Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (20) | 2013 (4) | 2012 (11) | 2011 (3) | 2010 (1)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [77-85] AL East
AAA: [75-69] International League – Durham
AA: [66-74] Southern League – Montgomery
A+: [63-70] Florida State League – Charlotte
A: [61-77] Midwest League – Bowling Green
A(ss): [46-30] New York-Penn League – Hudson Valley

Graduated Prospects
Jake Odorizzi, RHP | Brad Boxberger, RHP | Kevin Kiermaier, OF

The Gist
The Rays have had a very busy six months. They moved their ace David Price in a three-team deal that landed Willy Adames and major leaguers Nick Franklin and Drew Smyly. In July, they signed arguably the best international prospect available for just under $3M, which put them over their bonus pool limit. More recently they traded Jeremy Hellickson to Arizona for two quality prospects and sent Wil Myers in a surprising three-team deal that brought back another package of young talent headlined by Steven Souza of the Nationals. 2014 saw young arms like Jake Odorizzi, Brad Boxberger, and Chris Archer take steps forward in their development. It also surprised us with Kevin Kiermaier, who filled in for Wil Myers during his DL stint and proved to be a nice little power/speed combo in deep fantasy leagues. The Rays’ small budget won’t be any different in 2015, but the front office will – Andrew Friedman left for the Dodgers after ten years with Tampa Bay.

Top Ten Fantasy Prospects

1. Willy Adames, SS | Age: 19 | ETA: 2017

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
514 55 122 19 14 8 61 10.5% 24.5% 6 6 .271 .353 .429

What I love about the Rays’ system is their talent up the middle. They have multiple shortstops in the pipeline, not to mention a player like Hak-Ju Lee who didn’t even make this list. Adames came from the Tigers in the David Price deal. He spent the entire season in the Midwest League as an 18-year-old, where he was one of the youngest players in the league and in Single-A altogether. Facing older competition, Adames held his own and showed good power with 19 doubles, 14 triples, and eight homers. There is enough power to project 15 or more homers if he reaches his ceiling. That power – coupled with a hit tool that’s good enough to let him tap into it – makes him an attractive middle infield prospect for fantasy.

2. Adrian Rondon, SS | Age: 16 | ETA: 2019

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG

Ranking a 16-year-old this high is aggressive but Rondon was the cream of the international prospect crop in 2014. He is a great mix of what you want in a fantasy prospect – ability to hit and hit for power, enough glove to stick in the middle infield, and a mature approach that could accelerate his development. The Rays were all-in on Rondon, signing him for just under $3 million and blowing past their bonus pool limits. Patience is a must if you’re thinking about rostering a player like Rondon, since even an unabated path to the majors means he is still around four years away. However, this could be a special player in the making whose offensive skills at a premium position are extremely valuable in fantasy.

3. Steven Souza, OF | Age: 25 | ETA: 2015

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
419 62 123 25 2 18 77 12.4% 19.1% 28 7 .345 .427 .577

Souza was part of the package the Rays received for Wil Myers and not much has changed since ranking #4 on my Nationals list. Here is what I said there: “He can play all three outfield positions and has average (15-20 HR) power in addition to his speed, which was enough to swipe 20+ bags in three of the last four seasons. You might remember him making the catch that preserved the no-hitter for Jordan Zimmermann at the end of the 2014 season. 25 is older in the prospect world, but Souza has put up good numbers at every stop in his minor league career – all eight seasons of it. In fantasy we don’t really care when you get here as long as you produce when you arrive, and Souza has the chance to do that as an MLB regular.” He could land an everyday role in the Rays’ outfield in 2015.

4. Alex Colome, RHP | Age: 25 | ETA: 2015

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB/9 K/9 AVG
7 7 3.53 18 18 0 97.0 91 42 38 2 3.2 7.7 .252

Colome has already had a cup of coffee with the big club in each of the past two seasons. He has been in the Rays’ organization since he was just 18 years old and is finally ready to stick. Whether or not it is in the rotation remains to be seen, but Colome certainly has a good shot at the fifth rotation slot in 2015. His ceiling is a bit higher than that (#3/#4), with a big fastball and three other average or better offerings. He’ll make a nice streamer in standard leagues this season. His big fastball could also play in a relief role and there may not be room in the rotation for both Colome and Matt Moore at some point this year. Either way the Rays are going to see what he’s got since he’s out of options.

5. Justin O’Conner, C | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
424 49 111 35 2 12 47 3.8% 23.1% 0 0 .278 .316 .466

Ranking catching prospects for fantasy is tricky since much of their value is tied to their defensive skills behind the plate. O’Conner offers the rare package of good defense and a power bat that can play in the fantasy game. The former first-round pick looks like the future of the position for the Rays and his offense improved in 2014, most notably smacking twice as many doubles as the year before. It earned him a promotion to Double-A where he hit .263/.298/.388 with two homers in 21 games. He has raw power that could translate to 15-18 homers at the highest level if everything breaks right. He’ll get more time in Double-A this season and could see the bigs as soon as 2016.

6. Casey Gillaspie, 1B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2017

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
308 27 69 16 1 7 42 13.1% 21.2% 2 3 .262 .364 .411

The Rays selected Gillaspie in the first round (20th overall) in this year’s draft and he projects to be their first baseman of the future. His older brother Conor carved out a major league role with the Chicago White Sox. Gillaspie is what we want in a fantasy first baseman, as he can hit and hit for power from both sides of the plate. He’ll get his first taste of full-season pro ball in 2015 and could rise quickly in the prospect ranks if his power continues to show up in games. While he is still a couple of years away, Gillaspie could see seasons of 25+ homers with solid batting averages if he reaches his ceiling.

7. Ryan Brett, 2B | Age: 23 | ETA: 2015

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
459 64 128 25 6 8 38 5.2% 16.1% 27 7 .303 .346 .448

Two first names and a little of everything from a middle infielder? Yes please. Brett is close to the majors and could be valuable right away in AL-only formats thanks to his plus plus speed, solid bat, and gap power. Depending on how soon he slides into an everyday role, he may even be mixed league relevant in a middle infield slot. Brett’s timetable relies on what the Rays decide to do with Ben Zobrist, who is a free agent in 2016. Either way, expect Brett to get a shot at some point in 2015. It’s not hard to imagine him as a top-of -the-order hitter who steals bases and contributes solid run totals in fantasy.

8. Andrew Velazquez, SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
623 94 158 18 15 9 56 10.0% 21.9% 50 15 .290 .367 .428

Velazquez is yet another quality shortstop prospect in this system and he is a good example of the depth I mentioned in the Adames blurb. Velazquez came to the Rays in the Jeremy Hellickson trade. Still just 20 years old, he has a good bat and plus plus speed. It’s that speed that will carry his fantasy value as a middle infielder. Velazquez may not be on the same level as Adames or Rondon in terms of ceiling, but he has the tools to be a major leaguer. A couple of highlights from this season were his 74-game on-base streak and his league-leading 51 steals in the MWL.

9. Blake Snell, LHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB/9 K/9 AVG
8 8 3.19 24 24 0 115.2 95 50 41 2 4.4 9.3 .227

Snell was a first-round supplemental pick for the Rays in 2011 (52nd overall). His arsenal features a low-to-mid-90s fastball, plus slider, and plus changeup. His ceiling is more of a mid-rotation starter, but in deep leagues he’s a prospect worth checking in on just in case he figures out his control and takes another step forward. He will face a bigger challenge in 2015 when he gets his feet wet in Double-A. The 22-year-old lefty could be fighting for a spot in the starting rotation in the spring of 2017 or end up in a bullpen role. For now he is a “stash-and-see” in deeper dynasty formats.

10. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB/9 K/9 AVG
0 0 0.00 5 5 0 9.1 7 3 0 0 1.9 9.6 .194

Guerrieri is still making his way back from Tommy John surgery, but I could not justify leaving him off of this list after he was arguably the Rays’ best prospect at this time last year. When he was 100%, Guerrieri showed a plus fastball and curve and projected to be a solid starter in the majors. Now he is apparently working on a changeup that could have plus potential. The injury and questions about his make-up present a buy-low opportunity in dynasty leagues, and a good performance in 2015 should vault Guerrieri right back into the top 5 in this system. If Guerrieri’s injury is too big of a risk for your liking, Brent Honeywell should also be on your radar. The second round (supplemental) draft pick from 2014 came close to taking this tenth slot in the rankings.

Rays Previews: 2014 | 2013

AL T10 Prospects Index

   
  1. bossmanjunior says:
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    Nice write up…few note

    • bossmanjunior says:
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      @bossmanjunior:

      Oops..

      – Souza dealt with an injury and suspension early in his career but has ascended through the minors at a normal pace the past few years. Also, according to Kiley DaNiel, taller players tend to develop slower, especially in terms of power. Similar players like Morse and Werth didn’t really break into the majors until their 25 age season.

      – Brett could be an Altuve like player. Excellent contact rate, 5-10 home run power, and 30+ stolen base potential.

      – Adames has been compared to young a Miguel Cabrera.

      – Justin O’Connor seems to be a potential future Zunino. Low average, plus power, plus defense.

      – Name to keep an eye on…Brett Honeywell. Throws a nasty screwball and has impressed a lot of scouts in his debut this past year.

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        Thanks!

        Yup, mentioned Honeywell in the Guerrieri blurb. I like him…he’s on the cusp.

  2. Bossman Jr. wrote: “Adames has been compared to a young Miguel Cabrera.”

    That’s a huge statement and probably hyperbolic.

    But that Adames has literally been compared to Miguel Cabrera I’ll concede.
    Here’s one example (from Gradingonthecurve.com): “The six long balls [Adames’s total last year] may not seem like much but power is rarely manifest in teenage players; at the same age, Miguel Cabrera hit just seven shots in 465 plate appearances. Not that he has Cabrera level power.”

    Over at Fangraphs, Kiley McDaniel wrote (about Adames): “There should be more raw power coming with physical maturity and most scouts project it to land around average, which would be about 15 homers annually.”

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Yup. When looking at all of these guys, it’s a good idea to look at the scouting grades that seem to be the consensus in addition to the stats.

      So in Adames’ case I’m seeing a grade of average power (or 50 on the 20-80 scale) most places, which roughly translates to 15-18 homers…and that is nice power for a shortstop.

    • bossmanjunior says:
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      @Fanthead:

      Obviously Cabrera is an extreme projection. That’s just something I heard someone looselythrow out there. At 18, irit’s impossible to tell how he will fill out and what effect it may have on his development. From what I’ve read/seen, he’s extremely advanced for his age and has the potential to add a lot to his offensive game. He could be flying up prospect lists within a year or two or plateau. A more likely scene

      • bossmanjunior says:
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        @bossmanjunior:

        …scenario would be someone like Boegarts.

  3. JeF With 1 F says:
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    Happy Holidays Big Mike

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      You too JeF!

      I like the pic

  4. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Merry Christmas, Prospect Mike!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      You too Grey!

  5. Baezaworldseries says:
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    Merry Christmas Mike!
    What is it in the Rays system that continually pumps out success in their pitchers? I mean is it the pitching coaches, the scouting, or patience (no player ever seems rushed there)? Or is there something else?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Merry Christmas!

      It’s probably a little bit of everything, but I think it’s the coaching and patience that seem to be the biggest keys with pitching. Gotta figure it takes a while to not only develop an arsenal, but also control it and command it.

    • bossmanjunior says:
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      @Baezaworldseries:

      Like Mike said, there are multiple factors. First and foremost, they collect as many good bodied (6’2 200 lb) and athletic pitchers with good fastballs as possible. You can always teach offspeed stuff but can’t teach a good fastball. Secondly, they aren’t afraid to change a pitchers mechanics or approach based on the pitchers stuff. That could be as simple as shifting their positioning on the rubber, scrapping an ineffective pitch, increasing/decreasing pitch usage, or implementing a high fastball approach (much like Odorizzi and Smyly). They also prioritize character and work ethic. Hence why guys like Myers were shipped out. Lastly, they make sure all of their guys can throw a quality change up and will often have the older guys teach the younger guys. For example, Cobb worked with Odorizzi all last offseason and turned it into a plus pitch.

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        Good stuff Bossman!

  6. Baezaworldseries says:
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    I forgot to mention. Prospect Scott once compared Javier Baez’s hand speed to Miguel Cabrera’s (he’s no Cabrera). So those comps may be one part of his talents. Not an overall.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Yeah, comps can be super tricky.

      Sometimes it’s just one part of the player’s game like what you mentioned, other times it seems to be a way for an evaluator to talk about somebody that draws on information they already have stored away.

      “Player X reminds me of Player Y at the same age.” is different from “Player X is going to be the next Player Y”

    • @Baezaworldseries: Re: Comps. Fair enough. I would just advise specificity in using comps, esp. when dreamy names like Miguel Cabrera or Babe Ruth are involved (“He’s fat” is more precise, less hype-y, than “He’s been compared to a young Babe Ruth”).

      I look to Razzball for precision, not hype. By the way, Bossman Jr’s other comments about Souza and Honeywell were intriguing. I apologize for not saying this earlier.

      • Baezaworldseries says:
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        @Fanthead: I didn’t see where Razzball used that comp. Maybe I missed it. I see a commenter mentioned it.

        • @Baezaworldseries:

          I come to Razzball because the commentators can also offer insight and precision (unlike many other superficial sites). So I used the shorthand of Razzball in saying so. Sorry to have confused you Baeza. Merry Christmas.

          • Baezaworldseries says:
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            @Fanthead: Merry Christmas!!! It does sort of read like I was trying to be a douche. I wasn’t.

            • @Baezaworldseries:

              Thanks, Baeza. I could’ve been clearer. I’m all for holding commentators, including myself, to fair standards.

  7. Alan says:
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    Mike, would you rather have tapia or clint frazier?

    Thanks

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      That’s a tough one. I think both are great. My personal preference is Tapia though.

  8. Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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    why didn’t Lee make this list? he used to be ranked quite highly.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Injuries in 2013, poor performance in 2014. Hopefully he can bounce back. Still top 20…

    • bossmanjunior says:
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      @Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: He seemed reluctant to completely test his knee thus he took back in terms of defense and base running. Still has a chance to get fully healthy and reestablish his value.

  9. goodfold2 says:
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    in the case of TEX, should
    Ortiz LP
    J.Morgan SS/2B
    be ranked 9th and 10th, or would you have either of
    Forbes SS
    Martin LP
    ranked higher than them? very few available options on this team.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Ortiz most likely. There are lots of choices in the back half of that one. I like Demeritte, I like Brinson, etc…

      Since that league is super deep, give Hanser Alberto a look. He may not make the top ten but he is interesting and will probably be available later in your draft.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Mike: other than the guys just drafted only available people here is that MI Alberto you mentioned.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Gotcha. Maybe Kela (RP)?

          • goodfold2 says:
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            @Mike: Kela is open. So order for me at back end of top 10 should be something around ortiz/alberto/kela?

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              I might push Kela to the front of that list or at least consider him along with Ortiz. If your league counts saves, he is a good one to bet on for future closer in Texas and he is getting pretty close to the majors.

              • goodfold2 says:
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                @Mike: yeah, 6X6 with holds and OPS.

                • Mike

                  Mike says:
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                  In that case I might try for Kela. Could contribute to your bullpen late 2015/early 2016.

                  • goodfold2 says:
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                    @Mike: as of last year at this time BA says he had one of fastest fastballs in minors.

                    • Mike

                      Mike says:
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                      Yes. Solid arm. Especially if him landing in a setup role doesn’t kill his value in your league format.

  10. Matt says:
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    Mike

    Earlier in the week I asked you about a trade of Eloy Himinez, Brandon Drury, Oswaldo Arcia, Stroman and Rafael montero FOR Pence and Rondon

    Would Puig and Doolittle be a better haul or still stick with the quintet?

    5×5 roto CBS keep forever dynasty

    Thanks in advance

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Yup. I like that much better.

  11. Yescheese says:
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    Hey Mike,

    I’m curious where you would fantasy dynasty draft any of the J2 International signees (such as Adrian Rondon above) compared to 1st round MILB draft bats from last year.

    Would Adrian Rondon, Dermis Garcia, or Gilbert Lara rank above any of the 9 drafted in 2014? I have no doubt Castillo, Tomas & Moancada will draft higher than the 9.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Probably not Lara or Garcia, but yeah I would take Rondon in the top 10 or 15 picks.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Mike: you mean overall here? so rondon’s top 15, but he’s also behind wily adames? Or do you mean top 15 among internationals only?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          If I am reading the question right, I think it’s just among 2014 draftees and international specs. Adames signed in ’12 so he’d presumably not be available.

          • goodfold2 says:
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            @Mike: ok, but that is still pretty damn high, really.

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              absolutely, and some players would rather not roll the dice on the international guys which I understand.

  12. goodfold2 says:
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    what happened to toles in TB’s system? he was moving up these ranks a year ago, i just missed him by 1 pick in that league.
    2. also i got this offer, i’m thinking other than saving money no good. here it is
    my liriano 11.5 per year till end of 2016
    rj alvarez .4 mil till end of 2018
    for
    d.jennings 6.4 mil per till end of 2016
    e.romero .4 till end of 2018
    j.ames SP .4 till end of 2018
    i’m thinking d.jennings is coming up busty (only 15 steals last year?), and his OPS is awful. My team is filled with no homer/heavy steals guys, so even if his steals come back i don’t need those.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: all those prospects are actually free until they are brought up, then they cost .4 mil.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      1. Toles is probably more like top 20. Big speed guy, but weird character issues surfaced this year like not hustling, etc. and it cost him some time. Another guy that might bounce back quickly if he figures out whatever those issues were.

      2. Prefer Liriano side.

  13. james says:
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    I just finished an initial prospect draft for a dynasty league… this is the haul of prospects I have, any comments on how I did.
    Blake Swihart, Jorge Alfaro,. Raul Adalberto Mondesi, . Eddie Butler. Albert Almora, Trea Turner, Michael Taylor,. Raimel Tapia and. Mike Foltynewicz

    I clearly waited on pitching prospects (and am rather thin there), but could not pass on Eddie Butler’s upside after about 50-60 other prospects where gone (and really every other prospect with anywhere near his upside). I also know i am thin on infield prospects (modesi and Turner are the only guys in the infield for sure)

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      IMO I think you did really well. You’ve got a nice mix of guys who are closer to the bigs and farther away with a lot of upside. I’m a big fan of both Taylor and Tapia especially. I also like that you drafted a variety of positions but with a focus on the “up the middle” positions and stuck mostly to bats.

      Agree with you on the pitching. The fact that you waited and still got an arm like Butler is solid.

      • james says:
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        @Mike:

        I missed my last pick, I took Manaea to round out my SP options.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Also a good pick. Nice work!

  14. goodfold2 says:
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    with BAL
    z.davies RP (6th)
    t.berry LP (7th)
    m.wright RP (8th)
    Yastrzemski RP (9th)
    J.Reyes CI (10th)
    do you agree with these being placed here? or should any of drafted 2014 guys gonzalez/connaughton/hess/scott or somebody else be ahead of them? It appears this team has the most open players since LAA (6), and MIL/SEA (5) out of top 10.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Off the top of my head, Reyes will be higher on my fantasy list because of his power. I like Davies and Berry the most out of that pitching group. I am not sure about the 2014 draftees, but Hess could sneak in.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Mike: Reyes still behind these though?
        walker/sisco/alvarez. if reyes is your highest from what i listed above i’m trying to see where he is overall in this system.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          yes, behind those guys. Reyes likely in that 6-8 range

  15. Matt says:
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    Mike do you believe enough in Carrasco to trade Doolittle for him in long term dynasty league?

    Thanks in advance

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Anytime…straight up? Yeah, I would.

      • Matt says:
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        @Mike: Yes straight up. Though about offering Cishek but dont think that gets it done

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Yeah, I would make that swap.

          • Matt says:
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            @Mike: Thanks

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              no problem

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