I reference mlb.com throughout this piece because it’s not a pay-walled site, and they update the rankings regularly. Makes it a nice shorthand for perceived value in the real-baseball sphere.
Padres C Ethan Salas is a sell for me as a top ten prospect (No. 5 on mlb.com). It’s amazing that he made it to Double-A as a 17-year-old, but also, should he be in Double-A as a 17-year-old? I mean, what’s the point? He didn’t hit in High-A (.229 slugging percentage in nine games), and then he didn’t hit in Double-A (.214 SLG in nine games). I guess the defense can push the profile, but at some point, he’ll have to wait for the bat. And then we run into a high-minors, stall-out situation. We’re just now reaching the other side of that with Luis Campusano. It stands to reason that Salas might receive a red carpet that never got rolled out for Campusano, but that’s still years away, and the return you could earn for shopping Salas this winter or next spring probably beats waiting for me.
Whereas catchers are typically sells for me, first basemen are typically buys, so I struggled to find a good fit here and landed on Guardians 1B Kyle Manzardo, though I suspect the window has closed a little bit throughout the year. The change of scenery brought on by the trade deadline hasn’t enlivened his season: he’s hitting .233 in 16 Triple-A games with Cleveland but popped two home runs on Tuesday. Might not be a big-time dynasty trade chip at this point, but I’ve found across the years that named guys retain value for a long time through performance dips.
I like Pirates 2B Termarr Johnson as a player, but he’s a sell for me in dynasty leagues. Bear in mind I’m not talking about trading him, or any of these guys, for minor leaguers. The idea is to trade up on the certainty scale or to consolidate, pairing a good big leaguer with Johnson to make offers for great big leaguers. Easy for me to say as I don’t have him anywhere, and I don’t play in any leagues where on base percentage replaces batting average. Number 22 on mlb.com, Johnson had an impressive full-season debut with 18 home runs, 10 stolen bases, 101 walks and a 141 wRC+ in 105 games across both A leagues.
Similar story here with Tigers 3B Colt Keith, who I like quite a bit as a player. It’s just that his skill set isn’t a perfect match for 5×5 roto leagues, and the peak (or near peak) of his trade value might be this off-season, given that he checks in at 25th on pipeline’s list and even higher on fantasy lists after hitting 27 home runs in 121 games across Double and Triple-A at 21 years old.
Rays SS Carson Williams (18th on MLB.com) is somewhat artificially in Triple-A after six Double-A games and a .254 average in High-A. Brings plus power, speed and defense. High-probability big leaguer. Just feels like it’s gonna take a long time for his hit tool to crack the Rays lineup, and every year we play costs money.
73rd on Pipeline’s list, Yankees OF Spencer Jones carries a bit more value than that in dynasty leagues, partly because his skill set is a fit for fantasy, and partly because Aaron Judge succeeded as a Very Tall Human. At 6’6” 235 lbs, Jones isn’t likely to struggle for power. On the other hand, he hit just 16 home runs but stole 43 bases in 117 games across two levels as a 22-year-old. His wRC+ outcomes of 114 and 104 in High-A and Double-A don’t scream superstar for a college bat, but he wouldn’t have to be that to be incredibly useful for our game if he can get on the field and keep a job. That’s pretty tough to do (Lazlo Cravensworth voice) in New York Citay.
Hi, it’s me: the meanest person in the world if your name is Kyle Harrison. I’m sorry. I swear it’s nothing personal. Just, he continues to be ranked as a top 25 prospect (20th on pipeline), and I continue to think he’d return more in trade than he will in the standings. He’s got a 5.18 ERA through 24.1 major league innings, and that’s with the benefit of fewer walks than he typically surrenders. Not at all uncommon for a young pitcher to struggle early. Not at all disqualifying. These thoughts will likely be shared by much of the dynasty-playing public this off-season.
In most cases, nobody wants your pitching prospects. Especially your relief pitching prospects.
Thanks for reading!