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

16 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Succos Baseball
Succos Baseball
3 years ago

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
Reply to  Succos Baseball
3 years ago

Yeah I can get behind that.

Brian
Brian
3 years ago

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!

Bterry
Bterry
3 years ago

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
Reply to  Bterry
3 years ago

Man that’s crazy. Rockiest move ever haha.

Bterry
Bterry
Reply to  Mike
3 years ago

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

Phil B
Phil B
3 years ago

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

Jobe
Jobe
3 years ago

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
Reply to  Jobe
3 years ago

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.

Chris D
Chris D
3 years ago

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!

Chris D
Chris D
Reply to  Mike
3 years ago

@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!