I’m not the world’s biggest Star Trek fan, but I thought the JJ Abrams reboot with Zoe Saldana was good, and I know a solid nickname when I see one. If you show me a catcher named Kirk, I can’t avoid calling him Captain. I don’t have the power. Chris Pine is kind of underrated as an actor, I think, and this next guy is likely a little underrated as a prospect.
Toronto C Alejandro Kirk went for $150 in my 15-team dynasty, and that seems like a decent price for this Willians-Astudillo-esque contact bat. The Jays’ catching group has been a black hole for a couple years, so beam the Captain up if you’ve got a need.
Angels 1B Jared Walsh has shortened up his swing just enough to access his considerable raw power in games. I suspect it helped for him to stop working as a pitcher, which seemed like it might be his ticket to the big leagues during the two-way craze of 2019. He’s currently unstoppable, so this is likely a little late for a pickup, but perhaps he’s a decent trade target over the winter.
Baltimore OF DJ Stewart’s blurb could look a little like Walsh’s today, though I think his recent adaptation is more about pitch selection and confidence than mechanics. Too late to add him now in most leagues, but another potential medium priced trade target early in the off-season before his owner has time to grow attached.
San Francisco LHP Drew Smyly was never a big time prospect, but he built himself into being the centerpiece of a trade for David Price and the ace of a USA squad in the World Baseball Classic. Friend and commenter HERNAN pointed out that Smyly has been touching the upper nineties with his fastball, and that’s new. His heater has always played well atop the zone, so if the velocity stays, we’re looking at a nice sleeper for 2021.
Milwaukee OF Tyrone Taylor doesn’t project to be much better than average, but average would be much better than most Brewers these days. A 2012 second round pick out of high school, Taylor has taken the slow road to the show. He’s always minimized strikeouts and hit around .270 while stealing bases in the low double digits. Power crept into the profile in 2018, when Taylor was 24 in AAA slashing .278/.321/.504 with 20 HR and 13 SB. If he can produce anything like that for Milwaukee, he’ll carve out a role for himself in 2021 and provide depth at a thinning position in fantasy.
Milwaukee C Jacob Nottingham lost a tight runoff election for Sheriff this Summer, which allowed him more time to focus on the finer points of catching. He’s spun these new skills into a timeshare with Omar Narvaez behind the plate and can provide some occasional power in super deep leagues.
A 16th round pick out of Northwestern State in 2016, Kansas City OF Nick Heath faced long odds to make the majors. On his way to beating those odds, Heath stole 60 bases in 2019. He’s not a great hitter, but he could do just enough to toggle some standings down the stretch.
Speaking of cheap speed, Arizona 2B/OF Josh Rojas is playing almost every day and has a track record of getting his steals thanks in part to his extremely patient approach at the plate. Solid flier.
Arizona 1B/OF Pavin Smith was a target of mine early last winter before the Diamondbacks brought in Kole Calhoun and Starling Marte. Smith had added some power in the second half of 2019, and I wanted to see where that took him. I still do, and some playing time is finally coming his way. Worth a flier.
An interesting news blip came across the wire this week: Texas Rookie League slugger Heriberto Hernandez was invited to the Rangers player pool. This got me thinking about next year. Where will these super young kids get assigned after spending some time training with the big club? Hernandez seems headed to low A Hickory, but what do the Brewers do with OF Hedbert Perez? He’s spent all season at the training site but hasn’t played an affiliated game yet. Do they send him down to the Dominican Summer Leagues? I tend to doubt it. I think he’ll go straight to A ball so he can get into games next Spring. Oakland SS Robert Pauson might follow a similar path, and they won’t be the only two. Should be fun to track.
Thanks for reading!
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