Look, I know I left some puns on the table there. Just feels like kind of a solemn moment, you know? We’ve been waiting for Tampa Bay RHP Brent Honeywell so long we might as well be Winnie the Pooh stuck in Rabbit’s doorway. And like Pooh, Honeywell is easy to root for: his elbow all stuffed with fluff. Cut to Eeyore murmuring “He’s only the opener.” But even Eeyore can’t dampen my enthusiasm. I’m like Christopher Robin out here skipping along in my tiny shorts. Weeeee!

Texas called up SS Anderson Tejeda to cover third base with Brock Holt on the Injured List. Tejeda strikes out way too much and, like a lot of rookies in the time of covid, needs more experience in the upper minors. That’s not an option for the Rangers, I guess, so they’ll just hope his power/speed combo can come to life despite the contact woes. 

Minnesota OF Kyle Garlick walked away from a promising career as a vampire hunter to try his hand at baseball, retaining his hunter’s guild handle in hopes of retaining a portion of his avid Twitter fanbase. The Dodgers scout the underworld circuit pretty heavily and took a flier on Garlick in the 28th round of the 2015 draft. Garlick smashed baseballs into potatoes immediately, posting a potent string of wRC+ tallies: 149, 202, 162, 204, 143, 132, 201, 117, 129, 93, 145, 114 and then -6 last year in 23 punchless plate appearances for the Phillies. That’s a lot of loud offensive seasons, but as a corner-only, poor-defense profile, Garlick garnished little attention from the public-facing sites. Now batting second for a solid Twins team, he’s in great position to provide some nice counting stats. 

Minnesota OF Alex Kirilloff is the vampire in this scenario, waiting to drain the lifeforce of Garlick and anyone foolish enough to stay out too late, to hang onto the thrill beyond sundown. All is temporary, and I love how Baldelli rotates the chances, but Garlick is probably living on borrowed time.

Seattle OF Jarred Kelenic is counting the minutes just like us. I feel like the current climate makes it especially tough on a rookie to thrive early if he’s in the Kelenic bucket for service time manipulation. They’re forced to think about something beyond baseball itself at the most crucial moment. Contract offers have to make it even worse in the sense that they give shape to the whole amorphous situation and ask players to place what amounts to a long-term bet against their own health and skill. I myself will make that bet all day every day to get some big money earlier than I would’ve, and a lot of elite young players seem to agree. 

Oakland 1B/OF Seth Brown has a chance to make waves on a struggling team. I’ve liked him for a while now and hope he gets hot early. Or just warm, really, would be good enough. Lukewarm even. He can do something on the temperature and/or color spectrum, I believe, and if he does, he’ll catch the manager’s eyes like Roy G. Biv. 

Los Angeles (NL) 2B Zach McKinstry has been hitting well for a long time, including a torrid stretch in AAA with the 2019 balls when he slashed .382/.421/.753 and hit seven home runs in 26 games. That’s the last time he was an everyday player. He’s a good example of betting on the talent and hoping the playing time materializes, as Cody Bellinger’s trip to the injured list keeps him in the lineup. He’s played seven of eight games already and should continue getting some facsimile of that run for quite a while now. 

Atlanta RHP Huascar Ynoa combines mid-nineties heat with a fun name to flummox hitters. Leaned on his slider (46 percent) in his first outing and will be interesting if he continues to do so. It’s an 85 mph pitch with 43 inches of drop–6.6 inches more than the average slider despite being a little bit faster. Nobody touched it in game one. Fun to track. 

Seattle RHP Chris Flexen is technically not a prospect, but he remade himself in Korea and looked good to me his first time out. I got outbid for him in the Razz30 where I represent the Royals–not in faab but in the winter slow-auction of free agents. 

I really like Milwaukee RHP J.P. Feyereison. Popped up for me this spring just geeking out on statcast pitch profiles and now I’m all in. Milwaukee: relievers and beer. My kinda town. 

Arizona RHP Riley Smith looked fine in mop up duty after the Padres knocked Caleb Smith from the game on April 3rd. Good velocity on his off-speed pitches, solid fastball command, three velocity bands now that he’s separated his slider (83 mph) from his curveball (77.7 mph). Seemed to throw all three pitches with confidence in any count. I dunno. I’m gonna watch though, and I’ve already got him in a couple 30-teamers and my NL-only league–added on spec after watching the mop-up work. 

I’m not here to sell you a bunch of Diamondbacks. That team is in serious trouble. Arizona 2B Josh VanMeter, however, has been of interest to me for some time, as has 2B Andrew Young. Arizona seems to collect guys who have the 4A-player tag and then never give them playing time at the big league level. I don’t understand it. The whole point of acquiring these types is to put them on the field for a thousand at bats and see if you can strike gold. 

Seattle RHP Logan Gilbert might come up this week. I wouldn’t hold him in any shallow leagues just yet because there’s good profit in timeline tomfoolery, but I’m holding him in an AL-only where I’m in 1st place and roster real estate is at a premium.

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

 
  1. toolshed says:
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    Mckinstry has seen a lot of playing time with Betts taking a few days off and bellinger out. He has defensive versatility in the OF and inf. He also is left hand which may help get more time. Do you think it will continue when Betts and bellinger get back? he dodgers have so many pieces but they seem to like him. Thanks

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I do think he’ll play a lot this year. Have him at MI in my NL Only and suspect he’ll stay there most of the season.

  2. Hamporter says:
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    Itch,

    I currently have Daulton Jeffries occupying a bench spot, he has to be a better option then Cole Irvin right? I also have David Peterson in a bench spot until he can show some consistency. I think Logan Gilbert is going to be solid once his time manipulation purgatory ends. I can roster two of the three, which 2 would you go with? I also could dump Richard Rodriguez, amd keep all 3, who won’t see many save opportunities with having Kenley and Clase. Any input is greatly appreciated!

    • Hamporter says:
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      Sorry to add to my previous post, but Dane Dunning is available as well. The league is a 16 team head-to-head mixed league. Thanks again!

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        I’d go w Dunning and Peterson for now and keep a sharp eye on Oakland. I want Jefferies, but they’ve shown some reticence to use him.

        Seattle too. Any chance you could trade Rodriguez or Jansen? I’d prefer to keep at least three of these guys.

        If Peterson gets hit again next time, I might drop him for Gilbert.

        • Hamporter says:
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          Yeah, that’s what I was thinking with Dunning and Peterson actually up and pitching! Like the bird in hand saying…

          I floated some trade fair offers out there for the closers, but the counter proposals were pretty laughable.

          Keep up the good work!

  3. Jimmy says:
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    Thoughts on Jose DeLeon? Been around for ever!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I’ve liked him the whole time!

      I co-own a team in a 20-team dynasty with my brother, and he insisted we start him against Pittsburgh over JT Brubaker. Good call, Ben!

      He might lose a rotation spot temporarily, but he’s a different dude than he was during his last big chance: about twice the thickness with a little smoother base delivery and a touch better command.

  4. steve stevenson says:
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    How long are you waiting on Vaughn? This Mercedes business goofed up my plans. Have Vaughn at Util in a shallow H2H league w/ limited moves (only 20/yr). So there are a lot of options on the wire (Walsh, Hampson, Kelenic), but every move is precious and my ultimate goal is to have a team mashing come playoff time with some moves left in my pocket.

    • Jolt In Flow says:
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      Just quick peanut gallery thought. Walsh seems like he’s legit. He’s had 125 MLB at bats in 2020 & 2021. He seems to be getting better l, not slowing down. He’s also hit very well in the minors. Cherry on the sundae (or Sunday, depending how you want to reference it) would be if he still has OF/1b designation in your league + hitting in that great offense.

      Just putting that out there.

      Jolt
      Happy Sunday, Itch! Thanks for the always welcome write-up.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        Thanks, Jolt! Happy Sunday to you, too!

        And I agree: Walsh is the priority in this group.

        Tough spot, Steve. 20 moves!? I kinda like it, but I would kinda hate it most the time haha! (I make A LOT of transactions)

        In the shallow H2H, Vaughn scares me enough that I’d try to trade him. Maybe it’s impossible in a shallow format. Any keeper angle? Any White Sox fans. I suppose it’d be tough to better in a trade than Walsh. That dude looks awesome and might get that OF eligibility himself. Maddon mentioned him as a fill-in for Fowler.

        • steve stevenson says:
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          Thanks guys. Yeah, Walsh is so tempting, but I’ve also had great success in this league over the years by being patient with my moves and enduring a few fallow weeks in order to have cover for injuries later in the year, and maybe be able to stream some in the playoffs. The flipside, of course, is that if you make that key early season pickup it can really make a difference.

          No keeper element, and it’s so shallow that a trade of a fringe guy like this pretty much never happens until late in the season when someone’s close to out of pickups.

  5. Richard Scott Olcott says:
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    Great stuff Itch. Love the segues!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks for the kind words, Richard Scott Olcott!

  6. Dr Sauce says:
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    Hey Itch,
    Respect your work and writing, thanks!

    League Context: 12 team, 5X5, roto, 6 player keeper league (keep forever, no limits)

    My team is ravaged by injury at the moment: Sean Murphy (missed games this week), Olson (missed a few games), K. Marte (IL), Tatis (IL), K. Hayes (IL), Bellinger (IL), Betts (Day to Day but has missed 4 including today). Paxton (lasted 1+ inning). It’s been especially challenging because ESPN first week is 11 days. Despite the injuries I am hanging in there (4th place).

    Been offered Bichette and L. Robert for Tatis? I hate giving up on Tatis, but I think I have to go on this? Thoughts?

    Thanks in advance

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hi, Dr Sauce,

      And thank you kindly!

      I feel that on the ravaged team tip. Crazy as it kind of sounds, I’ll hold Tatis. I think it’s a great offer and suspect most would recommend you do it, but I think Tatis is much better than either guy you’d be getting, and I think you can keep adding viable free agents in a 12-teamer. I really like Phillip Evans if he’s still out there. Nobody but me bid on him in my TGFBI.

      • Dr Sauce says:
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        Thanks Itch, really appreciate your perspective. And yes, most including Grey, have recommended go time on the deal. Unfortunately, I already pulled the trigger. I got him to include Will Smith (RP) … I’m hurting for saves. I hated trading Tatis, however I rationalized by looking to my other keepers including Acuna, Betts, Bellinger and Tucker. I also was able to draft Ohtani and now have picked up Bichette and Robert. I guess my hope is that Bichette can grow into a top 10 fantasy guy and Robert maybe top 15 or 20. Was thinking about making a play for DeGrom … would you consider any of the above names for DeGrom? Would likely need to be Bellinger or Bichette as the other owner probably not doing Tucker, Ohtani or Robert and I’m not doing Acuna or Betts. What do you think? Thanks again.

  7. Worm Burner says:
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    Hey The Itch,

    The minors are almost here, I’m pretty pumped!

    Quick question today. I know he’s good, but do you think Luis Matos will be one of the very top prospects in a year or two……like top 5 maybe?

    Thanks Itch, I appreciate it

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Shit yeah, Worm Burner! I’m out of my gourd for minor league baseball to come back!

      Quick answer: yes.

      Best of luck out there on the Bay and beyond!

  8. Hamporter says:
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    Itch,

    I was going to add McKinstry tomorrow, but someone dropped Lourdes. I love McKinstry, but Lourdes is the pickup correct in a H2H points league?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hmmmmmm . . . .

      I think so. Sorry if I missed the response window on this one. I’d be happy to add either (or both) in H2H points at the moment.

      • HamPorter says:
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        No worries, I added McKinstry and had an open spot with O’Neil moving to the IL, so I put in a waiver claim as well for Gurriel.

        In other news, I can’t wait for the MLB Draft League to start! I live 15 minutes from Williamsport and 45 from State College, so I plan on taking my son out to see/get autographs from these future stars!

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