The writing is on the left field wall. Phillies third baseman Cody Asche has been sent to Triple-A with a new position in his future. Like a mama bird regurgitating the contents of its stomach to provide its hungry babies with the sustenance they so desperately need, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. gave Phillies fans the confirmation that Franco was getting “closer and closer”. How close? This weekend the Phillies will pass the point at which Franco can be called up while still remaining under team control through the 2021 season, so we could be talking a matter of days and not weeks. I’ve always been partial to Franco in fantasy and it’s not just my South Jersey roots. I traded for him in an experts dynasty league last summer during his first half struggles. Then I ranked him #1 in my Phillies Top 10 this offseason and #13 overall in my Top 50 Prospects. Franco has also occupied the #2 slot in the Prospect Power Rankings in each of the past two editions. So what’s all the fuss about and how do we value Franco moving forward now that he’s on the verge of a promotion to the big leagues?

2015 Prospect List Ranking
Razzball #1
Baseball America #3
Baseball Prospectus #3
Fangraphs #2

Minor League Statistics

Year Age Level PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2011 18 A(ss)/A 296 25 66 19 1 3 44 8.8% 15.2% 0 0 .247 .318 .360
2012 19 A 554 70 141 32 3 14 84 6.9% 14.4% 3 1 .280 .336 .439
2013 20 A+/AA 581 88 173 36 3 31 99 5.2% 12.0% 1 2 .320 .356 .569
2014 21 AAA 556 64 134 33 4 16 76 5.4% 14.6% 3 1 .257 .299 .428
2015 22 AAA 135 14 44 12 1 4 17 3.7% 17.8% 2 0 .341 .363 .543

Back in 2010, Franco was signed by the Phillies as a teenager out of the Dominican Republic. Fast forward four years, and he was already making his major league debut. The results weren’t fantastic in his first tour through the majors. Franco hit .179/.190/.214 with 13 strikeouts and one walk in 58 MLB plate appearances last year. Did you hear that? That’s the sound of a child in the Philadelphia area crying everytime someone types out that triple-slash line. There’s reason to believe Franco won’t be the same hitter when he returns to the majors this time around. Give the Phillies credit for not rushing him into a starting role this spring and instead letting him marinate in Triple-A.

The biggest change has been in his approach. So while we already knew about his power, coaches now see him maturing as a hitter in general. That’s a very big positive for a 22-year-old with such high expectations on a team grasping for things to be positive about. Here’s an example of the change in approach from a recent article by Tom Housenick:

“…this thinking man’s approach has been more the norm this year, a year after he struggled to hit his weight before the first week of May was over. It also isn’t the overanxious rookie trying to prove himself this spring training in big league camp.

Franco is confident in his ability to hit all pitches to all fields and trusting his instincts.

“He’s a little more selective, not chasing questionable pitches early in the count,” IronPigs hitting coach Sal Rende said. “That’s what he did last year.”

This is an improved version of Franco. Being more selective will not only help him avoid being exposed every day by major league pitching, but it will also help him tap into the raw power he possesses. Knowing he can shorten up and settle for a single in certain counts rather than swinging for the moon every pitch is going to be key to his survival in the big league jungle. It could also be the difference between a guy who hits .250 and .270.

Just the fact that he’s approaching every at bat differently and thinking his way through them is a positive sign, even if it doesn’t produce big stats right away. Franco’s minor league career has been a roller coaster ride in terms of production, but his winter league and early 2015 performances have shown he’s back on the upswing.

Everything I said in the offseason preview still holds true. Franco is a solid defensive third baseman who has 25-homer pop in his bat. That power should be aided by Citizens Bank Park, and while he’ll go through the normal rookie growing pains, I think a lot of folks fell asleep on Franco last year and coming into this one as a fantasy prospect. As both a fantasy owner and a Phillies fan, this could be a fun weekend.

What’s the Move?

Franco should be long gone in keeper and dynasty leagues. In redrafts, I’d absolutely add him if you need a bat. There won’t be much going on around Franco in the Phillies’ lineup, but for fantasy purposes I tend to look at lineup position and talent and not so much at the supporting cast. If his adjustments carry over to the majors and Franco can stay patient, he could hit .260-.270 with 10-15 bombs the rest of the way. That’ll come in handy in pretty much everything outside of 4-teamers.

   
  1. A Hill O' Beans says:
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    Nice post Mike. I snagged him in my RCL a few days ago, which worked out nicely. Pick two of these guys for me: Franco, Souza, Kennys V?

    Secondly, how good do you think Correa can be? Perhaps just as important, he’s gonna stick at ST right?

    Lastly, thoughts on Cano this year? Seems pretty quiet so far. I just traded for him (giving up Bogaerts and Holliday who was clogging up a crowded outfield for me)?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      thanks! Franco, Souza

      Correa: He’s pretty special…20-25 homer pop, high averages, steals…it’s all there. He’s a big cat so he might eventually move to third, but probably not anytime in the near future.

      Cano: He is what he is…great hitter with 20ish homers. Still on board there if the price is right.

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        I guess Cano is more like 15-18 homers now come to think of it, but I’d still take him take him over most 2Bs

        • A Hill O' Beans says:
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          @Mike: Thanks Mike! Cano is what he is at this point I guess, which at 2B is still very solid.

          Super pumped about Correa and Buxton since I’ve got them both in my keeper league for great values. Can’t wait to see them called up later this year. There used to be talk of Machado moving back to SS at some point, but I’m guessing that isn’t ever gonna happen eh?

          • Mike

            Mike says:
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            anytime…as far as Manny it doesn’t look like it, no

  2. MattTruss

    MattTruss says:
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    Those pesky 4 team leagues…scooped Franco in a couple RCLs before the news broke. I ditched Correa in one for him, hopefully that works out. I’m starting Kelly Johnson at 3B there, so could really use the help at the hot corner. Nabbed him in Champions League too, wanna make a deal :) Good stuff Mike, always a great read.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      haha, man I thought I was on point in that champions league for once and was all ready to get him…then saw that you had snagged him already. I got him in the ‘perts league though. Sure, let’s talk trade!

      thanks for the kind words Matt!

  3. Steve says:
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    Hey Mike,

    Thanks for this, when do you see Buxton getting the call up? How would you rank him as a comp to current players?

    Someone offered a trade and am deciding if I should jump on it…

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I think he’s probably a July/August guy if we see him this year. If he gets it going he can be a top 75 bat right out of the chute, but I would temper expectations for 2015 only.

      • Steve says:
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        @Mike: Would you trade Thor for him?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          in a keeper? sure.

          In a redraft I’d be scared about waiting all summer for Buxton to debut

  4. los locos says:
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    ROS Plouffe or Franco?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      that’s a toss-up…I’d lean Franco

  5. J-FOH says:
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    A Phillies fan writing about a Phillies elite prospect? I call conflict of interest here

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’m conflicted, yo!

  6. los locos says:
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    Mike, is Buxton a guy who will be on the roster next season or will he start in minor leagues? He’s a guy a would like to grab in my 10 team keeper league, we keep 7 total players. My team is getting kind of old, plus my team is sputtering along here pitching and offensively this season.

    Starters
    C Russell Martin C | TOR
    1B Eric Hosmer 1B | KC
    2B Devon Travis 2B | TOR
    3B Nolan Arenado 3B | COL
    SS Hanley Ramirez OF,SS | BOS
    OF Michael Brantley OF | CLE
    OF Marlon Byrd OF | CIN
    OF Alex Gordon OF | KC
    U Prince Fielder 1B | TEX

    Bench
    1B Lucas Duda 1B | NYM
    2B Dustin Pedroia 2B | BOS
    3B Maikel Franco 3B | PHI
    SS Jean Segura SS | MIL
    OF Carlos Gonzalez OF | COL
    OF A.J. Pollock OF | ARI
    OF Hunter Pence OF | SF – DL Spot

    Pitchers
    SP Jesse Chavez RP,SP | OAK
    SP Clayton Kershaw SP | LAD
    SP James Paxton SP | SEA
    SP Danny Salazar SP | CLE
    SP Stephen Strasburg SP | WAS
    RP Brad Boxberger RP | TB
    RP Andrew Miller RP | NYY

    Bench
    SP Trevor Bauer SP | CLE
    SP Yu Darvish SP | TEX
    SP Matt Shoemaker SP | LAA

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      He makes sense as a replacement for a guy like Byrd

      probably comes up late this year with a gig next spring as the centerfielder

  7. Swfcdan says:
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    Well my boy is up at last, pumped to see how he does. Sounds like he’s a different hitter than the one who struggled in his cup of coffee. Hopefully has a strong rookie year and I promote him for next, up for good now?

    And what do you think of Trevor Story, saw him mentioned in Tulo trade rumours going around. He’s not owned in my keeper and seems well thought of, power speed guy? Would you take him over Marco Gonzales (STL), I always tend to prefer bats when it comes to prospects.

  8. Steve Stevenson says:
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    I look at the “different approach” quotes, and then I look at the BB rate, and I’m a little apprehensive. You really think he can push .270 with that eye? I say this as a Franco owner in a 14-tm redraft, not a hater.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      yeah, just playing devil’s advocate here, but I think it’s less about taking walks and more about him just being more selective with pitches. Finding the pitches he can actually do something with as opposed to swinging at junk, and learning how pitchers are attacking him and adjusting both within an at bat and within a game. I see what you’re saying though

      • Steve Stevenson says:
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        @Mike: thanks.
        You do bang-up work here, amigo.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          anytime…I really appreciate that Steve

  9. Green Monstah says:
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    Hey mike!!

    I’m in a h2h pts/weekly lock w/ ESPN

    When do you expect correa to get the call with the Astros ?

    Next with Franco, I have the space (it’s also a re draft lg) would you add him soon? Sounds like he could be called up relatively soon.

    Thanks mister mike!

    • Steve Stevenson says:
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      @Green Monstah: Houston fan here. It’ll definitely be past the super 2 day in mid-June, and my guess would be more like mid-July. Wish I had the link but there was a Houston blog I read the other day that mapped out the AAA schedule and predicted a callup date based upon the fact that the org seems to want him to face a rotation twice to evaluate adjustments. Their initial analysis was based on a later promotion to AAA than what happened, I think (was drinking then, am drinking now, so who really knows?) but made sense. Anyway, I’d peg it around the AAA all-star break, around the 2nd week of July.

      As for Franco, if you’ve got the space, add him. I’ve got him in a 14-tm redraft.

      • Scotty B says:
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        @Steve Stevenson: thanks for this regarding Correa.

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        good info…thanks Steve!

      • A Hill O' Beans says:
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        @Steve Stevenson: I read the same thing the other day, I think this is what you’re looking for RE the Correa timeline.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      In the power rankings on Sunday I put it between July 1-15…gives Astros time to figure out what they are, gives Correa a couple of months in AAA, and gets them past super 2 as Steve’s mentioned

      https://razzball.com/prospect-power-rankings-week-6/

      Add Franco, yeah

  10. Scotty B says:
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    So much young talent to be kept this year, mostly on the bench for next year but what TWO do you keep for the long haul, still so much season left?

    Maikel, Rusney, Soler, Correa

    Soler is wiffing in chi-city and I’m growing cold on him. Or do the vines need to come alive in order for him to?!?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d hold on Soler…love him

      Correa and Soler for me

  11. Al says:
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    In a 5 player keeper league. Looking to pick up Correa When called up. Am being offered 2 trades.

    Give freeman and Seager
    Get pujols, Dickerson, harem and 80 waiver money(everyone started with 200)

    Or…
    Give Freeman and 6th rounder
    Get Pujols, 200 waiver money and a 4th rounder which is a keeper. Or may be an extra 1st rounder.

    And going to trade starlin Castro for someone else.

    Any thoughts?

    Team is as follows.

    C-Perez
    1b- Freeman
    2b-dozier
    3b-carpenter
    Ss-Castro
    Of-reddick
    Of-ozuna
    Of-Gardner
    Until-teixiera
    Until-Seager
    Bench-billy Hamilton, heyward, hechevaria, Gregory polanco

    Pitchers- Bumgarner, mcchugh, Andrew miller, carasco, lance Lynn, Samardzja, and hector Santiago.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’m a Castro believer, so I’d hold him

      As far as the two trades….I prefer the second option simply becuase I don’t like the idea of parting ways with Seager for basically CDick and Haren

      • Al says:
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        @Mike:

        Thanks. But also parting with Freeman isn’t easy. But maikel Franco and Kevin correa would be picked up as well. I’m just trying to see if it is worth giving up Freeman for.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          word…be careful about trading to open a spot to pick another guy up, I’ve been burned by that before. Not sure if that’s exactly what you’re saying, but FWIW

          • Allan says:
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            @Mike:

            Freeman gives me the waiver money for correa or Maikel Franco, I prefer Correa. Pujols Im not too excited about for obvious reasons. But having an extra Keeper, I am very interested in if I do swing this trade. I would have 6 keepers vs everyone else 5. And have a 1st round pick and two 2nd round picks. to go along with anyone I would keep. I see the upside in that.

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              nice!

  12. CheezWaffies says:
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    Thanks for the post! Tomas or Franco ROS?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      no problem! I’ve got Franco higher on my Top 50 overall, but for just this year it could be a wash. Both play in good hitters parks. If you put a gun to my head I would say Franco, especially if he does in fact come up this weekend.

  13. Joe Piscopo says:
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    Someone dropped Rusney Castillo in my seasonal league. Would you drop any of the following for him?
    – Devon Travis, Josh Reddick, Noah Snydergaard, Phil Hughes, Quintana, Ventura, or Gregerson

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Hughes if you need an outfielder.

      • Joe Piscopo says:
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        Thanks! I have Giancarlo Stanton, Ozuna, Soler, and Reddick.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          that’s a solid outfield…I’d leave him be for now

  14. bobbo says:
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    Thanks for the writeup on Franco, Mike. I’ll keep my eye on how he does once promoted.

    Who would you own as a backup OF/bench player? Coco Crisp or Alex Guerrero?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      anytime Bobbo

      I’d take Guerrero

  15. MJ says:
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    Love the power but he’ll have to hit .300 to have any sort of respectable oba. Can he hit .300?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      probably not :(

  16. slimbo says:
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    Give up bautista and teheran for cueto gallo and a 1st? 8 team keeper league with 14 keepers plus 2 na

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      hey Slimbo…I’d hold

  17. Chrisjen17 says:
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    Hey Mike,
    Got both Castellanos and Franco in my dynasty league backing up Beltre. Which one should I trade?
    I havent gotten much offered back for Castellanos straight up so far.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      it’s a bad time to sell Casty with him not doing a whole lot right now. I love Franco, but the perfect time to sell any prospect is right before they come up IMO, so I’d shop him.

  18. Allen says:
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    In 20 team h2h (8 player keeper) do you claim Gausman who was just dropped (in fear of TJ) with #1 claim or wait and use it later in season? I really need pitching but I know I may be waiting a whil for Gausman but do you think its worth the wait?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I would wait. I’d want more of a sure thing if I’m burning a #1 claim.

      • Allen says:
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        @Mike:

        Thanks for the advice Mike. I would like to have him so hopefully he will slip through waivers, hard to believe he will though.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          no problem…good luck!

  19. King Felix Targaryen says:
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    Hey mike love your work, I’m in a deep dynasty league so constantly researching prospects and your posts have been very helpful. I have a couple questions on some prospects killing AAA but not ranked very high prospect wise

    First what’s your take on Peter O’Brien in AZ, his bat Is legit however position seems to be a concern.

    Also Justin Nicolino has been very dominant in minors but not on your lists, is this because he has a poor K/9?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      thanks King!

      Looks like they’ve given up on him at catcher, but yeah he still has some interesting power for fantasy. Problem is wehre’s he’ll play, but tose things tend to work themselves out.

      I ranked Nicolino 4th on my Marlins list here

      https://razzball.com/2015-minor-league-preview-miami-marlins/

      • King Felix Tagaryen says:
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        @Mike: thanks Mike! I look forward to discussing more prospects as super 2 season approaches us.

        Also what’s your take on Alex Reyes, just got him in a dynasty for Shoemaker.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          anytime King

          solid move for you…lot of positive things coming out on Reyes right now, including triple digits on his FB

  20. JJ says:
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    I have M.SANO, Y.TOMAS and J.BAEZ sitting on my bench right now in a 12 team H2H 5X5 keeper league. We only keep 10 guys. Franco is available right now. Although I also noticed that C.SEAGER is available as well.
    What move would you make here?

    Thanks

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d swap Sano and Franco…Baez and Seager

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I have Sano ranked higher as a prospect, but there’s a chance we don’t see him until very late this year or even next

      • JJ says:
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        @Mike:
        I have an NA spot on my team so it isn’t costing me anything to keep a prospect buried in that spot. works like a DL spot.
        Would you still drop Sano?

        • JJ says:
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          @JJ:
          Do you like Franco more than Seager?

          • JJ says:
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            @Mike:
            So drop Baez for Seager then? I love Baez’ power speed combo and position eligibility in Yahoo(2b/SS). But I don’t see him getting the call anytime soon with Russel, Bryant and Castro playing well.

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              yeah I think that makes sense…although you may have to wait a bit on Seager too

              • JJ says:
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                @Mike:
                thanks mike

                • Mike

                  Mike says:
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                  anytime man

  21. Greg says:
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    You said he should be long gone in keeper leagues. I’m in a 10 player keeper league points… Would you still try to fit him in a 12 team league?

    A. Russell
    Abreu
    B. Hamilton
    G. Springer
    A. Rendon
    Puig
    Sale
    Cueto

    8/10 are locked in then I have to choose from:

    Frazier, Price, Ventura, Teheran, McHugh, Braun, Semenin, Franco, Matz

    A good pitching start is like 25-35 points with a win.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      You’ve got a solid ten keepers already to be honest, I don’t see a hole for him to fill right now

  22. Clint says:
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    I’m stashing Sano right now in my 12 team roto keeper league but Franco is available. Whoever I’d stash would force me to drop Napoli when and if they come up. Should I make the swap or just hang tight on Sano because he’ll be better (and eligible at SS in my Yahoo league)?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      long term I like Sano more…but Franco will probbaly have more value this year

  23. Quintero says:
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    Mike, love your works.

    Got a quick one. Do u see Zunino and/or Swihart cracking into top12 catchers next year?

    I had them in one catcher deep dynasty league, while I’m spoting Carlos Santana there this year. Swihart gotten called up and took one of my roster spot really messed up my plan, so am wondering. Thanks for your insight.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      thanks!

      I like Zunino more this year, but I could see Swihart making the jump in 2016

  24. Baezaworldseries says:
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    This has got to be the best thing to happen to Philly fans since the ’09 series. Sorry you missed that one. I hear you “traded” your ticket to Susan Finklestein.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      ha! Oh Susan…

      For real, I actually got to go to a game from every playoff series since I was still in the area. Good times man, good times.

  25. Schemin Keepers says:
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    Have potential keepers Franco, Syndergaard, Joc Pederson and Kris Bryant, should I target Byron Buxton now rather than later? Or possibly Corey Seager because I need depth at SS (although he likely to shift to 3rd)

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I would take Buxton and Seager over Franco and Syndergaard, yes

      • Schemin Keepers says:
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        So you would drop Franco for Buxton? I just dropped a random guy to get Seager. I’m thinking since I already have Kris Bryant, so Franco may not have as much value. Although my OF are Trout, Puig, Justin Upton and Joc Pederson so not sure if adding Buxton is essential

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          If you’re keeping these guys, yeah I would take Buxton over Franco. Unless you’re really just focusing on the next couple of months, Buxton should beat Franco across the board in terms of value.

          • Schemin Keepers says:
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            Okay that makes sense, maybe I can drop Moustakas for the time being and use Franco since he will be playing now. I think Moustakas might be playing over his head right now, he has been cooling off

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              gotcha…I’d recommend holding Moose until he stops hitting though :)

              • Schemin Keepers says:
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                Thanks for the help…keep up the good writing

                • Mike

                  Mike says:
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                  no problem…thanks!

  26. The Great Knoche says:
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    Hey Mike,

    Whats your thoughts on Lance McCullers coming up for spot start (maybe more) Monday straight from Double-A? Video game type K numbers, BB Rate a little High, Any inside info?Worth a flyer?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      definitely interesting…nice FB/CB combo and improved control so far this year. Worth a flyer, yes.

  27. Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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    finally drafting that 16 team roto with 5 NA’s tomorrow. I got your top 50 down pretty well (it’s yahoo so 5 of them not in it). but just in case all 15 other owners know what they are doing with prospects, anybody moved up a decent amount in your top 10 lists (so 250 more guys than top 50)?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      not really any big movers, but Anthony Alford, Brent Honeywell, and Gilbert Lara come to mind as guys I didn’t rank that I probably should have

      • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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        @Mike: honeywell i remember you saying he was right at 10th-11th on TB. other two i’m not familiar with.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Alford’s Toronto…played football but having a great 2015

          Lara is just a pup – int’l signing last year with Milwaukee

          Lots of positives early on for Tocci in Philly too

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Wilmer Difo is another guy getting love

  28. Jesse K says:
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    I love fantasy baseball!

    • Jesse K says:
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      And I love reading your articles Mike!

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        Thanks! HUGZ!

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