There’s no time of the year better for baseball junkies like us, than the dog days of August. The playoff races are starting to take shape, all levels and leagues in the minors are in full swing, the Cape Cod League playoffs are going, and there’s always a game, boxscore, or lineup to check. My wife calls this Ralphie-Phone-Hands season. Sorry I’m the creative one in the relationship, my wife just awkwardly creates puns from Tim Burton movie titles. Believe me, you don’t want to hear what she’s done with Big Fish. Any the who, this leads me to our lede topic for today, (lead-lede?) Brewers 2017 first rounder Keston Hiura. Coming into the draft many considered Hiura to be the most/best/pro-ready hitter in the draft. Once you’re done choosing your hyperbolic label, we’ll move along. Okay you done? Good, great, grand. There’s one issue with Hiura though, he hasn’t played the field in pretty much a year due to an elbow injury, that up to now, has not required Tommy John. Have I scared you off yet? If so, I hope we share a league and you’ve already gone back to asking Grey catcher questions. Why? Because I want Keston Hiura on all my dynasty teams. In a year where far off prep hitters, and high school arms are the crème de la crème, I’ll gladly target the advanced college bat with contact, power, and approach.

During his three seasons with UC Irvine, Hiura slashed .375/.466/.581 with 22 homers, 135 RBIs, and 16 steals (caught 12 times tho…). That was over 630 at bats, pretty close to 160 games. In fact in 2017 he led the nation in batting average hitting .442, while also ranking first in OBP. Now for the elephant in the room, his future position. From reports it looks like Hiura’s elbow has responded well to a throwing program and he’s on track to return to his prior position second base, while also getting some reps in the outfield next season. This isn’t so much a Willie Calhoun “his defense stinks thing”, as it’s a “his elbow almost needed major surgery and he needed to take it easy” thing. The good news is it didn’t affect his hitting in college, and it’s not affecting his hitting early in his pro career. As of writing this Killah Keston (G’d up!), is slashing .397/.446/.667 over 35 games split between rookie ball, and full season A ball. Not too shabby for a lad fresh outta college. All of this said, Hiura isn’t a future superstar like a Kris Bryant coming out of college, but I’d put him on par with an Alex Bregman or Nick Senzel. Great across the board profile, little risk of him not “at least” being fantasy relevant in the majors, but with a very good, not great, player’s ceiling. So what say you, do you want some of Keston Wee Hing Natsuo Hiura? Yeah, that’s his full name.

 

  • If you have no interest in discussing 2019 draft guys move along. UNC’s righthander Tyler Baum has owned the Cape League this summer. He currently leads the league in wins, strikeouts, and ERA, and looks to have everyone talking. He’s still a few years away from fantasy relevance, but not a bad player to add now if you’re in a league that allows you to roster amateurs. Other standouts from the Cape are hitters Alec Bohm, Griffin Conine (Jeff’s son), Tanner Dodson, Ethan Paul, Nico Hoerner, and Stephen Scott.
  • The Phillies J.P. Crawford has not slowed down in August homering last night and slashing .306/.390/.667 in the first 9 games of the month. This isn’t anything new if you’ve been following Crawford since he returned from the DL June 20th. Since that date he’s hitting .279/.383/.587 with 11 homers, and a 13.9% Bb% over 46 games. I ranked Crawford 79th on my Top 100 prospects list, which is lower than industry consensus, but that’s because the industry is more focused on his real life baseball skills. Crawford is one of the more misunderstood prospects in the minors. Not because he writes tough-to-read teenage angst poetry, but because people draw assumptions based on his last name and position. He is not a speed guy, in fact over that hot 46 game stretch where he’s gotten on base nearly 40% of the time, he’s only attempted 4 steals, and been successful 50% of the time. Doesn’t sound like a burner right? To me he’s more a future leadoff hitter with Dustin Pedroia sort of upside with plus fielding ability at short. Not a superstar, but a fantasy relevant player with on base ability and some pop.
  • After a rough first go at pro-ball coming out of the draft in 2016, former Indians second round pick Nolan Jones has really started to turn things around the last few weeks. Over his last 9 games he’s 16 for 36, with 4 doubles, 2 homers , and 11 RBIs. Jones is still a long ways away from establishing significant fantasy hype, but he could be turning a corner, keep an eye out.
  •  The Orioles Austin Hays continues his epic 2017, as he went 2 for 5 last night, hitting a homer (a grand slam), and driving in 5. Hays just missed out on my Top 100, but will make the update sometime in late August, early September.
  • Speaking of Orioles prospects, one time top pitching prospect Hunter Harvey is once again working his way back from injury. This time with the Aberdeen Ironbirds of the New York-Penn League. Harvey started the game, went 2 innings, walking three and striking out three in the process. He also looks like a creep and a half, no joke.
  • After a rough couple of outings my top “active” pitching prospect Triston McKenzie rebounded last night going 5 innings, allowing a run, and striking out 8 in the process. I spoke a little about McKenzie, and why I rate him so highly for the Two Strike Approach Podcast with fellow Razz writer Lance yesterday.
  • Looks like the Red Sox Michael Chavis is continuing his charge for a universal top 50 spot on many prospect lists. He homered again last night, his 2 second in as many games, and his 5th over his last 10. I’m not going to go too in depth here. I wrote about Chavis on Sunday, so go look there for more on him.
  • Goodbye Rhys Hoskins, don’t forget who loved you first on your way to MLB stardom. He potentially ended his decorated MiLB career with a bang last night, going 3 for 5, with a 3 run homer, a double, and 5 RBIs.

**Going to a minor league game? Get in on our crowdsourced scouting video project! Use your phone to shoot at bats, pitches, etc of some of the top prospects, and email them to me at [email protected]**

Follow me on Twitter @Ralphlifshtzbb and Tune on Tuesday’s @ 9PM (EST) to my Live Baseball Show on Fantrax YouTube.  (and join the Crab Army in the chat)

55 Comments
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true and correct
true and correct
5 years ago

How does McMahon stack up against Hoskins and Smith ? Thanks

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  true and correct
4 years ago

@Andrew Edenbaum: behind from playing time issues for this year (unless mini donkey were to get hurt, or arenado). i would HOPE if mini donkey stops hitting that would work too, but i’m finding myself having to drop him in redrafts right now if few BN spots for hitters. in dynasties can’t drop of course.

tony
tony
5 years ago

Hoskins or mcmahon in a dynasty league?

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  tony
4 years ago

@tony: check ralph’s posts, in the top 100/200 posts i’m mostly sure it’s hoskins. mcmahon he does have quite higher than a lot of others though.

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
5 years ago

Best long term upside:

Luis Gohara
Jeff Hoffman
Jack Flaherrty
Jose Urena

MP

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  Malicious Phenoms
5 years ago

@Malicious Phenoms: Meant to ask you to rank these four for me.

Cheers

true and correct
true and correct
5 years ago

Smith v. Hoskins > concerned that Hoskins doesn’t get every day starts when Altherr returns. Speaking about the rest of this year only. What do you expect of both for this season ? Thanks.

true and correct
true and correct
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Thanks Mr. Goodman, er, Mr. Lipshitz. I’m in a $5,000 a person 15 team stand alone team. Chasing 2nd place at the moment, as well as fending off 4th place (no prize). $20k for 2nd; $7500 for 3d ($40k for 1st- would need his entire team to go down, haha). I have $63 left with 7 weeks of free agency. My pitching (Sale, Archer, Nola, Duffy, Bauer, Ed Rod, McHugh, Odorizzi, Chacin is pretty solid- Miranda/Zimmerman can always be replaced for $1-$2).
Thinking about bidding $51 for Hoskins, with a similar b/up bid on Smith. Will still leave me with $2 a week for a pitcher or an emergency fill in (though pretty much backed up everywhere but catcher). Too high ? Not high enough (probably). Kind of a balls to the wall mind set. Can always use b. avg., and power. Markakis or Winker to drop. Pick one.
Thanks

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  true and correct
4 years ago

@Andrew Edenbaum: i agree with that bidding. probably the best 2 CI guys to both come up AND play left, also possibly the best hitters at ANY position to come up AND play left.

El Famous Burrito
El Famous Burrito
5 years ago

What do you make of the Billy McKinney resurgence? Even if it’s legit, does he have anywhere to play in NY?

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
5 years ago

You missed my comment before so I’ll ask again. Is Royce Lewis the top pick in yearly prospect drafts now? Had mine in my dynasty, Robert went #1, Greene #2, I had #3 so gladly scooped Lewis. Love his upside at SS, right call? Hope Keston wasn’t the better choice now as he went right after!

2nd pick was pick #30, and saw Jose Adolis Garcia still available so I took him. Cards offseason int signing, haven’t heard you write much about him, are you a fan? MVP last year in Cuba and at a good age 24 to make his debut in the next year and have a good career.

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
Reply to  Swfcdan
5 years ago

@Swfcdan: Oh and hell yeah, it’s Hoskins time at last!! Sounds like some OF and 1B sprinkled in, sounds fine and dandy for eligability in keepers/dynasties.

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Well that’s just dandy then.

Didn’t give your thoughts on Jose Adolis Garcia though. MVP last year in Cuba, big international signing for Cards. When could we see him up next year and what kinda impact can he make?

Another Cuban raking and another Jose: Jose Miguel Fernandez of Dodgers. Same goes with him, thoughts?

Sick Ranchez
Sick Ranchez
5 years ago

Love all your posts man, just thanks.

JSF
JSF
5 years ago

Hi Ralph,

I’m in a bit of a conundrum.

In my keep forever league, I am chasing the title this year. We keep 8, I have Rizzo, Arenado, Jose Ramirez, Pollock, Cruz, Scherzer and deGrom as lock keepers. Miggy would normally be a lock too, but he’s fallen off a cliff this year and wasting a UTIL slot for me. I have Tyler O’Neill stashed on NA and he is keepable.

I’m entertaining trading Miggy for some picks (not gonna get a great return) to open up some roster flexibility this year and recoup some picks I traded away to bolster my pitching staff.

Would you do it and keep O’Neill? I also picked up Rhys Hoskins today (not keepable), so he could help down the stretch.

Thanks

claw dog
claw dog
5 years ago

Kyle Lewis is raking since coming back and it makes me so happy. I feel like I haven’t seen anyone talking about him. Hoping for a promotion to double A by the end of the season

Thomas
Thomas
Reply to  claw dog
5 years ago

@claw dog:

Ralph would you go
Kingerey or Lewis ?

Thanks

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  claw dog
5 years ago

@claw dog: He has but I hear from concerns from those watching that the knee is still bothering him. Like him a lot though.

I’d take Kingery

The Rook
The Rook
5 years ago

Kingerey was pretty high on your mid season report, if you were to rebrand is he same,higher or lower?

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  The Rook
5 years ago

@The Rook: About the same the flyball approach has held true

David
David
5 years ago

Ralph, what are your thoughts on Fried? Does he make the rotation next year or stay in the pen or is he being showcased to trade?

Also, Dom Smith or Healy long term with OBP and SLG? Thanks

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  David
5 years ago

@David: Nah, I think they’re hoping to jump start him he’s been trash all year. We’ll see, maybe he tweaks something and meets his expectations next year, but it’s not looking good. I almost wonder if they don’t care about his arb clock and figured screw it promote him hahaha.

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  David
5 years ago

@David: Dom Smith all day in that format. Healy sucks in OBP.

phil
phil
5 years ago

Hoskins up today..Smith up on Friday ? Who will be the next few to come up with any hope to be MLB fantasy ready.

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  phil
5 years ago

@phil: Ryan McMahon is MLB ready IMO, and Jack Flaherty too.

Sport
Sport
5 years ago

Thank you for your consistently solid updates!

10 team dynasty. I give J.Turner/Ozuna and get Miggy/Devers. Hurts me next year maybe but seems logical long term. And I’m not as down on Miggy as some.
Only hold to me is, if Ozuna repeats this years performance. What are your thoughts?

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Sport
5 years ago

@Sport: yeah I think it’s a worthy gamble. Do it.

Sport
Sport
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Thank you. Adding Devers to a that has Ocuna, Tucker, Calhoun, and several others of your top 30 mid season. Dahl, Betts Tapia, Benintendi, are also in there so I should be building good long term!

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Sport
5 years ago

@Sport: Nice foundation

Sport
Sport
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Same league, Votto is killing it but Correa over him is a no brainer right?

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Sport
5 years ago

@Sport: See above brother.

BillyBeaneIsNotMyLover
BillyBeaneIsNotMyLover
5 years ago

At this point in a dynasty should I drop Luis Robert for Scott Kingery? I love Scotty but he seems to be really flying under the radar in the league. My prospect list is below followed by some available guys. Any changes?

Lewis Brinson
Victor Robles
Eloy Jimenez
Luis Robert
Austin Meadows

Available:
Scott Kingery
Keston Hiura
Alex Reyes
Willie Calhoun
Juan Soto

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  BillyBeaneIsNotMyLover
5 years ago

@BillyBeaneIsNotMyLover: Of you’re looking for a higher floor on a prospect closer to the majors then yes. The upside on Robert is still higher, he’s just 3 years from the bigs.

Racehorse
Racehorse
5 years ago

R-to-the-Alph

Sheldon Neuse is mashing in Stockton since being traded, and Luiz Gohara is taking a few lumps since being promoted to Gwinnette … if you had your druthers, Neuse or Gohara ?

I luv this shizz ~

Thanks!!!

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Racehorse
5 years ago

@Racehorse: Gohara, he’s a real deal prospect, also super young for the level. Nurse is a nice player but never a stud. There’s front end stuff in Gohara.

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Neuse, damn autocorrect

Racehorse
Racehorse
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: I work in healthcare, so dropping a miss-placed nurse-bomb is all good.

I just dropped one Albert Pujols and I just picked up Gohara, who will be sent to my minor league roster (allowable per my league rules).

End of an era – Pujols was the 1st pick of my dynasty league’s 1st draft … which I had, and there The Machine sat at 1B on my mighty dynasty team since 2007 …

Second part of my league transaction is calling up Rhys Hoskins – meet the new boss, same as the old boss (hopefully – one can still keep my fingers crossed, right?).

Btw, Gohara was dropped and picked up a couple of times this season from the same owner, probably due to roster crunching – but now Gohara is mine, All MINE !!!

Thanks for the guidance, Ralph – Big, BIG ups to the work you do!

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Racehorse
5 years ago

@Racehorse: Any time Racehorse, thanks for reading.

Jackson
5 years ago

No mention of Isaac Paredes? Dude had himself a week. I’m disappointed in you.

Dany, send the dragons.

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Jackson
5 years ago

@Jackson: We’ve discussed him on the podcast, and my Fantrax YouTube show. Planned on covering him more extensively on Sunday after I had some time to actually watch him.

That said if this is an emotional breaking point for our reader – writer dynamic I will cry forever.

Jake send the Crabs

Jaaaaaake.crab
Jaaaaaake.crab
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz:

oh my gods. what the shit? does this piehole have a shithole? shove some pie in there. The most prolific writer aside from Grey-himself, top 200, top 100 weekly, top 40 catchers weekly, 1 live show, 1 podcast, 2 gerbils. What the hell man.

Sport
Sport
Reply to  Jackson
5 years ago

Correa over Votto for 2108 and beyond right?

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Sport
5 years ago

@Sport: Yeah you’re going to get a decade more at this point. Even though I doubt he’s better than Votto in 2018.

Packing
Packing
5 years ago

Dominic Smith or Ryan McMahon for na slot?

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Packing
5 years ago

@Packing: Dom Smith will be up, so I’ll go Dom. Even if I think MCMahon will be really good from the jump, I don’t think he gets called up.

Steve
Steve
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: He’s up.

bucktail
bucktail
5 years ago

Dynasty keep forever OBP league…

Brendan Rodgers for Kyle Tucker

I know they are both really close in your rankings as well as on Imaginary Brick Wall, but does either have a higher ceiling? Seems like Tucker is a little more advanced and has the speed edge but Rodgers has more pop and middle infield bonus. Are they dead even?

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  bucktail
5 years ago

@bucktail: I’m higher on Tucker right now. I’d prefer him.