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Friday 15th Dec 2017

Goodness, what a banner month for prospects, as now both Byron Buxton and Francisco Lindor have been advanced.

So, let's just get right to it, starting with Buxton, who has the profile to me of an Andrew McCutchen-like presence. Buxton, 21, was a first-round high school pick of the Twins in 2012, and since signing is .296-27-150 with 92 steals and a .380 OBP (131 walks to 233 whiffs) over 263 games. Buxton was .283-6-37 with 20 steals over 59 games at Double-A Chattanooga, and the outfielder should be grabbed pretty much wherever available.

Cleveland's Francisco Lindor signed a year earlier than Buxton, having been a first-rounder in 2011. However, the shortsop, like Buxton, is also 21 years old. Lindor has a .273-21-162 line, along with 89 swipes over 414 games. Lindor has 185 walks to 263 strikeouts (.354 OBP) and I have actually seen him play a few times in the spring. I don't think he is as prime a prospect as Buxton, but he is still a pretty good gamble, especially in an AL-only league or for any reserve/Ultra format where he is not already claimed. Lindor was hitting .279-2-22 when summoned.

Though not debuting, the Mets' Dilson Herrera has been getting some playing time of late, and he too is a player to watch in your Ultra and long-term leagues. Also just 21, Herrera was inked by the Bucs in 2010, and then swapped to the Metropolitans in 2013 as part of the Marlon Byrd deal. Herrera had a monster year in the Minors in 2014, hitting .323-13-71 with 23 steals and an .858 OPS split between St. Lucie and Binghamton. This year, at Las Vegas, Herrera was hitting .367-1-13 over 22 games, with ten of his 33 hits going for extra bases. I think he is going to be really good!

What about the Rays' Joey Butler, this year's journeyman-made-good? Butler is one of those Crash Davis-like guys (a .294-78-390 minor league line over 763 games) who has played with the Rangers and Cardinals briefly at the Show. Butler does whiff a lot (360 walks to 758 whiffs), but he is hitting a nice .347-4-16 with the Rays, although with just two walks to 35 strikeouts. 

Looking to some arms, as we know, the Red Sox must do something, and maybe Eduardo Rodriguez is the answer to some of their problems. Rodriguez, 22, was signed by the Orioles in 2010, then swapped to the Red Sox for Andrew Miller last tading deadline. Rodriguez has pretty good minor league totals (29-30, 3.23 over 534.6 innings, with 462 strikeouts) and was 4-3, 2.98 at Pawtuckett with 44 whiffs over 48.3 innings before getting called up. Since then, Rodriguez is 2-0, 0.44 with an .0798 WHIP and 21 whiffs over 20.3 frames. I am not sure this will last, but he is on a hot streak. Still, I am waiting for Henry Owens.

The Brewers advanced their first-rounder from 2011 in pitcher Taylor Jungmann. At 25, Jungmann is an old man in this week's list, although he did spend time at the University of Texas rather than be a high school selection. With a 35-29, 4.10 mark in the Minors, Jungmann toiled through 505.3 minor league innings, whiffing just 382. He is a control guy (1.83 strikeout-to-walk) and keeps the ball down (just 31 homers), and Jungmann pitched really well his first start (1-0, 1.29, three hits, five whiffs, and a walk). I would be a little careful with him just yet. For the most part, strikeouts tell us everything about the future success of pitchers, and his are down.

Toronto's Scott Copeland is much the same, at 27, having toiled in the Minors after being a 21st round pick of the Orioles in 2010. With a 42-43, 4.15 minor league record, to go with 458 strikeouts over 692.3 innings, Copeland allowed 711 hits (1.403 WHIP) over those games. Like Jungmann, Copeland had a great first week (1-0, 0.90 over ten innings with four strikeouts), but again, I would not grab Copeland unless you are desperate for an arm in an AL- only format.

Finally, I have been a Kevin Correia fan for a long time, as the pitcher was first drafted by the Giants in the fourth round in 2002. Correia had some nice seasons over his 13 years in the Majors, but he has been pretty bad the last few years (it pained me to dump him from my Strat-O-Matic team, but it was a practical move), so despite his "decent" start (5.3 shutout innings) over the weekend, let him go. He is really just "Philler."

DFS Watch: OK, we are willing to adjust to the fun market of Daily Games. In fact, you know we play FantasyScore and participate in the FanDuel Tout Wars contest, so let's add to our daily MastersDaily coverage and simply pick a couple of series/games/starts this week that look good.

Pitchers to Watch: This week starts with the lesser hurlers (save Dallas Keuchel and Trevor Bauer), but if I had to look at an arm scheduled for a pair of starts, it would be the Braves' Williams Perez, who starts the week with the Red Sox (who have never seen him before) and finishes the week going against the Mets, who have been struggling, and who similarly like to swing the bat. Mind you, this is not a top-of-the-line pick, but a play when you need a jackpot to cash in. 

However, were I to go more top flight, it would be with Francisco Liriano, facing the Pale Hose Monday, and the Nationals over the weekend.

Series to Watch: To me, the big point bonanza should be similarly in the Tigers/Reds series that starts Monday. I really like the likes of Joey Votto, Todd Frazier and the undervalued Brayan Pena going against the likes of Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander. Similarly, all those Tigers sluggers could have a feast against a Reds staff looking for some stability after Johnny Cueto, who is a main reason the team's ERA is as low as 4.18.

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