Baseball TwitterX was peppered with Prospect Crush lineups last week, and while I’m not sure I could articulate the definition of “crush” in this context, I thought the idea was interesting enough to build an article around as we near the tail end of the minor league season. I mean I almost dropped my own squad into Elon Musk’s private hype site before I realized I was pouring a lot of time into generating content for everyone’s favorite space invader. 


Baltimore C Samuel Basallo 

Most seasons, the truest answer here is nobody. Prospect crushes on catchers are bad business, generally speaking. Yainer Diaz, Freddy Fermin, and Ryan Jeffers are all pretty solid examples of finding value just by reacting. To get Diaz, you did probably have to be ahead of the curve, but he was drafted in the First-Year-Player draft of a competitive 15-team dynasty heading into 2023, so you probably didn’t have to burn a roster spot for long holding him. Basallo has earned this spot on the field by dominating both A-ball levels and reaching Double-A as a 19-year-old. I mentioned that I might try to trade him, but that would be more of a making-him-available situation than anything where I’m going out of my way to move him. He’s such a good hitter, and so is Adley Rutschman, that they could both be in the lineup most nights. 


Rangers 1B Abimelec Ortiz 

Paul Goldschmidt. Matt Olson. Pete Alonso. Most of the great fantasy first basemen are never ranked real high on public-facing prospect lists. They must mash to live. Ortiz has 33 homers in 109 games across two levels this year. The strikeout rate isn’t great (27 percent in 80 High-A games), but he’s young enough (21) to look past that for now because the power comes easily for Abimelec, who has a preternatural ability to identify pitches he can lift to the pull side. 


Cubs 2B Jefferson Rojas 

Have to fuzz the lens a bit to get a crush-like feeling at second base, which is frequently where young shortstops wind up by the time they make the majors. My search was exhaustive and left me with a long list of wart-speckled contenders: Dodgers 2B Alexander Albertus, Diamondbacks 2B Jansel Luis, Cardinals 2B Thomas Saggesse, Athletics 2B Brennan Milone, Cubs 2B Matt Shaw, White Sox 2B Javier Mogollon, Brewers 2B Pedro Ibarguen. Rojas gets the nod because he posted a 115 wRC+ in 70 Low-A games as an 18-year-old, showcasing speed and power beyond his years and size. He may remain primarily a shortstop for a few years, but if he gets to the majors as a Cub, he’ll be joining a well-paid, veteran middle infield and would likely do so as a second-base utility type. 


Rays 3B Junior Caminero 

Not a big pile of contenders for all the feels at the hot corner. Might as well reach for the top shelf. He’ll finish up 2023 at 20 years old with 31 home runs across two levels, 20 of those coming in 80 Double-A games during which he slashed .314/.379/.557 with a 17.1 percent strikeout rate. 


Rangers SS Sebastian Walcott 

Have I picked too many named guys? As I said, I wasn’t real clear on the meaning of the word in this context, but it’s also true that Walcott would be my pick at this spot in most contexts. He’s got a long way to go, so it’s easy to overvalue guys like him in a startup scenario, but outside of that, I’m all in on kick-his-ass Seabass. 


Diamondbacks OF Kristian Robinson 

This spot probably took the least time: I’m checking in on Robinson more than any other player by long, long ways. He’s had a tough road to get here. They all do, I know, but they don’t all lose three seasons to legal and mental health issues–not to mention covid. He’s in Double-A right now after a three-day home run binge got him out of Low-A. He posted a 119 wRC+ in ten games at High-A in July. He’s striking out a lot, but he’s shown tremendous skill in producing above-average outcomes after missing so much time.


Brewers RHP Jacob Misiorowski

Takes the starting pitcher spot even if he retains a little relief risk born from long limbs and an unconventional delivery. The 6’7” 190 lb 21-year-old made it all the way to Double-A in his first full professional season, striking out 36 hitters in 21 innings there but posting a 5.57 ERA and issuing 16 walks. If that stretch opens a bit of a buying window in dynasty leagues, I’m peaking my head in there. 


It’s been two and a half months and 25 innings since Guardians RHP Franco Aleman allowed an earned run. He’s recorded 39 strikeouts, allowed nine hits and permitted five walks over that stretch, posting a 0.56 WHIP. At 6’6” 235 lbs, Aleman features surprising arm speed and athleticism that allows him to repeat in rhythm. Emmanuel Clase is under contract forever (team options through 2028), so Duffman is more a holds-league play than anything.  

Thanks for reading!

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Harley Earl
Harley Earl
3 days ago

Love your work Itch! This is a great piece and a great time to do this one.

Two questions. I was very fortunate enough to pick up Samuel Basallo just two weeks ago. When I began reading your article, I was positive you would have Ethan Salas in this spot. But, surprisingly to me, you had Basallo, which makes me very happy! At the same time, I wonder why you chose Basallo over Salas? Seems like everyone is so high on Salas these days. Second question, what kind of ETA do you give Basallo for reaching the majors?

Thanks and great work again!!!

Dom Cobb
Dom Cobb
5 days ago

What kind of line do you see for Spencer Horwitz next year? Assuming the Jays don’t bring Belt back.

5 days ago

Hey Itch – best stuff as usual. 11 team points league. We keep 10. We use a RF, CF, and LF, plus 2 UTs. Right now I am leaning towards keeping:

Kyle Tucker – RF
Yordan Alvarez – LF
Cody Bellinger – CF
Bobby Witt, Jr – 3B
Bo Bichette – SS
Vinnie Pasquantino – 1B
Corbin Burnes – SP
Logan Webb – SP
Tarik Skubal – SP
Shane McClanahan – SP (IL)

Basically, every high-end prospect is available. Would you keep Caminero, Holliday or Chourio, over any of the above?

Reply to  Force3father
3 days ago

at this point you may lose a year of McClanahan. Personally i would take all 3 (Holliday a, chourio 2 and caminero 3- and the there are about 5 guys i would slide between 2 and 3 if there are other options- Wood, – and i guess Lawler and Carter are both in the bigs now so off the list).

Vinnie seems very replacable.

Oddball Herrera
Oddball Herrera
5 days ago

Watching Langford absolutely demolish AA has been a treat, particularly as he’s moving just as fast as Crews and the latter is struggling. Going into 2024 it’s either him or Caminero at the top of my list

5 days ago

Brilliant as always Itch! stumbled my way into Rojas a few months in dynasty and am thrilled I did!

with same dynasty I’m trying to see how I can spin my 2nd base glut into useable pieces elsewhere.

Right now I’ve got Albies, India, and Julien occupying my 2nd, MI, and Util, plus ONeil Cruz and Neto to help fill MI next year.

My gut tells me to shop India, but Albies could help land a primo prospect that India couldn’t. any thoughts on your 2b preferences?

I probably can’t win next year, but could push for 3rd. 15 team 5×5 OBP keep forever dynasty, with 25 prospect slots.

Jose Hernandez
Jose Hernandez
5 days ago

What is your opinion on CF Blake Dunn? I know he just turned 25, but he has lost a couple of years to injuries. This year mostly healthy he has put up a great season. Is he a legit prospect?

5 days ago

Hard question to answer Itch and I’m sorry for that in advance but is there anyone who has improved their stock tremendously late in the season? Like into the top 50? Last week to add/drop before the season goes on pause until spring. Thanks so much in advance!

Reply to  Jimmy
3 days ago

Just general advice here- but the guys that are making that jump are guys who moved up a level and are dominatng that level. So the guys that got a late AA call up, or even to high A. Basallo is exactly that mold- i could see him being top 10-15 going into next season on some lists, and mid season he was likely in the 50-75 range most places.

5 days ago

The Itch!!!


a. Love the report and intel!!

b. Who’s the drop for Forrest Wall in a keep forever dynasty no inflation, 5×5 roto, daily, with OPS and K/9, SVH swapping AVG and K, S? I think he’s going to be Ruiz lite in 2024 on a winning team maybe better with OBP.

Arozarena, Betts, Bryant, Carroll, JLowe
Paredes, MaikelG
Bench Vaughn, Schanuel, WilyerA, Meadows, Ruiz, DJ Stewart
IL Casas (hence the Walsh pickup), Jung, Duran, Mitchell

SP Cease, Wicks, Gavin Williams, Bibee, EuryP, Joe Ryan, Abbott, Gipson-Long
RP Sewald, Uribe, Diaz, Doval, Fairbanks, Joyce, Little
IL Lodolo

c. Add Kristian Robinson over any of these guys? Same league and cats, minors roster.

Addison Barger
Tyler Robertson


d. As you can see, both MLB and MiLB are chock full of your goodness!! Thanks a million.

e. Jerry Seinfeld quote of the day for September 17, 2023

Newman: You wanna know what happened to Kramer? I’ll tell you what happened to Kramer. He was ticked off. About the keys. Yeah, that’s right – about the keys. Thought he got a bad rap.
Jerry: Bad rap?
Newman: Yeah, from you.
Jerry: Me?
Newman: You heard me. So he packed it up and split for the coast. La-La Land. LA.

Seinfeld, S03E23 – The Keys