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The Pittsburgh Pirates have the best record in baseball.  At least right now, as I’m typing this, they do.  The Bucs are an exciting big league club composed with a seemingly perfect balance of youthful talent and veteran savvy, and they have a legitimate chance at a pennant this year.  But if we’re looking ahead to 2014, 2015, and beyond, Pittsburgh has a chance to be frighteningly good.  Their system has already graduated top-shelf prospects like Starling Marte and Gerrit Cole, and there’s plenty more on the way.  Gregory Polanco — currently at Double-A — is one of the brightest outfield prospects in the game, ranked #10 on my Mid-Season Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects list.  One spot ahead of Polanco on that list is the 6-foot-6 RHP, Jameson Taillon.  Taillon’s projectable frame and elite stuff have him profiling as a top-of-the-rotation arm, and there are plenty folks around baseball who like his upside just as much as Gerrit Cole’s.  The 21-year-old has showed some inconsistency this season at Double-A Altoona (3.67 ERA, 1.34 WHIP), but the Pirates, holding to their development plan, have promoted him to Triple-A.  He looks to be exactly one year behind Cole, so it’s safe to assume we’ll be seeing Taillon with the big club next summer.

Corey Seager | SS, Dodgers – After drilling 4 homers in his last 6 games, the Dodgers promoted 2012 first rounder Corey Seager (brother of Kyle) to High-A Rancho Cucamonga.  The 19-year-old came in at #43 on my mid-season list, but he’s trending upward.

Danny Salazar | RHP, Indians – Salazar is pitching as if he’s eager to return to a rotation role in Cleveland.  His last two outings have been quite impressive:  10 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 19 K.  Yeesh.

Max Stassi | C, Astros – Max Stassi came to the Astros via Oakland in the Jed Lowrie swap back in February.  The 22-year-old catcher is hitting .283/.348/.562 on the year at Double-A Corpus Christi, but he’s been on a tear recently, knocking 5 homers in his last 10 games.

Andrew Heaney | LHP, Marlins – Heaney had been virtually unhittable for quite a while at High-A Jupiter, so it seems fitting that the Marlins promoted him to Double-A Jacksonville this week.  In his first upper levels start the 22-year-old tossed 6 shutout frames, allowing 3 hits and 1 walk while whiffing 3.  Expect to see Heaney in Miami next season.

Jonathan Gray | RHP, Rockies – The 3rd overall pick this past June, Jonathan Gray is now done messing around in rookie ball.  The Rockies skipped Gray over Low-A, promoting him straight to High-A Modesto.  The sizable leap didn’t seem to faze the University of Oklahoma product — in his first Cali League start, Gray allowed only 2 baserunners through 5 scoreless IP, whiffing 7 along the way.

Jorge Bonifacio | OF, Royals – Bonifacio is one of Minor League Baseball’s least-hyped impact prospects.  He possesses one of the best hit tools in the minors and his approach has always been upper levels-advanced.  The 20-year-old brother of Emilio was promoted to Double-A Northwest Arkansas earlier this week, but don’t get too excited just yet — the Royals like to take their time with prospects, and I doubt we see Bonifacio in KC before 2015.

Henry Owens | RHP, Red Sox – Owens’s streak of 19+ IP without allowing a hit came to an end earlier this week.  The amazing run was promptly rewarded with a promotion to Double-A Portland.  Owens is a prospect on the rise, and definitely a guy to keep an eye on for dynasty league purposes.

Austin Hedges | C, Padres – Hedges is without a doubt the most exciting catcher prospect in baseball, but he’s not exactly a high-impact fantasy guy.  Still, the Padres promoted Hedges to Double-A earlier in the week, putting him about a year away from surfacing in San Diego.  He’s likely not the type of prospect you’ll want to stash as his arrival nears, but many believe that Hedges will eventually become a solid offensive player, much in the same way that Yadier Molina slowly rose to fantasy relevance.

Marcus Stroman | RHP, Blue Jays – 13 more K’s for Stroman in his last start.  That makes 24 strikeouts in his last 13 IP at Double-A New Hampshire.  No big deal.

Rougned Odor | 2B, Rangers – After hitting .303/.368/.452 through 99 games at High-A Myrtle Beach, Odor has been promoted to Double-A Frisco.  He’s gone 4-for-8 with triple in his first two Double-A ballgames.  The 19-year-old was mentioned in several trade rumors over the past few weeks, and Rangers fans should be thrilled that he’s still with the organization.

Anthony Ranaudo | RHP, Red Sox – Ranaudo has been one of this year’s breakout prospects, posting a sub-3 ERA and a K/9 at 8.7 through 109 IP at Double-A Portland.  He’ll spend the remainder of the MiLB season at Triple-A Pawtucket, after the Red Sox promoted him earlier this week.

  1. Thorbs says:
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    Good stuff as always — been hearing Henry Owens’ name coming up more and more. What’s his ceiling?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Solid #3 starter w/ a glimmer of #2 potential.

  2. bossmanjunior says:
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    ugh I had to retype this twice because im drunk. It was much much longer before. Anyways, start Heyward against Lee (2-17 or something like that) or Franklin @ Chen. I just dropped Franklin this morning, so I feel confident he will spite me. Thanks!

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Ha! I’d go with Heyward.

  3. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    good stuff,when will salazar be back up

    • Kevin says:
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      @AL KOHOLIC:

      Tribe fan here– Tito Francona been ominous about “playing with the rotation” during this week’s series vs. the Tigers. I’d imagine what he’s alluding to is calling up Salazar to bump Ubaldo back, who has been absolutely terrible vs. the Motor City Kitties this season.

      That being said, I still don’t see it happening. As a whole, the Tribe’s rotation has been on fire lately. I think it’d take an injury for Salazar to see more than a spot start.

      • AL KOHOLIC says:
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        @Kevin: thanks

        • Kevin says:
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          @AL KOHOLIC:

          Turns out I was wrong. Tito announced this morning that Salazar will get the start on Wednesday vs. the Tigers.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Tough to say… quickest route back is probably in a relief role, unfortunately.

  4. bb says:
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    do you think salazar or cmart will get called up first?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Salazar, but it might not be as a starter…

  5. Ryan says:
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    Who’s the best value for next year in 10-team 5×5 roto?

    Starling Marte, ($5 to keep) Jose Fernandez ($5), or Wil Myers ($6)?

    I have the first 2 and I’m trying to trade for Myers. The owner asked for Fernandez but I might be able to get him to do it for Marte & a little more instead. Thoughts?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Fernandez is best value.

      • Ryan says:
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        @Scott Evans: Would you give much in addition to Marte or just stand pat?

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          Mart & a toss in for Myers would be ok, but I really like Marte, too.

  6. Marti says:
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    Kyle Hendricks cubs double a….any chance he is as good as his stats…

    Miguel Gonzalez…phillies.when do we see him in majors?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Good command, but fringy stuff… back of the rotation ceiling.

  7. Justin says:
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    Great stuff as always. Is it time to drop taveras in a 16 team roto league. ?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Definitely drop if he’s locking up your flexibility.

  8. English says:
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    Stashed Xander B in a couple of leagues. Got Everth Cabrera in a couple of others where WW is thin on SS. Is it worth dropping ECab for Xander or is he not likely to be up for a while?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      If you’re not using Cabrera, I’d rather use the bench spot to stash Xander.

  9. Matt says:
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    Any chance you could make a list of the highest upside minor league players?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I did that two Wednesdays ago… the link is in the first paragraph of this post.

  10. KCC26 says:
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    Salazar starting Wednesday against detroit

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Heyyoo! Thanks for the update!

  11. Ryan says:
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    I’m thinking of trading Darvish Profar Wheeler Soler Nick Franklin for Tulo Ryu Fister Rizzo. Is this something worth doin? I have a shot of winning this year.

    c jp arencibia
    1b prince fielder
    2b neil walker
    ss yunel Escobar
    3b miguel cabrera
    inf evan longoria
    lf michael morse
    cf norichika aoki
    rf justin upton
    of carl crawford
    util desmond jennings
    bn nick franklin
    Bn jorge soler
    bn evan gattis
    bn jurickson profar
    bn peter bourjos

    sp clayton kershaw
    sp cliff lee
    sp yu darvish
    sp daniel straily
    rp sean doolittle
    rp mat belisle
    rp Jose veras
    rp heath bell
    p mat thorton
    p chad gaudin
    p Barry zito
    bn zack wheeler

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I’d hold

      • Ryan says:
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        @Scott Evans: am I giving up too much on my end?

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          I think so, yes.

          • Ryan says:
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            @Scott Evans: who should I take out to balance the trade a bit?

            • Scott Evans

              Scott Evans says:
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              Profar

  12. Cali says:
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    Hey Scott! I’m in a 20 team dynasty league with A-Ramirez killing me on the DL. Which 3rb baseman do you like for a better keeper for depth the ROS? Asche or Terdoslavich?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Asche

  13. bossmanjunior says:
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    Salvador Perez just hit the 7 day Concussion DL. Apparently he has a minor concussion and they dont think he will be out long. I only have one DL spot (currently occupied by Buchholz) so I think I should drop Perez for a hot hitting catcher. Its not like Perez has done much for me all year anyways. If anything, Im actually a little excited I have a good reason to drop him.

    Here are current replacement options: Mesoraco, Martin, AJ, Avila, Ramos, Salty

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I’d go with Avila or Martin… probably Avila

  14. Matt P says:
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    Hey Scott, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you write about Michael Choice, is his ceiling not that high in the majors? Thanks!

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      He’s a guy I unfairly overlook for these weekly posts — there are probably many others in that category too — but I like Choice a lot… great raw power & bat speed should make him an above average slugging corner outfielder… might take a little longer for him to peak because of whiff concerns. I’ll try to work him into weekly updates more often!

  15. Cali says:
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    @Scott Evans: Any idea if Chris Owens will get called up soon enough. Also, what the freak happened to Dee Gordon? He’s tore up the minors with .300 batting average and over 40 plus steals this year. Any chance he should be kept?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Didi’s been awful. I think the D’Backs pull the plug on him soon & roll with Owings… probably arrives before September. Not big on Dee Gordon, but if he’s getting regular play, he’s a guy you gotta keep any eye on in fantasy, if only for the SB potential.

  16. Di Ro says:
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    Any idea when Alfredo Gonzalez will be available for pick up in ESPN leagues? I am guessing he isn’t officially in the originization although the Phillies already signed him.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I’m not sure on the ESPN player universe policy… might have to wait till he officially called up… perhaps someone else can shed some light on this?

      • Zac says:
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        @Scott Evans: I almost Guarantee he won’t be added until he is officially called up to the bigs.

  17. Russ says:
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    Was hoping I’d see some love for Josmil Pinto this week. Thoughts on him going forward? I’m guessing he won’t see the bigs this year but if his bat stays alive would Mauer to 1st long term be an option?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Good hit tool & approach… average-to-above average defensive projection… probably a long-shot to become a regular at the highest level, but he’ll be a big leaguer…

  18. Charles says:
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    Thoughts on Yelich ROS? 12-team h2h OBP (no AVG), Ks, mixed redraft league. I’m thinking about dropping him for some short-schedule Monday help. Do you expect a good August and September?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      There might be safer plays available on the wire, but I don’t think you’ll find much that can match Yelich’s upside…

  19. Matt P says:
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    Can’t choose the last player for my minor league team…
    CJ Edwards, Lance McCullers, or Eddie Butler??

    Thanks!

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Butler.

  20. Jon says:
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    What do you think is Joc Pederson’s ETA?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Outside shot at a September call, but I think early 2014 is most likely.

  21. low walk high k says:
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    Wilmer Flores called. Flores or villar? Ros and dyno? Both have ss in espn

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Always liked Flores & there’s upside enough to pounce on him, but his AAA numbers are a little inflated thanks to that ballpark in Vegas.

  22. Kevin says:
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    Looks like Corey Kluber will be out for a few starts (just announced). Salazar might be staying up.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Dah!

  23. Frank White says:
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    Sup Man… Is Salazar a must pickup now??

  24. Nightpandas says:
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    Where do see Rendon next week? Should I trade him for CC in a keeper?

    • Nightpandas says:
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      @Nightpandas: that should say next year

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I’d probably hold Rendon over CC in a long-term keeper…

  25. TheNewGuy says:
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    Well prospect heaven! Well maybe if Boegartes gets called up.

    But Salazar dominated last outside of one pitch to the best hitter in the universe, and Ive scooped him in both my leagues. Now C-Marts got the call, obviously on someones farm in my keeper, but would you snag him in my non-keeper for E-Jax?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I’d scoop Martinez everywhere… upside is too big to overlook.

  26. JoeG says:
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    Is Sonny Gray starting this weekend?

    And other than Avisail Garcia,W.Flores,X.Bogaerts,Travis d’Arnaud,Nick Castellanos,Oscar Taveras(I know all big names); are there anyother hitters that will get called up and help (get enough playing time to help)this year?

    Deep daily mixed 6×6 roto.

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