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As the Durham Bulls took the best little minor league pitching circus this side of Mississippi, literally, on the road. I promised myself I’d check out at least one game during the nearest stop on their International (League) tour. This is a rotation that now features the struggling, but still talented Blake Snell, recently activated off-season acquisition Jose De Leon, top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell, and the strikeout king of AAA Jacob Faria. I’ve discussed Faria a lot of late, because he’s obviously a prospect that fascinates me. On Saturday in Pawtucket he went 4 strong innings before ending his night after completing the 4th. The early exit was more than likely due to the line drive he took off his leg earlier in the inning. It was really too bad, as Faria looked to have his best stuff on the night, outside a two run homer to Bryce Brentz nothing was hit hard at all. The first thing that strikes me when watching Faria is, I love his change up. It has some nice break, and he throws it from a similar arm slot to the fastball. Speaking of the fastball, it too is a solid pitch getting some sink, and making it tougher on the hitters to barrel cleanly. This 1-2 punch gives Faria all the fuel he needs to pile up the strikeouts in bunches, however he has a tendency to nibble and that limits how deep into games he can get. Saturday was one of his more efficient performances, making the injury all the more upsetting. I have to admit I came away impressed by Faria, and think he has solid mid-rotation upside with some nice K potential. I mean look at that gif below and tell me you don’t like what you see. Amirite?!?  Today I venture back to Pawtucket to check out the Rays top prospect Brent Honeywell, who just so happens to check in as the 7th most valuable pitcher on Rudy’s Prospectornator. Don’t worry I promise to give you all the details on Honeywell….Here’s who else is making noise in the MiLB…

  • Scott Kingery with another homer to push his now MiLB leading total to 15. I mentioned a few weeks ago, that his move to a flyball-centric approach couldn’t have had a better lab to cultivate it in than Reading. So far it’s holding true. Kingery is going to hit 30 homers this year, that much I know.
  • Diamondbacks lefthander Cody Reed, not to be confused with the currently less desirable Reds Cody Reed, has been promoted to High A Visalia. Through 8 starts this season his ERA is a cool 1.74 to go along with a 9.4 K/9. His run at the Cal League in 2016 was awful, here’s to hoping that this time around he masters the level.
  • It’s seems like I’m writing about Scott Kingery and the Red Sox Michael Chavis in every minor league update. Well, this one is no different as I’ve already mentioned Kingery, and Chavis went deep yet again to complete the exercise. The 3rd baseman was 2 for 4, with the solo shot. He’s now hitting .365/.440/.716 with 12 homers.
  • We got a Tyler O’Neill homer! The King In The North is making a comeback, as he went deep for the second time in 4 games. He’s getting hot at just the right time, to make his grand arrival in Seattle sometime in July.
  • One of my favorite AA talents, and arguably the top catching prospect in the minors, Francisco Mejia went 4 for 4 on Saturday and stole his first base of the season. He’s now 12/24 since returning from the disabled list last Saturday, with a couple of homers. There’s a lot to like with Mejia, chief among them no split issues.
  • Okay, stop it now, my former flame Nick Williams is en fuego, connecting for a homer in back to back games. It doesn’t stop there though, as he’s now hit 6 homers in his last 10. Is it possible that Nick Williams figured something out in the last few weeks? I just can’t quit you entirely Nick.
  • My favorite converted catcher, second baseman/fictional rapper Shed Long aka Lil’ Sheddie, connected for double dongs on Saturday, driving in 4 in the process. I’ve watched some Daytona games this season and I’ve been more impressed by Long, than teammate Nick Senzel. The second baseman is now hitting .326 on the season.
  • Baltimore Orioles prospect Austin Hays has been on a tear the last few days, hitting three homers on Wednesday, one Friday, and another Saturday. The 2016 3rd rounder has some pop in his bat, and has been able to tap into it so far in 2017, connecting for 10 homers while hitting .316 from the leadoff spot in Fredrick’s lineup.
  • Hays’ teammate Ryan Mountcastle decided to get into the hat trick action, with a three homer game of his own on Friday. The 20 year old now has 11 homers on the season, and is certainly one of the potential breakouts here in the early going.
  • More good news out of Las Vegas regarding the Mets top two minor league talents, Amed Rosario, and Dom Smith. The former, and the focus of my last Minor League Update, extended his hitting streak to 14 games, while Smith connected for his second homer in as many games. Both should occupy spots in the Mets infield for years to come.
  • Rockies Top Prospect Brendan Rodgers continued his assault on the Cal League last night as he went 3 for 5, connecting for a homer and two doubles. This on the heels of a 2 for 5, 2 homer game on Friday. The number 3 overall pick in the 2015 draft is now hitting .378/.396/.685 with 7 homers.

We Discussed the upcoming MLB Draft Class pretty extensively on the most recent prospect podcast. So I figured, in the spirit of continuity I’d post my MLB Draft Top 10.

MLB Draft Top 10

1. Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP Louisville – This pick is totally contingent upon McKay turning pro as a hitter. If he decides to go the pitching route he drops to 10th or so. You’re looking at a power hitting first baseman, meaning he’s not the rarest of commodities, but I value a safe college bat more than upside arms.

2. Hunter Greene, RHP Notre Dame High School (CA) – Easy 100 MPH from his athletic delivery. Plus makeup and athleticism, doesn’t seem to be overwhelmed by the lofty expectations. He’s a consistent strike thrower, with lots of polish for prep arm. Even though he’s a high school pick, he could move fast and be an elite pitching prospect from the jump. There’s going to be owners in your league with a serious crush on Greene, so his value on the open market will be high out of the gate. Best fastball in the draft, can spin a curve, and has feel for a change as well.
3. Kyle Wright, RHP Vanderbilt – Another in a long line of first round Vandy starters, he started slow early in 2017, but has since gotten it going, looking every bit the ace of the Commodores staff. Has flashed 4 plus pitches in his fastball, slider, curveball, change, with the heater and the slide piece being the highest rated. McKay has prototypical size at 6’4 220 LBS, he has added 40 pounds on his frame since his freshman year. The fastball sits mid-90’s, occasionally touching 97, he uses his hard curve effectivley against lefties, leaning on the slider he vs right hand batters. His change is probably the weakest link in his arsenal but that’s not to say it doesn’t have it’s days.

4. Royce Lewis, SS/OF JSerra HS (CA) – A hit tool over power guy as of now, but he looks like he has a much higher power ceiling to tap into. The two best tools are the contact ability and elite speed. Lewis can seriously run. Might not stick at short, but has lots of tools and tons of upside. He’s an upside pick, but I wouldn’t blame you, if he was the first hitter you took.
5. Jordan Adell, OF Ballard HS (Kentucky) – Over the course of last summer there were some questions regarding his hit tool, but he’s silenced those with an excellent senior season. Big power hit 24 homers in just 92 at bats, while only striking out 9 times. Has some, risk but mixes possibly the best set of tools, with projection, plus plus speed and raw power. Adell has lightening quick bat speed, with the hope he can feast on fastballs, while he figures out how to hit the breaking stuff. Has a big league body already, tremendously athletic, comes from a family of football players.

6. Pavin Smith, 1B Virgina – Lefty advanced college bat lauded for his strikeout adverse approach. Hits for power, but doesn’t sell out for it. In fact he has more homers than strikeouts this season, leading many to label him the best pure hitter in the class.
7. Adam Haseley, OF Virgina – Huge breakout season with the power, and overall numbers. In the pros should tap into some more pull side power, while bringing some steals to the table. One of the top risers.
8. MacKenzie Gore, LHP Whiteville HS (NC) – The second best prep prospect behind Greene. He has 4 pitches that rate as plus, getting a plus grade on his control as well. Whether or not Greene is the better prospect is reportedly a legitimate question for some teams. Has had massive success throughout his amateur career, in fact his ERA in his junior year was 0.08. He has a big leg kick which gives his delivery a little deception, helping all of his stuff play up. Good athleticism, leading to reputability in his delivery. His best breaking pitch is his curveball which almost universally gets a 60 grade. He also mixes in above average offerings with his hard slider and tumbling changeup.
9. Austin Beck, OF North Davidson HS (NC) – Beck possesses it all hit tool, power, speed, making him one of the higher upside prospects in the draft. Missed the showcases over the summer due to a ton meniscus in his left knee, but he came back this spring and has really hit. There’s easy to see plus bat speed, as well as plus rub, and a plus arm. Has 20/20 upside but there’s some question about his swing, and ability to hit with wood. Legit concerns with almost all prep hitters.
10. Shane Baz, RHP, Concordia Lutheran (TX) – Interesting player. Just 17 with an arsenal of pitches. Employs a Sinking fastball that tops out at 98, but sits mid-90’s. Has a cutter that he can manipulate to more of a slider, that’s 84-88. Has a curveball with distinctly different break from his slider/cutter. Throws a change. Clean mechanics, throws strikes.

The Next Five

11. Evan White, 1B Kentucky – Another hit tool over power guy, but he’s got a poor mans Cody Bellinger element to him, as he’s athletic enough to play the outfield.
12. Keston Hiura, UC Irvine – Good hit tool has some average power and speed. Major injury concerns, as he could need Tommy John, yeah he’s a hitter…
13. Griffin Canning, UCLA – 4 pitches above average or better. Good control should move quickly.
14. Jake Burger, 3B Missouri State – Looks just like his name, and he hits like it too. Meat and potatoes power.
15. JB Bukauskas, UNC RHP – His slider is the best pitch in the draft, long term I still think he’s a reliever. The stuff is still undeniable.

Follow me on Twitter @Ralphlifshitzbb, and check out my weekly Live Baseball Show on Fantrax YouTube channel Tuesday’s at 9 PM EST

Going to a minor league game? Lend a hand to our crowd sourced scouting project. Simply take a quick 30 second video of an at bat and email it to me at [email protected]

   
  1. J-FOH says:
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    Daria? Faria? What sexy SOB name dropped Faria on your YouTube show this past Tuesday when talking favorite AAA Ray? Who dat’?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @J-FOH: Was it Mike Werner from FWFB?

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: I believe not. Say it. You know you want to say it.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @J-FOH: Rocco Baldeli???

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @J-FOH: Hahaha

  2. Mike says:
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    I’m trying to get as much input on this as I can. I’d like to trade for kershaw, but the guy that owns him isn’t very baseball savvy. Of the below pitchers, who do you think would be the combo to offer him in return for Clayton? I was thinking a cueto and gray (or maybe cole). I’d like to make a fair offer.

    Cueto, stroman, strasburg, Thor, Gerrit cole, Salazar, bundy, e-rod, Jim Johnson, kelvin herrera, colome, nova and Sonny gray

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Mike: Yeah, I’d try Cueto and Stroman/Nova/Cole. I mean offer your worst starters right?

  3. BM says:
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    I think it’s time for me to drop Max Fried. So do I go the Michael Chavis route or go Heath Quinn?

    Also considering dropping Trent Clark and scooping both Chavis and Quinn. Decent plan?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @BM: I’d go Chavis and drop Fried.

  4. Packers says:
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    What are your thoughts on M Davidson of the CWS? He’s sitting on the wire and I play in a 12 team roto dynasty keep all league.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Packers: If you need a third baseman, you could give a shot, but he’s sort of a washed up former prospect. He’s got some pop, but also strikeouts a ton.

  5. lt513 says:
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    Can Nick Williams play CF? If so I would bench Odubel asap it’s garbage out there. Phils should just stop pretending, trade Cesar for the best they can get and bring up the kids. Kingery, Rhys, Williams.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @lt513: Don’t forget, Cozens and Quinn too. Odubel sucks and they have tons of options.

  6. Miketron says:
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    Nick Williams has only walked like twice in the last month. Let him go. Love me some Shed, I agree with your assessment watching him and Senzel. What about Tanner Houck? Somewhere later in the 1st?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Miketron: Hahaha I just want someone to add him in Dynasty Gurus! Haha. He’s got no approach, but I can’t ignore the homer streak.

      Yeah I love Sheddie, he just keeps hitting, I have a feeling his going to burst onto the MLB scene next year, and everyone is going to love him. He’s a man named Shed!

  7. James T Kirk says:
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    Brendan Rodgers numbers are nice, until you look at his home/road splits.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @James T Kirk: Yeah, he’s taking advantage of Lancaster, but it’s not like he’s been awful on the road. I mean, he’s more than likely going to hit at home throughout his career. You know, Coors.

      Good point though!

  8. James T Kirk says:
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    Love Mejia, but assume as with most catchers he is stil a ways off?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @James T Kirk: Yes, he’s probably a year away. I assume we see him at some point in 2018.

  9. James T Kirk says:
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    What can you tell me about Tomas Nido? I stumbled on to him a few days ago, and me likey what I see!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @James T Kirk: Yeah, he can hit a little bit, not a star but probably solid BA.

  10. James T Kirk says:
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    Nick Gordon doesn’t get a ton of prospect love. I understand why…up until this season he never slugged (a .100 ISO). But this season has been quite the turnaround. He is slugging .490 with an ISO near .200!! If these numbers are for real, he should be climbing the charts, right?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @James T Kirk: He should, he’s hitting for more power, and walking more. There’s definitely some approach changes going on. He’s hitting a lot more line drives and fly balls.

  11. Skillz says:
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    Great work as always. Quick question to anyone willing to help: I need to drop one of Story, Bregman, or Saurez? The league is a keeper where I already know I will be keeping Bogaerts. Thoughts?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Skillz: You can’t trade one of those? I wouldn’t want to drop Suarez at the moment. I trust Story less long term than Bregman, so it seems between those two.

  12. Matt says:
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    Keeper HTH points league-what are your thoughts on this trade offer that I’ve gotten? My initial reflex is to hold, but I want to make sure that I’m looking at it correctly. I have plenty of 1B production right now with Joseph, Bour, and Rhys stashed.

    My Freddie Freeman and Bueller for Myers, Vargas, and Matz/Wood?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Matt: If its Wood I think I do that deal.

  13. Whatever says:
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    Hi

    Lance Lynn @COL?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Whatever: I’m not starting him there.

  14. Alan says:
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    Do you see Roman Quinn or Willie Calhoun getting promoted anytime soon?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Alan: Quinn could be any day now, I’d be shocked if Calhoun is called up anytime before July, injury to Utley permitting.

  15. GL3 says:
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    Travis Shaw vs Corbin
    Or Suarez vs Eflin

    Thoughts?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @GL3: I’m going Suarez. I like him more and prefer him vs a righty to Shaw vs a lefty.

  16. eric says:
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    ROS at 2B: D Travis or Moncada?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @eric: I’m going Travis.

  17. Robert says:
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    Hold D. Salazar?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Robert: I think you got to.

  18. Oddball Herrera says:
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    Kingery looks a lot like this year’s Bregman in his conversion rise from ‘need prospect but we wish he hit for power’ status.

    What do you think the odds are he’s up mid summer with a Hernandez trade, or Hernandez move to SS?

    • James T Kirk says:
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      @Oddball Herrera:

      Has Hernandez ever played short?

      • Oddball Herrera says:
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        @James T Kirk:

        20 ML games there, more in MILB. For what it’s worth I have read that he’s a capable SS

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Oddball Herrera: Perhaps I’m not sure he’s that high end, put that makes sense.

      Not sure on the Hernandez thing, if he can why not try it.

      • Oddball Herrera says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Yeah, GM is on record saying that Kingery isn’t going to AAA anytime soon. I am *hoping* that means they are eyeing MLB this season and don’t want to make him adjust to two new levels in the span of a couple months.

        The fact that they haven’t moved Kingery up despite his performance and the fact that the AAA second baseman is out for the season is interesting

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Oddball Herrera: They like to take it slow, wouldn’t be surprised if its September

  19. Chris says:
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    Hey Ralph,

    Three things, first who do you see the brew crew taking? At some point I’m guessing they either have to start drafting or trading for pitching.

    Second, Start one please. It might seem obvious after Anderson’s last start but will he blow it now? Chase Anderson @ NYM-Guerra @ NYM-Nolasco-vs Atl and Min. 14 team league h2h 10 cat. Leaning Nolasco because of the two starts, guy I’m facing has decent staff and the same amount of starters Noladco give me a better shot at K’s and wins for sure.

    Third, are they ever going to bring Hoskins up????

    Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Chris: There’s rumors connecting them with another outfielder, but they should go pitcher. I’d love to see them land any of the starters listed.

      Yeah take the Nolasco two starts.

      Patience, he’ll be up in June-July

      • Chris says:
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        awesome thanks!:

  20. Mike L says:
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    If I’m not competing this year do I hold guys like Cotton and Musgrove or do I cut and go after better Triple A guys? Faria, Honeywell, Clevinger, Fulmer, Z Burdi some of the guys available. I guess at some point you have to hold and hope just not sure about these guys.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Mike L: I’d add Honeywell and hold Musgrove.

  21. Chris says:
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    Trade Freeman/Greinke for Goldschmidt/Starlin Marte? Or trade Bud Norris for Marte?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Chris: I’ll take Goldy side.

  22. Citizen5 says:
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    Our league allows one Minor league roster spot and mine is empty with recent promotion of Berrios.
    (The following Minor players are unavailable: Moncada, Urias, De Leon, Rosario)
    Of the remaining players that could make an impact who would you add, either SP or Hitter?
    Thanks for a great column.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Citizen5: I’d add Rosario if you’re looking for this year impact.

      • Citizen5 says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: To clarify, the four players I listed are NOT available. Thoughts on any from the remaining pool? Thanks.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Citizen5: Grab Derek Fisher.

  23. LenFuego says:
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    I guess Raul Mondesi does not count as a prospect any more, but it is worth noting that he has a 16 game AAA hitting streak and 22 out of 23, with 9 multiple hit games over that stretch, now at .340/.381/.546 with 11 SB in 13 tries.

    He hits nothing like that whenever he gets called up. Is there something fundamental about his swing that allows him to rake in the minors but stink in the majors?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @LenFuego: He’s just always been young for every level. So he probably shouldn’t have ever touched the majors.

  24. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    do we see kingery any time soon,,thanks for the post great stuff

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @AL KOHOLIC: I’d be surprised if he’s up before August 1

      • Sport says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: How much of a role you see him in 2018?

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Sport: Could be the starter.

  25. Oddball Herrera says:
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    Also, moment of appreciation for Austin Meadows, who is finally doing what he is supposed to have been doing in AAA

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Oddball Herrera: Big shout out to Austin

  26. RAZZIE says:
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    Hi, I have a trade question if you don’t mind. I am in a 12 team standard 5×5 dynasty league. I got offered Jose Ramirez, Sean Manaea, Amir Garrett, and a late first rounder for my Jose Berrios, Devon Travis, and Robert Gsellman. I have Altuve at 2nd, so Travis is mainly on the bench. I don’t mind losing Gsellman. I really hate to part with Berrios. Would I be getting enough in return for him? Are you a believer in Manaea?

    (I could get Urias instead of Manaea if I wanted).

    Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @RAZZIE: I would make that deal in a second. Manaea has as much future value as Berrios, and Ramirez is an upgrade from Travis, same with Gsellman to Garrett.

      • RAZZIE says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Thank you for the response. It seems he may only do the deal with Urias instead of Manaea. Do you still take it?

      • RAZZIE says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Sorry to keep blowing up your comments here, but we are down to a final deal and I cant decide what I want to do. He will give me Manaea with either Jose Ramirez or a high 1st rounder in next years draft. Do you do this? Which one do you take? Thank you so much for taking the time to help me here!

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @RAZZIE: I like Manaea and Ramirez side. Still do it with the first.

  27. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Wow, second guessing my scouting ability b/c I see Brendan McKay and he looks lazy AF through the zone and like a guy that would be exploited by better pitching

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Grey: ding ding ding. I see that too, aluminum bats and weak pitching? I thought it was in slow motion but he can develop?

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @J-FOH: Youre not wrong, I’m limited in the tape I can show you. I’m not dropping him because he hit a homer on a lazy swing.

        • J-FOH says:
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          @Ralph Lifshitz: me neither, its just something to keep in the back of my mind

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Grey: Could be, the swing is lazy, but even and he barrels it. With full time focus as a hitter, he could tighten it up. Still the safest bat in the draft. You probably would like the high school hitters more. This isn’t a stacked draft.

  28. Chris says:
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    Hey Ralph,

    I wrote earlier and I need to start one more start or use devenski. So please pick 1, devenski, or Guerra @ NYM or Chase Anderson @ NYM. 14 team h2h 10 cats. If I start devenski I’m tied with the guy I’m playing for 9 starts this week.

    Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Chris: I’d go Anderson

  29. Mike L says:
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    You holding Snell in dynasty in the hopes he figures it out? Tampa Bay is loaded with good young pitchers.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Mike L: They really are.

  30. eltrumbomb says:
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    Where would you place Scott Kingery in prospect ranks ? Inside top 25?

  31. Tweak says:
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    Sorry for the late post here, but what do you think of Paul DeJong in the Cards lineup? He’s had success in his few games thus far and I worry about his ability to hold playing time right now, but the guy has come through their system quickly and held his own against AA and AAA pitching (33HRs in a little over 700PA with sustainable BABIPs and passable K rates). He’s my favorite prospect that’s not in most top 100 lists.

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