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.