We descend from the Rocky Mountains. Our journey now heads westward towards the mighty Pacific Ocean. Just when we thought we’d never make it alive, palm trees appear! We’re in Los Angeles – the city of angles. Or angels, if you’re not into geometry. Look over there! It’s a pack of Trolley Dodgers. Except there are no trolleys, so it’s just a bunch of people in blue dancing around like they’ve taken the wrong handful at a skittles party. Taste the rainbow. Let’s inch closer and see if any of these weirdos are good at baseball. No, you can’t hold my hand.

Grade A

1. Alex Verdugo, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2019
Verdugo takes top honors in this system with a plus hit tool and above-average power. He accumulated 77 plate appearances with the Dodgers in 2018, but doesn’t seem to have a permanent home in the outfield yet. He hit .329 in AAA last year, so I’m not sure he has anything left to prove in the minors. I guess part time in the majors is better than full time in the minors? Steamer is giving him over 400 plate appearances, so he could just be an injury or a slump away from taking the job and running with it – could even happen in spring training.

2. Keibert Ruiz, C | Age: 20 | ETA: 2020
There’s always a crop of catchers that have enough offensive potential to be worth stashing. A few years back it was Posey and Santana. More recently, Alfaro and Sanchez. This year, I’d include Ruiz in that group along with the likes of Mejia, Bart, Murphy, and Jansen. Ruiz spent all of 2018 in AA as a 20-year-old, where he hit .268 with 12 homers in just over 400 plate appearances. He also walked in 6% of his appearances while only striking out in 8% of them. Pretty numbers from a switch-hitting backstop.


Grade B

3. Dustin May, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2020
May possesses two plus pitches in his heater and curve…and the flowing red locks of Gritty. Unlike Gritty, May has advanced command and control (his career BB/9 is 1.8). As a Philly guy, I think it’s about time that I finally come out and voice my true opinion of Gritty. I love him. I think it’s really brave and commendable of the Flyers organization to bring attention to Graves disease and hypertrichosis in such a fun and carefree way.

4. Gavin Lux, SS/2B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2020
Lux spent most of the 2018 season in High-A, where he hit .324 with 11 homers. He kept it going against better pitching in Double-A, hitting, er, .324 again in about 100 plate appearances. He could be a 20/20 everyday player at middle infield, or a decent utility infielder with offensive upside. I’d bet on the latter due to average tools, but his stock is on the rise and the upper minors will put him on more radars.

5. DJ Peters, OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2020
29 home runs will get just about anybody hot and bothered, but they came at a price. Peters hit .236 with a strikeout percentage north of 34, and that’s in AA at 23. It’ll be tough to succeed if those numbers don’t improve. Sometimes it happens though, and there’s more than enough power in the bat.

6. Will Smith, C | Age: 23 | ETA: 2019
It’s rare to see two catchers on the same top ten list. Smith reached Triple-A in 2018 (about 90 plate appearances) and struggled (.138 average). Overall he has some pop (20 homers) and can take a walk, but also strikes out too much. I’d expect the Dodgers to let him cook in Triple-A for the entire 2019 season.

7. Jeter Downs, 2B/SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2021
Downs went 37th overall back in 2017. He has average tools i.e. 10-12 homer pop and enough speed to end up as a decent table setter. Like Lux, he’s probably bound for a utility/fourth outfielder role. He spent all of 2018 in A-ball, where he hit 13 homers and stole 37 bags. I haven’t seen his speed graded as anything too special, so the 37 swipes could be a result of aggression/developing catchers at the level.


Grade C

8. Jeren Kendall, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2020
Kendall is pretty one-dimensional…double-plus speed is his only above-average tool. He has average power, so based on those grades you’re looking at a 10/30 ceiling. Problem is – and this is kind of a big problem – problem is, he can’t hit. So there’s that. Moving on…

9. Edwin Rios, 1B | Age: 24 | ETA: 2019
You probably noticed this already, but this system falls off an everlovin’ cliff after Lux. So thanks for continuing to read this far into the article. Your reward is Edwin Rios, who is an average hitter with average power (plus raw though…hooray!) and nowhere to go on the defensive spectrum. Since you’re already here, I’ll try to hold your attention for one more slot with this…I’ve hidden a secret message in the next blurb.

10. Starling Heredia, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2021
Starling Heredia has plus power. Everyone wants that. Not to mention he has plus speed. Don’t forget he’s still just 19. Nobody wants to see this happen, but an eye injury limited his 2018 season. Unless your league is really deep, you don’t need to sweat him yet. Don’t give up completely, though. Everybody deserves a second chance. Sometimes all you need is a little faith.


2019 Index

  1. Chris D says:
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    He’s obviously not qualified, but I haven’t found a lot of info on him this year, but where would Julio Urias rank on this list if he was actually qualified (still amazing how young he is) and what are your overall thoughts and expectations of him this year? He’s available in our league and I’m trying to figure out if he’s worth putting on my roster.

    Thanks Mike!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      News from December is that he’ll start but will be limited to under 100 innings. So you almost have to treat him like a fantasy reliever this year if that makes sense. He’d be a B on this list mainly due to his proximity and opportunity. If your team is out of it this year and you’re looking ahead, I could see taking a chance on him. If you’re looking to compete now, he might not be worth it since you likely won’t get wins, saves, or even strikeout numbers that are worth it. I think Steamer is predicting like 80 Ks.

      • Chris D says:
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        @Mike: Yep, I’m out lol. I’m a top 3 team this year but my pitching is on the weaker side (I sold a lot pitching and prospects to upgrade my bats, but not complaining with my Mookie, Beni, Trea, Blackman overhaul). I basically have Bauer, Price and Folty as my lynch pins and then a bunch of questionable guys who have intriguing upside, but could easily be cut after a month. Was wondering if Urias would fit that profile to grab.

        That was incrediblly helpful so thank you very much!

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          No problem!

  2. Jobe says:
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    Nice write-up…a bit sad as a former Verdugo owner.

    Regarding Ruiz, how far away do you think Varsho is from that group of elite catcher prospects you mentioned? I’m debating my last minor league keeper between Varsho and Duplantier, Luis Garcia (WAS), Jesus Sanchez or Brandon Marsh.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Thanks! I think he’d be in the next tier. I’d keep Garcia or Sanchez over him, even Duplantier if you need more immediate pitching.

  3. Phil B says:
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    Good stuff Mike. I have Yadier Alvarez and Mitchell White in a dynasty. What are your feelings on them, bounce back? Or should I cut them and add some 2019 draft picks(they wouldn’t be high picks). Thanks in advance

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Thanks! Depends on what’s available with the picks I guess (doesn’t sound like much). I don’t think either of those guys are a lost cause. Maybe roll the dice and hold for their value to creep back up and then either keep or flip midyear.

  4. Bterry says:
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    This has nothing to do with the Angels but the Rockies signed Mark Reynolds today. In a very Rockies move. Next will be cargo and the McMahon Hampson Dream is dead.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Man that’s crazy. Rockiest move ever haha.

      • Bterry says:
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        @Mike: in further Rockieish Rockies news. Haymen reports today they are interested in bringing cargo back. Imagine that…

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          ha!

  5. Brian says:
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    Hey mike,

    In a 16 team 6×6 dynasty with OPS and H, and QS and k/BB. My team surprised me an finished 2nd last year after finishing 9th year before. Now I’m trying to decide whether to go for it or play it cool in case it was an aberration.

    MLB roster:

    C Aramis Garcia, SF
    1B Edwin Encarnacion, CLE
    2B Eduardo Escobar, ARI
    3B Manny Machado, LAD
    SS Xander Bogaerts, BOS
    OF Gregory Polanco, PIT
    OF Alex Gordon, KC
    OF Nomar Mazara, TEX
    UTIL Luke Voit, NYY
    UTIL Jesus Aguilar, MIL
    BN Randall Grichuk, TOR
    BN Jorge Polanco, MIN
    BN Lewis Brinson, MIA
    BN Tyler White, HOU
    BN Niko Goodrum, DET

    SP Chris Sale, BOS
    SP Ross Stripling, LAD
    SP Justin Verlander, HOU
    RP Jose Leclerc, TEX
    RP Chad Green, NYY
    P Will Smith, SF
    P Shane Greene, DET
    P Mychal Givens, BAL
    BN Walker Buehler, LAD
    BN Sandy Alcantara, MIA
    BN Josh James
    BN Drew Steckenrider, MIA
    BN Charlie Morton, HOU
    BN Brad Peacock, HOU
    BN Nick Pivetta, PHI

    I think I Need OF upgrade(s), a viable C, and either some SP depth or another elite arm.

    Prospects are:
    POSTION1: Yordan Alvarez, HOU
    POSTION2: Fernando Tatis, SD
    POSTION3: Jo Adell, LAA
    POSTION4: Taylor Trammell, CIN
    POSTION5: Wander Javier, MIN
    PITCHER1: Jonathan Loaisiga, NYY
    PITCHER2: Jojo Romero, PHI
    PITCHER3: Brusdar Graterol, MIN
    PITCHER4: Kolby Allard, ATL
    PITCHER5: James Kaprelian, OAK
    FLEX1: Myles Straw, HOU
    FLEX2:
    FLEX3: Seranthony Dominguez, PHI
    FLEX4: Caleb Smith, MIA
    FLEX5: Tristen Lutz MIL

    There’s another owner looking to tear down with some players of interest bring sal perez, Springer, abreu, dejong, gerrit cole, clevinger, Corbin, cmart.

    Considering going after Springer, cole, and sal or Abreu for something like adell, trammell, yordan, james, and maybe a draft pick. Would you give up that much prospect depth and fill a bunch of needs at once or try to swing smaller deals? Or would you just hold these guys for the time being?

    Thanks!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d go for it. Rebuilding teams tend to stay in rebuild mode forever for this reason. Take as much MLB talent as you possibly can off them and run.

  6. Succos Baseball says:
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    Mike,

    NL Only Dynasty $300 preseason budget, $415 in season, OBP instead of AVG. We took over a team and are in the process of rebuilding. Was offered:

    Get:
    $5 Adrian Morejon
    $3 Jon Duplanter
    $1 Bryse Wilson
    Give:
    $19 Kyle Schwarber

    Feels like a great haul in return, wanted your thoughts.

    Thanks

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Yeah I can get behind that.

Comments are closed.