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It was only a year ago that Mickey Moniak entered our lives. After going with the first pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, the California prep star hit the Gulf Coast League, raked to the tune of .284/.340/.409 with 10 steals, plus a homer, and showed he was ready for a full season assignment in 2017. You could see all the tools were there, even if his power numbers were underwhelming. Then again, we knew the power would be a slow burn with Moniak, as it often is with prep players. He did show the ability to hit for average, get on base, and steal some bags. All worthy pursuits, but it’s not going to make Moniak a fantasy superstar. We need the power to develop, and of late Moniak has struggled, not just with power, but in all facets. In fact over the last two weeks he’s hitting .179, with 1 homer, and a caught stealing. That’s how you say? Awful! Yeah, so last night’s 4 for 5, Moniak’s first four hit game of his career, was a welcomed development. In my eyes Moniak is an elite top 50 prospect, even with the recent struggles. At a newly minted 19, you need to be patient with the kid as the skill set develops. No player’s future is set in stone, just ask Byron Buxton, but Moniak looks like a top of the order bat with elite contact skills, speed, and the dynamic ability to improve any offense he’s a part of. Think Christian Yelich, early Jacoby Ellsbury, or a Trea Turner type, though maybe not quite as dynamic as Turner. Take this post as a reminder to hold onto Moniak in dynasty leagues, especially as teams that own him approach the deadline in a month and a half. If you’re a dynasty manager looking to restock your farm, I’d be looking to add Moniak every where I could. Now you just have to hope your league mates don’t read Razzball……… Here’s what else went down in the MiLB.

 

  • Another year, another Reds draft where I walk away impressed. Not only did they snag the highest upside prospect available in Hunter Greene at pick two. They also drafted Miami area Prep shortstop Jeter Downs, (yes, he was named after Derek), and Wake Forest outfielder, and 5 tool prospect Stuart Fairchild. The Reds the last few years have done the draft as well as anyone, and the young core they’re building is exciting.
  • Another top 10 pick  from the 2016 draft is making a name for himself in A.J. Puk. The A’s top pitching prospect continued to put on a show in the hitting friendly California League last night, with an 11 strikeout performance. This was a rebound start after a tough turn at Modesto last Friday. Though overall Puk’s been very strong the last month plus, posting a 2.89 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, .187 batting average against, and striking out 65 batters over 40.1 innings in his last 8 starts. It’s not like Puk is getting lucky either, his LOB% over that period is 69.6%, and his BABIP is .329. IMO Puk is ready for a promotion to AA. Not kidding, I wrote that sentence, looked at my phone, and saw the push notification that Puk was promoted to AA Midland.
  • While the Red Sox were signing Jhonny Peralta, and rubbing together lucky pennies, praying for something from the third base position. Top prospect Rafael Devers was going 2 for 4 with his 11th homer of the season. He’s now slashing .305/.366/.548, and playing a very good defensive 3rd base. I don’t think he’s coming in the next two weeks, but if nothing gets done at the deadline, and the zombies manning third at Fenway don’t start to hit, then Devers is up in early August. Oh yeah, while writing this, Devers homered again in the Seadogs Thursday afternoon contest.
  • As if the Yankees needed more positive news, Gleyber Torres has been en fuego in June, hitting .333/.408/.548 with 2 homers, and 13 RBIs in 11 games. The Yankees top prospect is showing contact, power, and approach at AAA, and he’s only 20. The 30% strikeout rate in June isn’t great, but it doesn’t seem to be stopping him yet.
  •   I guess my presence at Brent Honeywell’s May 28th start was the reason for his struggles. Because in the three starts since these baby blues witnessed the Rays top prospect, he’s been excellent. How excellent? How about 3-0, with a 2.55 ERA, 1.42 FIP, 1.19 WHIP, and just 4 walks to 23 strikeouts in 17.2 innings. Faria is up now, but Honeywell is the best of the group of high minors pitching prospects (Snell, Yarbrough, De Leon) currently in the Tampa system.
  • Lucas Giolito logged another quality start for Charlotte on Saturday, and has dropped his ERA by nearly two runs over his last four starts. This run started with his 7 inning no-hit effort on May 25th, and he’s just continued to roll. Over that time he’s accrued a 2.28 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .221 batting average against, and 22 strikeouts to 9 walks in 23.1 innings. The driving force behind Giolito’s improvements seems to be a focus on getting back to basics, repeating his mechanics, and trusting the process. The result has been improved control of all of his pitches, but particularly the command of his fastball.  Aaron Judge should be a reminder to not write off top talents during periods of struggle.
  • After being money in the bank since returning from the DL, Cardinals top pitching prospect Luke Weaver pitched a stinker on Sunday. He’s still been phenomenal at AAA in 2017, and possesses the sort of control that makes him likely to translate his success to the majors. His first go round was up and down, but Weaver can miss bats, limit the free passes, and generate grounders. All things I look for in pitching prospects, here’s to a potential second go round in the bigs, being better than the first.
  • Speaking of Cardinals pitching prospects in AAA, recently promoted Jack Flaherty continues to show why he might be callup worthy as well. Since seeing promotion to Memphis on June 2nd, he’s 1-0 in his 3 AAA starts with a 2.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, .169 BAA, and 23 K’s to 5 Bb’s in 18.1 innings. Last night in 6 innings of 3 run ball, Flaherty struck out 10 against the Brewers AAA affiliate Colorado Springs. He’s another prospect in a similar mold to his teammate Weaver, generating some swings and misses while relying on elite control to keep runners off base.
  • When will the Cardinals promote Harrison Bader? He’s slashing .297/.353/.489 with 10 homers for Memphis, and I have to imagine they’re going to want to see what he can do on the big stage. Jose Martinez is fine as a bench bat, but I can’t imagine he’s going to offer St. Louis what Bader does. The former Flordia Gator, was a triple shy of cycle last night as he went 3 for 4 in the Redbirds win on Wednesday.
  • In the last week we’ve seen many prospects get the call including Lewis Brinson, Derek Fisher, and as of today Matt Chapman. The fantasy baseball world turns it’s lonely eyes to the Mets and Amed Rosario. Any time now guys.
  • If you need an idea of what to expect from Matt Chapman, think Joey Gallo.
  • If you’re looking for an under the radar upper minors pitching spec with some upside, check out the Braves Patrick Weigel. He’s one of the less heralded arms in the Atlanta system, but his arsenal features a high 90’s fastball, a plus slider, and two average offerings in his curve and change. He turned in his best AAA start on Tuesday going 7 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, and one walk, while striking out 5. He’s a great play for deeper leagues, and dynasties, but isn’t on the 12 team mixed radar yet.
  • Hot damn! Over the last month Clint Frazier has been scorching, slashing .299/.388/.575 with 6 homers and 7 steals (7/8). There’s no immediate need in New York, but as soon as there is, we might see the Ginger Hammer teaming up with Judge and Hicks to rival the Red Sox young core of outfielders. It’s the outfield revolution!
  • Another Yankees prospect having a very nice season is AAA shortstop Tyler Wade. The 2013 4th rounder brings speed, contact, on base ability, and a little pop to the table. So far in 2017 he’s slashing .309/.368/.444 with 5 homers, and 15 steals. Looks to me like a solid everyday player, but more than likely would need a trade to a second division type franchise to play everyday.
  • Dodgers second base prospect Willie Calhoun has 13 homers on the year and 8 have come over the last month. His defense is still the roadblock for any potential promotion, but he’s started to get some time in left in addition to second. Once he’s up, he’s a must own in all formats, the bat is soooooo real. How real? How about a .321 ISO, to an 11% strikeout rate and 8.5% walk rate. “Hit tool fah daze kid!“, as we say in Boston.
  • Astros prospect Yordan Alvarez, featured in this space last week, homered in consecutive games Tuesday and Wednesday, and is slowly making a case for breakout prospect of the first half. As I said last week, if you’re in a dynasty and are looking to adda high upside bat, grab Alvarez.
  • The 2015 draft produced quite a few potential fantasy stars in Benintendi, Swanson, Bregman, and others, but none of them may have the upside of the Rockies Brendan Rodgers. So far in High A Rodgers is taking full advantage of Lancaster’s friendly hitting environment, and the benefits of the Cal League in general. He’s in the midst of a 22 game hitting streak that’s seen him slash .441/.467/.784. He’s only walking 2.9% of the time, but then again why walk when you’re hitting .404 with a .692 slugging. Sure he’s taking advantage of his home park (.495/.522/.8830, but it’s not like his road numbers are bad (.305/.313/.484).

 

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

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  1. lwomack58 says:
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    Do you think Fisher becomes an everyday player. I trying to decide if I should p/u Mancini and drop Fisher? What do you think.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @lwomack58: I’d hold Fisher, I think he’s going to rake. Plus Reddick is out and who cares about Aoki.

  2. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Is the title another call to action for the Crabs? They’re not coming after me, are they?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Grey: Hahaha no! But I’m actually meeting up with Nick and the Crabs in Hartford for the Yardgoats game this evening.

      I’ll be wearing a Lakewood Blue Claws cap, Moniak’s team, so it was a little hidden meaning, and a little nod to his team.

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Crab Army outing! That’s awesome! I’m jelly

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Grey: There will be lots of pictures of our gooches.

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            I cannot wait for every single one of them!

  3. Daniel Moran says:
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    Got excited at the Walker injury and snagged Rosario.. then dropped him after the Mets made their move and grabbed Byron Buxton.. For now. Chance he turns it around for good and finishes 20/20? I don’t need avg, just counting stats

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Daniel Moran: I guess it could happen, but I don’t have much interest in Buxton in redraft.

  4. Sport says:
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    Thanks for the info on Moniak. Glad I traded Felix Hernandez for him.

    You have mentioned Kolby Allard, Anderson Espinoza, and Yadier Alvarez as the top three highest ceilings in the minors. Still holding to that and what order? Where would you put Triston McKenzie in that group?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Sport: I had you in mind brother! Haha

      I’d say McKenzie has leap frogged Allard and certainly Espinoza, and possibly Alvarez. In fact I might rank them McKenzie, Allard, Alvarez, and Espinoza. Thos guys are so tight, and you can make a case for any order.

      • Sport says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Triston still a late 2018 ETA? He has been putting up good numbers!

        I had mentioned frustration with Yahoo not having a deep minor league pool. They told me it’s getting better each year but basically they select a bunch of players (common names) in the offseason to add to the data base but won’t add until the next off season or until completing one major league game. So Woodruff, Bichette, Yordan Alvarez, Luis Roberts, to name a few, can’t be found.
        I’m not one to step out of my comfort zone and try many new things, but what site do you feel is the best for a dynasty format?

        In use ‘Korey’ by the way on twitter and bugged you a couple times there.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Sport: Haha good to know you’re one in the same Korey!

          Yahoo is rough, and yes I think McKenzie could see the bigs late 2018 if he stays on this trajectory.

          Yahoo is rough for that, not much you can do though. I like CBS and Fantrax. Full disclosure I have the show with Fantrax, but I was playing there for three years before I ever did any work for them. Both are great for dynasty leagues, and scaleable for deeper formats.

        • Moneyball says:
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          Triston is 19, about to turn 20.

          It could easily be July 2019 (age 22 bday) before you see him.

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Ralph Lifshitz says:
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            @Moneyball: Maybe, but he’s days to weeks away from a potential promotion to AA, and once you’re in AA it’s usually less than a full calendar year before you see the majors. I think end of 2018 he makes some starts.

  5. Anodyne says:
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    Hey Ralph, how would you rank Isan Diaz, Harrison Bader, and Delvin Perez on a prospect list right now? I lean upside, if that makes a difference.

    • Anodyne says:
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      @Anodyne: (In dynasty)

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Anodyne: I’d rank them Bader, Diaz, and then Perez, but if you’re going upside it’s Perez, Diaz, and Bader.

      • Anodyne says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Cool, thanks. I’d been wondering how you were feeling about Diaz since his bat has gone cold recently.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Anodyne: Still love the upside, the batting average is a worry.

  6. Steve says:
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    Which two are you holding for ROS: Honeywell, Faria, Hoffman (Col)

    When do you think Meadows is called up?

    THanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Steve: Faria and Hoffman. I love Honeywell, but he may not see as many starts.

      I think he needs to get hot. Probably July.

  7. Chris R says:
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    So I should have listened to you a month ago and Kept Bellinger rather than trade him for Archer and JA happ. I’m still in 1st luckily.

    Rhys Hoskins.. With call up season afoot, but Tommy Joseph hitting well we’re not hearing his name much at all. Do we see him before August?

    Not that anyone can predict the mets, but do we see Hoskins or Rosario first?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Chris R: Hahaha I regret a lot of moves too!

      Who knows, there’s no playing time and he’s gone cold. I do think we see him at some point in early July.

  8. Swfcdan says:
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    Ok a lot to get to, deep breath:

    Espinoza still hasn’t pitched a baseball this year. I’m getting worried about his health, still a top 35 prospect for you?

    Can you see Fisher or Martes sticking all year on the Stros now? That was a dandy of a debut duet last night.

    A month ago I had the choice of Alford or Moniak in trade and took Alford, of course then he gets hurt soon after. Reassure me I still made the right move?

    Thanks for making me buy into Berrios in the offseason. Our league does “super two” promotions on/after June 15th, well my time came to promote him to my team today, and he’s put up one of the best starts of my shitty SP staff all year!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Swfcdan: Probably dropped a little but still top 50. Let’s see how it shakes out. Don’t panic.

      I think Fisher, Martes might get pushed out after McCullers and Keuchel are back.

      I think so, you’re splitting hairs.

      Nice!!!

  9. Marti says:
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    Will Nick Williams starting for the Phillies next year

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Marti: I don’t See how he can’t be in the mix.

  10. Chris D says:
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    I traded Brendan Rodgers for Espinoza (I have Torres and Franklin Barreto, so I was comfortable getting rid of a SS prospect) in my dynasty league. But the more I hear about Rodgers and how Espinoza seems to be going the other way on the prospect meter scares me a bit about this trade. Still think I wont end up regretting it, but it sucks seeing one doing a lot and another literally doing nothing.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Chris D: ITs one of the pains of the game haha

  11. Curious George Springer says:
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    Why do the Mets hate Rosario so much? Why can’t I have nice things? They’re saying (because this is what teams always say when they don’t really have a reason) it’s that his defense needs work? What? Cabrera is probably the worst defensive shortstop with a regular MLB job, and he’s hurt. The Mets are remarkable.

  12. RePete says:
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    How would you rank Bader, Calhoun, and Frazier for 2017 alone. Do you expect all of them to get the call at some point this year?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @RePete: I think all of them see some time to varying degrees. I’ll go just as you had them. Not sure what the Dodgers plan is with Calhoun.

  13. Hawk says:
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    If you could pick any one player from this year’s draft class, who would you take? Greene? Mckay? Lewis? 6×6 roto (OPS / Holds)

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Hawk: Greene, ranked them on Sunday.

  14. Robert says:
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    What do you make of Brinson? Second straight day not starting.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Robert: He could get sent back down. We’ll see, don’t think it will be for long.

  15. Dave Weinnstein says:
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    2 questions for you – When does Senzel get moved to AA and what is going on with Tyler O’neill? i thought Senzel might move a little faster

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Dave Weinnstein: He could see it in a month or so. He’s only been okay.

      No idea, bad year, I think he’ll get right.

  16. Dave Weinnstein says:
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    2 questions for you – When does Senzel get moved to AA and what is going on with Tyler O’neill? i thought Senzel might move a little faster.

    Ok – 3 …how do you think Jack Flaherty projects as a big leaguer? Solid #2 or 3 or top line guy?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Dave Weinnstein: I think he can be a solid #2 or #3, but it’s St. Louis he’ll probably pitch like an ace.

  17. malamoney says:
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    What up Ralph. What’s the deal with Weaver’s most recent injury?

    Which player do you think has the biggest fantasy impact in 2018? Luke Weaver, AJ Puk, Hunter Greene or Brendan Rodgers?

    And out of that same group of players, which one do you want in 2019? Or put another way, which do you want to own long term?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @malamoney: I’m not sure, the lack of follow up info or DL stint, tells me it might have been something minor. He’s been skipped for this start though.

      I’ll go Weaver, can’t see Greene or Rodgers spending much time there. Puk might see some starts though. So Weaver by default.

      Rodgers.

      • malamoney says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Thanks man. Related questions. When do you see Greene and Puk hitting the majors. Which one do you prefer to own?

  18. Manny says:
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    What would you estimate as the ETA for Brendan Rodgers at this point? Hoping he gets promoted to AA right away. Debating whether it’s worth trading for him in an Nl Only keeper league where he could only be kept for 2 more years albeit at a bargain price of $3. However if he is not up by 2019 it would be a complete waste. You think he gets the call next season at some point? Or if Story keeps struggling & the Rockies make a playoff push, any way they take a big chance with a Sept call-up? Or am I crazy since he still only 20?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Manny: I think you could see Rodgers at some point next summer. Not much more he can do at high A at this point. A callup to Hartford is inevitable.

  19. OddBall Herrera says:
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    I really hope we see Calhoun soon, if his defense is so bad, Forsythe can be a defensive replacement and he’s on a $1M club option for next year, so they can buy him out or not depending on how things go. You’d think the Dodgers would want to find out if they can make it work in the majors defensively before they trade away one of those rare guys (and a middle infielder at that!) who hits for power yet seldom strikes out.

    But then there’s also Utley, not sure where you go with him.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @OddBall Herrera: They can use these guys for depth, and I really think that Bellinger extreme range at first might cushion the blow some. I think they need to call him up and see what they got.

  20. Martin says:
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    Any idea where AJ Puk is on ESPN? Cant find him at all!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Martin: He’s not, play dynasty on Fantrax or CBS.

  21. Dave says:
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    You’re the number one resource for prospect analysis!

    Derek Fisher or Josh Bell in a yahoo keeper points league? Ros and beyond.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Dave: Fisher for me, I’m not a Bell guy.

  22. Scarface says:
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    H2H dynasty league with OBP and SLG instead of BA and HR.

    Hoskins or J Bauers?

    Buehler, Soroka, or Flaherty?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Scarface: Hoskins and any of those guys are worth a roll of the dice. I’m going to go Buehler if only due to upside.

      • Scarface says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Thanks, Ralph! Know you’ve been touting Hoskins, but Bauers has been more than holding his own (by the numbers, at least) at AAA as a 21 year old. I take it you like Hoskins more due to power potential?

  23. Jonathan Miller says:
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    Ralph, do you think Brinson’s up for good — and do we worry about his playing time?

    Also, how likely are we to see Gleyber this year?

    Thanks as always for the great work!

  24. Mike L says:
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    What are your thoughts on Christian Walker, Blake Snells’ future, and Michael Kopech? Brewers OF seems crowded. Tampa’s pitching staff is crowded. The White Sox prospect farm and Phillys farm are loaded. I cant keep the prospect machine rolling as I have to try to eventually win sometime right? Moniak and Rodgers are out there but Id have to drop Buxton or Brinson. Just seems dumb to keep doing this. My hair is falling out.

  25. Longbeachyo says:
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    Thank you Ralph. Love the info you give us! What app do you use to get push notifications? Have you tried Owners box?

  26. bigbear says:
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    What happened to the good old days of overhyped Yankee prospects?

  27. Swfcdan says:
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    Claws up snitches! (sorry just wanted to say that).

    Selling off and trying for Tucker in a keeper league, think he’s a bit keener to trade A Rosario instead. What are your thoughts on Rosario’s fantasy production long term? Defense is graded into his high prospect rankings on sites I know, but could he become a Lindor who does a bit of everything with a good AVG/OBP.

    Also saw your video with Lawr Michaels recently, despite his championships he came across as pretty dull to listen to – you were the star of the show!

  28. Bill Lumbergh says:
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    Ralph: looking to add McMahon in my 12 team dynasty. Which player should I drop for him? Thus is an OPS league. Thx!

    Y. Alvarez
    R. Hoskins
    L. Urias

  29. Alan says:
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    Can you give me 5 or more names not on your published Top 100 prospect list for NL only that have high upside or you see being there at your next update??

  30. Jp says:
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    Ralph-I asked Grey the following question and he thought it was too low but said to ask you. What do you think thanks.

    Grey-I know you are down on Price would Vlad Jr. And another small piece be enough or is that selling too low? AL only 4×4. Price @$23 and Vlad would be A$2 for the first 3 years of his contract when he arrives. Thanks

Comments are closed.