I have a confession to make, dear reader: I’m glad my wife doesn’t read my work here because I simply cannot stop thinking about . . . . Maikel Garcia

We’ll be having dinner, and she’ll be talking about her day, and I’ll be nodding along, or maybe even asking a follow-up question or two, but really all I’m thinking about is Maikel Garcia

Well, Nate Eaton, too. And Michael Massey sometimes. This week, Kansas City opened up 1,000 or so hypothetical plate appearances by trading center fielder Michael A. Taylor and shortstop Adalberto Mondesi. Word is the White Sox checked in on Nicky Lopez after that, and the Royals told them they view him as key depth. Sigh. Just when things were getting good. Roster resource plugged Hunter Dozier in at third base, and while that’s certainly plausible, how cool would it be if KC just kept trading these prospect-blockers? An infield of Witt, Garcia, Massey and Vinnie P looks like a lot of fun. So does an outfield of Edward Olivares, Drew Waters, and Nate Eaton with MJ Melendez at DH. Kyle Isbel and Samad Taylor factor in here somewhere, too. The club also signed Johan Camargo, so there’s no real reason to stop trading now. Can just play Camargo if they get scared of the youth movement.

Let’s build an ideal May 1 lineup.

LF Edward Olivares 

DH MJ Melendez 

1B Vinnie Pasquantino 

C Sal Perez

3B Bobby Witt Jr.

CF Drew Waters

SS Maikel Garcia 

2B Michael Massey 

RF Nate Eaton (Tyler Gentry sometime in June) 

Hey that ain’t bad. Hunter Dozier, Nicky Lopez and Johan Camargo could muck it up, but it wouldn’t make much sense. The organization hit the Go button on its rebuild, so there’s no reason to slow-play the follow-up prospects like Garcia, Tyler Gentry, or Nick Loftin. A team like this, I don’t understand why they’ve been loading up on veteran bats anyways. They should’ve been heavy in the veteran pitching market, leveraging their run-suppressing home park to help bounceback hurlers revitalize their profiles. KC inks a veteran hitter off a decent season, they’re typically going to take a value-hit of some kind as that park just tends to win out against hitting stats over time. 

 

From one run-suppressing park to another, Miami has been scrambling to create something that resembles an offense the past couple years. Jorge Soler, Avisail Garcia, Joey Wendle and Jacob Stallings all feel like bad luck to some extent, but none of these guys has ever been a consistent hitter, so their total disappearance from the batter’s box is not a total shocker. It’s a little surprising that all four totally forgot how to hit at the same time, but so it goes, especially when the coaching has shown as little as Miami’s has. 

Enter Luis Arraez, a great get for Miami, in the context of Miami. The Marlins get Arraez for a year more than they would’ve had Pablo Lopez, who is a very good pitcher but one who isn’t mission critical to the Marlins. Eury Perez was coming through no matter who was in the five spot, and this team is so pitching-rich that they’ll open 2023 with Trevor Rogers at the back. Johnny Cueto feels like a smart signing for them. Good for the fan base. Good for the young pitchers. Good for the bullpen as a veteran innings eater. Good because he allowed the team to trade from strength to address weakness. It’s not ideal that they had to include SS Jose Salas, who signed for $2.8 million in 2019 and is the older brother of top 2023 signing C Ethan Salas ($5.6 million with San Diego). I’m not sure who fits in as the club’s shortstop of the future without Salas in the picture. I still like Kahlil Watson more than most, but he’s a half-decade away. Joey Wendle will turn 33 in April, not that he’s your long-term answer anyway. I suspect you’re playing some Jazz in the back of your mind, but the team says Chisholm is headed to centerfield. I like that because it should let his athleticism breathe and relax. Throwing accuracy has always been a bugaboo for Chisholm, so let’s just remove that from the equation. He’s the best hitter. Need him in the lineup more than anywhere else. 

Let’s take a look at the lineup.

2B Luis Arraez

CF Jazz Chisholm

3B Jean Segura

1B Garrett Cooper

LF Bryan De La Cruz

DH Jorge Soler 

RF Avisail Garcia

SS Joey Wendle

C Jacob Stallings

Not the worst lineup you’ll ever see. I had Arraez as the two hitter, then the three hitter, but they don’t really have another option at the top, OBP-wise. Could be Segura, I guess. Or Jazz, but then your most impactful bat is up with the bases empty a lot. Could be Soler. Remember when he smashed out of the lead-off spot for Atlanta after Acuña went down? Has Miami even tried that? Meh, probably wouldn’t work for them anyhow. Looking at the lineup, you can make a case that Arraez is their best option at every spot in the order. 

I didn’t love the Zac Gallen trade for Miami when they made it, but it looks good now, and as long as they can keep developing quality major league starters, they should be hounding the market for these kinds of swaps. If you assume that Jose Salas and Bryan Chourio (not related to Jackson and Jaison) would struggle the way most Marlin prospects have, the trade looks even better. Why should they walk away from a trade because the cost is a little high in position-player prospects? Never works out for them anyway. Jazz, Cooper, De La Cruz: they’re all imports. Zero homegrown players on the position side. Jon Berti and Nick Fortes are the only homegrown hitters on the roster. Toronto import Jordan Groshans and homegrown JJ Bleday could both help at some point, though I don’t think either is particularly good. Same for Tampa import Jesus Sanchez.

I’ll say this for these Marlins: they’re fascinating. They snuck into the playoffs during the covid season and followed that up by adding the veterans mentioned in this article: Soler, Garcia, Stallings and Wendle. Seemed kinda great, actually, at the moment: excellent pitching combined with steady hitting coming off a playoff berth. But there’s often a tax for a playoff berth that comes early on a team’s win-curve arc. Baltimore seemed scared to death of that tax in 2022, I think, doing their level best to trade their way out of the playoffs. It’s a simple concept: you start blocking young players with medium-good veterans, which cuts off a key path to value for a building franchise: opportunity and discovery. Joey Meneses was just sitting out there, for instance, raking for basically his whole baseball life. They discovered some value in Jesus Aguilar down this path. Found money is key to building a sustainable winner, particularly for the teams that want to keep payroll low. Easier said than done, but this team should’ve been working to unearth their own Wendle and Stallings types–not trading from their system to get them. 

 

In Minnesota, Carlos Correa reroutes Royce Lewis and Brooks Lee to what might’ve been their ultimate destinations anyway. Lewis could be a dynamic outfielder, and Lee should take swimmingly to third or second base or both. I really like how the signing reshapes their future infields, and by extension of trading Arraez, their rotation. Bringing SP Pablo Lopez to Minnesota might cause some heartache in the fantasy community, where Bailey Ober is beloved. Maybe he won’t automatically get bounced from the rotation, but his outlook is certainly clouded at a glance.

Pablo Lopez

Sonny Gray

Joe Ryan

Tyler Mahle 

Kenta Maeda

These five are locked in if healthy, which pushes Ober, Louis Varland and Josh Winder to sixth, seventh and eighth. Simeon Woods-Richardson, Jordan Balazovic and Matt Canterino now feel lightyears away. Canterino is a good fit in the bullpen and could almost certainly help the major league team there at some point in 2023. It’s a good problem to have, but it’s a better problem to have when you’re Minnesota than when you’re Miami. The Twins are pretty close to the Marlins polar opposite when it comes to developing young hitters. Lets have a gander at the lineup. 

CF Byron Buxton

SS Carlos Correa

2B Jorge Polanco 

DH Jose Miranda 

1B Alex Kirilloff 

LF Joey Gallo

RF Max Kepler 

3B Nick Gordon and Kyle Farmer 

C Christian Vazquez 

I might not have all the spots right, but the key takeaway is that six of their nine starters are homegrown. OF Trevor Larnach and C Ryan Jeffers make eight on the roster. Royce Lewis makes nine whenever he gets back. I can’t say I really love the lineup, and I think the team will miss Arraez, and not just “oh gosh oh boy the fans sure miss this guy” but “oh man I think we goofed in letting this guy go.” He’d be perfect for the team, who doesn’t have much of a leadoff option at the moment. As constructed, the Twins will need Buxton, Kirilloff and Correa to get and stay healthy; they’ll need Joey Gallo to make contact, and they’ll need Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler to rebound from dismal seasons. It’s not ideal, but there’s real bounce potential in Jose Miranda and Alex Kirilloff. If either or both click, the offense could be excellent. Could be even better if Miranda proves he can handle third base and opens up DH to a mid-season promotion or trade. 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter. 

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David
David
8 hours ago

Good read Itch! What are your thoughts on Kyle Harrison? I have been offered him and R. Suarez for my Sean Murphy. I have Will Smith as my catcher. Thanks

goodfold2
goodfold2
12 hours ago

box wine has shown now on at least his last 3 teams that he likely won’t be a regular starter. as the HR’s go down the contact rate also still down anyway. we got a.dunn with less BB’s, less HR’s, and even less singles. a.dunn played for a pretty long time, doubt gallo gets that long. not a large bar for larnach to clear there. box wine is rosterresourced currently into righty side LF at bats as depressing as that looks for the amount it would ential.

Gordeon
Gordeon
18 hours ago

I’m in on Bryan De La Cruz this year…lotta dark Red on his Statcast page.
https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/bryan-de-la-cruz-650559?stats=statcast-r-hitting-mlb

Dr Sauce
Dr Sauce
21 hours ago

Hey Itch,
Giving some thought to your reply in your last post. Trading Witt makes some good sense. Thoughts on the following;
-Witt for Yordan?
-Witt for the 1st pick overall (keep 6 so this would be round 7)? Would keep -Gunner (drop Robert) than pick Robert with 1st overall. So essentially I would be getting Gunner and Robert for Witt
-Witt for Juan Soto?
-Witt for Machado?
-Witt for Freeman?
-The owners of Trea Turner, Ju-Rod and Aaron Judge won’t trade them.
-And I own Ohtani, Acuna, Tucker and Bichette
Any other suggestions in a one for one deal?
Thanks

phillip
phillip
22 hours ago

Good stuff, Itch! Thanks for the heads up on Garcia! Maybe he’s the next Vaughn Grissom?

Stl Squat Cobblers
Stl Squat Cobblers
23 hours ago

Excellent stuff The Itch!!

thehombre
thehombre
23 hours ago

Itch, I cannot get enough of the prospect/ dynasty content. Do you think Jayden Murray will get to pitch in Houston and does he carry any value moving forward? Can he come out of nowhere like Garcia did? I am weak at SP and I am trying to take flyers on anyone I can get who is close in a 30 team league.

TACO Plate
TACO Plate
23 hours ago

Hi Itch- how do you see the Brewers OF working out playing time wise this season, feel free to include DH if you see an OF playing a lot of DH. They seem to have plenty of prospects that could step in soon, but traded for Jesse Winker. Also, what do you see them doing with Keston Hiura ? He probably would not fetch much in a trade at this point in time. Maybe he could play some 2nd base with Kolten Wong gone, but if Brian Anderson looks good he may play 3rd and Luis Urias at 2nd base.

Rain
Rain
23 hours ago

Hi Itch- will you be doing an article on best prospects or young pitchers you see becoming closers in the near future like was done with C. Doval and others a couple seasons ago. I know relief prospects are rarely highly rated since they don’t get the same amount of innings as a starting pitcher or are often failed starting pitchers, but for roto / fantasy baseball they are key along with those guys that might get 20 + steals even if not the greatest overall batter. Thanks

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  Rain
12 hours ago

last year i believe the RP prospects was the last list update he did prior to the season. so it goes if i’m right:
(-): 30 team by team top 10 lists (4 left to do or at least to come out)
(-): longer than 15 1st year rankings (a top 15 came out middle-late last year, search by his name and go back) with this one including the international just signed types (many of which occurred after the team top 10’s they are on)
(-): occasional other updates like here
(-): overall top 100 or maybe 200 prospects list
(-): top whatever number (30 maybe) prospects for 2023 only
(-): top 20-30 RP prospects

he might’ve changed off that, but pretty sure i’m close to last year’s anyway.

Rain
Rain
23 hours ago

The Marlins did add Garrett Hampson on a minor league deal so they could end up using him at CF or SS if they want to use Jazz at SS or prefer Hampson to Wendle.

Grey
Admin
Reply to  Rain
23 hours ago

Did someone say Garrett Hampson?!

Rain
Rain
Reply to  Grey
21 hours ago

Sleeper post on Hampson coming ?

Chhhhh
Chhhhh
Reply to  Rain
8 hours ago

Hampson can’t play SS. He’s either 2b or CF.

Chris
Chris
1 day ago

I notice no mention of Pratto for the Royals. Do we see him as an afterthought now after the 100+ ABs or are the contact issues just too real?

sport
sport
Reply to  Chris
1 day ago

I think Pratto starts at 1B.

C-Salvy
1B-Pratto
2B-Massey
SS-Witt (They really want him there)
3B-? Eaten, Gentry?
LF-MJ
CF-Waters
RF-Olivares
DH-Vinny

Isbel gets time in all OF
Garcia’s best chance is if they are ok with Witt at 3B.
Salvy, Vinnie rotate at DH.
Vinnie, Pratto rotate at 1B.
And don’t forget they use Pratto in RF as well once in a while.

Sport
Sport
Reply to  The Itch
23 hours ago

Yes “ideal” for sure. That would be fun to watch as a Royal’s fan!

sport
sport
1 day ago

I also have someone going after my Cronenworth. Grey has not been a Cronenworth fan the last two years if you recall, and I’m wondering if it’s a time to sell him. The other team has Sal Frelick, Alek Thomas, and Manzardo. Are any of these names worth a one for one or do I need to get two guys for Cronenworth?

sport
sport
1 day ago

Great stuff Itch! I’m a Royal’s fan and have had to listen to a LOT of grumblings this winter about the KC’s lack of action. People really wanted them to go out and buy big. What it really boils down to, is finding out KC has in house before they go spend. That’s where your point hits the nail on the head! Lots of at bats are getting cleared up. That’s something didn’t happen the last couple of years as we watched O’Hearn, Carlos, Dozier, etc continue to get everyday at bats.

I’m guessing the objective is to do the same with pitching. Singer has come on, but they have to find out what they have in Kowar, Lynch, Bubic, Heasley, Hernandez, amd Bowlan. That’s a lot of looks to get behind Singer, Yarbrough, Jordan Lyles and presumably Grienke.

In my rebuild on the team I took over in a traditional 12 team 5×5, would you move Clase? He’s only 24, but kind of seems silly to hold a relief pitcher in a rebuild. The guy going after him the hardest has offered Elly De La Cruz and pick. I’m not trading for picks though. He has also offered Corey Seager/Ruiz. He also has Nate Lowe. So would you move Clase for 2 studs? Or would you want more? Or are you thinking keep Clase and hope he’s a long term piece?

I appreciate the help!

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  sport
12 hours ago

don’t know who those people are, but a team that routinely (re: basically always) spends to the bottom 4-7 of 30 in the league isn’t spending like a top 5 spending team?! gasp! like moving to oregon and being agast every time it rains.

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  goodfold2
12 hours ago

and how good is “spending” anyway if/when (like here) it leads to the likes of greinke/yarbrough/lyles getting innings that bowlan/kowar/lynch/bubic/heasley/c-her (i hope they already haven’t permanently moved to bullpen, but may have) can’t get.