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!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

 
  1. primetime says:
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    Itch, so I guess we won’t see anymore prospects until next season?

    Your thoughts on Patino and Gilbert think they will start with the teams next spring?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Not many if any, true.

      Gilbert no but Patiño maybe in a pen capacity.

  2. fausto

    fausto says:
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    15team keeper, we keep 4 have vidal($1)already stashed I’m in a partial rebuild have Luis [email protected]$4…3 moves left for 2020. Like stashing Patino, julio rodriguez, or Dylan Carlson for 2021? …prob only going to grab 1 of the 3 as I’m going to keep Robert/Brujan and probably Gallen. Julio Rodriguez im liking a lot for 2021 and is looking a little like a right handed hitting Juan Soto…am I way off there? And is he the stash?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I think Julio’s the play there along w Gallen and Robert/Brujan, agreed.

      Soto’s a bit lofty for anyone, but I’m not sure there’s a better pure hitting prospect in the game.

  3. Cram It says:
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    Have you seen Stretch? Pine was an unforgettable character in that.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I haven’t but will check that out!

  4. Biggie Smalls says:
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    Itch, how hard would you work to acquire Jared Kelenic between now and next season? I might have to cough up a lot to get him, but it sounds like his owner would consider moving him. I’m rebuilding in a 20 team dynasty.

    • Dong Show says:
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      Obviously this is more personalized to me, but I traded Kelenic for Freddie Freeman to give you an idea of the bat I wanted to get back for Kelenic. (Kelenic was basically untouchable for me but, I loaded up for my championship run) I valued him as worth selling for a top 20 bat.

      I had to give up Kelenic, Patino and a Slumping Josh Bell) to get Freeman (legit a week before his insane run, so I have no regrets selling him right now).

      So if that scenario is flipped and not knowing your team obviously, you might be looking at an older bat like S. Marte plus a little more or a younger guy like Meadows/Gleyber/Keston, (that range of youth and projection) Where your price shouldn’t be as crazy. If you’re selling prospects, it’s gotta be a few high impact top 10 types I would think.

      I’m sure Itch will have a solid take on this well, but I hope that helps some from a former Kelenic owner.

      • Biggie Smalls says:
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        I appreciate your insight. I treated Freddie Freeman at the beginning of the year for Corey Seager and Julio Rodriguez. I threw in Corbin burns not thinking much of the time. I would still make the trade today, but it turned out pretty good for both teams.

        What I hear you say is Kelnic is worth the high cost.

        • Dong Show says:
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          Yea really no L in that trade at all. Seager has been a force this year and Freddie having Covid at beginning of the year suppressed his value down, but you did really solid getting JRod too. No one really could have saw THIS from Burnes so whatever to him. Its really pretty fair all around with the returns.

          As for Kelenic, I think he has one of the safest prospect bats around. A super safe floor and unreal peak ceiling. I genuinely think he’s gonna be one of those major impact rookies if given the chance right away and in 2-3 years be a top 20-10 type player. I basically wanted a guy who can be a possible number 1 type player for the next 2-3 years (Freeman definitely fits that bill, plus premium position) so I wouldn’t feel a major loss on Kelenic if he does pop like I think he will.

          Just me personally, I would stretch my comfort level to try and get it him (but just make sure you have the proper backups to cover for what you might have to give up). Don’t set yourself back to get 1 guy, just make sure it’s a proper fit all around and meets your dynasty build time frame. Take it from a guy who made close to 50 dynasty trades last year lol but I have been able to shape my team into a monster for the next 2-3 years which is exactly what I was going for.

          • Biggie Smalls says:
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            Awesome. Thanks for all your thoughts. You have inspired me.

            • Dong Show says:
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              Anytime Biggie, best of luck!!

              Let’s not forget this is Itch’s show haha so I really am
              looking forward to his thoughts, but he’s done me right on a lot of questions and advice when I come here.

              • The Itch

                The Itch says:
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                Thanks, Dong Show!

                I agree with everything you’ve said here.

                I like Kelenic but would be wary of overpaying in established MLB talent.

                • Dong Show says:
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                  Yea I agree there too Itch. I guess I’m used to the cost my league demands for high end prospects haha

                  Don’t always pay for them, but if I can find a way to make it work, I will. Kelenic is one I would personally stretch my budget for (unfortunately the guy I sold him to has no desire to sell him, so my dream will remain dead for awhile lol)

  5. BB says:
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    So Drew Smyly (age 31, career 700 MLB IP) is included in a prospects report because he never really was one?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Maybe should’ve put that in a different place, but I was very intrigued to hear it and wanted to pass it along.

  6. Dougie says:
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    Itch, how are you feeling about Walsh from a dynasty perspective? I was able to snatch him up in one dynasty league that has contracts and salaries. 1B feels so thin, an initial contract that begins when he’s already in the majors and a stupid low salary feels like a win, even if he becomes trade bait in the off season. I wonder though, in relation to other young 1Bs- White, Cronenworth, Mountcastle, Cooper, maybe even Chavis and Lowe, etc., how you project those guys over the next couple/three years. I realize that response could probably be an entire article, so thanks.

    • Dougie says:
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      Sorry, I dont know why this posted twice. Maybe spotty internet.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I’d probably be holding Walsh if I had him.

      Or at least I’d wait until somebody really come after him.

      If Tampa’s gonna play Lowe, he joins the top group of Walsh v. White v. Mountcastle. Might be kind of a toss up depending how hot Walsh ends this run.

      I’d be more likely to trade for White than the other three if his team was decent at 1B and the statline suppressed the price a little.

      Cronenworth might not carry 1B over in 2021–had 9 games last I checked–but he’d be above Cooper and Chavis for me, in that top group tho I’m a little worried about his power output long term.

  7. Dougie says:
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    Itch, how are you feeling about Walsh from a dynasty perspective? I was able to snatch him up in one dynasty league that has contracts and salaries. 1B feels so thin, an initial contract that begins when he’s already in the majors and a stupid low salary feels like a win, even if he becomes trade bait in the off season. I wonder though, in relation to other young 1Bs- White, Cronenworth, Mountcastle, Cooper, maybe even Chavis and Lowe, etc., how you project those guys over the next couple/three years. I realize that response could probably be an entire article, so thanks.

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