Having a big bank account certainly helps the Dodgers, but it’s guys like Zach McKinstry and Luke Raley who make them a juggernaut. You might’ve familiarized yourself with McKinstry at this point, but one thing to mention here is that he’s outfield eligible in most leagues now, even Fantrax’s Util purgatory, making him a nice option in leagues of all sizes. Second base eligibility should come next. He’s got six games there already. 

Side note: my Perts league team is thick with second basemen (DJ, Whit, Villar, France), so it’ll be special for the group when McKinstry earns that badge. Whit just got his. Ty France is in the waiting room with eight games at 2B as of today. Big Perts party incoming for team Itch. Michael Brantley finally added OF this morning. Woohoo for positions!

Back to Luke Raley, who started on Thursday and again Friday when he went yard against the Padres, likely earning himself a few more chances on a team that likes to play the hot hand. Los Angeles clearly liked Raley, having taken him out of tiny Lake Erie College in the 7th round of the 2016 draft. He wound up with Minnesota as part of the Brian Dozier trade, but Los Angeles got him back about a year later in the Kenta Maeda deal. On the field, Raley is a plus runner who’s stolen 21 bases and been caught five times across his minor league career. In 2019, he stole four bases in 33 games without getting caught. While he’s not going to carry anyone in the category, he’s a sneaky source for deep league speed, and one that comes equipped with plus power. He has never posted a below average offensive season according to wRC+, living mostly in the 125 range, or 25 percent better than the league average hitter. All this is to say: while his name probably rings hollow for the average fantasy player on first reference, Raley has serious upside if he can minimize the strikeouts. If anyone can get the most out of his rotisserie skills, it’s the Dodgers

Milwaukee LHP Angel Perdomo looks incredible. He’s a 6’8” lefty throwing high nineties heat he hides well behind his head just before uncoiling for release. Worth a watch. All it takes is a couple random video clips on statcast these days if you’re up for a quick and context-free glance at the general looks a reliever presents. Perdomo’s look is that of a long-term, high-leverage big league bullpen arm. The only question is his control, and he’s got it working for him at the moment. He struck out 35.1 percent of the AAA hitters he saw even with his control coming and going (15.5 percent BB%), so the idea of a Perdomo living in the strike zone is a little bit terrifying. 

Toronto RHP Anthony Castro cut his teeth as a starter but struggled to clear a path for himself partly because he lost the feel for his delivery in AA and walked 5.72 batters per nine innings. He always featured relief-only mechanics, and a 14.8 percent walk rate doesn’t look so crazy in the bullpen, but I’d expect him to command the ball much better in short relief, leaning on a sweeping bender and a four-seamer in and/or up. Looks like he’ll be extremely tough on righties. I think he’ll move up in the embattled bullpen’s pecking order quickly in Toronto. 

The San Francisco Giants’ bullpen has been great this season, but they’re a little short on righties. Enter RHP Camilo Doval, a super-talented A-ball closer who hadn’t reached AA before his promotion. I have a feeling this timing is not accidental–that the Giants have run the service-time math and suspect they can keep Doval up all year if he’s good enough to stick. I’m excited to see him. If he struggles, they’ll just send him back to the alternate site and give him half a season or more in the minors, but he’s a sharp pickup right now in deep Saves/Holds leagues.  

Arizona OF Nick Heath was acquired from Kansas City on Saturday in exchange for RHP Eduardo Herrera. Tim LoCastro got banged up attempting to steal third on Saturday. If he misses time, maybe Heath slides into a few stolen bases. 

Kansas City LHP Jake Brentz throws hard, averaging 97 on his four-seamer and 91.2 on his change. Seems like everyone is bumping up against 100 miles per hour these days, but the preponderance of high velocity relievers is not making those fastballs any easier to hit. Or maybe it is and we just wouldn’t be able to chart such a thing. Cesar Valdez might count as evidence that the extreme velocities are opening avenues for crafty junk ballers, but it’s not like hitters are growing accustomed to triple digits in ways that gives them an edge in the late innings. Sorry for the tangent there. It’s just interesting to watch the game transform. In the recent past, a guy like Brentz would be immediately ticketed for the back end of a bullpen thanks to his elite heat, but these days with pens stacked up, he’s a middle reliever for the time being. Manager Mike Matheny has been creative with his bullpen the past couple years, so if Brentz continues to be effective, he’ll become a high-leverage factor soon. 

St. Louis OF Justin Williams hit an opposite field home run on Friday, the first of his MLB career. This team has demonstrated a flawed approach to outfield construction for quite a while now, in my opinion, so certainly nothing is guaranteed here, but Williams looks like the best of the non-Carlson bunch to me, at least at the plate, at least for the moment. Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader should be off the IL soon enough to undercut Williams’ chances of a real breakthrough, but neither has proven himself an everyday big leaguer despite the club’s unwavering loyalty to them. 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

 
  1. HamPorter says:
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    Morning Itch,

    Need some guidance in a 14 team H2H points league. I would like to pick up a bench outfield player, I currently have Soler, Kapler, Robert, and McKinstry in the OF. The best options are Adolis, Wille Calhoun, and Andrew Vaughn. I liked the look of Adolis the other day, but we lose points for strikeouts and I already have Soler and Kapler, so Adolis worries me quite a bit with his swing and miss potential and missing out on more points. Who would you go with of those three?

    Pitching: I have Lynn, Ryu, Gallen, Alcantra, Dunning, Peterson, Trevor Williams, Kenley, and Trivino. My bench spots are Yardbrough, Corbin, and I’m holding Jefferies. I have Corbin on the bench for the foreseeable future because he looked like my 3-year-old pitching to me in the backyard the other night. Pitching is slim pickings, would you drop Corbin or Yardbrough for Logan Gilbert? Also, would you add Josh Fleming (Probably taxi squad when Archer gets back) or Cole Irvin looked manageable (albeit it was against the Tiger potent offense)?

    Thanks for the help!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Morning, HamPorter!

      I’d grab Vaughn and give him another 10 days or so to see if LaRussa lets him play enough to find his plate patience.

      I actually would drop Corbin for Gilbert in that setup, but I’ve always been way low on Corbin. Probably worth the hassle to shop him a bit. Most leagues have a Corbin fan or two.

  2. Baggie John says:
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    Hi Itch

    Loving your stuff. No issues for you missing the Strike Zone at all!

    I’m in several Dynasty leagues, and love me some high-K relievers. Would you see Perdomo ranking above Joely Rodriguez or Brusdar Graterol if his command holds up? At 27 he’s more of a target for this year I guess than the future

    Have a great weekend!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hi, Baggie John,

      Thanks for the kind words!

      I wouldn’t hold Perdomo’s age against him. Lefties take longer (partly bc they don’t meet their first left handed coach who pitched until they’re pretty old) and tall guys take longer, too.

      I would go ahead and roll the dice on Perdomo here but suspect Brusdar could be sold for a late draft pick.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        I doubt you’ll have to rush out and add Perdomo. Probably have a week or two to shop Graterol and maybe even Joely a bit if their types hold value your leagues.

        • Baggie John says:
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          Thanks!

          Graterol might have some value, I suppose, when he starts pitching! Joely was a FA in all my Leagues. I’ve added Perdomo in my 16-team Dynasty, where I’m not competitive this year (or likely next year either) for $0 so I can keep an eye on him … he certainly sounds intriguing

  3. Jimmy says:
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    Would you grab Perdomo at the expense of JP Feyereison? Would grab Raley at the expense of Willie Calhoun? One question do we Alek Manoah soon….thank you!!

    • Jimmy says:
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      18 team dynasty 5×5….thanks again itcj

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        Man I hope so on Manoah. Feels very aggressive, but they’ve got needs, and he looks ready to burn through a big league lineup once or twice.

        I would take Raley over Willie C today but would flip that pretty quickly if Texas is playing Willie every day right away.

        I’d hold Fire risin over Perdomo for now.

  4. rocky61 says:
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    Thanks for all this precious info!
    Deep NL-only, standard ROTO, need to replace Yelich. Options are Justin Williams, Raley, McKinney, Daza and Tyrone Taylor. Tempted by Williams, but could you please rank them for me.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I want Williams and Raley if I can fit em somehow.

      Williams is the best bet hold playing time for the whole season. Raley is the best bet for a loud week or two.

  5. Betterplay says:
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    Who is the better play today?

    Brandon Lowe vs Cole
    Nate Lowe vs Means
    Franmil Reyes vs Miley

    Thanks!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Franmil by a mile if he’s in the lineup.

      B Lowe is heating up. Suppose I’d risk him against Cole v playing Nate against a lefty.

  6. cable says:
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    if you can…h/h points league ..which side

    I just picked Molina (FA)

    G Sanchez & A Meadows for A Judge

  7. Cable says:
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    So trade is actually Sanchez/Meadows for Molina/Judge

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Yeah I’d move those guys for Judge

      Probably even if I didn’t already have a hot Yadi in tow

  8. Jolt In Flow says:
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    Itch, just drinking my normal Sunday coffee, enjoying the weekly Sunday read. Maxwell House this time, None of the fancy Van Houtte Belgian Chocolate stuff.

    Thanks for the write-up, as always. One thing stood out to me that I’m hoping you can expand on. Regarding St. Louis, “This team has demonstrated a flawed approach to outfield construction for quite a while now”… any chance you can elaborate on this? I always though that St. Louis is one of the best teams you could ever ask to play for. They seem really professional. I’d want to play there as a player because I’d have that feeling that I could win it all, every single year. Is there OF construction that rough?

    Thanks Itch,

    Jolt

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks Jolt!

      Gotta keep that coffee rotating, I think. Always tastes better that way. If I buy a fresh cup of premium roast from my local Cup of Joe everyday, it’s eventually just coffee to me, you know? Like I can no longer tell it’s much better than eight o clock from the bag, partly bc maybe it’s not, kinda, depending on day. Anyway, sorry for the jog, just been having a lot of coffee thoughts lately.

      Fastest way to respond is to say Pham and/or Arozarena.

      I agree that they’ll contend every year and that it seems from the outside like a solid—if busted for hacking once—organization. But they chose to sign an old Dexter Fowler and jettison a young Randy Rose, who had been absolutely crushing in their system.

      They chose to push Harrison Bader and dump Tommy Pham.

      It’s just a few examples, but they have a tendency to undervalue well rounded outfielders in favor of someone they see as particularly strong in one area: Bader on Def and Fowler for on-base percentage even tho he was losing power and range. I think just the opposite about outfielders. The ideal group has three guys who could handle center in a pinch, all of whom are something like a .270/.340/.470 type w 20,10. Better is awesome, but I’m just using those as medium-low-bar shorthand for the kind of outfielders who have the best careers.

      Also the Pham story itself is incredible, if I remember right. I’ll see if I can find a link. He was ready for a long time, but the Cards just ignored him. Pissed him off something fierce. He sought explanations for why he was being held down and didn’t like the responses he got, the way I remember it.

      And this year, when they desperately need outfield, they’ve recalled Scott Hurst and demoted Lane Thomas.

      Hurst hasn’t played much in the upper minors.

      https://www.fangraphs.com/players/scott-hurst/20501/stats?position=OF

      Just 45 games in AA when he slashed .191/.278/.277

      That’s the last he played before his promotion.

      Maybe they know something I don’t. I just don’t see why they yo-yo their players so much and give reps to guys like Scott Hurst, among other questions I’d have.

          • Jolt In Flow says:
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            Itch, you’re gold! You went way above and beyond. I appreciate it immensely. I recalled Pham, but couldn’t recall the others. I forgot about Ozuna on the Cards. I still say Miami had the most insane hitting lineup in recent memory with 1. Dee Gordon, 2. Yelich, 3. Stanton, 4. Ozuna, 5. Realmuto (& 6. Justin Bour, 7. Dietrich just for fun). That was a monster of a first 5 + 6.&7., so to speak.

            Now imagine if that 2016/2017 Marlins offense + Pitcher Fernandez joined the currebt pitching unit. Oh man. The thought of it makes me shiver. A strong team + legit star power. It would be a world reknowned team. Now I apologize for the jog.

            BTW, you’re also spot on with the coffee. It eventually all just turns into non-unique coffee after a week or two after the flavour wears out from the repetitive drinking.

            Have an excellent weekend.

            Jolt

  9. toolshed says:
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    Josh rojas did it to me again. I had to move on. I was hoping he’d get a little bit more time but AZ has not cooperated. I think they wanted him to succeed, but didn’t give him enough time amd he may be moved at some point.

    Do you think the Chisholm hot start will continue? Obviously he can’t keep up his current level, but I did not see this coming. Thanks

    • toolshed says:
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      Rojas surprisingly leading off today. He will start hitting now that I moved on. Lol

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        and pops a bomb off the jump!!

        We dropped him in the 20 I own with my brother, who’s text is how I learned of the home run.

        Chisholm is playing like a veteran, taking his pitches, working long at bats and generating and benefiting a fun energy among that club. Their games are fun. Marte and Aguilar were going nuts when Jazz worked the walk the became the winning run Saturday night.

        Short answer, I think it’s wiser to bet on this being within his realm of outcomes in kind of a general way moving forward. The plate discipline has fueled the power and protected the hit tool. It’s exciting. Slumps are inevitable, but I’d be buying during that first dip at the moment.

  10. Mookie says:
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    11 team AL-only keeper roto league with $260 budget, 12 active keepers that count towards auction budget, 3 reserve keepers that don’t count towards auction budget (generally prospects). My full roster at bottom—think I have top 2-3 squad based on talent so in GFIN mode . One issue is I have Ohtani and Alvarez as DH-only so trying to move Alvarez even though he’s a good keeper. Would you take or leave this trade?

    I get: Maeda (after this year, contracts he can be kept are $44, 44, 49, 54); Chris Sale (12, 12, 17, 22); Jorge Polanco (6, 11)

    I give: Yordan Alvarez (15, 20); Luis Patino (10, 10, 15, 20 – though can be kept for ‘free’ in next years auction)

    MY TEAM
    C – Chance Sisco; Alejandro Kirk
    1B – Vladito
    2B – Pinder
    SS – Bogaerts
    3B – Devers
    MI – Andrus
    CI – Bregman
    OF – Tucker, Gallo, Vaughn, M Taylor, DJ Stewart
    DH – Ohtani

    P – Berrios, Eovaldi, Luzardo, Bassitt, ERod, Stripling, Heaney, Barnes, C Valdez

    Bench – Yordan, Tsutsugo, JaCoby Jones, Casas, Rutschman, Tanner Scott, Patino

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Sale’s the big prize in that one, in my opinion.

      Aces his level don’t move when they’re right. I’d do it.

  11. Harley Earl says:
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    Amazing how St. Louis (Mozeliak) can give Matt Adams a 5-year leash to suck but won’t give Luke Voit a shot and trades him away for essentially nothing. Gallegos is a nice bullpen arm but he’s garbage compared to Voit.

    Then there’s the unwavering commitments to the outfielders that suck like Dexter Fowler, Tyler BlowNeil, and Harrison Bader. Mozeliak, again, extends the leash for these guys 3-4 years, but trades away a guy like Randy Arozarena after only a few months in the Bigs just like Voit.

    I can go on and on about St. Louis’ questionable front office decisions. I get that it can happen to anybody once in a while, making a bad trade that is. But Mozeliak’s resume for how he got the job is downright laughable and Bill DeWitt is a moron to keep an idiot who has wasted over a 1/3 billion dollars in spending for nothing and at the same time traded away future stars.

    Just for context on the 1/3 billion reference I made: these contracts all belong to Mozeliak.

    Fowler ($85 million), Leake ($80 million), Jhonny Peralta ($52 million), Andrew Miller ($34 million) Brett Cecil ($32 mllion), Greg Holland ($16 million), Luke Gregerson ($11 million), Jonathan Boxton ($8 million), Mark Ellis ($5 million) and on and on and on it goes.

    That’s $322 million right there. Who in their right mind keeps a clown like Mozeliak employed after all these bad decisions?

    By the way, nice piece. Raley looks like he has some potential!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks Harley!

      And good breakdown of the contract woes. They need a few more check-w-me budget people in there somewhere or something. Or, as you suggest, perhaps some fresh FO blood in general.

      Although that Arenado trade worked out pretty well and might buy some time.

  12. Slimcompoop says:
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    Good read Itch! Thank you.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Slimcompoop!

      Happy Sunday to you and yours!

  13. Lower the Jolly Roger says:
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    Itch! Great stuff… 12 team dynasty … 10 farm… I added Gilberto Jimenez yesterday into an open spot… would you add Priester and drop Trammell? Thank you as always!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Lower the Jolly Roger!

      I’d make that swap, yes.

      Priester should be putting up loud statlines a couple weeks from now.

      Nice move on Gilberto! Another guy who could a month away from making national noise. We haven’t had the minors in so long. The fast starters are going to get crazy pub, I think.

  14. luvdarooks says:
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    jeffries or Gilbert in a 6×6 QS -k -Whip -ERA -Net -wins

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Gilbert but I’d take whoever got the first real chance if I could

  15. Scrapski says:
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    Hey Itch,
    Thanks for the info.
    Jazz or McKinstry in 5×5 roto?

  16. Scrapski says:
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    Please also include E Escobar and rank the three
    Thanks!

  17. Mike L says:
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    Itch I know it’s late and you may or may not answer this but I need some advice in a full keeper league. I’m in 1st place right now and I’ve got Gore, Kelenic, Cj Abrams, and Luciano for my only 4 bench spots. I’ve got a relatively great lineup but I’m starting to get the injury bug…Albies, Bellinger, (maybe Acuna), Grisham, Bregman, and Buxton is a time bomb. If you’ve got these prospects, do you just eat it and hold or do you drop and grab a guy like Badoo, Naquin, or Mercedes? My feelings are I should probably hold. I really wanted to roster another active player at my last draft but felt like Luciano is too good to be on waivers. The trade option is probably off the table because most guys in my league don’t value prospects.

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