The date is June 9, a fairly insignificant moment in the western, Gregorian sense but a potentially monumental one in the 2021 baseball sense. The ever-floating cheap prospects super two service time cutoff line is now, or tomorrow, or next week, depending on how much baseball everyone ends up playing over the next two years. It’s a ratio stat where the denominator is everyone in baseball’s service time, so to call it a “moving target” sells the math problem a little bit short. It’s guesswork. Educated, certainly, but guesswork nonetheless, and the best guesses we have point to the middle of June, maybe even June 10 in particular. 

Get your popcorn ready. 

San Francisco LHP Sam Long got the call Tuesday and figures to go second in a bullpen game in his debut today. Drafted by the Rays in 2016, Long spent 2019 with the White Sox then landed in the Zaidi net that catches so many valuable drifters, hitting Spring Training 2021 with such a splash it invited hope and hyperbole among the fandom. Click here to read a fun piece from March titled Will Sam Long Become the Pitching Yaz?

Long then went to AA and struck out 22 across 15 innings before striking out 15 in 7.2 innings at AAA, surrendering just one hit and a walk to force a promotion this week. He’s been going about four innings each time out and hasn’t lasted later than the fourth, so we might be looking at a Tampa-style slow rollout. Considering he’ll debut as a follower-slash-win-vulture, he makes for an enticing flier I’m deploying today in my 30-team dynasty. 

Toronto C Riley Adams inherits part of baseball’s Defense Against the Dark Arts position, catching for a Toronto team that’s lost two starters already in Captain Alejandro T. Kirk and Danny Jansen—not to mention Reese McGuire’s exposure issues. Even as he’s four deep on the organizational depth chart, Adams is intriguing for fantasy because he can thump like Uncle Fester, slashing .250/.410/.600 with six home runs in 19 AAA games. You can squint and see a version of this next guy. 

Detroit C Erik Haase the hoff is crushing the game these days and looking like a top ten catcher for 2021. He bested 20 bombs in each of his last three minor league seasons. Easily clears the fantasy baseball bar at catcher. Even picks up at bats at DH and OF. He’s a must add in any format right now. He’s poised to lock in a long term gig on a club seeking any kind of building block. 

Speaking of long term Tigers, 3B Spencer Torkelson has put the early season struggles behind him, slashing .343/.465/.743 with three home runs, six walks and eight strikeouts in his last ten games. 

San Francisco 1B/OF LaMonte Wade Jr. graduated from prospect eligibility this week as the regular leadoff hitter for the Giants. Seemed like he might take a backseat when Brandon Belt buckled up again after a brief stint on the injured list, but Wade slid out to right field instead and went 3-for-5 on the night. He’s slashing .310/.408/.548 with three home runs and one steal while striking out 28.6 percent of the time, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen all year out of Wade and am holding him in three dynasties and an NL Only, even if Yastrzemski’s impending return keeps his role in flux. He’s especially useful in OBP leagues that have high thresholds for MiLB spots. 

Cleveland RHP Xzavion Curry and Atlanta RHP Spencer Strider both earned early promotions to High A, so we’ll have a much better idea of who they are about a month from now. Both were way too much for their Low A opponents, having come from high end ACC programs in Georgia Tech and Clemson. Strider was good his first time out at Rome: 4 IP, 5 baserunners, 1 ER, 8 Ks. 

Seattle OF Jarred Kelenic gets the last word today. As opposed to what I’ve seen everywhere else telling you to hold Kelenic and trust everyone who loves him, I think this demotion creates a solid selling opportunity. Sure, he’s better than he showed—.096/.185/.193 across 93 plate appearances—but his statistical track record never warranted his chamber love. I just saw Eric Cross say on Twitter he still has Kelenic as the #1 overall prospect today. If you can sell him as a top 15 type, I suggest you consider it. I’ve been racking my brain for days to recall a prospect who played this terribly but wound up a superstar. Maybe you can help in the comments. Mike Trout struggled badly in his first chance, but that .220/.281/.390 is much, much better than we saw from Kelenic, who was frankly uncompetitive in his plate appearances. Pitcher in the batter’s box stuff. Now some of this is spidertack, and some of this is big league pitchers joyously eating his lunch, but neither of those things are changing super soon in my opinion. Well, maybe the spidertack will change, but that’s not where I want to place my dynasty bets. I wouldn’t be peddling Kelenic beside the highway somewhere, but if I could swap him for Brujan or Torkelson or Witt or Abrams or even (gasp) Wander if you play with a Cross truther, I’d be thrilled, even if I had to sprinkle in a little something to make it happen. 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

 
  1. BtheEsq. says:
    (link)

    Haase or Grandal? OBP instead of AVG.

    Thanks!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Grandal, though I’d love to have them both over the next couple weeks to see how Haase holds up.

      • OddBall Herrera says:
        (link)

        What about Haase over Yermin at C? I have been all-in on Yermin, but he just can’t afford to struggle much more and expect to keep getting DH ABs

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
          (link)

          Yolo Haase today

          • Brendan says:
            (link)

            Haase or will smith?

      • birdsonbat says:
        (link)

        Hasse over carson kelly?

  2. Hamporter says:
    (link)

    Itch,

    Have been keeping an eye on the Giants game today. Long has a great story, but looks pretty solid so far and just came out for his 5th inning. Do you think he sticks in the rotation for a few weeks? Always looking at catching lightning in a bottle!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Yeah, Hamporter, he looks damn good to me. 95 heat that stays up. 82 change with nice fade. 74 curve that falls off the table. Giddyup. Realy, really, really wish I’d moved him up my faab lists the past couple runs. Landed him in my 30, but today is not doing me any favors when it comes to tonight’s faab run in the 20.

  3. Baggie John says:
    (link)

    Good evening from the UK!

    Picked up Haase in one League, as you and Grey both highlighted him – thanks!

    Following on from your Top 100 post, I was offered Kelenic for Alex Reyes in a Dynasty League where I’m still a year or 2 away from challenging; I flipped it for CJ Abrams and he accepted. I know that it’s all hypothetical, but I’m pretty pumped about that Trade

    No-one’s biting on Brandon Marsh, and I suspect I may end up dropping him – he has a $3 salary, which isn’t helping

    Enjoy your Wednesday!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Good evening, Baggie John!

      Haase has been a helluva fun ride so far. Here’s hoping it keeps up!

      I love this sequence of events for your build. From Reyes to Abrams in two smooth moves. Beautiful in its simplicity.

      Yeah I might drop Marsh with the plethora of quality prospects popping right now. There’s always another faab run to wait until someone swoops and refuses to trade them.

      Thanks! Hope you have a great week!

  4. Veonel Lalera says:
    (link)

    What’s the story with Leonel Valera?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      19-year-old last we saw him has filled out with some man strength at 21 while maintaining his speed. Patient approach at the plate who swings, as my father used to say, like he’s killing snakes. Might have some contact issues, but I’m encouraged that it’s an edge-of-his-ability torque-wild swing right now, which gives him time to learn pitch selection. It’s hard to learn that kind of swing. It’s a big like I imagine high diving or ski jumping. You have to trust your physicality and really let it go.

      • Veonel Lalera says:
        (link)

        Cool! Thank you.

  5. Wenger says:
    (link)

    Hi Itch!

    Solid first 4 frames for Long, how do you see his value in Dinasty? He was’nt even ranked in most of 30 list checked so far.
    Would you drop any of this guys for him?
    T Widener
    C Flexen

    Additionally, any thoughts on Bailey Falter? crushing AAA so far with great ratios.

    Thanks!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Hi Wenger!

      Man, I dunno what this means for long term, but I really loved what I saw and am just getting him everywhere I can. Has a bit of Means in him in that he’s a pedigree-free prospect who nonetheless gives hitters one helluva hard time, and he’s got some Rich Hill in him in that his curveball pairs with the four-seamer in a video-game kind of perfection.

      Yeah I’d happily drop either of those guys for him. He should’ve gotten a win today, and should have lots of good chances at W’s on this team–something you can’t quite say for Widener or Flex.

      I like Falter. Lefties with command will always intrigue me, and Falter gets a lot of grounders–another trait I really like, now more than ever. He’s super cheap right now in part because his spin rates are low, but I think it could work, even in Philly.

      Thanks! Have a good one!

      • Harley Earl says:
        (link)

        Shouldn’t Long get a discount since this was against the Rangers? I mean, they are basically a Triple-A team. That was my first thoughts when I saw what he was doing. Was that shortsighted of me?

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
          (link)

          Oh for sure I agree we should keep the contexas in mind and ding the outcomes a bit on that. But the eye test, specifically against Adolis and Calhoun when I was watching most closely, favored Long.

          The hitters’ decision timing is what reminded me of Hill. When a minor leaguer totally whiffs at a high fastball or curve off the plate, it looks cool n all, but when big leaguers, even mediocre ones, look totally lost at the plate, I’ll put a feather in that pitcher’s cap and watch him a little more closely moving forward. If you get a chance, watch this start and try to guess whether the pitch is curve, heat, or change. Texas cam angle is not ideal, but it was pretty surprising how often I couldn’t identify the pitch until very late even through the TV.

          • Harley Earl says:
            (link)

            Yeah, this is a good idea. I think I’ll take you up on your suggestion. Should give me a much better idea of what I’m looking at! Thanks boss!

  6. Grey

    Grey says:
    (link)

    I bought the Xzavion package from Spectrum and wasn’t happy with it, no Showtime? WTH

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      You should see the Xzavion-branded bullshit Mediacom tries to pedal around here.

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
          (link)

          Won’t curry much favor with us hocking a streaming bundle w no showtime

  7. bobbyt0805 says:
    (link)

    I am not looking up, but Cub lore has Ryne Sandburg sta
    rting, IDK, 0/56 or something?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Hmmm, I do remember something like that but am struggling to find game logs that old. It doesn’t show in his season lines. Batted .271 as a rookie.

  8. Some guy says:
    (link)

    Re: Kelenic.

    Hmm… How about Kyle Tucker’s first run? Buxton and Baez pretty much faceplanted too.
    Also, Bregman was like 1 for his first 32.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      These are solid examples in a few senses.

      1) I think you’d have felt pretty good, all in all, to have sold high on these guys when they could’ve brought you back the moon. Solid fantasy players, sure, but superstars for our game? Depends on your perspective, of course, but none have ever been first rounders for me.

      2) Buxton is the only one who garnered #1 overall placement from popular public publications, I believe.

      3) All were better than Kelenic in their first 100 plate appearances by at least 100 points of slugging.

  9. Norman Ginsberg says:
    (link)

    Willie Mays rebounded from his 1 for 25 start to become a fairly successful player. Although admittedly not as good as pundits expected for Kellenic.

    Perhaps, Kellenic is an example of the NY Mets accumen — knowing to sell Kellenic before he got exposed.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Got a nice lil laugh out of me here, Norman Ginsberg. Well played, on both : )

      That Mays guy will always be looking up at pre-2021 Jarred Kelenic scouting reports.

      Something I should’ve noted in the body of the piece, Kelenic was getting worse in as he neared 100 PA. Only thinking of it now because these are all great names to think about in connection here, most of them being guys who scuffled for a week or so and then got better.

      Over his last 11 games, JK went 0-for-37 with a 40.5% K rate.

      • Oddball Herrera says:
        (link)

        Compare him to Vaughn, whose stat cast screams that it’s just a matter of time. I briefly thought about trying to do a buy low on Kelenic but there is literally nothing you can find there that looks encouraging

  10. dubjay says:
    (link)

    Hey Itch,
    Would you drop S.Murphy to pick up Haase? I cant really figure out how to value Murphy. Usually have him batting higher up in the order these days which is great for counting stats. But hasnt hit for as much power as I thought that he would give me.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Hey dubjay,

      I would. Hot schmotato can work really well at Catcher.

  11. Harley Earl says:
    (link)

    I see you taking a lot of heat about Kelenic Itch but I’m right there with you.

    I’ve never seen Kelenic as the #1 prospect and I think he got a little too much hype for whatever reason. His speed will never play into that many stolen bases at the MLB level. I think the BEST we’re looking at here is another Dylan Carlson. Nice prospect but no way in hell did Carlson deserve to be #1 just as Kelenic didn’t either.

    Julio, however. … Vidal, however. … You can do it Itch. Make them #1 and #2. You know Wander isn’t as good as either. I know you know. I know you want to do it, too.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Agreed: upside never warranted the chamber want.

      I’d flip him for Julio in a heartbeat if I could. Should’ve put him in that list.

  12. Powdered Toast Man says:
    (link)

    Hey Itch-
    I think Kelenic is a Mariners thing. Way too much like Dustin Ackley. Lots of hype, rushed and boom- we have a guy who can play but isn’t all that.

    My question- is Kelenic more Jake Marisnick or Josh Reddick? Or is he Eddie Rosario good?

  13. Oddball Herrera says:
    (link)

    I am started to get excited about Josh Lowe, he is arguably outhitting Franco and Brunson, and that K rate is hugely inflated by two golden sombrero games. And he has a decent path to playing time!

    Am I talking myself into his or is he really a top stash right now?

    • Oddball Herrera says:
      (link)

      Brujan

  14. Ben W says:
    (link)

    When do you expect Jesus Sanchez to be called up? Is he a must stash? Must add?

  15. Moon Shots says:
    (link)

    Appreciate you Itch.

    I just flipped Braden Shewmake for Seth Corry in 30 team dynasty. Im a G’s fan but also my farm is weak on pitching side and extremely mighty on hitting side (abrams, luciano, jasson, vaughn, matos, hedbert blah blah). Thoughts?

    Do i detect that Puason is falling out of good standing in prospector circles? Is now the time to flip him before others catch on, say for Tyler Sodorstrom or Kyle Harrison? Or should one practice patience with 11 year old SS prospects transitioning to a new culture and way of life?

    Thank you sir.

    • Moon Shots says:
      (link)

      Oh yeah Vidal too on that hitting side. Just amending the list for fun since i know your love for him.

  16. Roll Tribe says:
    (link)

    Need the inside scoop Itch

    Your take on Kyler Muller please

  17. Sko Sox says:
    (link)

    Hey Itch – great insights. Question for you:

    10 team keeper league (can keep 11 players) with deep benches. P cats are QS, Ks, ERA, WHIP, K/9 and SV/HLD.

    I drafted Nate Pearson in the mid rounds as an optimistic play and hopeful keeper. Haven’t been impressed with anything aside his velocity and Ks, and he’s getting smashed in AAA w/ 13 hrs in 11 innings. Can I dump him and move on? Worth dropping for Mother Tucker Davidson or Sam oh-so Long?

    Would love your take

  18. Sko Sox says:
    (link)

    Hey Itch – great insights. Question for you:

    10 team keeper league (can keep 11 players) with deep benches. P cats are QS, Ks, ERA, WHIP, K/9 and SV/HLD.

    I drafted Nate Pearson in the mid rounds as an optimistic play and hopeful keeper. Haven’t been impressed with anything aside his velocity and Ks, and he’s getting smashed in AAA w/ 13 hrs in 11 innings. Can I dump him and move on? Worth dropping for Mother Tucker Davidson or Sam oh-so Long?

    Would love your take

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *