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It’s taking everything out of me not to dedicate every lede to White Sox Prospect Eloy Jimenez. Last night my new novio debuted in AA with a bang, going 2 for 4 with a homer. At the moment with Victor Robles struggling somewhat in AA, and Devers in the majors, it’s a battle between the Braves Ronald Acuna vs Eloy Jimenez for the number one prospect in the minors. Before you dismiss this as a silly discussion, think about what type of prospects and players you prefer. Are you the type to bet on a middle of the order bat like Rafael Devers or Eloy Jimenez? Or do you prefer the 5 category stud with Mike Trout upside like Yoan Moncada or Ronald Acuna? It’s a tough call, and as my Uncle Manny would say, “I ain’t going to kick either of them out of bed for eating cookies”. Yeah, my uncle is a strange guy when it comes to baseball, and you thought I was bad. All this to say, it’s a battle that will rage well into 2018. In the words of the street poets Black Sheep, you can get with this or you can get with that. The choice is yours. I waffle back and forth, as I typically prefer the mashers, but Acuna’s assault on AAA is hard to ignore. I’m going to hold judgement until I have to… Here’s what else I saw in the MiLB.

  • I’m not going to stop talking about the Blue Jays Anthony Alford until the world listens. He’s one of the more underrated players in the minors offering a very exciting skill set for fantasy. The Jays believe in his ability too, best exemplified by his call-up earlier this season, before he went down with an injury. Since returning Alford has continued to hit and get on base. Unfortunately the power hasn’t been there, but he’s fresh off a wrist injury. I’d be willing to give him more than a month to recoup.
  • The Orioles Ryan Mountcastle has really struggled in his first taste of AA. Through 21 games with Bowie the shortstop is slashing .171/.188/.268, and the lack of approach looks like it’s really caught up to him. Don’t give up on Mountcastle over 21 games, but know there’s work to be done for the 20 year old at the plate.
  • As soon as one Astros outfielder graduates, or approaches graduation, another one takes his place. With Derek Fisher seemingly up for good, Jason Martin is doing his best to emulate the power/speed threat. Through 65 AA games Martin is hitting .276/.321/.496 with 10 homers to 6 steals. Combined with high A numbers from earlier this season Martin has 17 homers and 15 steals. He’s a contact over approach guy, but he has the power and speed to be a valuable dynasty asset.
  • Martin’s teammate, and the top prospect in the Astros system, Kyle Tucker has struggled with his approach though his first 55 games in AA. His walk rate has tanked significantly between high A and AA, dropping from 11.7% in the Carolina League to 5.4% with Corpus Christi. Luckily he’s still hitting for power, as shown by his .204 ISO, and stealing bases. I wouldn’t discount Tucker much for his early struggles, because at 20 he’s extremely young for the level.
  • One of the most exciting teams to watch at the moment is the Athletics AA affiliate Midland. They feature one of the more underrated trios in the minors spearheaded by newly acquired speedster Jorge Mateo, who’s now 48 for 58 on the bases this season between Tampa and Trenton in the Yankees organization, and now Midland with Oakland. From a pure speed standpoint few are better, it’s the contact consistency that’s dinged his value. The other 2/3rds of the trio are two players acquired from Washington over the last few deadlines. One in second baseman Max Schrock, and the other third baseman Sheldon Neuse. The newly promoted Neuse, acquired last month in the Doolittle/Madson deal slashed .386/.457/.675 with 7 homers in 23 games with High A Stockton before earning promotion ealier this week. He’s already off to a fast start through his first two AA games, going 3/7 with a walk. Schrock is the less exciting from a pure tools stand point but all this kid does is hit and get on base. Over 92 games, all at the AA level, Schrock is hitting .315/.375/.429 with 7 homers. Not a ton of power at this point but potential .300 hitters from the middle infield don’t grow on trees, and that has value particularly in deeper dynasty leagues.
  • Over the last 10 games AA Mississippi Braves 3rd baseman Austin Riley has been on fire, hitting .364 and slugging .568 over that stretch. Unfortunately he’s also been striking out 28.3% of the time, and only walking about 2% of the time. Riley isn’t all that different from a Hunter Renfroe, maybe a few more strikeouts, but he’s a contact over approach power hitter. At only 20 he has time to hone his approach, but tigers rarely change their stripes.
  • My highest ranked lefty starter Kolby Allard had one of his strongest starts of 2017 last night. The newly minted 20 year old went 6 innings, striking out 9, while allowing 6 hits, no walks, 2 runs. Through 24 AA starts his ERA now sits at 3.48, very impressive for such a young arm.
  • This year’s Brandon Woodruff just so happens to share an organization with the recently promoted righty. I’m of course talking about bespectacled starter Corbin Burnes who continued his storybook season going 5.1, allowing 2 runs, striking out 5, without allowing a walk. Through 13 AA starts his ERA sits at 2.20, with a K/9 of 9.3, and a Bb/9 of 1.29. The Brewers might be best served to skip the AAA pitching hell of Colorado Springs altogether, and promote him directly to the majors.
  • After rolling his ankle on Sunday, super prospect Bo Bichette has been out of the lineup the past three games. Here’s to hoping he’s back on the field today or tomorrow.
  • One of my favorite off the radar prospects coming into the season was the Brewers 21 year old righty Jordan Yamamoto. He’s had a very good year through 19 starts in high A, going 6-4 with a 3.07 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 91 innings. In his start Wednesday Yamamoto went 7 scoreless innings, allowing 3 hits, and 1 walk, while striking out 5.
  • I was very very wrong on the White Sox Alec Hansen coming out of the draft. Whatever plagued him his last season at Oklahoma is very much in the rear view at this point. He cruised again last night for high A Winston – Salem, tossing 7 innings of 1 run ball, allowing 4 baserunners, while striking out 11. He now has 74 K’s in 53.1 innings, and continues to flash front end of the rotation upside. Big shouts to Matt Thompson of Friends With Fantasy Benefits for beating the Hansen drum since day 1.
  • In news guaranteed to make Grey salivate there’s another Arenado making his way through the ranks in Nolan’s younger brother Jonah. The younger Arenado is slashing .381/.400/.714 over his last 10 with 10 extra base hits.

**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)

   
  1. Jose says:
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    I placed my bet on Acuna. More on need and proximity than future production though. Not that a team can’t use a double dose in RF of Betts/Jimenez, but Pollock just isn’t cutting it in CF for me.

    Thanks for the updates Ralph! September call ups are just around the corner!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Jose: They are sir! Yeah I think Acuna might be better the first 3-5 years but it might be Eloy for the full ten. Sluggers typically age better.

  2. ichiro says:
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    Acuna-
    Improving at every level….Improving as the competition gets tougher. That’s some intangible shizz right there. Age is a minor concern compared to results and resolve to be great.

    I appreciate you writing about him before the hype train gets too crazy.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @ichiro: I love Acuna but you can say the same thing about Jimenez. That said that power/speed/contact is very rare.

      Thanks for reading!

  3. Bryce Krispie Treats says:
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    Hey Ralph,

    Any chance that Acuna or Eloy get the call this year? I would love to see what either of them could do in the majors. Ive been on Eloy for a few years now and I was very upset when the Cubbies traded him!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Bryce Krispie Treats: No chance for Eloy, and maybe a slight chance for Acuna though I’ve heard whispers the Braves don’t plan on promoting him.

  4. El Famous Burrito says:
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    Thanks to the early heads up, I was able to add Austin Hays and Estevan Florial to my total rebuild team as throw-ins! Ha HA! Value!

    Gregory Polanco to the DL… Are we going to finally see “Mr Plow” Jordan Luplow in Pittsburgh?

    I’ve also got some middling prospects that I don’t know what to do with. Any of these guys worth keeping around?

    Marcos Molina
    Kevin Padlo
    Forrest Wall
    Jose Miguel Fernandez
    Kevin Kramer

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @El Famous Burrito: Nice grabs!

      I think Luplow could get another shot.

      Ehhh, depends how deep, don’t live any of them.

  5. RePete says:
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    I have Acuna, Tucker, Senzel, and Calhoun stashed in a 14-Team H2H 6×6 (OPS + HLD) League where we are allowed to Keep 9 + 2 Rookies.

    I’m guessing all four should still be rookie eligible after this year so which two would you keep? (Acuna is easy, not sure after that with Tucker struggling)

    My other keepers most likely: Arenado, Bellinger, Odor, McCutchen, Carrasco, McCullers, Story/Russell, Zimmer/Broxton, Manaea/Urias

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @RePete: Is still keep Tucker with Arenado already on the roster.

  6. Packers says:
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    Thanks for the continued hard work.
    Do you like C. Owings or I. Happ for 2018? Both would have 2B and OF with Owings also having SS.
    Is Foltynewitz worth holding on to in a keep all dynasty? i’m not sure who I would replace him with. He is currently on my reserves. Looking at 2018.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Packers: I’d go Happ and yes I would keep Folty.

  7. G says:
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    So would you rather have Eloy or Robles for my one N/A spot? I may have opportunity to keep one of them or Severino as my last keeper. Thanks man

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @G: Eloy

  8. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Phillip Ervin!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Grey: NOOOOOOO

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        ROY!

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Grey: AHAHABAHAHABA DHD XBS CHD

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            ADIDAS

  9. Another Dan says:
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    Excellent stuff Ralph. I’m hoping for Acuna since I have added him in all the leagues where it was worth it. Think I might kick the tyres on an Eloy owner as well – can never hurt.

    another of my leagues is adding a minor league roster this off season. Not sure what to do !! I’m still competing 3 points out of first place in a roto league, but could start adding some prospects too. Guess I need to try and win this year !!!!

    Football update : game 2 Tuesday, won 2-1 away at the team we lost to in the play-offs last year. Good result, made even sweeter by the fact they missed a penalty in stoppage time. Saturday is the start of the FA Cup !!

    Best wishes,

    Dan

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Another Dan: Yeah no reason not to kick the tires.

      Go for the ship Dan!!!

      That’s awesome I’m excited to follow them. Also excited for the upcoming year for my club. Real shot to win some trophies

  10. Nick says:
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    Already picked up Acuna Matata in my Dynasty league ^^

    also in Keepers in the Acu-rate- NA spot, but may not be able to keep him at draft

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Nick: Cool Acuna is awesome

  11. James T Kirk says:
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    Is Trout really a 5 tool player these days? 13 steals is okay, but nothing special.

    • TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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      @James T Kirk: just stop

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @James T Kirk: He might be the greatest 5 category player ever. It’s like you’re not even good at trolling anymore.

    • I got $100 for groceries, $1400 for liquor and $6,000 for you to bail a couple of shit puppets out of jail says:
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      @James T Kirk: didn’t he just miss like over 1.5 months of the season?

  12. Jason says:
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    I’m going with Eloy. Three things I love in minor leaguers are bat speed, power, & plate approach. Eloy has all 3 in spades!!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Jason: Jason I’m not gonna lie, it’s tough but I love Eloy.

  13. J.R. says:
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    Hey Ralph! Looking for some much needed input. My league is a dynasty points league. He wants Moncada/Sixto for Acuna/Vlad Jr. Pull the trigger? Thanks.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @J.R.: If you’re getting Acuna and Vlad do it

  14. M says:
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    Any Kingery or Senzel updates?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @M: Kingery has been okay, I wrote about Senzel on Sunday. He’s been on fire.

  15. SR says:
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    Forrest Whitley making his AA debut tonight.

    Also, Eric Longenhagen ranked him #19 overall earlier today, if he’s still unowned, time to go grab him just about anywhere.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @SR: Good for Logenhagen.

  16. Ben says:
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    I’ve been getting some interest in Verdugo recently, what do you think his upside is, realistically? I know he’s young, but he doesn’t seem to have much power or speed. A year or two from now do you think he’s a keeper in a 12 team keep 10 league? What’s a best case scenario comparison? Thanks!

    • Ben says:
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      @Ben: Alex Verdugo, that is.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Ben: Meh, better real life player than fantasy. Could be a good 2 hitter.

  17. sh says:
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    I have Benintendi,Robles, Acuna, Margot, Alford and Eloy in my dynasty league.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @sh: Nice work

  18. Beltran says:
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    Ralph love getting these updates on the farm, every time I find a new name to go explore. Kyle Lewis or Alford for you? And is it close?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Beltran: It’s close, I’m still leaning Alford, but that mighty change of Lewis can get fully healthy

  19. J-Dawg says:
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    Ralph, great shizz. What’s your take on Moncada? Is he another Rusney Castillo, i.e. will never figure out off-speed stuff? I got someone who wants to trade me a rental T. Shaw (contract expiring) for Moncada, but I’m not going for the money, but Shaw could help me on offense keep me in 4th place, which gets us the first pick in next year’s minor league draft (and first dibs on any big imports or 2017 draft picks). But, I traded Trout in an attempt to win it all after he barely hit above the Mendoza during his first cup. Didn’t win, and I feel I was cursed ever since. I hate holding tight to Moncada if he’s going to keep sucking, but I am once bitten already. Thanks dude!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @J-Dawg: Ummm I mean I think he’s better than Rusney already, though Castillo had a good year. He’s still has a 14% walk rate.

      I’d hold personally

  20. Mike

    Mike says:
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    love ya rowf

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Mike: Uncle Maikel! I love you too. Text me!

  21. Mihai says:
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    Hello Ralph!

    I have 11 prospects (Gleybes Torres, W Calhoun, Kingery, A Alford, Martes, Honeywell, McKenzie, A Reyes, F Mejia, J Soto and F Tatis Jr) and 2 vets I am considering (Pomeranz and E Diaz) stashed in a 16-Team H2H 9×9 League (OPS + XBH + K/9) where we are allowed to Keep 11 + 3 Rookies.

    Which 9 from the 13 above (11+2) would you keep? Or give me the 4 you would drop.

    My other keepers most likely: W Myers, Devers, Jose Ramirez, Travis Shaw and Dahl.

    Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Mihai: I’d drop Martes, Pomeranz, Diaz, and McKenzie.

      • Mihai says:
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        @Ralph! And if I am able to get another 2 keepers who would you drop #5 and #6 from the previous list? Thanks for you answer!

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Mihai: Nope

  22. Jamie says:
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    I can keep 5 MiLB rooks or fewer, but I’m leaning on keeping just 4 for next years MiLB draft in my league so I can have at least one pick (would have an early round pick and a great shot at one of: Luis Robert, Hunter Greene, Tatis Jr, Royce Lewis, Kyle Wright, Matt Manning, Mackenzie Gore)
    my current MiLB keepers to choose from now are: Juan Soto, Ron Acuna, Victor Robles, Tristan McKenzie, Mike Soroka, Jay Groome, Brandon Woodruff

    soooo, do I keep and roll with 5 of this group I already own?? or drop one of em and try to land another guy that’s available in next years draft??
    my current team needs are OF and SP (IF is Dom Smith, Schoop, Correa, and Arenado)

    i guess to simplify, in your opinion, who’s my top 4??

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Jamie: Acuna, Robles, Soto, McKenzie, Soroka.

  23. David says:
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    Please rank in dynasty: Taillon, Godley, Duffy, Corbin. Thanks Ralph.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @David: Godley, Taillon, Corbin, Duffy.

  24. Matthew Macdonald says:
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    Hi Ralph!

    I have Acuna, Eloy and traded Moncanda for Devers so looking solid for the future. You guys have the best prospect analysis and I was able to get all of these guys before anyone else in my league

    Keep up the great work!

    • Matthew Macdonald says:
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      @Matthew Macdonald: also have Benny – can you please make sure he keeps up the chain workouts in the offseason!?

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: *bro, nice team. I’ll keep pushing Benny Biceps in the offseason.

  25. Brian says:
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    In a dynasty league that rosters 260 prospects. i’ve traded away my 1st-3rd picks next year so looking to pick up some guys that have can essentially replace those picks. for pitchers, should I drop any of funkhouser, brault, oscar de la cruz to pick up any of the following….vlad gutierrez, albert abreu, jurado, cionel perez, cole ragans,

    thanks ralph

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Brian: I’d hold what you got.

  26. mrbaseball says:
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    TAPIA for next year – does he get playing time – do you still like him

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @mrbaseball: I like the player, I pray the Rockies commit to him as a starter next year.

  27. Richard says:
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    So I took Maitan over Acuna at #3 in my prospect draft last season. It was so close for me, and after Senzel went #1, I told myself I’d take either one at #3, but both were there. PLEASE tell me I didn’t royaly screw up by taking Maitan over Acuna lol. Give me some hope that Maitan could possibly be the power hitter Eloy is in a few years…

    • Slappy Jack says:
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      @Richard: Maitan probably won’t be a useful fantasy player until 2021+ …
      Acuna could have had three 20/20 seasons by then

      Not to mention Maitan is struggling hard in the APP league (rookie ball)

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Slappy Jack: @Richard: I wouldn’t sweat it. Maybe you messed up and maybe not. I wouldn’t read too much into him struggling in advanced rookie ball, (he was great in the GCL). He’d be a junior in high school right now! He’s a real talent.

  28. BillyBeaneIsNotMyLover says:
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    So what are your thoughts on Robles? Is he just going through a rough patch and we should hang tight? Or is he maybe going down hill and should try to move him? I could probably deal Robles for someone like Contreras in my league. But I am honestly surprised this was not a threeway decision.

    Robles v Eloy v Acuna.

    • Slappy Jack says:
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      @BillyBeaneIsNotMyLover: Honestly, Acuna is so far ahead of Eloy for me, I am surprised by Ralph’s take here

      Robles is coming around, pretty normal development, Acuna’s just making everyone else look slow haha
      Eloy and Robles are tied for me

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Slappy Jack: @BillyBeaneIsNotMyLover: Acuna is my top prospect, but I think it’s Acuna, Eloy and everyone else. Robles sort of reminds me of Starling Marte, he’ll be good but I think we’ll always hope for more consistent power. He’s hitting .276 and he’s 6/7 on the bases. He’s a good prospect and the foundation to be great is there.

      It’s Acuna and Eloy 1 and 2, and then I’m constantly flip-flopping between Robles and Tucker at 3 and 4.

      I don’t know how you can watch Jimenez and not think this kid could hit 25+ homers in the majors now. Not only would he do that I think he could avoid striking out 30% of the time.

      • Slappy Jack says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: I think the recent Acuna HR outburst just has me all jazzed up.
        They are all pretty damn good obviously, a really nice wave of OF prospects coming.
        very exciting

  29. Stinky Pete says:
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    I stashed Willie Calhoun after I lost Owings in a deep redraft league. Any chance he gets a September call up and gets any significant PT?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Stinky Pete: He could! They’ve been playing him mostly in left.

  30. AUFan says:
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    I got offered Robles for my Ahmed Rosario in a standard 5×5 dynasty league. Do you take it?

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