On a recent spring afternoon, I hopped a DeLorean to go back to the future and discuss the top 100 prospects for 2021.
Today, I’ll post my updated list, share my thoughts on the process and synthesize conversations we had this week about my initial rankings for third base in 2021 dynasty leagues.
Here’s the players I considered but left off the list due to eligibility questions: Miguel Sano, Scott Kingery, Hunter Dozier, Yuli Gurriel, Mike Moustakas, Todd Frazier, David Fletcher, Asdrubal Cabrera, Tommy LaStella, Starlin Castro, Joey Wendle.
Added on update:
Jeff McNeil, Miguel Andujar. I initally left Andujar off but figured I might as well add him just in case they play all 162 games in seven-inning increments. Thank you to all who brought my attention to these two players.
Let’s get right into it.
The only penalty Houston’s felt for their years of cheating is Alex Bregman’s ranking on this list, and even that has proven untenable for fans.
D-matt: 26 YO Bregman as the 9th best dynasty 3B is a steaming Stephen A pile type hot take…everyones entitled to their opinion I guess, but you’re just flat wrong.
Did D-matt just call me hot?
D-matt: Are you honestly saying if you were offered Suarez or Bryant for Bregman in a dynasty league (or any league for that matter) you’d take it? I’m not buying that…
D-matt getting this rankings thing figured out.
Yankees777: Agreed. Immediately discredited all of the rankings. Ridiculous take.
So that’s one click lost forever,. High stakes game I find myself playing here.
Rgb002: Bregman is way too low. How is he behind Suarez? And even Bryant?
Rest assured I did respond to each of these. Cordially, too. We’ll get to that now.
H3llsWindStaff: Bregman should be higher. I would read this list with some caution and cross check.
TheProspectItch: Should maybe just read all lists this way?
I’ve never thought Bregman was built to be a fantasy force. His 19 HR 2017 feels closer to true talent than the cheating-induced 41.
His exit velocities are not those of a power bat.
JrpgGamer: I 100% agree that Bregman isn’t a 40+ HR hitter and the juiced ball definitely helped (21% increase in HRs in 2019) but can’t you say the exact same about guys above him? Suarez was just above him by .1mph and Bryant was way worse. Vlad Arenado and JRam are the same, but they’ve got potential, Coors, and speed on their side respectively
TheProspectItch: Definitely agree about the juicy balls.
I shouldn’t have used exit velo as a shorthand. It’s a combination of factors, barrel rate (3.8 percent) especially, that had baseball forecaster giving him 23 xHR for his 41 HR season.
JrpgGamer: Gotcha, yeah that makes sense. I always thought he would be a 25 HR hitter, so that sounds about right
Hey hey a nice conversation!
Got a couple more Bregman comments, but you get the idea. Here’s some words I wrote in reply.
Knew I might take some incoming on Bregman, but I think last year was a perfect storm for him.
He’s just two years younger than Suarez and hit eight fewer home runs last year while cheating on, in my opinion, every single pitch. He also has back to back seasons around 700 plate appearances, and while that could go in the pro Breg column, I’m about 60/40 that it’s a negative for his future value compared to his present stat sheet. Nobody stays healthy forever.
I just feel totally in the dark about what kind of player Bregman is without the cheating. He’s not a 40-homer bat without the cheat code, I think. Might get 30 with the Crawford box boost, but I’d be willing to bet the under on 30 for him in 2021, as well. I doubt that’s a popular take. He’s also a good bet to lead the world in HBP for the next few seasons, which adds a layer of risk that’s impossible to calculate.
New words: this home road stuff is wild to me. The league investigated for a few hours by asking the Astros what they did then said no cheating occurred in 2019. Right. Sure. Got it.
So why do we care about his home road splits?
The league says no cheating at all.
So, to mention the splits is to say the league lied to us, but only about half of it. That the Astros got away with cheating but only at home. I just don’t believe that. If anything I think it could be easier on the road because the opponent’s guard is down. Everyone in the league has known Houston cheats at home. Washington said they changed the signs every 12 pitches in the World Series wherever they were playing.
If they were only cheating at home, they’d be creating a disadvantage for their hitters who would then have to employ two totally separate ways of hitting. I just can’t see the Astros doing that. They want it all. They want it now.
Another thought I had down this road: if I thought my opinions were going to line up perfectly with everyone else’s, I wouldn’t have taken this job. It’s weird to me that people work so immediately to pound outliers back into their echo-chamber-prescribed places, especially when they do so without any attempt to understand the thought behind the spot.
I did think about bumping him above Bryant. I mean I’m not totally obvious to the market or unmoved by the public outcry. If I were offering Bregman for Bryant today, I’d want a kick in piece from the Bryant owner. That alone kinda sounds like a reason to flip them. But at what point are readers just seeing the 2019 season’s end rankings? And how useful is that? I genuinely believe Bryant will be the better 5×5 player moving forward. If the market disagrees, that gives me—and readers—potential for profit.
H3llsWindStaff: No worries. Love the Keithron Moss ranking though in your top overall for next year!
TheProspectItch: Thanks! Moss has really been growing on me. His swing development across just one season is remarkable.
Did a side by side somewhere in a distant past showing him in March v August. Very impressive.
Some kindly Keithron words from a Bregman believer, huzzah!
UnderH2OMunky: Is there something in Edman’s profile making you think he’ll further break out? I’m intrigued, but #11 strikes me as high, especially with Gorman potentially pushing him in the next couple years.
TheProspectItch: He’s got plus plus plate skills, plus plus speed, burgeoning power, and an elite roto rookie season on his resume. I’m consistently shocked by how low he’s ranked. And perhaps most importantly, he passes the eye test. His at bats are a problem for the pitcher and a nightmare for the defense.
He was 15-for-16 stealing bases in half a rookie season. 40 or even 50 is not out of the question.
UnderH2OMunky: Thanks very much for this – great info. Definitely someone I’ll look into more as it seems like I’ve been overlooking him. 40 steals from 3B would be pretty amazing.
TheProspectItch: Thanks! (I want all the Edman I can get. Maybe he regresses and disappoints. Maybe he stays around 300/15HR/30SB pace he had as a rookie. Maybe he goes the other way and pushes into the first couple rounds. Regardless, he’s an excellent buy at cost right now, imo.)
The other big conversation of the day was centered around Vlad and Arenado. I wish I had taken screenshots because all the incoming fire has been deleted.
TheProspectItch: I love Vlad like he’s my child and would definitely be stuck for days on a trade offer of him for Arenado, but Vlad’s not in Colorado, and he hasn’t posted a great fantasy line yet. Arenado has been a metronome. His stat lines over the past half decade are ludicrous.
So, a bird in the hand kind of thing, but I wouldn’t fault anyone for preferring whatever’s behind door # Vlad.
UnderH2OMunky: Partly true on Tulo, but the Rockies SS everyone hated to love made his money on the DL for years. A big part of Nolan’s metronomity (not a word; should be a word) is that he consistently plays 150+ every season.
A few thoughts I had in the process:
How will we feel if Vlad struggles to clear the fences again in an abbreviated season?
Would he still make a top 5 list of 3B? I don’t think he’ll struggle to leave the yard (see HR derby) but in-game launch angle adjustments don’t stick for everyone.
I think Vlad would’ve smashed this season. Think he still will, but what’s he doing during the lay-off? He worked his tail off to get fit for this season. Is he still grinding? I’d guess yes, but his baseline physical fitness is still a question mark, and that’s a pretty big one.
There’s really just the one question around Arenado: the possibility that Colorado trades him.
Even if they do, we’ve seen elite talents thrive outside Coors.
Another thought I had was how many Arenado dynasty owners in contention would swap him straight up for Vlad? Maybe it’s a majority, but I’d bet the other way. If real money is involved for the short-term, Arenado’s tough to top. I personally would struggle to make that call either way, so they’re back to back in my rankings.
TheProspectItch: Foolish seems a bit strong. We’re talking about the no-doubt number one third baseman over the past half decade, and he’s 28 years old, and he’s in Coors.
TheProspectItch: Exactly. That’s why he’s ranked right next to a guy in his prime who’s tracking for the hall of fame.
Harley and me (sad movie, man) had a good chat about Austin Riley and Maikel Franco, which you can find in the comments section of the last piece. Gotta say I love the Razzball readership! Always good baseball chatter! (And very few are calling for my immediate dismissal!) Only reason I use mostly Reddit stuff in these is I don’t want Razz readers to miss out
Thanks for reading!
Shortstop talk begins bright and early Sunday!
I can be followed @theprospectitch on Twitter.