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Hot Prospects – Week 6

Power seems to be in full supply in the minor leagues this year with several players being on pace to hit 40 or more home runs.  Two of them, Dan Vogelbach and Tyler O’Neill make our Hot Prospect list with candidly, Austin Riley not far behind. All three have swing and miss in their game and in Vogelbach’s case, has had three chances to stick in the majors and has yet to turn the corner.

Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player. 

Dan Vogelbach (1B, Sea) – Since his demotion back to Tacoma, Dan Voglebach has been on fire.  In 20 games, he’s posted a 1.187 OPS with eight home runs and nearly twice as many walks as strikeouts.  After three less than stellar stints in the major leagues, it’s easy to label him as a Four-A player, but I see more.  However, the question is: do the Mariners see that?  I’m not sure and that could be a real problem.

Tyler O’Neill (OF, STL) – Tyler O’Neill has been mashing since the beginning of the season and is now up to 13 home runs with a .333 batting average.  He did get called up for a brief 10-day stint where he got a total of seven at-bats, but after only one hit, he was sent packing.  The power is real but so is the aggressive approach.  It makes for a dicey profile and an uncertain major league career.

Forrest Wall (OF/2B, COL) – Forrest Wall continues to be one of my under-the-radar prospects in the minor leagues.  He has an interesting combination of power and speed and a decent approach at the plate.  His biggest problem to-date has been staying healthy.  Playing only 22 games last season due to a shoulder injury, Wall repeated High-A and has taken full advantage of the hitting environment of Lancaster.  He’s hitting .307 with two home runs and 16 stolen bases.  He’s struck out 39 times while walking 20 times.  Wall has also moved to center field and while his arm is below-average, it should be enough to translate at the highest level.

Garrett Hampson (2B, COL) – Garrett Hampson is having a solid May in Double-A slashing .339/.431/.464 in 14 games.  He has double-plus speed with seven bags without being caught stealing in those 14 games.  If you combine the seven steals with the 12 he stole in April, it’s easy to get excited about a dynamic top-of-the-order asset.

Austin Riley (3B, ATL) – The Braves are forming a dynamic young team, except at third base where they recently signed the aging Jose Bautista.  Austin Riley is doing everything he can to wave his hand to say…”don’t forget about me”.  Once Bautista was promoted, Riley took his place at Gwinett and has continued to hit.  In eight games, he’s batting .375 with three home runs.  There’s going to be swing and miss in his game but he should make enough contact to get to his double-plus raw power.  In case you’re wondering, Bautista, is batting .156 through 11 games with a .375 SLG.

Carter Kieboom (SS, WAS) – Carter Kieboom got off to a slow start to the 2018 season, only hitting .198 in April.  His fortune changed in May though.  In 10 games, he’s hitting .400 with a home run and three stolen bases.  He’s currently blocked at shortstop in the Nationals organization but could slide over to second once Washington decides to move on from Daniel Murphy.

Corey Ray (OF, MIL) – When Corey Ray gets hot, he gets hot.  Over the past week, he was 11 for 25 with three home runs and a stolen base.  His overall stat line for the season is not great, but when you compare it to what he did over the first two years of his minor league career, he’s definitely showing improvement.  He has power and speed but still needs to work on controlling the strike zone better.

Griffin Canning (RHP, LAA) – Just a few years ago, the Los Angeles Angles had very little in their farm system, but a couple of good drafts and landing Shohei Ohtani and the farm system looks much, much better.  Griffin Canning was drafted last season in the second round but did not pitch in a professional game until this season.  After two-starts in High-A, the Angels promoted him to Double-A where he started in a multi-pitcher no-hitter against Birmingham earlier in the week.  He has good stuff but doesn’t have the physicality you like to see in a frontline starter in the big leagues.  If it all comes together, he profiles as a mid-rotation starter.

Kolby Allard (LHP, ATL) – The Braves minor league factory is working overtime and the next guy to pop-out could be lefty Kolby Allard.  In seven starts this season, he’s pitched to a 1.71 ERA with 32 strikeouts and 13 walks.  He doesn’t have overpowering stuff but has plus control with excellent pitch sequencing.  That was on display earlier in the week when he pitched eight innings of no run ball with eight strikeouts and one walk.

Brendan McKay (LHP, TB) – After six dominant starts in Low-A, the Rays finally promoted Brendan McKay to High-A.  The number four overall pick in last year’s MLB Draft clearly had no trouble on the bump, pitching to a 1.09 ERA in six starts with a ridiculous 40K/2BB strikeout-to-walk ratio.  I doubt he has little trouble in High-A and could see time late in the season in Double-A.  As a hitter, he’s also played well, walking twice as much as he struck out with a home run.

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Waiver Wire – Week 8

We just passed the quarter-pole mark of the 2018 season and we present a new crop of pickups for your consideration.  While we don’t see any players that could transform your team on the waiver wire, but that rarely is the case, there are a number of guys that can help.  We do remind fantasy owners of Alex Reyes and Zach Britton, who both should be making their 2018 debut in the next few weeks.  Now is the time to move on these players.

You can see the full list here.

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Hot Prospects Week 5

This week, we went a little deeper to provide our readers with some names in which they might not be familiar.  Sure, we could have put Vlad Jr’s name down yet again as he’s establishing himself as the best player in minor league baseball, but instead, we are introducing Telmito Agustin and Dennis Santana.  But, we did have to mention Juan Soto who after being promoted to High-A looks like he might not be there very long.  The kid can really play and might be this year’s Ronald Acuna – defined as someone who just blitzes through level after level.

Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player. 

Juan Soto (OF, WAS) – With all due respect to Vlad Jr., the best player in the minor leagues this season has been Nationals right-fielder Juan Soto.  Sure, he’s a level behind Jr, but he’s the same age and through 14 games in High-A, he’s posted a 1.289 OPS.  Through 16 games in Low-A, he posted a 1.300 OPS and the Nationals promoted him.  Could another promotion be far behind?  At this rate, it will happen sometime in late June.

Eloy Jimenez (OF, CHW) – After getting a late start to the year, Eloy Jimenez picked up right where he left off.  In 20 games in Double-A, he’s slashing .346/.375/.704 with five home runs.  In his small sample size, he’s been able to cut down on his strikeouts but at 6-foot-4, he’s just going to have some swing and miss in his game.  The White Sox should promote Jimenez to Triple-A sometime in the second half with an anticipated 2019 major league debut.

Keston Hiura (DH, MIL) – After batting only .238 in April, Keston Hiura improved his BABIP and his batting average followed to a robust .358 in May.  He also showed his penchant to be very aggressive at the plate as he has yet to walk in the month.  That said, he can hit with some pop but concerns still linger as he has yet to play the field.  Since he plays for the Brewers, and the last time I looked, they are still in the National League, the situation warrants some level of concern.

Cavan Biggio (2B, TOR) – Vlad Jr. and Bo Bichette have gotten most of the attention in the Blue Jays system, and for good reason – they are tremendous talents.  Cavan Biggio, son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio is waving his hand to say – “Don’t forget about me”.  In May, he is getting on-base at a .424 clip while slugging .654 with 3 home runs.  He needs to cut down on his swing and miss, but the power is starting to develop and with his high-baseball IQ, he has a chance to be a solid major league regular.

Franmil Reyes (OF, SD) – Franmil Reyes was signed by the Padres at 16 in 2012 and has always shown double-plus raw power but also a ton of strikeouts.  After depositing 25 home runs last year in Double-A, he’s already up to 13 home runs in 32 games in Triple-A.  He’s still striking out a ton, 29 times in 32 games, but with a favorable .351 BABIP, he’s posting a .336 batting average.  Plus, he’s had the luxury this year of playing in some of the best ballparks in all of baseball.  Net…net, there is 25 plus home run potential with Reyes but with obvious pressure on his batting average.

Royce Lewis (OF, MIN) – Royce Lewis is proving that he was indeed deserving of the overall pick in last year’s draft.  In 21 at-bats in May, he has 11 hits, all singles with five stolen bases.  Overall, he’s hitting .356 with two home runs and 10 stolen bases.   At this rate, the Twins could elect to accelerate his path to the big leagues.  On the other hand, they might be gun shy given what happened with Byron Buxton.  They pushed Buxton hard and even though he responded at each level, once he arrived at the big leagues, he was overwhelmed.  I’m cautiously optimistic that it will be a different result with Lewis as he’s just a better hitter.  The skills are not nearly as explosive as Buxton, but with his solid approach, I think he could handle aggressive assignments and succeed quickly in the ultimate test.

Telmito Agustin (OF, WAS) – A new name to most prospect watchers is Telmito Agustin.  Known primarily for his speed and defense, his bat speed suggested that he could eventually develop into some power.  That seems to be happening as he is slugging .641 over the first six weeks of the season.  He’s aggressive at the plate but makes enough contact that his secondary skills should be able to play.  He’s likely a fourth outfielder at the highest level, but I know a number of scouts who think he could be more.

Chris Paddack (RHP, SD) – Chris Paddack creating a lot of buzz in 2016 as he dominated Low and High-A over nine games striking out 71 while walking 5.  Unfortunately, he tore his UCL and needed Tommy John Surgery.  He’s back and seemingly healthy with nearly an identical stat line.  In two starts, he has yet to give up a run, has struck out 16 while walking one.  I think the “stir” could be starting up again.

Dennis Santana (RHP, LAD) – Signed as a shortstop in 2013, the Dodgers converted Dennis Santana to the mound and has been slowly working through the system.  Now at 22, the Dodgers have cleaned up his stiff delivery and he’s throwing more strikes while continuing to show a plus fastball and slider.  While he’s likely a reliever long-term, he’s made significant progress and the Dodgers believe he can start long-term.  He’s a kid to definitely monitor.

Dylan Cease (RHP, CHW) – After two outstanding outings to start May, right-hander Dylan Cease makes our list.  In 13 innings, he struck out 18 while walking two and giving up only a single earned run.  His secondary pitches are starting to round into shape and with a fastball that can touch the upper nineties, there’s just a lot to like with Cease long-term.

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Waiver Wire – Week 7

With a number of superstars hitting the 10 Day DL, there will be a ton of fishing done on the waiver wire this week. We have listed 17 players with several options for those who lost Yadier. Plus, as always, there are a bunch of young players for your review. In particular, we like Fernando Romero and Brock Stewart for upside pitchers, particularly in Dynasty and deep keeper leagues.

The list can be found here.

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Hot Prospects – Week 4

It’s week four in the minor league season and we have presented another group of young minor leaguers who had great weeks.  In fact, given we are only into the season about 20 games, most have had a great season.  There are some “famous” names such as Vlad Guerrero who now stands as the number one prospect in the game to Jalen Beeks, who only hardcore Boston Red Sox fans are familiar.  Hopefully, as you read this, you’ll want to explore further some of these players as possible adds to your fantasy leagues or just to act smart when chatting with friends.

Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player. 

Vlad Guerrero Jr. (3B, TOR) – With Ronald Acuna and Gleybar Torres now in the major and Victor Robles recovering from an elbow injury, the best player in the minor leagues is Vlad Guerrero Jr.   He’s a different player than the other three with double-plus future power potential to go along with a plus hit-tool. He’s showing both tools in spade to begin the 2018 campaign with a .388 batting average while slugging .600.  Oh, and he just turned 19-years-old and is already playing in Double-A.

Micker Adolfo (OF, CHW) – We’ve been talking about Micker Adolfo since he was signed by the White Sox for $1.6 million dollars in 2013 from the Dominican Republic.  His development has been slowed by frequent injuries and an inability to make consistent contact.  However, in the early going so far this season, his double-plus has shown through with five home runs and he has shown better overall plate discipline.  That said, there is still a lot of room to improve as his strikeout rate is still at an unacceptable 40%.

Dustin Fowler (OF, OAK) – Dustin Fowler was my sleeper for the American League Rookie of the Year.  So far, it’s not going well as he has yet to make it out of Triple-A.  But, with a crazy strong week that had him go 9-14 over a three-game span, the Oakland brass could decide to promote him sooner than later.  He’s a plus runner with some pop and could be a nice addition for fantasy owners.

Peter Alonso (1B, NYM) – Nobody in the minor leagues has been hotter over the past week that Peter Alonso. To-date, he’s batting .400 with a .788 slugging and eight home runs through 22 games in Double-A.  He has power with a good idea at the plate but still likely needs the full year in the minor leagues before a potential call-up to the major leagues.  Then again, he’s been pretty ridiculous and with Adrian Gonzales a shell of himself, you never know.

Christin Stewart (OF, DET) – Another slugger on this list who is off to a strong start is Christin Stewart.  While he has double-plus raw power has already translated to in-game power, his inability to control the strike zone was pointing to a 30 home-run output with a .220 batting average.  This year, at least in the early going, there is progress.  He has 14 strikeouts, 12 walks in 93 plate appearances.

Taylor Trammell (OF, CIN) – One of my favorite players in the minor leagues is Taylor Trammell.   He has speed, power and an approach that should allow him to hit and get on-base at a high rate.  While he’s only batting .286 in the early going, he’s only walked nearly as much as he’s stuck out while hitting three home runs and two stolen bases.  The Reds should promote him to Double-A in the second half with a chance to see Cincinnati in the second half of 2019 or early in 2020.

Jesus Sanchez (OF, TB) – Adding another two bombs this week, Jesus Sanchez has five on the season in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League.  While he’s batting .337, his two walks in 90 plate appearance and his .419 BABIP would suggest some regression should be anticipated.  With double-plus raw power and a little speed, there’s a lot to like in Sanchez, but he needs to learn to control the strike zone better or he’ll likely never get to his secondary skills.

Brendan McKay (LHP/1B, TB) – While Shohei Ohtani has led the way, Brendan McKay could be the better two-way player in the end.  While he’s batting .273 with over twice as many walks as strikeouts batting, he’s been downright dominant on the mound.  In four starts, he’s struck out 24 while walking only one batter. As an elite college pitcher, it’s probably time for the Rays to move him to High-A and then Double-A over the course of the year.

Jalen Beeks (LHP, BOS) – Jalen Beeks has gotten off to a great start in Triple-A with the Pawtucket Red Sox.  In 19.2 innings, he’s struck out 37 while walking only six.  He throws a variety of pitches including a fastball that sits 89 to 91 MPH.  It’s not great stuff but he has some deception and with an effective pitch-mix, keeps batters off-balance.

Yennsy Diaz (RHP, TOR) – With 10 strikeouts and no earned runs across 11 innings, right-hander Yennsy Diaz gets a call out on our list.  Unfortunately, the 10 K’s came with seven walks, so control is currently an issue with the 6-foot-1 Dominican.  His stuff is raw with a fastball that sits 92 to 93 MPH with an emerging curve and change-up.

 

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Week 6 Waiver Wire

The first month of the season is in the books and it’s time, probably past time to evaluate where your teams stand. If your teams are doing well, congratulations, but don’t let up. Pick up players to put pressure on your competitors and to provide depth. If you’re struggling, start aggressively taking flyers.

We present 21 players for pickup this week with great names at each position. The list can be found here.

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Hot Prospects – Week 3

It’s the third installation of our Hot Prospect series and this list is every bit as robust as the last two.  Two of the biggest names in the minor leagues, Ronald Acuna and Gleyber Torres skipped over our list and went straight to the major leagues.  In fact, Acuna hit his first home run yesterday.  BTW, I wonder how much of his slow start in Triple-A was born out of boredom.  The kid can flat out play.

Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player. 

Brendan Rodgers (COL, SS) – The top prospect in the Rockies organization finally started hitting this past week, highlighted by a 5 for 5 evening on Sunday.  After his promotion to Double-A, things have gotten tougher for Rodgers and his aggressive approach is being exposed.  Where he might have gotten away with only walking six times in 51 games in Lancaster, that won’t work going forward.

Austin Riley (ATL, 3B) – I’ve never been the biggest fan of Austin Riley, as the bat speed is not elite.  However, he continues to prove me wrong and 2018 is no exception.  In 20 games to start the season, he’s posted a 1.129 OPS with four home runs.

Keibert Ruiz (LAD, C) – 19-year-old catchers are not usually in Double-A.  However, Ruiz solid defensive skills along with his plus hit-tool, have given the Dodgers the green light to push him hard.  He’s responding this year by getting off to a solid start this season including going 4 for 6 last weekend.  With Yasmani Grandal scheduled for free agency next winter, Ruiz could see the big leagues as a 20-year-old catcher.  A remarkable feat.

Willy Adames (TB, SS) – If you like doing the Super-2 math game, get out your spreadsheet and start figuring out the hour in which Willy Adames will be in Tampa.  I’m going to simply say by the end of June.  He’s gotten off to a strong start, slashing .356/.452/.356 in 17 games in Triple-A.  The upside is massive with 20/20 within reach once he gets full-time at-bats at the big league level.

Garrett Hampson (COL, 2B) – Speed is in short supply in the major leagues.  How do 12 stolen bases in 19 games sound?  Well, that’s what Garrett Hampson has done so far this season.  While he hasn’t left the yard yet, he’s hitting .314 with .407 OBP.  The profile should translate to a top-of-the-order bat in the major leagues in a couple of years.

Conner Wong (LAD, C) – Through 14 games this year, Conner Wong has posted a 1.276 OPS with eight homes.  While Keiburt Ruiz is the more famous catcher moving through the Dodgers minor leagues, Wong is also a solid prospect.  He has good bat speed and is already showing nice power and is athletic enough to steal a few bases and to develop into a serviceable defender.

Ranger Suarez (PHI, LHP) – I first saw Ranger Suarez when he was posting gaudy numbers at Lakewood but he wasn’t lighting up my radar gun.  I didn’t think much about him as guys who can’t hit 90 just don’t excite me.  However, he’s now throwing harder with similar control and all of sudden, he’s a prospect and a very good prospect at that.  While his 4.12 ERA is not impressive his 19K/3BB in 24 innings is.

Tony Santillan (CIN, RHP) – I use to own Tony Santillian on each of my five Dynasty Leagues.  But, lack of results and a lack of a change-up and fancier bobble-heads leaves me Santillian-less.  Clearly, a missed opportunity as his 0.40 ERA in 22 innings with a 24K/5BB strikeout-to-walk ratio indicates he might be starting to pull it all together.

Fernando Romero (MIN, RHP) – The Twins like their pitchers to marinate for a while before promoting them to the major leagues (see Jose Berrios), but Fernando Romero might be ready.  He pitched extremely well last year in 24 starts in Double-A and has gotten out of the blocks equally well in Triple-A.  In 16.1 innings, he’s posted a 1.65 ERA with a 17K/7BB strikeout-to-walk ratio. That said, if you expect him to be up in the second half, history would tell you to check your expectation.

Jorge Alcala (HOU, RHP) – Jorge Alcala is a new name for many prospect watchers, but Alcala has an electric arm with the ability to hit triple-digits.  He doesn’t always throw strikes and that might move him to the bullpen, but if you are a fan of Jordan Hicks, you might want to check out Jorge Alcala.

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Week 5 Waiver Wire Pickups

WIth the promotion of Gleybar Torres, it might just be time for the kids to arrive.  We listed a number of high-end prospects that could add value to your team, but now is the time to add them.  Also, The Brandon Belt makes the list.  We find it a travesty that he is only owned in 50% of leagues.

The list can be found here.

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Hot Prospects – Week 2

We are excited to present our second Hot Prospect list for the 2018 season.  While we were tempted to put Shohei Ohtani (ok, we’ll forget about his start this week against the Red Sox), we kept to our roots and only put “true” prospects on the list.  Then again, at the time of publication, Tyler O’Neill has just gotten the call, but given his torrid start, we felt compelled to include him.

As we did last week, we included links to our partner Amazon.com to allow you to quickly explore additional information on each player.  Just click the baseball card to explore.

Tyler O’Neill (STL, OF) – I thought for sure that we would see Tyler O’Neill in major leagues last season but first the Mariners and then the Cardinals thought differently.  After a huge start to the season in Triple-A, he got the call on Wednesday but the game was rained out.  He’s got double-plus raw power but contact could be a problem.

Josh Naylor (SD, 1B) – I’ve never been the biggest fan of Josh Naylor, but to say he’s gotten off to a strong start in Double-AA this season is an understatement.  He’s up to six home runs while getting on base at nearly a 50% clip.  He’s a big boy but has never shown a lot of in-game power.  So far this year, that has changed.  Also, despite his size, he moves well on the basepaths so there could be a handful of stolen bases as well.  He’s totally blocked in San Diego at first, so the Padres have had him play left field to give him more opportunities to break into the big leagues.

Oscar Mercado (STL, OF) – Oscar Mercado is a player that continues to fly under the radar.  He has plus speed and can really hit.  He’s aggressive at the plate but his ability to make contact should help diffuse some of that aggressiveness.  He’s off to a very hot start to begin the 2018 season, hitting over .400 with five stolen bases.

Juan Soto (WAS, OF) – Juan Soto makes a return appearance to this list as he continues to rake.  While he’s only 19, the Nationals might want to consider a promotion to High-A sooner rather than later.  He’s up to four home runs with over a 50% OBP.

Corey Ray (MIL, OF) – I saw Corey Ray last fall in the Arizona Fall League and left less than impressed.  He was late on everything.  You could see the athleticism and why Milwaukee drafted him as the fifth overall pick in the 2016 draft.  After hitting .241 last year in High-A with a .685 OPS, he’s played much better in his promotion to Double-A.  He’s hitting over .350 for the season with five stolen bases.  The strikeouts though are still a problem.  If he learns to control the strike zone, he could be a star.  If he doesn’t, he’s likely a fourth outfielder.

Alex Verdugo (LAD, OF) – Alex Verdugo has shown flashes of an elite hit-tool but many were concerned if the power we had talked about would ever develop.  While it’s only been nine games, the three bombs he’s hit to-date along with a .622 SLG should give you a glimpse of what is possible.  I don’t believe he will develop into a true power hitter, but I still believe he has 20 home run potential.  The Dodgers are struggling and if Verdugo can help, I don’t think they will hesitate to promote him.

Yordan Alvarez (HOU, OF) – Sometimes players make this list for more subtle reasons.  While Yordan Alvarez is having a good start to the season, his .286 batting average in the early going is not eye-popping.  However, the Astros have moved him to the outfield and he’s also stealing bases while continuing to show a great approach at the plate.  He might be the best prospect that nobody is talking about.

Jesus Luzardo (OAK, LHP) – One of my favorite pitchers to break out this year was 20-year-old lefty Jesus Luzardo.  In the difficult California League, he has dominated in three starts. In 14.2 innings, he has struck out 25 while walking five.  It’s a combination of solid stuff and excellent control.  While he’s likely to have some bumps in the road once he pitches in the southern part of the Cali League, he should finish the second half in Double-A with a chance to see Oakland in 2019.

Luis Ortiz (MIL, RHP) – Drafted in the first round back in 2014 by the Texas Rangers, right-hander Luis Ortiz has put together a terrific start to the 2018 season.  With a fastball that touches the mid-90’s and a plus slider, he has the basis for a solid number three starter or as a high-leverage reliever in the big leagues.

Shane Bieber (CLE, RHP) – I’m not sure what is more impressive in Shane Bieber’s start to the 2018 season.  The fact that he has yet to give up an earned run in three starts or whether he has yet to walk anyone.  Given he’s only walked 12 batters in his 217.1 innings in the minor leagues – yes, that’s a 1 followed by a 2, let’s go with him not yet yielding a run as the most impressive.  He doesn’t have elite stuff, but I’m not sure we’ve seen this level of control in a long-time, so the package just might work.

 

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Week 4 Waiver Wire

It’s sometimes hard to know where to start when your fantasy team is besieged by injuries.  Do you make a move or try and hold on until your players are healthy.  It’s the age-old question that fantasy owners have been wrestling with for years.  In general, be aggressive, not stupid.  Yeah, I know, that’s a stupid statement.  But dropping Taijuan Walker, even though you fear the worse is not the right move until we know more.  Rostering Nick Senzel when there is an obvious spot for him in the big leagues, even though he might sit on your bench for a while, is aggressive, but very smart.

We have prepared 19 names for you this week.  They can be accessed here.