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Bernie On The Scene: Random AL Thoughts

Bernie Pleskoff

Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.

In this edition of On The Scene, I'm highlighting some American League prospects I believe worthy of discussion for their fantasy future.

In some cases, the players are years away. However, each should have some keeper value.

As usual, there will be players you like that I have not included. Either I don't like them or I simply didn't choose to include them.

Baltimore Orioles - The club didn't do much over the winter, but they are still dangerous. We all knew it was just a matter of time before Chris Davis went off. It started last year. This might be the year for Nick Markakis. The pitching is still an issue. Some fantasy keepers to consider:

Kevin Gausman - RHP - Close to a big league callup.
Dylan Bundy - RHP - Who gets the call first?
Jonathan Schoop - INF - Flashes multiple tools.
Xavier Avery - CF - Speedy, leadoff type hitter.
L.J. Hoes - OF - Another CF type, not as advanced as Avery.

Others to watch: Eduardo Rodriguez LHP, Mike Wright RHP

Boston Red Sox - If they can pitch, they'll be fine. The pressure will be on John Lackey. I just don't know about the future of Big Papi and where the power will come from. Not as bad a club as everyone had believed. Some fantasy keepers:

Jackie Bradley Jr.- OF- Speed, plate discipline both advanced.
Xander Bogaerts - SS - Enough power to move to third base eventually.
Matt Barnes - RHP - I don't think it'll be very long for him.
Allen Webster - RHP - Big upside from trade with Dodgers.
Bryce Brentz - OF - Still needs time to refine his stroke.
Drake Britton - LHP - Above average reliever with command.

Other to watch: Christian Vazquez C

Chicago White Sox - This is another club that didn't do much over the winter. However, they have enough fire-power and good enough pitching to contend. I'm still very bullish on Dayan Viciedo. I've liked him from the first time I saw him. I'm also a big fan of Chris Sale and closer Addison Reed. Some fantasy keepers:

Trayce Thompson - OF - May be their closest to the big leagues.
Carlos Sanchez - 2B/SS - I like his entire game. Bat plays.
Andre Rienzo - RHP - back end of rotation starter
Erik Johnson - RHP - liked what I saw this spring. Starter.
Keenyan Walker - OF - Lacks power, but has big time speed
Jared Mitchell - OF - Moving along, but not exciting anyone yet

Other to watch: Courtney Hawkins OF

Cleveland Indians - I like the energy this year but the rotation is atrocious. I won't touch Trevor Bauer until he finishes his development, which is another year away. I do like what Mark Reynolds can do to a ball game. Fantasy keepers:

Cord Phelps - 2B - The first infielder called up. He can hit.
Francisco Lindor - SS - Flashy fielder, bat is coming.
Danny Salazar - RHP - Some hope on the mound.
Yan Gomes - 1B/C/3B - I'm convinced this guy can play.
Scott Barnes - LHP - Has some ability, but has to gain command.

Others to watch: Dorssys Paulino SS, Trey Haley RHP, Ronnie Rodriguez 2B

Detroit Tigers - I saw lots of their games this spring, and I'm convinced this club has very few weaknesses. I really like the additions of Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez to their lineup this year. Yes, closing is an issue. But trust me, they'll solve it.
Fantasy keepers:

Bruce Rondon - RHP - He'll figure it out. Great arm.
Avisail Garcia - OF - Baby Miggy has awesome strength.
Nick Castellanos - 3B/OF - Has to refine his mechanics a bit.
Tyler Collins - OF - fourth outfielder, but Tigers like him.
Casey Crosby - LHP - May be a year away, but on the radar.

Houston Astros - I have to admit that I don't hold much hope for this club for the next few years. Fantasy keepers:

George Springer - OF - I do believe in his ability to hit for power.
Jonathan Singleton - 1B/OF - Problems now, but future is bright.
Carlos Correa - SS - They could rush him. That's why I list him.
Lance McCullers - RHP - Big talent. Not anywhere near ready.
Delino DeShields - 2B - A nice future awaits.
Jarred Cosart - RHP - He has to refine his delivery. Upside.

Kansas City Royals - I have a hard time believing that James Shields will make much of a difference. I do, however, believe that Shields and the other starting pitching they added improves the team. That and the fact the younger guys are growing up could put the Royals in contention. Fantasy keepers include:

Yordano Ventura - RHP - Not a big guy, but lots of "stuff."
John Lamb - LHP - Now almost ready after elbow surgery.
Christian Colon - SS/2B - Has some tools, and average bat.
Donnie Joseph - LHP - swing and miss stuff from bullpen.
Chris Dwyer - LHP - We've been waiting. Command issues.

Others to watch: Bubba Starling OF, Kyle Zimmer RHP

Los Angeles Angels - The best team that money can buy? Or is that the Dodgers? I'm not sold on this edition of the Angels because of their bullpen. I think they should have fortified the pen beyond Ryan Madson. I'm not a Josh Hamilton fan. Sorry about that.
Fantasy keepers:

Kaleb Cowart - 3B - I think he's a year or two away.
Nick Maronde - LHP - For me, the best pitcher in their system.
C.J. Cron - 1B - Lots of luck as a 1B with the Angels.
Randal Grichuk - OF - When I saw him he was pressing.
Travis Witherspoon - OF - I like his athletic ability.

Minnesota Twins - Hard for me to watch, this club really needs position players badly. Oh, and pitching, too. They traded away both of their center field options and chose to rush Aaron Hicks. I'm not too sold on anyone on their major league roster other than Joe Mauer. Their farm system is loaded. Fantasy options:

Miguel Sano - 3B - He has another two years of development.
Byron Buxton - OF - Big talent, but he's three years away.
Oswaldo Arcia - OF - Has some pop and should play soon.
Alex Meyer - RHP - May well have been worth Denard Span.
Daniel Santana - SS/2B - Has a chance to be very good. Soon.

New York Yankees - Yikes! Who wouldathunkit. It isn't just injuries. It's age. It's a lack of pitching depth. It's being stubborn. It's amazing. I like some of the players coming up, but this roster is from a retirement community. Their system is loaded with good, but not power-hitting outfielders. Fantasy Keepers:

Gary Sanchez - C - He should be up on the club by September.
Mason Williams - OF - Not much power. Speed. Defense.
Ronnier Mustelier - INF/OF - Strong. Club loves his offense.
Slade Heathcott - OF - Power and speed with good mechanics.
Tyler Austin - OF - Close to the other outfielders.
Mark Montgomery - RHP - Slider puts him in the pen.
Nik Turley - RHP - Could be moving up quickly. Team needs him.

Others to watch: Austin Romine C, Jose Campos RHP, Manny Banuelos LHP, Dellin Betances RHP, Melky Mesa OF

Oakland Athletics - I wonder if that thud will be the A's coming back to earth. If they crash, it's because the league is catching up with the pitching. But I'll tell you what - Yoenis Cespedes can flat out hit. He hit some of the longest homers I've seen in a while. Fantasy keepers:

Michael Choice - OF - I really like his power. Learning to hit.
Miles Head - 3B - Can hit for power as well as average.
Sonny Gray - RHP - May be blocked now by other young arms.
Michael Taylor - OF - Has some pop in his bat.
Michael Ynoa - RHP - Perfect Oakland tradable candidate.

Seattle Mariners - I still like them, but I liked them more when their power pitching looked like it was ready to break out. It has really stalled and it's a concern. Brandon Maurer already passed the Big Three. But Michael Morse and Michael Saunders are excellent players to watch. Fantasy keepers:

Mike Zunino - C - Get him where you can. A star is coming.
Nick Franklin - 2B/SS - I like everything about him.
Carter Capps - RHP - Already on the big club. Next closer?
Brad Miller - SS - This guy has an advanced bat. Moving quickly.
Danny Hultzen - LHP - The best of the LHP pitchers in waiting.
Taijuan Walker - RHP - The best of the RHP pitchers in waiting.
Stefen Romero - 3B - I love the pop in this guy's bat.

Tampa Bay Rays - Would you give up James Shields for Wil Myers? I would. In a heartbeat. I think the kid will be an All-Star in two more years. And then he'll be there for 10 more. Not to mention the rest of the bounty they hauled in. I'm not a fan of the offense. The pitching on the way in the minor leagues is just flat out unfair. They have better pitching in the minor leagues than most teams have now in their rotations. Fantasy keepers:

Wil Myers - OF - He can do it all.
Chris Archer - RHP - Should be in the rotation right now.
Jake Odorizzi - RHP - Myers and Odorizzi? Please.
Hak-Ju Lee - SS - He'll eventually hit for average.
Alex Colome - RHP - Future rotation starter.
Mike Montgomery - LHP - Myers, Odorizzi and Montgomery?
Endy Romero - LHP - How many pitchers do they need?

Texas Rangers - How do they rebound without some of the big bats they lost? They have Lance Berkman who will help a great deal. It will be the lack of pitching depth that bites the Rangers. But the rest of the division isn't great on the mound either.
Fantasy keepers:

Jurickson Profar - SS/2B - Fine prospect, but where will he play?
Mike Olt - 1B/3B - Still having some trouble hitting.
Martin Perez - LHP - Injury kept him from rotation this season.
Justin Grimm - RHP - Exceeded expectations last season.
Luis Sardinas - SS - Another great defense shortstop on the way.
Nick Tepesch - RHP - Pretty cool customer on the mound.

Others to consider: Rougned Odor SS, Cody Buckel RHP, Neil Ramirez RHP

Toronto Blue Jays - Well maybe this is the best team that money can buy? Not so fast. They have flaws, too. I'm not sure about how all these great pitchers will pan out? We'll find out. I think Jose Reyes will have a fantastic season. I'd take him in any league, any time. The club really decimated their farm system making deals to take them over the top. Fantasy keepers include:

Aaron Sanchez - RHP - Has a ceiling as a quality starter.
Roberto Osuna - RHP - A mid-rotation starter.
D.J. Davis - OF - a long way off.


Losing Jared Weaver is a huge blow to the Angels. On a starting staff that wasn't long and deep, the last thing they needed was for the ace to go down with an injury.

The Rangers have gotten off well. We'll have to see if they can sustain the momentum. The loss of Matt Harrison certainly won't help them.

Jim Leyland will have to figure out his bullpen or his season could implode.

Jonathan Sanchez is really not an option any longer for the Pirates. Or any other team. It's very simple. He can't throw strikes.

Don Kelly is a very underrated player. He plays great defense and can put the bat on the ball. He's a type of guy that I usually want hanging around my bench.

Keep your eye on Justin Wilson - reliever for the Pirates. He has enough arm and repertoire to become a starter. And the Pirates will need starters.

Alfredo Marte was rushed to the Diamondbacks roster when the team lost outfielders due to injury. He is really enjoying his stay with the D-Backs, but it won't last too long.

Matt Harvey. Everywhere I can. Yes, he may experience a hiccup or two, but I'll take my chances.

Didn't we watch this same John Axford movie last season? Maybe the director has changed the ending.

Teams are more than likely going to face Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke during a short series. That's what the Pirates just did and the Diamondbacks are about to experience the same.

Not a bad way for Robbie Cano to shake off the cobwebs. A double and two homers against the Indians in the Tribe's home opener. Another homer from him Tuesday.

If I know it and you know it, why don't most pitchers know that left-handed hitters love the ball low? It's amazing what they do with that pitch.

You have to see Trevor Rosenthal pitch in person to appreciate how easy the ball leaves his hand. He has a tremendous arm. I saw him hit 101 MPH with no effort. None whatsoever.

Justin Upton. To their credit, I haven't heard Diamondbacks fans moaning about the six home runs so far. The fans and the team love Martin Prado.

What do you do if you are a decision maker in the front office of Major League Baseball? An umpire totally blows a call and admits it. (As in Rays vs. Rangers on April 8) Should the umpire sit for a game or two? Should such missed calls hasten the arrival of instant replay? Should each club get X number of challenges per game? The integrity of the game is compromised by horrible human error. Your thoughts?

Follow me on Twitter @BerniePleskoff and on under the MLB Voices section.