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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 weekly glimpse of the soon-to-arrive impact talent.

1.  George Springer, OF, Astros (Previously Ranked #2): Springer will join Houston later today, and he’s a must-add in all formats. I must admit, this call-up caught me slightly off guard — I figured Houston, of all franchises, would be the stingiest with service time. It sort of makes me wonder why they didn’t give him a look last September, but questioning Jeff Luhnow’s tactics is a useless exercise. Grey provided the fantasy spin this morning. Go grab him now if he’s somehow still available.

2.  Gregory Polanco, OF, Pirates (#6): Through 11 games at Triple-A Indianapolis, Polanco is batting .465/.511/.744 with 2 homers. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s only a matter of time before he replaces Travis Snider in right for the Pirates.

3.  Archie Bradley, RHP, D’Backs (#4):  Arizona’s pitching is an awful mess. An Archie Bradley call-up would provide an immediate boost, but GM Kevin Towers has been outspoken about not forcing his top prospect into a high-pressure situation at the big league level. Frankly, though, whenever Bradley gets the call, it’s going to be high-pressure for him. I suspect the D’Backs apprehension is service time-driven, but if their pitching woes continue, I wonder how long they can keep him down.

4.  Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (#3): Taveras has posted a .836 OPS through his first 12 games with Triple-A Memphis, which is notable not only for the nice OPS, but also for the fact that Memphis has only played 12 games, and Oscar has seen action in them all. There’s still no clear path to big league playing time for Taveras, but the most important objective for the 21-year-old this April is to prove that he can stay healthy and on the field. So far, so good.

5.  Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (#1): My Javy Baez fever dream came to an abrupt end when he landed on the Triple-A DL with a sprained ankle. Reports suggest the injury might not be too serious, but I recall reading similar outlooks on Oscar Taveras’s ankle sprain last season, and we all know how that ended. Not to suggest that Baez will be on the shelf for a while — only that I’m concerned.

6.  Jon Singleton, 1B, Astros (#9): The Astros have one of the most promising farms in baseball, especially for fantasy purposes, and Jon Singleton will soon follow George Springer with a call-up to the big club. Singleton is off to a hot start at Triple-A, batting .333/.448/.688 with 4 HR through his first 12 games. He brings enormous power potential as soon as he surfaces.

7.  Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Mets (#7): Syndergaard hasn’t been bad through his first three starts, but he hasn’t been particularly good either. The fact that he’s pitching in one of Minor League Baseball’s most prodigious launching pads needs to be considered, but even so, it’d be nice to see the 21-year-old post a nice start soon.

8.  Eddie Butler, RHP, Rockies (NR): I touched on Butler in my minor league report this past Sunday, noting his strong start to the season. He added another good outing on Monday, bringing his 2014 line to 2.41/0.86/17 in 18 IP. If Colorado’s starting staff can’t get healthy, we could be seeing Butler before long.

9.  Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays (#10): Rain outs and snow outs have delayed Stroman’s third start of the season (he should get the nod in Buffalo today), which is perhaps a blessing in disguise for Toronto, keeping the mileage low on the 22-year-old’s arm. With a filthy fastball-slider combo, Stroman should be one of the best strikeout pitchers surfacing in the bigs this season.

10.  Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (#5): Gausman was roughed up in his third Triple-A start of the season, allowing 10 baserunners and 4 runs through 3 IP. He’s still the next man in for Baltimore once a need arises, but yesterday’s outing is discouraging.

NEXT FIVE:  Nick Franklin (SS, Mariners); Maikel Franco (1B/3B, Phillies); Rafael Montero (RHP, Mets); Andrew Heaney (LHP, Marlins); Stephen Piscotty (OF, Cardinals)

DROPPING OUT:  Jameson Taillon (RHP, Pirates); Aaron Sanchez (RHP, Blue Jays); Matt Davidson (3B, White Sox); Jon Gray (RHP, Rockies)

  1. ashtray says:
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    Does the early call up of Springer mean other clubs are free to start promoting their prospects? The whole clock issue is kind of confusing to me.

    • No, standard service time & super two rules still apply. It was rumored that Springer was going to file a grievance w/ the players assoc. because of the Astros’ exploitation of his service time (he’ll be 25 years old this season) & that might have something to do with this particular call-up, but for the others, you can expect the usual June wave of arrivals.

  2. Josh says:
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    Hey Scott, with springer being a must-add & i just checked he’s still sitting in my league. It just comes down who to drop; this is my OF (we start 4, its h2h, weekly roster lock), Bryce Harper, Matt Holliday , Hunter pence, and the 4th spot I’ve been streaming this week went with Jackie Bradley jr.

    Utility starting dee Gordon this week

    On my bench I have Martin prado, Eric Hosmer, Carlos Santana,and Victorino on DL

    I was also thinking of dropping zach wheeler; my pitching is also Strasberg, tanaka, Gerrit cole, Madison bumgarner

    Thanks

    • @Josh: Wheeler just had his best start and may be figuring it out.

      Get rid of Bradley Jr.

    • ashtray says:
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      @Josh: I agree on Bradley. Chances are you’ll be rolling with Springer rather than streaming.

      • Josh says:
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        @ashtray:

        Yeah I’m thinking of dropping Bradley jr, but only thing is he’s in my starting lineup & the roster is already locked for the week & I wouldn’t be able to move springer to starting lineup until Monday when rosters unlock

        • goodfold2 says:
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          @Josh: but you can make the move now, and would only have to wait till monday to get springer’s stats. so what. swing away.

  3. Druss says:
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    In my keeper league I can stash two NA players. Currently I have Miguel Sano and Lindor. Should I drop Sano and add Singleton? Other players available are Baez , Butler and Stroman.
    Thanks!

  4. SMLV1 says:
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    Dropped B. Moss for Springer good move? Just hoping Springer can provide the RBIs that Moss has provided so far…

    • malamoney says:
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      @SMLV1: Yes, good move. He will provide stolen bases as well…

  5. Lis Franc says:
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    In a 12 team roto keeper league with FAAB. Picking up prospects as free agents allows for prospect to be kept virtually indefinitely (>5 years). If I’m going to pick one prospect this year, do I go all in on Springer or wait for Baez? Have Profar/Bogaerts for MI keepers currently, Stanton/Braun as primary OF keepers.

  6. DP says:
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    Nice work Scott. Do you have any thoughts on Joc Pederson?

  7. malamoney says:
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    I know there’s been a bunch of Montero vs Syndergaard talk lately, but I’m wondering if they should actually be ranked closer? Syndergaard might be the better long term fantasy player, but Montero is closer to getting the call and is pitching better right now. And he’s pitching in the same launching pad. Is Syndergaard really the 2nd best pitching prospect in the minors set to make a fantasy impact right now?

    Would you drop Moss for Singleton?

    Do you see Nick Franklin taking over for Brad Miller?

    • @malamoney: Syndergaard is probably the 2nd best SP prospect set to make an impact this year, yes. I try to weigh opportunity & impact with all of these lists & I realize Montero likely gets the first look. Remember Cole & Wheeler weren’t blowing folks away in AAA early last year…

      I’d hold Moss if you’re using him… even if it’s sporadically.

      I see Franklin starting at SS/2B somewhere. Could be a trade from SEA.

  8. malamoney says:
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    Shouldn’t Trevor Bauer be mentioned here? There is a lot of buzz about him getting a spot in the rotation and he’s been pitching well. Seems he’s primed to make a fantasy impact.

    • @malamoney: He might sneak into the next 5 group with a couple more good outings… hasn’t pitched in a while now…

  9. Oz says:
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    Lol somebody literally dropped Springer yesterday. I put on a waiver claim but don’t think I’ll get him since I’m #9 out of 10. I also have Polonco and Taveras so I’ll be okay. I’m getting killed at catching Scott, who’s my savior coming from the minors? Lately I’ve been rolling out Travis D’Arnaud and my other choices are Zunino amd Grandal but they’re all struggling. Thanks Scott, keep ‘em coming!

    • @Oz: Oof, rough timing for that guy. Catchers are tough because it’s difficult to arrive & offer immediate impact given their dual responsibilities. Maybe Jesus Montero.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @Oz: zunino is hitting mid 250′s with near 800 OPS and 3 homers. that’s struggling with not even 1 year of service time catcher?

      • Oz says:
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        @goodfold2:
        I guess “struggling” was specifically referring to D’Arnaud

    • George says:
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      @Oz: If you want a deep league option behind the plate, roll with Josmil Pinto. I just picked up Pinto after streaming Lobaton and Flowers when Wilson Ramos went down.

      I am hoping that Pinto can continue to do what he has been doing. He has been DH’ing as well.

  10. Timm says:
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    With springer just called up & already taken in my league who do u like the most oscar taveras, Gregory polanco, Henry Owens or Javier baez

    • @Timm: Sorta what this post is all about… these guys are all ranked above, except for Owens, whose behind a few other names on the Red Sox SP call-up queue.

      • Timm says:
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        @Scott Evans:

        According to the rankings polanco is next in line, would you pick him up as a stash move or wait til June? Everything I hear about polanco sounds like he’s a real deal, tearing it up too in the minors.

        With Archie in line after that could he be this seasons wacha or Gerrit cole?

        • @Timm: If you have room to stash, Polanco is the guy to go with.

        • @Timm: Archie could certainly provide a Gerrit Cole-type impact.

  11. Curt says:
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    Whats up with Kris Bryant??…..has his stock fallen?

    • Jason says:
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      @Curt: Those rankings you see are for this year Curt, that’s why you don’t see Buxton, Sano, Bryant, etc.

      • Curt says:
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        @Jason: I thought maybe with the Cubs struggles at 3rd, he might be fast tracked….On the other hand, I guess there is no rush since the Cubs don’t look to contend this year.

  12. bubbasmithgump says:
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    Hey Scott,
    Thanks for the post, good stuff!

    Question: Yovani Gallardo performance thus far…legit or SSS?

  13. makeshiftteam says:
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    Need to pick up a catcher…who’s the better play ROS…Mesoraco or Zunino?

  14. The Thumb says:
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    Hey Scott, would you (in a redraft 10 team league with 2 NAs) drop either Baez or Taveras for Polanco?

  15. Mr. Rickey says:
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    My OF:

    Trout
    Beltran
    Gordon
    Eric Young (SAGNOF)
    Melky

    Drop Melky or Young for Springer?

  16. Fat Mack says:
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    Any thoughts on when we’ll see Henry Owens in the bigs? And how far would you have to extend your rankings to list him?

    Thanks for the good work!

    • @Fat Mack: He’s behind Ranaudo & Webster & maybe even Barnes on the Red Sox SP call-up queue, but he’s doing his part to climb that list. I think we see him in July or August if there’s a need in that rotation. He’d be in the T25 were I to extend the list.

  17. Faker says:
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    Thoughts on Garin Cecchini? Do you think he will get called up this year?

    • @Faker: He’s off to a nice start & could get a look later this season if Middlebrooks can’t stay healthy and/or effective.

  18. The Vaporizers says:
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    Scott,

    Who do you like better?

    The guy you ranked at #3 in this article or the guy you ranked #7?

    How about if we consider the #12 guy, do you like him better than both?

    Some of these questions are just ridiculous….. lol

    • @The Vaporizers: Ha! Yeah it’s a nice feeling when folks skip over the text of the post to ask a question that the post directly answers.

  19. Joe says:
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    Scott, these are my favorite articles on the web. How would you rank these pitchers in priority to stash? Eddie Butler, Marcus Stroman, Trevor Bauer, Rafael Montero?

    • Joe says:
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      @Joe: @Joe: @Joe: I guess my question is if Bauer was considered for this list.

    • @Joe: Butler, Stroman, Montero, Bauer. Bauer was considered & is very close.

  20. Troll Toll says:
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    Any update on the status of Taijaun Walker?

    • @Troll Toll: I only hear shoulder soreness, which is extremely worrisome.

  21. goodfold2 says:
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    20 team keep forever league where we can only have 12 P at a time to combat hoarding (5 SP slots and 7 RP), with QS/RW/holds/k per 9/saves/total innings (and 35 innings per week, which is NOT insignificant as waiver pitchers are terrible) and my staff is currently
    SP: darvish/m.perez/w.peralta/erlin/scheppers/harrison(DL)/j.johnson(DL)
    RP:soria/santos/melancon/kelley/ogando/cotts/parra/feliz(NA)
    My idea was that Scheppers is terrible as starter, and will likely go back to bullpen when Harrison returns. his K/9 wasn’t great last year in bullpen.
    1. Grey said to keep Scheppers over Burnett (LA)/Cosart/Oberholtzer. you agree?, both because he’s better starter and his relief value later.
    2. Looks like both Parra will be less and less valuable with Marshall and Chapman coming back, meanwhile M.Adams (PHI) will likely move to setup (and possibly more if Papelbon sucks), drop Parra for Adams?

    • @goodfold2: I don’t agree with Grey on #1. I’d rather have Cosart.

      Sure, I’d drop Parra for Adams.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Scott Evans: just making sure, is Scheppers the one to drop out of those pitchers (making sure ogando and kelley have more value before i do that)

  22. Jeff says:
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    Thoughts on Robert Stephenson?

    • @Jeff: elite-velocity fastball with movement + devastating power curve + deceptive change = few baserunners and a shizzload of whiffs

      he’s awesome

  23. Jimmy says:
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    Hey Scott,
    Have a chance to trade for Taillon in a long term keeper league that has a minor league stash component. Is he worth chasing after or would you wait to see if he bounces back before making the leap? I think the only reason he’s on the block at all is the injury, as young controlled pitching rules this league.
    Thanks

    • @Jimmy: He brings more risk now, but he’s definitely worth adding to your NA roster if the price is right.

  24. Hooverville says:
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    I did not realize Polanco also had 38 SBs last year across 3-levels, what kind of SB potential does he have in the bigs?
    20 SBs?

    • @Hooverville: He could swipe 20 this year if he’s up within a month or so…

  25. Fish says:
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    Don’t know why, but I have a feeling Gausman’s MLB career will mirror the bumpy road Homer Bailey took before officially establishing himself.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Scott Evans: notice the bumpy road it’s currently on.

  26. King Trout says:
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    How does one know when the earliest day is for the rookie call ups? For example, when is the earliest the pirates can bring up Polanco and still have his maximum rights. This is so confusing.

    • @King Trout: The Super Two cutoff for 2014 won’t be established until 2016. Essentially, they take the top 20% of players between 2 & 3 years of service time, and say they’re all Super Two. This is intended to make it tougher for ballclubs to exploit a specific date.

      • King Trout says:
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        Ty for the explanation.

  27. grif says:
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    Scott,
    Why did Sanchez drop out?

    • @grif: I read some poor reports on his recent outings. Seems that his stuff is inconsistent throughout a given game. Still, he’s not far from this group & he should be back in the mix soon.

  28. me says:
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    how do you talk about Springer without mentioning the Ks. How many players who K’d 162 times in AA and AAA in one season hit for an even mediocre average in the majors. Isn’t he just Rob Deer with speed?

    • @me: I mentioned on the week 1 list that Springer brings risk because of that reason. I don’t think I need to re-address that risk every time I write notes on him. The whiffs aren’t going away, but he’s still a must-add.

      • me says:
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        @Scott Evans: Fair enough. I guess I didn’t read that list. No doubt, even if he hits .210, he’s still probably a useful fantasy player. But .210 might not be unrealistic.

  29. SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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    Hey Scott – where would a healthy Taijan Walker end up on this list? and what are your thoughts on his current status? thanks!

    • @SheriffMcRawDawg: He’s technically not eligible because he’s on the big league DL… BUT, if he were healthy & tearing up AAA, he’d be right there w/ Bradley…

      • SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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        @Scott Evans: thanks Scott – big fan of your stuff.

  30. Dave says:
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    In a 12 team league and just grabbed Springer. But now I’m not sure how to handle all my outfielders.

    Got Harper, Puig, Choo, Jennings, Moss, Eaton,Yelich, and now Springer.

    I can only start 5 (3 OF and 2 Util), and I probably want to hold only 6 so I can grab more pitchers Who do I drop? Or should I try to trade for other needs instead?

    • Wouldn’t be a bad idea to try to see what you can get for Springer… lots of hype right now…

  31. Dan Johnson says:
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    I have springer in my dynasty keeper league I have been offered Polanco and Shelby Miller for him .

    Should I accept the trade?

  32. Brad Miller says:
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    Would you drop me for Nick Franklin/Dozier/K Johnson/howie/infante/crawford/ackley?

  33. KillerB says:
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    No Trevor Bauer??

    • @KillerB: copy/pasted from above — “He might sneak into the next 5 group with a couple more good outings… hasn’t pitched in a while now…”

  34. Eric says:
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    Can you please explain to me how the standard service times and super two rules work?

    • Al koholic says:
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      @Eric: answered above

  35. Jay says:
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    Scott great stuff here.
    I drafted springer and now that he’s up I have an open NA spot.

    Polanco is out there but so too is syndergaard. With having springer would you still stash polanco or go with Noah?

  36. Mike B says:
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    Hey Scott, love getting the prospect updates! Surprised to see Baez fall much, hope that ankle heals quickly.

    In a 10 team 10 keeper, with 30 roster spots, I am hoarding Archie, Synder and Bundy. I am not counting on conrtributions from any of these guys in order to compete this season. So, thinking longterm, would Polanco Correa Sano or Russel (all owned) be a good batting-equivalent target for any of my 3 pitchers? I’m hesitant to move forward with so much pitching given the higher risk for injury. Also, Singleton is available, is his ranking more correlated to a potential call nearing, or to his fantasy impact? Thanks, keep up the great work!

    • I’d take Polanco, Correa, Sano or Russell over Synder/Bundy… and I’d probably go with Polanco or Correa over Archie… Singleton is listed mostly for proximity, but he’s not far from Bundy & I might even lean toward Singleton in that case given the injury risk.

  37. goodfold2 says:
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    above you advised to take cosart over scheppers as starter. who is the drop to get cosart: scheppers (could still have value as RP, and I can have as many current starters as I want, as long as 7 guys qualify at RP and 5 at SP, which he would at either), ogando, or adams (PHI, who I just picked up dropping Parra)? also have soria/santos/melancon/cotts/Kelley.

  38. Smalls Killer says:
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    I grabbed Springer yesterday when I heard the news and I got a trade offer when I woke up this morning that I accepted. Just wanted to see if it was a thumbs up from you. I gave up George and Chavez & got Crisp & Teheran. This is a keeper league(12 teamer) but we only keep 6 & I have a feeling I won’t be keeping Cliff-ly next year

    • Looking at it as simply Springer for Teheran, I think you make out ok. Springer brings upside, but there’s still significant risk. Much less risk w/ Teheran, so it works for me. And if you have SP needs & you’re set in the OF, then it’s a no-brainer.

      • Smalls Killer says:
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        @Scott Evans: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it. I was hurt right away in SP as I lost Cobb for a while & Kershaw was up in the air; my Of its decent with Elsbury Kemp & Myers. Keep em common Mr Scott

  39. Escobar pitching prospect – the giants could bring him up very soon – what do you see here

    • Savvy southpaw w/ great changeup. Mixes stuff well, but fastball isn’t overwhelming & curve needs work. Worth a look especially considering the ballpark.

  40. Swfcdan says:
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    Not sure if im late to the party, but I’ll ask here in hope.

    Guy’s come back to me saying he’ll accept Donaldson ($5 rental) and Puig ($0, resignable long term) for C Davis ($12, through 2016).

    Now I like the idea just don’t wanna rush into anything. First you any worry about Puig suffering a sophmore slump year? And 2nd, doing this deal would mean I have to move M Adams to 1B long term, you have any worries about his PT when Oscar comes up- who will miss AB’s then?

    • I like the Puig/Donaldson end of the deal. I don’t think Adams will lose any playing time looking ahead.

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