It’s a running joke among prospect nerds that “the Yankees have a tree down in Tampa, that they shake, and some guy who throws 95 falls out.” Well, in the 18th round of the 2017 draft they shook that (palm?) tree, and a tall righthander out of UAB named Garrett Whitlock tumbled into the Yanks hands. A draft eligible Sophomore due to an early birthday, Whitlock is an interesting story, and a lesson that often in the MLB draft later round guys can be more than their draft pick number. In other words, don’t let the 18th round tag fool you, he had some pedigree. In the summer of 2016, a strong performance for Chatham in the Cape Cod League, planted Whitlock onto the draft radar. Many believed he was a day two pick when rounds three through ten are conducted. Unfortunately for Whitlock, and fortunate for the Yankees, a back injury hampered his season, and his stock dropped. The Yankees stepped up, paid him above slot, and all he’s done since is make everybody look smart. According to the numbers and the scouting reports from people like Jason Woodell, he might just be the Yankees best kept secret. Here’s a look from Jason, and after we’ll discuss why I’m buying all over.


A sturdy 6’5, with a lean, but strong frame, Whitlock brings a lot to the table that can project out long term. His fastball sits 93-94, hitting 95, the pitch features nice sink and run, working low in the zone consistantly. He mixes in an above average changeup in the mid-80’s, and a pitch he calls “his breaking ball”, but doesn’t believe it’s a true curve or slider. He does a good job of mixing two elements that will make him successful if he continues on this trajectory; he gets swinging strikes, and generates lots of groundballs. So far in 2018 Whitlock has nine or more swinging strikes in ten of his thirteen starts. He’s also induced eight or more groundballs in six of those thirteen starts, showing a good balance between power pitcher and pitchability righthander. I’m in the midst of working on my Top 100+ right now and Whitlock will certainly be somewhere in the 75-125 range. You will all have to wait and see what I decide on…(Big Market Tease). The deeper the dynasty league, the more aggressive I would be to add him. He went six strong last night, striking out five, allowing two earned, on four hits, and three walks.

We’ve focused on the good with Whitlock now let’s discuss some of the red flags. First, he’s had back injuries in the past, and while many can be managed, back injuries by and large, come and go. Second his delivery is somewhat high effort, though he does repeat his mechanics well, and is consistent on his plant foot. Additionally, he has a low arm slot, and you can see he puts a lot of strain on his shoulder and elbow with his motion. The good news is I can’t predict injuries, because I’m an idiot that writes at a fantasy blog and not a doctor. The other good news, all of this works for Whitlock! His numbers on the season are stellar, through fourteen starts he’s 5-3, with a 1.54 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, .202 BAA, and 86 strikeouts to 18 walks over 76 innings beyween both levels of A ball.

  • I’m working on the aforementioned Top 100+ ranks, so I’m going to keep this brief. But good god does Bobby Bradley make it hard to quit him. I’ve dropped him down a bit, but really he’s no different than I thought he was. After a wretched April, Bradley has been a middle of the order masher since May 1st going .242/.338/.543 with 14 homers. The average is always going to stink but 30+ homers, and a value bump in OBP and OPS formats make him a worthwhile buy in dynasty leagues. Then again, take this with a grain of salt, it’s coming from a noted fan. He has a huge lefty swing, that’s surprisingly compact, though it can be a little stiff, despite his explosiveness.

  • The Angels Brandon Marsh was called up to High-A Inland Empire with Jo Adell, but he struggled for much of his first month there. Over his last ten games however he’s begun to heat up. Slashing .333/.415/.639 over that time with a couple of homers. My love for athletic 20 year old has never waned, and he’ll be ranked highly in my update.

  • I’m not a huge fan of advocating you pickup catchers in dynasty leagues. That said, the Dodgers Will Smith is one catcher that I’m looking to get my hands on. The power he flashed in the Cal league last year hasn’t disappeared at AA Tulsa, it’s actually improved. His batting average is a very acceptable .269 at the moment, and more reflective of who he is than last season’s .232. Getting on base has always been a strength for Smith, and he’s maintained his career 11.5% walk rate this season. The key to Smith’s value is his skills behind the the dish. A strong defensive catcher with a plus arm, Smith has split time between third base and backstop this season, as he platoons with Keibert Ruiz.

  • There’s quote a few lower minor hitters catching my eye, but none have sparked my imagination quite like Giants 19 year old outfield prospect Diego Rincones. Through 13 Northwest League contests, Rincones is hitting .444/.436/.704 with three homers, five doubles, no walks of course, but just 5 strikeouts. I’m interested to see if he walks more as he settles in, or gets promoted. At the moment short season pitching is overmatched.

  • While Francisco Mejia beats out Kyle Tucker for AAA player of the month for June, the Twins Brent Rooker takes the AA title. He finishes June .312/.393/.645 with a AA leading 16 extra base hits on the month. He also walked 12 times, more than April and May combined  (10). There’s always going to be peaks and valleys with Rooker, but he’s got a big league future, and skills like power that make you pay attention in fantasy.
  • Some notable teenage hitters from the Gulf Coast League: the Mets Ronny Mauricio (.366/.333/.561), the Astros Freudis Nova (.294/.294/.500), the Yankees Antonio Cabello (.444/.516/.889), Jordan Groshans (.455/.556/.864), the Marlins Walner Espinal (.467/.514/.600), and the Blue Jays Leonard Jimenez (.308/.438/.423).

On Twitter as @ProspectJesus

  1. jose H. says:
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    Ralph,
    Two of my boys need to be promoted.

    Tatis Jr. hit his 13th & 14th HRs last night to go with 13 SB and a slash line of 285/359/511/871.

    Taylor Trammell has a slash line of 315/414/457/871 to go go with 12 SB and 6 HRs, both of this guys deserve to be moved to the next level. What is the hold up?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph says:
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      @jose H.: Wouldn’t shock me if they held him in SA all year, they like their guys winning in the minors. Don’t think there’s any plan to promote him to MLB until 2019.

      Trammell should see AA soon.

  2. LenFuego says:
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    Hi Ralph,

    What do you think of Jeff McNeil in the Mets organization? He was on noone’s radar screen coming in to the year but has been killing it all season in his 26 years old season (.327/.402/.626 in AA and now in a few weeks at AAA, .397/.438/.603).

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph says:
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      @LenFuego: He’s interesting. Included him in the Top 100+, He’s got a chance to be a bat first 2B. Maybe a late bloomer.

      • Mr met says:
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        @Ralph: Ralph, as a lifelong Mets fan I can tell you he will not pan out. Ever. Well, maybe if he leaves.

  3. Rodelo Maglente says:
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    Please classify these players as SP1/SP2 or below

    Hansen
    Luzardo
    Whitley
    Graterol
    Morejon
    Baez

    Thanks a lot. Appreciate all your work and effort

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph says:
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      @Rodelo Maglente: Hansen – SP2/3, Luzardo SP1, Whitley SP1, Graterol SP1, Morejon SP 2/3, Baez SP2

  4. Donald R Berkey says:
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    Ralph, thank you for the article. You are a wealth of information. I’m looking forward to your updated prospect list. Any time frame when that will be posted ? Thanks again.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph says:
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      @Donald R Berkey: Sometime between Thursday and Tuesday of next week.

  5. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Nice one! What did / do you think of Fried yesterday and going forward?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph says:
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      @Duda Want to Build a Snowman?: I’ve always been a fan of Fried, he’s got three above average/plus pitches. It’s just a matter of command with him. I still believe it clicks and we get a top 30 starter.

  6. David says:
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    Thanks Ralph. Please rank these OFers for dynasty: Robles, O’Neill, Adell and Kirilloff. Thanks.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph says:
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      @David: Robles, Adell, Kirilloff, and O’Neill.

  7. Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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    this is nice as i’ve been stashing rooker and bradley in different spots where i’m long term 1B weak. and y.alvarez but i know how highly he’s valued.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph says:
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      @Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo: They’ll always be guys that will try your patience when they’re down, and excite you when they’re up.

  8. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    i had z.collins confused with m.white, as i had till recently had white stashed and used to have collins on my prospect list. so the question ends up being:

    i have hanram/paddack/rooker/marsh stashed and seuly, y.diaz, benson and z.collins are available. i know you have hanram as never being on another MLB team forevers but how do the others rank out? this is OPS/OBP.

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @Ralph: how would my already owned types paddack/rooker/marsh fit into those 4. marsh i’m assuming is still likely at top (he was quite high in last 150 list). obviously seuly sounds like he’s moved up the most since, collins also moving up (after being moved down).

  9. C says:
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    Ralph,

    School was a dumpster for me in my 12 team 6×6. I just traded Mikolas for Dozier. How did I do?

    • C says:
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      @C: *Schoop

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph says:
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      @C: Really good, catching Dozier before his second half surge.

  10. Chud says:
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    Loooking forward to “the list”!

    Dynasty trade offer:

    I get JLamb/KGibson

    I give JBell/Manaea.

    Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph says:
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      @Chud: I like the Bell side

  11. Jake says:
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    Which Nat do you think has the higher upside? Antuna or Luis Garcia?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph says:
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      @Jake: Garcia, but it’s crazy close.

      • Jake says:
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        @Ralph: thanks! Speaking of the Nats, you think upside for Carter Kieboom Is good player/a few All star games or perennial All-star ? I read somewhere last year that a scout said his upside could be Tulo-esque if everything fell into place. Btw- so appreciate your commentary and interaction with the readers. Makes such a difference compared to canned rankings, etc. much appreciated.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph says:
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          @Jake: Tulo not a bad comp, he reminds me of Corey Seager kind of.

  12. Miketron says:
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    Kopech has supposedly refound the feel for his change up and the results have been better his last 3 starts. Still walking the world though. How high is the danger of him “Glasnowing”?

    • Eli Man Penguin Boy says:
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      @Miketron: hahahaha, the pitching version of having a high buxton rating. that’s a good one. glasnow has around a what, 4 buxtons? sorry, then there’s giolito who has 5/5ths buxtons (more than buxton himself). actually you should name this the “giolitoies” so glasnow has maybe 3.5 giolitoies”

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph says:
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      @Miketron: I guess it’s possible he goes full Glasnow. But I think we’ve seen stretches from Kopech where the command has been good. Even beyond the changeup he has to not overthrow. Issue with Glasnow was always getting all the moving parts in line. I think Kopech is more a matter of mentality.

  13. Balls In Play says:
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    If you could own 2 of the following for the rest of the season in a OPS league who would you go with: Austin Meadows, Adam Jones, Joc Pederson, Jake Bauers?

  14. hotmilk8 says:
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    What do you think of Cody Carroll from Yankees organization?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph says:
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      @hotmilk8: Awesome sleeper! Throws his slider for strikes, changes eye levels on the fastball gets lots of swings. Could be a solid off the radar starter or pen arm.

  15. Uno Mas Cerveza says:
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    Are we any closer to seeing the Rangers Free Willie? He is hitting .306 in the last 30 days and looking like his former self. Even though the Rangers are on a tear of late they still have to be sellers at the deadline. Any chance they can free up space so Calhoun makes an appearance before September? Doesn’t help Choo looks to miss time with a quad issue not to mention the team would have to eat a big part of his remaining $50 million to move him and open up a DH slot.

  16. Sport says:
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    Good as gold as always Ralph. I added Whitlock in a couple deep leagues. Can’t wait for your new top 100!

  17. LenFuego says:
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    Nobody is talking about it, but there are a ton of catcher prospects having great minor league seasons.

    In the IL, Danny Jansen has led the league in OPS most of the season and Mejia is AAA player of the month in June. In the PCL, Christian Bethancourt is hitting .301 with 11 HRs and Brett Nicholas is at .297 with 14 HRs (though playing a lot at 1B apparently). At the AA level, Zack Collins and Seby Zavala are both top 10 in OPS in the Southern League and Austin Allen and Sean Murphy are both top 10 in OPS in the Texas League. And that does not even take into account guys like Tom Murphy (1.001 OPS), Will Smith (.874 OPS), Andrew Knizner (.831 OPS), Daulton Varsho (.844 OPS) and Jacob Nottingham (.935 OPS), who are all having excellent offensive seasons.

    Is this just a fluky year, or is this a harbinger of a renaissance for catcher offense emerging in the majors over the next half decade?

    • Sport says:
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      @LenFuego:
      Add Ronaldo Hernandez to the list. Seems like a legit power threat.

      Do you guys see Pentecost (Tor) worth a stash in a deep league since we’re on the topic of catchers?

  18. yankee candle factory worker says:
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    Was there anything in Ian Happ’s prospect profile that predicted him immediately turning into late-career Adam Dunn ? Does he just take too many pitches?

  19. CRAIG Hershey says:
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    So are we all just going to ignore the fact Willians Astudillo looks like the end result of a Bartolo Colon one night stand?

    • Stumanji! says:
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      @CRAIG Hershey: googled him and LOLed

  20. Ron says:
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    Regarding catching prospects, been seeing Nottingham on my FA wire in a dynasty league (16 teams). Worth a grab?

  21. Bobby Jones says:
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    In a 20 team dynasty league with 40 man rosters:

    Clayton Kershaw

    for

    Victor Robles
    Adrian Morejon
    Kevin Maitan

    Which side do you like more?

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