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To begin, I should make it clear that this is not a list of my top overall prospects.  No, this is a 2014-specific list, and it exists only to serve those of us in fantasyland.  The names that follow are, at this moment, the prospects who have the best chance at offering positive fantasy contributions during the 2014 season.  Those of you who follow my Prospect Power Rankings series during the season, understand that time-specific prospect rankings are fluid — it’s a tricky game, weighing potential impact against current opportunity, and outlooks can change drastically overnight.  There are too many variables at work to peg these ETA’s accurately, and that is precisely why we revisit these rankings often throughout the year with the aforementioned power rankings.  Consider this a starting point.  Numbers 26-50 will run next week, but for now, let’s dig into the top-25.

1.  Masahiro Tanaka, RHP, Yankees:  Tanaka isn’t exactly a prospect in the purest sense, but technically speaking, he’s rookie-eligible, and that’s the only criteria for making this list.  Grey wrote a post on Tanaka shortly after the Yankees inked him, and then ranked him #31 in his preseason SP rankings.  I’m on the same page as Grey regarding the 25-year-old Japanese import’s 2014 outlook — the stuff is advanced and he commands his arsenal well, but there’s an aura of uncertainty here that leaves me uncomfortable with paying his hype-inflated price in drafts.  That said, every name that follows on this list comes with its own special brand of uncertainty.  Tanaka’s projected fantasy value figures to carry the least risk among 2014 rookies.

2.  Jose Abreu, 1B, White Sox:  Abreu is even less prospecty than Tanaka.  He’s 27-years-old and he’s been mashing professionally in Cuba for a decade.  This is all to say that Abreu’s skill set is not in need of much further development.  He’s a heavy hitting 1B, and he’s stepping into one of the most favorable hitter’s ballparks in the game.  30 homers with an average north of .275 wouldn’t surprise me.  Grey ranks him 13th among first basemen, and wrote his own Jose Abreu fantasy right here.

3.  Xander Bogaerts, SS/3B, Red Sox:  Bogaerts is primed to take over shortstop duties in Boston this spring.  Last time I ranked prospects, he headlined that list, and I suppose you could say he’s headlining this one if you’re not considering #1 and #2 as prospects.  In any case, Bogaerts brings enormous potential to the fantasy game, with ability to help in AVG, OBP, and HR, and some SB’s sprinkled in.  Grey has him slotted at #22 in his shortstop rankings.  He also has his own Xander Bogaerts fantasy.

4.  Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mariners:  Walker appears to be safely entrenched in the M’s rotation, and based on last year’s workload, he should be able to throw in the neighborhood 190 IP in 2014.  The 21-year-old’s front-end repertoire is ready for an extended look in the bigs, and while it’s reasonable to anticipate some inconsistencies during his rookie season, it’s equally plausible that Walker could post a Jose Frenandez-type breakout year.  Grey has him at #61 in his SP rankings, and a special Taijuan Walker fantasy if you so desire.

5.  Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles:  Gausman’s rotation spot in Baltimore is not quite as secure a Walker’s, but I’m confident the 23-year-old will lock down that gig this spring, and I can’t wait to see what he can do over a full season as a big league starter.  For more on Gausman, I covered him in my preview of the Orioles farm, or check out Grey’s SP rankings, where he comes in at #72.

6.  Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals:  Here’s our first prospect without a clear-cut big league opportunity waiting for him this spring.  Taveras is an offensive talent of the extreme high-impact variety.  Like Puig of 2013 or Trout of 2012, Taveras only needs a small window of opportunity to force his way into a full-time role.  Grey lists him at #79 in his outfield rankings, and he’s also provided us with an Oscar Taveras fantasy.

7.  Javier Baez, SS, Cubs:  What I said about Taveras being able to force his way into a full-time MLB role holds true for Baez.  There’s an argument to be made for the Cubs’ 21-year-old shortstop being the #1 long-term fantasy prospect, with 40/20 potential from a premium position.  He’ll get started at Triple-A Iowa this spring, but continued minor league mashing might force the Cubs to generate some excitement around the increasingly stale environment of Wrigley Field, and call Baez up this summer.

8.  George Springer, OF, Astros:  From Grey’s George Springer fantasy:  “In Triple-A, Springer had 18 homers after hitting 19 homers in Double-A.  That’s not one year in Double-A and one year in Triple-A even though my syntax might lead you to believe that.  He hit 37 homers last year in the minors.  Hello, sexy, what’s your name?”  Sexy, indeed.  Springer is ready to start posting 30+ HR seasons at the highest level, and he’s perfectly capable of stealing 20+ bags, too.  If this were mid-March, and news from Astros camp was that Springer would break camp with the big club, then he’s #4 on this list.  For now, I’m thinking Houston, being sensitive to service time, will keep him in the minors until June.

9.  Billy Hamilton, OF, Reds:  Hamilton and his otherworldly speed have a chance to be big time assets, especially in the roto game, but with major questions surrounding his hit tool, I’m skeptical about how much the 22-year-old will drag you down in the other categories, and I’m even more skeptical about him dragging down the Reds in real baseball.  If he’s struggling to reach base at a .300 clip (a definite possibility), I wonder how long the Reds will allow him to stick at the top of the order.  And if they felt they needed to replace him at leadoff, would they bump him to the bottom of the lineup, or send him back to Louisville?  Truthfully, I wanted to rank Hamilton lower, but all things considered, 100 steal potential is just too damn sweet to ignore.  Grey has a more positive outlook on Hamilton, and he slots him at #24 in his outfield rankings.

10.  Travis d’Arnaud, C, Mets:  Between Grey’s catcher rankings (d’Arnaud is #16), his Travis d’Arnaud fantasy, and my Mets MiLB preview, I think we’ve sufficiently covered the soon-to-be 25-year-old catcher.

11.  Archie Bradley, RHP, D’backs:  Bradley appears unlikely to be included in the D’backs rotation to begin the season, but he’ll be ready to contribute as soon as there’s a need.  And once he surfaces, don’t expect him to head back to the minors — Bradley is the top pitching prospect in the game, and he’ll help across the board for fantasy purposes.  I’ll have more on Bradley when my D’backs MiLB preview hits the presses in a few weeks, but for now, here’s Grey’s outlook.

12.  Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals:  Wong is capable of batting .300+ in the bigs right now, and I don’t think that Mark Ellis will threaten his playing time too significantly.  Grey ranks him #21 among 2nd basemen, but there’s potential here to outperform that outlook by a comfy margin.

13.  Yordano Ventura, RHP, Royals:  The #1 prospect in my Royals MiLB preview from two weeks ago, Ventura appears to be the odd man out in Kansas City after the Jason Vargas signing.  That is, to start the year, at least.  The 22-year-old has tremendous stuff, and he will push a KC starter to a bullpen gig at some point this summer.  Grey has him ranked #85 in his SP rankings, and he has his Yordano fantasy here.

14.  Nick Castellanos, OF, Tigers:  From my Tigers MiLB Preview:  ” The 21-year-old is a big-named prospect with an excellent hit tool, but if you’ve been following my work here at Razzball, you know that I’m not ga-ga over him… not for fantasy purposes, at least.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe the long-term upside here will be extremely useful in the fantasy game — once he settles into the 2-hole in front of Miggy, 100+ runs with an AVG north of .300 is an easy projection.  But with Torii Hunter in Detroit for at least another year, I don’t see Castellanos stepping into that role just yet.  I’m sure you’ll see him popping up in the top-10 on plenty of fantasy-prospects-for-2014 lists this off-season, but he won’t be rated that highly on mine.  Again, he’s a great guy to have around in a dynasty format, but in standard redraft leagues, I wouldn’t reach for him.”

15.  Carlos Martinez, RHP, Cardinals:  After watching him pitch damn near every night in October, you’re probably thinking that this guy can’t possibly still be a prospect.  Oh, but he is.  He’s a prospect, indeed, and he’s one you’ll want in fantasy, thanks to some of the filthiest stuff imaginable.  Martinez would rank considerably higher if he were in position to be starting games for St. Louis this year, but as it stands, it appears more likely that he’ll be used out of the bullpen.  The 22-year-old will still be given a chance to compete for a rotation gig during spring training, and if he secures one, he’s more like a top 5 prospect for 2014 instead of a top 20 guy.

16.  Gregory Polanco, OF, Pirates:  Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Jose Tabata sounds like a pretty decent outfield, but y’know what sounds way better?  McCutchen, Marte, and Gegory Polanco.  That is what, yo.  Polanco’s skill set is still developing, but he’s already logged games at the Triple-A level.  He’s a Taveras/Baez brand of prospect who’s capable of surfacing in the bigs and blowing minds, and he’s set to arrive this summer for the Bucs.

17.  Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Mets:  This marks run of high-impact SP prospects who’re set for arrival this summer — think 2013 Zach Wheeler, Gerrit Cole, and Michael Wacha for everyone from here to Heaney.  Syndergaard is #1 in my Mets top 10, and he’s set to take over a rotation role in New York at some point this year.  Check out my notes on him here.

18.  Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pirates:  Taillon’s path to the majors will very much resemble that of his teammate, Gerrit Cole’s.  His fantasy impact seems likely to resemble Cole’s, too.  Grey has his Jameson Taillon outlook here, and is slotting him at #97 in his SP ranks.

19.  Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays:  My take from our Blue Jays MiLB preview, where Stroman ranked #2:  “The 22-year-old made 20 Double-A starts on the season, posting a 3.30 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP, and K/9 at 10.4.  Those of you who read my posts throughout the regular season know that I’m intrigued by Stroman — he brings a fastball/slider combo that’s as good as any in the minors, and that skill set makes for some exciting performances (he whiffed 11+ batters in four of his 20 starts).  Stroman was probably ready for a big league look this past September, but the Jays opted to send him to the Arizona Fall League instead.  Big time whiff potential will make him a coveted piece in the fantasy game as soon as he surfaces.”

20.  Jonathan Gray, RHP, Rockies:  Read notes on 2013′s #3 overall draft pick here.

21.  Mark Appel, RHP, Astros:  The #1 overall pick last June, Appel will log some time in the upper levels of the minors this spring before surfacing in Houston during the summer months.  He’ll be the sort of arm you won’t be shy about starting for any one of his outings, regardless of the fact he pitches for the Astros.

22.  Eddie Butler, RHP, Rockies:  At this point, it’s tough to say who gets the call between Butler and Gray once an opportunity arises in Colorado.   I have Gray as the more talented pitcher with greater impact potential, but Butler is a fine prospect in his own right, and he might even be a tick more advanced, developmentally.  More on him here.

23.  Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins:  The Marlins have shown a willingness to promote prospects as soon as they’re ready for the highest level, and Heaney will be ready in 2014.  He’s unlikely to bring the sort of impact that Jose Fernandez brought in 2013, but that’s an unreasonable expectation of anyone on this list.  Heaney posted a sub-2 ERA through 19 outings in 2013, and I suspect he’ll get a shot in Miami before long.

24.  Matt Davidson, 3B, White Sox:  He’s not going to hit for average, but he’s capable of drilling 25 homers this season, so do keep him in mind.  Davidson comes in at #30 in Grey’s 3B rankings.

25.  Alexander Guerrero, 2B, Dodgers:  Frankly, I’m at a loss when it comes to projecting Guerrero.  There’s clear upside, but on the other side of things, his floor seems pretty low, too.  I have some notes on the 27-year-old Cuban in my Dodgers MiLB preview, and Grey has his take in his 2B rankings, where Guerrero comes in at #18.

  1. Beardcrabs says:
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    @Scott Evans: If Profar had rookie eligibility where would you have him…

    • @Beardcrabs: He’d be #3 or #4… glad I didn’t have to make that decision between Profar & Bogaerts

  2. Raftman says:
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    No Sano?

    • @Raftman: I don’t think Sano surfaces until late-season… maybe not until 2015.

  3. JoeyBelle says:
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    Chris Owings just miss the cut?

  4. rotorankers.tumblr.com says:
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    Should I be keeping Bradley as my last keeper? I’m a Dbacks fan and 150 players are kept in the league with no restrictions. 10 teams, 15 keepers per team.

    • @rotorankers.tumblr.com: He’s keepable in a league this deep, sure… just understand that he might waste space on your bench for a good chunk of the year…

  5. The Thumb says:
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    It’s December 2014 and the AL and NL ROY goes to _________ and ___________!

    Right now I’d guess Abreu and Bradley.

    Call me crazy or call me maybe?

    • @The Thumb: Totally plausible prediction… I’ll say Tanaka & Taveras.

  6. Ra'zball Al Ghul says:
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    What to do… with Sano, Baez, and Springers super high K rates and K amounts? I just can’t get past those K numbers and see productive big league careers ahead, or hitters than can ever crack .250. Springer might get it together because he takes a lot of walks too, but… yipes.

    These are not direct comparisons, just some guys that K/K’d a lot. Adam Jones makes it all work with high-k (nowhere near these 3) and low bb rates because he is a good “bad-ball” hitter, and Goldschmidt had/has a lot of K’s too (nowhere close to Sano and Springer though), but he also took/takes a lot more walks than Baez or Sano do. Pedro Alvarez struggles to hit .240 and yet he never struck out per games played in the minors as much as these 3 guys are…

    Help me have hope Scott! Thanks man

    • @Ra’zball Al Ghul: I think the approach concerns you’re expressing aren’t necessarily alarming unless you’re in a points league that docs for whiffs… Springer, I would guess, is the only one of the three who might be prone to a slow big league start because of the swing-and-miss…

      • centerfield _ ballhawk says:
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        @Scott Evans: I feel like Springer fits in well with the current swing – and – miss brand of Astros baseball.

    • @Ra’zball Al Ghul: To unpack that comment a bit further… with all three of these guys, the swing-and-miss is part of what makes them good… they’re aggressive at the plate & they have the bat speed & hand-eye to attack pitches that most others wouldn’t dream of swinging at… this approach leads to hefty whiff totals, but it also leads to hefty long ball totals… I’m afraid the whiffs will follow these guys throughout their careers, but I think the good outweighs the bad…

      • Ra'zball Al Ghul says:
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        @Scott Evans: good points. yeah i didn’t ask my questions very well. I guess I am just looking at those K’s (and high BABIPs) and thinking that they aren’t ever going to ever hit for average and with less contact and up and down swing and miss careers their counting stats will suffer too.
        I guess my point is, after a lot of research, I haven’t found many other success stories in the past 10 years with K numbers like that in the minors, and I don’t think these guys are so special as to not fit in with historical norms of baseball outcomes. I hope I am wrong.

        but I like your point about their mashing ability and their skills to get to pitches others cannot. thanks man! awesome stuff as always

        • @Ra’zball Al Ghul: I follow you… I think Baez is a lock to produce at the highest level, but he’s the type of talent that doesn’t come around very often… Sano & Springer are risks because of the trend you’re outlining, sure…

  7. The Thumb says:
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    Would you expect Martinez to hold the Rosenthal set up role in 2014? As someone in a saves + holds league, he could be very intriguing…

    • @The Thumb: Yes, he appears to be headed for the setup role, but we’ll know more during ST

  8. Count de Monetball says:
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    Scott, do you have a link to your last year’s top 25, I would just like to remember how much you helped me last year. Thanks!!!!!! (yep, 6 exclamation points)

  9. Swfcdan says:
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    Great, just in time dude!

    Exciting times, got some picks coming up in both my ongoing slow minors drafts right now, both are scratch drafts. First one, Iam on the wheel so two picks coming up soon. Can you rank these guys for me for keeper purposes:

    K Zimmer, R Stephenson, J Soler, A Almora, A Sanchez, J Singleton, C Seager.

    Other pick in the other draft isn’t for a little while yet. Thanks man.
    P.S have changed my username to this due to some trolling by one guy over on Grey’s thread.

    • @Swfcdan: Stephenson, Soler, Zimmer, Sanchez, Singleton, Seager, Almora

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @Scott Evans: Great stuff thanks.

        My pick’s arisen now. Most of those guys available including the top 3. Seeing as there are so many top pitching prospects around, would it be crazy to go Soler and Singleton here (him being the only good 1B prospect)? Was thinking I should still get a good arm on the return. If Stephenson’s too good to miss though I’ll take him and Soler.

  10. Yescheese says:
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    Great work Scott!

    I’m curious if you do a ranking of 2013 MILB draft class folks only, for those of us in recurring dynasty leagues. Obviously certain rankings are apparent (kris Bryant #1 for fantasy perspective)

  11. Sky

    Sky says:
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    Javier…so want…he’s a reason i’ll be pretty much ignoring most of the MIs save a few in my deep keeper league.

    • Count de Monetball says:
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      @Sky: Totally can’t wait to watch him at Wrigley this year!!!!! I am sure Tom (Jacks) will make sure he can attend that day as well…

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        Cubs have an exciting farm system. Should be a fun team to watch the next couple of years fur sure. Tom Jacks will still be too busy reading about the GOP to catch the game (I keed, I keed…but no, really…he will be).

        • @Sky: Speaking of… Cubs preview runs Sunday…

          • Sky

            Sky says:
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            In a word: giddy

          • Count de Monetball says:
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            @Sky: re@Scott Evans: Can’t wait to read it!!!!! I have read all about the farm system, can’t wait to read it from the fantasy prospective! Here’s my quick guess…

            1. Baez
            2. Bryant
            3. Almora
            4. Soler (Lots of Risk)
            5. C.J. Edwards
            6. Alcantara
            7. Vizcaino (still have false hope for him being a SP)
            8. Olt
            9. Vogelbach
            10. P. Johnson

            Just missed …Christian Villanueva, Candelario, Szczar

            Honestly, I don’t care if I’m right, I just wanted to make an official guess for fun!

            • @Count de Monetball: Mine will be slightly different, but it’s tough to argue with this Cubs system. any way you want to slice it or dice it, it looks good

            • Raj says:
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              @Count de Monetball:

              Bryant is so impressive that I could see him getting the call before Baez. The question is where do these guys play? I don’t see Baez at SS, nor do I see Bryant at 3B.

          • Tom Jacks

            Tom Jacks says:
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            @Scott Evans: Nice list Scott, I’m definitely looking forward to your Cubs preview. Especially interested in your view on Olt and Vogelbach…

            • @Tom Jacks: Thanks, Tom. I always appreciate a fan’s perspective on my lists, so I’m looking forward to your thoughts on Sunday… Olt & Voges will both be ranked … I’m not as concerned as others are about Olt’s lousy ’13

              • Tom Jacks

                Tom Jacks says:
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                @Scott Evans: Good to hear. I’m cautiously optimistic that Olt might be over his vision issues since he started taking eyedrops to alleviate his severe allergies. Vogelbach seems to get disregarded by most since he’s out of shape, but out of shape first basemen aren’t exactly uncommon.

                • True… great trade piece if he can shape up even a little bit, though…

                  • Tom Jacks

                    Tom Jacks says:
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                    @Scott Evans: Agreed. He’d be a nice DH.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Sky: The Cubs and the GOP are likely to be equally pathetic this year. Unlike the GOP, the Cubs have exciting prospects and project to improve over the next few years…

          • Sky

            Sky says:
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            Hahaha, TOM! You know I heart you. And if you don’t…well, I heart you. I think it’s clear now.

            • Tom Jacks

              Tom Jacks says:
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              @Sky: And IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Will Always Love UUUUUUUUUUUU

              Too soon?

              • Sky

                Sky says:
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                Are you saying I’m gonna get shot?

                • Tom Jacks

                  Tom Jacks says:
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                  @Sky: I’ve already said too much.

                  • Sky

                    Sky says:
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                    Ha!

      • Tom Jacks

        Tom Jacks says:
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        @Count de Monetball: Baez’s debut falls under the definition of a “personal day” at work, right?

        • Count de Monetball says:
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          @Tom Jacks: Absoluetly, same with Bryant if he comes up this year!!!!

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        The conversation between Scott Evans and Javier Baez, as played by Veronica Corningstone and Ron Burgundy:

        • Count de Monetball says:
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          @Scott Evans: @Sky: Nice Sky! Oh man, I guess i need to break down and finally watch that movie. (been kinda sick of Will Farrell)

          • Sky

            Sky says:
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            You can stay sick of him. I really only watch one Will Ferrell movie and it’s the first Ron Burgundy. I never really got into Ferrell either, personally.

            • J-FOH says:
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              @Sky: Old School is the best

              • Sky

                Sky says:
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                Oh that one is great but I wouldn’t classify it as a ‘Will Ferrell movie’. I like him better when he’s not the lead character for most of his movies.

                • I can’t stand the repetitiveness of the Ferrell/Sandler man-child role. Same character across 10+ movies

                  • Sky

                    Sky says:
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                    Ugh, exactly. In fact, most of what I liked about Anchorman were the other characters. I quote Brick and Brian Fantana (yes, I’ve seen it way too many times) more than I quote Ron Burgundy.

                    Billy Madison and Happy Gilmour…and that’s probably it and it’s been recycled 500 times over. Water Boy had its moments but most of them not Sandler himself.

                    • Yeah I thought Carell was great in Anchorman. He had a few great supporting roles before becoming leading man. Was very good in 40 year old virgin but can’t recall anything memorable since

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Date Night was fun but badly advertised. Little more real than the previews let on. He did some weird thing with Jim Carey…Las Vegas magicians? Ehhhh…loved 40 year old virgin and the writers/producers with those projects in general (Superbad, Knocked Up, Bridesmaids, etc). Not all of them were great but there was a certain level of humanity to them all. They kept it out of going off the wall ridiculous. Made characters you could relate to and actually side with/pull for.

                    • Great point re:humanity and Carell. Not a speck of it in Ferrell/Sandler humor.

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Yeah, I don’t mind when a movie gets wild or goes full slapstick. It works sometimes, others not. I’ll heart Zoolander until the day I die. Same with Burgundy. But its rare to pull it off for 90 minutes and not lose some of your audience.

                  • Count de Monetball says:
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                    @Rudy Gamble: You nailed it rudy, that’s my issue with a lot of those movies, just never been able to quantify it perfectly as you did…

                • J-FOH says:
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                  @Sky: that’s what I liked about it. He wasn’t the lead. If you want to see some great Will ferrel watch the Ladies Man. Thats a good 10 minutes of screen time. Frank the Tank in Old School is the best thing he has ever done. The supporting roles in Anchorman save that movie…..Step Brothers had it’s moments.

                  • Sky

                    Sky says:
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                    He was great as Mr. Mugatu as well. We were just talking about lead roles was all. Ron Burgundy works. The Ricky Bobby one had its moments too but I couldn’t sit through it the whole way. Step Brothers, same.

            • Count de Monetball says:
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              @Sky: I will check it out, seen Night @ Roxbury (horrible) and Elf (meh) so many times.

  12. Ricardo says:
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    Was Maikel Franco close?

    • @Ricardo: He was… you’ll see Franco in the next group (26-50)

  13. Eddie says:
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    How far down would you bury Hamilton in your rankings for an OPS H2H league that uses net steals and doesn’t count runs as a cat? I can keep him for pretty cheap (20th Rd), but am afraid that his value won’t be that great in this format… Thanks!

    • @Eddie: Oof, no runs really hurts the outlook… and I’m doubtful that he can post much better than a .300 OBP… I’d try to trade him if possible (hold & trade if need be) … I think his perceived value in your format is gonna be much greater than actual value…

  14. willy says:
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    RE: Springer… Generally speaking in fantasy it doesn’t matter if a guy is K’d out, ground out, flied out or lined out… I see a guy who can be a 30/20 guy or even better and that excites me. If he strikes out 100 times a year, but can maintain a .350 OB% then that will = big time OPS (which my league counts). I’m keeping him in my 12 team salary based pool and hope for him to reach his potential. I love his upside!

    • @willy: You’re correct in that a player’s means of making an out doesn’t really matter, unless you’re in a points format that docs for whiffs… I suppose if you really want to dig into the batted ball numbers, GO/FO/K trends can be indicators of regression (positive or negative)… in the case of Springer, the whiffs go hand-in-hand with the power & I expect them to follow him throughout his career, but as you point out, that’s not necessarily a bad thing…

  15. J-FOH says:
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    Great stuff as always and thanks to Sky for tweeting this out sans the Bret Favre drop. Have you considered doing a top 20 hitters column and a top 20 pitchers column?

    • @J-FOH: No, I don’t think I’ll be doing anything position-specific… I thought about doing top-20′s for every position — a sort of deep dynasty positional prospect ranking — but not enough time this year… maybe 2015…

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Scott Evans: just a thought

  16. Good list, thanks.

    Billy Hamilton sucked last year, yes. But between 2010-2012, he got a lot of hits (in chronological order: .318, .278, .323, .286–that’s with 4 teams over those 3 years).

    During that time, he also walked at a MUCH better clip than he did last year, inc. forcing 86 walks in 2012.

    My point is that Hamilton’s inferior performance in Triple A last year as a 22 year-old does not necessarily mean he lacks an ability to hit for average or walk.

    Because players sometimes just slump, it’s possible that he rebounds. Stranger things have happened and there is a respectable track record of better performance–and that dagburn game-changing superman skill of his.

    I’m not saying that I know what Billy Hamilton will do this year, but I understand Grey’s optimism and I happen to agree with it–for the reasons just stated.

    Most importantly, people shouldn’t discount the cosmic factor: Billy Hamilton is also the name of the turn of the 19th century Hall of Famer (uh…Billy Hamilton) who stole 100 bags himself a few times and in 1894 set record for most stolen bags in one game (7) and for many years had more SBs than any other Major League player.

    That’s just plain weird and I think we should have more fun with it. I say we call our version: Son of Billy Hamilton or Billy Hamilton, Jr.

    Something!

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @Fanthed: other than having the same last name his parents could have been every bit aware of who the earlier billy hamilton was and named him simply for that guy. Looking at him i’m betting his parents at the least knew he’d be a skinny fast adult (guessing his parents are generally pretty thin and athlete like)

    • I lean toward the ‘Son of…’ title if we’re voting. And sure, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about Hamilton, and plenty of ways to read into his MiLB #s… I guess I’m of the school of thought that figures Hamilton had such success at the lower levels because, simply put, the lower levels are easier than the upper levels… there’s a wide range of possible outcomes for Hamilton’s 2014 & I’m just looking forward to seeing how it plays out…

  17. mr fungi says:
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    great stuff as always guys!

    got offered a trade in a dynasty league, 2 for 1, salazar and avisail for yelich.

    yea or nay? I’m giving up yelich.

    • Close, but I’d hold Yelich

    • Thorbs says:
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      @mr fungi: I second that – Yelich’s floor is far higher than Avisail’s (he could end up being like a shitty Drew Stubbs if things don’t come together)

  18. Matthew says:
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    WELL!!! It’s that time of year, research and draft, FANTASY BASBEALL.

    My q is, to you and I want to ask Grey and Sky and everyone.

    I can do the research myself, but I was wondering they everyone evry thought of putting in the top rankings next to each guys name who they would Avoid/Not Avoid?

    Just a suggesion.

    It’s not the easy way out of reading everything, we come here so we CAN read everything, but it kind of gives us an idea of who YOU guys like specifically.

    Example, Grey will say: I want an OF from this Tier, but he will also say, I won’t be drafting him, is there a specific reason why?

    Hope I made sense.

    • Matthew says:
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      @Matthew: BTW, Kinda coulda done w/o the question, but I guess I asked it because I am trying to figure out where I want to draft what position ALA, Do I want a SS early like Segura if when that pick comes up it falls to me and sounds right, or should I wait for a guy like Boegearts afteer taking my corner and middle IF, 2-3 OF and a UTIL and a slew of SP’s.

      HAHA, maye sound confusing , but it’s more of a would you guys consider question, but it’s pretty uneccesary, just wanted to show some love to be honest!! HAHA.

      ONE LAST THING.

      As a hug baseball fan, I am a diehard Fins fan, but never really understand how they trade everything away, because of budget concerns or just Loria for that matter, but always end up with qa mediocre farm system, it used to be the opposite when WAYNE owned the team although he fire sold too. How does a team Like Boston and TEX always hold top prospects on a stacked high budget team, but Miami trades away for prospects and ends up with subpar prospects. How is this?

      Can we just have an hourlong lunch discussion? HAHA!!!

      • @Matthew: Ha! How quickly we forget that the Marlins just graduated Yelich & Fernadez, two of the top young players in the game.

    • inertiatic says:
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      @Matthew: I think it’s pretty clear that Grey already does that. Especially in the top 100 blurbs, there’s clear cut lines drawn between tiers and who he’s avoiding. Not to mention the sleeper/overrated posts. If say Grey,Rudy, Sky, Scott, etc. had a combined list of wants & not wants it may be interesting to compare but how vastly are they going to differ?

    • Thanks, Matthew! I think it’s usually pretty clear from our notes how & why we feel about a given player, but some sort of hot/red, cold/blue color scheme might be worth exploring… I’ll run in by the brain trust

      • Matthew says:
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        @Scott Evans: HAH, To make a long story short, in my second post, thats basically what I said, meaning you guys answer the questions with tier’s and what not. So yeah, maybe ya’ll didnt read my story I wrote HAHAHA. JK, funny stuff. But yeah, aside from Yelich and J Fer, a ton of recent day prospects for the Fish have no succeeded ya know.

  19. Thorbs says:
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    Great stuff as always!

    Question about those older guys mixing in with young prospects:

    In my dynasty league, I’ve got the third overall pick – J. Gray, Bryant, Frazier, Tanaka and Abreu are all coming up this year, so I’ll have my pick of one of them. Bryant/Gray will likely be stashable as a minor league keeper for next year as well if they’re September callups (we use MLB rookie rules of 150AB or 40 IP or whatever).

    I imagine Tanaka and Bryant will be the first two off the board…how would you rank those 5 guys and who would you take 3rd if Tanaka and Bryant are gone? I see them longterm as:

    Bryant
    Gray
    Tanaka
    Frazier
    Abreu

    and 2014 as :

    Tanaka
    Abreu
    Bryant
    Gray
    Frazier

    Keep up the good work!

  20. Longterm: Bryant, Frazier, Gray, Tanaka, Abreu … 2014: Tanaka, Abreu, Gray, Bryant, Frazier

    Depending on your MiLB keeper situation, I’d be really tempted to take Frazier #3… if you feel you can’t wait on him, then go for Gray.

    • Thorbs says:
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      @Scott Evans: My prospects/26-and-under guys are:
      Bats: Goldy, Bruce, Yelich, Trout, Avisail Garcia, Leonys Martin, Matt Davidson
      Arms: Ryu, Skaggs, Alex Wood, Paxton.

      Prospects: Hanson, Cecchini, Odor, Paulino, DeShields, Dahl…I could keep Kepler/Williams/Schoop instead of any of my prospects, but I think I could get those guys back in the draft if I let them go.

      So…I’ve got promising young bats, but pitching-wise most of my keeper options are late-20s or older (Greinke, Hamels, Shark, Shields, CJ Wilson, Niese, etc.) and none of my young guys have ace potential.

      So…I was thinking Gray could be a good centrepiece for eventually rebuilding my arms. Does that change your mind at all?

      • @Thorbs: It does. You have the right idea… go for Gray.

        • Thorbs says:
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          @Scott Evans: Awesome man…thanks for weighing in!

  21. Slumpbustin says:
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    If you had to rank for the next 3 years how would you rank the following:

    tanaka
    Abreu
    G. Polanco
    O. Tavaras

    • Thorbs says:
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      @Slumpbustin: I’m not Scott, but I’d put them as:

      Tanaka
      Abreu
      Taveras
      Polanco

      and longterm:
      Taveras
      Polanco
      Tanaka
      Abreu

  22. Shake N Bacon says:
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    The prospect whisperer is back!!! Or maybe it’s me whom is back, since you never left…

    So a few keeper questions for you Scott:
    1) Rizzo is not too far removed from the prospect world. Would you rather have him or Jose Abreu this year? I could keep Rizzo as my 6th keeper this year (no price or round associated with him in this league) or throw him back into the player pool and try to get Abreu at some point in the draft.
    2) Segway into my next question, how early would you draft Abreu in a 12-team keeper league if you needed a 1B?
    3) Last Question…How soon would you be looking at Tavares in a 12-team keeper league? Mid-teens? If he has the possibility to make an impact like Trout or Puig, I’m willing to take a little risk and have him on the bench until he gets called up.

    Love the prospect articles as always. Keep ‘em coming.

    • @Shake N Bacon: 1) I like Abreu slightly more, but the proposition of keeping Rizzo for no cost seems like a safer option than testing your luck in the draft & hoping you snag Abreu

      2) Rd 6ish

      3) Mid/late teens… all depends on how much you believe

      • Shake N Bacon says:
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        @Scott Evans: Thanks for the reply Scott!

        Yeah I bet I could get Abreu with my 7th round pick. The way our draft works is the first 6 rounds are all keepers. Then 7th round is the first round where we get to choose from the available player pool. I have the 11th pick of the round, so pretty late. But I’d think either Abreu or Rizzo (if I didn’t keep him) would make it to me at that point.

        I don’t know a lot about Tavares, but you seem to like him more than Springer and Hamilton, which is good enough for me. I don’t mind reserving one bench spot for someone with his potential. Unfortunately, being a keeper league, I bet he is drafted by the 10th round. I probably won’t be drafting him.

  23. Oppo taco says:
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    Ryan Zimmerman/profar/boegarts/kimbrel/wheeler. Can only keep one of this bunch, we can keep forever and no prices on keepers. Zim seems safest but my gut says boegarts. My team is in a good spot to challenge for first this year. Thoughts?

    • @Oppo taco: It’s between Bogaerts & Profar for me… leaning slightly toward Xander…

  24. Kraftster says:
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    Please rank these prospects that fell below the radar and are available in this year’s draft. No focus on 2014, preference towards long-term highest upside:

    Andrew Heaney
    Maikel Franco
    Garin Cecchini
    Cody Asche
    Brad Miller
    Masahiro Tanaka
    Jose Abreu
    Josmil Pinto
    MAG
    Rafael Montero
    Eddie Butler
    Marcus Stroman

    Also, if you don’t mind, which guys, if any, should be considered before even looking at the 2013 MLB draft class.

    • @Kraftster: If you want to narrow your scope down to 5 prospects, I can sort those out for you… not gonna rank 12 guys… sorry.

      • Kraftster says:
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        @Scott Evans:

        Sure.

        What do you got on Heaney, Franco, Asche, Miller, Cecchini?

  25. Hawk says:
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    Hey Scott- great list!

    Where would Michael Wacha rank if he were still rookie eligible?

  26. BucLover says:
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    Hey Scott, I’m in a 12 team roto 7 (includes H,OPS) X 6 (includes QS)…we can keep six with no penalty,,snake draft….My 3 sure fire keepers are E5, McCutchen, JayBruce….what three would you keep from this list of remaining players-
    Carpenter, Brandon Phillips, Machado, Brantley, Posey, Matt Adams, Bogaerts, Cole, Hardy, Gyorko

    If Cole isn’t in your three, is he close? I’d love to have him on my team, being a big Pirates fan.
    I got into this league by trolling the yahoo message boards…this will be year two,,,I expect this league will have staying power…don’t know if that makes a difference for a guy like Bogaerts who might have exponentially better seasons in 2015,16, etc.
    Thanks for the help!

    • @BucLover: Machado, Posey, Cole… Carpenter is also intriguing in this format…

      • UncleLarryWalker says:
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        @Scott Evans: Based on the format, he’s not the ideal choice, but god I love Gyorko. 25 HRs a lock from 2nd base…

  27. Swfcdan says:
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    Right my first pick coming up soon in my other scratch prospect draft, dynasty league. Guys left of interest are: A Bradley, C Correa, J Abreu, G Springer, J Taillon, N Syndergaard, B Hamilton, D Bundy.

    Could you rank them again for me? Obviously I won’t be asking you each time, but the first few picks with the top guys are always important. Have another pick soon round the corner too, so this will help for that one too. Thanks a lot man.

  28. UncleLarryWalker says:
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    Almora & Bryant forthcoming for the Cubbies? Could be a big year for the north-siders from a rookie-splash perspective: Almora, Baez, Bryant, and Solder (long shot)…

    • @UncleLarryWalker: I’d be surprised if we see Almora before 2015… Baez could be up before July… Bryant & Soler could be late season arrivals… definitely think Cubs will try to give the fans a little taste of the future, though.

      • UncleLarryWalker says:
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        @Scott Evans: What’s the deal with them talking about moving Baez. Castro is “Not Good” at best at SS, why not move Castro to 2nd?

  29. Todd25 says:
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    Hey Scott,
    I’m curious your take on it, and stop me if you’ll address it in part 2: the Cody Asche v Maikel Franco sitch… What do you expect out of that scenario, if Franco is called up does he take over 3B and where does that live Asche (assuming both maintain MLB acceptable numbers)? and/or what might we expect of that moving past this season.

    • @Todd25: Franco will be in part 2, but I’ll offer up a bit of a spoiler on this — I expect Asche to hold the 3B job, and I’m thinking Franco surfaces at 1B… Howard hasn’t been able to stay on the field last two years, and it’s reasonable to assume that trend continues in 2014…

  30. Jay says:
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    Scott a couple of days late on this so i hope you see it…

    I am having an issue deciding my keepers here. we keep 5 score traditional 5×5 plus QS and TB. H2H 10 tm league. we allow draft pick trading. So last year I traded away some earlier picks and now only pick in the 8th and 11th before falling into a cadence.

    I have Votto, Beltre, Stanton, Strasburg, Kipnis, Machado.
    I REALLY like machado but understand that the other five are more valuable going into this year. I think Beltre is in for a really good year. votto Stras and Stanton no brainers for me.

    I am on the fence about Kipnis vs Machado. With the knee injury I have some concerns but i also have concerns about Kipnis’ second half woes.

    any thoughts?

    • @Jay: I’d keep Machado… I believe he’s one of the top 2 young talents in the game (behind only Trout). In a keeper where you can hold him forever, I think you’d be crazy to let him go… keep in mind, though, that I have an unhealthy love affair w/ Manny…

  31. Outlawbaker says:
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    Offer on the table is George Springer (my guy) for Francisco Lindor (his guy). Lindor’s impressive glove tool gets me didley in fantasy. But, he’s about as lock as there is for staying at SS. Springer’s offensive potential is greater but so is the perceived risk (tons of K’s). In a vacuum, would you trade Springer for Lindor? Thanks!

    • @Outlawbaker: Lindor is nowhere close to Springer from a fantasy perspective. That’s a very lopsided over IMO.

  32. CL says:
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    Scott:

    We just had our waiver draft, Year 7 dynasty league. 10 teams. New this year we added 3 NA slots to the rosters specifically to keep more prospects. And whoa. Top 30-ish prospects (or more) are now gone, and in fact have been for a year or so now.

    I went shopping for MI and SP, with a 2014-2015 horizon, and ended up with Biddle (Phillies), Fried (Padres), and Delino Deshields Jr. (Astros).

    My question: Would you rather any of these guys over any of those listed above:
    Corey Seager (Dodgers)
    Eddie Butler (Rockies)
    Marcus Stroman (Bluejays)

    Utley & JJ Hardy are my quickly aging (aged?) MI, and I really need to gamble and win to shore up my starters (A.Cobb & G. Cole are my headliners with some decent older guys though).

    • @CL: Hold Cobb, drop Biddle & Delino, add Butler & Stroman… Seager is a great prospect, but he’s a couple years out & I’m thinking he’s a 3B by the time he surfaces.

      • CL says:
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        @Scott Evans: What about Fried? Hold? Because Cobb was my draft pick from last year anyway. He’s held. Thanks!

        • @CL: I’m sorry I meant hold Fried, but I wrote Cobb… I was only concerned w/ your farm players anyway…

    • CL says:
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      @CL: Any suggestions for decent relievers as well?

      • @CL: Tough to say… most good RP pitch as SP in the minors…

        • CL says:
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          @Scott Evans: I hear ya. You no likey Biddle? I could hold him on my bench, with Fried, Stroman, and Butler NA’d…? Thanks for the input.

          • @CL: Not crazy about Biddle… command issues are concerning & speaking of RP’s, he’s a decent candidate for bullpen work if he can’t locate consistently…

            • CL says:
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              @Scott Evans: thanks for the input again. I’m holding biddle too. It’s early why not.

              /phils fanboy

              • @CL: Haha, that’s the beauty of dynasty fantasy baseball — there’s always upside..

  33. TheNewGuy says:
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    Ok getting much deeper in one of my drafts now. Got 2 picks coming up, want at least 1 bat. Can you rank these guys for me:

    Raul Mondesi, josh Bell, Johnathon Schoop, J Alfaro, Rossel Herrera, J Odorizzi, D Dahl, C Owings.

    Dont need to rank them but if you could just tell me the 2-3 best. Thanks!

    • @TheNewGuy: Alfaro, Dahl are your best upside bats, in that order… Owings & Schoop are of the safer bat variety — I like Owings of the two… Odorizzi is a nice, safe SP, but not a whole lot of upside… Herrera & Mondesi both bring big upside themselves… this deep, depends on what you need & how much patience you have… tough for me to rank without that in mind…

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @Scott Evans: Went for Dahl and Mondesi in the end, so seems like I’ve got some nice upside guys. Finished with Buxton, Soler, Stephenson, Dahl and Mondesi so very happy for a 16 teamer. And most excitingly I’ve got the no1 guy in Buxton, really excited to see him maybe even surface this year! Determined to hang onto him and not get enticed by any trade offers now ha.

  34. Dan says:
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    Will Jose Abreu block Keon Barnum from contributing if he pans out?

    Thoughts on Realmuto and Katoh?

    • @Dan: I think I answered this on a different thread…

  35. mindicohn says:
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    Need some help in 14 tm dynasty…our team is playing for future (we inherited bad team)…we’ve got Tanaka for $1 and being offered A.Almora for him? We’d also need to get somethiing else since we’re giving up extra FAAB money…Thoughts on ALmora?

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