Since last we met, CJ Abrams made the club and started at shortstop in the second game of the season. He just missed a home run in one at bat, and he got caught stealing once, but the talent was clear. His playing time outlook might be a little foggy with Ha Seong Kim playing well this spring and carrying that over into the season, but you have to figure he’ll be in the lineup almost every day or he’d be in AAA. 

It’s not easy to anticipate who the most interesting prospects in baseball will be, but Abrams is undoubtedly one of them. What happens to him when Tatis comes back? The DH would figure to be blocked by Voit with Hosmer at first, so Tatis will have to play somewhere. Maybe Abrams will just kick out to left field (my guess), and his playing time won’t be impacted at all. Truth is it’s all down to how he plays. If he’s playing up to his potential, he’ll stay in the lineup no matter who’s walking through that door. 

Let’s take a quick lap around the league and check in with some rookies and prospects. 

Chicago SS Nico Hoerner hit the season’s first home run and looks really good right now. Hard to imagine he goes back to the bench for Andrelton Simmons

I feel compelled to apologize to those of you who drafted San Diego RP Robert Suarez on my recommendation. Not only did he lose his gig to an Opening Day trade, but he also added an ugly blown save that night. 

On a similar note, San Francisco RP Camilo Doval got the team’s first save opportunity of the season on Friday. It did not go well. Despite his stated preference for Jake McGee this preseason, Doval was Kapler’s weapon of choice in the playoffs last season and features freaskish stuff on the level of an Emmanuel Clase. I’ll be buying the dip where I can make it happen. 

Baltimore OF Yusniel Diaz hit two home runs on Thursday. He played well enough in spring training to make the team, so I suspect there’s some fuckery afoot here. I’m looking to add him soon in any leagues where I’ve got room. 

Kansas City 1B Nick Pratto hit a home run on each end of a seven inning double header this week out of the two-spot AAA Omaha. I’m a little confused about the process in Kansas City, but Pratto shouldn’t have to linger long in the minors. Got the club wrapped around his finger if he keeps hitting. 

Kansas City RHP Jon Heasley looked good, striking out four over three innings while allowing two hits and one run. He’s in the outside lane and gaining on all the big named pitchers they’ve drafted and developed the past few years. 

Speaking of confusing plans, Washington signed Alcides Escobar and demoted SS Luis Garcia, who has responded with a solid start for AAA Rochester. Here’s hoping his time in AAA is short-lived. 

Detroit RHP Michael Pineda threw three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. He’s no prospect, but he’s closer to joining the rotation than I thought he was. 

Minnesota RHP Cole Sands threw five scoreless for the AAA Twins, striking out seven and allowing just one hit. He’s not overpowering but has always generated good results (2.51 career ERA in 37 starts) thanks to plus control of his three-pitch mix. He’s more side-to-side than top-to-bottom, which could keep him from getting some chances he earns on the field along the way, but the Twins are on something of a roll with unique-look starting pitchers, and I’ll be adding Sands whenever he washes ashore. 

Angels SS Brendon Davis is hitting .417 after missing Spring Training due to injury. He’s good enough to start for the Angels tomorrow, which I guess isn’t saying much, but he’s one of the organization’s nine best bats, and I think he’ll force his way into some playing time at some point. 

San Francisco 3B David Villar has been hitting well for years and started hot in 2022 with two HR and a 1.362 OPS through 10 at bats. He’s kind of fringy as an athlete but fits well with the organizational philosophy in San Francisco. I’m guessing he’ll be the first bat promoted when the club needs reinforcements. 

Staying in San Francisco, keep an eye out for RHPs Peter Tago and Sean Hjelle. Tago is one of my relief prospect picks to click this year, and the 6’11” Hjelle struck out five hitters over 3.2 scoreless innings in his season debut for AAA, where he struggled to a 5.74 ERA in 10 starts last season. When he’s firing on all cylinders, he’s extremely tough to pick up, let alone hit. 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter. 

 

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Luvdarooks
3 months ago

Great article….. Who do you like better in Dynasty – Miguel Vargas at $5 his first 2 years or Lodolo at $3 his first two years then a $5 contract per year after that ?
Is it a “ so so” or a one sided “ no brainer “?

TualatinTwoStep
TualatinTwoStep
3 months ago

Heliot Ramos promoted today and in the lineup. Excited Giants fan here!

Last edited 3 months ago by TualatinTwoStep
happyharry
happyharry
3 months ago

Hey Itch, Good write-up. Man I’m struggling with MI. I have Gleyber Torres. I know it’s early but do I add any of these FA’s or hold: Wong, Segura, Urias Stott, Pena, Rosario, Schoop, Escobar, E.Hernandez, Rosario, Abrams, Madragil, Lux, Frazier, McNeil?….Thanks Man.

Last edited 3 months ago by happyharry
Sherm Reinhardt
Sherm Reinhardt
3 months ago

Hey, Itch, Thanks for the prospect love. Did not know about Tago on the G’s. Going to do a deeper dive on him

Unrelated: are you starting Urquidy against the Angels today?

Cliff
Cliff
3 months ago

10 team dynasty. My Luis Castillo or CJ Abrams? Going into rebuild mode but I figured I’d ask.

Jolt In Flow
Jolt In Flow
3 months ago

Itch, I didn’t think I’d be messaging you so soon, but check out this article title from this morning, “20-year-old pitching phenom Roki Sasaki throws perfect game with 19 strikeouts in Japan’s NPB.” (credit to CBSSPORTS).

I think we may need some, and will see some, Roki in America once he turns 25 (I think that’s the deal between NBL and MLB; that they can’t be posted until they hit 25).

Thanks as always. Great insight today on some players I had on the fence.

Jolt

Jolt In Flow
Jolt In Flow
Reply to  Jolt In Flow
3 months ago

BTW, he struckout 13 in a row!!!

joe shmoe
joe shmoe
3 months ago

Hey Itch,
So I must have dropped both Edwin Rios for Jose Siri, for each other, a million times during the winter, spring training, and this week. I know you wrote up Rios last week, but I am skeptical of his playing time in LA. Can Siri steal the job with performances like this week? Is it even in the realm of possibility? It’s not like he has a superstar blocking him.

I plan on holding (dynasty) onto Siri just because of crowd in LA. Bonus Logic: Houston let the rookie SS Pena run with the job without having to earn it. Inherit it?

I also have my monocle on the KC outfield spot. I know KC will never bench Taylor for Olivares…but this is fantasy baseball. Dream!

When are you going to start a teacher’s dynasty league?
Have a great Spring Break!

Chud
Chud
3 months ago

Yo Itch!

How excited should we be for Roansy Contreras?

Thanks

Philip
Philip
3 months ago

Itch, L. Peguero lookin’ good!

That is all.

bigbear
bigbear
3 months ago

Pump the brakes on Yusniel. A good spring and two HR doesn’t quite equal the crap he’s put up for the last two years. Now Grayson Rodriguez on the other hand…

bigbear
bigbear
Reply to  The Itch
3 months ago

Sorry, I came off stronger than I intended. I was referring to the clock manipulation not the buy recommendation. You’re probably right to start buying now in most formats anyway. Other than Stowers, he’s probably the only other ‘ready’ OFer in the system. And Stowers has struggled to start the season and I’m honestly not sold on his contact rates. If one of their fragile OFers gets hurt (or an OF/1B type is terrible), I bet you’re right that Yusniel is the next one up.

Speaking of O’s OFers, Cowser has had a good start in high A ball this year too. I wouldn’t be shocked if he moves up quickly.

toolshed
toolshed
3 months ago

What about J Duran of Min? He looked nasty. He may be in a fireman role or even a dark horse to close. Do you think he will be good for s+h? He did come on when they were losing and worked the 5th/6th innings. I’m always looking for good RPs who qualify at sp since they can help with s+h and k. It is roto with an innings cap. K/9 improvement / optimization is always a plus as long as ratios are not hurt. Btw, i have ashby who may move into the rotation so i am on the lookout for another pitcher to fill the need or help now. Duran seems to check the boxes: sp eligible, high minor league gb%, k rate, etc. It’s just the role and ratios that I am unclear about. This is not dynasty. Thx

toolshed
toolshed
3 months ago

I own Doval in a redraft. He pitched better on Sat. He came on with 2 outs in the 7th and pitched the 8th. It was top of the order and then 3-5 hitters he faced in the 8th so that was a good sign. If you were in a saves +holds league would you want doval or sewald? I am not sure what of the roles in Sea and Giles isn’t even back yet. 10 team league so there are plenty of options. I had room for an extra rp now but that will last about 3 weeks then I need to cut one. Thanks