First reaction to the Dodgers trading AJ Pollock for Craig Kimbrel was justifiably noisy in the FantasyVerse. People had been touting Kimbrel and drafting him as a closer for months upon months and only recently began to count how many chickens they’d pre-counted as eggs in the White Sox arm barn. Now Kimibrel was officially a Final Boss on the winningest team in baseball and people wanted to crow, which I tend to think is for the birds. 

Next second, the internet turned to watch as all the Blake Treinen shares went poof into a fine powder. The phantom limb pains of those who’d just lost 30 saves could be felt everywhere around us. 

A few internet moments later, Gavin Lux sprinted into the spotlight, charging the Twitter stage like Will Smith to smack the shit out of all the haters who’d buried him during draft season. Like me. Only I’ve been burying Lux on lists since way back when he was just a hotshot kid in California, so I saw him coming and ducked out of there. My attention was elsewhere anyway. 

I tea-leafed this move as Los Angeles rolling out the red carpet for Edwin Rios, who leads the team with three home runs this spring, hitting .438 (7-16) with four walks and just one strikeout. He’s recovered well from the surgery that cost him 2021 and made himself an option at third base, first base and designated hitter. Justin Turner is 37 years old. Cody Bellinger has struggled for years. Chris Taylor and Gavin Lux can both cover center or shortstop. What I mean to say is nobody has to get hurt for Rios to play a lot. How many home runs do you think he could hit with ~400 plate appearances, mostly against right handed pitchers? The raw math has him around 15.3 PA per HR in his career, meaning he’d get 26.7 HR with 400 plate appearances. I’ll take the over if he gets the opportunity and was thrilled to land him at pick 488 in the 20-team Highlander Dynasty Invitational. 

Nothing is official, but I think Pittsburgh SS Diego Castillo has claimed a spot for himself in the opening day lineup, showcasing opposite field power and a plus approach, punctuated by five home runs and a 1.367 OPS. Gotta be careful when you’re on top. That’s when the Diego comes for you. If Castillo plays and stays hot, that could bump Oneil Cruz to left field or even (gasp) give the club a reason to delay the big man’s arrival. As always (yarrr), the Pirates could hornswaggle us all and continue to start Kevin Newman

Arizona DH Seth Beer has been playing some first base and is hitting .429 with one home run in 21 spring at bats. Shoulder seems to have recovered after he injured it to finalize his 2021. Maybe the snakes have something in mind that I’m missing, but I’ve written Beer onto my shopping list and drafted him at 393 overall in the Highlander Dynasty Invitational. 

The Reds already announced one big rookie breaking camp in RHP Hunter Greene, but the whisper mill suggests LHP Nick Lodolo is next. Wanna change the narrative around your franchise? Bring your guys up when they’re ready. Pretty simple stuff. You don’t even have to spend money these days. Fans are conditioned to reward teams for their thriftiest tactics, but they still want to see the Rookies right away, and I commend the Reds for their off-season moves. I liked the Suarez contract extension when they made it. That didn’t work out. They found a way to move on. Tyler Naquin is a good hitter, and now he’ll be out there every day. Seven years or so of Brandon Williamson might be well worth a couple Jesse Winker seasons, and this is how our brains work now. Good for them for moving that dead Suarez money. The grass is a little greener in Cincinnati today. 

The Angels dumped Justin Upton, which works well for OF Brandon Marsh and perhaps even Jose Rojas and 2B Michael Stefanic. They’ll eat about 28 million bucks just to wave goodbye, and we might wind up with a DH elsewhere suddenly blocked by a free Upton pick-up. 

Diamondbacks SS Geraldo Perdomo will open his third major league season as the starting shortstop now that Nick Ahmed is out. Perdomo could Wally Pipp this situation with a couple good weeks, and he probably should, given Arizona’s place on the win curve.

I just saw SS Nico Hoerner range deep into the hole and make a long jump-throw across the diamond to rob a hit, so I think his shoulder is feeling okay. Side note that’s not really a side note: this team is not good and should play Hoerner over Andrelton Simmons. They can dress it up with a Suzuki signing here and a Miley/Simmons/Villar poo poo platter, but you just can’t start Jason Heyward in centerfield and call yourself a contender. Today (Saturday) a ball bounced right off his glove. Regular line drive. Just in and out. I think he’ll be fine there, defensively, but holy cow is he lost in the batter’s box. Ildemaro Vargas and Frank Schwindel are over .300. Everyone else is under .200 in this lineup. Buy Clint Frazier and Rafael Ortega. I can’t see why they’d take either guy out of the lineup. Schwindel, too, is a real hiter. I don’t know if he’s gonna hit .300 forever, but he’s a tough out with good power, and I’ll bet he’s going to be a big leaguer for the next half decade or so. 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter. 

42 Comments
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Milarky
Milarky
4 months ago

Hey Itch, I’m in a league that has a prospect element, so love your articles! We did our deep draft on the weekend, and we have a specific spot to start a rookie hitter. And because it was in person and we were many beers in, I took a flyer on Cooper Hummel with my last pick because it sounds like he will make the team, and also has C eligibility (as well as being a rookie).

Is he someone I should just drop ASAP, or is there a chance he could be even a little useful? He actually happens to be my backup catcher (we start two, I have Stephenson and Murphy).

Grey
Admin
Reply to  The Itch
4 months ago

Saw you grab Hummel in CBS, I put in a bid on him in Tout

Grey
Admin
Reply to  The Itch
4 months ago

Haha, I like how you’re thinking…We’ll see tho, I just have a bid, haven’t got him yet

Milarky
Milarky
Reply to  The Itch
4 months ago

Thanks Itch!

TualatinTwoStep
TualatinTwoStep
4 months ago

What’s up Itch?

Towards the end of my dynasty draft right now, and would like to add Vaughn Grissom to my squad. After promoting Oneil Cruz, I do not really have anyone to promote from my minors squad, as the guys closes to the majors are probably Shea Langeliers (it’s a 2 catcher league) and Michael Toglia. Out of the following guys on my MiLB roster, who is the cut?

Elijah Tatis
Matt Tabor
Jhon Torres

Already swooped Roderick Arias and Oscar Colas earlier in the draft, would you rather have Christhian Vaquero, Dyan Jorge, or Ryan Reckley than any of these guys?

TualatinTwoStep
TualatinTwoStep
Reply to  The Itch
4 months ago

Awesome, thanks Itch, appreciate you man!

Reckley is getting some Jazz Chisholm comps, as a Giants fan, this excites me.

Umpy70
Umpy70
4 months ago

Kevin Smith or Edwin Rios?

Chhhhh
Chhhhh
4 months ago

Itch, my DUDE!!!

So, quick question. I’m looking for upside here….I have an opportunity to add one of the following:

1. MJ Melendez
2. Eury Perez
3. Andy Pages
4. Dustin Harris

I’m actually leanding Pages. What do you think? I’m so scared of pitchers (TINSTAAPP and all), but Eury looks dreamy. Melendez has the pop and will probably be playing soon. Pages has light-tower pop and the Dodgers just seem to get the most out of their prospects. Harris, based on your recommendations, seem legit as well.

Who you got? Thanks, man!

Chhhhh
Chhhhh
Reply to  The Itch
4 months ago

Thanks man!!!

Luvdarooks
4 months ago

Hi Itch !
Miguel Vargas 5
Henry Davis 5
Lodolo 3
Eury Perez 3
Elly DeLacruz 5
————
They stay at that salary for another year after MLB activation then $5/year
Who’s your top 3 please?
NL 260 league.

pugs slugs
pugs slugs
4 months ago

Thanks for all the great pre-season write-ups Itch! I was able to score Rios in my NL-Only H2H 5×5(OBP) for $4 in a league made up of mostly Dodger Homers (me included). I was thinking exactly what you wrote about along with both Raley and Beaty gone as well. I can’t imagine him not getting 400+ ABs this season and connecting for 20+ HRs.

Oneil Cruz ended up going for $16, which was far beyond what I had at the time. Unfortunately it’s because I had already bought Josh Rojas for $12, and we know how that turned out (effing obliques).

I also snagged Hunter Greene as well for $10. He’s my number 4 behind Alcantara, Webb, and Stroman. I have Cobb, Lauer, and Josiah Gray also. I’m Hoping he gets me 120 innings, but more importantly that he sets in as a strong keeper for next year.

FYI, the link you put in for Diego Castillo goes to Seattle’s Castillo.

Looking forward to your articles throughout this year.

LG Baseball
LG Baseball
4 months ago

Hi Itch!

Love all of your work. I’m in a H2H 10 team league where we keep 10 players forever. Categories are runs, hits, avg, HR, RBI, SB, walks.

Would you trade Devers for Albies?

For context I could move Witt Jr over to 3B and currently have Jorge Polanco at 2B.

Rest of my team is:

1B – Alonso
2B – Albies *
3B – Witt Jr
SS – Bo
OF – Acuna
OF – Tatis
OF – Robert
Util: Julio Rodriguez

Bench: Polanco*, Carroll, Matos, Franmil, Reyes, Gleyber,

Let me know if I should get Albies or keep Devers!

Thanks,
LG

Dude
Dude
4 months ago

Keep forever league. No specific need. If you had roster space for one are you going with Rios or Kwan?

junior56
junior56
4 months ago

Morning Itch!

How appropriate your write up is as I am Round 28 0f my draft. Wondering who i will burn my next pick on. While Rios is gone still are others on the board. I was disappointed the Brujan was sent down but will keep an eye on him.Do you have a late round SP I should take a flyer on?

Lower the Jolly Roger
Lower the Jolly Roger
4 months ago

Itch ! You’re the best in the biz imo .. 12 team keep 10 plus 12 farm/stash .. was offered Moreno for my Pratto … would ya ? Thanks as always !

Homer's got the Runs
Homer's got the Runs
4 months ago

Hello itch, wondering what your take is on Andres Gimenez? IMO he is quite capable of 10-15 homers and over 20 sbs. If he shows he is capable of hitting with average I can see him with a top 3 spot in the order. Am I dreaming? He was a touted prospect at one point.

Philip
Philip
4 months ago

Another question: I might be able to flip Mitch Keller for Muncy to a rebuilding team. I know Keller has sucked worst of all, but he’s looking good. Is Muncy healthy and does he have much left in the tank? Is it better to just hold Keller like a lotto ticket? Muncy would be a utility/bench bat.

Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo
Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo
Reply to  Philip
4 months ago

whoever the muncy owner is in that league, talk to him frequently, using a poker metaphor that’s the guy you build games around.

Philip
Philip
4 months ago

Itch, did you hear Dusty Baker gushing about Pedro Leon? It sounded as if he wanted Leon to be his starting CF but was overruled by the org. Sounds like he is the surprise standout in camp.

Do you buy it?

Also, is Castillo PIT worth adding in a dynasty league? Or am I better using that roster spot for daily player moves?

Thanks, homie!

galica1234
galica1234
4 months ago

The Itch!

Awesome!!

a. Signed up GCooper in my 4×4 dynasty. Would you add Rios over Cooper? Over anyone else? Here’s the 35-man (plus 15-man MiLB) team after cuts.

Garver
Cron
India
Chapman
Bogaerts
Schwindel
Villar
Walsh, Betts, Cooper, Fraley, Marte
Robles, Siri
Bench Biggio, Mateo, Arozarena, CJoe, Vierling (these guys are on the bench as they don’t play April 7)
MiLB Harris, Brujan, EMontero, Walker, BAcuna, Arias, Butler, Cowser, JLowe, Wiemer

SP Cease, Manoah, Musgrove, Ryan, Gonsolin, Houck, Kopech, Lodolo, Ranger
RP Doval, Hendriks, Kittredge, Warren, Whitlock, Iglesias, CGreen
MiLB Roansy, Walston, EuryP, LoganT, JaydenM

b. Signed up Marsh in both my RCLs (after dropping him when I saw JUp raking in ST) – after JUp was DFA. JUp DFA is a head-scratcher for me, I guess LAA is giving him a chance to land somewhere else for free?

c. George Carlin quote of the day for April 3, 2022

Everyone smiles in the same language.’

Cheers,
Ante

joe shmoe
joe shmoe
4 months ago

Hi Itch,
Abrahms worthy of a hold in an RCL? Do you think he shows up at all on the big league level?

Baggiejohn
Baggiejohn
4 months ago

Good morning Itch!

Not posted on here for a while, but reading your posts with great pleasure, and got me some bright prospects thanks to you. Kudos for leading me to Manoah and Baz (when he’s healthy again) last year. Loved your predictions post the other day – hope you’re right about Espino and Eury Perez for 2023, as I’m strangely (for me) in love with Prospect Pitchers at the moment – got a few Lodolo shares as well.

I got questions!

I’ve lucked into Casas in a Dynasty, but I’m not overly sold on him – would you try and trade for Khalil Watson ? Max Meyer ? Not getting any bites at the moment

I’m also trying to pick-up Nick Yorke on Waivers – how high will he be next year, do you think? You sound keener on him than Casas

Grey’s out on Shane Bieber – would you be looking to trade him ? Would McLanahan be a good trade in a Dynasty right now ?

What’s happening with Hedbert Perez ? I couldn’t see him on your lists, and I have shares. Have you moved on from him ?

I’ve also got shares in Nick Pratto, but my Dynasty Leagues are typically 12 Teams – I’m guessing I could do better, maybe Khalil Watson ?

So good to see so many top Rookies starting the season on the field!

Hope you’re keeping well. Sorry for all the questions, I’m sure I had a few more. But hey – who else am I going to ask ?

Have a great Sunday!
John

toolshed
toolshed
4 months ago

Lol. I was planning on asking about rios before I even read your piece. I got him through waivers when i heard the news. It feels good to see you fully endorse him w/o me even asking about it. Your rationale about his opportunity is even better news.