In the words of Frank Lucas, “Rockies hitters are a brand name; as much a brand name as Pepsi. I own it. I stand behind it. I guarantee it, and people know that even if they don’t know me.” So the story goes for Rockies prospects reports, all the kids want to know about all the potential future Rockie bats, and are quick to raspberry a talented arm before his future Coors date. With this in mind, I try and focus on some of the more unheralded hitting talent amongst the Purple’s ranks. There is loads of infield depth in this system, with a fair share of mid-rotation arms, and some speedy outfielders to boot. It’s not the Rockies farms of the past few offseasons, but it’s a talented group nevertheless. The Rocks have done an excellent job of developing talent, and cashing in at the major league level over the years. The roster currently boasts home grown talents like Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, Jon Gray, Trevor Story, and DJ LeMahieu among others. So the question remains, who is the next player to emerge a fantasy star? Go ahead and take your best guess, it’s the Rockies Top Prospects for 2018 Fantasy Baseball.

 

1) Brendan Rodgers, SS | Age: 21 | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .336/.373/.567, 18 HR, 64 RBI, 2 SB

When it comes to natural hitting ability few are more blessed than Rodgers. Unfortunately, an overly aggressive plate approach limits some of this long term upside. That said he might have the best, or at the very least Top 5, hit tool + power combo in the minors. He makes loud hard contact to all fields and is a natural ballplayer. If he can develop more patience in 2018 he might touch Colorado by the end of the season. ETA: 2019

2) Ryan McMahon, 3B | Age: 23 | Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: .355/.403/.583, 20 HR, 88 RBI, 11 SB

The biggest helium rebound of 2017, McMahon went from Top 50 prospect entering 2016, to well outside the top 50 on every list entering this season. An improved approach, versatility in the field, and plus power make McMahon a redraft sleeper in 2018. That’s if the Rockies play him. ETA: 2018

3) Colton Welker, 3B | Age: 20 | Level: A | 2017 Stats: .350/.401/.500, 6 HR, 33 RBI, 5 SB

Ranking 67th on my Mid-season top 100 list, a groin injury caused him to miss two and half months of the season. Effectively stealing the second half of Welker’s 2017. A rare mix of contact and power make Welker yet another potential elite bat in Colorado’s system. He’s still just 20, and there’s a chance he could move off the position, but his upside is as high as anyone on this list not named Rodgers. ETA: 2020

4) Ryan Vilade, SS | Age: 18 | Level: Rk | 2017 Stats: .308/.438/.496 5 HR, 21 RBI, 5 SB

Made my Top 10 3rd base prospects list at 12. I know that doesn’t make sense. I’m enamored with Vilade’s mix of power, contact, approach, and athleticism. Technically Vilade is a shortstop, but he’s expected to move off the position, and his bat looks like it will play anywhere. Already showing the ability to make hard contact, best exemplified by his elite 26% LD%, Vilade has power to all fields. The whispers are that Vilade could see a full season assignment out of camp next year, making him one of the more unheralded talents of the current draft class. ETA: 2021

5) Tyler Nevin, 3B | Age: 20 | Level: A | 2017 Stats: .299/.353/.453, 8 HR, 52 RBI, 10 SB

The son of former number 1 overall pick Phil Nevin, Tyler is a power-hitting corner infielder with approach and plus contact skills. He’s had an injury riddled career thus far, one that has caused him to slip under the radar. A hamstring injury limited Nevin to a single game in 2016, and he missed time last year with a right wrist/hand injury. He returned to Asheville for the second half last year in heroic fashion, slashing .336/.381/.523 the rest of the way. Nevin does a good job of driving the ball to all fields, and though he hits a few more grounders than you’d like to see, his line drive rates have exceeded 20% at each junction. Overall I believe Nevin is primed for a breakout in 2018, especially with an assignment to high-A Lancaster. ETA: 2020

6) Tom Murphy, C | Age: 26 | Level: AAA | .255/.312/.426, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 0 SB

Every time I look back on Murphy’s 2017 season, I’m reminded that prior to fracturing his forearm in Spring Training Murphy had the inside track for the catching job in Colorado. Blessed with plus power, Murphy can mash. His swing is quick, lofty, and pull happy, making big homer totals a real possibility with a full season of catching starts in Coors. He’s solid enough defensively to stick behind the plate, giving him a nice floor as a fantasy contributor. Murphy’s 2018 pre-season outlook is a facsimile of his 2017, he needs to perform in Spring Training, stay healthy, and hit early in the season if he earns a spot on the 25 man. ETA: 2018

7) Garrett Hampson, 2B/SS | Age: 23 | Level: A+ | 2017 Stats: .326/.387/.462, 8 HR, 70 RBI, 51 SB

The next in a long line of former Long Beach shortstops, Hampson brings a nice mix of plus contact and plus plus baserunning ability. With his combination of contact, speed, and plate approach he has a shot to carve out a niche as a top of the order run producer. While he’s done a nice job of placing his hits, using the groundball and his legs, he still hits a fair amount of balls in the air (34.4%). Meaning he should have at least 8-12 homer power as a floor. With the lack of speed in today’s game players like Hampson are at a premium. He has a utility bat floor, and is another infield option in the Rocks system should DJ LeMahieu leave after 2018. Or God forbid, Nolan Arenado after the 2019 season. ETA: 2019

8) Sam Hilliard, OF | Age: 23 | Level: A+ | 2017 Stats: .300/.360/.487, 21 HR, 92 RBI, 37 SB

A former two way player on the JUCO and College circuit, Hilliard has flashed exciting fantasy tools over his professional career. In a 6’5 athletic body he can fill up the stat sheet swatting homers from the left-side and stealing bases regularly. Over the course of his two and a half professional seasons Hilliard has hit .289/.362/.481, with 45 HR, 217 RBI, and 79 SB. He’s had some great hitting environments to work in, but he’s had the skills to take full advantage. Some scouting reports even remark that he could tap into more of his raw power by adding a little more loft to his swing. The real test comes in the form of Hartford in 2018, and he’s the YardGoat (not named Brendan Rodgers) I’m most excited to watch in 2018. ETA: 2020

9) Peter Lambert, RHP | Age: 20 | 2017 Level: A+ | 2017 Stats: 9-8, 142.1 IP, 4.17 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 131 Ks, 30 BB

An advanced pitchability righty, with rapidly improving stuff, Lambert offers the best balance of ceiling and floor in the Rockies system. A softer thrower coming out of high school, Lambert has added 6-7 MPH on his fastball. Now he’s sitting 91-93 with plane and sink, occasionally hitting 95-96 when he needs it. I prefer his biting high 70’s curveball to his mid-80’s changeup, but both flash plus. The curveball gets more swings and misses, and might be the key to Lambert boosting his K rate. It’s easy to dismiss the righty based on his ERA, but keep in mind he spent the entire year at high-A Lancaster, one of the best hitting environments in baseball history. I think Lambert has the potential to be a very good #3 on a major league team, and a 4th or 5th starter on a fantasy team at his peak. He’ll likely see an assignment to AA Hartford in 2018, before he continues to face hostile home parks in Albuquerque and Coors eventually. Obviously the outlook of any Rockies pitching prospect is impacted by the future home park, and I can’t deny I’d be more excited about Lambert if he was in almost any other organization. Perception is mighty influential. ETA: 2019

10) Riley Pint, RHP | Age: 20 | Level: A | 2-11, 93 IP, 5.42 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 79 Ks, 59 Bb

There’s really not much to say on Pint other than to make excuses for why his performance his been so poor as a professional. Despite a lack of results, scouts and talent evaluators are bullish on him. They see the stuff, the plus fastball, plus curveball, plus changeup, and clean mechanics. They’ll tell you that it’s a matter of him repeating his mechanics and learning the art of pitching. I’m here to say I’m a bit skeptical. That’s not to say I don’t see talent, I do. Lots! But his control and command are way behind his stuff right now, and despite crooked pitches and good velocity, he still got hit hard. Let’s hope it’s simply an adjustment to pro-ball, and not another Tyler Kolek. ETA: 2021

11) Yency Almonte, RHP | Age: 23 | Level: AAA | 8-4, 111.1 IP, 2.91 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 93 Ks, 52 Bb

Twice traded in his career, Almonte was drafted by the Angels in 2012. A few years later he was dealt to the White Sox for Gordon Beckham, before coming to the Rockies in a deal for Tommy Kahnle. Almonte’s fastball is plus, sitting mid-90s, and hitting 98 at peak. With sink and plane, it’s not an easy pitch to square up. He dominated AA hitters in Hartford for two-thirds of his season, allowing yours truly to take in a few starts. The fastball is exactly as described, but the pitch I was most impressed with, was Almonte’s slider. It’s hard and sweeping, and can be plus when his command is dialed in. His changeup is average-fringe, but is mostly inconsistent. He should get another shot at the PCL and AAA Albuquerque, before getting some starts in Colorado late in the season. Due to his stuff, Almonte at worst has a bullpen floor, with the ability for his fastball-slider combo to play up in short spurts. Overall I see Almonte as back of the rotation arm with some swing and miss upside. ETA: 2018

12) Brian Mundell, 1B | Age: 23 | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: .300/.385/.472, 15 HR, 78 RBI, 1 SB

A line-drive machine first baseman, Mundell reminds me of former Brewer and Blue Jay Lyle Overbay, only from the rightside. Mundell’s compact swing peppers line drives up the middle and drives balls to all fields. Having watched Mundell’s batting practice personally there’s definitely more power in his bat than he’s flashed so far. So I can attest to the 60 raw power grades from scouts, even if it’s 45/50 game right now. The player I saw at Hartford was a very good hitter that worked counts, made consistent contact, and got on base with singles, doubles, and walks. The over the fence power wasn’t there, but Hartford, and the Eastern League aren’t great for power. Mundell is a low cost high floor option in dynasty leagues where 200+ prospects are owned. There’s still some ceiling if his power comes too! If he can pair his contact/approach profile with 25+ homer power we could have a player here. ETA: 2019

13) Jordan Patterson, 1B/OF | Age: 25 | Level: AAA | 2017 Stats: .283/.348/.539, 26 HR, 92 RBI, 3 SB

Unfortunately Patterson is one of those players that may never be what we hoped for a few years ago. It’s not the player necessarily either, he’s just been blocked at first base, right field, and left. He made adjustments to hit the ball in the air more this year, and it worked! Most impressively he maintained his 20%+ line drive rates, while turning 4% of 2016 groundballs into flies. If Patterson gets a shot at everyday at bats in 2018 he could carve out some value in all leagues. There’s definitely enough bat here for a major league career in my opinion. ETA: 2018

14) Ryan Castellani, RHP | Age: 21 | Level: AA | 2017 Stats: 9-12, 157.1 IP, 4.81 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 132 Ks, 47 Bb

A workhorse, who eats innings and throws lots of strikes, Castellani is inconsistent but flashes moments of brilliance. His fastball sits low to mid 90’s with good sinking action. His slider and changeup flash above average potential. I saw one of Castellani’s better starts in 2017, as he went 8 scoreless against New Hampshire, allowing 5 hits, no walks, and striking out 8 in the process. He has back-end of the rotation inning-eater potential. ETA: 2019

15) Forrest Wall, OF | Age: 22 | Level: A+ | 2017 Stats: .299/.361/.471, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 5 SB

Wall’s possible breakout season ended before it even started, when he dislocated his non-throwing shoulder. What we saw in that 22 games, was a player looking to hit for more power. Pulling the ball to right 48% of the time while boosting his flyball rate 12% year over year. It would have been interesting to see what kind of numbers the approach change would produce with a full season at Lancaster. He’s still a difference maker on the basepaths, having stolen 70 bases over his 286 professional games. Wall might be rounding a corner, and starting to touch on some of the upside that had so many people enamored post-2014 Draft. Considering his struggles, a minor league career batting line of .282/.358/.413 isn’t awful. Unfortunately Wall has a lot of lost time to make up in 2018. ETA: 2020

16) Wes Rogers, OF | Age: 23 | Level: A+ | 2017 Stats: .319/.377/.488, 9 HR, 82 RBI, 71 SB

One of the best statistical seasons in the minors, Rogers took full advantage of Lancaster in his second trip. As he raised his slugging percentage by .125+ points, and stole 85.3% of the bases he attempted. He went unprotected, and unselected, in the Rule 5 Draft this year, and I’m sure it was due to his lack of experience above A ball. With an elite 25.5% line drive rate, Rogers has an interesting combo of hard contact, and 80 grade speed. ETA: 2020

17) Daniel Montano, OF | Age: 18 | Level: RK | 2017 Stats: .270/.355/.423, 3 HR, 39 RBI, 9 SB

A projectable Venezuelan teenager with a quick bat, natural athleticism, and a discerning eye at the plate. He’s yet to make his North American debut, but he’s a very exciting positional talent to dream on. ETA: 2022

18) Ben Bowden, LHP | Age: 23 | Level: N/A | 2017 Stats: Did Not Play

A successful college reliever at Vanderbilt, a back injury kept Bowden on the shelf for all of 2017. When healthy he has a plus mid 90s fastball with sharp sink and downhill plane. His above average changeup flashes plus, and his slurvy breaking ball is yet to pick a shape. In this humble Prospector’s opinion the Rockies should use him out of the pen going forward. ETA: 2020

19) Chad Spanberger, 1B | Age: 22 | Level: Rk | 2017 Stats: .294/.368/.617, 19 HR, 51 RBI, 2 SB

A 6th round pick out of Arkansas, Spanberger draws comparisons to Chris Davis, with Herculean strength, and bat speed. He also swings and misses at high clip, I’d expect his rookie ball K% number of 26.4% to raise in full season ball. Spanberger has the raw power to put up big power numbers in Asheville and then Lancaster. A 2018 breakout wouldn’t be a shock. ETA: 2020

20) Sean Bouchard, 1B | Age: 21 | Level: RK | 2017 Stats: .290/.390/.477, 6 HR, 27 RBI, 6 SB

A 9th round pick out of UCLA, Bouchard finished 2017 ranked inside the Top 10 of PAC-12 hitters for homer runs, doubles, slugging, RBI, and total bases. He flashed plate approach, contact and power ability in his pro debut. Still a long way to go, but a notable 2017 draft sleeper. ETA: 2021

Other Names Considered: Will Gaddis, RHP, Breiling Eusebio, LHP, Mike Tauchman, OF , Noel Cuevas, OF, Bret Boswell, 2B, Robert Tyler, RHP, Sam Howard, LHP, Justin Lawrence, RHP, Pearson McMahan, RHP

 

Find all of the 30 Minor League Previews, and Offseason Rankings on the Minor League Index
On Twitter as @ProspectJesus

  1. DanTheMetMan says:
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    hey Ralph, where does Vince Fernandez rank and what can you tell me about him?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @DanTheMetMan: I’d rank him somewhere in the group listed below. He was old for the level, and strikesout a ton. Numbers are good, but Asheville will do it. There’s skills to like though. I’m not in love. I think he gets exposed at AA.

  2. Anon Gonzalez says:
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    Ralph, whose bat do you like better for the future, McMahon or Austin Hays?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Anon Gonzalez: McMahon for me! The shoe might be on the other foot if Hays was a Rockie.

  3. JB says:
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    Ralph –

    Are you still a fan of Austin Meadows? What do you think his MLB numbers will be this year?

    • JB says:
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      @JB: and while we’re at it – would you consider Dansby Swanson a prospect bust? Or did he get brought up too soon and this first year was more like his AAA leaning season?

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @JB: I think he rose quickly throughout 2016, showed something at the MLB level, and got people buying in. He disappointed in 2017, and everyone is ready to write him off. He still knows how to hit, get on base, run, with average power. He could rebound big this year if he makes the appropriate adjustments. Way too early to write off a talented kid with high quality makeup.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @JB: I’m not writing off Meadows, thigh his inability to remain healthy is troublesome. The skills are there, and with a normal healthy season i can see him get back on track. The Pirates should smarten up and shop some of their expiring vets.

  4. Racehorse says:
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    Ralph –

    Any day there’s talk about Rockie bats is a great freaking day — ‘build the offense first, find pitching on the fly’ has always been my boilerplate ~

    Please rank … Sheldon Neuse, Welker, Carter Kieboom.

    Also, what are your thoughts on David Dahl for 2018?

    Thanks for the great work!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Racehorse: Welker, Kieboom, and Neuse.

      If he’s healthy and gets PT he’s a nice piece.

  5. mrbasketball says:
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    After weighing multiple options, Yahoo’s product team has decided to introduce two distinct Ohtanis into our game for 2018. One will deliver only his hitting stats, and the other his pitching numbers. These two Ohtanis can be drafted and owned by two different fantasy owners. In private leagues, commissioners can use simple workarounds to ensure that a manager who drafts one version of Ohtani is assigned the other, if that’s the preference of your group.

    Would you draft the Pitcher or the hitter

    Shohei Ohtani’s injury concerns what do you think – the pitching or hitting view of the injury

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @mrbasketball: I’d only draft the pitcher and even then you need to temper expectations. If he’s taking up two roster spots, he loses value IMO.

  6. goodfold2 says:
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    that super deep 30 team dynasty with now up to 40 man prospect slots and 6 draft rounds rather than 5 it’s been in all other seasons. 3 tags due in like 19 hours. start 2 MI, 2 CI, 3 OF, 1 C, 1 util, 3 SP, 3 RP, 3 P (so 6 RP and probably 6 SP is optimal). 7 BN, max 3 IR slots. roto 6×6 with holds/OPS added. budgets at 110 million now.
    here’s what is already in place. .4 is min contract. all people in prospect slots are free unless called up then .4 mil. once they are called up and hit limits their contracts go for 4 years.
    C
    CI mostsuckass 13.403 mil (2018 ending)
    CI
    MI drury .4 (19)
    MI
    OF e.rosario .4 (18)
    OF altherr .4 (19)
    OF desmond or CI 16.301 (18)
    util
    SP quintana 13 (19)
    davies .4 (19)
    r.lopez .4 (20)
    urena .4 (18)
    RP gregerson 5.2 (18)
    n.jones 5.348 (18)
    vincent 3.200,100 (18)
    m.cabrera (don’t have to call up just yet) .4 (21)
    sherfy .4 (21)
    prospects:
    C: okey, o’connor
    CI: denton, w.craig, e.rios, kubitza, lavalley, padlo
    MI: a.rondon, demerritte, p.gonzalez, salcedo, a.a. tejada
    OF: cozens, trammel, tocci, dj davis, whitley, d.alvarez, sierra, v.reyes, kirilloff, v.garcia
    SP: diplan, kilome, b.martin, a.smith, yarbrough, v.alcantara, heredia (PIT)
    RP: staumont, rj alvarez,

    so i have 59.652,100 committed and 11 roster spots left before tags for an average of 4.57 million left per spot. clearly i tag sale for franchise (pay real life money) at 13 million.
    what’s best 2 other options, i can either restrict 2/franchise 1 more or franchise 2/restrict 1.

    1. options: segura (franchise price either 14 or 14.5), alonso (8 mil), morrow (10.5 or 11), minaya (.535). i’m thinking best idea is to franchise segura, restrict alonso and i’d have 9 slots left for 3.15 (assuming alonso gets bid up to around 8 mil, but it could be less than that)
    2. since i have no closer and it’s generally hard to obtain them and they are overpriced (i got lucky in waivers on minaya late season, he wasn’t a prospect of mine) would i be better off restricting minaya over alonso or even segura?

    3. i have a deal in place to deal segura for sixto sanchez, would this be a good idea, then obviously tag alonso and minaya?

    i’m still catching up on posts now on page 5. and sneaky pete was good stuff.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: for the first time my bidding would be fairly simple for FA, i’d be mostly all the way set at SP and RP, leaving only hitters left, esp if minaya is kept.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @goodfold2: Hey bud! Hope all is well.

      I kind of like the Segura trade and option 3.

      My guess is you’re rebuilding and might cash in on Minaya.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: i’ve gotten in 4 years anywhere in the 9-12th range every year. just moved morrow for a 5.4 pick, then after i realized he might even close, meaning i should’ve asked for a 3rd IF my opp thinks he’ll close. obviously wasting tags on might be closers isn’t that smart, even if i have no closer, unless in the segura instance i can gain good prospect value, turns out after checking that segura trade offer was nixed at some point, possibly only since our tags are due in 6.5 hours.

        – i’ve COMPLETELY come around to your “don’t invest anything in catchers UNLESS big time prospect ones”. previous owner had to have drafted d’arnaud (i have still till i don’t tag him) quite early, and i’ve used semi-useful picks on okey/o’connor the last few years, they’ll likely turn into the same kind of catchers that are easily obtainable in weekly WW players, such as de leon and one of the ARI guys last year which i got and were better than d’arnaud anyway. the comish in this league has even won a year with NO catcher at all.

        • goodfold2 says:
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          @goodfold2: oh crap, segura appears IF i franchise him i’d have to hold him for his real life 5 years at 14 per. while the 14 isn’t that terrible, holding ANYBODY for 5 guaranteed years sounds ridiculous. other than like m.trout or something. guessing unless i can trade him i should DEFINITELY restrict him rather than anchor myself to that. that segura for sixto offer was nixed, but possibly only from the timeframe left. the morrow owner who i just got a 5.4 pick from is the same guy as the sixto owner.

          • goodfold2 says:
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            @goodfold2: oh yeah, if we cut a contract (i.e. if segura turns into a pumpkin again (it took a dying child the first time, age or something else could get him a 2nd)) we have to eat half of the money if it’s over 1 million a year.

              • Jason says:
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                Austin meadows the guy that can’t stay healthy & that hits line drives softer than my 2 yr nephew? Take him off your draft board!!! Dude is straight garbage!!$

                • Ralph Lifshitz

                  Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                  @Jason: Your two year old nephew sign yet? Is he better at messages boards than you?

  7. Rich says:
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    No love for Yonathan Daza?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Rich: He’s okay, but there’s a few bats that didn’t make the list I like better.

  8. Mink says:
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    Happy holidays Ralph! Where do you slot Dahl? He was in the Rockies minor league system all last year (and taking up a bench spot on my bench). Does he break camp with the big club? What can we expect from him this year?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Mink: As long as he’s healthy , took him a long time to come back from his injury.

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