Yankees SS Anthony Volpe is pressing at AA, slashing .125/.214/.167 with a 3.6% walk rate and a 35.7% strikeout rate. I might repeat myself on the it’s-just-one-week front, but I’ve been concerned about the Volpe hype for quite a while. Reminds me a bit of Kelenic in that people rushed him up the list before he’d proven anything in the high minors, always scary for a guy whose hit tool is the primary question. I’m not Chicken Little, sky-is-falling frightened for him, but that’s partly because I don’t have Volpe on any teams. If I did, I’d be accepting offers or folding him in with deals to get elite major leaguers. The Yankees have developed just one big league caliber field player over the past decade. Volpe turns 21 on April 28, so he’s plenty young for the level, and if you’re a believer, this might be your chance to buy where you can. Still, in prepping this weeks’ article, I found myself wondering if anyone in that camp is regretting their decision to pass on all the free agent shortstops. Not because of Volpe having a tough week but the whole combination of factors that led to Isaiah Kiner-Falefa being the everyday shortstop in pinstripes. Things can look pretty different in the cold light of April. 

The Washington Nationals called up mighty OF Donovan Casey this week and began to bench Victor Robles, who is 0-for-18 on the season with zero walks in five starts. Pretty sure I’m jumping to a conclusion here, but it feels like the organization might be pulling the plug on Robles, which makes me wonder if they’re being run by fantasy baseball Twitter. Robles turns 25 in May and has 1286 career plate appearances on his ledger along with a .233/.313/.370 triple slash line, 25 HR and 42 SB. He’s been worse than that for a couple years, but to this point in his career, he’s produced at roughly a 12 HR 21 SB pace for our purposes. I was recommending him as a freebie pick up this winter, and while I might turn out wrong on that, I’m seeing now he’s in the lineup today (Saturday), and I hope the club gives him another season to find his feet. 

Casey isn’t the answer either. He’d struck out in 36 percent of his plate appearances at AAA when he was recalled, which is in line with his career rates. 

Someone has to pitch the late innings in Baltimore, especially if they should somehow find themselves in the lead. After the club traded Cole Sulser, the closer-hunting community crowded around journeyman RHP Jorge Lopez, and that makes sense. What do the Orioles care if they’re pitching someone mediocre in the ninth? They don’t, is the only logical conclusion we could draw from the last half-decade. In fact, they don’t intend to have any leads late in games. If they’re accidentally winning in the ninth, something has gone wrong with the plan. 

Sorry about all that. I just can’t believe they’re playing Kelvin Gutierrez at third base everyday. I mean along with all the other odd things Baltimore has been doing. Some of it has worked out. And maybe, just maybe, RHPs Felix Bautista and Bryan Baker will help the club replicate the success it found with Cole Sulser and Tyler Wells in the arm barn. Both guys have always been good. Feels like they’re the first real relief prospects developed by this front office. I’d like to roster them both if I have the room. Bautista is a 6’5” 190 lb strikeout machine who has kept his K-rate over 30 percent since 2019 and saved nine games last season between AA and AAA. Baker is a 6’6” 245 lb home run suppressor who gets plenty of outs via strikeout himself. I don’t mean to overstate the case, but I’ll bet the front office had these two in mind when they decided to move Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser

Houston called up 3B Joe Perez from AA this week, then sent him back down, then called him up again. I think he’s just a seat filler for now. 

Dodgers OF Ryan Noda (AAA) is blocked like he’s pass-rushing against Tony Boselli, but he’s also got four home runs and a steal in nine games to go along with a .400/.538/.800 slash line and a 20.5%/12.5% BB/K rate. Dodgers gonna dodger. 

Oakland SS Nick Allen (AAA) should be the starting shortstop in Oakland, but Elvis Andrus remains on the roster, and he’s actually playing well, which might be a good thing for Allen, who is slashing .395/.477/.500 with more walks than strikeouts through one week. Good chance Elvis is on the first flight out of that building the second anyone comes asking about him. 

Toronto SS Vinny Capra (AAA) is the kind of guy nobody notices until it’s too late to add him. He’s listed at 5’8” 175 lbs, which might be a little generous. In 72 AA games last year, Capra slashed .327/.396/.548 with 10 HR and 4 SB. On the downside, he struck out at a 26.2 percent clip, and guys like Capra just don’t have margin for error like that. They have to be perfect to get that big league opportunity, and Capra’s trying to be precisely that this season. In 8 games, he has three strikeouts, three walks, two home runs, and a .367/.424/.600 slash line. I’ll come right out here and say I don’t think Cavan Biggio is a big-league regular, which is also the primary knock on Capra: he’s a utility piece. And maybe he is. But Biggio is striking out at a 46.2 percent rate this season. It’s just 13 plate appearances, but he’s 0-for-13 and ceding the second base spot to Santiago Espinal. Might soon lose his wings to Capra if his life remains as wonderful as it was this week. 

I lost a Razz30 bidding war for Angels RHP Brett (Sister) Kerry this week. The Twins bid $2. My Royals bid $1. Foiled again by a division rival! 

Kerry was on the main page of MiLB.com after striking out 12 batters in five innings against the Marlins AA affiliate. He’s up to 20 K’s and one walk in ten innings, which is very, very good. Kerry wasn’t a rotation mainstay in college at South Carolina, and I suspect it’s because he’s a little bit funky, but the results have always been excellent. The Angels might have a steal here after selecting Kerry in the 5th round of the 2021 draft. The short-arm release leads to something of an invisi-ball effect when he’s locating up in the zone, which seems to come pretty naturally to him. 

Thanks for reading! 

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter. 

43 Comments
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Kruk_Ain't_An_Athlete
Kruk_Ain't_An_Athlete
3 months ago

14 team 5×5 roto but we are a 2-year keeper league. My minor leaguers are Oneil Cruz and Corbin Carroll. These are the other Minor lgrs taken in this league. Are we missing someone special like Marcelo Mayer, Jordan Lawlar, Brady House, or Kahlil Watson or are they all more years away then any of us need to mess with?

these guys are taken

Adley Rutschman C | BAL
Anthony Volpe SS | NYY
Asa Lacy P | KC
Austin Martin OF | MIN
Brennen Davis OF | CHC
Cole Winn P | TEX
Corbin Carroll OF | ARI
Edward Cabrera P | MIA
Eury Perez P | MIA
Gabriel Moreno C | TOR
Grayson Rodriguez P | BAL
Jack Leiter P | TEX
Jose Miranda 3B | MIN
MacKenzie Gore P | SD
Matthew Liberatore P | STL
Max Meyer P | MIA
Michael Busch 2B | LAD
MJ Melendez C | KC
Nick Pratto 1B | KC
Noelvi Marte SS | SEA
Nolan Gorman 2B | STL
Oneil Cruz SS | PIT
Riley Greene OF | DET
Sixto Sanchez P | MIA
Vidal Brujan 2B | TB

goodfold2
goodfold2
3 months ago

12 teamer with shallow starting roster slots (3 OF 1 util no CI nor MI) but large benches, OPS/OBP added, QS and holds too. gotta drop 3 of these shortly:
k.rob CF
n.gonz 2B/SS
hedbert LF
matos CF
espino SP
e.perez SP
miranda 2B/3B
brujan 2B/CF
o.cruz SS (probably OF by time he’s back)
j.walker 3B

gotta think from these shallow OF’ers and just overall ranks in general k-rob and hedbert easy cuts. but that 3rd doesn’t seem easy. SP prospects are often by some owners hoarded more than hitters. and with deep benches i want more SP anyway. rest of hitting probably relevant:
C DTD arnaud
1B wisdom (3B/OF)
2B muncy (1B)
SS c.taylor (almost everything but C)
3B mondesi (SS)
LF yordan
CF renfroe (RF)
RF franmil
util profar (also lots)
BN dalbec (1B/3B)
IR: acuna (RF, gonna be awhile before he gets CF back too), naquin (all OF)

Gotime
Gotime
3 months ago

Itch,
Keeper points league with minor leaguer spots, dropping any of Oswald Peraza SS (NYY) Eddys Leonard SS/2B/3B (LAD) Grissom SS/3B (ATL) or Michael Harris OF(ATL) to pick up Orelvis Martinez SS (TOR) or hold?

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  Gotime
3 months ago

i think he had eddys and probably harris below o-mart but might be wrong. i mean the recent top 100.

Better Call Limehouse
Better Call Limehouse
3 months ago

yeah falefel man starting for TEX seemed funny, much funnier that a team that should be able to compete for playoff spot doing it is a whole other level.

Dude
Dude
3 months ago

If you are riding one for the rest of the year, who is it?
Owen Miller
Thairo Estrada

“Estrada”

Was I right?

Grey
Admin
3 months ago

What do we think of Daz Cameron*?

*You may get quoted in tomorrow’s roundup so make this shizz pithy

Grey
Admin
Reply to  The Itch
3 months ago

Haha

Scrapiron
Scrapiron
3 months ago

Itch,
Has Astro J Peña come far enough to be a better 5×5 roto player than Dansby right now?
Thanks!

ashtray
ashtray
3 months ago

Is it a good time to stash Casas with Dalbec struggling right now?

Philip
Philip
3 months ago

Itch, thank you for bringing so many players outside the consensus names to our awareness. You definitely give us all an edge.

My team is really slow — no SB so far. Crazy.

My NA guys are: Brujan, Volpe, Wiemer, Leon, and Melendez. So I’m trying. However, none of these guys are really thriving, or running, or even playing (where are you, Vidal?). Edman isn’t running. Verdugo and Soto aren’t running. Teoscar is hurt and not running.

I’m not sure what to do. I know Johan Rojas is on the wire, but when will that dude be a help, or will he ever. He’s swinging a twig in A+ right now, although with 8 steals.

Sorry to be glum. I’m rostering Woodruff, Ray, Urias, Peralta, and Rogers in my dynamite rotation. The wrong kind of figurative dynamite.

junior56
junior56
3 months ago

Hi Itch! Great Early Season Write-up!

Boy Watson is off to a great start in Lo A!

Do you think Vaughn Griffin will stick at Short?

How do you think the long layoff will affect Oscar Colas?

What do you think the new rules for service time manipulation?

Prawn Lord
Prawn Lord
3 months ago

Hi Itch! Thanks for the update!
Not a prospect anymore, but do you think that we’re seeing a legit breakout from Jesus Sanchez?

cable
cable
3 months ago

Volpe…..its why they call them prospects I’ll take proven over prospects anyday ….my Yankee GM hat on this past offseason I’m signing a MLB star SS,trading Volpe in a package for a SPer or a CFer

Jimmy
Jimmy
3 months ago

Great stuff as usual, would you keep Steven Kwan or drop him for Tyler Naquan,.. thank itch!

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
3 months ago

Love this site! Best writers ever! From our leader Grey, M-F, Dan with the pants and Keelin in her Razzbulance on the Saturday, ending, with our prospects expert the Itch on the lords day!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

LG Baseball
LG Baseball
3 months ago

Itch – great article and absolutely look forward to your Sunday submissions.

Wanted to get any updated thoughts you have on Corbin Carroll. It looks like he has started quite well in his first taste of AA. How good do you think he will be in the majors (any MLB comparable you think of if things shake right for Carroll?) and when do you think he will get called up? I have him in dynasty and have received a few offers for him and trying to see if I should hold and enjoy the ride.

Thanks!
LG

Last edited 3 months ago by LG Baseball
Philip
Philip
Reply to  The Itch
3 months ago

Would you trade Volpe for Carroll?

joe shmoe
joe shmoe
3 months ago

Hey Itch,
I finally dumped Biggio earlier this week in my dynasty league. Watching the stat line day to day made me see how little he was worth holding on to.Sometimes you gotta let go. I did pick up Jose Ramos, who you recommended weeks ago. He, too, is Dodgering in a place called Cucamonga.

I was originally debating whether to ship out George Valera for Ramos. I don’t understand the love for Valera. He has mediocre career numbers in the minors and I don’t see how that would translate to the majors. Yet, he gets a ton of prospect love.

I am hoping Siri gets more opportunities to keep the CF in Houston. Can’t wait to watch him play. His stat line can be dazzling.

I have been speculating the dodger bullpen. Gonzalez was a really great pick up last year and then just fell off the map. Before his injury woes, he was sent to the minors down the stretch because… This year, I traded for Vesia, who has a total of 1 IP so far. I am also watching for Bickford.

Peace!

Baggiejohn
Baggiejohn
Reply to  joe shmoe
3 months ago

Yep – would be interested to hear your take on the Dodger bullpen, Itch. Like you, Joe, I had shares in Victor Gonzalez last year, and enjoyed the early-season successes. I’ve moved on from Vesia (for the time being) as he just isn’t playing enough. Brusdar Graterol hasn’t had many opportunities either. Kimbrel coming to town seems to have closed the Fantasy door on a few of them.

TBS
TBS
3 months ago

Grayson Rodriguez? When you think he’ll get the call? He’s been so dominant at every level it’s hard to not see him having immediate success imo. Would you agree?

Oddball Herrera
Oddball Herrera
Reply to  TBS
3 months ago

Not sure we seen him before September, if then. Why start the clock? I am skeptical in the same way with Cruz actually…no way the Pirates bring him up if there is >0% chance that he can get ROY votes, and if he isn’t destroying AAA pitching at that point – he has a ground ball problem so far – why even then?

Oddball Herrera
Oddball Herrera
3 months ago

Dropping in a comment on the quiet reappearance of Royce Lewis before the hype starts building (again).

I am beginning to wonder who the Twins position player stash is between him and Miranda, after it wasn’t really a question going into the season

Al KOHOLIC
Al KOHOLIC
3 months ago

Nice article I’m waiting on Cruz for sure

TBS
TBS
3 months ago

First off, really enjoy your columns. I read em religiously. Would love your your thoughts on a few guys?

Robert Hassell… potential top 10 guy next year?
Cedanne Rafeala.. on your radar?
Christian Encarnacion Strand… potential?
Esteury Ruiz…. potential?
Aaron Whitefield… potential?
David Hamilton…. potential?
And last but certainly not least…. Emmanuel Rodriguez.. future stud?

You can rank em if you want or just offer your thoughts. Really appreciate it! Thanks dude!