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Growing up, some of the best players in baseball were legacies. Juniors, so to speak. Think Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, Cal Ripken Jr., so on and so forth. Well, the Toronto Blue Jays have taken it upon themselves to bring the Jr.’s back to the game. It started unsuccessfully with Dwight Smith Jr., but has taken a turn for the better with the latest crop of Juniors. On yesterday’s podcast we briefly discussed Vlad Guerrero Jr. and his Lansing Lugnuts debut. Mostly because it was going on while we were recording, and I for one, love a good distraction. What I’m getting at is, we might have done you a disservice not listing this team as one to watch. With an exciting combination of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette (son of Dante), they’re definitely the best set of juniors out there. In fact the pair showed their oodles of upside Friday night, as each homered in the game. On Saturday they continued their assault on A ball, combining to go 3 for 8 with a run and an RBI. Some solid start for the duo, huh? Scouts rank Vlad Jr. amongst the top power prospects in the minors, and Bichette is viewed as a high upside middle infield prospect with 20+ homer upside. For our first Minor League Update of the season, it’s only right we go back to the future. Here’s what else is going on during opening weekend of Minor League Baseball.

 

  • In 12 career AAA games, Franklin Barreto is hitting .449 (22 for 49) with 12 RBIs, 12 runs, 4 HR, 4 3B, and 3 2B. He went 3 for 3 on Saturday with a homer and a hbp. He’s going to be one of the better waiver wire dash candidates when he’s called up. Middle infielder with power/speed, who won’t tank your average.
  • Port St. Lucie of the Florida State League had an interesting middle of the order last night. At least interesting as far as fantasy prospecting goes. It wasn’t interesting like the S-Town podcast, or the selfies Grey sends me. Any the hootie hoo, It was Wuilmer Becerra in the 3 hole, Peter Alonso batting cleanup, and Jhoan Urena hitting 5th. In the first inning the trio combined for 3 hits, a homer 2 RBIs, 2 runs, and a stolen base.
  • Keep doubting Rowdy, he’ll keep hitting bombs in his first at bat, and following it up with a second jack in his next. Not a bad AAA debut. I’m starting to feel like I wasn’t aggressive enough on Rowdy. Go buy his big lovable ass. I mean shoot, he had two jacks last night.
  • Cody Sedlock put on a show yesterday for Class A Advanced Fredrick. Sitting down 10 batters in a row at one point, on his way to 6 shutout innings. He’s a polished college arm, that could move quickly. My only hesitation is the curse of Baltimore pitching prospects.
  • Brandon Woodruff made his AAA debut Saturday, and picked up where he left off  in 2016. Going 6 1/3rd, striking out 5, and allowing only an unearned run. He also didn’t walk a batter in the effort. One of those off the radar prospects that many still don’t believe in. I almost feel there’s no middle ground on Woodruff, you’re either over the top, or don’t rate him at all.
  • Cleveland Indians Taiwanese shortstop prospect Yu-Cheng Chang, homered and drove in 5 Saturday afternoon. He’s not a super hyped up name, but a player who’s got sneaky value for fantasy as a middle infielder with power.
  • Chance Adams took a no hitter into the 6th inning yesterday afternoon for AA Trenton. He left after 85 pitches through 5 2/3rds, having still not allowed a hit. He struck out 5 while walking 4 during the effort.
  • Big first game for Jorge Alfaro, going 2/4 with 3 RBIs. Sometimes you just need to take your medicine.
  • Then again Rusney Castillo and Allen Craig combined for 5 hits, with 2 runs scored, and 2 RBIs in the same game, so there’s that.
  • Oh yeah, and former Top 100 prospect Jake Thompson was pitching for the Iron Pigs. He got rocked for 9 Ernies.
  • Former Vandy star, and 2015 first rounder Carson Fulmer looked locked in. Going six strong, allowing 2 runs, 6 hits, and 1 walk, while striking out 5 on Friday.
  • I hyped up 2016 Dodgers 2nd rounder Mitchell White over the past couple of months, and look what he did Friday night. White threw 4 no hit innings for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, walking 3 and striking out 5 in the process.
  • Yoan Moncada went 7 for 11 through his first two games, but was yet to record an extra base hit. That changed last night, when Moncada went yard in his third AAA game. He looks to be ready for the show, even if he’ll struggle to hit good off-speed pitches.
  • Lucas Giolito was not impressive what so ever. Allowing 5 runs, 4 of them earned, over 4 1/3rd innings for Charlotte. He allowed 6 hits, and 2 walks, striking out 4 in the process. The shine is way off Giolito at the moment. He may get his shot sooner rather than later, but I wouldn’t go anywhere near him until he proves something.
  • A night after going 3/3 with 2 doubles and a walk on Opening Day, Cody Bellinger went 1/4 with 2 strikeouts on Friday night. Then Saturday, Bellinger mixed the two, as he slugged his first homer of the season, while going 2 for 5 with three more strikeouts. So he’s still swinging and missing A LOT. I can look past it if you can.
  • On the other side of the ball, the Dodgers opened against the Cubs, Ian Happ and Jeimer Candelario have been mashing. Each homering in consecutive games, with Candelario driving in 5 last night.
  • Travis Lakins, Red Sox righty struck out 9 batters over 5 2/3rds for Class A advanced Salem Thursday night. He’s got some strikeout upside, could end up in the pen.
  • Brent Honeywell goes ham for AA Montgomery Thursday. Striking out 12 batters over 6 innings of 3 hit, 2 run ball.
  • After receiving a great deal of attention going into 2016, Jack Flaherty was far less doted over this offseason. He however, threw a stiff middle to the haters, and went 6 2/3rds scoreless with 6 k’s on opening night.
  • Cal Quantrill the 8th overall pick in last season’s draft went 5 on Friday night striking out 7 and allowing 1 run. Healthy entering a season for the first time in two years, Quantrill looks to prove he’s the same player that dominated as a Freshman.
  • Jordan Montgomery had 9 k’s in a Thursday start at advanced A Tampa. He was obviously pretty “advanced” for the competition, as he’s more or less a back end MLB starter now. I wouldn’t get too excited based on this performance.
  • An underrated pitching prospect, the Mariners Andrew Moore had the performance of the season thus far Thursday night. Bringing a no hitter into the 6th before allowing one hit, and striking out 7. He’s a pitchability over stuff guy, but could be useful in deeper formats.
  • Max Fried was pulled from his start Thursday night because of a back issue. Not great from a player who’s already had a great deal of injury woes. He’s billed as one of the highest upside arms in the minors, and admittedly I’m in on the hype. This however is a bad development.
  • Zack Burdi comes on in 7th, throws an inning and 2/3rds, hits 100 on the gun 5 times, strikes out 3, while allowing one base runner.
  • Personal cause, and potential superhero Tyler O’Neill hit his first homer at the AAA level last night. It was a three run job to left.
  • In his first official start as a member of the Braves, Luiz Gohara dazzled, as he worked mid to high 90’s with his fastball, touching 99. Mixing in a plus slider to both sides of the plate, and inducing weak contact. He struck out Nick Senzel on a 1-2 slider in the dirt. In fact 21 of the 29 offspeed pitches he threw went for strikes. If he can stay healthy and log some innings, Gohara’s stock could explode. I mean whats not to like? A lefty with a nasty breaking pitch and an upper 90’s fastball. Sure he’s a little soft, and has been injury prone, but that’s why the price is discounted. Worth the risk of acquiring IMO.
  • My number 19 overall Prospect, and top rated pitcher Josh Hader went 5 scoreless innings,striking out 6, but allowed FIVE FREAKING WALKS. Halp watched the start, and assures me it was less a control issue as much as it was command, and getting fouled to death. Not great but I can deal with it.
  • Jairo Beras, Rangers power hitting prospect, has 2 homers and 8 steaks through 2 games. He’s an intriguing high upside prospect looking to build off a breakout 2016 at High Desert.
  • While on the topic of Rangers prospects, Leody Taveras hit a homer and Baseball America wrote an entire post about it. Seriously, must have been some shot, huh?
  • Astros Wunderkind Kyle Tucker launched his first Carolina League homer last night. Expecting big things from Tucker this season. He ranked 32nd on my preseason Top 100, and I can easily see him jumping into the top 20 come midseason.
  • At 17 years old Eguy Rosario is the youngest player on a full season roster.
  • Tim Tebow 1-4 2k’s and an oppo taco shot in his first game. So there I spoke about him. Honestly it’s a fun story, and I wish him the best.
  • File under players looking to get the Cal League value bump, one Matt Thaiss. He homered in his first first Cal League game, and hasn’t done much since.
  • Bryan Reynolds the Giants second rounder out of Vandy had consecutive 3 hit nights Thursday and Friday. As of writing this he’s 0 for 2 with 2 strikeouts.
  • Diamondbacks prospect Kevin Cron hit 3 homers last night for AA Jackson. Cron’s a 24 year old first baseman who hit .222 last season with 26 homers. One of the homers was off Michael Kopech, who struck out 10 in his White Sox debut.
  • The top overall pick in last June’s draft Mickey Moniak capped a 3 hit night with a go ahead RBI double, his second of the game. He drove in three as well. Pretty impressive that Moniak is already in full season ball, and on top of that hitting.

Follow me on Twitter @ralphlifshitzbb and tune into my weekly live Baseball Show on Fantrax Youtube page.

   
  1. DrEasy says:
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    Great write-up! Worth noting that Becerra and Barreto are also products of the Jays’ system. Go Rowdy!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @DrEasy: Jays over everything! Billy Beane is praying that Barreto works out.

  2. J-FOH says:
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    8 steaks in 2 games? Sounds delicious but that’s got to be hell on his cholesterol. And is Rowdy so awesome we don’t even need to mention a last name? Kidding it’s all good. I like the one namer who gets no love.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @J-FOH: We’re on a first name basis.

  3. Alex M says:
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    You didn’t mention Jose Berrios. Solid outing yesterday, when do you think he gets called up and do you think he won’t suck like last year?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Alex M: No, just no. I’m trying to erase my mind of Berrios, but the Men in Black have been slow to fill my request.

  4. JSF says:
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    Great stuff Ralph.

    Nice to see Tyler O’Neill hit a bomb in his first AAA game.

    What’s the earliest you think he’d get called up if Dyson continues to disappoint in a full-time role?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @JSF: Depends how in the mix Seattle is. If Dyson is struggling and the team is in the mix, maybe it’s late May. My guess is mid-June. Really depends on three things; how much Dyson sucks, how good O’Neill is, and what their approach is to the arbitration clock.

  5. M says:
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    When do you think see see Baretto in the bigs? Til Beane can showcase a bit of value for Lowrie?

    Bellingee fan too but do all the K’s remind you of Buxton?

    Also how is Nick Senzel looking?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @M: First everyone calm down. Bellinger had already had a better track record of sustained success than Buxton. Hes had a 23 and 30 homer season, walk rates between 9%-12% in the upper levels of the minors, and he’s in a far superior player development organization. I think he’s probably more comparable to Joc than Buxton. Sorry for the rant lol.

      I think it’s all about what happens over the next few months in Oakland. There’s a chance he’s up in June, but more than likely it’s around the All-Star break.

      Senzel could be up by midseason if he goes Allen Bregman and rakes, or he could see a cup of coffee when the roster expand in September.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @M: No problem! Thanks for the read, and don’t let Buxton get you down haha.

          • M says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: haha of course prospects are lotto tickets but like you said Bellinger has had more success and LAD def develops players better than the Twins.

  6. Smoooth Jimmy says:
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    Who would you rather…

    Hot bat – against a good pitcher
    Cold bat – against a mediocre pitcher

    Meadows or bellinger

    Dynasty – Rizzo or goldschmidt

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Smoooth Jimmy: Give me the hot bat, and see what happens.

      Meadows, I ranked him 3rd overall.

      Rizzo only because of age, call me tomorrow and I might say Goldy though. I mean damn is it close. In redraft it’s Goldy.

      • Smoooth Jimmy says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:

        Thanks, great article as always

  7. James T Kirk says:
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    Zack Collins is very interrsting for fantasy purposes. If he ends up as an every day player at first/DH and the backup catcher…he could be a monster!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @James T Kirk: Yes, I’m a big fan of Collins, really special hitter.

  8. Chucky says:
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    Great article, thanks. Comprehensive as hell. Tell me something about Kevin Maitin. When will he get a chance in Low A ball?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Chucky: My guess is we see him in short season ball this year.

  9. Skillz says:
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    Got Margot still chillin on my waivers, and I want to scoop him, but… Best drop candidates on my team are Piscotty or Billy Hamilton? Don’t think I can pull the trigger this early… your thoughts?H2H keeper league with R,HR,RBI, SB, AVE and OPS.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Skillz: Billy Hamilton, do it now.

  10. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    Speaking of Juniors, what the bleep are they doing in Texas with Delino Jr.?

    Dude kills it in games that don’t count, now that they count, Jr. has only TWO at bats?? WTF??

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Malicious Phenoms: Much like Berrios, I’ve tried to erase him from my memory. LOL

  11. Chris r says:
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    Giolito or Hader for my second NA spot. 12 team.mixed, 5×5 other NA spot is bellinger.

    BTW, you’re making me feel really bad for not reading much fantasy content last season, your prospect stuff is awesome and I can’t believe I spent a whole year Missing it!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Chris r: Hader, Giolito has some issues right now. No worrries,there’s plenty more coming.

  12. apox says:
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    Ti’Quan Forbes has been beast mode so far. 3B Texas guy. Mashing in Hickory. Ditto with L. Taveras.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @apox: Yeah I almost mentioned Forbes. Beras and Leody won out. Good call on the omission. Are you a Rangers fan?

  13. Sport says:
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    Loving your write ups Ralph! Greatly appreciate your time into the research and the time in answering questions.

    I have Hader and Senzel in dynasty with these guys also available to pick up. Any names just stand out as must adds? Maybe even filling up a bench spot? Or just stand pat with the two prospects I have?

    Hitters: Tapia, Barreto, Zimmer, Chance Sisco, W. Calhoun, T. O’Niell, M. Chapman, Francisco Mejia.

    Pitchers: L. Weaver, W. Buehler, J. Groome, Y. Alvarez, Honeywell, Jose DeLeon.

    • Sport says:
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      @Sport:
      And Rowdy is there too.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Sport: Yeah I’m feeling adding Barreto, but you could stand pat. You’d have to drop Hader and I don’t love doing that. Tons of prospects always available in that league it seems.

  14. Sport says:
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    You seemed higher on Groome this time. And I have read some other reviews on him. You think Hader has a higher ceiling then? I really want a SP1 or 2 in a couple of years.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Sport: I didn’t write about Groome. At the moment I’m higher on Hader than pretty much any pitching prospect. He’ll have his hiccups, but he’s most likely to have some dominanting performances too.

      • Sport says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:
        My apologies. I have been skimming through all your articles and thought you had a recent little blip about him.

        Thanks for the help. I might look into getting Barreto on board, but I already have Story and Dansby. Maybe the 2B eligibility will be the key!

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Sport: I’m definitely a fan of Groome, at least from a projection stand point, but I need to see more.

          He’s most likely to move to 2B, they’re going to stick with Seimein at SS me thinks.

  15. Token says:
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    In a first year draft we draft with the only rule being a player has to meet mlbs rookie eligibilty criteria to draft them. Do you think shohei otani would be draftable with this being the only requirement?
    Thanks

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Token: As in he needs to be below the AB/IP limits? If so yes.

  16. JosePeralta says:
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    Hey Ralph, if I know that I have lge mates that scour this site and especially the comments can I email u questions?? Gracias

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @JosePeralta: Hit me on Twitter.

  17. AcevesJ says:
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    Hi Ralph, I’ve been a reader for about a year, I like your artciles a lot and I’m also a listener of your podcast, but this is the first time I’m actually going to comment something, so hi!

    I play in a deep dynasty league (20 teams, 25 prospects per team) and I’m always trying to get the hidden gems to be able to compete, so I like to say that I’m good with prospects and usually know their values, etc.

    I wanted to know why you feel like Meadows is the #3 prospect for fantasy, I feel like he’s been overhyped a lot as a guy with 60 hit and power tools but I haven’t really seen him show it, I feel like he’ll end up like Jesse Winker, who’s bat was hyped up a lot after a good power surge in 2014 but couldn’t keep it up for a full season.

    Anyways, thanks for the great articles and keep up the good work!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @AcevesJ: His power, speed, athleticism is better than that of Winker’s by a wide margin. Meadows power showed itself for an extended period in the upper minors last year (AA ISO of .299 and a AAA ISO of .246). He also has 20 steal speed. He’s a true 5 tool player with few holes in his game outside injury worry. His D should keep him in the lineup (an issue for Winker).

      So I can appreciate you finding Winker overrated (I often have myself), I feel Meadows is a very different player. Does that make sense?

      • AcevesJ says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:

        The defensive part definitely makes sense, so you’re banking on him combining his average from previous years with the power from last year? What would his ceiling be like? a 20-20 season with .300 avg?

        As for Winker I’ve read that his arm is on Jered Weaver levels, so it puts more pressure on his bat, I actually own Winker in that league just because I’m a fan of his approach, if he finds a little power this year he’ll be a starter for the weak Reds.

        Thanks for the reply!

  18. Chris says:
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    Thanks Ralph,

    I have a few delema’s here: 14 team league roto head to head 10 cats:
    This is my staff:
    Sale-Verlander-Syndergaard-Chen-Kimbrel-Britton-Allen
    I need 2 more pitchers-Devenski-Knebel-Chavez vs Tex-Nolasco @KC against Duffy. Please pick 2.
    If I go with a starter and RP I’m tied 7-7 for starts if I go both RP’s I’m down 1.

    Offense:
    Sit 2
    Mallex Smith-Dyson-Jankowski-Schebler-Toles-Saunders-Saunders has the Mets and Nats

    Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Chris: Devenski and Nolasco

      Janokowski and Dyson

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @bigbear: Nice, yes I know all about Otani, Mike wrote about him last year, and it might be time to update that post.

      He’s the goods, had he entered MLB this year, he’d be the #1 prospect over Benintendi and Moncada. He’s an ace level starter, and a very good power hitter as well. There’s some talk he could be a two way player.

      I’ll do a post about Otani in the next few weeks.

  19. Blind Umps have rights too (seriously their union is that strong) says:
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    dynasty league with K/9, QS, K/BB. drop skaggs for c.reed (NOT the ARI one). 16 teamer with 1750 max innings per year, have triggs/j.garcia/morton/hamels/moore/cueto/skaggs, with a.reyes/fedde in minors (7 man list max), and rodon on DL. also 6 RP slots.

  20. Gary says:
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    Greetings Ralph

    H2H pts/weekly. Is right now a good time to start stashing prospects? Is moncada someone worth stashing now ? Who else are high names you’d recommend?

    My 3b is Todd Frazier, on my team players who have 3b eligibility are Miguel Sano , Sandoval, drury, and Travis Shaw. On espn moncada is listed at 3b.

    We have an IF slot. Two utility slots too.

    I’m just looking at the %change & Souza’s % has gone up! Worth an add by dropping Javier Baez? To add moncada thinking of deleting Travis Shaw.

    Since my roster is locked, looking at next week if Jose abreu is still slumping would you bench abreu, then put my DH Carlos Santana to 1b then move Miguel Sano from IF to DH then maybe drury from utility to IF then I’ll figure out the other utility later

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