Over the past few seasons it’s become increasingly important to pay attention to the first year player draft and international signing periods. Stars are born and your dynasty leagues championships can be decided based on how well researched you are in this particular area. I’m not going to sit here and say you need to pick over recent draftees or international signings to win your league, but the research now can pay dividends later. With this in mind I’m starting a new feature throughout the season where we’ll discuss a handful of players each post to be aware of. At this point in the year it could be players that recently signed (Yasiel Sierra) or those than recently defected (Lazarito or Gourriel brothers). We’ll also discuss a couple of college players and a prep or two. The ultimate goal is educate the Razznation of the potential future stars at the beginning of the pipeline.

 

Internationals

Lazaro “Lazarito” Armenteros, OF | Cuba – The most dynamic young talent to come out of Cuba since……well, last year when Yoan Moncada defected, but still Lazarito is the new hotness on the streets. He’s 16, is built like a brick Lifshitz-house, and has all the defected drama of 4 Yusiel Puig’s. He’s been compared to Bo Jackson and Willie Mays, that’s like me being compared to Hemmingway and Faulkner. Heady company. Either way he looks to be the top option at the moment in 2017 first year player drafts.

Lourdes Gourriel Jr., 2B/SS | Cuba –  So quick story I was picking second in the “Devil’s Rejects” dynasty league run by the good folks over at Fangraphs a few weeks ago, and hadn’t heard the news that the Gourriel brothers had defected. So at pick two I took top catching prospect Willson Contreras, only to find out that hours earlier the news broke about the brothers defecting. This league’s setup is funny because you’re allowed to draft anyone. Seriously, I could draft Grey if I wanted to. Though I hear the only thing major league about his game is his mustache, but that’s another story for another time. This was a real buzzkill, as the Gourriel’s are considered the first family of Cuban baseball, and Lourdes Jr. in particular is considered one of the most talented prospects on the island. As for an actual scouting report it’s tough to pin down, but needless to say his numbers speak for themselves, as he hit .314 with 16 homers and 72 rbi’s last season in 97 games for Havana’s Industriales. At the moment he’s 22 and still subject to the international signing rules which limits his potential payday. For this reason many feel he may hold off until after his 23rd birthday in October to sign. At that point he’ll be considered a true free agent and his contract won’t be capped. The comp I’ve read most frequently is a young Ryan Zimmerman, which jaded fantasy baseballer, you’ll remember is much better than an old (juiced up?) Ryan Zimmerman.

Yulieski Gourriel, 2B/3B | Cuba – The older brother of the previously mentioned Lourdes, Yulieski has long been considered the best player on the island having taken home multiple MVP awards. He’s spent some time in Japan, as Cuban players are allowed to play in Japan and Mexico with little to no restrictions. In the NPL Yulieski hit .305 with 11 homers in 62 games and has drawn comparisons to MLB vets like Hanley Ramirez and David Wright, and that was before the two of them started to suck. If and when Yulieski signs he should immediately be jettisoned to the MLB roster of what ever club he chooses, with the anticipation of an immediate impact.

Yasiel Sierra, RHP | Cuba (signed with LAD) – This has to be the most difficult Cuban defector in recent memory to figure out. Some say he possess the nastiest stuff of any pitcher on the international market. After signing with the Dodgers later last month there has been some speculation as to whether he’s a starter or a bullpen arm, with the majority of the reports I’ve read placing him in the pen. The comps I’ve seen most frequently have been Raisel Iglesias.

College

A.J. Puk, LHP | Florida – A 6’7 lefty many consider to be the best pitching prospect in the 2016 MLB draft. Puk is as nasty as he wants to be like like 2 Live Crew with a triple digits fastball, a plus slide piece, and a solid change. He looks destined for high k rates and a quick ascension to the majors. If you’re the kind of guy that prefers pitchers to hitters, you might be targeting Puk with a top pick in your first year player drafts next year.

Alec Hansen, RHP | Oklahoma – A 6’7 righty, Hansen is considered only second to A.J. Puk in terms of stuff and potential. He’s another college arm with a big fastball and a couple of good breaking balls. A three quarters delivery helps him throw on a downhill plain, or it could be the height. Most evaluators prefer Puk, but Hansen’s breaking balls grade higher while still possessing a 70 grade heater.

Cory Ray, OF | Louisville – A five tool offensive prospect, Ray posses the ability to hit for both power and average with plus speed. He’s got a compact left handed swing that sprays the balls to all fields, but still needs to improve his approach at the plate. More than likely a top 5-10 pick in the upcoming draft.

Buddy Reed, OF | Florida – A superb athlete, Reed is considered the top hitter on a loaded Florida Gators team. At the moment he’s more of a base stealing prospect than a potential middle of the order bat. On the plus side he’s a switch hitter with developing strength but he’s going to have to refine his swing in order to reach full potential. He’s the type of player to be described as toolsy with scouts focusing on the untapped potential in his raw tools.

 

 

  1. ferris says:
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    Do you have a top 10 for 2016/2017 value?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @ferris: In terms of incoming players? If so you’re probably looking at the top 4 from each market, with the other Jose Fernandez (2b Cuba) and too prep arms Jason Groome and Riley Pint. Then there’s a handful of other guys like Blake Rutherford (prep bat), Kyle Lewis (College bat), Bryan Reynolds (college bat), Delvin Perez (SS PR), and Nick Senzel, Jordan Sheffield, and Connor Jones.

  2. Alan says:
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    Good stuff here, wow

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Alan: Thanks Alan!

  3. I'mgettingsomeHeadley says:
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    Thanks so much for this information. Great stuff for us in dynasty leagues.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @I’mgettingsomeHeadley: Yes my aim is to assist in making America Great Again! Now pledge!

  4. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    Morning Ralph,

    Nice write-up, really good stuff.

    I have spent a lot of time recently checking out all the international talent.

    I am in my first ever Dynasty League and I am mulling over a Lazarito and Anderson Espinoza for Cole Hamels deal. I would get Hamels.

    Here are my SP’s:
    Matt Harvey NYM – SP
    Stephen Strasburg WAS – SP
    Félix Hernández SEA – SP
    Johnny Cueto SF – SP
    Michael Pineda NYY – SP
    Scott Kazmir LAD – SP
    Kris Medlen KC – SP
    Masahiro Tanaka NYY – SP
    Taijaun Walker SEA – SP
    Julio Teheran ATL – SP
    Trevor Bauer CLE – SP
    Alex Wood LAD – SP
    Ryu, Hyun-jin LAD – SP
    Matt Moore TB – SP
    Jimmy Nelson MLW – SP
    Mark Appel PHL – SP
    Dylan Bundy BAL – SP
    Domingo Acevedo NYY – SP
    Brady Aiken CLEV- SP
    Touki Toussaint ATL – SP
    Anderson Espinoza BOS – SP

    PEN:
    David Robertson CWS – CL
    Steve Cishek SEA – CL
    Kenley Jansen LAD – CL
    Roberto Ozuna TOR – CL

    standard 5 x 5 roto league..10 teams. 50 man rosters, 2-13 minor leaguers. start any combo (SP/RP/CL) of 12 pitchers.

    Thoughts?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Malicious Phenoms: Holy cow what depth! Make the deal! Who’s in this league with you MP?

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: 1.thanks 2. wil try. 2. some, rcl guys & some friends.

  5. apoxonbothyourhouses says:
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    What, no Kevin Maitan?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @apoxonbothyourhouses: Had to save some interesting players for the next installment. Hence no Jose Fernandez, Groome, Riley Pint, and many others. I promise Maitan will get his blurb! MAITAN WILL GET HIS BLUUUUUURB! Haha

  6. Luce Wayne says:
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    Any news on a Lazarito signing? Looks like he was about to get something done in late Feb. and then his agent bolted and after that no more news. My league does not let us draft players not signed by an MLB team so if he doesn’t sign by March 20th (Draft Date) he is unavailable until next year. Boo.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Luce Wayne: I don’t think he will sign before then. I could be wrong but there’s some fishy stuff with changing representation and an unnamed “investor” pulling strings in the background.

  7. Rendell Locke says:
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    great list Rowf

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Rendell Locke: Thanks Rendell, I do my best work pantless and fanny packed.

      Do I know you from somewhere? You remind me of someone

      • Rendell Locke says:
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        *runs*

  8. Biff Malibu says:
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    I’d like to discuss recently signed Yasiel Sierra more in depth. With a rule loophole in 20-team dynasty, I’m allowed to add him in offseason FA draft; As long as he remains on active roster (25 man) until recording stats in MLB game. At which point he can be regulated to N/A or farm team roster while maintaining rookie eligibility. My question being, do you believe him to be in the mix for active roster at start of season seeing as Ryu, Beachy n Anderson all are ailing?? It could prove a worthy gamble as I’m hitter heavy n always in market for quality, youthful talented pitchers foreign n domestic. Could you expand on these possible projections n role Sierra could fill?

  9. Mike says:
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    Dynasty league.

    Trade my Strasburg (3) for Lindor(14)?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Mike: Ummm do you have pitching depth and no good SS options? If yes, then do it. If no, then ask for more than Lindor.

  10. Ralph Lifshitz

    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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    @Biff Malibu: My impression is he’s initially going to be in pen, but could be stretched out. It actually wouldn’t surprise me if Urias breaks camp in the rotation. I do think Sierra breaks camp with the club, if he give them something out of the pen. Dodgers are hurting for bridge options to Kenley.

    As for scouting report, I only know what I’ve read. Decent fastball that sits mid to low 90’s that can ramp up to 95-96. He struggled in Cuba last year so their is some risk.

  11. Yescheese says:
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    We gettin deep here Ralph. Look out for my boy Matt Krook!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Yescheese: Yup coming off TJ, but is that a bad thing? You know at least he got it out of the way. Right?

  12. FDJC38 says:
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    Rest of the rankings websites out there need to stay in their lane. You guys crush it every year!! Won my league last year with a good mix of young talent built up through previous drafts and trades (and thanks to some guidance from you guys obviously). Would like to draft an OF and SP for the future. Without concern for immediate impact/worrying about a call up date, who are your top 3 prospects at those two positions? Everyone in your top ten, plus Judge is already rostered, except for Reed. I only have a need/opening for 1 OF, 2nd, and C, and don’t mind waiting it out for a big time future stud.

    H2H points league 18 keepers, going up to 20 next season, no penalty.
    My Keepers for this year:
    Hitters – Rizzo, Machado, Correa, Harper, Springer, C. Seager, Bryant
    Pitchers – Kershaw, Gerrit Cole, King Felix, JoFer, Y. Ventura, Taijuan Walker, Joe Ross, Giolito
    3 spots left for B. Hamilton, Maikel Franco (wouldn’t even be able to play him with Bryant and Seager in my dh spots and Machado and Correa at 3rd and SS. So he’d prob be trade bait), Teheran, Alex Wood, Daniel Norris, Zack Wheeler, or Glasnow
    Might try to package up some of those above possible keepers, and maybe even Felix, and make a trade or two. Does Norris or Glasnow have a higher ceiling than say Syndergaard or Salazar? Or would you change any of my current selections?
    Thanks

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @FDJC38: Is Austin Meadows owned? How about Martes or Espinoza on the pitching side?

      • FDJC38 says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: Yeah, Meadows is owned. Martes and Espinoza are not. Sorry about the dual post. Wasn’t sure if there was a cut off where you stop answering questions from an old article.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @FDJC38: never a problem, I’ll answer any and all questions even on old posts.

          Pickup those pitchers. Go down the top 100 and search the OF’s listed. Come back with some options and we’ll figure out the best fit.

          • FDJC38 says:
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            @Ralph Lifshitz: Looks like the top 3 available off the list are Mazara, Brinson, and Benintendi. I’m gonna read up on some of the guys later on the list as well

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:
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              @FDJC38: Wow those are three great options

  13. asdfasdf says:
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    Thanks for the article! On this topic, what do you think of Nick Banks?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @asdfasdf: Good hitter might have the best pure hitter between himself, Ray, and Reed. Those three guys were actually the OF for the national team.

  14. Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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    in yahoo 16 team roto dynasty. post draft, about to be FAAB waivers time (100 total). problem is since it’s yahoo i can’t tier my bids (could in fantrax). So if i want ONE total SS i can’t just bid the same amount on 5 guys or i might actually end up with 3 of them (i have 3 roster holes). plan is to get a starting SS, at least 1 RP and 1 last prospect to stash. Yahoo also doesn’t let you put a smaller bid ahead of a larger one either (why would making sense be allowed? yahoo gonna yahoo). this roster
    C sal perez
    1B rizzo
    2B kipnis
    SS none
    3B bryant
    LF upton
    CF ellsbury
    RF JD mart
    util delino
    util d.peralta
    NA benintendi/dahl/jp crawford
    SP liriano/cole/wheeler/ryu/fiers/heaney/buchholz/pineda
    RP giles/britton/romo/watson (2 openings here)
    BN stephenson (awaiting NA)
    net steals over steals, net saves and holds over saves. K/BB added.
    SS available: semien/aybar/assdribble/miller/hechavarria
    RP (lots of them): benoit/ kela/cecil/j.smith/hatcher/yimi/clippard/hoover/duke/lowe

    with best prospects being albies, guerra, olson, bradley, thompson, wall, hoffman, lopez, shipley, honeywell, zimmer (SP), go for best of those, or send wall ahead of albies/guerra due to having no 2B depth. or i could have crawford along with 1 of those.

      • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: any chance albies goes to 2B with swanson there now? other than power albies better hit/speed tools.

          • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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            @Montezuma’s Revenge… right now: ended up getting benoit/kela/wall and later aybar, would’ve had semien at the #4 i bid but figured my best 2 RP probably more useful than difference between semien and one of aybar/b.miller etc. actually bid enough to win albies, but with already having jp crawford went wall. would’ve gotten vince velasquez too but would’ve only had room if wheeler and ryu were already DL tagged. way too many people try to win people for 0 waivers at start of the year. other than last year when some twit dropped blackman and he went for full $100 budget (and tie breaker, since a 2nd guy bid 100), i always though best use of maybe around 1/4 of FAAB was just post draft after you stash your NA guys and have space.

  15. Ra'zbahl Al Ghul says:
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    Love it man, great stuff. This data be deep

  16. Curt C says:
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    Lame

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Curt C: You don’t know the half Curty

    • Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:
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      @Curt C: seriously? put some effort into that trolling. if you have better deep prospect guys on free forums by all means bring em in. Mike/Kevin (departed), and now Dr. Lipshitz here are great.

  17. Iron Shiek says:
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    What about the tall kid from Japan….Shohei Otani?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Iron Shiek: He could be covered in another post. This will be a reoccurring theme throughout the year. I’m also unsure if Otani posts this year.

      Didn’t Mike do a post on him in October?

      • Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: yeah, Mike did, he was the title.

  18. Let Us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves says:
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    this article type is great idea and these names get lost or completely overlooked very easily.

  19. goodfold2 says:
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    that older brother of the two is already 31, a good deal older than his brother (maybe not, maybe they have a LOT of kids down there often), so maybe he’s not far from being like hanram and wright now though (which would be gross)

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @goodfold2: The comp I read was from before last season and the reports are Yulieski was playing his ass off in last season. apparently he has a reputation for loafing in Cuba.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: yikes, could really be hanram then eh. just more injuries and goes back to that effort level.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @goodfold2: Maybe, he’s the first in a long line of major league caliber players from his family to play here so maybe we’ll get some passion.

  20. For an Armenianless vacation come to Akron says:
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    in a shallower league was able to get brinson, already having n.williams/dahl. didn’t grab mazara due to having braun and polanco at RF. brinson/dahl CF. i only have 1 CF and 1 LF already, so williams is by far highest LF on list. hard to find dahl being a drop here, but it’s looking so if/when snell gets his NA tag. do you know if in yahoo suspensions count as NA players (this is definition of what NA means of course, but yahoo gonna yahoo maybe like they often do). somebody just dropped reyes since he’s not NA able yet. i know this year in hockey suspension AREN’T counting as NAable. yet another reason to trail of tears it over to fantrax next year.

  21. Rod Beck's Mullet says:
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    I just dropped Almora for Y.Gourriel to address my dynasty 3B need. I am considering dropping my hold on Newcomb and picking up Puck. Who projects better long term? I also have Maitan, A Hansen, and J Patterson.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Rod Beck’s Mullet: Don’t drop Newcomb, he’s already knocking on the door, and I’m not sure Puk’s going to reach the lofty ceiling many see. I’d hold on Newcomb.

      Maybe you ditch Patterson for him.

      • Rod Beck's Mullet says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: does that mean you like Hansen more than Puk long term?

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph lifshitz says:
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          @Rod Beck’s Mullet: I think I might, but I just really like Newcomb.

  22. Coolwhip

    Todd25 says:
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    so with these in mind,
    where do Lazarito and Cory Ray fall in line with the likes of Brinson, Zimmer, Nick Williams, Brett Phillips, etc?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Todd25: Lazarito probably on the cusp of my top 30-50 just based on reports while the Gourriel’s are top 25, with Ray probably below all the guys you named

      • Coolwhip

        Todd25 says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: thanks, good to know. now the obligatory rank ’em question… how you rank A) this season and B) overall value, of Brinson, Benintendi, and Zimmer. thanks again.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph lifshitz says:
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          @Todd25: like that

  23. Herb says:
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    Great article! 5×5 H2H keeper. Players can be kept forever. I was offered A Chapman for M Piñeda. I fear trading away Piñeda and he ends up putting it altogether and being that ace that throws over 200 innings. Help!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph lifshitz says:
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      @Herb: well there’s always a risk, If you have starting pitching surplus and you need bullpen help (or own Miller) make the deal

  24. JJ says:
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    Hey Ralph. Im in a 12 team H2h 5X5 keeper league. We keep 10. I have J.BAEZ on my bench right now as a super sub. Would you drop him for J.Segura?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph lifshitz says:
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      @JJ: Nothing better than Segura available? I don’t know if Baez has value this year

Comments are closed.