In my house, we watch a lot of Sesame Street, even the animated shorts like Elmo Gets a Puppy and The Monster at the End. I’m not sure you’ve lived until you’ve heard Cookie Monster sing the following:
“Me talk to me self.
Me talk to me seeelllfff.
Me talk to me self and then me knew that me could have courage.”
All Sesame Street songs are earworms but perhaps none more so than the Number of the Day, which features the Martians popping up from their Martian-holes and saying “Yep” for each digit each day: One. Yep. Two. Yep. Three. Yep. And so on.
St. Louis 1B OF Juan Yepez celebrates his home runs the same way, blasting the song and then shouting out “Yep” in the clubhouse for each home run he’s hit on the season. He was up to nine in just 22 games when the club decided they needed that song in the major league clubhouse and called him up Tuesday night. He’s in the lineup today, playing right field, which suggests he’ll probably bounce around between the outfield and infield, providing some days off here and there for lineup regulars. Might be the DH against right-handed pitchers if he’s not on the field somewhere. He got hot early last season and never stopped mashing. A lot of rookies are struggling to make the leap from AAA to MLB pitching, but few have been in their groove for as long as Juan has, so I’m optimistic he’ll find his rhythm if given the chance to do so.
What seemed like a short-term, back-up catching window for Kansas City C MJ Melendez opened a little wider on Wednesday when 1B Carlos Santana went on the Injured List. Melendez was a little lost in AAA, and KC also recalled 3B Emmanuel Rivera, so it remains to be seen what kind of role the club envisions for MJ on a day-to-day basis, but the minor league home run leader from 2021 could quickly force himself into a few time-shares around the diamond a little like Yepez with the added bonus of giving Salvador Perez a day or two at DH each week.
San Diego OF Esteury Ruiz can’t be allowed to stay in Double-A much longer. He’s slashing .380/.524/.696 with five home runs and 15 stolen bases. He’s also walking more than he’s striking out: 15.5%/14.6%. He’s always had loud tools, and moving to the outfield seems to have helped him relax on offense. He’s repeating the level after playing 84 AA games last season, but he hit ten home runs and stole 36 bases with a .328 OBP, so it’s not like he struggled so badly he had to be held back. He’s now played 106 AA games and has 15 HR and 51 SB. He doesn’t turn 24 until February. Pick him up if you still can.
Colorado SS Ezequiel Tovar is almost as hot in Double-A as Ruiz and he won’t turn 21 until August. He’s got five home runs and seven stolen bases in 21 games, slashing .338/.430/.638 with an 18.3 percent strikeout rate. He’s also walking more than he has in years, posting an 11.8% BB rate after recording a 2.1% in High-A last year and 4.3% in Low-A. Rockies prospects can of course be extremely frustrating, but Tovar is probably the organization’s best defensive shortstop already, which gives him an advantage a lot of their forever-blocked types haven’t had.
A fifth round pick in 2021, smooth-talking St. Louis RHP Gordon Graceffo might’ve just made his final start in High-A. He’s thrown 27.2 innings with 38 strikeouts, two walks, a 0.65 ERA and 0.51 WHIP. He’s another instant-add wherever he’s available. Doesn’t turn 23 until March. Might be on the precipice of a big league call-up by this time next year.
The Tampa Rays scouting and development team seems to have scored again with 2021 fourth round pick Dru Baker. The versatile 5’11” 205 lb infielder/outfielder has 11 walks and seven strikeouts in 13 Low-A games along with three home runs, two triples and eight stolen bases. Baker never displayed this kind of power or plate discipline in three years as a regular at Texas Tech, but plus contact skills have always been part of his game. He hit .343 with four home runs across 51 games in his final season as a 21-year-old junior.
Angels SS Werner Blakely was among my favorite high school bats heading into the 2020 draft and landed in LA with a fourth round pick. He struck out 37.1 percent of the time in the complex league last year but still walked at a 17.7 percent clip and produced a .339 on base percentage despite a .182 batting average. He’s a new man this year in Low A, slashing .319/.450/.532 with two home runs and six stolen bases in 14 games. He’s still striking out 26.7 percent of the time, but that’ll play for a guy with power and speed who’s walking at an 18.3 percent clip.
If White Sox 3B Bryan Ramos is still available in your dynasty leagues, now is the time to remedy that. He’s slashing .388/.437/.625 with four home runs in 19 games as a 20-year-old in High-A, good for a 185 wRC+. He’s been young for his level his whole career and should keep reaping the rewards of those reps as he climbs the ladder.
Thanks for reading!
I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.
Hey Itch, really value your opinion on prospects and rookies. In my league we have to start a rookie pitcher, and the two I’ve had to choose between this year are Hunter Greene and Brash, so you can imagine what that has done to my team.
So I need to find another rookie pitcher to pick up, but we also only get one waiver claim a week, so I need to really try and pick one that I hopefully don’t have to replace soon in my starting lineup (at least until Greene is right). Can you give me your thoughts on who I should pick up from the following?
Glen Otto (TEX, next week starting vs. KC & BOS)
Brock Burke (TEX)
Josh Winder (MIN)
Steven Wilson (SD)
Hey Skeezix, and thanks!
I think it’s Winder for the six-inning upside at the moment but Burke is safer imo if you’re looking to protect ratios. Can just put him in your lineup and collect some K’s and even a few W’s without risking a game where the manager makes him wear a bad outing to eat innings.
When do you think Rutschman gets promoted?
I read he played 4 games at High A, then 3 games at AA and will be in triple A by Friday. I only run one catcher, D’Arnaud. Should I drop him already? It seems to me like Rutschman will be up my the week of May 16th?
I think they’ll let him get settled in AAA for a couple weeks. I suspect they’re eyeing/calculating super two stuff and don’t want him to come up and earn ROY votes.
20 Team Dynasty League 9 minor league spots I currently have:
Do i swap out any of my current players for the available ones?
I’d swap Pomares out for any of the three but prefer Ruiz at the moment due to proximity and speed.
Great thanks for the help, really enjoy your articles
Yepez or Melendez? If you have room for one.
Yepez at the moment.
Seems like maybe Ruiz has a shot to be redraft relevant….
Yeah, good call. Not a lot of locked-in long-term pieces there.
Thanks Itch! What’s your opinion of Jackson Merrell” Where is he at on the prospect spectrum?
Certainly sliding toward the stock-rising side of the spectrum. He hasn’t played in about two weeks, but the plate skills he showed early should land him on a roster in most dynasty leagues.
In a keeper points league where salaries increase $2 per year
You in on Yepez for how much? $2? Probably more of a stash as he’s 1B eligible and own Olson ($21) Walsh ($8) Yandy Diaz ($1) Flores ($1) Pavin Smith ($3) at that spot for now.
Yeah, I’m in for a few bucks. Better long term hold than Pavin imo.
Who to take between Graceffo and Daniel Espino ?? I grabbed Esteury Ruiz and can only stash 2 m.l. I have Espino but is Graceffo the better add if the two ???
Amazing as always Itch. Thanks for the insight! Excited to grab Ramos this weekend.
You haven’t mentioned Faedo once (according to the search function), are you saying to…Fade-o?
Was a little surprised Ive never mentioned him, so I looked again, and the last time he’d pitched before this April was August 8, 2019, roughly a month before I started this gig, if I remember right.
I’ve been faeding him for a long time, but he looks better now than I’ve ever seen him. Just one start in AAA of course, but it was enough for Detroit to run him up the flagpole and see. I probably should’ve mixed him in here.
I prefer Bill Braskey among Tiger rookies fwiw.
More like run him up the beanpole! Why can’t I like this comment?!
Thanks for the info!
Brash had another rough outing. Great stuff but needs to work on his command. Is it time to stash kirby in redraft? Or do you thing they use someone else if they send him down?
While talking about the Mariners, kelenic is actually doing worse than last year and looks completely lost. Do you think he is a good dynasty buy low or is he on the lewis brinson career track? Everything about him is worse this year k%, swtr%, zone contact%, chase%, etc. Thanks
I don’t think they’ll go straight from Brash to Kirby, who’s still in AA for whatever reason, but I also don’t think Brash is a starter, and I just added Kirby in two redraft leagues this week. Good call on your part to get ahead on him, I think.
I do not want Jarred Kelenic. His price is still inflated to a surprising extent imo. Maybe I’ll pick him up a few years from now when he’s Brinson-ing around the league : )
drop lux for yepez?
only want lux cause hes my backup 2b at the moment and have no one else at the moment if mateo struggles
Any chance Jose Miranda is available?
i have miranda already!
Wow, great question. I’d lean No at the moment bc the Dodgers seem resolute about making Lux a thing.
Hey Itch! Would you drop Candelario for Yepez? Do you think he’s up for good and not just a Covid replacement?
I don’t think they needed him w the big club today, considering they benched Dylan Carlson to work him in, so I’d guess he’s a little bit safer than the average Covid fill-in, but it’s the Cardinals, so best to tread lightly.
I would drop Candy for Yepez, but I’ve never been a Candy man.
I figure you can just reverse course if Yepez gets demoted.
Nice to see Tovar hitting so well at AA at such a young age, pretty excited about him
Yeah me too, I’m trying to make moves to get him where I can.
Great stuff Itch…who do you like better long term, Baz or Espino? Thanks