • @Jonesy:

          I’m “familiar” with Choi – which is to say I probably read that same article – but am generally somewhat “cool” when it comes to hitters from over there. There are the obvious success stories, but I feel that it’s tougher to project those guys as successful MLB offensive contributors – the top-flight pitching over there is comparable (in some instances) but they see it far less often without 5-man rotations, and the drop off from “elite” SPs to the next tier is much more pronounced than what prospects tend to see in the upper levels of MiLB.

          • Jonesy says:
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            @Chris: Thanks Chris! Last question and I’ll leave you alone (for now!). Do you foresee any potential game-breaking japanese imports coming over next year? Tanaka didn’t seem to be on many radars at this time last year, and I’d love to be the guy in my league to find someone anywhere close to that caliber.

            • @Jonesy:

              Unfortunately I don’t have any useful names to toss out there just yet. While I agree that Tanaka wasn’t exactly front-and-center at this time last season, there had at least been some whispers regarding his talent. That said, while I’m sure you’ll find someone that says they projected this kind of success from him, I’d like to see where they mentioned it publicly. The most astute prospect followers I know had him pegged as a “good #3″ on a contender to a #2 if things shook out well and he was able to adjust quickly.

              I definitely haven’t heard Tanaka-level whispers about anyone like that at this point (but we’ll definitely all be listening!!!).

  5. james says:
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    what do you see long term for Alcantara. I added him in a dynasty thinking i can flip him if he gets off to a hot start when he gets called up, but is he a legit 2b for fantasy long term.

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @james:

      Alcantara’s position is yet to be determined. Theo and Jed are the fantasy baseball equivalent of Mike Shanahan with 8 RBs at this point – NOBODY knows where these guys are going to eventually play. Arismendy obviously isn’t as valuable if he’s not a 2B. Given the addition of Russell to the mix, it doesn’t look like Alcantara will be an infielder for long if he stays in Chicago – Some combination of Castro, Russell, and Baez are likely going to remain in the infield.

  6. DoubleHeaders says:
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    hey Chris, thanks for the good insights here….in a 10 team h2h keeper, would you deal Strasburg for Rendon and Archie Bradley? Could keep either side of the deal infinitely. Thanks for the help.

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @DoubleHeaders:

      It all comes down to what you think of Strasburg IMO. If you think Strasburg eventually becomes anything approaching what most of his current owner (and the Nats’ brass) wants you to think, you’ don’t make the deal. Not me. Rendon displacing Ryan Zimmerman shouldn’t be taken lightly – this guy’s going to be a big-time hitter for years to come. Whether Bradley ever overcomes his command issues or not, I’ll take that kind of bat and a #3 SP for Strasburg every day.

  7. mick says:
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    In a keep forever dynasty league with only 3 spots for NA players I have to drop a pitcher. Who do I drop between Cingrani, Heaney and Bradley?

  8. Cingrani. We’ve gotten a pretty good taste of what he can be at the big league level at this point (both good and bad). You’re likely to have a much better chance at getting him back (assuming you want him) than the other two – it’d be tough for me to imagine someone picking him up as a keeper since Bradley-believers can still hope that his fastball command eventually develops before he gets thrown into the fire.

    • mick says:
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      Whoever I drop I will not get back. 20 teams and 25 man rosters. Thanks for the info.

  9. Al koholic says:
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    russell or baez for an n/a slot in a keeper league,thanks,great stuff

    • @Al koholic:

      Great question – and I’m not sure there is an answer yet. Hopefully things become more clear as both players get closer to being called up. The best answer would depend on how your league rates each separate category. For me, it’s…

      Power – Baez
      AVG/OBP – Russell
      SB/CS – Draw (depending on where each slots in the lineup)

      Complete supposition on my part, but if you assume the Cubs’ future lineup resembles something like…

      CF- Almora
      2B- Russell
      SS- Castro
      1B- Rizzo
      RF- Bryant
      3B- Baez
      C- Schwarber
      LF- Almora

      I’d give the slight edge to Russell since there’s the possibility that the SBs he could provide might provide the tiebreaker.

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @Al koholic:

      That should’ve said Alcantara at the top – sorry!!!

      • Al koholic says:
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        @Chris: thanks,loved the post and great answer

  10. George says:
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    Oh Good – Another Pretend Scout Saying that Kris Bryant is an outfielder in the making.

    Kris Bryant is a Third Baseman. He will go to Chicago as a Third Baseman.

    • @George:

      Thanks for the insight Theo – we’ll make sure it gets passed on!!!

      • George says:
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        @Chris: Chris – you won’t have to pass anything on to Theo since I know him quite well.

        Kris Bryant is a Third Baseman and if you were tracking what he has been doing this year, you certainly would not be saying that he is moving to right field.

    • Tyler says:
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      @George: Agreed. Bryant’s defense has actually been pretty darn good at 3B according to scouts now. While he still makes a decent amount of errors, many scouts are now praising his defense at third as “gold glove caliber.”

      I don’t blame Chris for saying that Bryant should be moving to OF because that’s the narrative we all heard during the offseason, but it’s pretty clear now that Bryant is the 3B of the future, not the RF of the future.

      • George says:
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        @Tyler: Yea – I won’t go to saying that he is a Gold Glove third baseman but since coming to Iowa, he has been playing pretty well over there.

        If, and that is a big if, he moves positions, he would move to left field because he is used to that side of the field. He certainly would not go to right field.

        • George says:
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          @George:

          Here is what Jason McLeod said yesterday:

          Cubs executive Jason McLeod sees flashes of Troy Glaus in top prospect Kris Bryant, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. “Definitely 40-home run power,” says McLeod. “There’ll be some strikeouts, but he has a great eye at the plate. He’ll take his share of walks and work the count.” Bryant, last year’s second overall draft pick, continues to dominate after having been promoted to Triple-A Iowa, hitting .364/.432/.773 in 74 plate appearances there. Here’s more from Cafardo.

          One reason Addison Russell made sense for the Cubs in the Jeff Samardzija deal, Cafardo suggests, is that Russell is unlikely to stick at shortstop, meaning that he won’t be blocked by Starlin Castro and/or Javier Baez.

          • @George:

            You might want to read that a little more closely George – McLeod talks entirely about comparing Bryant’s bat to Troy Glaus. “Definitely 40 home-run power.”…”There’ll be some strikeouts, but he has a great eye at the plate.”…”He’ll take his share of walks and work the count.” He doesn’t mention one word about his defense (Glaus had to move off of 3B because of his defense BTW).

            If you’d take the time to read my above comments, I also said I feel Russell will be moved off of SS (I projected him as the 2B if they keep everybody) – both Castro and Baez are superior to him there defensively.

            Great to hear you’re a personal friend of Theo – hope you’ll recommend that he reads all the other Razzball writers since you’ve got a problem with me – these guys do great work!!!

  11. Chris says:
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    Thanks Chris

    Plzz help me sit 3 I will most likely be facing 12 starts and street as a closer
    Archer vs Tor
    Cobb vs KC
    Kuechel @ Tex
    Lincecum vs Ari
    Porcello@ kc
    Ventura @ TB
    Walker vs Oak
    Worley@cin and @ stl
    Morton@cin and @stl
    Tomlin vs NYY
    Mcgee
    Putnam

  12. For me, the sits are Keuchel, Worley, and Morton. Good luck!!!

  13. SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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    hey Chris – which 3 pitchers would you take ROS and long term in a keeper?
    Guasman, Walker, Wheeler, Heaney, Bradley, C-Mart, Bundy

    • @SheriffMcRawDawg:

      Bundy, Walker, Heaney, (could see Gausman as the third if you’re a big Orioles fan – I think they’re pretty comparable).

  14. Swfcdan says:
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    Hi Chris thanks for getting back to me last week, you’re doing a good job taking Scott’s place! Heard your not that high on Franco anymore but I don’t think ive got much choice but to take a shot on him, im falling further outta the race with recent trades and realistically don’t have a chance.

    Only other players offered are Lindor, Soler, Cecchini (Garin) and Glasnow/Urias. Which would you rather take out of those guys? I felt Soler was the best for fantasy purposes, but he’s had injury issues all year. Is Lindor’s upside high enough for a 10 team OBP league? Have a bigger need for bats on my farm but if the arms upsides are so high then I might take one instead. Please rank these guys anyway.

    • Swfcdan says:
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      @Swfcdan: Also if you can just let me know how high you are on Bogartes long term. High im sure, but high enough to trade a cheap Chris Davis away for him? Davis has been god awful lately and im getting worried, so Im considering doing it. Davis is signed for 2 more years after this at $14, Bogartes can be signed for $6, $14,$14,$14 for 4 more years after this. Thinking maybe this is a good time to offload Davis if he’s actually going to be a burden in future, plus id be getting a future stud, good idea?

      • @Swfcdan:

        Would definitely make sense long-term, but I always make sure everyone’s aware I’ve made someone “available” before unloading a player.

    • @Swfcdan:

      I’m higher on Lindor, Cecchini, and Soler than I am Franco if any of them is an option.

  15. It is morning at Razzball with black coffee. I find it very interesting roto mix daily! Would you pick up a dropped Dozier? Considering no trades in my league, would you drop Carpenter for Dozier?
    Would you instead drop Longoria, A Gonzales, or Arenado to pick Dozier up.
    Which pitcher would you drop if I went that route? Sanchez ,A Wood, Arrieta , Samardzja Latos, Ryu, Fister, G Gonzales . I have Rosenthal and Rodriguez also.
    Last question. Would you keep Mookie Betts at short or drop for Rollins or Simmons?
    Thanks!

    • @Brion Pagel:

      I noticed Dozier was available in one of my leagues this morning as well Brion – struggling with that answer myself.

      I can’t see dropping any of Longoria/Arenado/Wood/Arrieta/Samardzija/Latos/Ryu/Fister/Gio for him personally. Given your pitching depth, I’d probably scoop him up and drop Gonzales – if Wacha’s MRI comes back clean today, he won’t finish the season in the rotation.

      I’m probably as big a Betts-believer as you’ll find (he’s going to hit), but if you’re in contention in your league Rollins or Simmons will probably give you more consistent production until Mookie gets enough consistent ABs to get comfortable.

      Good luck!!!

  16. Alex says:
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    Thanks for the writeup Chris. I just added Coulter in dynasty but now need to drop one of Cowart or Stassi

    Also have tom murphy and francisco mejia at C, and Jake Lamb, Rio Ruiz and Brandon Drury at 3B.

    Safe to drop cowart? or hang on to him and let go stassi?

    Appreciate the help

    • @Alex:

      I think it’s finally safe to drop Max Stassi at this point (I held onto him for a long time as well thinking his bat would come around). Make sure not to let someone catch you sleeping on Drury – he’s probably the one piece of the Prado/Upton deal the Braves wouldn’t mind having back.

      • Alex says:
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        @Chris: Thank you

  17. Matt says:
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    Is Gabe Guerrero and Teoscar Hernandez too much to give to upgrade from Ryan Howard to David Ortiz in keep forevery dynasty league. 5×5 roto.

    Gracias

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @Matt:

      Seems awfully steep for my liking – would a hot second half from Ortiz win the league for you for sure?

  18. John says:
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    Is there any scenario at all where you would keep kris bryant in a 7×7 obp, slg 11-team roto league where 55 guys are kept?

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @John:

      I don’t see how – at least until he’s hitting in Wrigley. I’m in a similar league (12 teams, 5 keepers each), and am sitting on…

      Trout, Puig, Harper, Polanco, Mesoraco, Gattis, Moss, Kinsler, Donaldson (with 3 no-brainer keeper SPs – King Felix, Jose Fernandez, Cueto)

      so you’re talking about dropping someone along the lines of Harper/Cueto just to pick him up as a keeper. I can’t imagine doing that personally.

      • John says:
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        @Chris: Yea my team isnt that stacked, would be over ortiz, lester, homer or kyle seager

        Thanks

        • John says:
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          @John: Oh and Jose Fernandez

  19. Bob says:
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    Chris,
    I didn’t see Soler in your proposed cubby lineup. Does he still fit, if so where?

    Also…please put the team and position next to the name of the player in your one paragraph blurbs. Not all of us know their MLB team.

    Thanks,
    Bob

    • @Bob:

      That’s why I found the Russell addition as such a curious one Bob – assuming everyone was kept even without Russell, they would’ve only had to move one infielder to the OF. Alcantara could’ve moved to CF with Almora and Soler on the corners, slide Baez over to 2B, and keep Bryant at 3B.

      That said, the Russell addition does give Theo and Jed options – any of these guys could still be moved in a deal for a young arm or two. There was a report that the Mets would have a little trouble fitting Castro’s contract into their budget, but I think that’s a bit of a smokescreen (they’re in New York for crying out loud) – one of Castro, Baez, or Russell for Zack Wheeler sure would make a lot of sense to me.

  20. Joe says:
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    Chris would you trade Casey mcgahee and sonny gray for David price?

    • @Joe:

      Need a little more information Joe. Are you in a keeper league? How many keepers can you have? Are you making the deal because you’re close to the top of the standings this season?

      Lots of variables in that one – tough call.

  21. Thanks for you reply. Sorry meant would you drop Adrian Gonzalez for Dozier.

    • @Brion Pagel:

      If you already have a better option at 1B? Sure.

  22. Chris says:
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    I am in a 10 team dynasty league with 40 man rosters (30 keepers). I want to pick up some high-ceiling players like (like Luis Severino) but I can’t decide who to drop. I have way too many catchers, so I would like to drop one of them. Which of these guys would you feel most comfortable dropping: D’Arnaud, Zunino, G. Sanchez, Swihart? I also have Lucroy so I do not necessarily need to worry about developing a young catcher.

    • Chris

      Chris says:
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      @Chris: Definitely Sanchez IMO.

      • Chris says:
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        @Chris: Thanks for the response! Should I drop Sanchez or Lewis Brinson? Brinson is obviously a huge risk but he also has some crazy tools and a (potentially) high ceiling.

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