Washington OF Victor Robles is a priority target for me this off-season because I still think he’ll someday become the .280, 20 HR, 30 SB type he appeared to be before totally forgetting how to hit. The price is definitely Bob right now. I won’t go bidding into the wind of that dreamscape on the trade market if he’s rostered by a devout Robles believer, but chances are, the Robles-heavy investor is more than ready to diversify the portfolio. 

So why should we buy?

Just hope and hype of winters past?

Well, partly that, I guess, but I’ve long suspected this reset was what Robles needed for a long time: a chance to breathe and relearn the things he’s forgotten. Washington has needed him so badly these past few years they’ve just kept playing him no matter how bad it got, often moving him around in the lineup like that somehow matters to a baseline hit tool. It does not. Robles in the leadoff spot is Robles in the five hole is Robles at the very bottom of the lineup. I’m sure they were working with him in the interim, but what he’s needed for two years now is a full reset. He probably didn’t love the idea that he’d have to hit his way back to the majors, but that’s life. He’d been handed an everyday job without earning it for a long time, perhaps he accepted the demotion (all the way to AA at first) in good grace like some kind of karmic blast from the baseball gods. 

The returns so far are excellent. Over the past week at AAA, Robles is slashing .370/.414/.852 with 3 HR and 1 SB. Who the heck is this guy? 

One thing to remember about Robles: he didn’t play much in the upper minors: 37 games at AA in 2017 and 40 games at AAA in 2018. It’s not the rarest path on the planet, but his numbers at AAA didn’t exactly scream “promote me!” He slashed .278/.356/.386 with 2 HR and 14 SB in 20 attempts before getting called up to be the everyday centerfielder for a World Series contender as a 21-year-old. Any concerns that he wasn’t ready for the task got wiped away by his .288/.348/.525 line with 3 HR and 3 SB across 21 games. 

In 2019, he hit 17 HR and stole 28 bases in 37 attempts, slashing .255/.326/.419 in a loud rookie campaign. The shoulder injury that zapped his early 2019 was well in the rear view by now, as was his abbreviated stay in the minor leagues. 

Now just 24 with a World Series ring on his finger, Robles is as unique a post-hype hopeful as I can remember. The number of 22-year-olds who brush up against 20/30 in their rookie season is vanishingly small. The idea that we could pick up this kind of talent for free when he’s still just 24 is too enticing for me to ignore. He’s not Byron Buxton in player type—fewer strikeouts, less power, less physicality, better health history—but the value proposition is similar. 

Chicago (AL) OF 1B Gavin Sheets has a warm bed waiting for him in Chicago now that Andrew Vaughn is on the IL. He’s gotten hot before and seems steamy now, coming off a three-hit night. He’s on my “pending transactions” list in the 15-teamer where I’m two points up and eager for the finish line. 

Boston LHP Jay Groome is looking clean in AA, having tossed 11 shutout innings in his first two turns at the level. Might be a sharp addition now if you can swing it, partly because I think you could trade him at some point when the redraft crew realizes he’s in the rotation picture for 2022. 

Chicago (NL) OF Brennen Davis hit two home runs in his first AAA game Tuesday. Was pointed out to me in the comments section of my Top 100 Prospects for 2021 Fantasy Baseball: Final Update that MLB.com ranked Marcelo Mayer ahead of Davis, and let me just say I wonder how many MLB clubs see it that way, even for real baseball, let alone fantasy where I don’t think it’s close. 

Toronto 3B Breyvic Valera was the big prize in the Razz 30 dynasty divisional round playoff faab run. $8 of a $200 budget. Get it, Brey.

If you’re in a crazy-ass fun league like the Razz 30, Valera could be good for some up-and-down (minors eligible in some settings) batting average and counting stats on that T-1000 of an offense they’ve got up the great north. 

New York (AL) OF Everson Pereira jumped more than anyone on my top 100 because the Yankees keep pushing him, and Pereira keeps producing. Because it’s been such a swift rise, he might be available in your league either via free agency now or trade early in the off-season. People have gone broke betting on Yankees prospects before, but Pereira should be cheap despite his .696 slugging percentage across 41 games as a 20-year-old. .667 in Low A then .693 across 22 games in High-A. He has 12 home runs in those 22 games. I don’t even know what to say other than wow. 

Oh, he’s also 5 for 6 stealing bases in 22 High-A games. Good for something like an 84 HR 35 SB pace at a level where he’s roughly three years younger than the average player. Fun in fun sample sizes, but minor league months don’t get much louder than this. 

Thanks for reading.

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

  1. toolshed says:
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    If you had to keep one catcher on your roster, would you want kirk or varsho? I wish varsho would be playing more since he can play OF, but the AZ manager never cooperates. I’d like to try trading one of them this ofseason since I got both of them dirt cheap. Thanks

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Any chance you can keep them both?

      If I had to move one of them I’d dangle both and see what shook out. Sell the one somebody really wanted to buy.

  2. scoboticus says:
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    In a keeper league, for next season, should I drop any of these OFs for Robles?
    Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
    Jesus Sanchez
    Ryan Mountcastle
    Bryan Reynolds
    Jared Walsh
    Jarren Duran

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I don’t think so. Not today anyway, but I can see him being the most valuable non-Reynolds
      of the group within the next two seasons.

  3. Mliber says:
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    I managed to pick up Robert Hassell III earlier this year in my dynasty league. Robles and Groshans are both available. Should I stick with Hassell?

    • goodfold2 says:
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      at the least he’s got hassell far above groshans for sure.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        I’d stick with Hassell. Gotta be an easier drop somewhere on the squad, no?

  4. Kcc26 says:
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    Hello and thanks for all that you do! I have an abundance of young OF in my dynasty points league ($400 budget, salaries are current/pre-arbitration):

    $12 kelenic
    $11 teoscar Hernandez
    $5 jo adell
    $3 Cedric Mullins
    $3 Bryan Reynolds
    $1 avisail garcia
    $1 Jesus Sanchez
    $1 brennen davis

    Anyone in here you wouldn’t keep? Any obvious trade candidates? Loving the idea of starting with teoscar, Mullins and Reynolds for ~$20. But would love to move another OF or two for infield help and/or pitching!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Kelenic jumps out if you can find any takers.

  5. MT71 says:
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    Which SS do you think has the most Fantasy upside, A. Volpe, M. Luciano, O. Peraza or CJ Abrams?
    Thanks for all the help and love all the reads here on Razzball!!!

    • c says:
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      That’s tough. Personally I’d go Abrams. But until I see him get past the injury it’s closer (with Luciano) than I thought in the past. Abrams is a special player.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        Yeah I’m betting biggest on Abrams in this group.

  6. TarmanGotHim says:
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    As a Marlins fan I’ve asked you about Griffin Conine and you were spot on. He should be promoted to Pensacola, was, but is King like 50% of the time which is mind boggling.

    So my next question. What do you think about Bennett Hostetler?

    He was the Marlins 18th Round pick 538 overall. He’s a SS, a position the Marlins seem deep with in the Minors and with Watson and Jazz etc.

    He has already been promoted to High A Beloit and is really
    Playing well. He’s even hitting in the top of the lineup.

    Albeit a 39/6 K/BB he’s batting .323/.370/.484/.854 with 4 HR 29 RBI 2 SB and has a 7/2 K/BB in A+

    You think they have something here?

  7. Chris says:
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    Roto. 2 weeks left. Fantasy question. Calculation wise.. how fast can i raise my ops from . 800 to .807? Is 2 weeks enuff time or no? Thank u

    Reply

    • The Harrow says:
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      i’ve seen that done before, don’t know what like % chance you’d have though. pretty sure i’ve moved up 7 points in 2 weeks at least once before. lots of variables in the % chance being answered, mostly total plate appearances to date being a thing (i.e. starting roster size, and how many days ahead or behind your game maxes etc)

  8. Montezuma's Revenge ... right now says:
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    e.pereira, yep, that’d do it, esp that much younger (and steals too eh)

    • Montezuma's Revenge ... right now says:
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      another holy crap that’s a move, e.perez MIA. checked up on him and prospects live did put but then said they almost put a 55 overall on him (55 on team page for late season team by team updates, but inside a 50, so clearly different writers stuck these in different spots, obv you’d agree with the 55 from this placement on yours)

  9. Harley Earl says:
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    Itch,

    Just wanted to say I added Everson earlier this week when I noticed you had jumped him up the rankings so highly and so fast. I went and checked out everything I could on him and decided the power/speed was too tempting to pass up. So he’s one of mine now until he goes sour but I’m hoping that won’t happen. I could use a good young OF so I hope you’re right on him.

    Thanks for the tip!

Comments are closed.