On a recent spring afternoon, I hopped a DeLorean to go back to the future and discuss the top 100 prospects for 2021.
Then we explored next year’s dynasty landscape at catcher, first base and second base.
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.
Oneil Cruz got some comments because he’s amazing. Also because some were surprised to see him ranked at third base when the Pirates still have him at shortstop. I’ll be ranking him there, too.
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.
JD Davis had some elite hitting underlying numbers last year. 90th percentile in almost every hitting category. I see a few experts expects him to be worse this year. He seems to be entering his prime, getting a similar role at least as last year between 3rd and left field.
I am trying to understand why he is not MORE valued?
Andujar was the best hitter in the Yankees in his rookie year. He had a torn labrum, He’s 100%. He’s 25. Boone would be crazy not to play him every day. He’s better than Ursula, Voit, and Gardner. I know he’s not a great fielder. I watch every Yankee game, and he was better than Gleyber 2 years ago. Let Stanton and his $300 million contract play the field. His signing will be a close 2nd to Ellsbury.
Ursula was great in the 1st half and back to being Ursula in the 2nd half. Can’t imagine the Yankees regularly playing Cleve Boyer, if they had Andujar back then, and Ursula is no Clete Boyer. Was as good a fielder as Brooks Robinson, but couldn’t hit a lick.. For any old timers out there.
I guess Springer, Altuve, Yordan, Correa, Brantley will be dropping one my last 2 drafts. I’m okay with that.
Listen, I personally think every player on the team in 2017 should have been suspended for 1 year, at a minimum. But to minimize their talent to a certain degree begets a buying opportunity.
Regarding Vlad, and even Arenado, there is a strong likelihood, neither gets all his games in Toronto or Coors. I want to see baseball this truest more than anyone I know, but playing the season in Arizona only I believe is as off putting as it’s a pipe dream.
It’s pretty evident that hydroxychlorinr is effective to quell the virus as well as a prophylactic, as so many doctors and nurses are taking it for that purpose.
Test all the players, and all personnel and either way treat them accordingly. If a players had flu or even cold symptoms test him again. Not like players fin’t regularly go on the d.l.
I ‘be never been p.c. and someone who is afraid every time some in the media say that the sky is falling, and not about to start now. Our country will fall into a depression if this total shutdown goes on much longer. Sorry, but I don’t buy the doom and gloom.
I’d be interested to hear you speak on Alexander Mojica some. His age 16 DSL season was particularly bonkers(182 wRC+, .230 ISO, 17%/15% bb/k ratio). Sure, DSL dominance doesn’t translate that well, but this kid was the youngest player in the league putting up big boy lines, and it was reported that he was putting up 100 mph exit velocities last summer.
What do you think about his shot at being a possible middle of the order thumper that Pittsburgh needs so badly?
Here’s what I wrote about Mojica in the Pirates prospect report:
Alexander Mojica takes big swings and embodies the topside play in long-term dynasty. You’ll have to wait a long time if it works out, but I’m in it here because the price is free-ish now, but it won’t be if Mojica starts hot in full-season ball. With his plate skills and physicality, I think he will. He’s on track to be mashing in High A at 19 if Pittsburgh sees him that way, and they’ve been more aggressive with guys like Cruz and Cal Mitchell than is typical for them, so I’m optimistic.
It seems that he isn’t getting a lot of hype despite his dominance last year and reported big league exit velocities as a 16 year old. Methinks he could be a very fast riser should be come out mashing again.
So I love that you are in the same boat with me on Cruz… In my 24 team league I got a big haul this winter with: Cruz, Dominguez, Valera, Kirby, Tsutsugoh, Marquez, Ball (stockpiling draft picks for a few seasons paid off!)… yahtzee! I feel really good about my farm system in that dynasty league especially since we both feel like Cruz ultimately lands at 3B… because man do I need a 3B like woah after Frazier has aged out and I had to deal Franco for ptiching depth (luckily for this year Happ got 3B eligibility when he came back in 2019).
You are indeed a bold man, lol, Bregman etc etc. Though I feel like I’m more in your camp than not. All the things you mentioned, last year was like super saiyan good for him, even with his WAR and OPS etc at borderline Troutian levels… fishy to say the least. Something felt wrong. Then you go the playoffs and one pitch from Glasnow is burned into my memory. Bregman is standing stiff a sa board and just watches it go by not even in a ready position on like a 1-1, 2-1 count or something. Yeah Glasnow was tipping pitches but not location etc. It felt weird. But all that cheating stuff aside, i think real Bregman is somewhere in between 2017 and 2018 like you alluded to, of the ~90/27/82/8/.285 variety. Which is still really good, but not all-world.
Talk to me about fading on Machado. He showed up to camp this spring as Han Swolo. From some interviews I’ve read and heard, sounds like A) SD coaching staff gave him some tough love B) he called himself out C) says he’s ready to step up and be the leader they are paying him to be… etc etc. All the right things (yeah i know lol, eternal optimist here). And it made a believer out of me (though wondering a bit how this Covid delay will affect it – is he staying hungry, motivated?) but at least i’m leaning toward the fact we see the 300 hitter with 35+ bombs and 10-15 steals and all the counting stats that he showed before the bitter ending with the Os.
Itch, loving these posts of yours! Looking forward to your Outfielders list. Need to target some near future studs.
Coolwhip, I have never heard the words ‘24 team league’ in the same sentence. If possible, can you put a quick response to this with your potential starters for that team of yours? I need to comprehend how watered down teams are in a league like that.
its a full 40-man roster league… My rotation is Carrasco, Odorizzi, Fried, Teheran, Lucchesi… and also on my 40-man is Wood, Yarbrough, VV, Lopez. The keeper situation is more contract based, like I could keep my entire roster from year to year if I stay under budget. Carrasco, Odorizzi and Teheran for example I’ve had since they were rookies.
My lineup though, is where I’m flexin’ on people ;-) (backups included)
C Grandal, Murphy
1B Rizzo, NLowe
2B BLowe, Profar
3B Happ, Newman
SS Bogaerts, Newman
LF Benintenti, Hilliard
CF Robles, Hilliard
RF Soler, Polanco
DH Alvarez, Oneill
Unreal! That lineup, in a 24 team league, is unbelievable. It’s better than some 12 team league teams. Well done putting that together.
I’ve been fortunate to hit on a lot of my prospects in that league. The only bats on that list that havent come from my farm are Grandal, Polanco, Newman, Soler. Soler i traded for after he flamed out the first season in CHI ;-)
Glad I’m not alone on that island. I didn’t think of it as brave, but in hindsight. . . haha. Anyone who did drafts all winter and spring saw Bregman tumble out of the first round and creep toward the third. Surprised to see so many think he’s going to be elite in roto after cheating most of his pro career. Best argument I’ve heard is that he’ll keep cheating. Also that he could run more to make up for the lost dingers.
I Might be dinging Machado too much for sputtering in 2017 and 2019 in the AVG and OBP realms. Also SD is tough on righties. Can easily see a bounce to the numbers you’re thinking here for a motivated Manny.
I saw an article about guys who could be the game’s top prospect, and Cruz wasn’t on it. I think he’s in that stratosphere. I don’t feel confident he’ll get a chance to settle in at 3B, but I’m confident he could play the position.
where do you see him settling at?
A lot depends on Newman, Hayes, Cole Tucker, and even Adam Frazier because I think Cruz can play anywhere, so they’ll just leave him at SS until the MLB picture is a little clearer. I included him at 3B bc I don’t love Hayes, but I heard the Pirates we’re trying to sign him long term in Spring. If he takes that deal, he buys himself a super long runway to figure out the hitting side.
If I had to bet real money today, I’d guess Cruz plays shortstop for a couple seasons before maybe some years at OF or 3B. Kind of expect him to have SS and 3B eligibility for a couple years.
He’s a draw for the fans and national media at SS, and I’m not sure how much that impacts their thinking, but it would impact mine considering it wouldn’t just be a business decision but could be the best path for Cruz. His length and arm strength might make him a uniquely effective defender there, and we won’t know if his transfer is quick enough until he’s in the big leagues for a while.
If David Eckstein can make it work, why can’t someone on the opposite end of that spectrum?
haha, you know just how to sooth me bringing up Angels greats. Hmmm okay, so I might need a backup plan for 3B… you think Hayes might go to OF at all? Waiting for his bat might profile better out there if he’s got the D. What 3B farmhands should I be looking at planning for 2022?
Bryant above Bregman? Congratulations on making the worst 3rd baseman
rankings in the industry lol.
here’s betting this guy didn’t even make you the trophy for this. troll effort doesn’t often translate into any other kind of effort. i would stick both of them above suarez though, not by much. but differing on that is far from making somebody’s ideas “the worst in the industry”
AL only this year stash question, 10 team h2h with QS over wins, holds added, total bases added, OBP over AVG, net steals over steals. mountcastle finally went in the slow draft 21st round (25 rounds). 3 keepers at previous season ADP’s. i got this:
1B y.gurriel (3B)
3B vlad (was a keeper this year)
MI long (OF)
OF (4) gallo (K), mercado (last round keeper this year), robert, choo
util (1) otani hitter
BN lil nicky lopez (starts, has speed, long backup, and will start when otani is off)
SP (want 8): bieber, heaney, otani SP, gibson, duffy, junis
RP (4): giles, d.castillo
so i’m drafting 1 or 2 more SP, 2 more RP and 1 stashed player and if so leaving the last SP slot for streamers. from rankings it appears kirilloff or skubal is my stash guy. with shortened season i’m more worried about all these SP prospects playing at all (pearson went many rounds ago, whitey/mize/mountcastle just did)
I have the same fear about young arms on non-contenders and would be happy with Kiriloff here because the Twins could use him if he gets hot.
That said, if it’s me I’m taking Skubal.
Fantasy monster in waiting.
He could be too dominant to keep at AAA.
And I’d want that keeper option because I think he’ll be in rarified air when it comes together.
Maybe you could go for Kiriloff next and hope Skubal falls?
issue there is i have the one stash spot, somebody DID just nab whitley and mize back to back, but that owner tends to just waste their few BN slots on players like that and doesn’t do well with that stuff. i get top 3 every year. to be fair i had planed to stream somebody in the SP 8 slot anyway, but here if i grab kirilloff i’d either be having to put skubal in the SP 7 slot then post draft nab another shitty SP 7 and he’d be 8th. i do not want to hold guys till august (let’s assume MLB starts in late may-sometime in june if that ARI idea works out, and i don’t see why everybody wouldn’t want to do that to start making money as soon as possible, then when the gov lets fans into seats in like july go back to their own parks)
as far as contenders vs non contenders i’d have this same fear with HOU and whitley, more so due to short season (and with him his injuries)
the remaining SP with playing time aren’t a good lot though: h.bailey (others coming)
couldn’t he only cheat on pitches at his home park, that would be max half of “every pitch” with the cameras in the stands at HOU. bregman here. and yeah i play in OBP/OPS leagues and i’d take bregman over suarez in a trade. i do like that bryant is this high, as he’s shown being worth that before and was the vlad level prospect before vlad ever was. if not for his shoulder stuff and whatever he did to his swing he’d be a top 3 guy. his splits would probably look pretty weird too from that (bregman).
Took a lot of heat on Bryant so I’m glad to hear someone’s with me haha!
Cheating thought: What’s to stop Houston from having a dude on the road w a high zoom camera messaging the clubhouse or dugout?
true, but they didn’t prove that one. of course now they likely never will since they all got immunity since the players union was happy to protect them (always remember this when you hear some player sounding like he’s up in arms on twatter about HOU cheating, if ENOUGH of them voted for it, they could have the cheaters in actual trouble, they didn’t, since they all themselves never want to be thrown out if they get caught doing stuff in the future. clearly the majority of players though are just fine with protecting their rights when caught cheating) and comish just wanted this whole thing to go away (it makes more money if it goes away) so he also was all too happy to give all HOU players complete immunity.
– but is funny to see those players on twatter/other media pretending to be all moral and shit. same in football, those teams aren’t mad that NE gets caught, they’re mad they weren’t able to do the same things. i’m not defending cheating here either, but this is all true. if the players union wanted this stuff eradicated it easily could do that. players whining about cheating is like a defense lawyer bitching at a report that so and so mass murderer got off from his lawyers being talented. yeah dude it is gross that the mass murderer got away with it, why do you defend guilty people yourself? yeah MLB player whining about HOU cheating, if you want cheaters kicked out of the game vote to have your rights taken away as a player when caught cheating. why nobody is discussing THAT point i have no clue (i’m sure the smart players do do that with each other), it’s the biggest topic in these cheating things.