You could help us both a bit here by imagining the standard intro about 2020 being weird for minor leaguers. Unprecedented, at least in my lifetime. Well, I guess I was in grade school during the strike that stopped the Expos’ title run. I remember sitting in music class thinking about Steve “The Scab” Reed. That’s when I learned what a scab was. But you couldn’t just scrape ole Steve Reed off that wound and fling it in the garbage. On no, he hung around for a little longer than anyone wanted, a coagulated reminder of the strife that brought on the steroid era. Though that shutdown was much shorter on the minor league side, young players’ timelines were similarly wonked up back then, I suspect, but they persevered, and so will some among this covid-complicated crop.

Here’s a refresher link to the Top 100 Prospects for 2021 Fantasy Baseball.

In this space, I’ll bid farewell to the prospects on their way off the lists as we head into mid April and discuss my thoughts in building a new list for May.

Tampa Bay OF Randy Arozarena graduates from the #3 overall spot, a truly remarkable feat given the lack of mainstream attention he’d garnered throughout much of his baseball life. It’s just a couple weeks, but with a 149 wRC+ and a .317/.378/.488 slash line, he again appears to be Tampa’s toughest out in the lineup and best source of run production. Can he carry them to another World Series? Who knows, but he looks like the clear frontrunner for Rookie of the Year at the moment.

St. Louis OF Dylan Carlson exits from the 15 spot. I’ve always been a bit low on him, comparatively, and still feel that way today. I’m not convinced he’ll run much or hit for average, and primary-power outfield bats are not rare.

Here’s the Top 25 in progress:

 

Rank Player Position Age 4/1/21 Team ETA
1 Wander Franco SS 20 TB 2021
2 CJ Abrams SS 20 SD 2023
3 Julio Rodriguez OF 20 SEA 2021
4 Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B 24 PIT 2020
5 Jarred Kelenic OF 21 SEA 2021
6 Bobby Witt Jr. SS 20 KC 2021
7 Spencer Torkelson 1B 21 DET 2021
8 Marco Luciano SS 19 SF 2022
9 Corbin Carroll OF 20 ARI 2022
10 Adley Rutschman C 23 BAL 2022
11 Andrew Vaughn 1B 23 CHW 2021
12 Vidal Brujan 2B 23 TB 2021
13 Alex Kirilloff OF 23 MIN 2020
14 Luis Matos OF 19 SF 2022
15 Jasson Dominguez OF 18 NYY 2024
16 Hedbert Perez OF 19 MIL 2024
17 Jeter Downs SS 22 BOS 2021
18 MacKenzie Gore LHP 22 SD 2021
19 Ian Anderson RHP 22 ATL 2020
20 Nick Gonzales 2B 21 PIT 2022
21 Brennen Davis OF 21 CHC 2022
22 Kristian Robinson OF 20 ARI 2022
23 Casey Mize RHP 24 DET 2020
24 Heriberto Hernandez C 1B OF 21 TB 2022
25 Tyler Freeman 2B 21 CLE 2021

 

Departing soon:

Pittsburgh 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes looks like a superstar to me just 90 at bats into his career. If you’d have told me last spring he’d leave the list as a top five prospect, I’d have asked you to pass the mushrooms. Psilocybin has a lot of wellness benefits.

Atlanta RHP Ian Anderson has really changed some minds in the show. He’s at 42.2 innings today and should come off the list as a consensus top 25 prospect. I’m eager to give his space to someone else because once a guy dominantes a postseason, he just doesn’t feel much like a prospect anymore. I’m still reluctant to embrace Anderson as a top-shelf starter. Command is the great separator, and I think Anderson is more control than command. I also think his curveball is meh and it’s incredibly hard to succeed as a fastball changeup guy. I’d be selling if anyone in my league were buying him as a legitimate young ace.

Detroit RHP Casey Mize is bringing upper nineties cheese with him as he graduates from spot 23. Gonna be some ups and downs here, it seems, but his velocity and spin rates are going through the roof, two trends I noticed this spring while writing an article titled Mighty Casey Mize and the Mystery Machine.

A couple questions I asked in here were whether Mize was easy to hit and whether he was just working on things this spring, treating those innings more like a veteran finding his feet than a prospect trying to cut his teeth. Feels like we kind of have answers to both those questions already. With 39.1 innings, Mize is going out on a high note.

Detroit LHP Tarik Skubal is trending in the opposite direction, his spin rates having fallen some 200 RPMs from where they sat last season. What’s going on here? Fingers crossed it’s not health-related. He’s at 41.1 innings and is losing some prospect shine pretty quickly. Might wind up a nice post-hype sleeper next draft season.

Speaking of post-hype sleepers, Cleveland RHP Triston McKenzie made a surprising splash last season but quickly lost most of the hype that won him. He’s at 41 innings today like everyone else on this list and will graduate the list as a member of a starting rotation that’s basically Boardwalk on the Monopoly board of fantasy baseball.

And some other thoughts to share before I bounce.

Minnesota OF Alex Kirilloff got called up today as the 27th man for the double dip. If he hits, he’ll stay. Seems kinda dumb for his near term timeline to come down to one day’s outcomes, and maybe I have that wrong, but I would’ve once bet his spring training outcomes wouldn’t impact his timeline.

Philadelphia OF Mickey Moniak gets a chance with Adam Haseley going on the restricted list for personal reasons. I like Moniak to take that centerfield job at some point. Could be right now.

Pittsburgh 3B Phillip Evans isn’t really a prospect on time served (service days on MLB rosters across time), but he’s at 125 career at bats heading into Tuesday’s games, so I couldn’t help but wonder where I’d rank him if he had another week or so of prospect eligibility? I’m mostly win-now in dynasty, and I love these particular types of players who give pitchers tough at bats and worked their way up, especially if they’ve got another 200 at bats or so of MiLB eligibility. I’d struggle to trade him today, is what I’m saying, which moves him up my lists. I’m watching him give Blake Snell a hell of a fight right now, and I’m guessing he’s never seen Snell, one of the only true four-pitch starters in the game. He just drew a walk. It was his first at bat against Snell from what I can find. He won’t stay this locked in forever, but we’re well into the maybe-it’s-real zone with Evans. Statcast is crazy about him at the moment, but you really just have to watch him hit a couple times to realize this is no fluke.

In some sad news today, Toronto RHP Julian Merryweather has a hip issue. Jordan Romano looked lost against the Yankees on Tuesday, so maybe it’ll be Dolis. Come back soon, Julian!

At what point do we accept that Oakland LHP Jesus Luzardo has always been overrated? Here’s hoping you dealt him in dynasty when people were making wild offers. I think he’s fine. Not trying to bury the guy here, but he’s got mediocre mechanics that lead to mediocre command, and it might be awhile before he figures that out, if ever. We’ll still get the big outings when everything is working well, but we’ve got 84 innings now where he’s surrendered big exit velocities. Still a miniscule sample in the life of a pitcher, but it’s worthwhile to note we might not see a fully realized Luzardo for another few seasons, and we might never get the dominant SP1 people thought they were getting. Easy for me to say as I don’t have him in any leagues, but if you’re of a different mindset on this one, go check out his game logs. Not a lot of fun times there.

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

 
  1. Foxman says:
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    I can’t wait for MiLB season to begin.
    Too bad the Cubs have nobody coming through Iowa anytime soon :(
    I know speculating on callups is just a fools errand, or click bait, but gotta ask.
    What’s the best guess on the super 2 deadline this year? Gotta know when Kelenic is on his way.
    Also, do you really see him and Julio down at the schoolyard this year? Or is Julio a 2022.
    I will be honest, I am becoming sold on Julio being the next big thing in Seattle.
    Thanks Itch, nothing better than the promising hope of prospects

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      You and me both, Foxman!

      I think super 2 is this weekend: Sunday probably, but it’s a moving target and should be later this year.

      I think September for Julio as reward for a monster season, if he stays healthy.

  2. Lower the Jolly Roger says:
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    Love this… Try to sell High on Baddoo and/or India? Or hold … Both in my minors/stash .. which makes them gold .. 12 team dynasty roto + 10 farm… thank you as always!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks!!

      I’d hold Baddoo and shop India.

      • c says:
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        Funny, I’d do the opposite. India has some pedigree. Baddoo seems like a flash in the pan to me.

        • goodfold2 says:
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          exactly he’s a rule 5 guy. india’s floor is so good he’s playing already when basically everybody thought “oh crap CIN’s gonna force j.garcia more at bats when he’s not played above A ball again since they STILL haven’t signed any of these FA SS’s ” , it would’ve made FAR more sense for CIN to say pay semien his money than TOR when everybody knew they do and did need SP not more hitters to steal time from their other hitters); then BAM less than a month till season “hey we’ll just move suarez to SS even though he’s horrible at it to make sure india’s playing everyday without having to learn a new position”

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
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          Well that’s kind of my thought exactly.

          Who’s paying up for Baddoo?

          I’d want him, but I’ll bet India pulls more interest.

          Also I like Baddoo a lot. Not looking to sell early because I think the push to sell-high might wind up just that: selling early and winding up selling low.

  3. Steamin Beamen says:
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    Itch, really enjoy reading all your write ups!

    I drafted Marco Luciano based on your prospect rankings. Had to drop him due to injuries because I also have Luis Patino taking up a roster spot, but plan to pick him back up when Patino is called up.

    Is SF an organization you feel could mess with Luciano though, and hold him back until 2023, or does he definitely make it to the bigs in 2022?

    Thanks and again awesome work!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Steamin Beamen!

      If he’s good this year, he could end it in AA and be hammering on the door in 2022.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      is this based on stan beaman (the americans, the show), cause that’d be awesome.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        RIP Nina

        Big fan of her

  4. toolshed says:
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    I agree with you on luzardo. I drafted him in a redraft and I already regret it. I did not expect him to be an ace but I can’t even use him. He has the twins next. No thanks. This isn’t even a dynasty league so I guess you support dumping him and finding someone else at least until carrasco gets back

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I’d move him in a trade today, but I wouldn’t be dropping him.

  5. Seth says:
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    Hi! What month do we think the Padres will bring up Gore? Is it totally dependent on injuries, or will they bring him along when they think he’s ready? Thanks!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I think it’s more about him being ready than anything, yeah. They kind of showed last year they’re not going to rush him up until they feel confident in his success.

  6. Dr Sauce says:
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    Hey Itch, your stuff is always a great read, much appreciated!!

    Maybe it was GM speak but it seemed as though Dayton Moore and the Royals were ready and willing to roster Bobby Witt jr out of camp this year. Admittedly that never seemed realistic, however you are predicting an arrival date of 2023. From consideration this year to having him in the minors for the entirety of 2021 and 2022 seems inconsistent with the message of the GM. Curious your take on this situation?
    As a lottery ticket and trade chip, I am holding him in 6 player keeper league. Owners in our league love the shiny new toy! Have to rethink my angle on this if 2023 is the realistic date for Witt’s debut.
    Cheers!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks for the kind words, Dr. Sauce!

      That was just an edit miss from a document I’ve been using for a while. Good looking out on that!

      I think Witt’s a great keeper there.

  7. Rob says:
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    Great recap. Thank you. Where would Pearson slot in?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks Rob!

      Near the back of the very next group of arms, mid 30s and 40s.

  8. Kelly Denzik says:
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    Great stuff thanks for the help

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thank you kindly and you’re welcome!

  9. lindorphins says:
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    How do you feel about Deivi Garcia, Logan Gilbert and MacKenzie Gore? My IL is currently full with Hayes, Lewis, Mondesi and Sale, so considering dropping Merryweather for a flier on one of these guys with 4/16 approaching.

    Preference between the three? Right or wrong idea overall? Just hold Merryweather? It’s a SVHD league and I have Green, May and Clase as my other relievers. Merryweather is SP/RP eligible so I’m able to start him as a SP while keeping the other three in my two RP slots and P slot. My rotation is Plesac, Bundy, Gausman, Lopez and Means.

    Thanks for any advice!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I’d rather drop Deivi than Merryweather. SV/H thing complicates it a little, but still Merryweather for me. Hayes should clear an IL spot soon.

  10. Jimmy says:
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    Traded him straight up for Bo two years ago….

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Wow. Nicely done!

  11. Woolly the Mammoth says:
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    Itch, I really appreciate your insightful articles. Any chance you plan on revisiting the relief pitcher posts that you made preseason? I would love to see an update sometime soon.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Woolly the Mammoth!

      Funny you should mention it because I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately for whatever reason.

      Graduations can come kind of slowly there, but I agree it’d be worth the effort to reassess that landscape. Lots of new info, I think, and it’s coming in hot all the time.

  12. Dong Show says:
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    Itch, dynasty question for you

    Guy wants my Trevor Rogers so I asked for Hayes. Told me throw in Alex Reyes and it’s a deal.

    Is that worth pulling the trigger or too much? I genuinely like Rogers and have a hard time keeping pitchers because I hate them so much lol so when I come across a shiny new one I never know what to do or how to gage them.

    I have JRam and Moncada already but Hayes looks like a stud.

    Your thoughts?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I’d do it.

      Good offer, and I’m hesitant to part w Reyes, but agreed, Hayes looks monstrous to me. Might be the last window to buy him right now.

  13. Task Force says:
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    Hey Itch,

    I see you have Julio Rodriguez debuting in 2021 any projection on which month? I know Kelenic is first up so maybe September or October I’m thinking?

    Thanks!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hey Task Force,

      Yeah I’m thinking September.

      I can see him pushing that if he mashes early.

  14. malamoney

    malamoney says:
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    What up Itch. Would you give up any of the following for Logan Gilbert?

    Torkelson, Abrams, Luciano, Witt

    This is a points league where we can keep 10 players and 4 minor leaguers forever. The scoring system in skewed towards SP.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hi, malamoney,

      Hmmm tough one there because you’ll be able to graduate Gilbert to a pro spot soon, and I don’t want to drop any of those bats.

      This is often where I see if I can push a 2-for-1 by being open to losing a hair on the overall value if I think I can pick up Gilbert after it’s done. Maybe someone really loves Luciano? Could pair him with a mediocre SP for a great one? I dunno. Just hate to leave a stone unturned if I see an FA angle I want to play.

  15. Moon Shots says:
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    Thanks for the good read Itch.

    Did you know you once (last year) encouraged me as I traded Brad Miller and Taijuan Walker for Randy Arozarena and Robert Puason in 3o team dynasty (this was before Randy came up and set the world on fire)? Sometimes when I’m having a bad day I have to think about that trade.

    Fast forward to today! Again in the service of my rebuild I traded Jesus Aguilar and Mike Foltynewicz for Michael Busch and Alex de Jesus. As such I’m curious about how you feel about those acquisitions. I do try to load up on dodgers prospects I can…

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Moon Shots!

      Haha that does feel good to revisit! Thank you for that!

      I like that move, though I’m a little worried Jesus Aguilar’s numbers tend to outpace his perceived value. Regardless, I think this is good return for guys you might want to drop (especially Folty) with a couple bad weeks. Busch especially seems to have a ton of helium in some circles.

  16. goodfold2 says:
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    adell at 124 at bats, evans’ 125 is less or 2 paradigms being used here

    – kelenic, pretty sure was 2 not long ago, was his 2nd at that time based on ETA this year that changed in your mind, 2 to 5 seems a large drop.

    – b.davis moved over robinson lately (not that it was a large jump overall i guess, at least not as much as kelenic’s 2nd to 5th), guessing that IS ETA based.

    – HH move up too or is this just me not having the top 100 in my immediate proxmity?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Adell and Evans have both graduated on service time.

      I’d have to see that Kelenic ranking to remember it because I don’t remember having him 2nd, but 2 to 5 is a very small drop in this class because there’s a handful-plus of truly elite prospects. That said, I am a little lower on Kelenic than consensus.

      Brennen Davis has been training with the club nonstop through the shutdown. K-Rob has not.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        Yeah I moved Heriberto up a lot. Rare impact bat until proven otherwise imo.

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
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          The move is born from looking at the list and my leagues and thinking about who I’d trade for whom in which leagues today. Also a little bit Yermin related.

          Water finds its level, even if it can’t field.

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