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Ranking prospects for fantasy purposes is a tricky exercise. The variables involved are constantly in flux — talent emerges, talent regresses… opportunity comes, opportunity goes… clubs get cold feet because of service time, clubs don’t give a shizz about service time. So, given the fluid nature of this prospect business, we’re going to keep a running ranking throughout the season. This post will run every other Wednesday, providing a biweekly glimpse of the soon-to-arrive impact talent.

1.  Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (Previously Ranked #4): Over the past month, Baez has posted an OPS of .872, and more than half of his hits during that stretch have gone for extra bases. The 21-year-old’s awful opening month is behind him, and it’s fair to resume speculation about just how long it’ll be before he’s called-up to the big club. Even assuming an arrival around All-Star break, Baez’s impact potential is good enough to top this list.

2.  Alex Wood, LHP, Braves (N/R): The Braves have assigned Wood to the minors in order to stretch him out for an eventual return to the big league rotation. He’s a safer option to produce than the other arms on this list — don’t let the rookie allure fool you.

3.  Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins (#5): Heaney is on the cusp of a call-up to Miami, but there’s no immediate opportunity given Randy Wolf’s back-from-the-dead act. Regardless, the Marlins want to give the 23-year-old an extended look at the highest level this season, so look for them to make room within the next month.

4.  Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers (#9): Puig’s hip flexor injury wasn’t serious enough to keep him off the field for long, but it did illustrate just how quickly an opportunity can be made available to minor league masher, Joc Pederson. With a Triple-A line at .327/.437/.615, 16 HR, and 14 SB, Pederson’s potential impact is crystal clear.

5.  Mookie Betts, OF, Red Sox (N/R): With the graduations of Taveras, Polanco, Singleton, Gausman, and Stroman, the much-hyped Mookie Betts is making his power rankings debut. The Red Sox understand that Mookie’s quickest path to Boston is in the outfield, and he’s been getting more and more reps in center field of late. I don’t think a call-up is imminent at this point, but I do think there’s a strong possibility that Betts finishes the season as the everyday CF in Boston.

6.  Arismendy Alcantara, 2B, Cubs (#8): With a .933 OPS over the past month, Alcantara has put himself in position to be the first big call-up for the Cubs this season. With a power/speed skill set, the 22-year-old middle infielder brings exciting potential to the fantasy game.

7.  Jimmy Nelson, RHP, Brewers (N/R): I’m not a believer in Nelson as a long-term front-end arm, but there’s no denying his dominance this season, and he’s already proven he can be effective at the highest level.

8.  Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs (#10): Over the past month at Double-A Tennessee, Bryant is batting .402/.500/.850 with 13 homers. The idea of him surfacing at Wrigley this year is wonderfully intriguing, but I’m afraid the Cubs aren’t going to push him on an aggressive path toward Wrigley.  Bryant will spend a chunk of time at Triple-A, and he might even end his season there. Regardless, his production to this point has earned him a spot on this list.

9.  Jon Gray, RHP, Rockies (N/R): Gray has scuffled a bit over his last couple starts, but the Rockies need rotation help, and as soon as he gets back on track, it shouldn’t be long before he joins the big club.

10.  Archie Bradley, RHP, D’Backs (Next 5): Bradley will get back to work later this month, and assuming all is well with his elbow, this little waiting period over the past six weeks has banked him some valuable rest. Archie should be good to throw another 100 or so IP this season. Let’s hope the bulk of those innings come at the major league level.

NEXT FIVE:  Noah Syndergaard (RHP, Mets); Mike Foltynewicz (RHP, Astros); Alex Meyer (RHP, Twins); Maikel Franco (1B/3B, Phillies); Matt Wisler (RHP, Padres)

GRADUATES:  Oscar Taveras (OF, Cardinals); Gregory Polanco (OF, Pirates); Jon Singleton (1B, Astros); Kevin Gausman (RHP, Orioles); Marcus Stroman (RHP, Blue Jays); Eddie Butler (RHP, Rockies)

  1. kansascitystar says:
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    everything i’ve read about baez suggests he is striking out way too much to be successful this year in the majors (and possibly the future). do you really believe he will get a call soon?

    also with the way theo handles prospects, he usually prefers to have them very seasoned before making the jump to the majors, right?

    • I believe Baez will arrive before August & I think he will hold his own. The whiffs will follow him throughout his career & too many people get hung up on that aspect of his game — his aggressive nature is part of what makes him so special. Baez is pretty well cooked… I don’t think Theo leaves him in the oven too much longer.

      • Jason says:
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        @Scott Evans: Absolutely agree – some of the best power hitters in the game (ones that actually hit for average like Thome, Howard, etc.) racked up the K’s. I think that elite bat speed will play anywhere.

  2. jack says:
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    Thoughts on Alex Meyer? When do you think the Twins are going to call him up, and what do you think we can expect when they do?

    • Meyer should be up very soon & I think he’s well equipped to do damage right out of the gate, but I hear the Twins will have him on a strict workload limit, which is why he doesn’t rank higher here.

      • Mike says:
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        I just wonder about Meyer. I don’t see the twins calling him up except for maybe a few spot starts after the All Star Break – my guess is they want him to pitch in the Futures game at Target field also – and then shutting him down after the Innings get up to around 120-140. Knowing the Twins then i wonder if they would even bother brining him up at all??

        • Valuable development to get him reps against big league bats.

  3. LA Sound Guy says:
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    Another great write-up, Scott. Thanks for your insight. Got an estimated call-up date for Alex Meyer?

    • Thanks, Sound Guy… I’d say Meyer is up within 3 weeks. See above comment for more thoughts.

  4. MJ says:
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    There is less than a zero percent chance Bryant sees the majors this season. No reason for it to happen and Jedd/Theo are sticking to their plan of at least half a season at each level.

    • I’d say there’s a nonzero chance Bryant gets a September cup of coffee, but I agree it’s unlikely we see him before 2015.

      • MJ says:
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        @Scott Evans:

        Hoyer is on the radio once a week here in Chicago and he has made it pretty clear that Bryant is not getting a call up this season. I guess never say never, but it would make no sense for the Cubs to have him come up.

        • I agree with you, MJ. He’s not on the 40-man & it wouldn’t make business sense to promote him. I’m just leaving some room for the possibility… Also, regardless of how the cubs want to proceed with his service time, for as long as he’s mashing at this rate in the upper levels, expect to see him on this list.

        • Kevin S says:
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          @MJ: I wouldn’t believe anything a GM says on the radio!

  5. Goose says:
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    Who do you think’ll have more value this year, Heaney or Stroman?

      • Goose says:
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        @Scott Evans: Nice. Thank you, dude in my league who just dropped Stro for Heaney…

    • Jason says:
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      @Goose: I prefer Heaney myself based on the league, division and ballpark – but Stroman should definitely have value.

  6. kyle kendrick says:
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    What is your opinion stashing Russell in my NA spot? Or is there a better SS prospect after Baez?

    • Brad says:
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      @kyle kendrick: Alcantara has SS elig in some formats; Lindor should get called up, tho he wont be good for much but a decent avg and maybe some steals but will play every day. Doubtful russell comes up unless lowrie gets hurt and russell started late cus of a hamstring. Unless Russell mashes like bryant over the next couple months doubtful we see him. If you can keep russell cheap next year then def hang on to him.

    • Alcantara or Chris Taylor

    • Jason says:
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      @kyle kendrick: There are definitely some big names if you’re not looking to stash for this season only (Correa, Seager, J.P. Crawford come to mind). If you’re looking to stash just for this season though, I’d probably go (after Baez) Alex Guerrero, Betts (who has sneaky SS eligibility in Yahoo leagues), Lindor then Russell. I’m definitely high on Russell, but the hammy issues have unfortunately set him back this season.

  7. Tom says:
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    Any idea what Betts will be classified as in ESPN if he is brought up in a month or so?

    Also, from the time Baez comes up through ROS which pair of players has more $ value in an OBP league:

    Pujols & Baez OR Kipnis & K. Davis

    • I figure ESPN brings him in as a 2B, but I’m not entirely clear on this… anyone have a better answer?

      Kipnis & Davis is your safer bet.

  8. Shibboleth says:
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    Polanco and Singleton are up! Now, where to pit ‘em?

    Better CI ROS, Singleton or Carter?

    Better OF ROS, Arica, Ozuna or Polanco?

    Thanks!

  9. Yescheese says:
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    Hey Scott – great work as always -

    Do you think Micah Johnson, Steven Souza or Jake Marisnick get a call up before September?

    • Souza will likely surface before September, but I’m less confident on the other two.

    • Jason says:
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      @Yescheese: Beckham has been playing much better for the White Sox this season, so no need to push Johnson along until he adjusts to AAA. Unless Beckham goes into a long funk coupled with a hot streak for Johnson, it’s doubtful he’ll be up before September.

      Souza’s a nice little name to stash, he could provide under the radar production soon (they’re getting absolutely nothing out of Mclouth); however, when Harper returns, there’s really nowhere to play him unless Span stops producing. He can definitely play center, so maybe they can find a taker for Span, who only costs $500K to buy out next season.

      I’m not as high on Marisnack as others, I don’t see his hit/contact skill developing enough to be an impact bat in the majors. His awful 100 at-bat cup of coffee last season doesn’t mean all that much in the grand scheme, but at the very least it does reinforce my impression of him.

      • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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        @Jason: souza already was up when span was out with concussion a while back.

  10. Carnac says:
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    Where do you see Baez playing when he comes up? 2B?

    • 2B, 3B & maybe even a little SS.

    • Jason says:
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      @Carnac: It’s definitely a conundrum given Castro’s return to competency this year. I suppose it boils down to their plans for Alcantara, since he appears to be on track to be the regular 2nd baseman in the future – if they are going to call him up this year, there doesn’t seem to be much of a point to converting Baez to 2nd base unless Alcantara really struggles. I’m going to say 3rd base for Baez with Bryant getting groomed for the OF once he hits AAA this year. It seems to be the only way to keep all 3 prospects in the Cubs’ plans long term if they intend to hang on to Castro.

  11. 2 Giant rings says:
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    Is maikel Franco worth holding onto in a 20 team redraft? Thank you.

    • Brad says:
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      @2 Giant rings: I say easily. His floor is similar to singleton’s probable numbers, better in daily to play vs LHP

    • Probably, but it really depends on what other soon-to-arrive prospects are available… Franco is having some struggles & that’s set back his ETA.

    • Zaclo24 says:
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      @2 Giant rings: non keeper league you say? No way!

    • Jason says:
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      @2 Giant rings: Tough to say in a 20 team redraft (which obviously has a very deep player pool). Without knowing some names on the wire I’d say hang on to him and hope a hot streak precedes a call to the big dance. I think a hot stretch of about 15 games or so is all that’s standing in his way.

  12. Alan says:
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    I am in a 15 team, 30 mlb/20 minor league 5×5 dynasty.

    A guy wants my 4th rd pick, which would be 60th overall, for brandon drury. In a league where 300 minor leaguers are rostered and another 59 will be picked (2014 signees, popups, international signees, some mlb guys) is that too much or just right to trade for drury?

    Thanks in advance

    • I like the Drury end of the deal.

      • Jason says:
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        @Scott Evans: Agreed – take Drury and his developing power in a league that deep.

  13. Luigi Foreals says:
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    Two words: CHRISTIAN WALKER.

    • Quite the breakout year for him, but he’s thoroughly blocked at the moment.

  14. nelson says:
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    Which new draftee would you bid the most on?

    • MB says:
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      @nelson: Rodon and Schwarber

      • Yescheese says:
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        @MB: are you in it for the long haul? Alex J is your man

    • Jason says:
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      @nelson: Jackson, Rodon and Aiken, in that order for me.

  15. MB says:
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    Man I REALLY wanted to stash bryant but will take your advice and stash joc

    • Yes, that’s the smart move…

    • Jason says:
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      @MB: For this year, Joc has to be considered the better stash. I truly hope the Dodgers do a little Summer Cleaning with that OF (Crawford is already complaining after apparently being told he’s no longer a regular when he returns). It’s a mess out there – I’d love for them to get to a point where it’s Puig, Pederson and Kemp out there, but who knows? Pederson to me is easily their most tradeable commodity, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see them relent if they can’t move Eithier or Kemp.

  16. Goose! says:
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    Alcantara is intriguing to me. My league is a 12 team, h2h category wins keeper league with R/HR/RBI/OBP/SLG/SB as the offensive categories, and this is my team on the batter side (24 total roster spots in the league inc bench)

    1 start slot for each position (3 for OF) and 2 UTIL slots
    C – Wilin Rosario
    1B – Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez
    2B – Ian Kinsler, Danny Santana
    3B – Lonnie Chisenhall, Ryan Zimmerman, Adrian Beltre
    SS – Ian Desmond
    OF – Allen Craig, Brett Gardner, Hunter Pence, Oswaldo Arcia, Denard Span

    5 starting SP and 3 starting RP spots
    SP: Chris Sale, Justin Verlander, Homer Bailey, Phil Hughes, Dallas Keuchel
    RP: David Robertson, K-Rod, Rafael Soriano

    I currently have Joc Pederson and Andrew Heaney taking up 2 of my bench spots (and Matt Harvey in my DL slot)…should I invest another spot for Alcantara? And if so, who do I drop?

    • If you want to add Alcantara, I’d drop Joc… they really aren’t that far apart, and I believe Alcantara will get his opportunity first. Joc only ranks higher because of potential impact.

  17. Al koholic says:
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    great job Scott come on baez,hey bro do you have some other signifigant soon to be callups or are the rest september guys only

    • Brad says:
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      @Al koholic: Lindor, Casey Kelly, Chris Taylor, Mike Foltynewicz

      • Al koholic says:
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        @Brad: cool thanks

      • Jason says:
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        @Brad: Love the Chris Taylor solution to the Brad Miller/Nick Franklin black hole of suck.

    • Thanks, Al! Brad’s suggestions are solid.

      • Al koholic says:
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        @Scott Evans: thanks all

  18. Dkohn says:
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    Scotty!

    I hope I never find myself in prison, I can barely make these two weeks.

    Best guesses…
    1) Quickest call up?
    Mookie Betts
    Arismendy Alcantara
    Joc Pederson

    2) Same people, who will be the best player?

    Thanks!

    • Ha! 1) Alcantara 2) Pederson

      • Dkohn says:
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        @Scott Evans: By a large amount the better player?

        Thanks!

        • Jason says:
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          @Dkohn: I think that’s tough to say. Based on immediate numbers, Pederson’s bat would appear to have more impact potential, but Arismendy could ultimately provide that coveted speed/power combo from a premium position. The 2nd Baseman could have greater long term fantasy value given the position. In terms of immediate impact, I’d say Joc has a fair edge.

        • No, I’d say all 3 carry similar ceilings.

  19. Max says:
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    No Tijuan Walker?

    • Jason says:
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      @Max: Walker’s already been called up was supposed to begin the year in the M’s rotation. He’s simply rehabbing an injury, but isn’t considered a prospect for the purposes of Scott’s columns.

    • Being on the big league DL, Walker isn’t eligible.

      • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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        @Scott Evans: was just put down upon being called healthy, so where does he fit in that list now that he is elligible?

        • Yes, this slipped my notes, apologies… Taijuan would be #1.

  20. Swfcdan says:
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    Hi Scotty, good to see these coming thick and fast now. So you think Gausman has graduated then and will be in the rotation full time from now? Hope that’s the case anyway, or is it just for porpoises of this blog that he’s there for now but no sure thing to stick.

    A bit more on this Michael Taylor kid (Nats prospect) then, seems a breakthrough season so far, do you reckon he could get at least a september look-in and what do you see his future upside as in the majors?

    • Gausman isn’t eligible for this list because he’s in the bigs. Simple as that. If he gets reassigned, I’ll include him once again. I wouldn’t expect to see Taylor before 2015, but 20/20 potential long term.

  21. English says:
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    Hey Scott. Been offered Pierce Johnson or Cody Anderson in a trade who do you think offers more for 2015? I’m leaning Johnson. Or I might be able to snag Daniel Webb instead, would he be better as a potential closer?

    • Jason says:
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      @English: I prefer P.J. to Anderson, though Anderson should offer more in 2015 given Johnson’s injury curtailing his development for the time being. Long term I definitely prefer P.J.

      I’d never trade for a reliever if possible – too easy to replace for free from the wire each and every season.

  22. goodfold2 says:
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    just noticing that lively was one of those guys who must’ve came out of nowhere, since he was drafted back in january in the 5th round in my 30 man league. you must not have thought a lot of him till recently. i had 4 cracks at him if i had wanted him. went ynoa in 2nd round. you had him ranked 8th on CIN (which i thought wasn’t really a high impact prospect team). i passed on him 3 times (or 4)

    • Jason says:
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      @goodfold2: He didn’t come out of nowhere, but his breakout didn’t occur until this season (he was a 4th round draft pick in 2013, so he only had a limited number of innings at the Low A levels last season and wasn’t heralded). He came out like a house of fire this April and by the end of May rocketed up prospect charts everywhere with his deceptive delivery, control and high K rate. He’s scuffled in June so far (starting to give up some long balls), but the K rate remains strong, so hopefully it’s just a minor blip.

    • Lively is moving up prospect boards quicker than just about anyone this season.

  23. malamoney says:
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    Where would you rank Bryant in your 2015 3rd basemen rankings?

    • Jason says:
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      @malamoney: If he has the job out of Spring Training, I’d rank him behind Miggy (assuming he retains eligibility), Donaldson, Beltre, Wright, Longoria, Arenado, Machado, Frazier, Bogaerts, Sandoval, Zimmerman, Chisenhall and Seager.

      • malamoney says:
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        @Scott Evans: Outside the top 10? Really?

  24. malamoney says:
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    We can only keep our minor league player if that player ends the 2014 season in the minors. He can be called up at some point, but needs to finish the season in the minors. Last year I kept Springer. I actually had to choose between Springer, Taveras, Buxton and Bogaerts as I was able to stash them all.

    Right now I am stashing Bundy. I had Singleton and Stroman, but they have been called up and are likely to stay up.

    Who do you see as the top two arms and bats that are likely to finish 2014 in the minors and have a fantasy impact in 2015.

    I’ve asked this question before, but things change.

    • Jason says:
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      @malamoney: “I’ve asked this question before”.

      What, you malamoney?!?! :-)

      • malamoney says:
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        @Jason: Gotta get as many expert opinions as I can to feed into my brain…

      • malamoney says:
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        @Scott Evans: What about bats?

  25. Sean says:
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    Nitpick but I don’t really think Alex Wood belongs on the list… 70 IP last year, another 60 this year before being sent down.

    • Noted, but when I don’t stay black & white with the criteria, it opens the door for much more nitpicking.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Scott Evans: is true, he’d probably have 35 of these questions if he grey areaed the criteria, instead of the 5 or so now.

  26. Count de Monetball says:
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    Scott, no words, just right! C’mon Baez, get promoted!!! Wish I could see Bryant this year too, and Alcantara, and ….I hope all your prognostications on these guys come true! Thanks for the art (not work)!

    • Jason says:
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      @Count de Monetball: Baez is getting closer, he’s still not fully right, but he’s getting there.

  27. Andre says:
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    Hey Scott, great write up!

    Question about picking up a player. Stroman is sitting on the wire, and I want to drop a bat from my squad to add him. I’d like to not touch my pitchers. Who should I drop? I was leaning towards D. Gordon.

    10team, h2h, keeper league, H, HR, AVg, RBI, steal, runs…..Wins, Ks, whip, Saves, ERA, QS…

    My hitters are:

    C- Posey (K)
    1b- Hosmer
    2b- Rendon
    3b- Bogaerts
    SS- Segura (K)
    Inf- Morse
    Of- Braun (K), McCutchen (K), A. Gordon
    UTL- K. Davis, J. Singleton

    Bench- Pagan, D. Gordon,
    DL- Arenado, M. Adams

  28. The tone ranger says:
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    Hey! How do you rank machado, polanco, rizzo, wil Myers in a dynasty?

    Thanks!

    • Machado, Rizzo, Myers, Polanco

  29. Brett says:
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    Scott

    When do you think Baez starts playing 2b or third and how much time does he need there before he could be called up?

    Also do you see Taveras getting sent back down with Adams returning?

    • Adjusting from short to second or third isn’t quite like the adjustment from INF to OF that we’ve seen w/ some prospects lately.

  30. Clint says:
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    Scott, what do you make of Danny Salazar and Cingrani? Does Salazar’s injury explain his horrid performance pre-minors assignment? Assuming the latter joins him in the minors, will he straighten out as well? I stashed both in the hopes they’ll return strong later this year as Razzball’s ROS rankings seem to indicate.

    • Pitch mix. Both guys need more nuanced arsenals & improved command.

  31. gordon shumway says:
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    Are you liking Heaney better than Taijuan for this season? Polanco or Taveras? Thanks!

    • Taijuan over Heaney, Polanco/Taveras is a coin flip

      • gordon shumway says:
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        @Scott Evans: Thanks, Scott.. I guess the Cards have made the polanco/taveras decision easier!

  32. Alan says:
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    If you are out of it in dynasty, cool to trade D Wright and Hawkins for C Seager and Headley?

    Thank you

    • Courtney Hawkins? Sure, that’s doable.

  33. Mike says:
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    who do you like more Maikel Franco or Jorge Soler?

  34. Jay says:
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    Who you taking sano correa or betts?

  35. Leifer maddness says:
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    i know you said you werent high on jimmy nelson but his numbers are redic!!!! do you think hes coming up this week to replace estroda in the rotation? he had a great game in his spot start.

    • He’ll return to the rotation soon. Long term outlook needs to incorporate more than the stat line.

  36. George Zip says:
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    When do you predict the coming up of Jimmy Nelson? Seems like Estrada is practically volunteering to be his designated driver

  37. Lville Jim says:
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    Your thoughts on Choi, looking at his numbers he’s produced at every stop. M’s started him back at AA, if he continues to rake could offensively challenged Seattle have him up sooner than later?

  38. Lenn says:
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    Hey Scott I’m happy to hear about Alex wood being sent to the minors to get stretched out. I like him not only because he was consistent but I could also put him at RP
    When do you think he’ll be called up as a starter; before or after June 25 (just threw a random date)

    I also see you have Mookie betts here on the list, I had the pleasure of watching him play first hand for the Lowell spinners.

    Since I go to a lot of spinners in the summer I know it’s only single A but which player(s) would you keep an extra eye on.

    Here’s the roster:

    *Pitchers:

    Jake Drehoff
    Willie Ethington
    Jason Garcia
    Enfember Martinez
    Oscar Perez
    Randy Perez
    Carlos Pinales
    Heri Quevedo
    Dioscar Romero
    Rob Smorol
    German Taveras

    *Catchers:

    Danny Bethea
    David Sopika
    Alixon Suarez

    *Infielders:

    Mauricio Dubon
    Raymel Flores
    Nick Longhi
    Deiner Lopez
    Nick Moore

    *Outfielders

    Franklin Guzman
    Bryan Hudson
    Mike Meyers

    – this isn’t including the players the sox drafted last week since they haven’t signed but I’m sure some will be at Lowell
    I did read however 5 were at the LeLacheur park (spinners home) this past week;

    Left hander Jordan beeks (12th round)
    Right hander chandler Shepard (13 th round)
    Right hander karston whitson (11th round)
    Infielder Jordan betts (18th round)
    Outfielder Danny bars (6th round)

    Have a good one!

    • Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season says:
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      @Lenn: Emfember isn’t really somebody’s name right? and what’s with all these latins naming their kids german or germen? And why don’t Germanics have any of their names as Jesus? They come from just as Christian of backgrounds as Hispanics do.

  39. Lville Jim says:
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    Any idea what is going wrong with Lucas Sims? He was fairly dominant at A ball last season and now in A+ his k’s have gone from nearly 11 per to not even 5 a game. His hits per inning still look good and he has decreased his bb’s per nine slightly but the k’s have evaporated. I know it’s a step up in competition but come on. This hand wringing was brought to you by a Sims dynasty league owner.

  40. Zaclo24 says:
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    Michael Taylor eta? and his projections?

  41. steve says:
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    drop pagan for corey dickerson?

  42. Ross Watson says:
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    Might be looking a bit to much into the future but what are your opinions on Joey Gallo. Kid has been swinging the proverbial boom stick all year with 25 HR’s in a hair over 200 ABs between High A and Double AA. Rangers don’t seem to have to much ahead of him in currently in the bigs or the minors. I know he’s only 20 but could we see a late season call-up or is this year to soon?

Comments are closed.