In 2021, most rookies are playing like Joe Strummer on a Ramshackle Day Parade, taking the freight elevator straight to the incinerator.
This makes fantasy players reluctant to buy for the first time in a long time, a corrective measure many years in the making as we’ve been titillated by Tatis, Acuña, Soto, Alonso, Bichette and many, many more.
Wander Franco is a disappointment, is all I’m saying, depending who you ask.
Only if you’re watching his games, you probably think he’s incredible–a 20-year-old in the middle of the lineup for a World Series team. A 20-year-old who never gives an inch, always looks like a tough out, never gives away a pitch.
Perhaps your trade deadlines are all behind you. Half of mine are. But I mention the idea of floating a trade for Franco because I myself just sent Wander away this week.
The trade happened in a ten-team league with four keepers per club. You can skip this paragraph if you don’t want any context on why in the world I would trade Wander. The key point is that I did it, and I think the Wander squad in your league might be persuaded to do the same. The return was perfect for my squad, who might’ve tossed Wander back anyway in service of several elite young bats and a $30 Mike Trout. I want to avoid the thickest weeds of the league here, but we’re cycling keepers now, from 6 to 4 to 2 to 0 and back to 6: a full reset to zero every four years. It’s a version of an idea I had long ago that suddenly caught momentum this off-season with no words from me. It’s fine by me, but I have kept Wander the past two years, so it wasn’t ideal for the investor with a long-term portfolio. The return for $4 Wander and $2 Witt = Carlos Rodon, George Springer, Nolan Arenado, Randy Arozarena and Daulton Varsho. I feel monster halves coming from Springer and Arozarena, and my team has lost Shane Bieber and Jacob deGrom to injury, so Rodon could help a lot. Arenado at 3B replaces Franco, and I actually think it’s a toss up over the next few months. Maybe you wouldn’t want to spend that much, but we only keep four, and the trade partner was probably only keeping one of the guys I got.
Over his last 11 games, Wander is slashing .341/.383/.477. I’m cutting the sample fine to highlight my position, but I’m also watching a lot of games. The eye test supports the stats in this case. Dude’s a great hitter, and the prevailing wind makes him more available at the moment than any hyper elite, all-category prospect should be.
Another all-category Tampa prospect, Randy Arozarena, is grabbing the wheel on the 2021 Rookie of the Year race. Adolis Garcia and Alek Manoah look like his primary competition, and I think it’s probably going to be Manoah in the end if Toronto can stay in the playoff chase, but Arozarena will be the best fantasy rookie by a long ways in OBP formats, where Adolis is an issue. He’s another ill-wind guy I’d check on for trade purposes. A lot of people like to hate on Randy, but he’s got a 243 wRC+ over the past 13 games just to remind us all that October 2020 happened in the real world.
Los Angeles (AL) OF Jo Adell finally arrived from the other side with three hits and a walk in five plate appearances. Irks me to no end the way this team gamed his service this year. They’re just a game under .500 despite leaving an elite young bat in AAA for 108 games. He’s a much better prospect than Brandon Marsh, for what it’s Wuertz, and he’s going to hit a lot of home runs.
The first overall pick of the 2021 draft, Pittsburgh C Henry Davis, debuted as a pro and homered in his 2nd at bat: a beautiful opposite field plast. The Pirates’ build seems so far ahead of the Cubs, I’m thinking mostly in Yarrrs these days. Part of that is playing pirate games with my 3-year-old. One of us steals a necklace, the other chases and says Yarrr a lot. It’s actually quite similar to what happens in the National League Central.
— Cody Potanko (The Murphanko Experience) (@Murphanko) August 4, 2021
USA Baseball defeated the Dominican Republic on Tuesday thanks partly to a nice outing from Scott Kazmir. Boston 1B Triston Casas has homered in three straight games, channeling something of a look-like-Votto, play-like-Votto moment into our timelines. Wasn’t long ago 1B was a barren landscape across Prospect World, but in Casas and Kansas City 1B Nick Pratto, we now have two consensus(ish) Top 25 prospects at the position.
The USA can still win gold, but so can South Korea, Japan and the DR. Regardless of how it finishes, Julio Rodriguez will soon be back in the states, as will Tampa Bay RHP Shane Baz, who figures to debut shortly after his return.
Speaking of 20-year-olds in AA, Pittsburgh SS Liover Peguero is knocking on that door. He’s still in High A today, but after homering five times over a four-game stretch, he’s got 11 HR and 17 SB in 59 games. The slash line is still not ideal, .261/.323/.457, but that might serve to keep the Buy window open a bit longer than it should be.
Texas RHP Joe Barlow is making a strong bid for the closer’s role. Instant add in leagues where relievers really matter.
Toronto SS Orelvis Martinez got promoted to High A and homered in his first game. He’ll turn 20 in November. Inside shot he aces High A and opens 2022 in AA. Outside shot he makes his big league debut fall. Looking like a top ten prospect this off-season.
And speaking of top ten prospects, Seattle SS Noelvi Marte homered three times Tuesday night. 15 HR and 15 SB in 73 games, albeit at the Low A level with the three-throws-over rule that juices SB totals. He’ll turn 20 in October. Should be in High A next week.
Thanks for reading!
I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.