Tough starts can really tank a prospects perceived value. There might be nothing worse for dynasty managers, than watching one of your blue chips struggle very publicly for the better part of the first half. It’s only magnified when a player is on the cusp of the majors, and touted as a potential impact player from the jump. Think about how far Willie Calhoun has fallen. Earlier this year, I could have moved Calhoun for legit MLB talent in one of my more competitive dynasty leagues. Coming into the season Calhoun was a hot commodity, as I turned down deals for James Paxton and David Price amongst others. Just a few days ago in the same league, my Willie Calhoun for Max Muncy trade was scoffed at. All this to say a few things; 1. Things change quickly in the world of dynasty baseball. 2. Is a much more important lesson, and one tough for struggling Calhoun owners. Don’t write off players you believe in. At the moment there might be no better example of this lesson than the Indians Francisco Mejia. The young backstop moved through Cleveland’s minor league ranks like a rocket the past few seasons, before being assigned to Glendale of the Arizona Fall League. There, the Indians tried Mejia at the hot corner to less than stellar results. Everything started to go south. Mejia’s hitting wasn’t what it was billed to be, and the struggles carried through the beginning of 2018. Hitting just .189 entering June, the diminutive catcher has gone on a tear slashing .419/.438/.640, with four more hits on the month than his prior two months combined. In fact he has 15 multi-hit games in his last 21! That’s raking, but the point should hit you like a ton of bricks. We knew Mejia was a talented switch-hitter with plus-plus hit, even through his struggles we shouldn’t have lost sight of just how good this player is. Will he win you a fantasy league one day? Not likely, but he can be one of the better offensive talents behind the plate. Which leads me to my next question, what’s his future at catcher? While he might never be an everyday catcher, he’s still played a majority of his games behind the pate this season. Which could work out to be a best case scenario in fantasy. If he has the ability to play enough games every year to keep catcher eligibility, but not to breakdown over the course of the year it could amount to a perfect storm. A plus hitter at the catcher position that avoids the daily wear and tear that can negatively impact offensive output.

 

  • One of the more frustrating players to own in dynasty leagues is the Dodgers D.J. Peters. He’s maddening from the sense that he posseses massive power and athletic ability, but due to his size has some real holes in his swing he’s got swing and miss problems. So while he’s connected for 14 homers, and rocks a .207 ISO, his 31.5% K% at AA Tulsa is going to limit just how much impact he has with the bat. While Peters walks a fair amount, his rates have dropped below 10%  in 2018, for the first time in his career. He’s not one to chase pitches off the plate, but instead misses loads of strikes in the zone. Which is more concerning. You can learn to lay off a breaking ball on the outer-half, but closing the holes in your swing takes a lot more adjustment. Just ask Bradley Zimmer. As I write and rank my Top 100, I’m tempted to leave Peters off.

  • One of the most exciting, and injury prone, talents in the minors at the moment, Brusdar Graterol was promoted to High-A Fort Myers of the Florida State League on Monday. The righthander with the thick lower half has been lights out when he’s been on the mound for Ceder Rapids this year. Carving up the Midwest League to the tune of  a 3-2 record, with a 2.18 ERA, 2.73 xFIP, a 30.5% K% to a 5.4% Bb%, a .195 BAA, and a 64% GB%. That’s a pitcher with power, control, and the ability to induce weak contact. Brusdar mixes a triple digit fastball, with a plus curveball, an above average changeup, and a workhorse build. He’s had elbow and back injuries in the past, and he has a very upper-body heavy delivery, so injury concerns should linger. As much as I LOVE the player, I still ding his value a little, for being an injury-prone pitching prospect, with wonky mechanics, and a high velocity fastball. Velo giveth, and velo taketh.
  • In another shining example of don’t write off talent, the Braves righthander, and 2017 Top 10 pick, Kyle Wright is surging. Over his last three starts he’s allowed 5 earned over 19.1 innings, with 27 Ks to 6 walks, but most encouragingly, the two strongest starts have come at home. Pitching in Mississippi has been an issue for Wright, who prior to those efforts was rocking a home ERA in the 8’s. He mixes a high 90s fastball with a plus slider, and above average/average offerings in his curveball and changeup. I’ve readjusted my top of the rotation projections slightly, but if Wright can get locked in, and improve his control he could take a major step forward in the second half.

  • The Phillies righty Adonis Medina has been strong over his last two months, following an atrocious April. With a ERA close to 8 after four April starts, Medina has gone 5-0 in his 9 starts since, rocking a 3.00 ERA, with 53 Ks to 16 Bbs over that time. He hasn’t even had luck on his side boosting his numbers either, as his LOB% in May and June is 66.9%! That tells me he can be even better than his ERA shows. Mixing a plus fastball, with two above average secondaries in his curveball and changeup, Medina has the stuff to make it as a number two starter. His control isn’t magical, but it’s not yet a problem either. He’s a plus athlete, repeats his mechanics well, and matches it with plus stuff. I hate pitching prospects as much as the next dynasty manager, but Medina is the type that throws sense out the window, and makes you break your preconceived biases.

  • After hyping up Jonathan Hernandez early in the season for Down east there’s yet another standout from the Rangers High-A Carolina league affliate in Edgar Arredondo. Promoted to AA Frisco last week, the Mexico native tossed 5 innings of 2 run ball in his debut, striking out 3 and walking two. Over his 11 starts at Down east, he was 5-2, with a 2.88 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 68 Ks to 11 Bbs.

  • After being dubbed “Gronk with a bat” the Indians Will Benson, put Lance in a headlock during the Midwest league All-Star game and demanded respect for his new found approach. A physical specimen at 6’5 225 LBS, Lance was impressed with his improved approach, even if all Benson has done this year is homer, walk, and strikeout, the projection on this three-outcome beast is that of a middle of the order masher. It’s easy to forget some of these big bodied athletes take longer to come around. Benson a 2016 first round pick, wouldn’t even be draft eligible until next June had he chose to not sign and head to the college ranks. Sometimes it’s easy to loose sight of that. While I do not expect a high batting average at any point in his career, if he continues to make incremental improvements at the plate Benson could blossom into a 30+ homer bat with some on base ability, making him a target in OPS formats.

 

Follow me on Twitter @ProspectJesus, catch me weekly on The Baseball Show, and Follow all my Prospect work on Razzball.

  1. Chris says:
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    Hey Ralph,

    1) Where did you see that Mejia will be called up Saturday? I can’t find it anywhere. If so, I’m curious as to whether he’d get enough playing time for me to drop Russell Martin.

    2) What’s your outlook for Jorge Polanco ROS?

    • Mike says:
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      @Chris: Was going to ask this same question, re Mejia. I don’t see this news anywhere.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Mike: It was on Twitter and the tweet was deleted.

        • Mike says:
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          @Ralph Lifshitz: Bummer. Thanks for the update.

          • Chris says:
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            Thanks Ralph,
            Do you think it takes an injury for Mejia to get significant playing time this season? Seems like the Indians already have excess OF and that it’s tough to throw a rookie catcher into a pennant race when you have two decent guys in Gomes and Perez.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Chris: I removed it, the tweet I read has been since deleted. Weird…

      Ehhh, he’s worth a flier as a young MI with playing time. He was really only good for a month last season.

  2. BB says:
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    Thanks, Ralph. Question: How would you compare Jalen Beeks’ fantasy value to Reynaldo Lopez moving forward for 2019-20?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @BB: I’d take Lopez, Beeks is pretty hittable, but his cutter is a damn good pitch. Lopez at least has the raw tools to get to the next level.

      That said I don’t like either very much.

  3. senormota says:
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    King Ralph, I’m contemplating an offer of Kyle Schwarber for Miguel Andujar and Urias. 16-team, H2H 6×6 (OPS & k/bb) Dynasty league. Start 3OFs, 2 UTIL and QS instead of Wins.

    At 3B I have Devers, at OF I have Springer, Mazara, Desmond and Schebler. I’m leaning holding, but wanted your take. Thanks in advance!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @senormota: Hold onto Andujar.

  4. David says:
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    Thanks Ralph! Which side in a dynasty league, Harper/Moncada or J. Ramirez/ Vlad Jr? Thanks.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @David: J-Ram and Vlad.

  5. jose H. says:
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    Ralph,
    What is the deal with 3B Jonathan India? He has not signed yet.

    My other two picks are signed and playing 3B Bohm even has a promotion. He started in the GCL and got promoted A short season, while C Bart just started on the AZL.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @jose H.: He’s playing the leverage game I’m sure.

  6. Love the posts Ralph, have to chose 2 Widener, Guzman(mia), Canning or Paddack or do you think will benson would be a better gamble? Seems to me Paddack has the most frontline starter stuff. I’ll hang up and listen

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Jerod Harchut: Give me Paddack and Griffin Canning.

  7. Jimmy Jack James says:
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    Ralph, is a DJ Lemahieu trade the only realistic thing that could get Brendan Rodgers up for significant time this season? What are your thoughts on him as a keeper going forward?

    Thanks

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Jimmy Jack James: Even then… it’s the Rockies.

  8. Sport says:
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    Great prospect round up as always! I have been trying to dig some on Arredondo so glad to read that here!

    Can you please rank these guys that are available in a deep 20 league? Tirso, Merrell, Kevin Smith, Starling Heredia, and Bubba Thompson. Any jump out as glaring adds?

    I really appreciate all your work!

  9. Screwballs says:
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    Ralph,

    Thanks for all of the information you provide! I joined a 20 team H2H 6×6 league several years ago and it’s very hard to find information to stay ahead of the pack. Everyone carries between 3-5 NA on their roster, but based on your advice I managed to grab Juan Soto and Austin Meadows.

    We keep 8, and I am still in the hunt this year [currently 3rd] and looking to stay competitive, with an eye towards any possible keepers, especially pitchers. Are any of these worth a longer look and putting up with the bumps for the future? I am using or holding the following:
    • Domingo Germain
    • Frankie Montas
    • Matt Strahm
    • Dyan Covery
    • Fernando Romero
    • Jalen Beeks
    • Freddy Peralta
    • Jon Loaisigia
    • Austin Voth

    I also drafted Nathan Eovaldi when he was on the DL and have Colin Moran, David Fletcher, Peter Alonso and Ben Gamel as batters. Any comments on them would also be appreciated.

  10. gc tacos says:
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    Dynasty… keep two— Senzel, Mejia, Gore, Whitley

  11. Joe Pepitone says:
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    Thanks for everything Ralph!

    How concerned should I be with Ryan McMahon in a keep forever dynasty? Let’s just say I’m competing and he’s close to being the next guy to cut if I need some waiver wire chum.

  12. Manny says:
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    What are your thoughts on Nathaniel Lowe, 1B for TB currently mashing in Montgomery? A recent CBS article compared his recent out of nowhere late development to Paul Goldschmidt. That’s a comparison that grabs your attention. Are they way off here or is he someone to snag early now wherever possible before people start to notice?

    His numbers last year were pedestrian and wouldn’t justify a second look anywhere. But this season he has been consistent all year, across 2 levels now, with a .350+ avg, 1.000+ OPS & great K/BB ratio. Seems to be Tampa’s version of Pete Alonso, although Alonzo was always been a more well thought of prospect. Are you aware of any basis for the drastic change in performance? Your insight is always appreciated, so thank you for what you do.

  13. Big league choo says:
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    sixto Sanchez or Jesus luzardo?
    10 team dynasty qs league

  14. Brian says:
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    16 team dynasty h2h 7×7 with H and and OPS , and holds and BAA for pitchers. Sitting in 2nd place. Top 8 make playoffs.
    Roster is C-sanchez (with chirinos filling in), 1b-bour, 2b-whit, 3b-seager, ss-trea, cf-marte, of-bryce, betts, Brantley, util-khris, dan murphy. Bn-pirela, mike taylor, Jorge Polanco, franco, semien.
    SPs are kluber, gerritt, mccullers, Andrew suarez, Quintana, jon gray, Shelby miller. RPs are wade, devenski, givens, Justin Anderson, fry, trivino, hildenberger, melancon. DL-archer, shark, cahill, hellickson, Vizcaino, Salazar.
    Minors-tatis, yusniel diaz, Christian pache, mitch white, jhailyn Ortiz, shane baz, kaprielian, carter kieboom.
    Been offered verlander and pham for my tatis and jon gray. You pulling the trigger?

    thanks ralph

  15. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    same league from a few posts ago. the detail still posted, skip to bottom if remembered those.

    16 team dynasty with holds, OPS, QS, K/9, k/BB, hits, total bases, net steals, OBP over AVG. max 7 man prospect lists but you can only send down guys somebody owned at start of year (so none of my NA’s on active roster can be sent down). 130 AB/50 innings guys have to come up or get dropped. roto and we have 4 fake rosters with all players benched for the prospect lists/DL’s over 5 (yahoo so there’s a max DL on rosters itself)/suspended guys (again, for some asinine reason in yahoo suspended counts as active player)
    C zunino
    1B valencia (3B/RF)
    2B jose ram (3B)
    3B yolmer (2B)
    SS semien
    CI solarte (2B/SS/3B)
    MI d.travis (peraza outbid by somebody else)
    LF jd mart (RF)
    CF meadows (all OF)
    RF mookie
    OF brocktune (LF/RF)
    OF bader (CF/RF)
    util heyward (CF/RF)
    util kipnis (2B/CF, sort of streamer)
    BN kiermaier (CF)
    BN mancini (1B/LF)
    BN krispie young (streamer @ BOS and a weak lefty)
    DL adams, franchy, r-zimm, longo, miggy
    NA (4) rooker, marsh, hanram
    SP (1800 max innings): wood, hamels, morton, stripling, montas
    RP (max 6): fields, c.green, morrow, yates, rivero, kimbrel
    DL carrasco, cueto, morrow
    NA paddack,
    prospect list: kieboom, trammell, mcmahon, c.stewart, k.lewis, m.baez, javier

    z.white, who i used to have on my prospect list till he fell down yours in march is still unowned. me better off with him over which of my NA’s? further news at least makes it likely hanram isn’t going to prison as a speedball kingpin. also seuly, y.diaz, benson available over my guys. i’m pretty sure marsh isn’t being overpassed here, but maybe the others.

  16. Scott says:
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    I have 5 n/a spots in a keeper league for prospects. I own florial who was rising fast last year. He scuffles early and had surgery for a broken hamster bone. Do I hold him or replace him with kiriloff who is rising and has a great all fields approach. Or should I use it for Domingo Santana who is in the minors and has no place to play in mil. Was last year a mrigae for santana. He could have some value if traded. Who is the best stash of the 3. I am not concerned about this year. Thanks

    • Scott says:
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      Love what autocorrect does some times.

  17. Riz says:
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    Pick one to own in the long run in a dynasty league…

    Pete Lambert
    Max Fried
    Freicer Perez

    Thanks Ralph!

  18. Mex says:
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    Hey Ralph,

    Thinking of trading for a minor leaguer.

    For the guys listed below:

    1) Do you think any of them will be called up this year?
    2) Do you think any of them will have full time spots(or at least significant playing time) next year?
    3)

    Anthony Alford, Jorge Mateo, Bradley Zimmer

    Thanks

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