On Sunday, I imagined a hypothetical post-rona bar scene being akin to the deep pitching pool in dynasty baseball.
Today I’ll let you know whose drinks I’m buying if I’ve got the budget (and the roster space).
I’m going to focus first and most on the 150-200 range because that’s the origin of this article–a comment and question by Harley Earl regarding which arms among the group I’m buying. To which my brain responded: Farts! I should’ve been doing that for every position!
Cory Abbott (150)
Got a good question about this cat on the reddit from redrifle007:
That is easily the highest I’ve seen Cory Abbott ranked – I’m in a 30 team dynasty startup draft and looking at taking him in round 41. Do you really think he could be a solid starter long-term?
Can’t speak to what everyone else is thinking, but Abbott as the invisible man is baffling to me.
He’s a 2nd rounder from 2017 who’s forced promotions every few months and has only AAA between himself and a rotation chance. I’m not even sure he’d need it, as evidenced by his 0.80 WHIP in 11 AA starts after July 4 when his new cutter was really starting to take shape.
0.71 WHIP in his final 9 starts with a 34.5 % K rate.
Sure, maybe his base fastball isn’t plus, but the game is rewarding off speed command a lot these days, and he’s in position to reap.”
Scott Moss (151)
Got less of a question on Moss from HipsterDoofus31, who said simply “Too high on Scott Moss,” which had me wondering about which mosses might be able to generate a high.
I set this aside (is moss a fungus) long enough to respond.
“Could be, I’m way outside the echo chamber on that one. Certainly don’t have to pay this sticker price to acquire him.
Lefties tend to come late, and Cleveland knows its stuff. He was a monster in six starts for them across AA and AAA, and he’s never allowed a HR/9 above 1.
Super small sample size, but it’s the last we saw him against the best competition he faced: he allowed just one HR in four AAA starts, striking out 30 percent of the hitters he saw. Certainly the September AAA talent was weakened by promotions, and there’s speculation the juiced ball was being swapped out late in the AAA season, but I think most the arrows are pointing up on Moss. They initially sent him to AA, but he didn’t get touched in two turns so they bumped him up.”
One of the huge things this Moss has growing for him is that he’s in Cleveland. Not only do they develop and maintain good fantasy pitchers, but they’re also . . . frugal?
Always good when you’re seeking hidden value. Because of course it is.
Side note: doing this I learned Cleveland drafted Asa Lacy in the 31st round out of high school in 2017. I wonder how much they offered him?
But with a guy like Tony Gonsolin (194), who I think I’ve underranked here, I worry that he’ll never really get a chance to win his spot. Los Angeles will never want for in-house options or funding for sleek imports.
Same issue for Miguel Yajure (168), who I think could pitch major league innings this year for a lot of organizations. It’s a bit of a catch 22 because the clubs that succeed at building pitchers find their prospects blocked on a regular basis.
The Zac Gallen trade struck me as an elegant risk for this exact reason, and a pitcher who didn’t make the initial Top 200 who I’ve since included is Trevor Rogers (195). He strikes me as an anomaly. He’s a first round pick who’s in a strong pitching organization with an excellent big league setting. He’s also a 6’6” lefty who was dominant at High A in 2019 while being 1.9 years young than his average competitor. I think he’ll hit the ground running in AA whenever play resumes.
If a team is good at developing pitchers and frequently involved in the free agent market, I tend to fade their prospects a little.
Which brings us to the Houston Astros, where Luis Garcia (141) strikes me as a huge value this off-season. He’s generating almost zero buzz despite being utterly unstoppable in 2019, gaining velocity throughout the season and striking out 14.8 batters per nine in 65.2 AA innings to close out the season (39.4 K%!!). His Texas setting and even his name itself are playing no small role in suppressing his fantasy price; he’s likely seen as the third most relevant Luis Garcia for fantasy baseball purposes, behind the Washington and Philadelphia infielders of this same name. To me he’s the only relevant Luis Garcia at the moment. Some are still projecting the thick-thighed righty into a relief role thanks in part to his heavy usage of a double-plus slider and command that comes and goes, but he’s been rapidly improving month over month after spending his early career on the infield, I like his mechanics and athleticism, and I think he could burst onto the radar this year and perhaps even beat Forrest Whitley to the majors. Corona caveats apply, I suppose, but I think the situation might actually help Garcia.
One guy it almost certainly doesn’t help is Ethan Small (146). He’s not Tarik Skubal, but he is a deceptive lefty who repeats his delivery and commands his off-speed stuff. I’m betting he’ll slide right through the minors whenever he gets the chance.
Jonathan Bowlan (152) is in the process of doing exactly that, peaking when he threw an (extremely rare for High A) perfect game on July 15. Here’s what I wrote about him in January.
“Bowlan’s probably a free agent in most leagues, but I’m a big believer. He’s 6’6” 260 with a smooth downhill delivery that portends durability. His velocity has been climbing little by little since getting picked in the 2nd round of 2018’s draft, and I think he’s a sleeper for big league innings this year.”
The 2020 innings thing is out the window now, but that’s where his development was–he’ll be good to go in another 100-ish MLB innings if not sooner. Summer 2021 here we come!
Anderson Espinoza (200) is a dart I want in hand if I’ve got the fingers for it. I’m tracking him closely most places and holding him in my 30-teamer.
Thanks for reading!
(I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter and reddit)