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Is there truly any system more worthy of your attention than Colorado’s? That’s not even a commentary on their high end talent or depth, as much as it is a commentary on Coors being awesome for boosting hitter’s value. The problem is due to this Ibiza for hitting reality, the Rockies have focused their efforts on acquiring top amateur pitching talent. So many of these top arms are sentenced to a fate worth than cleaning Billy Butler’s toilet after a Chili Cookoff. Pitching half of your games in the high altitude of Denver. Hey, at least they can smoke away the pain of bad home starts. Am I right? After graduating three strong talents into the majors last season in Jonathan Gray, David Dahl, and Trevor Story, the Rocks have another trio ready to contribute in the big leagues this season in Tom Murphy, Raimel Tapia, and Jeff Hoffman. As always any Rockies hitter has value, and any Rockies pitcher is worth treading lightly on. So read on, and learn who the Top Colorado Rockies Prospects are for 2017.

 

Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.

Brendan Rodgers, SS/2B | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: A

Could end up being the top player in a stacked 2015 draft class. Rodgers is a dynasty owners dream, a middle infielder with plus hit tool and power at a very young age. The kicker is despite being just 20 he is more than likely just a year away from seeing reps at the MLB level. Whether he sticks at short or moves over to second will depend on how the Rockies view Trevor Story long term. Will easily rank in the top 10 of my top 100 (coming February 2017!).

Raimel Tapia, OF | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA/AA

One of the mostly heavily debated, and consistently doubted prospects in the dynasty realm, count your Uncle Ralph among the believers. Tapia pairs an aggressive contact approach, with average power, and above average speed. The hope for those dynasty owners, like myself, that have invested in Tapia is that the power will play up in Coors. If so he offers definite 15/30 upside with a high average. His contact-first approach will limit his value in OBP leagues as he rarely walks (27 Bb in 555 MiLB plate appearances in 2016). The questions of playing time clouds his re-draft value a bit, but if one of Colorado’s left-handed hitting outfielders is moved before Opening Day, and Tapia lands an everyday gig, don’t count him out for NL Rookie of the Year.

Tom Murphy, C | Age: 25 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA

Where’s Halp at? Murphy is my Podcast cohort’s Novio, and with good reason. A catcher with serious pop, Murphy has the ability to be a top 5 backstop in re-draft leagues this year if he sees 400+ plate appearances. At 25 and with Nick Hundley hitting free agency, the future is now for Murphy. In a 44 MLB at bats during a September cup of coffee, Murphy blasted 5 homers, and slashed .273/.347/.659. His catcher defense has improved during his time in the minors, and it’s to the point now that he’s likely to be the starting catcher over the underwhelming Tony Wolters. Come on Rocks, do the right thing!

Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.

Jeff Hoffman, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA

Writing about uber-talented Rockies pitching prospects feels a little like discussing Lindsey Lohan post Mean Girls. You had a lot of hope at one time, but with each passing start/coke binge you’re a little more apprehensive as to what they ultimately end up being. Hoffman in other systems would be an elite pitching prospect with front end of the rotation upside. In Colorado he’s a risk. Sent to the Rocks in the Troy Tulowitzki trade, Hoffman throws a plus plus fastball, a plus plus curveball, and a plus changeup with plus control. He doesn’t miss the amount of bats you’d expect and much of that comes down to wonky command. Struggled in the PCL and in Colorado for most of 2016, but there’s hope he can improve now that he’s three years removed from Tommy John.

Ryan McMahon, 3B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: AA

After ranking inside the top 50 on several prospects lists, including yours truly (#32) in the 2016 pre-season. McMahon lowered expectations with a sub-par first half of the season at AA Hartford. While he didn’t slay like ‘Yonce in the second half, there was solid improvement as he slashed .268/.339/.479 hitting 9 of his 12 homers. Throughout a trying campaign McMahon continued to walk, but the strikeouts were a plenty, as he whiffed a whopping 30% of the time. The long term prospects for McMahon, at least with the Rockies, are probably at first base. In fact he started to see some time there in 2016, with Nolan Arenado blocking the hot corner, and McMahon’s defense there being sub-par to begin with. With a smooth left-handed stroke that generates excellent bat speed with good loft, he looks a perfect fit as the long awaited replacement to Todd Helton.

German Marquez, RHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA/AA

When you look at the production that the Rays have gotten out of Corey Dickerson so far, it’s starting to look like the Rockies knew what they were doing. Marquez got the best of Eastern League hitters at AA Hartford this year, despite being one of the younger starters in the league. He’s not the type to blow you away, though his fastball operates in the mid-90’s, but pinpoint control and a changeup that keeps lefties off balance gives him a good shot to be a very nice mid-rotation piece. Once again, unfortunately he’s a Rockie.

Kyle Freeland, LHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: AAA/AA

After a huge summer in the Cape Cod League in 2013, Freeland followed it up with an equally impressive 2014 at Evansville. He was then selected 8th overall by Colorado in the 2014 draft and hit the ground running in his pro debut. After an injury plagued 2015 that limited him to just 46.2 innings, he returned strong this year racking up 162 frames. While his numbers were solid, there’s nothing overly exciting for fantasy. At best he looks like a ratio play, because despite a nasty mid-90’s fastball and a wipeout slider he doesn’t miss many bats. In fact through 273 professional innings he’s averaged just 6.0 K/9.

Jordan Patterson, OF/1B | Age: 24 | ETA: 2017 | 2016 Level: MLB/AAA

After leading the minors in extra base hits in 2015, Patterson followed it up with a strong campaign at AAA Albuquerque this year. While he doesn’t have the highest ceiling in the Colorado system, Patterson has the ability to hit a solid .270-280 with 18-20 homers and double digit steals. His quick lefty swing generates good bat speed, and pop. With a plethora of outfield options the Rockies gave him some reps at first base, which might open up a spot for him in the majors this season.

Others: Pat Valaika, Antonio Senzatela, Ben Bowden, Tyler Nevin, Yency Almonte, Garrett Hampson

Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs

Riley Pint, RHP | Age: 19 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: RK

If only Pint had ended up anywhere, but here. Arguably the best prep arm in the 2016 draft, ended up in the worst possible setting. Did you see how well Jonathan Gray pitched last year? Yeah, his ERA was still puke inducing, and the simple eye test would tell you he out performed those numbers. Coors giveth and Coors taketh. That’s the lesson of today’s post kids. Pint possesses an elite arsenal starting with his plus plus fastball that sits in the high 90’s and has been known to touch triple digits. The rest of his repertoire is comprised of a plus curveball, a plus change, and an average slider. Unfortunately Pint’s sloppy mechanics make his control, and future health a concern. Neither of which are ideal for a Colorado pitcher, where health risks are increased, and a hanging breaking pitch or two could lead to some serious roofies. Luckily Pint is a long ways off, so he has time to iron out his mechanics or get traded to Miami/Mets/San Diego.

Forrest Wall, 2B | Age: 21 | ETA: 2019 | 2016 Level: A+

Rarely are prep second baseman taken in the first few rounds of the draft, but in 2014 Colorado made the speedy Wall their selection at 35th overall. Wall possesses an excellent hit tool, on base ability, and plus speed. However he struggled mightily at the plate in 2016 in the hitting friendly Cali League. Could stand to add a few pounds of muscle to tap into some of his average raw power. Based on the current sentiment on him, might be an excellent buy low candidate heading into 2017.

Dom Nunez, C | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: A+

Following a strong second half in 2015, I was expecting big things from Nunez upon assignment to the Cal League this year. He much like Forrest Wall and Ryan McMahon let me down. Then again is it so bad if players that could end up in Colorado have down years? Nunez offers double digit power and the ability to swipe a few bags. Probably not ownable unless there’s 250+ minors owned in your leagues.

Brian Mundell, 1B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2018 | 2016 Level: A

An advanced hitter with excellent approach, Mundell set the minor league record for doubles in his first full season in pro-ball with 59. Due to his keen eye and penchant for avoiding whiffs he should hit for a high average with enough power to play up at Coors should he make it there. Should start the season at A+ but could see AA Hartford, should the Rockies bump McMahon to AAA.

Others: Mike Nikorak, Pedro Gonzalez, Colton Welker, Sam Hilliard, Peter Lambert, Ryan Castellani

 

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  1. Swfcdan says:
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    I have 3 1st round picks at the end of the 1st round and considering Pint with one of them. His stuff is probably the best in the draft, and Jon Gray’s numbers werent at all puke inducing for a rookie but actually encouraging that more hurlers can succeed. Plus isnt there always a chance Pint gets traded and then becomes golddust?

    In other news am rebuilding in that same league and considering taking on Berries in a trade to replace Honeywell/Couzins. Has his awful audition put you off him long term or is there still the potential there that was envisioned? Minni is still an awful good environment/opportunity for young SP’s.

    • Swfcdan says:
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      @Swfcdan: I wouldnt promote him for next year either FWIWerth, his clock would be started in 2018 at £0.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Swfcdan: Yeah Pint could be, his wonky mechanics hurt his control and that’s an issue particularly in Colorado. He has the ability to be an ace, and I agree he may have had the best stuff in the draft, though Groome has an argument. Gray pitched well, but his ERA was still almost 5. Coors struggle is real dawg.

        I like Berrios, but I’m not sure I’d trade Honeywell straight up, let alone add in another player.

        • Swfcdan says:
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          @Ralph Lifshitz: Wow ERA was 5? was that mainly due to home starts? Had no idea thought it was around 4. In that case thats scared me off the pint man haha.

          You like Honeywell more than Berrios really?? Honeywell isnt even a highly touted arm more mid-back end arm. Sounds like youre down on Berrios so big no go there.

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Ralph Lifshitz says:
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            @Swfcdan: Honeywell just doesn’t get the press, but he was the second best pitcher outside Kopech in the AFL. He’s also similar to Berrios from a control with K upside profile. I like both.

  2. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Great write up! Love them Coors hitters!

    Last year in my first year a long standing 12 team mixed keeper league (keep 7 forever subject to $3 inflation), I drafted Moncada in the reserve round at $0 under the assumption that he probably wouldn’t play in 2016 but was a must own for 2017 and beyond.

    Should Rogers warrant similar consideration or can I wait to draft him until September callups / 2018?

    In lieu of him, I was planning to target Tapia and Murphy in the late or reserve rounds.

    Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Duda Want to Build a Snowman?: I would definitely approach Rodgers the same way you approached Moncada.

      Like both of those players as late round guys.

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Ooo good to know, thanks!

        Rogers and Tapia on the back end will be great insurance for my Story ($11) keeper and keeper via likely trade, Blackmon ($23).

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Sorry for the double-up: Rogers over Austin Meadows in that $0 reserve round spot?

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Duda Want to Build a Snowman?: yes those will be excellent covers for your MLB Rockies. I would still take Rogers over Meadows. There’s service clocks could start around the same time. There’s a chance Austin meadows ends up in AAA most of the year. The Pirates would have to sell Andrew McCutchen

          • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: Sounds good to me! Every year I find myself trying to grab more and more Rockies . . . and in a roto league (rather than H2H) it’s really hard to come up with any counterargument.

  3. JB Gilpin

    JB Gilpin says:
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    I thought it was Jack Hoffman?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @JB Gilpin: I think you confused him with Tehol.

      • Big Odio says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: that’s funny I was thinking of tehol when I read your rodgers blurb. In 2020 tehol will be writing about him being his boy and giving us 500 words about his (rodgers) physique and schlong…you heard my bold prediction here first

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Big Odio: my big take away here is you read and you choose to read me. Trumps America it’s a hell of a thing

          • Big Odio says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: actually came here for grey and settled on you…You’re like trump. People settled

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @Big Odio: Middle America finds my brand of bull inspirational.

              Their words not mine.

              • Big Odio says:
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                @Ralph Lifshitz: they like to keep it dumbed down..Wait I mean they only know the dumbed down way. Have you read our mid western commenters. It’s like please stop talking and stick to blowing our leader

                • Ralph Lifshitz

                  Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                  @Big Odio: I LOVE OUR MIDWESTERN READERS!!!

  4. Halp

    Halp says:
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    Did someone say Tom Murphy? ha … I realized I actually have Collins as my #1 catcher prospect, and Murphy #2. Forgot about that when we were talking about Mejia last week.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Halp: Ha! Me too! I’m still surprised Collins is catching I guess!

  5. Big Odio says:
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    The rejects catches fire! Old Salfino is going to pop a vein..I wish we could get a pulse out of the nasty.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Big Odio: i’m giving it until the first week of January then I stage a military junta

      • Big Odio says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: I’m going to start a Haitian uprising and call myself Touki Tousant le Overturn.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Big Odio: That’s the name of everyone of your teams next year….

  6. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Just saw MLBTR rumors that COL is top landing spot for Chris Carter . . . talk about a match made in heaven.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Duda Want to Build a Snowman?: I would cream my jeans over and over again…..Then Carter would go all Wei-Yin Chen and have his worst season lol

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Pretty sure I would bid literally whatever $ was necessary in drafts to get him.

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: In my keeper league, he’s owned for $3 next year. In anticipation of a potential signing, I’m even wondering if I should try acquiring him just in case . . . maybe a $3 Aaron Judge or $4 Conforto or Ozuna would do it (those guys are borderline keepers for me, fighting for my final [7th] keeper spot. . . a $3 Carter in COL would surpass them though)

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Duda Want to Build a Snowman?: If you can get him for Judge or Conforto I’d do it. I’d lean Judge, but I’m an admitted hater.

          • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: Sounds good! While I have you, would love your thoughts on a final keeper slot pick (assuming no Carter and no MLB trades):

            Schoop ($4) [current fav, despite low upside]
            Ozuna ($4)
            Jankowski ($4)
            Tim Anderson ($5)
            Broxton ($5)
            Franco ($11)

            In case relevant my other 6 keepers are Betts/Rizzo/Kershaw/Story/Khris/Moncada

              • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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                @Ralph Lifshitz: Thanks. I guess Ozuna is a very solid OF5 in a 12 teamer, at worst–and any trade could potentially boost from there.

                I like Franco a lot for 2017, particularly as a starting 3b until Moncada time, but I feel like he won’t go for much more at auction anyway.

  7. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:
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    Got my RA tickets for January! Never saw him before. Wonder how old and out of place I’ll feel at a hip-hop show these days.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Dr. Kenneth Noisewater: You’ll be shocked, there’s a lot of us at those shows…He’s amazing

      • Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Ha true. I hope sells out the tiny venue he’s coming to or I’m going to be embarrassed of my city.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Dr. Kenneth Noisewater: He might, I was shocked a how packed the Palladium in Worcester was.

        • Big Odio says:
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          @Dr. Kenneth Noisewater: I’m sure Pittsburgh gives you plenty to be embarrassed about…like all cities

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Ralph Lifshitz says:
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            @Big Odio: It’s a cool city, but Steelers fans.

            • Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:
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              @Big Odio: @Ralph Lifshitz: This coming from a Pats fan.

              Embarrassed?! I love the yinzers wearing their “One for the Thumb” suede jacket.

              • Big Odio says:
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                @Dr. Kenneth Noisewater: I’d rather be a Steelers fan than a Pats fan for one reason….uniforms. Im sorry but the Pats jersey’s fall somewhere between hideous and horrendous

                • Ralph Lifshitz

                  Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                  @Big Odio: I agree on the unis. Would you change your opinion if they went back to Pat Patriot?

                  • Big Odio says:
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                    @Ralph Lifshitz: nah. I hate all the new look jerseys for the most part. The Rams come back to LA where everyone rocks the old school blue and yellow unis and we get that puke gold and navy. TBH I like simple jerseys with shoulder stripes.

                    • Ralph Lifshitz

                      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                      @Big Odio: So Pat Patriot then….

                    • Big Odio says:
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                      Maybe the jerseys but that helmet looks like a guy waiting on another guy to come fill him up

  8. The JoGarza says:
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    Ralph, was looking at your Reds’ prospects post and realized Cody Reed was nowhere to be found. Still under 50 IP.

    Mistake or intentional?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @The JoGarza: I thought he was past his limits. He is in fact under by 2.1. Sorry. Do you think I should add him?

      • The JoGarza says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:

        Kinda have to, right? Might give off the impression that you think he’s worse off than some of the names you mentioned.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @The JoGarza: Good catch. I’ll update these as players are traded. Check tonight and I’ll have Cody on there.

  9. dhouse42 says:
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    i don’t get why Coors doesn’t play a bigger part in drafting hitters. It pads the batting average so that it’s really almost never an average risk to play a Rockies hitter. Plus, especially now with such good hitters, you know they are all going to have padded counting stats.

    I was dreaming about a Rockies-focused squad, but getting Arenado + Blackmon will be nearly impossible. But one of those + Story + Dahl + LaMehieu + Murphy…Yeah I’m in on that.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @dhouse42: Yeah they could trade Blackmon and Parra and still have an insane lineup in a year. Think Murphy, Patterson/McMahon, Rodgers, Story, Arenado, Dahl, Tapia, Car-Go.

  10. M says:
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    So Rodgers ETA is 2018/19?

    Or earlier depending on what management does with Story/LaMahieu?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @M: Yeah I think Rodgers is up for good June of 2018. He’s good enough to move quick.

      Even if they traded DJLM they could plug in others in the interm

  11. Saints says:
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    Great stuff I’m also a Tapia owner and believer i hope he get his jump this year. I’m also holding Blackmon in a dynasty what would you do with him ? Try to trade him before he gets traded ?

    And would you rank Brian Mundell in your Top 50 First year player ranking ? Simply because of the chance that he coul become a starter in coors or is he not good enough ?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Saints: yeah I could see taking Mundell around 45-50.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: As for Blackmon it would depend upon the deal, but I’d explore it.

  12. Kenneth says:
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    Thoughts on Jose Gomez? Average, steals, and plate discipline all look great, albeit in rookie ball.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Kenneth: Yeah, he’s a nice find, and I think you hit on all the points there. Someone you could steal really late in a deep league draft.

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