The anticipation has been building for months here in the Dominican Republic. July 2. Julio dos. The day when the recent class of amateur baseball prospects is eligible to sign their first professional contract. A lifetime of dedication starts to vale la pena and kids and their families reap the benefits of hard work. It’s a time of great hope on the island as these young men start their careers but Julio dos is only the first step in a ponderous baseball odyssey.
Many fantasy owners won’t start to hear about these guys for another two or three years. Their risk profile is through the roof and many owners want to see at least one year of pro ball stateside before investing. That is the safe play. But these guys come with elite upside and there an opportunity for value. Take the risk in the late rounds of this coming year’s MiLB Draft instead of spending first and second round capital next year.
Wander Franco (TAM)
Eric Aybar’s nephew comes from a lineage of strong baseball talent and the Rays view Wander Franco as the best prospect as a switch-hitting shortstop with a pure bat and the potential to hit for average and power from both sides of the dish. He’s an athletic defender with smooth transitions but there are some questions whether he’ll stay at shortstop long term. Either way, the polished hit tool for a youngster and overall baseball acumen profile Franco as run-producing bat no matter where he settles in on the defense.
George Valera (CLE)
Valera was born and raised in New York City but moved to the Dominican Republic in his adolescent years and trains in San Pedro de Macoris. He’s an outfielder that his heralded for his pure hitting ability. Watch this clip of Valera’s swing. Does it remind you of any big leaguer in particular? I see shades of Robinson Cano in this swing. Valera may end up in a corner outfield spot on defense but the bat will always find its way into the lineup and he looks poised to become the next name on the list of special hitters out from San Pedro.
Daniel Flores (BOS)
If you have read any of my previous work you know my feelings on the infamous catching prospect in dynasty leagues – selective aggressiveness. Flores’ profiles as a hand I will play. First off, there’s no doubt about his ability to stay behind the dish. He combines smooth athletic actions and footwork with an absolute cannon and has posted elite pop times and is viewed as a highly advanced catcher with plus defensive potential. On offense, Flores is a switch hitter with a smoother feel from the left-handed batters’ box but above average power potential from both sides of the dish. If he can develop the hit tool he may become the superstar fantasy catcher that dreams are made of. Does the risk vale la pena on your roster?
Ronny Mauricio (NYM)
Mauricio is the youngest player on our list at only 15 years old right now. That’s silly. What were you doing at fifteen…? Mauricio is a tall lanky shortstop that is oozing physical projection. The tough part is that the camp is split on how Mauricio will develop. Some see him staying agile enough to become an above average defensive shortstop. Other see him putting on fifty pounds and becoming a power-hitting third baseman. The final product remains in the balance but Mauricio offers a sky-high ceiling. He’s the longest of long term projects but the swings show the promise of a hitter for both average and power from both sides of the plate.
Julio Rodriguez (SEA)
Rodriguez is a physical specimen at 6-3, 205 lbs at just sixteen years old and signed for a $1.75 million signing bonus. The intrigue with Rodriguez is his tremendous projection. His size and strength have scouts putting grades as high as 60 on his raw power as a teenager. In other words, there’s no lack of potential with the lumber. A lot of Rodriguez’s projection will depend on his ability to hit for contact which for many kids never materializes but the pop is intact to have a become a thunderous right fielder in the middle of an MLB lineup.
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join guest host Andrea LaMont, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday July 9th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #93 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will discuss the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Our guest this week is Kyle Kilnker. Kyle is a staple member of majorleaguefantasysports.com, and also a MLFB Champion.