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Friday 15th Dec 2017

Oh boy, trade deadline time, which is big fun for sure. As a couple of interesting moves have taken place, let's begin this week looking at some of the young trade spoils.

Ok, the Johnny Cueto deal brought the Reds John Lamb and Brandon Finnegan in a fun swap. Lamb, a fifth-round high school selection of Kansas City in 2009, caught attention with a fabulous 2010 at three levels where he went 10-7, 2.38 as a 19-year-old, finishing at Double-A with 159 whiffs over 141.6 innings. In the interim, he has struggled with Tommy John surgery and the return, but at Omaha this year, Lamb might finally be ready with a 9-1, 2.67 mark with 96 strikeouts over 91.6 innings and a 1.155 WHIP. He is now still just 25, and on the verge of showing us if he was for real when we started fancying Lamb five seasons ago.

As for Finnegan, I have loved him since he was drafted last year. Finnegan was there to try and help the Royals finish off the Giants despite just a few months as a pro. A potentially dominant Major Leaguer, Finnegan has 89 whiffs over 86.6 professional innings, although walks are the question, so Finnegan's future rests within that and closing or starting. I actually have Finnegan in a couple of leagues on reserve lists, so I am anxious to see what path this will take. But, I think he will be good regardless.

The Brewers swapped off Aramis Ramirez in exchange for 23-year-old Columbian (via Cartagena, Bolivar) Yhonathan Barrios, of whom we are not sure will pitch or hit, just yet. A pitcher/third sacker/shortstop, Barrios has a 5-11, 3.09 mark as a reliever with 81 strikeouts over 110.6 innings, and a .239-4-39 line as a batter over 201 games. The path does seem to be towards Barrios being on the mound, but the ability to do both at a high level merits a look-see.

One more trade "victim" to check out this time is Jacob Nottingham, a 6'3", 230 pound backstop/first baseman/DH the Astros selected out of high school in 2013 in the sixth round. Nottingham is a resident of Northern California, and as a result the Athletics front office probably has a pretty good book on which to covet. He has a pretty good .282-20-108 line over 171 games, with a decent .354 OBP (62 walks to 157 strikeouts) but is ripping it at three levels this year, hitting .327-14-60 over his first 79 games. The 20-year-old probably gets a shot at Double-A this year. We should see what he can do.

Then there's the up-and-down Cheslor Cuthbert, a Nicarauguan native who was signed by Kansas City as a 17-year-old in 2010. A corner infielder, Cuthbert was hitting .272-8-38 with 17 doubles and 30 walks to 48 strikeouts (.335 OBP). Cuthbert is interesting and worth grabbing as a longer term project, but he is likely still a year-plus away from threatening as a starter.

Gotta mention the Phils Aaron Nola, the team's first rounder last year who, like Finnegan, has shot his way into the Bigs, and it seems the Philadelphia rotation. The 23-year-old fared well his first start as a Major Leaguer (six innings, five hits, a run). He was 14-7, 2.57 over 29 starts and 164.6 innings (137 whiffs, 1.057 WHIP) and while he is a rookie, there is something happening with rookie pitchers this year we all know, so fill the hole as necessary and adjust down the road as needed.

Before closing, take a look at Carlos Sanchez, the White Sox second baseman whose bat could not even be called anemic up until ten days ago. He is hitting .343-2-2 over the last ten days. Just saying.

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: If I were looking at two-start arms this week, David Price should be able to handle both Tampa and then the Brewers. As for single starts, the retooling Athletics could have some trouble with Clayton Kershaw Wednesday in Oakland, and later in the week, I like A.J. Burnett against the equally redefining Reds.

Hitters to Watch: Most of the season series this cycle appear to be pretty even, with no glaring potential run binging, but I would check out the St. Louis match-ups against a fairly poor Rockies rotation at home. The Cards are ready to flex for their annual second half run, and Randal Grichuk, Jason Heyward, Matt Carpenter, Jhonny Peralta et al could all pay off nicely against the likes of Kyle Kendrick.

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