Curious events in Cincinnati lead the way this week, as it probably hasn’t since Jerry Springer was running that town. Director of Pitching Initiatives / Pitching Coordinator Kyle Boddy has stepped away from the club this week, citing creative differences with the front office while heaping praise on major league pitching coach Derek Johnson.
Click here for the full press release.
The timing is odd, given the Reds success on the farm this season and proximity to a post-season on the big league side, but I suppose there’s never an ideal time for a break-up. Cut to early-20’s me navigating the transition from summer love to school-year fade to long-term relationship fizzle to finding some fickle reason to finally call it quits. I used to really hate endings. Now I’m old as hell and appreciate any kind of pause in the monotony.
Anywho, Boddy straight up supplexed my excitement about the ongoing experiment there in Red-ville but not before we got some interesting returns, such as Hunter Greene hitting his groove and throwing 102 all year, or Graham Ashcraft stringing together several dominant runs to put himself on the map.
Derek Johnson remains an excellent asset on the MLB side, and perhaps he’ll have more agency to build throughout the system now (though that’s not how it sounds from Boddy’s statement), but I’m expecting fewer pop-up arms down the ladder, fewer bullpen options bubbling up from within.
It was hard to put a finger on the Boddy effect when he was working with players exclusively over the off-season. Tonight I’ve been considering the possibility that the best place for that kind of close mechanical focus on velocity and pitch shaping is off-season. Like, perhaps it’s too academic an approach and too taxing on the arm to work that way throughout the year, anyway, but I wanted to see what happened across a decade or so. Driveline was still and will still be working with anyone seeking their services, so it’s not like this book is closed forever. I was just really into this particular chapter and don’t love that it’s ending.
The other big news of the week came late Saturday. Tampa Bay RHP Shane Baz is reportedly coming up to start on Monday, just in time for the playoffs. Some serious four-dimensional chess getting him to the majors with just 78 innings on his ledger, coming off a six-inning outing. Well worth a look to see if he’s available in your redraft leagues.
Cleveland 1B Jhonkensy Noel will be 20-years-old until July 2022, and he’s playing well enough to graduate High-A this winter: .297/.373/.593 with 8 HR and 3 SB in 24 games. If Cleveland pushes him to AA next Spring, and I’m guessing that happens, Noel is on a path to make AAA before his 21st birthday. Rare air there.
Speaking of 20-year-olds knocking on the door, Tampa Bay 3B Curtis Mead chugged right over AA this week after slashing .282/.346/.455 across 52 games in High-A. My only guess is they want him on the postseason roster for Durham. He’s been up to the task in the four games he’s played, collecting six hits in 14 plate appearances and slugging a home run for good measure.
Colorado SS Ryan Vilade made his debut as the new Daywalker in Coors. He’s 0-for-2 with a walk as I type this. He hasn’t played all that well at AAA (88 wRC+), but he skipped AA entirely, and he’s still just 22 years old. I’m not a big believer, but he’s a baseball player in Coors, so fantasy value is always just around the corner.
Atlanta SS Vaughn Grissom is leveling up in more than one sense. He was promoted to High-A a couple weeks ago, and the 20-year-old has been unstoppable there, slashing .378/.519/.595 across 12 games, walking (21.2%) more than twice as often as he’s striking out (9.6%). He carried strong rates in 75 games at A ball as well: 10.4 BB%, 14.9 K%. Grissom is 6’3” with plus speed and present power could grow into a top 50 prospect very soon.
Arizona RHP Luis Frias hasn’t been efficient this season. He’ll need to add some command if he’ll ever have a chance to start, but he’ll certainly grab some eyeballs if he gets on the mound much down the stretch. One of those guys anyone can see and say “Hey that guy’s throwing hard.” I’m surprised they’re promoting him. His walk rate was atrocious (6.65/9) in five starts (21.2 innings) at AAA.
San Francisco RHP Camilo Doval looks better this time around, having struggled to find his command in AAA before getting locked in and returning to the big league roster in September to throw six scoreless outings covering 5.2 innings, grabbing a couple wins in the process. Grey was just discussing this in the pages of Jomo Arigato: “If you need Wins, it’s a good time to start looking at who might be entering the game in the 4th inning of all games. Yes, this is the time of the year when Aaron Ashby can be more valuable than a guy who will garner Cy Young votes.”
Sharp guy, that Grey, which is one reason he’s a usual suspect in non-lethal stabbings all over the west coast.
Anyone on the Giants can pilfer a win at any moment. It’s remarkable, really, and many of their pensmen are rostered as a result. Doval is probably not, and his stuff is lethal.
Thanks for reading!
I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.
Went as far back as July to try to locate some of your wisdom on Diego Castillo, now that he’s in your Top 100.
I saw that you had him there and then went and grabbed him in my 14 teamer where we have 350 Minors slots across the league.
Preach, bruthaman… what we seeing?
More walks than K’s in his 39 games as a Pirate at AA and AAA. Pretty loud stuff there considering he’s still getting to power with that patient, late-in-the-count approach. He’s really figuring out who he can be as a hitter, which makes sense for a soon-to-be 24-year-old and adds some upside that doesn’t really show up on the statsheet, yet.
I think he stays on the dirt, which means he could play OF if he has to but won’t have to play OF to get on the field the first time.
I rush near-term dudes up my lists sometimes when it really comes together in a hurry. Castillo finds himself looking at an April promotion if he starts hot in AAA next year, and with few players putting spots on lock-down there, he could walk right into an everyday gig next season. One of those things where, if I think the guy will be universally (dynasty-wise) owned in a few months, he should probably be on lists now, you know?
My man! Where is the tip jar?
Noticed the Orioles jumped Henderson from High A to Double-A. Thought it was a very odd move considering he hasn’t exactly torn the cover off the ball at High A. Maybe it was a move necessitated by other moves.
Yeah must be a playoff thing or roster-build thing, I guess.
Gets him a few more days in the dugout this summer.
The end of the season is here. Thanks for all the good advice!
I have three moves left to add potential keepers for the 2022 season.
Who are your top 3 from the following: Matt Manning, Kenta Maeda, George Kirby, Jarren Duran, Austin Martin, Jack Leiter, Luis Matos, and Corbin Carroll.
I would be looking for them to play in 2022.
No need to reply. The deadline has passed.
Thanks for the kind words, Screwballs!
I’m sorry I missed this. Dropped the ball on comments during a wild week.
I’d keep Carroll, Matos and Kirby.
You’re really pumping this Noel guy. Do you have any comps? In Yahoo dynasty leagues it’s going to be a FAAB frenzy at the beginning of next year because so many of these guys aren’t in the system yet.
Who gets the last two spots on the keeper list: Dalbec, Sano, Myers, Taveras, Sewald, Vesia, Ashby?
I’m currently leaning Dalbec and Ashby. Sewald has looked good and relievers are quite valuable in my holds and saves league.
Is Dalbec for real? Is Ashby for real? Both look great right now.
I think Orelvis in Toronto is kind of a comp for Noel in that they’re power hitters with some strikeout problems, but Noel is playing so much better than Martinez that I think I’d need to look further up the chain. Maybe Franmil? Noel isn’t a giant like Reyes, but he’s a big fella.
Yeah I think those two are the picks: Dalbec and Ashby. I’ve never been a big believer in Dalbec but can’t ignore what he’s doing now. Doubt he slashes .300/.400/.700 forever, but he’s been doing so since July, so . . . yeah . . . great guy to have, I think.
Rocchio has looked good this year and seems to be tapping into his power. He is young relative to where he is in the minors. He landed just outside your recent top 50. Do you expect him to make a bigger jump next season in your ranks and other ranking systems? Thanks
Yeah I think so.
I believe James Anderson at Rotowire already has him higher than me.
PS Sorry for the delayed response on this and other comments in this thread.
Crazy weekend around here: wife’s birthday Sunday, best friend moving to Canada Tuesday, typical teaching, living, parenting stuff never taking a break.
Hi Itch …Good Stuff as always. Hold or drop the from the following list:
I hate Mena’s swing. He’s just 18, but it looks similar to how it did when he was 16. It’s really hard to learn how to synchronize base and hands, and I’m afraid he won’t get there.
Can make a solid case to hold the other three. Morel would be my next cut if you need two
Hey itch…great stuff! Out of these guys I can keep 3….Adolis Garcia-Lewin Diaz-Bobby Bradley-Oswaldo Perez and Jose Barrios…18 team dynasty 5×5…. Thank you…
Berrios for sure
Then I guess it’s a toss up where you kind of pick your favorite. I’d probably take Adolis and look to flip him but would be happy with either of the 1B.
I commented too late and didn’t get a response, so, I wanted to copy and paste to see your thoughts because you’re the man!!
As a Marlins fan I’ve asked you about Griffin Conine and you were spot on. He should be promoted to Pensacola, was, but is King like 50% of the time which is mind boggling.
So my next question. What do you think about Bennett Hostetler?
He was the Marlins 18th Round pick 538 overall. He’s a SS, a position the Marlins seem deep with in the Minors and with Watson and Jazz etc.
He has already been promoted to High A Beloit and is really
Playing well. He’s even hitting in the top of the lineup.
Albeit a 39/6 K/BB he’s batting .323/.370/.484/.854 with 4 HR 29 RBI 2 SB and has a 7/2 K/BB in A+
You think they have something here?
Thank you !!
Hostetler fits the Marlins mold to a T.
He’s a bit old for level as a college bat (he’ll be 24 in A+ in a few days) but he brings power, speed and strikeouts every day. If they can teach a couple of these Misner, Burdick, Conine types to make enough contact, they’ll have big league impact on their hands. It’s an interesting, exit-velo-built strategy when a lot of teams are going for models (youth) and low K rates.