Each week on the Razzball Prospect Podcast, Ralph and I often touch on prospects we expect to see within the coming weeks. Over the weekend I’m convinced every General Manager in baseball listened to our podcast and decided to rid us of all talking points for our next show. Dissapoting? Indeed. But does this mean we’re finally getting more looks at prospects on the big stage? Absolutely.

Gleyber Torres

Long overdue because of injury, the Bronx gets their first look at one of the most polished bats in the minor leagues. The most encouraging sign Torres posted in the minor leagues was the reversion of his strikeout rate to 18 percent from north of 20 in prior stints. Minimal in the grand scheme of things, but signaling to me he’s back to 100 percent after his Tommy John surgery and a poor Spring Training stint in Florida.

Torres is tough to statistically project if you’re only looking at his multiple, small minor league samples on Fangraphs or Baseball Reference, which only showing you his advanced approach. His tools grade out across the board as average to above average, doing everything exceptionally well, but lacking a supreme 70-grade tool. Some like their prospects balanced, others volatile, yet he’s a consensus top-15 prospect among industry folk because of the makeup and projection given to his bat.

Aesthetically, I think of Victor Martinez when I see Torres’ swing. Martinez loads his hands lower, while Gleyber keeps his ear-level, coiling into a larger leg kick to generate power, whereas Martinez relies more on his hands. I’ve seen instances of Gleyber cutting the leg kick to a toe tap in spring – similar to Juan Soto or Bo Bichette – making this comparison better, but seeing some V-Mart in Torres’ swing is simply a testament to the rookie’s bat-to-ball ability.

I don’t anticipate north of ~23 home runs with his current swing plane, even though the GIF is a slightly modfied version of his swing on a high-and-tight fastball. Given that Freddy Galvis hit nearly 20 home runs a few years ago and Francisco Lindor completely changed his swing plane in a matter of minutes, I reserve the right to pretend I never wrote the previous sentence.

The Yankees add to their roster a bat with supreme on-base ability and a chance to earn reps at second base. I unfortunately suspect Neil Walker and Ronald Torreyes make semi-consistent starts, which leads me to my next point: I would rather have Miguel Andujar on a team in a standard redraft, roto league rest of season (independent of positional needs). Much of Gleyber’s embedded value is long term and in the prospect of what could happen developmentally as many – including myself – gauge just how much power output might exist.

Sometime, you have to give prospects some leash and I think that will be the case with Torres.

Jack Flaherty

Ok, I’m cheating here. When Wainwright hit the DL, I expected the corresponding move to be a promotion of Flaherty. But instead, John Brebbia gets the nod so he can give Cardinals fans another reason to complain about Matheny’s bullpen usage when the reliever inevitably gives up a run or two (yawn). More importantly, the Cardinals currently don’t have a fifth starter on their 25-man roster, leading to my suspicion that Flaherty will pitch Saturday in PNC Park.

Given the flash we saw from Flaherty in Miller Park earlier this season, I’m excited. The command he had of his plus-slider to both sides of the plate was exceptional. His tinkered with his curveball to left-handed hitters, and while I’m not completely convinced this will be his key to left-handed hitters, I would expect he’s closer to pitching his way into the fifth starter slot than he was upon his last call-up.

There is a nice blend of upside and floor here that I think may be overlooked because of the question marks around who exactly is their fifth starter for the rest of the season. The positive? There is nothing left for Flaherty to do in Triple-A. A high strikeout option with control to stick at the major league level is ownable in a lot of formats where starters are needed.

Walker Buehler

Unfortunately this feels like a spot start on Monday for Buehler, but the first of his career nonetheless. The Vanderbilt alum has posted a 16:4 strikeout to walk rate in the minors through four starts, not exceeding five innings in any outing. His services are needed due to the DL’ing of Rich Hill, who ESPN currently has tagged for a start this weekend in Saturday’s double-header in San Francisco.

His matchup is a weak Marlins team at home, setting him up for a streaming opportunity in nearly any daily format. Buehler’s stellar strikeout rate has been a constant since his professional debut in 2016. This stems from a combination of two plus breaking balls, his curveball primarily attacking lefties and a slider-curveball splitting time against righties.

In his relief debut last season, we got a look at his ability to reach back for velocity and his vertically-inclined curve. The odd issue was his inability to generate whiffs on this curve in his short stint, which surprised some and caused others to cry “small sample.” I’m most interested to see where his fastball velocity sits in a starter’s role and how it maintains a second and third time through an order (98 mph average out of the bullpen last season). My hope is he can eventually develop his changeup into a third pitch versus left-handed hitters and fulfill the majority of his upside I implied when I ranked him 16th overall on my top 100 prospects list. While the want for a third pitch versus a pitcher’s natural split handedness of hitter – left-handed bats for a right-handed arm – is incredibly common among prospects, Buehler’s floor comes from the potential for expanded use of his slider even if the changeup never develops.

Opportunity is an issue, given the Dodgers depth, but I’ll be watching Buehler closely, as should you.

David Dahl

I’d consider myself slightly lukewarm on Gleyber for this season, bullish on Flaherty, and interested in Buehler with low expectations. Dahl has me perplexed. He didn’t look particularly good in his few games since being activated off of the minor league DL and the last time I would consider myself genuinely excited about him was back in 2016 after a torrid 60-game stretch.

Combine what we know he can do, with Coors Field, and the aging combination of Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra, and you start to see why he’s a must add, even if it’s just for this series in Coors against the Padres.

Dahl’s swing is fluid and compact, starting his hands loose and loading them up near his head as he deploys a small leg kick, primarily for timing purposes. I’m interested to see if there have been any minor tweaks mechanically since 2016 because of his lingering injuries, and if so, whether we can expect a subsequent change in output.

We’re looking at a high-.280s hitter at least, with some power inflation in Coors and non-zero speed (which I’ve never liked the success rate of to be a substantial asset long term). Whether the Rockies are willing to let him develop on the field with consistent playing time given their opportunity to win existing right now, is the big question. This is likely one of the disconnects between fantasy owners wanting Ryan McMahon to play consistently and Colorado’s organization being content with a part-time role and Desmond playing first base. This issue can extend to Dahl upon Parra’s return from suspension and Gonzalez from the DL, but I reserve hope that he hits early and often, forcing management’s hand to at least deploy him in a Michael Conforto-style role. If so, he’ll be ownable in nearly all formats.

 

 

Follow me on the Twitter Machine @LanceBrozdow and more of my work… BigThreeSports.com.

 
  1. Ryan says:
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    I know McMahon isn’t the focus of the article, but what’s your take? I’m in a keeper league, but it is a bit shallow and it’s hard to carry a guy who isn’t in the minors (can’t use NA slot) but isn’t playing regularly.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Ryan:
      He’s been a pain in leagues like that, ideally he would’ve just been kept in the minors and you could’ve held him there.

      I still think he’s pretty valuable in Coors long term at 1B, so I’d try my best to hold onto him. But if the league is shallow, my main question would be is there comparable talent on the waivers? That would make me more inclined to cut him for the time being. Just trying to gauge how deep your league is, and thus, how valuable McMahon is.

      I think his struggles are mainly rep-based. I doubt he’s use to playing this sporadically early in the season. Might be a cop-out excuse from me, but I think this is a real issue on occasion.

  2. Murph says:
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    Drop Castillo to pick up Flaherty?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Murph:
      Still Castillo for me.

      My guess is you probably have a worse pitcher than Castillo on your team.

      • Murph says:
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        @Lance:
        Darvish Castillo Snell clevinger CMartinez Samardzija RP kela Rodney Hader Allen

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @Murph:
          Assuming you’re roto here.

          Even with his saves I just can’t see myself cutting Luis over Rodney to add Flaherty.

  3. branta says:
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    Dahl or O’Neill this year long term?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @branta:
      Dahl this year and long term is pretty close I would say. I’d probably lean Dahl, but O’Neil is younger and possesses a power profile that should breed a nice floor, whereas Dahl’s floor is average-based.

      Case to be made for either.

  4. Stickball Al says:
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    I like Flaherty to stick if he can throw a few quality starts. They could put Wainwright in the bullpen. But Waino is in his last year and he’s a fan favorite so he’ll have a long leash. If Dahl had a clear path to play everyday I think he could be a force. But it’s a crowded outfield in Colorado.
    I like Torres a lot and picked him and Flaherty up everywhere I could.
    Another pickup I like and stashed is Cinci’s Nick Senzel. What are your thoughts on him and when does he get the call. The Reds need some excitement on their team. Bring up some of these youngsters and see who sticks. New manager now and they are off to a terrible start.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Stickball Al:
      I think every Cardinal fan just wants Waino in the pen, but man, doesn’t seem like the Cardinals do haha

      Crowded indeed, but I have a feeling he can nab playing time versus RHP if he hits off the bat.

      Senzel is a fun prospect, love his floor and swing. Riggleman is just an interim manager. I wouldn’t expect to see Senzel until the solidify a new, permanent manager. The firing of Price throws a wrench in any expectation for me. It’s so hard to call this stuff in situations like the Reds are in.

      • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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        @Lance: every smart cardinals fan anyway

  5. LeftCoastYankee says:
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    Calhoun?!?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @LeftCoastYankee:
      Seems like they actually wanted him to work on his defense, and they weren’t just plugging that as an excuse.

      Who knew?! haha

      • Shark says:
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        @Lance:

        I’ve read that because of time spent in the majors last year, the date to gain the extra year of control over Calhoun is sometime around the first week of May. Can’t remember where unfortunately.

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @Shark:
          I believe it’s 172 days on a major league club for it to be considered a full season, which yes, would be basically the month of April.

          Forgot he was up for so long last season, good call.

          Scratch my last point, working on defense is likely a poor cover for the year of control hahaha

        • Shark says:
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          @Shark:

          Aaaand today, Willie is working on his defense from the DH spot LMAO!

          • Lance

            Lance says:
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            @Shark:
            Hahahahaha unbelievable!!!

  6. Turd Ferguson says:
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    I’m just posted up. Holding Acunas and droppin Corbins. Na nah nah nah.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Turd Ferguson:
      This feels like a song I should know…

  7. Shark says:
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    Walker Buehler is 23 plus years old (so not like Urias back in the day…), and has already had his TJS. Build up his arm strength for the Majors? Sure. But the time to “baby” him has already passed imo.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Shark:
      Sure, I agree with this.

      There is just a difference between babying and having him work a smart/healthy amount of innings. I’m sure the Dodgers’ have an idea of what they want him to throw this year, and I think we have to trust their judgement.

      83ish last year, only 14 starts. I’d like to see 120 with something like 20-22 starts. If they want him in a relief role for playoff time, have to consider that too. Lots of variables.

  8. David says:
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    When does Acuna get called up?

    Alonso or Cron?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @David:
      I think he’s gotta be up within the next 7-10 days. I’d be pretty surprised otherwise.

      Alonso

  9. Launch Angle says:
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    Any ROS projections for Andujar if he get regular playing time?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Launch Angle:
      Andujar with ~125/130 games is a .280 guy with 20 bombs for me.

      Counting stats will move with order slot, but should be strong regardless.

  10. Charlie Harper says:
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    great stuff Lance,so 1st when is Acuna up,2nd do we get a taste of Eloy,Bichette and Vlad Jr this year

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Charlie Harper:
      Thanks!

      1 – I’ll say 7-10 days for Acuna.

      2 – Eloy will be up this year. I’ll say sometime in July.

      3 – I would guess Vlad is up before Bo, both less likely to have looks than Eloy for me. If either/both, it feels more like a Sept thing to me. I know others are being aggressive and saying earlier, but I’m holding my expectations level. Easy to get excited and not see them until next year.

      • Charlie Harper says:
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        @Lance: spot on my thoughts,thanks alot and keep these coming at us,as you already no we love the Rookie Nooky

  11. Scott says:
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    Do you expect andujar to stick and wally pull Drury who is going to return soon. The way he is hitting it would be a shame to take his bat out if the lineup and not use him. This is baseball though and a lotnof the time the right decision is never made.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Scott:
      They’re going to find a way to get Andjuar in the lineup with the way he is hitting. He’s better than any option they have in the infield outside of Didi. He might not get as much playing time with Drury in there, but they’ll figure something out. I wouldn’t be too worried.

      Good thing is Drury can play the OF too.

  12. Five-on-One says:
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    Hi. When Suarez broke his thumb, I quickly dropped his ass and scooped up Senzel. And did a little celebration jig. Is it time to reverse that move? Suarez is out on a rehab assignment in the minors and Senzel is still waiting for the phone to ring. 5×5 redraft league.

  13. Lance

    Lance says:
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    @Five-on-One:
    How deep is your bench and who are you picking up?

    Depends heavily on that for me. I like him as a stash, but don’t really know what’s going to happen with an interim manager, I think that can push his call-up window. I doubt they want him to be promoted without getting their management in order first.

  14. LadyScorpio says:
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    Hi Lance!

    Good article! Quite informative too! I was particularly interested in what you might say about Buehler. I added him to my roster for his start yesterday and am VERY disappointed that he’s being sent back down so soon. My roster for this year is loaded with prospects. I’ve missed out on grabbing some of the good ones in recent years, so I wanted to ensure that I got as many good ones as I could for this year. I agree with you on Dahl, as I drafted him last year and he was a TOTAL bust!! With that said, I have a plethora of OFs that I’ll need to determine who to trade once some of them are called up. Would like your input on my team. I’m in a 10 team, roto, 6×6, keeper league.

    My squad….
    C – B. McCann
    1B – Freeman
    2B – Asdrubal
    3B – Andjuar
    SS – Swanson
    CI – Gallo
    MI – Gyorko
    OF – Trout, Conforto, Cruz & Springer
    U – Inciarte & DeShields
    BN – Pillar, Margot, Schoop (DL) Acuna (NA) & Calhoun (NA)
    SP – Ohtani, Berrios, L. Weaver, Taillon, Wood, Pivetta, Buehler & A. Reyes (DL)
    RP – Greene & Treinen

    I am in 9th place!!! This CANNOT BE my standing by the end of the season and thanks to some injuries, it’s where my team stands now!!! I’m the only female in my league and I’m battling for my life for 1st place!! What would you recommend that I do to improve my team’s standing? Should I wait for Acuna and Calhoun to be called up? Or should I trade them for a better SS, MI or RPs? Also, would you hold Buehler until he’s recalled? Please advise.

    Thanks,
    LadyScorpio

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