Help, Miranda! Help Help, Miranda! 

Elite hitting prospects tend to carry the weight of their franchise’s future on their shoulders, sometimes deep into their careers. Byron Buxton held the Twins’ ultimate fate in his hands for almost a decade. Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, and Jose Miranda hope to lighten the load. Not to mention Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler are under contract through 2023 with club options beyond then. They might have done better to give that money to Jose Berrios, but time will tell. The baseball sphere was happy with the return, and I was surprised they pulled Joe Ryan from Tampa for Nelson Cruz. Ryan may never become Berrios, but he papers over at least a portion of that loss, and with another wave of help in the on-deck circle, things are looking up in Minnesota despite a down year in 2021. 

 

Format: Position Player | Age on 4/1/2022 | Highest level played | ETA

1. 3B Jose Miranda | 23 | AAA | 2022

MLB Pipeline’s ninth ranked Minnesota prospect, Miranda is an elite right handed bat with all-fields power who checks in at a healthy 6’3” 210 lbs. He’s not a great defender, but Jimmy crack corn, and I don’t care. The hell does that song mean, anyway? Nevermind. I don’t care. And Miranda is such a good hitter that it doesn’t really matter what kind of defender he ultimately becomes. He’s not a second baseman, but he’s eligible there already in Fantrax leagues, and who knows he might keep the designation for a few seasons as Minnesota seeks places to put him in the lineup. In 127 games across two levels this year, Miranda slashed .340/.401/.572 with 32 home runs, 4 stolen bases, and just 74 strikeouts. Some approximation of that could probably help the Twins in 2022.

Here’s a link to Grey’s Jose Miranda, 2022 Fantasy Outlook

 

2. RHP Joe Ryan | 25 | MLB | 2021

He’s been around a while and I’ve been aboard the bus (express) for so long I don’t have much left to say about Joe Ryan, a 6’2” 205 lb rotation piece the club took from Tampa for half a season of Nelson Cruz, who posted a .283 OBP and 96 wRC+ in 55 regular season games for the Rays, who could’ve just signed the slugger as a free agent after being linked to him in trade rumors for years.

To my eyes, he’s got three plus pitches with plus command and a rotation spot on lockdown. The list of arms I want more than Ryan in terms of cost-versus-value is vanishingly short. Here’s a link to Grey’s Joe Ryan, 2022 Fantasy Outlook

 

3. SS Royce Lewis | 22 | AA | 2022

Still in step with the age-to-level curve after two missed seasons, Lewis could improve his dynasty stock more than anyone in 2022. I’m not betting on it, but I think it’s worth noting that few players offer comparable topside if viewed through the lens of present v. possible value. Victor Robles comes to mind. Trouble is these guys tend to cost quite a bit more than the average pure-upside-despite-results play. Or maybe it’s that these types of plays are kind of unique. There’s always one or two in the player pool. I’m curious about the year-over-year hit rate of the five-star prospect at his nadir. Would people even consider Buxton a hit at this point? I’d think so, but beauty is in the eye, or maybe the IL in this case, and in Buxton’s. Another problem I’m having here is that I don’t like Lewis in the batter’s box anywhere near as much as I liked/like Buxton. He’s all over the place. By which I just mean to say (again) that Buxton and Robles aren’t player comps for Lewis but situation comps.

I like to decide at some point in these blurbs whether I’d be buying or selling or whatever in dynasty leagues. The question is always nuanced. I’m not likely to trade for Lewis if I’m contending. I’ve got other issues to manage. Real on-field numbers matter more than anything. But if I’m taking over an abandoned team or starting a new dynasty, that makes Lewis more interesting. I’m most likely to acquire Lews in the second scenario, if the team who has him in whatever league I’m joining is open to offers. In a start-up draft, I’ll bet someone else snags the name before I’m through the major league player pool or more intriguing minor league players if the drafts are separate. 

 

4. OF Austin Martin | 23 | AA | 2023

The Ferrari was more like an Oldsmobile in his first pro season, or as we referred to it in our family, The Grocery Go-Getter. The GG-G slugged .382 in 93 AA games, so while it’s cool that he had a .414 On-Base Percentage and stole 14 bases, it’s less cool that he hit five home runs. I think Toronto made a smart trade, sending Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson out for Jose Berrios, who signed a new contract with the Blue jays this winter. They’ve got plenty of field players and needed someone to help them push for the playoffs. Some pundits expressed shock at the team’s willingness to move their top pick from 2020 so quickly into his career, but they’d had a pretty good look at him by then, given the nature of complex work during the pandemic. If you’d asked if they wanted to draft Luis Arraez 5th overall in 2020, they may have said no, so it’s fitting that Martin lands in the same place as the player who comes most easily to mind when thinking about the skill set he’s shown so far. He’s a better athlete and runner than Arraez, but I couldn’t shake the comparison so figured I’d share as I rarely think in those terms.

 

5. RHP Matt Canterino | 24 | A+ | 2023

This guy brings absolute filth. I ain’t got no crystal ball, but if I had a million dollars I might spend it all on Canterino shares. I’m kidding. I’ve been struggling to squeeze the Sublime reference in here because I can’t unhear it. Canterino will always be I don’t practice Canterino to me. “Santeria” opens well, at least, so it’s an ear worm I can handle better than hitters can handle Canterino’s four-pitch mix. His slider and changeup are easy pluses, and his fastball jumps barrels, particularly up in the zone. His curveball can steal strikes up or get swings down and out against minor leaguers, but it’s not a knockout pitch and could likely be relegated to fourth chair. If he’s getting hit at AA next year, that will be his first time as a pro. He struck out 43 batters in 21 innings at High-A in 2021. 55.1 percent strikeout rate. 5.1 percent walk rate. I want to put him over Austin Martin, but that’s probably overkill.

 

6. RHP Jordan Balazovic | 23 | AA | 2022

At 6’5” 215 lb with a deceptive delivery and functional control of four pitches, Balazovic can create some ugly at bats. He was also pretty hittable in AA this year, allowing 98 hits in 97 innings across 20 games started. That combined with 38 walks left him with a 1.40 WHIP, but his 0.84 HR/9 helped him keep the ERA looking fine at 3.62, but some of that is just environmental. He pounds the strike zone with decent-not-great stuff and has some room for growth across the board, especially in terms of pitch mix, but he’ll get hit hard when hitters are picking him up. Having four offerings (fastball, curveball, slider, changeup) gives him some topside beyond the outcomes, but he currently looks like he’ll have good days and bad. Who doesn’t though, right?

 

7. 1B Aaron Sabato | 22 | A+ | 2023

The narrative around Sabato seems to be something like “told you so” in regards to his not being as good as Spencer Torkelson. I don’t really get it. Nobody really said he was, but I realize he was a consolation prize for those first-year-player drafters who wanted some right-right corner power but couldn’t get into the top spot for Tork. When Sabato struggled early in the season, he sort of blipped off the radar. Thing is, Sabato came back strong, earning a promotion to High-A thanks to a .365 OBP and 11 HR in 85 Low-A games. He also posted a .189 batting average. Eep! Good call by the club’s development team to promote him anyway. His A+ slash line was .253/.402/.613 with 8 HR and 32 strikeouts in 22 games. The mixed-bag might be enough to let him open 2022 in Double-A, where he’d be younger than his average competitor and just a hot month or so from boosting his dynasty value.

 

8. RHP Josh Winder | 25 | AAA | 2022

A redraft sleeper for 2022, Winder checks in at 6’5” 210 lbs and features a 4-pitch mix that, like Balazovic’s, are closer to average than excellent, but like Balazovic, Winder can throw his whole arsenal for strikes, which led to a 0.944 WHIP in 72 innings across 14 starts at two levels. He surrendered four home runs in his four AAA starts and another two home runs in the Futures game, and that’s the main worry with Winder: what’s the tax on his misses in the strike zone?

 

9. OF Emmanuel Rodriguez | 19 | CPX | 2025

Part of the international class that lost its debut season, Rodriguez made a lot of noise when he finally appeared on the complex this season, smashing ten home runs and swiping nine bases in just 37 games. Sure, he hit just .214, but the rest of that slash line is .346/.524, and Rodriguez demonstrated what makes him enticing as a fantasy prospect despite a 36.6 percent strikeout rate. At 5’10” 165 lbs, he’s an explosive rotator with a pretty swing from the left side. Once he pops, the eye-test aesthetics will back up the hot takes.

 

10. RHP Simeon Woods Richardson | 21 | AA | 2023

He was an Olympian in 2021, so even though he was traded at the deadline and struggled through a difficult year, statistically speaking, the season wasn’t all doom and gloom for SWR. Plus his 5.91 ERA is a lot uglier than his 3.81 FIP, and his 32.1 percent strikeout rate is promising for a kid facing opponents 4.7 years his senior on average. One issue the 6’3” 210 lb righthander has is he presents a fairly standard look to opponents: fastball, curveball, changeup that all move basically how you’d expect them to. It’s a testament to his talent that he misses so many bats. If he can bring the control up a tick or two, his diminished star will regain some shine.

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

31 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jackson
Jackson
7 months ago

Kahlil Watson or Termarr Johnson ? 5×5 (OBP)

junior56
junior56
7 months ago

Happy New Year Itch! Thanks for the list and all the prospect knowledge in 2021.

Could you rate this specs for me ?

Hitters:
Frelick, Cowser Oswaldo Cabrera, Triantos, James Wood

Pitchers: Jobe, Chandler, Madden, Hoglund, G. Williams

Thanks!

kcc26
kcc26
7 months ago

how do you like miranda long term (dynasty) as compared to say, nick gonzalez?

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  kcc26
7 months ago

sept 12th’s most recent top overall list of his had miranda 13th, nick gonz 24th. he does have changes from 3 months ago obv but my guess is miranda still over nick gonz here. you might’ve been aware of this already, but in case not:
https://razzball.com/top-100-prospects-for-2021-fantasy-baseball-final-update/

kcc26
kcc26
Reply to  goodfold2
7 months ago

thanks!

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  kcc26
7 months ago

no problem i’m compiling a not owned list for a 30 teamer with 40 max prospect slots (and i spend end of baseball season till last week following literally no baseball stuff with football/hockey getting up and going) so i need a LOT of names here as that draft is 6 x 30 + supplemental picks (which are in the around 20ish total or so usually) so around 200 not owned names and about 3ish per team on his lists not owned. smaller issue in making that is the overall lists are month(s) behind current team lists, sometimes you’ll see a guy in a team list that was made a month after the last top 100 where guy x on same team is below guy z but earlier it was flipped around the other way. but having said that the very topish guys (top 40 say) tend to not as often pass each other when the gap was 9 spots (unless something really changed, like a major injury etc). the hardest to rank guys are those that moved a TON since end of season till now (esp when their top 10’s aren’t done yet, those are almost done).

Short Porch Party
Short Porch Party
7 months ago

Love these articles twice a week itch. Look forward to them they help in my dynasty leagues big time. My question is do you think bryan acuna signs with the twins soon and if he does where would you rank him? His swing looks like Ronald which is a good thing.

Brett
Brett
7 months ago

Offered a straight up 1 for 1 in a dynasty: Max Meyer for Shane McClanahan
Who do you want more in a vacuum? Thanks Itch

Express
Express
7 months ago

20 teams, 9 keepers. 7 are set. Help me pick 8 and 9:

– MJ Melendez
– Josh Lowe
– Ian Happ
– Andres Gimenez
– Andrew Benintendi
– Justin Verlander
– Huascar Ynoa
– Jordan Romano
– David Bednar
– Lucas Sims
– Aaron Ashby

packers2018
packers2018
Reply to  Express
7 months ago

My 2 cents.

Playing for this year.

Romano, Bednar, Ynoa, Sims. Got it to four.
Verlander to old, Benintedi and Happ types are all over along with Gimenez.
I know it’s 20 team league though.

Express
Express
Reply to  The Itch
7 months ago

Thanks Itch (and Packers). Hard to keep both Verlander and Ynoa.

I love Melendez (any 22 year old who leads the minors in homers is worth a look), but he’s extremely risky to be a top 180 player come March 2023.

Verlander healthy? I’ve already got Cole and Mahle (and Ynoa or Romano, depending). That’s a pretty fantastic staff to build around.

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  Express
7 months ago

probably slightly less healthy than most TJ comebacks from age (i.e. the recovery could take longer), but it’s more about the time since it with them all anyway. he’s already remade himself once from great to not great back to great so if anything assuming health he’ll probably be at least good. he did stupidly wait months longer than he should’ve like numerous others (sale and him did this at about the same time so that’s a good recent comp)

Philip
Philip
7 months ago

Itch, you might be the high man on Miranda. What kind of comp / peak are you thinking?

He got swapped around my league a few times as part of packages in the final month of the season, and I made a move to get him at the very end (kinda like a gift exchange), so I don’t see his perceived value as high as his actual value. This makes him a hold to me. What kind of return would you need to move him? Even if he becomes a 30 homer bat who hits .300 I have Vaughn, Walsh, Reyes, Kirilloff, not to mention Devers.

Thanks, homie!

goodfold2
goodfold2
7 months ago

almost time for this 30 teamer’s extremely early 6 round draft. 6×6 (OPS/holds added). 40 max minor slots (till 150/50). been catching up for about a week (about 5 teams back on your posts thusly, about to spend the 10 per month at PL to get a long list that i’ll need, roughly 3 names per team list not owned so far). got this so far and after 6 consecutive years of 18th-24th picks each round i’m now at 6th in all rounds (and assuming c.sale gets bid up to at least 15 mil per year (very likely)) i’d also get a 1st + 2nd round supplemental picks if i don’t keep him. bidding on the restricted FA is this week. 130 mil budget.

currently at around 83% of the budget left (this is before matching or not matching sale/j.turner’s bids).
important note on player obtaining: outside of trades and waiver guys (who’s contacts do NOT become multi year deals unlike a drafted prospect, unless you used one of the 3 offseason tags on somebody you waivered, so those are rare) nobody can be obtained at all outside of this 6 round draft. and this draft is only way to get prospects on long term league min deals (bidding on FA only applies to non prospect elig not owned players, and that month+ of bidding takes place after draft). drafted prospects don’t even start their contract clocks till brought up so everybody is listed as 2025 in prospect slots, anybody drafted just now would be 2026. not aged based, so suzuki if say does sign, he’d be a .4 till end of 26.

C (1)
CI (2): d.ellis (league min .4 mil per till end of 2025)
: j.turner (restrict tag, last contract was by me at around 16ish mil, he was easily best CI guy not owned at the time, him i’d likely keep as i doubt he’ll cost as much as sale)
MI (2):
OF (3): adell (.4, 24), fraley (.4, 24), e.rosario (14.67 per, 24, matched bid from last year)
util (1): kirilloff (.4 24)
BN: trammell (.4, 24)

SP (3, but probably want 6 or so): c.hernandez (.4, 24), pab lop (franchise tagged, pay real life money, he’s in arb, .595, 22), w.crowe (.4, 24), c.sale
RP (3, but also 3 P slots, so 6 wanted): m.diplan (.4, 25)
DL: barreto (MI, league min .4 till 22), e.rios (.4, 24), sherfy (.4, 24)

prospects:
CI: mayo, vientos, k.padlo, k.smith (TOR, not mallrats), w.craig, b.denton, lavalley, a.tejeda (ex TEX now STL)
MI: nick gonz (my first ever high pick at 1.6 last year), bracho, i.paredes (CI), r.preciado, w.perez (DET), a.rondon (ex TB)
OF: pages, b.packard, b.bailey (WSOX), c.brannen, g.whitley (ex TB), p.gonzalez (ex MI, ex TEX), v.garcia (STL), d.cozens, victor to the 2nd mesa (yikes, a 1st rounder once), t.ornelas
SP: m.sauer, j.bowlan (one of your large list jumpers last year), m.thompson (WSOX), n.swiney, kochanowicz, c.rodriguez (LAA)
RP: kilome, j.delacruz (ex ATL), j.soriano (ex LAA now PIT), j.guzman (of the stanton trade), a.smith (ex SD)

1. so far i’ve seen you say suzuki would be the 1.1. 27 isn’t too old of course so that’s good. rule here is if he’s not signed to somebody by MLB’s day 1 of season the pick used you get the pick after it next year, so if say i went him at 1.6 now, he doesn’t sign by then, he’d be 2023 1.6a pick at 7th overall. what % of the time you think he’s not signing that being the case? i read a bit about him, hit better than otani did before he came over (over a longer time period too as he’s a good bit older than otani was when he was still playing in japan)

2. what other internationals would you have anywhere near your top 100 (i’m grabbing not owned guys from that and the team lists for an attempt at an overall not owned list), i’ve seen about nothing on any of them (some of them do pop up in your team lists already of course). i’m here meaning guys not on your team lists or anybody really high on a list not done yet (such as suzuki but i’d assume everybody else is worse)

3. haven’t finished going over all of it yet (on DET), but d.harris TEX was (that i could find) mentioned one time in any late year last year updates but was VERY high in the sept top 100 too (33rd). trying to see where he’d rank as if i just took that top 100 by itself he’d be possibly the pick at 1.6, but i doubt anybody would have to pay near that. he was spots higher than anybody just drafted (h.davis 2 spots later at 35th). wow, i’m actually lined up to possibly draft a catcher, crazy.

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  The Itch
7 months ago

ok so top 6 could be something along the lines of: miranda (can only obtain FA if in MLB outside of 6 round yearly draft so big time movers sometimes not owned, r.acuna was the same where i got kirilloff years ago (as i didn’t have good merging of 1st year guys with big time movers compared to now)/ e.leonard/watson/h.davis then some mix of:

– leiter (who you had in your sept top 100 as highest pitcher here not owned and highest in his draft class)
– e.perez (big mover)
– mayer
– house
– d.harris (somewhere in here, likely i can shoot for later)

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  goodfold2
7 months ago

oh yeah and 2. r.suarez, where’s he ranked overall roughly as well? can’t be that high i’d think he didn’t make SD’s top 10 of yours (unless he say signed after nov 14th, then he could be). and suzuki above could be argued for anywhere in that top 6 or so of course. my guess is watson (probably at least one of house/mayer too, who you are lower on than these others) and leiter are gone at 1.6 but that might be wrong. suzuki also might be gone already.

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  goodfold2
7 months ago

robert suarez: i’m seeing he’s a likely MR (obv those have value but i’d not draft any before maybe the 4th round or so) at best a closer (if we KNEW that now he’d probably move up to maybe 3rd for me, 2nd for some others that draft RP that high), and SD has lots of closer options (p.johnson, pagan, pom, l.garcia (was awesome in small sample last year on STL) etc). so unless he clearly would’ve been in SD’s top 10 for you i likely won’t worry about a 30 year old japanese league RP.

– just in general seeing how we can ONLY get the prospect many years at league min contracts from drafting i’d rather have lottery tickets (that mostly amount to nothing, but some turn out very valuable for years) than possibly non closer RP for my draft picks. the teams that already have superstars locked up at league min prices and/or other superstars tend to draft guys like this though maybe even in the 2nd-3rd round. i doubt we’re talking c.doval like projections on him.

Jimmy
Jimmy
7 months ago

Thanks itch! Lewin Diaz or Gavin Sheets ? I can only keep one… 18 team dynasty 5×5

Ante GALIC
Ante GALIC
7 months ago

The Itch!!

Awesome!!!!

a. I always say awesome, but this one is awesome +!!

b. Been tinkering. Love Canterino. Would you add him?

Garver
Cron
India
Xander
Schwindel
Brujan
Walsh, Arozarena, SMarte, Betts, Biggio
JLowe, Siri
Bench-Aranda, OLopez, JTena, Burger, Eguy, Kreidler, Fraley, Connor Joe, EPerreira, Villar
MiLB-DHarris, JWalker, CSantana, MWinn, Cowser, Wiemer, Haskin

SP-Musgrove, Manoah, Cease, Roansy, Gonsolin, Houck, CMorris, JRyan, RSuarez, Kopech
RP-Doval, Iglesias, Hendriks, Kittredge, CGreen
MiLB-CHenry, Landon Knack, Lodolo, Ty Madden, Walston, OWhite, EuryP, Logan Allen

New additions: added Villar over Tsutsugo and discovered I had a free roster move and added O Lopez.

12-team, startup dynasty, 4×4 (OBP, RC, TB, SB x WHIP, K/9, SVH, QS)

c. Intrigued by Robles. Would you add him and over whom (same team in b)

d. All the best for a HNY!

e. Norm MacDonald quote of the day for December 29, 2021

‘This week a woman with ten personalities sued a man for sexual assault, but the suit was thrown out when two of her personalities said that she may have consented. You know folks, where I come from no, no, no, no, yes, yes, no, no, no, no means NO!’

f. Marx Brothers quote of the day for December 29, 2021

‘Women should be obscene and not heard.’

Cheers,
Ante

Toolshed
Toolshed
7 months ago

I inherited lewis on a team. I believe I am another year or two away from competing. I am fairly stacked with elite ss depth that is close. Do you think Lewis ends up at ss? I was planning on trying to move him once he proves he is healthy, but if you think he may end up as an OF or the upside is worth holding, I can hold and find room for him. I just don’t have a good feel for him. I also remember your last year ranking / outlook pre injury wasn’t as rosy as some other analysts. Based on what I read, my take is that you’d probably prefer selling him if yiu were in my spot. Thanks