In researching for this week’s article, I kept seeing flies in the ointment, so to speak. I’ve lost track of the ground. MLB’s new pre-tacked balls fresh from a humidor seem to have created more fade on change-ups, more run on 2-seamers, more cut on wake-shifters, more dive on sliders and less distance off the bat. The general hysteria has finally trickled into my thinking about how to evaluate minor league baseball players. My local Cedar Rapids Kernals are not using a humidor. I couldn’t verify the same for every team, but I’m willing to guess that less than one percent of minor league parks are using a humidor. Which baseball they’re using . . . you’d probably have to be a veteran big league pitcher to tell the difference on a given night. 

So how does this affect my eyes when watching MiLB.tv? I’ve been protected from it a little because the video feeds are rarely so crystal clear I can see the ball off the bat with my outfielder eyes and predict with some degree of accuracy where it will land in an instant. 

This invitational, predictive aspect of a long fly ball is a big part of what makes watching baseball fun.  “Is that a home run!?” asks the excited fan’s mind. “Oh farts, it landed on the track,” the game responds, over and over and over again to the extent that you start to get a little frustrated. Years of built in baseball-watching from this camera angle have trained us all to play along in this regard, so we’re all experts in our minds to the extent that our self-confidence allows. 

My eyes haven’t been deceived on the warning track much in the minors this year. I don’t know how to react to the idea that a prospect might need significantly more power and better plate skills than he shows in the minors to thrive in the majors. For now, I’m planning to slow-play it rather than overreact. 

 

Colorado 3B Elehuris Montero landed 15th on Volume 1 of the 2022 Prospect Stash List last week. He’s something of an odd fit as a Kris Bryant replacement because Bryant hasn’t played third base at all this season, and it’s rarely smart money to go chasing rookies on the Rockies, but Montero has plus plate skills with plus power and would be a must-add if we felt confident he was going to play. He’s slashing .288/.356/.450 with an 18.7 percent strikeout rate, which is pretty close to what he did during his one month in AAA last year. Might not have much more to prove there; might be sent down the second this goes to press. 

 

San Francisco 1B/3B Sean Roby is the kind of dude I’d have to pay closer attention to if the fooly balls remain in play during MLB games. I’m looking now anyway thanks to his .702 slugging percentage, 14.5 percent walk rate, and eight home runs in 17 games at AA, but the 37.7 percent strikeout rate might pretty much disqualify a 23-year-old at that level from making the Sunday article. Roby is 6’2” 215 lbs and hits the ball hard enough that he can leave any park with just about any baseball. 

 

Arizona OF Stone Garrett (AAA) will be pretty high on the next stash list, assuming he doesn’t get the call before then. The club’s AAA numbers are always inflated, but Garrett’s plus power and .375/.430/.764 slash line look good enough to mix in with that lineup, at least. Like Roby, Garrett’s a guy with big raw who gains a little value in an environment where it’s harder to clear the fence. Unlike Roby, he’s looking at near-term playing time and has enough speed to help us in roto leagues if he gets the time. 

 

Washington 2B Luis Garcia (AAA) is lighting it up in AAA, posting his best statistical stretch to date: .366/.422/.646 with five home runs, eight walks, and 13 strikeouts (14.4%) in 19 games. The club seems to see him as a 2B-only type of player. Or maybe they just really love Alcides Escobar and his .180 slugging percentage, which is worse than some of the worst hitting pitchers. Maybe they just really miss seeing non-batters hit every nine guys. Garcia brings me baseball worries in the ragball sense. Is he a warning-track guy now? I know I said I wouldn’t overreact, but here’s a situation where it’s really going to matter which balls are in play while Garcia is. 

 

Atlanta has become an organization to explore for pitching values. RHP Royber Salinas has struck out 43 batters in 18.2 innings. He’s also walked eleven, so there’s a way to go here for a 21-year-old power pitcher in Low A, but the early returns couldn’t be much more encouraging. 

 

Could give a similar report for 6’5” 210 lb RHP Andrew Hoffmann, who has a 28.2 K-BB% in High-A as a 21-year-old. Even more encouraging, Hoffman is looking like the kind of horse every team would love to have, pitching deeper into each of his first four starts. He lasted four innings in his season opener, then went five, then six, and threw seven innings of two-run ball his last time out. If their organizational track record is any indication, neither guy will remain at his current level for long. 

 

San Francisco 3B Jason Vosler has home runs in back-to-back games, which wouldn’t normally mean a whole lot to me, but I’ve been pretty into Vosler since 2019, and his second homer went all the way to the water beyond right field. The Cubs had Vosler for about six hours this winter unless I fever-dreamed that. I remember being excited to see if he could unseat Wisdom at third base, but that’s in the past now. The Giants are being infected by the coronavirus this week, and Vosler is making the most of his extra opportunities, working good counts, fouling off tough pitches and recently being rewarded with loud outcomes. 

 

Detroit SS Wenceel Perez has been hot in repeating High-A as a 22-year-old. In his last ten games, the switch hitter is slashing .297/.422/.703 with eight walks, nine strikeouts, four home runs, and two stolen bases. He played 90 games at the level last season and should be bumped up to AA next time the org evaluates his situation. 

 

Baltimore 3B Tyler Nevin hit a warning track shot against Nathan Eovaldi Saturday night. He seemed to think it was gone. Eovaldi thought it was gone. Announcer said it was April. Then after the break, he told us it traveled 396 feet. Color guy said it would clear the wall two weeks from now. Play-by-play guy starts talking about the humidor. This is baseball in 2022. Nevin is playing third base. I’ve been poking a little here and there at Kelvin Gutierrez being their everyday guy. This spot is wide open and Nevin has been playing well in AAA.

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

29 Comments
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tyler
tyler
3 months ago

being offered the following deal:
I give up Yordan
I get Kelenic
either Wilman Diaz or Gilberto Jimenez
and a pick in our keeper draft(which this year would have been someone between Guasman and Devin Williams)
I am going to the deal… but i need some reassurance on kelenic and who to take between diaz and jimenez…looking long term.

thoughts?

tyler
tyler
Reply to  tyler
3 months ago

or i can put eloy into the deal and remove kelenic and the prospect

Hernan
Hernan
3 months ago

damn, missed this article…, speaking about Brave’s Farm Arms.., what about Jared Shuster?…, already in AA and the other day Kd 8 straight batters to end with 12 in 5 innings…

Dan
Dan
3 months ago

Is roansy being stretched out to be recalled as a starter ? Alex cobb is wanting to know ! Lol

Grey
Admin
Reply to  Dan
3 months ago

Ha, first I’m hearing that, but it wouldn’t surprise me

Philip
Philip
3 months ago

Good stuff, Itch. Always appreciate these articles.

So far in my 20 team dynasty I have grabbed Luis Garcia, esteury Ruiz, and Joey wiemer.

How interchangeable are these three guys with other random prospects in the 100-200 range? The top 100 prospects are all owned.

Also, I just traded Alex Verdugo and Anthony Volpe for Aaron Judge. Any thoughts? I’m at the start of a long competitive window right now.

Thanks!

Jake from State Farm
Jake from State Farm
3 months ago

Brother Itch, amazing as always. Any must add pop up prospects to add thus far? I am in full win now mode and have a depleted farm. Also how low are Peraza and Pratto’s value right now? They are my last viable trade chips

dude
dude
3 months ago

Both Lewis and Duran available in my keeper league (keep 15 with escalating costs each year, so can’t stash players who won’t contribute this year).

Both are looking pretty good early on.

What do you see for each this year in terms of call up time frame and production?

And who do you like most beyond just this year?

Wenger
Wenger
3 months ago

Hi Itch

Any comments on Moises Gomez and Nelson Velasquez?
Thanks!

Ian Draheim
Ian Draheim
3 months ago

Itch – when do you think we see Corbin Carroll this year? Thx

Lower the Jolly Roger
Lower the Jolly Roger
3 months ago

Itch! Dropping Beer cause I just am… he’s just kinda meh imo…. 12 teamer stash/farm 10 … pickup Pereira or Rojas ?? Or anyone you just wrote about? (I already have Montero tanks to you ) … thanks in advance as always

galica1234
galica1234
3 months ago

The Itch!

Awesome!!!!!!

a. Sorry for not commenting, was stalking. Had a job which wasn’t for me so I quit said job. Other things in the pipeline should be up soon. Will let you know.

b. Love this list of guys except Hoese. Of all of them love Hoffmann the most ’cause he fits my social profile thingy (from Plains, went to HS in Plains then went to OakU in Auburn Hills and ended up transferring to his 3rd college for his junior year with the Illini, I go this guy is imitating our daughter he must be a millennial too and he is born in 00 just like our daughter!!). I have a roster spot open in the 15-man MiLB roster of my dynasty (4×4) 12-team league. Trouble in my league is I have to

1 drop a player from my MLB roster to add any MiLB-eligible players;
2 migrate the MiLB player to the vacant MiLB roster slot;
3 go populate the MLB bench with something useful and relevant.

Capiche?

So, here’s the roster. I’m in first with 78/96 points, despite my first three draft picks (Betts (better of late), Marte (still awaiting that Marte partay), and Arozarena (anyone else in MLB with 77 ABs is better, I checked!). Who is the drop from my team? I can try and pick up the same player after the move too.

Garver
Cron
India
Montero
Bogaerts
Schwindel
Walls
Walsh, Betts, Joe, JLowe, Marte
OMiller, Arozarena
Bench Choi, Tellez, Estrada, Chapman, Toro, Mateo
IL EWhite, Biggio
MiLB Harris, Brujan, JWalker, Acuna, Arias, LButler, Wiemer, Cowser

SP Manoah, Cease, Gonsolin, Houck, Kopech, Musgrove, Ryan
RP Doval, Hendriks, Iglesias, Kittredge, JLopez, RMontero, DRobertson, Whitlock
IL Lodolo, Paxton, Floro, Giles
MiLB Roansy, Walston, EuryP, Konnor Pilkington, LoganTAllen, JMurray

So, 35/35 MLB and 14/15 MiLB slots filled. In terms of standings…

Hitting 2nd with 38/48
Pitching 1st with 40/48

Offense
Steals-2nd, OBP-8th, RC-2nd, TB-2nd

Pitching
QS-3rd, K/9-2nd, SVH-3rd, WHIP-4th

c. Really stoked about news from the farm on Eury, JWalker and Harris. Hopefully they all take the next step in their careers.

d. George Carlin quote of the day for May 1, 2022

It’s never just a game when you’re winning.’

Cheers,
Ante

Zoomer
Zoomer
3 months ago

The Dodgers have not released Bauer (who was not occupying a spot on the active roster anyway) and Hoese still is in Tulsa. Sorry, you fell for a tweet from a phony account.