Hey world! (Hand waving emoji) Meet Eloy Jimenez, you might know who Eloy is. You might think “Ralph, he’s a top 2-3 prospect dude, we know Eloy!”. It’s true, you know Eloy, you’ve seen the production, you’ve seen me tell you Eloy for Jose Quintana was a mistake (please, lets not rehash this Cubs fans. Cool?), but what you haven’t seen, more than likely, is this big boy bang out in the flesh. I had the distinct pleasure of taking in Eloy over the weekend in Pawtucket, and man, he didn’t disappoint. Easy power, from a simple, but refined swing, breathtaking plate coverage, bat speed, and strike zone awareness. I’ve been fortunate this year to see some of the top bats in the minors since the beginning of the season. I’ve seen Vlad, more than I’ve seen my children since April, same goes for Bo Bichette, and Brendan Rodgers. Ronald Acuna, I caught in April in AAA, and in early May at Fenway. So suffice it to say, I have a good measuring stick for offensive prowess at the moment. From a hitting perspective, absent of athleticism, and other tools, only Vlad is better than Eloy in that regard. Really an impressive talent, he went 3-for-4 on Sunday, connecting for an opposite field shot in his first at bat, before knocking two singles later in the game, one to right, and the other to left. It’s really a beautiful swing, here’s a look at an open face swing on his homer in the third. Look how clean the bat path is, how quick his hands are, and how he engages his lower half. It’s beautiful.

Now for the question everyone is asking. When’s he up boss? I. Don’t. Know. The White Sox have no reason to push him to the majors, outside of pleasing the fanbase. If I’m Rick Hahn, I keep Eloy down all season, give him the Acuna/Bryant treatment in 2019, and don’t look back. “But Ralph how can they keep him down?” I’ll tell you, his defense in the outfield BLOWS! Dude, fell on a routine flyball in the 8th. He’s not the most athletic guy, kind of flat-footed and bull-legged. He’s a leftfield only future DH to me. The arm is solid, but he doesn’t take great routes to the ball, and doesn’t cover much ground. Vlad Jr. for all his weight issues, and defensive knocks, is not only significantly smoother in the field, he’s faster and more athletic. I said it like this to one of my friends, Eloy is the dude that always plays center in pickup basketball, he can protect the rim, block shots, rebound, and throw it down, Vlad is the chubby dude that takes you off the dribble, and starts hitting off-balance diaper shots in the lane. One is a specimen of strength, the other is a freak. They will both be stars, but Eloy has little value defensively. Thank god this is fantasy, that doesn’t really matter, does it?

  • Very excited to be taking in Alex Faedo’s start tomorrow night at New Hampshire. The former Florida ace, has been very good this year across two levels of the minors. The swing and miss stuff hasn’t been there as much as you’d like to see, but he’s handled the transition well, compiling a 3-6 record, with a 3.39 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, .210 BAA, with a FIP just under 4, and 14.2% K-Bb%. The scouting reports I’ve received are better than his stats indicate. Fastball is really effective to righthanded hitters, the slider has gotten everything from plus grades to average grades over the years, and of late the changeup has gotten some love from those that have seen him. The mechanics are funky, but Tigers beat reporter Emily Waldon had a nice side by side of he and Max Scherzer. I am not saying he’s Max Scherzer, Emily is not saying he’s Max Scherzer, but it’s striking. I’m reserving judgement until I see it myself.

  • The swing change for Cavan Biggio has continued to pay dividends this year as he continues to set new personal bests. On Wednesday the slugging second baseman, hit his 22nd and 23rd homers of the season, good enough for second in the Eastern League, one behind “all or nothing king” Bobby Bradley. With Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Jonathan Davis seeing promotion to AAA Buffalo Biggio should not be too far off. Earlier this season I expected at least a cup of coffee in September, but at the moment I’m not 100% sold on that.

  • The Braves were on a promotion kick the last few days, they promoted Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson to AAA, Cristian Pache to AA, Drew Waters and William Contreras to high-A. Atlanta did an excellent job of adding pieces for the short and long term at the deadline without giving up any core players. They continue to push their top talents aggressively and for the most part they’ve all met the challenge.
  • The Diamondbacks catching prospect Daulton Varsho returned to game action over the weekend, and proceeded to hit for the cycle on Monday. Going 4-for-6, with 3 runs scored, an RBI, and 10 total bases. I love Varsho, and think his ability to hit, run, and get on base make him an excellent offensive talent regardless of position. In fact, I feel his bat is so good that he well eventually move off the position of catcher permanently.
  • Can we talk about a player that’s just a great story? The Mets Luc Rennie was pitching in Indy ball, after being out of affiliated baseball for 2+ seasons. He worked his way back after an impressive run in the Independent Frontier League, gaining the attention of the Mets. Signed on the 4th of July and has done nothing but push since. Through 5 appearances, and 4 starts the righthander sports a 2-0 record, with a silly 33.6% K%, and 28.2% K-BB%, while limiting contact with a .204 BAA. He mixes a low 90’s fastball with cutting action, mid-80’s slider, high-70s curveball, and a changeup. So far he’s shown the ability to pound the zone, while working fast. Perhaps the Mets found a gem.
  • In what might turn out to be a weekly update, the Rays Brendan McKay is coming off a stellar performance on the mound for the Rays high-A affiliate yesterday. The lefty went 4 scoreless innings, allowing only 1 hit while striking out out four, throwing 34 of 46 pitches for strikes. This on the heels of a two homer game on Friday, McKay looks to be stringing together strong performances on both sides of the ball. Still, he projects as a better pitcher than hitter at this point, though he should have the ability to get on base and provide some power when needed. Tough to bank on the offense pushing the profile.
  • We mentioned the Braves callups earlier, and the Dodgers have a pair of their own! Shortstop Gavin Lux and catcher Will Smith. Both are impressive talents having breakout offensive seasons, while providing defensive value at challenging positions. I like the pair and foresee everyday MLB gigs, Lux combines across the board skills, with contact, on base, speed, and some power. Should be interesting how the bat looks outside of the Cal League. Smith moves up to AAA, and is just one call away from the Dodgers. If Yasmani walks this year, don’t be shocked if Smith is the primary guy come some point next season. He’s really tapped into the power stroke the past few years, rocking ISO over .200 in consecutive campaigns. Smith though a catcher, has gotten an equal amount of starts at third base this year, giving him the kind of profile that could provide sneaky value at the catcher position. His defense behind the plate is good too, his time at third was more driven by the depth Tulsa had at catcher, with wunderkind Keibert Ruiz sharing duties behind the dish.
  • The Astros Brandon Bailey continued his scoreless streak last night, pushing it to 31 1/3 innings. The righthander was acquired from the Athletics this off-season for old friend Ramon Laurenao. Bailey is a short righty, checking in under 6 feet, but his stuff and ability to miss bats plays big. He mixes a four-seam fastball, a spike curveball, four-seam changeup, and a slider. I’m going to dig deeper into Bailey this weekend, and give you a more detailed report.

Follow me on @ProspectJesus and check out the first edition of my Top 500 Prospects

  1. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    great job once again Ralph

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @AL KOHOLIC: Thanks Al

  2. Miketron says:
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    Any excitement for aforementioned old friend Laureano coming up to he bigs?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Miketron: Not all that much, I mean I guess we’ll see. Felt like I got talked into him by Halp after that AFL.

      • Miketron says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: I miss Halp, hope that bird law thing is really working out for him.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Miketron: Birds are big business!

  3. Slappy Jack says:
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    I am really liking what I see in the numbers from Taylor Ward and Nate Lowe, what are your thoughts on them Ralph ? I don’t hear much about them, any flaws you think should be noted?

  4. Sport says:
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    Trying to move Brian Dozier in a deep dynasty with salary cap, so he is a big cap hit. Hard to sell high because of his typical first half numbers.

    Is two of the following three enough of a return? Paddack, Kirilloff, Puk.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Sport: Kirilloff + one of the arms is a great return.

  5. Dave D says:
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    Any thoughts on Matt Thaiss? As an Angel fan I am praying they release Valbuena any day now and start preparing for 2019. Fletcher has looked solid. I hope Cowart at least gets an extended look the last 50 games. Any perspective on these guys?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Dave D: I am praying to see Taylor Ward at 3rd and Thaiss at first before the end of he season. I love Thaiss, with the swing change he tapped into his raw, and didn’t lose much of his approach. Excellent strike zone awareness and he’s converted from C to 1B with ease.

  6. El Famous Burrito says:
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    To what level were Waters and Contreras promoted to?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @El Famous Burrito: High A! Sorry man, missed that in the paragraph. Sometimes the mind sees what isn’t there.

  7. Rich says:
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    Rest of season production in a 5×5: Tyler O’Neill or Willie Calhoun?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Rich: O’Neill by a mile for me. Better situation, better player. O’Neill is a very legit RF.

      • c says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: O’Neill a better player than Calhoun?

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @c: Significant at this point to me. He’s a better runner and fielder by a mile and his hitting offers more power, possibly a little less average. Willie dogging it for a month while he pouted he really soured me on him. O’Neill on the other hand is a maniac about his body, healthy, and improving as a player.

          Give me that guy

  8. Turd Fergusons says:
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    I was in Lake Elsinore on Sunday and watched Adrian Morejon mow down some dudes. Padres fans are excited over here about our 11 million dollar Cuban teen heart throb. We’ll see how he does in AA.. hopefully he can crack your top 100 soon (I saw he just missed at 105).

    I was sitting next to a passionate lady who was locked in & cheering every pitch from Morejon. Quick chat with her revealed that she was his fiancee! No wonder he’s doing so well… jaja.

    Also Hudson Potts looked smooth. God I hope #teampreller works out

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Turd Fergusons: I love Morejon, but once again, my statement is “IN FANTASY” we really should avoid investing too heavily in starters. That was the statement with the Top 500. Add MLb starters, trade prospect hitters for pitching. In my opinion it’s the easiest thing to do on the dynasty trade market. If you need pitching simply sort by pitchers.

      That said I love the kids two changeups, FB, and feel. Hudson Potts is pretty legit. I too hope team Preller works.

  9. steve stevenson says:
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    NL-only keeper, give $5 Alex Wood for $7 Minter (I own Vizcaino) and $1 Eflin?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @steve stevenson: Yeah, I like that deal.

  10. brian says:
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    16 team 6×6 dynasty h2h with ops and k/bb extra cats with QS. i’ve won the league 2 out of last 3 years and currently in first so i tend to use prospects for trades rather than roster augmentation and therefore usually end up rostering for upside, especially on offense. pitching i like to have some close to mlb SPs and some lottery tickets.

    considering some moves to my MILB roster. Minors roster – C-mj Melendez, CI-luis garcia (was) and mountcastle, MI-esteury ruiz and jazz Chisholm, OF- yusniel, pache, kiriloff, UT-basabe, and jhailyn, pitchers-dennis Santana, enyel de los santos, arano, graterol, luis medina, taylor hearn, baz. I can only have 7 pitching prospects max.

    1. i’m going to drop arano. who would you pick up between, anthony kay, lange, santillan, shaun anderson and hector perez? are any of those names upgrades over any other pitchers i’m rostering on my minors pitching?

    2. would you drop esteury or jazz for cavan biggio? could also drop either jhailyn or basabe to put biggio in UT spot.

    3. would you drop jhailyn or basabe for either nathaniel lowe, thaiss, or buddy reed?

    thanks ralph

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @brian: 1. Add Santillian
      2. I’d drop Jazz for Biggio
      3. Drop Jhailyn for Lowe

  11. Crabman says:
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    You left out ya boy Bryse Wilson on that call up tip. The longer hagens of fangraphs thinks he is destined for the bullpen. What does King Ralph say? Who has more upside Wilson or Dustin May? The boys at BP love them some Dustin May as a top of the rotation dude.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Crabman: Oops, added him, totally spaced. Wilson has more upside, I think Longenhagen is wrong and likely hasn’t seen a ton of Bryse. Kid pushed through the lower levels, struggled in AA, changed to a 4-seam FB, and has been nails since. He’s 20. What doesn’t Longenhagen like his secondaries? His height? Meh, I wouldn’t sweat it. Everyone who watched this kid in Florida loves him.

  12. Daro says:
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    Is Eloy a keeper in a 12 teams 10keepers league?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Daro: What are your other options? He’s pretty close

      • Daro says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Players that im considering:
        Freeman, Dozier, Trea, Matt Chapman, Hoskins, Marte, Pollock, Eloy, Gregory Polanco, Carrasco, Flaherty, Moncada, Manaea, Price, Whitley

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Daro: yes for sure

  13. Jason says:
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    Just traded Adell & Luzardo for Kyle Tucker & Alex Reyes in a dynasty rebuild I took over this year. Thoughts?

    • c says:
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      @Jason: personally, i think you win that trade by a mile. Both Tucker and Reyes play in the Majors next year. Adell is at least 1.5 years away (he’s very good, though) and Luzardo, while good, doesn’t have the Reyes upside.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Jason: About even, I’d rather have Luzardo than Reyes. He’s brutal to own. We need to question long term health no matter how good we may thing he can be. I think in two years you might hate this deal.

      BTW Adell is in AA he’s not at least a year a half away.

  14. Jason says:
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    Just traded Adell & Luzardo for Kyle Tucker & Alex Reyes in a dynasty rebuild I took over this year. Thoughts?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Jason: above

  15. thorbs says:
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    Just picked up Varsho in a dynasty for another one of your faves, Isan Diaz this morning before reading your article! I’ve got J-Ram, Odor, Story, Eduardo Escobar and Chris Taylor now though, so I’m deep AF in MI.

    Q regarding a few guys you’ve talked about regularly in Christian Pache and Khalil Lee…I’ve got Lee right now but Pache was just dropped, so was going to put in a claim for Pache and drop Lee or Logan Allen. So, who would you rather have, Lee or Pache? I was thinking Pache would have more name value.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @thorbs: Drop Allen take both

  16. Kruk_Ain't_An_Athlete says:
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    I would not have Acuna in my OF and Vlad and Eloy in my Minors if I were not an avid reader. I always enjoy your insight.
    Thanks!

  17. Big league choo says:
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    Do you think adell is up end of April next year a la kris Bryant/gleyber or is he more of an august 1st callup?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Big league choo: It depends on how much he hits in AA from here till the end of the season, and what the Angels outfield looks like next year. He should be up by July, particularly if the Angels are competing. I guess, it could happen.

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