I’m not often surprised by the machinations of major league baseball teams because the road map is pretty well defined in stages by contracts and developmental norms, and it’s part of my job to know the lay of the land. 

Atlanta OF Michael Harris II being promoted from AA on Saturday surprised me. 

Can be underrated fun, surprises, especially in a baseball sense. And then I realize I should have seen it coming, so the surprise loses some sheen in the fog of negative self-talk, but it’s exciting nonetheless! 

Harris earned this jump by playing well every step of the way, but also because Atlanta has run out of center fielders. Adam Duvall is slugging .274. Ronald Acuña Jr. isn’t quite healed enough to be an everyday defender. Guillermo Heredia is striking out 48.8 percent of the time. Travis Demeritte wasn’t playing center anyway but was demoted to make space for Harris after Demeritte fell into a 1-for-34 slump. 

I mention all of this not to diminish Harris’ achievement but to highlight his opportunity. A plus contact hitter with dynamic hand-eye coordination, the 21-year-old, 6’0” 195 lb left-hander has always passed the eye test with flying colors on offense and was slashing .305/.372/.506 with five home runs and 11 stolen bases in 43 games at AA, striking out 19.9 percent of the time and drawing an 8.7 percent walk rate. 

I think we can track way back to the Cristian Pache (Matt Olson) trade to see the footprints leading to this transaction. The club must think Harris’ defense has progressed enough to hand him the keys to their big league outfield. He’s a must-add where you can fit him. I’m about 60/40 that his swing-happy approach combined with the big-league heavy balls will prove too big a challenge for his first few hundred plate appearances, but stranger things have happened. 

Cleveland OF Oscar Gonzalez has an even more swing-intensive approach, walking just 3.3 percent of the time and posting a .308 on base percentage in 41 AAA games this year. Not ideal. On the other hand, he minimizes strikeouts (14.3%) and gets to his above average power in games. Could start hot. Gonna be streaky.

Detroit OF Kerry Carpenter (AA, 24 years old) has always hit, has 13 HR already this year. 11 HR in his last 19 games, slashing .466/.512/.1014 with a 23.2% strikeout rate over that stretch. He’s a 6’2” 220 lb left-handed hitter with double-plus power in an organization that desperately needs legitimate position-player prospects. 

Kansas City OF Nick Pratto (AAA, 23 yo) is adapting well to left field and heating up at the dish, slugging .583 with a .457 on base percentage in seven games. Could be up next week. Could be in AAA until September, given the Royals roster construction and apparent lack of hurry with most of their prospects. 

Washington OF Joey Meneses (AAA, 30 yo) missed 2019 after making a long, steady climb up the minors, adding power while hitting for average. He had a couple dud seasons upon reaching High-A and again in his first crack at Double-A but followed those up with strong rebound campaigns. This season, he’s slashing .326/.366/.581 with 11 home runs in 43 games, which is pretty similar to his 2018 line at the same level for Philadelphia, when he hit 23 bombs in 130 games and slashed .311/.360/.510 while striking out 20.5 percent of the time. All this history indicates a guy who pretty much always been a good hitter but got snake bitten by org math and his own age and probably some scouts’ eyes who think he can’t keep up with major league velocity and/or spin, which might well be true, but if he gets on the field in Washington, I’m just going to pick him up and see what happens. 

Tampa IF Jonathan Aranda (AAA, 24 yo) feels like the kind of guy who’s unlikely to struggle much with the leap to facing major league spin. The only issue is the Rays value defense so highly that Aranda might struggle to get a real chance. He’s not a bad defender, necessarily, but this team runs out a lineup full of elite gloves on a nightly basis, and it’s not by accident. 

Pittsburgh 2B Ji-hwan Bae (AAA, 22 yo) has been sizzling for a month, slashing .344/.445/.611 with four home runs and six stolen bases in 24 games since April 27. He’s also posted a 1.38 BB/K rate over that stretch: 16.4% BB, 11.8% K. I don’t know what to expect from the Pirates. That’s part of life on the open seas. They might double-cross and demote a dude two days after bringing him aboard. Probably time to stow Bae away anyway. His 40-steal speed with plus plate and contact skills is too shiny a treasure to ignore. 

Colorado C Brian Serven was walking more (16.7%) than he was striking out (15.6%) at AAA this year while slashing .273/.406/.506 with five home runs in 23 games, so his early success with the Rockies is not without precedent. The 6’0” 207 pounder was a 5th round pick back in 2016 after a productive three-year career with Arizona State. He might push Elias Diaz for the full-time gig if he maintains his approach, but he wouldn’t have to win out over Diaz to produce value in most dynasty leagues. I’ve already added Serven in 15, 20, and 30 team formats. Won’t hesitate to drop him if I see another angle I’d rather play, but it’s rare for me to scoop a guy up across that wide a variety of set-ups at the same time, for what it’s Wuertz. 

Washington LHP Matt Cronin (AAA, 24 yo) was dominant in repeating the AA level this season, throwing 16.1 scoreless innings with a 25.4 percent K-BB rate and a 0.73 WHIP. The Nationals could use him in the back end of a weak bullpen right now, but he’ll likely spend a month or more in AAA. 

Texas OF Alejandro Osuna (A, 19 yo) is tearing it up against older competitors, slashing .331/.421/.508 with five home runs and 13 stolen bases in 36 games. Makes for a nice low-minors lottery ticket for ground-floor investors. 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter. 

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Nightpandas
Nightpandas
1 month ago

15 team keep 11…would you grab Roansy or Corbin Carroll off the wire? It’s a position limits league for bats but the innings limits is really high so I can start a pitcher or stash a hitter if that makes sense

Umpy70
Umpy70
1 month ago

just wanted to say that your work is amazing and appreciated!

Gordeon
Gordeon
1 month ago

Itch, What do you think Peak Peguero looks like?

Matt
Matt
1 month ago

12 team roto salary cap league (obp, svhd). I trust you with all things prospects and can’t wait for Wednesday and Sunday articles! Trade question-my team needs a shakeup with OBP and steals help most. Which trade or hold! $280 budget, salaries increase $5 per year.

My Story $35 and Harris $1 for Royce Lewis $1, Vinny P $1, Dustin May $6

Or

My Story for O’Neil Cruz $1, Vargas $1, Pressly $13

Matt
Matt
1 month ago

Hi Itch, I’m not sure which of these trades to take, and both involve prospects so I’m coming to you! Roto 12 team 5×5 obp with svhd, dynasty with salaries listed. Player salaries increase $5 per year. My team needs a big shake up-I’m in 5th but not really going anywhere.

1: my Story $35 and Harris $1 got Royce Lewis$1, Vinny P. $1 and Dustin May $6

2. Story for O’Neill Cruz $1, Vargas $1, and Presley $13

Oddball Herrera
Oddball Herrera
1 month ago

It is almost June 1 and Grisham still had negative WAR on the season. The Esteury Ruiz doomsday clock moves closer to midnight. Zero reason not to expect a Michael Harris like promotion here

Last edited 1 month ago by Oddball Herrera
Oddball Herrera
Oddball Herrera
Reply to  The Itch
1 month ago

Yeah, I just wonder how long a team with aspirations of being a contender – plus a GM who may be on the hotseat given that they haven’t met expectations in the past and some of his trades have gone so far South – can dork around with only one player above replacement level in their entire outfield rotation.

Chris
Chris
1 month ago

Hey Itch,

Great stuff as usual! Any thoughts on Dustin Harris or Nick Gonzales? Both have seemed to take a step back. Neither seem to be really driving the ball with ISOs falling and Gonzales strike out rate just keeps creeping up.

Jimmy
Jimmy
1 month ago

I look forward to Sunday morning to read your stuff! Thank you! Start Roansey today vs The Friars?

Philip
Philip
1 month ago

Itch, so my team is underachieving despite the solid construction. I’m in a distant 4th place, but am starting to consider selling off a few pieces. Its an 18-team dynasty keep everyone, 6×6 (ops, holds). Could you look at the roster and tell me what you think?

C – Melendez
1 – Olson
2 – Edman
3 – Devers
S – Seager
I – Correa
L – Teoscar
C – Judge
R – Soto
O – Josh Rojas
U – LeMahieu
B – Brujan, Moral, S. Murphy
N – Wiemer, E. Ruiz, Winn, Luis Garcia, Kirilloff

S – Woodruff, Urias, Ray, Gilbert, Trevor Rogers, Mikolas, Eflin,
IR – Peralta, Flaherty, May
R – Romano, Clase, Duran, Sewald, Graveman, Tepera

I’m built well for the next five years or so, but I’m open to suggestion about who to move. I’ll probably wait until June to do anything significant, because we could turn this around very fast. My weakness is speed, which is why my milb guys are such.

I’ve put Kirilloff, Reyes, and Garcia on the block with no interest.

Any help you can give would be appreciated! Thanks!

junior56
junior56
1 month ago

Mornin’ Itch

I’m Intrigued by Bae….

Prospect questions:

1) Kevin Alcantara or Jackson Chourio 16 team HTH keeper

2) Vinny P or Alex Bohm 12 team Rotisserie Redraft

3) Jarren Duran 12 team HTH Keeper Hold him ” or let go … No takers for a trade. Is there a possibility of a call up soon?

4) Bobby Miller or Wilmer Flores SP 12 team HTH Keeper

Thank you for your hard work!

Junior

junior56
junior56
Reply to  junior56
1 month ago

One More question who comes up first” Vinny P or Casas?

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
1 month ago

Glad I spent the FAAB to grab him! To your points, he’s got a ton of upside and while the promo may have been the result of his competitors for CF…I think it also shows he’s going to be given plenty of run.

Stl Squat Cobblers
Stl Squat Cobblers
1 month ago

Great stuff as usual! You are the TitzItch!

Wenger
Wenger
1 month ago

Hi Itcht!

Dinasty 12T H2H points league, who is the better pick and why?

R.Urias BAL
C Morel CHC
L Gonzalez SFG
O Gonzalez CLE

Thanks!

galica1234
galica1234
1 month ago

The Itch!!!

Awesome!!

a. Great list, man. Added Harris in my 2 RCLs where I’m so desperate to jump start the offense while maintaining my SBs. Was unable to add him in my deep league dynasty but there are some really MiLB-savvy cats in that league.

b. Couple questions for the same league (4×4, OBP, dynasty, 12-team)

1 Would you add Bae? Who’s the drop?

2 I want to move Estuery from my MLB bench to my MiLB roster. In order to do that, I would have to drop one of the following, I think. Who would you move for Estuery’s addition to the MiLB roster?

a Logan T Allen
b Andrew Hoffmann (Apologies to all citizens of Plainsville, IL)
c Jayden Murray

I’m thinking the pitching core of Flores (thanks), EuryP and Walston have to stay. Then on the hitting side, Acuna, Arias, Walker, Cowser, LButler, Wiemer and DHarris should stay with Elehuris Montero on the bubble and I don’t know on JLowe. He’s producing at AAA but lack of contact will be his demise I think in MLB, though the difference between his .188 MLB and 0.261 AAA averages is only like 6 hits +/- so small sample. Don’t think it’s possible for him to be more than a 0.250 hitter at best in MLB. Also though Brujan is with the big club, he’s more like brutal than Brujan.

Contreras
Cron
Berti
Drury
Bogaerts
Schwindel
Mateo
Walsh, Betts, Calhoun, Joe, Yastrzemski
Choi, Marte
Bench – Tellez, Brujan, EstueryR, Aquino, Arozarena, Tyrone Taylor
IL – Evan White, India, EOlivares
MiLB – Harris, Montero, Walker, Acuna, Arias, LButler, Cowser, JLowe, Wiemer

SP – Cease, Roansy, Gonsolin, Houck, Kopech, Manoah, Musgrove, Whitlock
RP – Doval, Hendriks, Iglesias, DJimenez, RMontero, JLopez, Robertson
IL – Lodolo, Paxton, Ryan, Giles, Kittredge
MiLB – Flores, Hoffmann, EuryP, Walston, LoganT, Jayden Murray

c. George Carlin quote of the day for May 29, 2022

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.’

Cheers,
Ante

toolshed
toolshed
1 month ago

Hey Itch, couple of questions for you. Muncy is on the IL. Lux has a .078 ISO and his quality of contact is horrible. Do you think vargas is on track to get a look soon? He played a little 2b last year. Is it stash time in redraft?

If you reranked your pitching prospects would leiter fall or are you holding steady? Was this assignment aggressive for him? He has a 5.90 era and almost 4 walks per 9 in AA. I thought we would see him in Texas next year. Ugh.

Not sure what to do with baddoo in dynasty. Det seems to have soured on him and didn’t give him much of a chance this year. Now he’s hurt and is farther away from returning. Greene is getting closer. Do we even see baddoo this year in DET? Do you expect Pedro Leon to be up this year and would you rather own him or baddo in dynasty? Thanks

Last edited 1 month ago by toolshed
Pcolaprime
Pcolaprime
1 month ago

Thanks for the great research as always. I have a gut feeling that Harris might breakout ROS and am looking to pick him up. Being called up so early in the process seems to say a lot about his upside and especially on a contender.