With a little more than two weeks left in the season, my home league playoffs haven’t even started yet. We’ve voted to get them moved up, of course. Commish just couldn’t get it figured out, or couldn’t remember to do it. Time went by. People forgot, and here we are, deciding the winner of a 26-week season when all but two or three teams have called it a regular season. Don’t try this at home, if you can avoid it. Another league that’s a little more actively governed has its final set up as the last two weeks of the regular season, and I think it’s generally closer to the rule than the exception for head-to-head leagues to last up until the final day. Few things bother me more than that in our game, partly because my home league has been stuck in this rut forever, partly because it’s so obviously ridiculous. 

If your league is like ours, you know that names don’t matter at all right now. Joey Meneses has been carrying my ten-team outfield of Ronald Acuña, Luis Robert and Giancarlo Stanton. Bobby Witt Jr. has been on my bench for a long time while Luis Rengifo captains a shallow-league infield headed for the postseason. Without these guys, I’d be hurting. Every hot-now bat won’t keep it sizzling, but it rarely hurts to rotate some fresh swingers in if your lineups are scuffling. I know this is Fantasy 101 stuff, but I have to remind myself to go ahead and bench some names every year. 

Dynasty leagues aren’t all that different. You’ve only got so many days left. If you’re in the hunt, you might as well try the Rodolfo Castros and Nathan Eatons of the world. They may not matter for long, but they matter now while Castro is dropping bombs and Eaton is running wild. 

Over his last ten games, Angels C Matt Thaiss is slashing .292/.370/.542 with two home runs. He’s struck out 29.2 percent of the time, but he’s also played first base, third base and catcher, so if he’s in the lineup, you can probably fit him into yours. 

I know I’ve already talked about Cubs 1B Matt Mervis a lot, but somebody asked me on Twitter who my next Vaughn Grissom was going to be, and at first I said I’d let him know as soon as I did, if I ever felt that way again. A few moments later, I realized it might be Cubs 1B Matt Mervis, who’ll likely squeak onto the back end of some Top Prospect lists this winter and next spring, but could be largely overlooked until he locks up that prime first base real estate on the north side of Chicago. He hadn’t completely aced Triple-A quite yet when last we discussed Mervis, but he’s now slashing .300/.372/.600 with a 8.9%-to-14.1% walk-to-strikeout rate across 47 games. 12 HR, 13 2B, 1 3B. He should’ve spent September in the big leagues, but I guess wiling away the days in Des Moines will suppress his 2023 draft cost. 

Red Sox C Connor Wong has been on and off my dynasty rosters the past two seasons but never broke into Boston’s lineup while Christian Vazquez was around. Wong cut his Triple-A strikeout rate by 5.2 percent between last year and this, and his wRC+ jumped from 91 to 121 in the process. He’s posted a 112 in 15 major league games so far, and he’s a solid defender who should lay claim to a sizable share of this job heading into 2023. 

In a unique twist of the baseball fates, Angels OF Mickey Moniak and Phillies OF Brandon Marsh swapped jerseys in different trades. Moniak came back with OF Jadiel Sanchez (21, A) for Noah Syndergaard. Marsh was dealt for C Logan O’Hoppe (22, AA). Everyone involved might be pretty happy with the deals at the moment, which makes it rarer still. I like both young big league outfielders better where they are than where they were, from a fantasy perspective. Would’ve been nice if Moniak could’ve remained in Philly to pluck some pull-side dingers, but I think he’ll settle in better under less pressure. That number-one-overall-draft-pick hat never fit like an Ace Ventura glove. Marsh is already getting muggy with it out east, and O’Hoppe steers clear of the JT Realmuto contract wall and looks like the team’s best option early next season. 

Diamondbacks RHP Drey Jameson found new consistency with his control this season, and although the minor league results were not impressive, he’s barrel-aged after battling through the gauntlet of Arizona’s minor league ballparks and came out the other side commanding a handful of above average offerings. Seven shutout innings in his debut is a fairly effective contextualization of his minor league journey, and while he won’t go seven innings every time, he’s a better pitcher than his baseball card outcomes suggest. Feels like the D-Backs will be standings-relevant again by the time Dune 2 comes out, so that’s pretty good timing, all things considered. The days of Tony LaRussa running the organization are fast becoming a blurry memory, an area where La Russa remains a bit of an expert. 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

 

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Dr Sauce
Dr Sauce
2 months ago

Getting frustrated with Luis Robert, for next year, would you consider keeping Corbin Carroll or Gunner Henderson over Robert (6 player keeper/no limits). If yes, who’s your choice? Realize it’s early but looking at exploring some trades!!
For context, my other keepers are Acuna, Bichette, Tucker, Bobby Witt and Ohtani

Steve
Steve
2 months ago

Dalton Rushing. Too soon?

junior56
junior56
2 months ago

Good morning Itch!

I have Mervis in 2 16 teams Dynasty Leagues. Hope he is the next Vaughn Grissom!

How far away is Diego Cartaya from the Dodgers 2024 or 2025?
How’s his defense progressing and serious is his injury issues?

Hernan
Hernan
2 months ago

elite as always, Itch, how do you compare guys like Ryne Nelson and Drey Jameson with Bandon Pfaadt??, sure the formers spent most of the year getting pummeled in AAA , while Pfaadt , even with some luck (super low babip, super high strand rate, a fly ball pitcher with low hr/fb ratio) has gone deep into games maintaining 2.50 ERA at same level….., Pfaadt is the first minor leaguer , in more than a decade, to K over 200 hitters…., also, any thoughts on A’s callup , Jordan Diaz?, Thanks and keep the great work!!!!

Oddball Herrera
Oddball Herrera
2 months ago

What’s the deal with Jung and the K rate? This started in AAA this year and it sure seems like everyone’s got the book on him. It is shaking my “Jung is a more sure thing than Baty or Elly” convictions

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
2 months ago

Hey Itch

Would you start Ryne Nelson @home v The Padres? Last day of a semi final H2H playoff game that I lead by one point

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  The Itch
2 months ago

thanks man!

Ante GALIC
Ante GALIC
2 months ago

The Itch

Awesome!!

a. Nothing to report. Today is getaway day. We return to Croatia from our 5-day trip to Toronto. All good, our son loved it.

b. George Carlin quote of the day for September 18, 2022

The Itch

Awesome!!

a. Nothing to report. Today is getaway day. We return to Croatia from our 5-day trip to Toronto. All good, our son loved it.

b. George Carlin quote of the day for September 18, 2022

When it comes to God’s existence, I’m not an atheist and I’m not an agnostic- I’m an acrostic, the whole thing puzzles me.

Cheers,
Ante

Jacstorm
Jacstorm
2 months ago

Hey, Itch, I really look forward to reading your columns.

I think they’re all new enough to qualify as prospects (maybe not Varsho).. but what do you think Arizona does with 4 left-handed outfielders next year: Varsho, McCarthy, Thomas, and Carroll?

And how would you rank them in value for next year?

Jacstorm
Jacstorm
Reply to  The Itch
2 months ago

:) Thanks, Itch. I agree with your ranking, although it wouldn’t surprise me to see McCarthy end up the best of them.

Might be hard to start so many lefties.

Be interesting to see if they try to trade one for a more established right-handed OF..