I look at all kinds of stats to find sleepers for next year.  Brandon Belt was one name that came up on a lot of different searches through last year’s numbers.  No, smart guy, I wasn’t searching “Players that have disappointed year after year.”  Belt had the ninth best for Hard Contact Percentage.  Like a bar stool, that’s right behind Miguel Cabrera.  It’s not surprising that Belt was top ten for the majors last year.  Belt hit nearly 40% of all balls hard. (Belt hitting balls hard gives me flashbacks to being bent over my grandmother’s lap.)  The top guy in the majors for Hard Contact was J.D. Martinez at 42.3%, and the difference between Belt and the top guy overall was about the same as the difference between Belt and AL MVP, Josh Donaldson (37.1%).  Guys that Belt hit the ball harder than is a who’s who — Kris Bryant, McCutchen, Votto, Braun, Yoenis, A-Gon, etc. etc. etc.  Another stat where Belt popped up on — actually bad choice of words — was Infield Fly Balls percentage.  Belt had an 0.8% Infield Fly Ball rate, which was 2nd in the league after Christian Yelich, who didn’t pop up once.  Not popping up means you’re hitting the ball solid.  Speaking of hitting the ball solid, guess who led the league in Line Drive Percentage.  I’ll give you one guess, his name rhymes with Random Melt.  It’s Brandon Belt, you dope!  For guys who made the weakest contact overall, it’s no surprise that Belt is in the bottom ten, right in front of Mike Trout.  For just about every stat for a hitter making solid contact, Brandon Belt places.  For the stats that matter for fantasy (HRs/SBs), I’m going to give you two players and one is Belt.  18 HRs/7 SBs vs. 18 HRs/9 SBs.  Like Michael Hutchence, Belt is on the latter.  Eric Hosmer is the first one.  Intrigued yet?  I bet you are, you rabid horny fantasy sleeper monger.  Anyway, what can we expect from Brandon Belt for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

The only thing that held Belt back last year, as it had previously, is his health.  He feels on the brink of being Joey Votto.  Of course, Belt in Great American Ball Park is a whole lot more attractive than in AT&T, and that will likely be the difference between the two next year.  Votto will be projected for around 27 homers and Belt will be projected around 17 homers, so can Belt beat those 17 homers?  Yes, definitely, indubitably.  Last year, he had a 13.6 HR/FB% on a 37.9% fly ball rate.  In 2014, he had a 44% fly ball rate and the year before a 41.3%.  In 2014, it was a small sample size — that’s what she said! — due to only 61 games played.  Can we throw that out?  If you answered in the affirmative, I agree.  It was a lost year.  So, we’re left with 2013.  If he had a 41.3% fly ball rate like he had in 2013 last year with the same 13.6% HR/FB, he would’ve had 20 homers last year.  Now, I said to throw out 2014, but he had a 18.2 HR/FB that year.  If he had a HR/FB% that high with a 41% fly ball rate, he would have 26 homers.  These are not numbers that I’m trying too hard to achieve.  He’s done them before and he’s only 27 years old.  None of this has even accounted for his sneaky speed.  He won’t be a 20 steal guy, but 7-10 steals has been his norm.  So, a guy that makes great contact, that has sneaky speed and is due to break out with power?  Um, yeah, I’m intrigued!  For 2016, I’ll give him the projections of 79/21/90/.288/10 and get the sponsorship with Proactiv set up, because the breakout is finally here.

 
  1. Ryan says:
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    Nice, I have Belt as a possible keeper, only costing me a last round pick. I also have the above mentioned Eric Hosmer who I’m sure will be worth more than his drafting cost in most leagues. That said, would you take Hosmer in 9th round or Belt in the 24th? 12t H2H w/. ops cat.? Lookin forward to getting back to baseball but still focused on these football playoffs!

    • Malicious Phenom says:
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      @Ryan: I’d take Belt.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Ryan: Belt

  2. Wilson says:
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    Cueto joins SF, is his value becoming higher?
    I have him on hand but he was killing me in the last three months.

    • Wilson says:
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      And, Archer or Cueto for next year? Thanks.

      • BringBackPluto says:
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        @Wilson: Not Grey, but 1) Cueto’s value definitely goes up a fair bit, but 2) not enough to even come within a round of Archer’s ADP, imo.

        • Wilson says:
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          @Grey:

          Where will Cueto be ranked In SP list next year? Thanks

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Around top 25

  3. Tigres says:
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    Grey! Hoping for the Belt full-season breakout. Who you like more, Belt or Puig?

      • SwaggerJackers says:
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        @Grey: Belt or Duda?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Belt

  4. Dru says:
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    Any idea when we can expect Rankings to come out?
    Thanks!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Dru: Mid-Jan

      • Dru says:
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        THANKS!!!!!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          No problem

  5. zombie says:
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    Thanks Grey. I’m in. Indbeltably.

    • zombie says:
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      @zombie: Indubeltably. But you get it. Or not.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @zombie: Ha, nice Zombie!

  6. Bubba with 3 B's says:
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    What does dropping AVG and HR in favor of OBP and SLG do for Belt’s value?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Bubba with 3 B’s: He’s decent in OBP — .360-ish, decent in SLG — .485ish

  7. JoeG414 says:
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    Please rank as a late OF pick is a deep daily roto mixed 6×6.
    Conforto , Piscotty , Grichuk and Yelich.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @JoeG414: Yelich, Conforto, Grichuk

  8. Scott Kimmel says:
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    Grey

    Is giving up either deGrom or Harvey worth it to get Berrios

      • Scott Kimmel says:
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        ok thanks

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          No problem

    • Nick says:
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      @Scott Kimmel: Scott, I’m worried someone is trying to fleece you here. Berrios isn’t projected to be as good as either of the guys you mentioned, and he has no MLB experience. If someone is mentioning Berrios as a significant piece in a trade to get DeGrom or Harvey, they are trying to rip you off.

      • Scott Kimmel says:
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        nick he wanted either Scherzer, deGrom or Harvey for Berrios which I declined very quickly

  9. J-FOH says:
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    This is funny. I had him as my breakout sleeper last year (see writers pics post) and if it wasn’t for injury….damn. I was waiting for the pic of the kid from freaks and geeks and it never came…it never came.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, funny

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Grey: don’t you mock me. It was a tough first half and I dropped him all over. Billy bob has given me ideas. Don’t make me put pig blood in the plumbing

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Interesting recap of your waiver wire moves

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Grey: keep up it Albright….keep it up *cracks knuckles*

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              You’re gonna get arthritis doing that

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Grey: *painfully types* I already do

  10. Scott Kimmel says:
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    Grey. Why are ppl down on Kemp and Choo

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Who cares what people think

      • Scott Kimmel says:
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        Everytime I offer either Choo or Kemp in any trade offers they all say they don’t want either one. I’m curious as to why they don’t

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Have to ask them

          • SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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            @Grey: lol

            • SwaggerJackers says:
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              @SheriffMcRawDawg: They don’t want them for the same reason you’re trying to trade them. Those players are aging, the shine is off them, and most people prefer to trade for young upside players like Springer.

              • SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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                @SwaggerJackers: I’m with you man, I wasn’t the one who asked

    • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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      @Scott Kimmel: for one choo just decided to go from 20 steals a year to about 3 in one fell swoop, no gradual decline of any type. after last year i’m betting people are higher on kemp than they were one year ago today.

  11. Det. John Kimble says:
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    Great write-up Grey. Definitely got me at least considering Belt.

    Simple question. Would you prefer Belt to Piscotty, who looks to be in line foe a regular OF spot?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Belt over Piscotty

  12. FrankGrimes says:
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    I want to kill myself
    every time I’m reminded
    Belt was drafted 100 picks
    before AuShizz
    (Trout was taken 25th that year)

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Ouch…Gotta let it go, Grimey!

  13. Theo says:
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    Who would you value higher in a keeper league (obp instead of Avg)?
    Schwarber or Lindor

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Schwarber

  14. Jim says:
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    Hey Grey,

    I’m in a 12 team head to head, 6×6 (add XBH and QS), keep 6 forever. Already keeping Kris Bryant, Chris Davis, Gerrit Cole and Carlos Carrasco (must keep at least 2 pitchers from the 6 total keepers).

    I tend to keep bats since there is so much pitching to go around but I have Cueto and think he’ll be good pitching in SF. Other keepable options are Hosmer, Polanco, Dickerson, Schoop, Pence, Conforto. Do you think I should go with Cueto and a bat, or two bats? Who do you like best?

    Thanks!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Cueto’s not a keeper there

  15. Alex says:
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    Hey grey, I’ve been lurking on this site for about a year now. Just wanted to say your fantasy advice is fantastic and thoroughly helped me this year, your player projections are scary accurate.

    Anyway, what site do you use generally to find out stuff like hard hit % and players who lead the league in stuff like that?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks! I use Fangraphs

  16. Hyde says:
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    Hey Grey,

    I was just discussing belt with another manager. It’s a H2H points league and we can keep 20 guys. I’m already up against the wall with the amount of keepers I have (owning 9 outfielders has something to do with it…somebody’s gotta go).

    Anyway, CBS projects him to get 399pts next year based on our scoring, but we all know their projections are horseshit. Belt had 383pts last year.

    I also own Fielder, who I’m not sure I trust for much longer. He got like 487pts last year.

    Should I target Belt for a trade or just roll the dice with Fielder given my keeper situation?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I’d want Belt

      • Hyde says:
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        @Grey:

        Thanks!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          No problem

      • Hyde says:
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        @Grey:

        I was able to move Choo for him. Bonus.

        I have no idea if CBS counts Fielder as a 1B next year (18GP @ 1B, 20 required, but we use Primary Position+Games Played for eligibility), so I may end up needing Belt more than I thought!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Nice!

  17. boomer19 says:
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    Good day. Hope the season is treating you well. I have a keeper question for you. I have Harper and the 13th overall pick and was think about trading him for Machado and the first overall pick. First overall would have the option of Miggy, Kershaw and Rizzo. 13th overall would be in the Marte, Upton, Tulo range. Which would you prefer in a 13 team 5×5 Roto league where we can keep for 3 years? Thanks.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Works for me, Rizzo

      • Boomer19 says:
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        Thanks. I am leaning towards doing the deal too although I am torn who I would take between Kershaw and Rizzo because the 5 keepers I have are all hitters.Still think Rizzo and then worry about pitching later?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yup, worry about pitching later

  18. ScreechOwl says:
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    Good thing we have these articles to keep us cheered up through the more depressing sports seasons.

    I mean, we have the holidays, but we’re about to find out how awful the new Star Wars movie is, officially killing the franchise forever in my mind. We’re about to lose the Chargers to a no-name suburb of San Jose (wait, that was the 49ers — we’re losing our team to one of two possible L.A. suburbs). The weather is actually almost cold enough for water to, like, almost freeze, and somehow that has led to the Ducks forgetting how to play hockey. It RAINED last week.

    I think this is the SoCal version of the apocalypse.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      It’s been a decent Oscar season though

  19. Don't look now says:
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    Grey,

    Who would you rather have in a keeper format, JD Martinez or Jose Fernandez?

    Thanks

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      JD

  20. FrankGrimes says:
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    What you think of Fargo finale?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Very long denouement… Impossible for me not to love the show, but that was a pretty down episode energy wise

      • FrankGrimes says:
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        @Grey:
        Totally I had rewatched the motor motel
        massacre from the week before Just felt like a bit of letdown but show was amazing.
        Are they doing another season?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, the next season is a few years after the first season happened

  21. J-FOH says:
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    Is it weird I want to talk about season 1 so late in the game.

    • nick the dick says:
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      @J-FOH: Nope, let it out. I might even go back and watch it again

      • J-FOH says:
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        @nick the dick: I saved all of them on the DVR. I want to watch the pilot again. So great when they arrest billy bob in episode 4

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @J-FOH: The wife and I started watching it last night on Hulu

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Agree with Nick, I might go back and watch it again too

  22. SteveNZ says:
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    What up, fools?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Look at Steve making time for a drive by commenting!

      • SteveNZ says:
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        @Grey: Always lurking. Work has been pretty crazy for the last couple of months. In with time, I see, Jason Hayward became the best outfielder in baseball. Closely followed by Zobrist it seems.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, and Ryan Howard still the top 1st baseman!

    • J-FOH says:
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      @SteveNZ: kiwi krack-a-lackin

  23. luke skywalker says:
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    AB R H HR RBI SB BB K TB AVG OBP SLG
    No restrictions

    Stanton and Carrasco for Rizzo and Brantley

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Rizzo

  24. Scott Kimmel says:
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    Grey

    Who would you rather trade for? Iwakuma or Wei-Yen Chen?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Iwakuma

      • Scott Kimmel says:
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        trying for Samardzija

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Ok

          • Scott Kimmel says:
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            Who should I offer for him

  25. Scott Kimmel says:
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    Would you do Choo or Kemp for Samardzija?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Choo

      • Scott Kimmel says:
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        Offer him Choo for Samardzija?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Sure, it’s fair

  26. Don't look now says:
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    Grey,

    Which side do you prefer?

    Odor and Heyward
    Or
    Chapman, Giles, and Cueto

    Any of them not top 100 keepers?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Heyward

  27. Scott Kimmel says:
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    The guy with Iwakuma wants to do Iwakuma and Mazara for Tolleson and Cain. Accept or pass

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Matt Cain? Sure

      • Scott Kimmel says:
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        no Lorenzo Cain

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Then no

  28. Scott Kimmel says:
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    Would you trade Conforto to get Manzara

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      No

  29. Scott Kimmel says:
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    Thinking of offering this: Choo kemp and Glasnow for Bumgarner. Thoughts?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Sure

      • Scott Kimmel says:
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        Grey he is thinking it over overnight will give me an answer in the am. A buddy of mine thinks he can do better than what I offered.’

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Gotcha

  30. Scott Kimmel says:
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    What is fair trade value for Manzara

  31. Scott Kimmel says:
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    Grey

    What are your thoughts on Ray Black. Is he worth getting as a minor league draft pick

  32. Scott Kimmel says:
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    Grey

    He is asking for one of these players for Manzara: Posey, Edwin, Votto, Altuve, Donaldson, Correa, Bautista, Cain, Trout, DeGrom, Harvey, Scherzer, Tolleson and KRod. Is anyone worth giving up to get Manzara

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