On a cold early April night in Connecticut, I got my first looks at both Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette in the flesh. In a matchup not short on prospects, I met fellow Razzball writers Paul (the) Martin, and Lance Brozdowski, as well as friend Scott Greene, founder of Prospects 1500. The four of us frequently paused baseball and fantasy discussion to get as many clips of Vlad, Bo, Brendan Rodgers, Sam Hilliard, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Garrett Hampson on our phones as we could. In the early going, I was impressed by the Yard Goats starter Jesus Tinoco, who was popping 95 with a wicked breaking ball. Second time through the order was not so kind however. We didn’t get a ton of offense from the trio of top prospects, but we did get a two run double from Bichette down the leftfield line, and a chopper just inside the third base bag that went for extra bases from Guerrero. Hartford’s Brendan Rodgers went 0-for-4, and Gurriel went 0-for-3 with two walks. One off the radar standout from last night was Yonathan Daza, who hit .341 last season at Lancaster, to go along with 31 steals on 39 attempts. He hit two hard ground balls up the middle, driving in Hartford’s lone run. All in all a good night, here’s some video from the game, as well as some other noisemakers in the early going of the MiLB season.

Here’s Bo Bichette’s Double…

Here’s Guerrero’s…


And here’s Brendan Rodgers going out to get one, but just missing…

 

    • Guess who’s back? The King In The North, Tyler O’Neill! He went yard twice on Friday night, racking up 5 RBI, and 3 runs. He followed that up last night, with another homer in a 2-for-6 performance with 2 Ks. That’s O’Neill though, he’s going to hit for power, and makes loads of hard contact, but he will swing and miss at a 26%+ clip.
    • Teammate Max Schrock is off to a hot start, swiping his first base of the season last night, after going 5/11 with  a homer, 3 runs, and 4 RBI in his first two games.
    • Sticking with Memphis, Jose Adolis Garcia has started hot, going 7/14, with 5 runs, 5 RBI, 2 doubles, a triple, and a homer in his first three games.
    • Last note on the Cardinals, I swear. Got tipped off to an off the radar name by fellow prospector Matt Thompson of Friends With Fantasy Benefits. Ramon Urias, brother of Padres prospect Luis Urias, was recently signed by the Cardinals from Diablos Rojos of the Mexican League, he went .340/.433/.577 with 19 homers, and 12 steals in 2017. Take a gander at this post over on Viva El Birdos. He’s starting at AAA, so that says something to me about what the Cardinals are seeing. The article touches on some of Urias’ mechanical changes that led to his breakout. Lots of intrigue, particularly when you factor in the Cardinals lack of middle infield depth.
    • The Astros were aggressive with top prospect Kyle Tucker, assigning him to AAA Fresno. So far, so good, as Tucker has gone 5/14 through the first three games with a homer, and 3 RBI. If there’s an injury in the Astros outfield, it wouldn’t be absurd to see Tucker come up and have an impact.
    • Mike Soroka was strong in his season debut, going 5 scoreless innings for Gwinnett, striking out 5 while allowing 4 to reach (3 hits and a BB).
    • Rebound candidate Austin Meadows hit the ground running in his first two games, going 4-for-9, with a run, a double, and an RBI. Here’s to a bounceback from Meadows.
    • The Reds assigned Nick Senzel to AAA Louisville, and he’s gone 4-for-9 with a double, and a steal while starting both games at second base.
    • Future Grey-pun target Corbin Burnes  went 6 strong in his AAA debut, striking out 6, allowing 5 hits, and a run on a solo homer off the bat of Nick Dini… who?
    • Rough start for Fresno’s Francis Martes last night. He lasted only 3.2 innings, allowing 3 runs, on 6 hits, and five walks. On the brightside he struckout 6.
    • The Rockies Raimel Tapia asked “Why you hate me so much?”, and went 3-for-5 last night from the leadoff spot, hitting two homers, driving in 5, and crossing the plate three times. The night before Tapia went 2-for-4 with 3 runs, a double, and a walk.
    • Rockies Prospect, and member of the aforementioned Yardgoats Sam Hilliard stole 4 bags on Max Pentacost on Friday, while also connecting for a homer. This of course completed the illusive slam and four legs. Here’s some tape of Hillard drawing a walk last night.

    • The Hagerstown Suns are one of the most interesting teams in the minors from a talent standpoint, boasting outfielder Juan Soto, as well as the infield tandem of Luis Garcia, and Yasel Antuna. So far only Soto has made any noise, as he connected for a homer in his first at bat of the season.
    • Another really interesting club to follow is the Cedar Rapids Kernels, and their talented trio a top the lineup, in number one pick Royce Lewis (2/6, run, 2B, 3 BB, SB), Akil Baddoo (1/8, 2 BB, 2 SB), and Alex Kirilloff (1/8).
    • My favorite team of all, might be the Fort Wayne Tin Caps, with Mackenzie Gore, Jeisson Rosario, Esteury Ruiz, Tirso Ornelas, Luis Campusano, and last, but not least, Gabriel Arias. The latter of which, went 2-for-3 last night with a double, an RBI, and a walk.
    • Jason Woodell, who joined Lance and I for our Braves show, took some great footage of Alex Faedo’s professional debut at High-A Lakeland. The line was solid, as the former Florida ace went 5 innings, allowing 2 runs, on 2 homers, one off the bat of Estevan Florial. But Jason was not impressed. The fastball sat 91-92, with a flat slider, and some deception. See below.

  • Victor Robles went a perfect 4-for-4 with 2 runs scored, and a steal last night in his second game of he season. The Nationals top prospect is ready, he just needs everyday MLB at bats.
  • The White Sox Micker Adolfo had a game on Friday, going 3-for-4, with a run, 2 RBI, and a walk.
  • It’s homers in consecutive games for the Nationals Carter Kieboom, as he went 2-for-3, with two walks in Saturday’s game. He’s now 5/13 in his first three games with two homers, and a double.
  • In the least shocking news ever the Rockies Colton Welker is raking in Lancaster. Hitting .556, with 4 walks, a homer, 5 runs scored, and a double in the early going. Wouldn’t shock me if Welker leads the Cal League in hitting during his time in Lancaster.
  • Finally Gleyber Torres cracked his first homer of the season last night, which just so happened to also be his first hit of the season.

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

  1. Ciwa says:
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    I know that maybe it’s not the right place to ask, but i know you (like me) are in love with Kingery. I drafted him in my 14 team keeper league draft and now i received a trade proposal: Castillo for Kingery. I’m tempted to accept and buy the electrict stuff of Castillo despite his first two poor starts ’cause i think it’s easier to find a good bat in the waiver during the year (Villanueva?Swanson?Calhoun? My options now) than a possible (probable?) top20 pitcher,but i’d like to hear your opinion first.

    Here’s my roster:

    Gary Sánchez NYY – C
    Mike Moustakas KC – CI
    Cody Bellinger LAD – CI,OF
    Tim Anderson CWS – MI
    Whit Merrifield KC – MI,OF
    Giancarlo Stanton NYY – OF
    Ian Happ ChC – MI,OF
    Trey Mancini Bal – CI,OF
    Trevor Story Col – MI
    Charlie Blackmon Col – OF
    Scott Kingery Phi – MI
    Lewis Brinson Mia – OF
    Fernando Tatis Jr. SD – MI

    Stephen Strasburg Was – SP
    Rich Hill LAD – SP
    Corey Kluber Cle – SP
    Michael Wacha StL – SP
    Lance McCullers Jr. Hou – SP
    Alex Reyes StL – SP-DL
    Brandon Morrow ChC – RP
    Greg Holland StL – RP

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Ciwa: I’d do it, you’ve got some coverage.

  2. BSA says:
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    Let me know when you’re heading in to Hartford again. I’m about 40 minutes south of the yardgoats. Great my email from below.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @BSA: Will do, got some HS games next weekend, Matt Vasil from BC High is pitching. First round guy.

      The following weekend is Gwinnett at Pawtucket. Soroka sets up to start a week from next Saturday.

  3. Sky Burnz says:
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    Hey Ralph, thoughts on Delvin Perez? I know he has been a disappointment, but seems to at least have OBP and stolen base potential from MI.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Sky Burnz: Yeah, he might, it’s still early. Lot of the concern with him was the bat after the PED bust, and the worry that his power was never actually real. He’s so young he’s got time to add strength, or find some undetectable shozzz. Lol

      • SKy Burnz says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Better not to use Chavis’s “trainer” for that power workout.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @SKy Burnz: Hahahaha!

  4. Alan says:
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    Thx Ralph! If Tapia and Dahl were ranked on your prospect list, are both Top 10 guys? Was Dahl already getting a night off last night?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Alan: Not Top 10, I always had Tapia really high, but I’d settle him in somewhere around Top 25-50, same with Dahl. There’s stupid good talent in the top 15-20 right now.

      • Alan says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: gotcha, thanks!!! I have both sitting on my bench waiting for their chance. Seems like they’re trying to bust down the door to entry

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Alan: I wish Car-Go and Parramatta would just go away.

  5. Chris says:
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    Thanks Ralph!

    Two questions. First do you think Senzel will be up any time soon since Peraza is sucking ass? Second, which one should I start?

    roto-h2h-12 team league.

    Leake vs Oakland
    Reynaldo [email protected] Min
    Odorizzi for two home vs Houston and the White Sox. Houston matchup scares me but he is at home. I won’t start him and he’ll go off both games, lol.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Chris: I think Senzel will be up between mid-June and early July. Pre-ASB for sure.

      Rey! SON loves him.

      • Chris says:
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        Thanks! Wow! Rey at Minnesota, not what I would have guessed you would have said, but ya know what I’m gonna do it!

  6. Mex says:
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    I’m in a lifetime keeper league(we can keep up to 5 each year). We are allowed to have one minor leaguer on our team during the year(we do a minor league draft after the regular draft is over). So far the minor leaguers that have been taken are(these guys are not available): Acuna, Gleyber, Vlad Jr, Senzel, Robles, Mejia, Flaherty.

    I’m up next in the minor league draft. So, the guys available are: Calhoun, Hays, Dahl, Kopech, A. Reyes, A. Alford, and anyone else I may have missed, but I imagine those are the top guys.

    So how do you rank the top 3 for this year and possibly a keeper for years to come? Thanks in advance. Don’t know if it is useful to know, but my top 5 guys this year are Goldy, Stanton, Correa, Springer, Sano, Conforto.

    • Mex says:
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      @Mex: I also have Odor. So it would be my top 7, not top 5.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Mex: Willie C, Reyes, and Kopech.

      • Mex says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:
        Thanks. Are Reyes and Kopech even close or is it Calhoun without a doubt?

  7. Fantasy Phein says:
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    Howdy Ralph, thx for the work. Wanted to know if the Griffin Canning outing meant anything to you or what you think of him. Thx

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Fantasy Phein: Very solid start, needs to build up some strength, nice to see the Ks, the real test of advanced college arms is the upper minors. Be interested to see what he does.

  8. malamoney

    malamoney says:
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    I was thinking of going to that game. I’m holding Vlad and Rodgers in my two ML spots. Bichette is available too, but I’ve also got Senzel and Buehler.

    When do you see Calhoun getting up? How about Alcantara? You think Big Willie makes a splash? Don’t go stealing that post title from me either!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @malamoney: Nice! Don’t worry, I limit my whale puns to Moby Dick only. Willie is likely a mid to late April guy. I mean they’re giving Rua at bats. I’d swap Bo and Rodgers.

      • malamoney

        malamoney says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: You’d rather hold Bo than Rodgers? Will either of them be up this year?

  9. CardFan says:
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    Love your articles! 12 Team NL Only League,only 7 reserve spots, I picked up Senzel, Riley and L Urias from SD What is your best prediction for when A Riley and L Urias will be up this year(You answered my Senzel question) Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @CardFan: Riley likely late this year say August or September. Urias could be as early as July or as late as September.

  10. Matt says:
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    I know you just answered a different Senzel question above-now with Suarez’s broken thumb (assuming he’s out six weeks…) AND pereza just being pereza, any chance that we see Senzel up soon? Or is this a super two thing with the Reds?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Matt: I think it’s June with Senzel.

      • malamoney

        malamoney says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Why June? Is he not ready? Service time issue?

  11. Oddball Herrera says:
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    @Matt: here’s a thought: see if senzel moves off 2b at Louisville. If he starts playing third, there’s your sign that the Suarez injury changes something.

    The Reds are only going to seem like they are in a hurry if they start moving him around to positions of greater need. Otherwise they can afford to wait with Gennett until June/July at least.

  12. RePete says:
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    14-Team H2H OBP Keep 6 Forever League;

    C – Castillo
    1B- Mancini
    2B – Beckham
    SS – Trea Turner
    3B – Rendon
    MI – Correa
    CI – Franco
    OF – JD Martinez, Khris Davis, Puig, Schwarber, Taylor
    BE – Soler, Walker, Owings
    DL – Bird
    NA – Robles

    SP – Strasburg, Bundy, Walker, Wacha, Pivetta, Velasquez
    RP – Betances, Jones, Madson, O’Day, Middleton, Hicks
    DL – Salazar

    When Robles gets called up at some point this year, who would you stash in NA from these available options;

    Alford, Jake Bauers, O’Neill, Mateo, Christin Stewart, Verdugo

  13. Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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    i don’t know where they are getting this as senzel already played 3B most of his entire career, if they didn’t call him up when suarez went down i don’t know why “start of next week” is now some sort of ETA, but having said all this, drop andujar (if you aren’t starting him) for senzel in 1-16 teamers?

    http://rotoworld.com/player/mlb/8953/nick-senzel

    this is the kind of thing where in leagues where he’s not already stashed (by me in most leagues with even one NA slot) he will be soon with that blurb, even if it’s wrong.
    boop boop

  14. Ballin says:
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    Need to pick from these prospects: Dominic Smith, Tyler O’Neill, Anthony Alford, Corbin Burnes. How would you rank them?

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