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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. Gregory Polanco, OF, Pirates (Previously Ranked #1): I suppose you could say Polanco is slumping — last time we ran this list he was batting an even .400, and now he’s down to a piss-poor .361. He should surface in Pittsburgh sometime around the 2nd week of June.

2. Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (#2):  In terms of pure 2014 upside, It’s tough to say who I like more between Polanco and Taveras. I believe Taveras’s stick is better prepared for immediate success in the bigs, but he’s well behind Polanco in the speed department. The kicker, though, is the fact that Polanco’s opportunity in Pittsburgh is far more carved out than Oscar’s in St. Louis. If the Cardinals are going to call-up Taveras next month — and I believe they will — they’ll be asking him to play out of position most days in the outfield.

3. Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (#7): Gausman is making his first start of the year with the O’s today, but whether or not he sticks in the rotation isn’t yet determined. Grey has more in this morning’s notes.

4. Jon Singleton, 1B, Astros (#3): Singleton is maintaining a Triple-A line at .293/.401/.629 with 12 HR. There is every reason to believe that the 22-year-old slugger will Houston’s everyday 1B within 4 weeks.

5. Rafael Montero, RHP, Mets (N/R): Like Guasman, Montero is getting called-up today. For more intel on the 23-year-old, here’s my Rafael Montero fantasy from last month.

6. Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (#4): Baez is batting .153/.245/.276 and his K-rate sits north of 36%. These are disturbing figures, yes, but don’t lose sight of the upside here. Baez will get it together before long, and when he does, he’ll push his way to Wrigley in a hurry, bringing the highest fantasy ceiling of anyone on this list. The horrendous start to the season, though, probably pushes the ETA back to around All-Star break, at the soonest.

7. Trevor Bauer, RHP, Indians (#6): Bauer continues to impress at Triple-A, but Josh Tomlin’s success in Cleveland is delaying any imminent call-up. Let’s hope Bauer’s command doesn’t unravel before Tomlin’s luck runs out.

8. Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins (Next 5): It sickens me to present any positive spin to the Jose Fernandez news, but I suppose there’s a silver lining in the fact that this awful development could make for a quicker path to Miami for Andrew Heaney. Heaney’s line on the year at Double-A Jacksonville sits at 2.35/1.07/44 through 46 IP.

9. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Mets (#8): From Sunday’s Minor Accomplishments: “Montero getting the first call-up to the Mets rotation is no surprise — he was probably ready for the bigs last summer, even. So don’t read into this decision as a statement regarding Syndergaard’s readiness or impact potential. Noah’s upside remains enormous, and he’s beginning to settle into his assignment at Vegas, allowing just 1 ER through his last two starts while striking out 15. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Montero’s arrival is the fact that we’re now one step closer to seeing Syndergaard in New York.”

10. Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals (N/R): In 15 games since his demotion to Memphis, Wong is batting .344/.382/.484 with 2 HR and 5 SB. Remember how Anthony Rendon experienced a rough stretch in the bigs last year, and then was demoted, and then quietly returned later in the season with much better results? I’m anticipating a similar pattern with Wong this year.

NEXT FIVE:  Joc Pederson (OF, Dodgers); Alex Meyer (RHP, Twins); Matt Wisler (RHP, Padres); Maikel Franco (1B/3B, Phillies); Alexander Guerrero (2B, Dodgers)

GRADUATED:  Rougned Odor (2B, Rangers); Marcus Stroman (RHP, Blue Jays)

  1. Joe says:
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    I see Jesus Montero has dropped off the next five list. Any updates on him?

    • ashtray says:
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      @Joe: Guffaw

    • Not as hot as he was a few weeks ago…

  2. MarkedMan says:
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    How would your ranks change for keeper leagues? Sitting on Buxton and Baez now but looking at other options. Thanks!

    • Long-term ranks would have Buxton & Baez at #1 & #2

      • MarkedMan says:
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        @Scott Evans: You wouldnt think about moving Buxton now after his second wrist injury? I can only keep 4 between years so have to weigh this year vs. future.

        • I wouldn’t drop him, but with those constraints, I might see if someone were interested in trading for him…

  3. shibboleth says:
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    Scott, I’m a cellar dweller and it’s killing my soul. How much better will my team be when Polanco, Singleton, Wong get called up? OPS/QS league.

    Also, would you drop Salazar for Gausman? Salazar makes me angry…

    C- Suzuki, Norris (Wieters)
    1b, Ci- Fielder, Morneau (Singleton)
    2b- Hill
    ss,Mi- Segura, Solarte (Wong)
    3b- Alvarez
    OF- Choo, Kemp, Holliday, Swisher, Revere, Dickerson (Polanco, Saunders)
    SP- Sanchez, Wacha, Cole, Porcello, Kazmir, Richards, Salazar (Walker)
    RP- Robertson, Janssen, Frieri, Tazawa

    • shibboleth says:
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      @shibboleth: Also, thank you again for an awesome writeup. My main guys might not make it to the morning write-ups, but your prospect watch keeps me hopeful.

      • Thanks Shibby! Your team is bound to improve as guys like Fielder & Holliday begin to tap into their potential… your stashes will also offer big upside, but it’s never wise to bank on their production considering how much can go wrong with rookies…

  4. Matt Baumer says:
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    Thanks Scott

    Is this a good time to try to get Buxton? I am going to offer Pence in deep dynasty where I am in last place.

    • If you’re in re-build mode, sure.

  5. Chris r says:
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    and just like that Wong is back up. He was dropped in my league, but I’ve got a glut with kinsler and gyorko at 2b, and matt adams and rollins clogging my sole IF spot.

    Which one would you pick up to play IF/Util on a flier?

    Bogaerts or Wong?

  6. Shawn of the Livid says:
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    Whos the better stash? Bauer or Heaney?

  7. Clive says:
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    Slightly off topic, but rank these SP’s for long term value in a keeper league.

    G Cole
    Y Ventura
    D Salazar
    T Walker
    T Bauer

    Trying to work a trade for Felix. Other guy wants Alexei Ramirez and a SP for Felix. Which of these guys would you give up with Alexei to get Felix? And would it be a good trade? I can’t help but think it would be.

    • Cole, Walker, Ventura, Bauer, Salazar

  8. Diddy says:
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    Would you trade z wheeler for bogarts in a 10 team keeper?

    • I like the Bogaerts side.

  9. Swfcdan says:
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    See any of Gausman this afternoon man? Not great was it…fastball looked good, just couldn’t put anyone away and his offspeed stuff didnt look very sharp. Hope Montero’s more impressive tonight!

    • Nah, I’ll have to watch the archived game later… I’ll be watching the Montero start, though.

  10. geegee says:
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    cj cron or singleton in a dynasty

    • Jason says:
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      @geegee: I’d have to go Singleton on that one – Houston has the potential to be a very scary team in a few years and Singleton stands to benefit as much as anyone in that lineup.

  11. Eddie says:
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    Hey Scott, how do you rate Singleton’s power upside as a keeper? I’ve seen Grey compare him to good Ryan Howard, saying he could hit 40 (Grey also compares his downside to regular Chris Carter), but I’ve seen others peg him for closer to 25 hr, even in his prime. What do you think he is capable of? Thanks!

    • Jason says:
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      @Eddie: I personally agree with the “good Howard upside” comparison, specifically in the power numbers. He’s continuing to walk at a decent clip and seems to finally have his head on straight – not to mention that he won’t have to carry the “rookie with high expectations” burden alone. In addition, when you have the speed of guys like Altuve, Springer and Fowler in front of you, the RBI opportunities should be prevalent.

    • As is the case with any prospect, there’s a wide range of possible outcomes, but the upside is significant — not too many prospects bring the combination of pop & contact ability as Singleton does.

  12. xtremehulk says:
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    13 team keeper.
    I have Carlos Martinez for $5 for this year and next.
    So far he has been nothing but a headache.

    Make the move to drop him for Rafael Montero?

    • You might regret it later, but don’t sacrifice your flexibility now if you’re in position to compete for a 1st.

  13. Luis says:
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    Scott, gotta say it: I really look forward to the prospect rankings. I love the dynasty format. I have Matt Davidson in a 20 team (28 man roster), Dynasty, H2H league, which is a 6×6 league (OBP, H/Sv and K/9 are extra cats). MD has really had a crap season and I’m thinking of dropping him to pick up Jesus Aguilar, who is available. Good move? Or should I just hold?

    Rest of team:
    C: W. Rosario, J. Montero
    1B: C. Davis, Rizzo and M. Adams
    2B: Wong, D. Gordon
    3B: Moose, Cecchini and Davidson
    SS: Aybar
    OF: Dickerson, Bradley Jr, Maybin, Quentin, Bourjos, Polanco,

    SP: Minor, Straily, Skaggs, Kluber, Congrani, J. Nelson and some relievers.

    I’ve been trying to make a 2 for 1 trade to clear up space, but no bites yet. I liked Davidson, but he’s always had problems with the whole “making contact” thing, and it’s just become that much worse right now in AAA. Aguilar is raking and Swisher sucks to high heaven. You think he’ll get benched, even with that contract?

    • Luis says:
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      @Luis: I meant Cingrani and, I have Eaton on the DL too.

    • I agree Davidson’s early-season whiff problems are troubling, but I think you want to practice a little more patience… give it ’til mid-season to see if he can bust out. He could be the everyday guy in Chicago by year’s end if all goes well…

  14. Dirtyd says:
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    With Gee going on DL im tempted to grab Polanco or Oscar with the extra roater spot. Is it too early?

    • SwaggerJackers says:
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      @Dirtyd: Still feels a bit too early to pull the trigger. Guys like Wil Myers took a long time to get called up. Just because teams COULD start calling guys up in early June doesn’t mean they do.

  15. malamoney says:
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    When Bundy returns, does he go straight to the bullpen? AAA? Starting rotation?

    • James says:
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      @malamoney:

      My bet is AAA or AA since he was only boarderline MLB ready when he got the call, there is no reason to be forced to put him on the big league roster.

    • Probably High-A or Double-A.

      • malamoney says:
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        @Scott Evans: Will he touch the majors this year?

  16. Mike says:
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    I was offered Carlos Gomez and Keurshal(sp on Astros) for Puig. Accept it or no?

  17. Milarky says:
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    I only have two waiver claims left before a 3-round mid-year draft. We start a rookie Pitcher, and we also keep prospects, so most highly impact rookie arms are taken. My only rookie Pitcher is Odorizzi (thanks to the Taillon injury), so I’m thinking Montero is a no-brainer claim at this point even if only for upside, insurance and trade bait?

    • James says:
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      @Milarky:

      not a bad move. Odorozzi had a good start yesterday, and does have good stuff (with an advanced approach). I would not give up on him yet

  18. LT says:
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    The prospect work you do is probably my favorite part of the site so thanks man first of all. Wanted to know if you had any insight into which prospects profile as closers. I have a 12 team keeper league and closers are coming off crazy early because of all the kept players. I thought maybe Robert Stephenson in Cincy but Chapman is blocking that. Foltynewicz is my next guess, just seems like a closer. What do you think and are there any high talent prospects that are being bred for the closer spot. Thanks Scott.

    • Luis says:
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      @LT: Check out Heath Hembree from San Fran. He’s being groomed as their closer of the future, he’s real good and you know that they need a young arm to take over for that BP.

    • Thanks, LT. Matt Barnes is a name that comes to mind… gotta remember, though, teams typically don’t develop arms to pitch in the late innings — that usually happens after a pitcher has shown he’s not starter material.

    • Kenneth says:
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      @LT: I too am looking out for future closers. I already have on my dynasty team or am tracking guys like Daniel Webb, Heath Hembree, Ken Giles, Cam Bedrosian. Michael Tonkin, and Dellin Betances.

  19. Regan says:
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    Very deep league with 5NA spots available. Hitting seems much harder to come by. Almost every player in the league and most of the top 50 bats in the minors are taken. Holding 2 pitchers Grey and and Butler. Going to drop one for Bryant just because he is so hot right now I could see them moving him to AAA very soon and possibly a summer call up. Good move? Which would you drop, Butler or Grey or neither?

    • James says:
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      @Regan:

      If most of the top 50 bats in the minors are taken, and Bryant is not, then jump on that.

  20. Regan says:
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    Surprised Wisler was still on the next 5 list. Getting shelled in the PCL. I know it’s like pitching on the moon but still…Who would be your next 5 after those? Thanks!

  21. Mac says:
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    Hey Scott , how good is Syndergaard? Is he a prospect that could have a big impact on it’s team (mets) like last season when wheeler got the call up & performed well, or how about in comparison to wacha , Gerrit cole or even Rafael montero? Do you see less of an impact, same? I know earlier on the prospect that could be that type would be Archie Bradley , but haven’t heard much from him

    Thanks

    • Syndergaard ‘s potential impact is huge… better than Montero’s, right in the same tier as Cole/Wacha/Wheeler.

      • Mac says:
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        @Scott Evans:

        Thanks for the response, w/ montero just getting the call up(last night) would this make us believe that Noah could make his way up sooner than later? Do you expect him to be called up ; before or after June 12 I just picked a random date, but that’s exactly 4 weeks away from today
        & would you look to add him or wait Til there’s talk about a call up date?

  22. Thorbs says:
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    Good stuff as always!

    You mentioned Raimel Tapia out of Colorado a few weeks ago – what do you see his upside? He is obviously a project, but could he be a 15/40 guy? Or does he seem more like a 20/20 guy if things break right?

    • Tools to be more than 20/20, but that’s the sort of production I’m hoping for…

  23. gordon shumway says:
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    Hi Scott-

    6×6 OBP and SLG, no AVG league. I’ve got Polanco and Heyward on my bench. Someone just dropped Gordon, who I could pick up. How would you rank these three ROS? Thanks a lot!

    • gordon shumway says:
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      @gordon shumway: Gordon as in Alex, that is.. thanks!

    • There’s far less risk w/ Gordon & Heyward than w/ Polanco…

  24. Maxi says:
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    thanks for the write-up, i really appreciate it…I know that stroman is graduated, but he currently sits at a 9ERA with a 1.6 WHIP but only 5 IP (SSS), do you think he will get to be a starter or is he going to get demoted before that chance ever comes? what are the odds this kid just isn’t comfortable in a relief role?

    thanks again

    • Well he’s clearly not comfortable right now… not sure he’d be more comfortable as a starter, but in any case, demotion seems likely before he works his way into the rotation picture, unfortunately.

      • Maxi says:
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        @Scott Evans: appreciate it! my league has 2 NA spots, so I’ll have room to stash him

  25. John says:
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    No Archie Bradley on the list this time? Concern over his latest injury perhaps? Or are you just being a meathead? OH ARCHIE!

    • flexor strain scares the crap out of me… there hasn’t been much news on him, but I doubt he pitches in a game before All-Star break & I’m no longer confident he makes an impact this year.

  26. OneI'dWilly says:
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    What are your thoughts on Jon Gray these days? I know he’s your top Col prospect and was in your top 15 preseason, but haven’t seen you mention him lately. Is a 2014 call up unlikely at this point?

    In a NL only keeper looking to dish J Upton for Polanco, Jon Gray, and Rendon. Rendon would be $1 for the next 2 years, while Polanco and Gray are free until I call them up, then $1 for 2 years.

    I only have Upton this year and next at $36 and cant hope for better than 3rd place this year.

    • I’m a big fan of Gray. He’s right on the cusp of making this list… 23/2 K/BB through last 4 outings…

  27. Drexel Hill Dragons says:
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    We have one “N/A” spot on our rosters for a minor leaguer in a Keeper league where you can keep up to 5 players every year and for however long you would like to hold onto them.

    I currently have Bauer in that spot, but I don’t really need pitching help and I would need to cut someone to activate him if he were to be called up anytime soon. With that thought in mind I’m considering cutting ties with Bauer and adding one of Buxton (off waivers tomorrow), Kris Bryant, or Maikel Franco.

    My current Keeper crop is McCutchen, Tulowitzki, Puig, Darvish, and Jose Fernandez (sad trombone). I drafted Jose Abreu this year so he could easily take Jose’s spot. I have Pedro Alvarez at 3B, so I’m ok for now, but Bryant and Franco are intriguing future options there.

    Long story short, how would you rank your desire to roster Buxton, Bryant, and Franco with the information I have provided? Anything they would give me this year is just icing on the cake.

    Thanks!

    • Bux, Bry, Franc… Add Buxton ASAP.

  28. Gene Parmesan says:
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    Great post as always. I watched the Rafael Montero start against the Yankees last night and came away impressed. He made those two mistakes to Solarte and Teixeira, but otherwise I thought he pitched with a lot of poise. Didn’t see Gausman pitch, but his line wasn’t impressive at all so it’ll be interesting to see the the O’s do with him going forward. I’d bet that he stays up with the big club this go around and should be an immediate add in all deeper mixed leagues.

    • Gene Parmesan says:
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      @Gene Parmesan: I have a pitching staff question for you in my 10-team H2H dynasty league. I have a quasi-youth movement occurring and need to get your assessment as what seven-to-eight pitchers you would choose to go forward with for the remainder of this season while maintaining the option of keeping two of them.

      Teheran
      Minor
      Eovaldi
      Salazar
      Peralta
      Pomeranz
      Lackey
      Tillman
      Montero
      *Bauer
      *Walker

      There also is Gausman, Ross and Porcello on the waiver wire that I’m looking at. Thank you in advance.

      • I’d roll with Teheran, Minor, Eovaldi, Salazar, Peralta, Pomeranz, Lackey & Montero.

  29. Principal Blackman says:
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    Is Joc Pederson in a similar—or worse—situation compared to Oscar Taveras? What are the chances that he becomes a full time player even when he is called up? Can he reasonably be expected to help out anyone’s fantasy team this year, or is he more strictly a dynasty play?

    • I’d say Pederson is blocked more thoroughly than Oscar is… Joc seems like more of a dynasty play for now, but injuries could change that.

  30. Javier Springer says:
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    Just love the whole arrogant “I don’t like making player comps but I’ll keep forcing the Miguel Cabrera comp for Baez anyway”… Baez 43 K in 27 games… Miggy once struck out 49 times in the minors, in 69 games, a year younger, and oh he hit .365 that stint… At age 21 Miggy was hitting .294, in the majors. Any talk of Baez being young for the level or the struggles are to be expected is just covering up for a busted prospect with a terrible approach at the plate.

    • I don’t comp Baez to Miggy in this post, nor do I mention Baez’s age relative to level, but thanks for staying on point.

  31. jack says:
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    If Singleton comes up soon (just reported that his GM says he’s “on deck”) would you take him over Lind or Adams in a H2H w/OBP? Will he play full time?

    • He figures to play full time. I’d probably give him a shot over Adams…

  32. Loki says:
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    How do you rate Dickerson in that crowded Rockies OF? Is Blackmon for real? Is Dickerson a decent haul for a rebuilding team?

    • I think Dickerson probably falls outside the regular depth chart going forward. Blackmon is for real.

  33. Jimmy says:
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    Hey Scott,
    More of a keeper question than a prospect question but I feel like you’ve probably got an opinion on Wheeler. Trying to rebuild some long term value in an inherited keeper team. Was offered Wheeler (can be kept 2 more years) for Anibal Sanchez (can’t be kept) I’m 1-5 in the league so “win now” isn’t the biggest question. Do you feel like Wheeler is going to be the real deal or can I hope to do better?
    Thanks

    • Being in rebuild mode, I think that’s a fair swap for you.

  34. KillerB says:
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    Scott, brilliant as usual man. Who do you like out of these guys — first as SPs this year, second as long term dynasty value:

    Carlos Martinez
    Rafael Montero
    Drew Smyly
    Jake Odorizzi
    Tyler Skaggs

    Who would you grab balancing those two interests?

    • I like Smyly for this year & C-Mart for dynasty.

      • KillerB says:
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        @Scott Evans: Smyly just went. Who do you like next for this year?

  35. Lville Jim says:
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    How long are the Rangers going to leave Gallo punishing baseballs at Myrtle Beach?

    • Gotta figure he gets a bump up in the next few weeks.

      • MarkedMan says:
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        @Scott Evans: Gallo has been a BEAST. 2016 likely?

        • Clearly he’s ready for AA now. 2016 seems about right.

  36. malamoney says:
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    Who would you rather have right now, Stroman or Heaney?

    Now I know that Stroman is already in the majors and is on the verge of getting a spot in the rotation, but with Fernandez’s injury it seems likely that Heaney makes his way to the majors this summer. And once he does, I’m sure it will be as a starter.

    So with that said, who would you rather have. How likely are Heaney’s chances of coming up and once he does, who would you rather have.

    I understand the bird in the hand rule, but there’s something to be said about that damn greener grass on the other side of the fence!

  37. Brett says:
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    Scott,

    I need help deciding if I should continue to stash Baez.

    I am in a 12 team daily league where we can keep 5 players. After the second year of owning a player you can keep him for a third at the price you drafted him or you can give him a contract where his price increases by 5 each year. All F/A are kept for 1 year only at 5.

    Of my 5 keepers I have Harper and Strasberg under contract next year and I have Gomez for 12 who will be kept, so I only have 2 open keeper spots. My options are for 2 spots are: Belt 12, Profar 9, Baez 1, Batista 25, Machado 8/13 if I give him a contract, Gray 7, Smyly 1, Tyson Ross 1.

    I am currently in 8th place and I like Baez but in a daily league stashing a player doesn’t allow me to play a pitcher to help me this year. Also, with his struggles do you think he is called up and if he isn’t do you think the Cubs would wait until the super 2 in 2015 to keep him longer?

    Thanks for the help

    • Really depends on what type of prospects you can find on waivers now… if you drop him will he be scooped immediately? If so, it might be a better idea to explore trade possibilities.

      • Brett says:
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        Scott,

        Thanks for getting back to me. He won’t be picked up. But if I drop him and then pick him up I can only keep him next year for 5 and then I lose him. If I hold onto him he is 1 next year and then I can give him a contract for up to 4 more years with his price going up 5 each year of the contract. Polanco, Bradley, Bauer and Baez are the only prospects currently stashed. Someone had Taveras but cut him because of depth.

        Would you hold or let Baez go?

  38. Alex says:
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    Hey Scott, i was offered franco and jon gray for wright or hanley. Im in last place in dynasty. Take the deal or hold out for more?

  39. Mikey B says:
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    Should I trade Tijuan Walker in dynasty league for Penderson? I just took this team over last year and rebuilding still. I’m pretty good on pitching but not so much with the bats

  40. dino says:
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    Hey scott, its my first time in a dynasty league and my team is falling out of the running, i have a owner willing to move sano but he wants kimbrel, is that a good trade or no? If not what type of player should i be moving for sano

    thanks for the help

    • I’m always for getting value through trading closers, but I think you hold Kimbrel here. Sano has huge upside, but even before the injury there was a good amount of risk w/ him.

  41. Jon says:
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    I have room for a 2-3 these guys in a 10-team dynasty:

    Guerrero, Gallo, Mondesi, Davidson, Cecchini, Moran, Stroman, Crick, Sims, Fried, Shipley, Edwards

    Who would be your top 3 from that group?

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