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. 

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.

  1. snapper says:
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    Traded wander for s. Marte. Only works if marte maintains current pace and I win it all. Talk to you on October…or not,

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Marte looks pretty locked in!

  2. Joe Beisbol says:
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    What’s your take on Olivares this season?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Had to wait an obnoxiously long time for an opportunity. I think he’ll be a functional piece for our game.

      • Joe Beisbol says:
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        More so or less so than Toro (assuming Olivares is getting regular PT and not being foolishly platooned with Dyson or what not)? I see Oliveras just homered tonight, and Toro last night.

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
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          I’d roll with Toro bc he’s on fire.

  3. Prawn Lord says:
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    A bit late here but the Hoy Park saga ends in New York. Seems like they traded him away for nothing but seems like he landed in a great spot for him to stick if he keeps producing.

    Also I just traded Ketel Marte for Ke’Bryan Hayes and Josiah Gray. Prospects are really highly valued in my league. Seem like a decent enough return?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Yeah I’m glad Park found a home where he could earn a chance.

      I’m a little worried about Hayes’ wrist, but I suppose it’s not like Marte can be counted on for health either. I really like Ketel so would take that side but it’s close.

  4. molina bros bbq says:
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    Itch,

    Love your posts. Thanks for all you do. First year in dynasty and really enjoying it. I’m win now and I’ve traded a bunch of prospects for guys like Ryu, Lynn, Kenley Jansen, but I’m actually enjoying churning the end of my roster trying to fill in the gaps from guys I dealt.

    14 team dynasty 6×6 roto (w/OPS)

    Would you drop any of my end of roster guys for any of the available guys I like? Who would the top pick up(s) be of the group of available guys? Really just curious who pops out to you as the best dynasty assets. Thanks in advance!

    End of roster guys:
    Trevor Hauver 2b/OF TEX
    Manuel Rodriguez RP CHC
    Mitch Keller (kind of want to see how he does this time around before jettisoning..?)
    Touki Toussaint
    Heath Hembree (probably dropping)

    Available guys who I like:
    Bailey Ober
    Euribiel Angeles MI SD
    Glenn Otto SP TEX
    Mason Thompson (I grabbed Finnegan so he might be a good hedge)
    Diego Castillo 2B NYY
    Miguel Hiraldo 3B TOR
    Edouard Julien 2B MIN
    Austin Shenton 3b TB

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, molina bros bbq!

      I’d want Julien, Otto and Shenton first from the available names.

      I probably wouldn’t drop anyone to grab em up yet if you’re hoping to see how Keller does this time around.

      He and Touki and Hembree are all pretty easy cuts for me.

      I’d want Eddys Leonard, Matt Fraizer and Jose Ramos over the available guys you listed, in case any are available.

      • molina bros bbq says:
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        Thanks Itch. I had Jose Ramos rostered already so I feel good about that. Had not heard of Matt Fraizer but I also have Cal Mitchell rostered so I like pairing them up in my minors. Looked at what Eddys Leonard has done this year and it is also ridiculous. LAD has such a glut of talent in their system it is pretty impressive.

        Thanks again.

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
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          Anytime!

          Leonard is getting precisely zero coverage, and I don’t understand it.

          Just promoted to High A as a 20 year old.

  5. toolshed says:
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    Is orelvis Martinez k rate a little concerning to you in A ball?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Nah.

  6. Umpy70 says:
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    had wando in my keeper league

    traded him for cole (35 to keep) A. Nola (35 to keep, wont keep) and L. Hendricks.
    i’ll keep cole for a year, not the other two. I was in first place and needed some pitching

    what did you think Itch? wouldve you pulled the trigger on that

    • C says:
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      Man that’s a “win now” trade if ever there was one.

      • Umpy70 says:
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        it is, but also didnt want them to go to my competitors

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Always tough to comment on stuff like this bc each league is so unique. I don’t think I’d do that, but a lot of that is bc I don’t like Cole or Nola. Both hurt by the spider tack situation imo.

  7. Kcc26 says:
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    Can Jose Miranda be a relevant fantasy bat?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Yes

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