Rankings season is upon us. Rejoice and be glad! Just like when your dad lets you open one present on Christmas Eve before Santa comes the next morning, I’m dropping the first of three Top 100 prospect rankings on January Grey Rankings Eve. January Grey Rankings Day should be a gosh dern national holiday. This Top 25 will be followed by a Top 50 on Wednesday and finally the rest of the Top 100 next Sunday. For detailed info on any of these prospects, go to the 2019 Minor League Preview Index. There, you’ll find links to all thirty team pages, their top ten prospects, and my (vague and misinformed) thoughts on each of them. Later this offseason, I’ll release a special list just for redraft leagues once some playing time etc. situations come into sharper focus. Enough chatter. Here’s the Top 25 fantasy baseball prospects for 2019…

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B | TOR | 2019

2. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS | SDP | 2019

3. Eloy Jimenez, OF | CWS | 2019

4. Victor Robles, OF | WAS | 2019

5. Wander Franco, SS | TBR | 2022

6. Royce Lewis, SS | MIN | 2020

7. Keston Hiura, 2B | MIL | 2019

8. Kyle Tucker, OF | HOU | 2019

9. Bo Bichette, SS | TOR | 2019

10. Nick Senzel, 3B | CIN | 2019

11. Carter Kieboom, SS | WAS | 2020

12. Brendan Rodgers, SS | COL | 2019

13. Peter Alonso, 1B | NYM | 2019

14. Alex Kirilloff, OF | MIN | 2020

15. Taylor Trammell, OF | CIN | 2021

16. Christian Pache, OF | ATL | 2020

17. Jo Adell, OF | LAA | 2021

18. Forrest Whitley, RHP | HOU | 2019

19. Brent Honeywell, RHP | TBR | 2019

20. Dylan Cease, RHP | CWS | 2019

21. Andres Gimenez, SS | NYM | 2019

22. Luis Urias, 2B | SDP | 2019

23. Francisco Mejia, C | SDP | 2019

24. Austin Riley, 3B | ATL | 2019

25. Luis Robert, OF | CWS | 2020

It’s hard not to find a winner in this quarter of the list given that all of them have the tools to be above-average everyday players (even some potential stars). In terms of fantasy bucks, you’re looking for (hoping for) a return of anywhere from $20 – $30+ in value. Two big risers this year have been Keston Hiura and Peter Alonso. Their role with their clubs isn’t completely clear (yet). Both played well in the “prospect graduate school” that is the Arizona Fall League and both have nothing to prove in the minors. There’s a nice chunk of talented outfielders from Kirilloff to Adell to choose from, and we have our first “mini-tier” of pitchers in Whitley, Honeywell, and Cease. It’s kind of interesting that they all (will potentially) throw in the AL, which is usually the worse league for arms, but that’s how this prospect cookie crumbled.

  1. Bro Pat says:
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    Will have to chose between Wander Franco and Alex Kirilloff in a supplemental draft in my AL only dynasty league this year. is Wander a slam dunk? Also looking at a possibility of Luzardo being there. Of these 3, which will either help me compete in my window(next 2-3 years) or generate the most trade value to help in my window?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      To keep on your squad and help you in the next two years I’d say Luzardo. Trade value I’d go Franco and Kirilloff in that order. There are always teams looking to “rebuild” that will pay top dollar in players for top specs, so you might get two or three “Luzardos” for Franco midseason.

  2. Joe Shmoe says:
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    Kikuchi? Merril Kelly?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Stay tuned!

    • Beware the Shit Rope says:
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      @Joe Shmoe: he named kikuchi as VERY high for 1st year drafts (i think he was in the camp of 1st overall since he’ll for sure play right off, as did the guys at ralph’s site).

      deep stuff again (into about 170th overall in 30 team 1st year draft)

      1. best out of these MI: wenceel perez SS DET, antoni flores SS BOS (very far off, but bat sounds very upsidey), osiris johnson SS MIA (highest 1st year guy left for MI for sure), arraez 2B MIN
      2. best OF out of these: canario SF, decker BOS,

      3. adding hawlett 3B BOS to these, who’s best 2 or 3 out of all of them?

  3. Ante Galic says:
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    Mike!!!

    Fantastic top 25 report. Thank you much!

    a. So the top 4 for redraft 2019

    1. VGJ
    2. Tatis
    3. Eloy
    4. Robles

    b. Subdued Norm MacDonald quote for January 13

    According to retailers, the most popular Halloween mask this year is O.J. Simpson. And the most popular Halloween greeting is ‘I’ll kill you and that guy who’s bringing you over your glasses or Treat.’

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Thanks!
      a. yes, but things could change slightly with playing time clarity. eg Robles gets boxed out and Hiura is opening Day starter, etc.
      b. ha!

    • LenFuego says:
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      @Ante Galic: From a long term perspective (i.e., dynasty or keeper leagues), a number 2 ranking is perfectly legit for Tatis, but personally I am skeptical about him there for redraft leagues.

      Tatis just turned 20 a week and a half ago, has never played at the AAA level and has only 451 plate appearances at AA. At AA in 2018, he hit .286 with 16 HRs – that is good (especially for his age), but it is not exactly “this guy has nothing left to prove in the minors” territory.

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        Yes, this…he’s not in the same redraft territory as Vlad, Robles, Eloy, etc. Late summer…mid at best. Next year more likely to make the big impact.

  4. Tweak says:
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    Feeling pretty good when one of my deeper dynasty teams is sitting on Jimenez, Robles, Bichette, Senzel, Rodgers, Kirilloff, Trammell, Pache and Cease. For a middle-of-the-pack team last year, things are looking up!

    Still really digging on Hiura though. Hoping he really helps shore up MI for the Brewers.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Yo, that’s a roster! Yeah, he seems legit.

  5. Nick says:
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    Hey Mike,

    trying to improve my Dynasty team
    started last 2 years ago, finished 6th last year.
    I specially need pitching , cause i’ve been devastated by injuried : Salazar, Honeywell, Cueto, K.Middleton …

    starting team is :
    C. Alfaro –> should i pick up Mejia NOW?
    1B. Abreu + Pete Alonso as a backup for now and the future
    2B. Villar
    3B. Rendon + Andujar
    SS. Lindor + T.Anderson
    OF1. Acuña
    OF2. JDMart
    OF3. K.Davis
    Util. Castellanos
    Bench : (and ‘tradable/droppable)
    Renfroe
    Adames

    i have different options on FA, but the best one would be ELOY >>Renfroe
    others of consideration : J.Bauers / Hampson / Goodrum / … L.urias/Wendle
    even if i don’t really need batters

    and the only one of this list awaiting in my minor nest is Kiriloff

    let’s talk pitchers now:

    SP1. Glasnow –> my 2019 ace
    SP2. Mikolas –> overated ? i’d like to trade
    Sp3. Hamels –> oldies but still goodies?
    RP1. K.Giles
    P: T.Williams / D.Rodriguez / S.Matz / J.Chacin
    Bench and droppable M.Minor

    SO i need another RP: AJMinter would be my bet
    but you can consider : Robertson/Givens/Jeffress

    i can get those SP ; over Minor (who else?)
    TOUSSAINT: starting in the majors?
    BUNDY : HIGH risk, Worth the reward?
    Kikuchi: japanese kinder surprise
    CEASE !? just discovered him thanks to this post !!!
    or i can get back Honey, well… – Salazar if they feel ready to go
    others of consideration: Lucchesi/F.Peralta/J.Urias

    in a perfect world, i’d go
    Jiménez/Toussaint/Minter over Renfroe/Adames/Minor

    thanks for your advice

    Nick

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I love that offense…Eloy over Renfroe. (I wouldn’t sweat catcher but try to snag Kirilloff)
      Personally I’m keeping Mikolas in dynos if the price is right. I also own Hamels lol.
      Lucchesi, Honeywell, or Cease/Toussaint to replace Adames and Minor IMO. Kikuchi is safe and solid, but I’m not sure how they’ll manage his innings.

  6. Lovdarooks says:
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    Would you rather have Vladimir or Alberto Mondesi who is 30% less in salary for only this year in a 5 x 5 OBP ?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Straight up I’d want Vlad. I guess it depends on the salaries. If it’s the difference between 30 bucks and 20, I think I’d take Mondesi. But if it’s the difference between 15 bucks and 10, I might still take Vlad (if that makes sense – I’m not a big math guy).

  7. Keith says:
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    Standard scoring, 10 team, 15 keeper league. This is year 5 of the league and I’ve done well through drafts and trades to build a good roster. It’s competitive, but obviously not as involved as a lot of these other leagues I’m reading about with advanced minor league set ups. My current keeper stock is Trout, Trea Turner, Bryant, G.Sanchez, Castellanos, Benintendi, Scherzer, Bauer, Treinen, Cmart, CSeager, Donaldson, Muncy, Glasnow,

    I’m hoping that Kyle Tucker gets enough ABs this year to really contribute, and I’m definitely keeping him, but had other options that I could keep instead of him or my first 14 above and wanted your thoughts. Really wish Franco was up in 2 years, but can’t justify a spot for him if he’s 3-4 years away.

    Here are the other options. Dozier, Tim Anderson, Hicks, Stripling

    Thanks for any input…

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Looks like you’re built to win now. I’d go with Hicks or Anderson over Tucker.

      • Keith says:
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        Do you think Franco is the kind of player to use a spot on for 2 or 3 empty years?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Nah. If I remember right, your team is built to win now so I’d go with a closer spec. It’s cool to hit on the next prospect, but it’s way more fun to compete.

  8. TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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    Great work my man, a couple of questions here. Royce Lewis listed at OF, did I miss something or is that where he will be longterm?
    My main question concerns my 12 team h2h cats keeper league where I have a nice blend of experience and youth to build a dynasty. My 9 keepers are:
    Trout, Arenado, Bregman, Acuna, Soto, Ablies, Mondesi, Buehler, and Taillon.
    Basically I figure one or two of these guys will flame out and I’ll have to move on in the next year or so, so my question is which prospect would you target in the next 1-3 years? The big guys like vlad, eloy, tucker and senzel are all taken but most guys in my league don’t snatch up big time prospects in advance. So who should I target for upside in the near future? Thinking maybe Franco or Royce Lewis or do you see Kriloff or Jo Addell being up there? Thanks.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Thanks! Nah, I screwed up. Fixed…thanks for the heads up!

      Any of those four work in that order, but I’d snag Franco if you can. I could see him or Lewis #1 overall at this time next year.

      • TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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        @Mike: Thanks man, based on what you say then Lewis would have to be the guy since nobody holds prospects for more than a year in my league. Although doesn’t Franco have a bit of Acuna in him with the way he broke out? Do you think 2022 with him just because of the Ray’s past with prospects? Thanks.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Ah, if you only keep one year I’d go Lewis yeah or somebody even closer. I think Franco turns 18 this March, so if he really presses the issue you could see a 2020 debut at 19. Conservatively, it’s more likely 2021 or 22 when he’s 20 or 21 years old.

  9. Pasha says:
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    Surprised to see Tatis above eloy. I may have missed it, but what do you project for Tatis?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Yeah I batted that one around. For this year it’s Eloy all the way, but I think big picture Tatis will end up a stud producer at SS with plus hit and power.

      • evans says:
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        @Mike: im going around razzball getting everyone’s perspective, curious of ur take.

        Keep:
        Acuna 5th round (1 round yearly penalty) vs eloy (25th round, 5 round yearly penalty)

        and

        Severino 20th round (5 round yearly penalty) vs Buehler 25th round (5 round yearly penalty)

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Man that’s tough. I’d actually take the value in Jimenez and Buehler.

  10. Trust The Process says:
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    This is awesome stuff! Been waiting for this . I burnt my team to the ground last year to load up my minors going forward. We can carry/stash 10 as long as we want to not count against our keepers. I have :

    Royce
    Bichette
    Senzel
    Rodgers
    Trammel
    Robert
    Lee
    Sanchez
    Florial
    Valera

    And I just took India in our rookie draft

    Hoping to flip 2 of the last 4 guys up top for an upgrade and room for India . Which 2 would you look to move? Or is one droppable to make the room? This is a 12 team roto. Thank you as always!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Thanks! Nice specs. You should still be able to get good value for Sixto (assuming that’s the Sanchez). I’d hold onto Florial if you can. The other two I’d see what you can get if you pair with Sanchez.

      • Trust The Process says:
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        Jesus Sanchez actually .. should’ve specified that one

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Ah ok. Hmmm, I’d hold Sanchez and Florial and see what you can get for the other two.

  11. Surprised to see Kirilloff ahead of Adell. Adell is younger and played at a higher level last year in addition to having speed in his profile. I assume their power is fairly equal if not leaning toward Adell so is Kirilloff’s hit just that much better it trumps all the other factors?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      That’s fair. Exactly, edge to his hit tool with all else about equal. Good point on his age/level, but I still think that hit grade trumps it.

  12. Ralph Lifshitz

    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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    Great work Mike! Love the Gimenez rank.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Thank you sir! Go Pats!

  13. Yoenis says:
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    Are there less Alex Reyes believers than there used to be? He still technically qualifies for most minor league rosters with an even 50.0 career IP, and yes he’s good at getting injured, but I still see him as a top 25 prospect. No?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      That’s fair. I think he’s more Top 50 but I’m kinda conservative with arms. I do think he’s right there with the next tier of pitchers in the Top 50 (Kikuchi, Mize, Luzardo, etc.)

  14. M says:
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    Do you think Nathaniel Lowe could make an impact id he is called up around midseason?

  15. I am the Walrus says:
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    Who many AB’s do you think Senzel gets? Does he start in Cinc?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Coming off injury and blocked by Suarez, but also I’ve heard they may try him in the outfield now that Billy is gone. I could see less than a half season’s worth if he sticks at third, but possibly an early June callup (maybe even starting gig) in the outfield if that experiment works out.

  16. bmoney says:
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    16 team dynasty 6×6 with ops as extra cat. mlb roster is c-ramos, 1b-hosmer, 2b-joram, 3b-bryant, ss-correa, of-stanton, marte, blackmon, util-cruz, brantley. bn – carlos santana, o’hearn, jorge polanco, pedroia . my notable prospects are mountcastle, yusniel, esteury, luis garcia (was), kirillof, pache, jazz, brusdar.

    would you include kirillof in a deal for either khris or springer?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I would given the other pieces make sense.

  17. Whack Daniels

    awlagdeer says:
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    Is Royce Lewis moving off of SS?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I don’t believe so, although it’s not uncommon for players to move off of that position.

  18. Darek says:
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    Super specialized question, but I’m in a keep 10 keeper league with 15 prospect slots that has to get trimmed to 10 before a winter prospect draft each year. I’m in a win now mode so those last 5 spots are pretty flexible for me. This is a holds league, and I don’t really like chasing holds with draft picks. Are there any talented prospect eligible middle relievers in line for holds in 2019 that might not hold much value in standard leagues? Last year I picked up AJ Minter and Hirano before the draft and put them in a minors slot and basically didn’t really have to worry about holds in the draft. Hudson for Stl is about the only one I’ve identified so far.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I think the best way to approach that is to look at team bullpens as a whole. Target MLB-ready pitching specs in the ones with shaky closers since they’re the ones most likely to shift everybody’s roles around midseason. Sorry it’s not specific names, but that’s the way I’d go about it.

  19. Warren Shapiro says:
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    Here we are with Tucker in the top 10 and almost no path to playing time. When I look at the Houston system, I worry a guy like him is going to rot for a while. Derek Fisher seems to be a non factor as well. Do you think Tucker gets enough at bats this year early on to see what he is made of or did the Brantley trade rule that out?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Truth. Brantley trade definitely didn’t help. Originally I had him pegged for 300-400 ABs, but now it’s looking more like 100-200 if that. I still think he’s a solid talent worth owning, but depending on him for 2019 might be foolish. Just another example of how things change quickly in the offseason as rosters are still taking shape. If they let him rot that would be a real shame.

  20. Jason says:
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    Great list, thanks for the work! I’m in a H2H keeper where I can keep 10 minor league-eligable players. Right now with the keeper deadline looming, I’m keeping:

    Tatis, Alonso, Luis Urias, Wander Franco, Riley, Luzardo, Gore, Keller, Alex Reyes, Sixto Sanchez

    This means letting these two go back into the free agent pool:

    Keibert Ruiz, Madrigal

    Are there any of my current keepers you would swap out for the last two guys? Thanks!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Thanks! Man, I’d be tempted to throw an arm back and keep Madrigal, but that’s tough. You’ve got some nice specs there.

      • Jason says:
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        @Mike: I like the sound of that. I’m leaning toward dropping Keller or Sanchez. Keller doesn’t feel as flashy as the others and Sanchez had elbow issues last year. I’m guessing those are my weakest arms?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Nice. Yeah that makes sense. Elbow issues no bueno.

  21. Beware the Shit Rope says:
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    i’ll put this in it’s own area rather than adding to another guy’s post for this.

    deep stuff again (into about 170th overall in 30 team 1st year draft)

    1. best out of these MI: wenceel perez SS DET, antoni flores SS BOS (very far off, but bat sounds very upsidey), osiris johnson SS MIA (highest 1st year guy left for MI for sure), arraez 2B MIN
    2. best OF out of these: canario SF, decker BOS,

    3. adding hawlett 3B BOS to these, who’s best 2 or 3 out of all of them?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      I’d go Perez, Flores, Decker

  22. PatPat says:
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    How would redraft leagues consider this list? Is the year in each row the year of expected callup? Column headers would be super helpful :)

    And if that’s the case, redrafts should focus mainly on the “2019” players? Thanks

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      It’s an overall list so yes, you’ll want to focus on 2019…although even within “2019” there can be a range of values between early, mid, and late year. Closer to the start of the season I’ll put out a “2019-only” redraft list that considers values for just this season. It’s still a bit early for that with some roles up in the air.

  23. PaulyOH says:
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    I’m in an NL-only 10 team points league where we can keep (forever) 4 minors. My first 3 slots are rock solid: Alonso, Hiura, Kieboom.

    Who do you like best for the 4th slot? Chris Shaw, Gavin Lux or Cal Quantrill? I know Shaw has the clearest path to playing time but he has high bust potential. Thanks!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Tough one. To me it’s a tossup between Shaw and Lux and I’d lean Shaw.

  24. Michael says:
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    Would you take Victor Victor Mesa or Peter Alonso in a MiLB draft 1st overall?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Alonso

      • Michael says:
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        @Mike: thank you

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          anytime man

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