Here I sit in the head-space I visit while creating this content, and I can’t see the prospect world. On a typical Tuesday night, it’s all around me, sometimes filling four screens in between sentences. I’ll have the TV going on two big league games, the laptop going on one minor league game (or vice versa), the desktop screen sliced between research tabs and writing tabs, and the phone screen chirping up at me with pretty lights and chimes. Every dive into the phone means another lap around the box scores for Pavlovian reasons, both majors and minors, and probably a check on the Twitter timeline, where I’ll find any number of highlights, stats and feelings. 

Tonight I’m just sitting here seething on the porch, bouncing between laptop and phone, doomscrolling Spider Tack stuff. Soon enough I’ll head up to the desktop and dig in on my plan for tomorrow’s article, but right now, I thought it might be worth our time to tickle the keys with how it feels to be a baseball fan for the moment. Then I realize I don’t even know how to say it. The first several words to mind begin with F and don’t get us to the deconstruction or reverse engineering phases we need to find to ever really articulate ourselves. Actually, fuck that. How else could you say it today? What the blue fuck is going on here? Who handed these hacks the wheel? Were any actual fans bellyaching all day about the shape of a game? Not that I heard. Every baseball friend I have was excited about the season. Most were planning to attend at least one game. Many had already been. 

And most of these people, they’re still excited, I think, for now. 

But you can’t change the rules of a game in the middle. When kids are playing, that’s the first move toward the end. It’s fine. Games run their course and go poof in the wind. For kids, I mean. They invent on the fly, play a game for a while, then toggle a rule. A timer somewhere begins. The game will see several quick rule changes now as kids embrace every thought for what might happen differently. It’s fine. It’s fun. And then it’s over. 

If you haven’t seen Tyler Glasnow’s Tuesday press conference, you can find it here.

I like how he articulates the proper timing of such a change. I think we can set aside the fact that the baseball itself is always changing for whatever dumbass reason, just for a moment, and look at the preference Glasnow lays out for how baseball could handle this. Just tell us. Just let us know what the rules will be, and then let us play by those rules. Revolutionary. You can change them in the off-season. Hell, the contract between owners and players will have to be resettled this off-season. What better time to restructure the game ever so slightly? I don’t mean to sound like a total jackass here, but you might even want to discuss this Spider Tack issue with the players heading into or as part of the CBA. I dunno. Just spitballing. 

I’m sorry. You didn’t come here for this. Decent chance I’ll delete it all before this goes live. I’ll get to the prospects in a minute. It’s just, Grey tweeted something funny about something ridiculous that Olney tweeted, and that made me think about how smart Bud Selig was to turn the other way during the steroid era. Maybe that’s the wrong way to say it: using “smart” in juxtaposing understandable behavior to what we’re seeing from Manfred on a daily basis, but maybe it’s the perfect word. Perhaps only an idiot would freak this much the fuck out about what’s happening in the media-reaction sphere and jeopardize the game itself–not to mention the health of everyone playing–but perhaps it’s gotten harder to ignore the angry clamor from people in search of something to angrily clamor against. And now that describes me. I wasn’t looking for the clamor, I guess, but here I am, stunted by that wild strain of galaxy brain irritation with everything that powers so much of our world. 

Fuckin Manfred.

Let’s talk prospects.

Detroit RHP Matt Manning is being called up to start Thursday’s game in Los Angeles. The Angels without Trout and Rendon aren’t exactly holy rollers, but Manning is not a recommended play in his debut. Perhaps you’ve seen his 8.07 ERA mentioned a few places since yesterday. Pretty odd scenario here. Manning hasn’t been bad. He’s been atrocious. If anything he’s earned a ticket traveling the opposite direction. Like the guy below, his most recent game was good, but the overall quality of his performance has fluctuated. I’ve never been high on Manning and thought he was headed for Tommy John surgery after not throwing in 2020. He’s come back this year with pretty solid stuff despite the results, but I’m not optimistic. Shocker, given the opening here, I know. 

Miami waited just long enough for OF Jesus Sanchez to cool off before bringing him back to the big leagues. He did go 3-for-5 with a HR in his final AAA game, which upped his totals over the past 20 games, during which he’s slashing .237/.310/.368. Real pet peeve of mine we see all the time when looking too closely. Would like to think a guy forces the promotion by playing well, and I guess we could say that’s what happened here, in the sense that Sanchez was playing well a month ago, but baseball is a feel game. Feel good play good, kind of thing. There’s a rhythm and a momentum to it, that feel of synchronizing everything for the perfect swing at the perfect time. I just can’t understand why teams let hot streaks fizzle out in AAA and/or promote players who’ve been struggling for a month. 

The box score doesn’t sparkle and shine, but San Francisco LHP Sammy Long pitched pretty well Tuesday night against the Diamondbacks, considering the circumstances. Opener Zach Littell didn’t record an out, forcing Long to hurry his warm-up and enter the game 17 pitches after it began with nobody out and runners on base. He wiggled out of that jam but didn’t have his best stuff when he came back out for the 2nd. Battled through that anyway and threw three shutout innings after that three-run 2nd. The Giants went on to win a game that, again, saw them down 4-0 before an out was recorded. More impressive than a lot of seven innings starts I’ve seen. I wonder if the team will just let Long start next time. 

New York (AL) RHP Glenn Otto recorded 14 strikeouts over 7 innings last night—his third straight start reaching double digits and fourth total. He had 14 punch outs back on May 20th as well and now has 69 in 41 innings as a 25-year-old in AA. It’s pretty much just fastball curveball, but he’s in command of both right now. You’d see “likely reliever” or something like that pretty much anywhere you’d look for some scouting takes, but I’m less convinced he can’t make it work. Five innings is all he’d need most nights in the current iteration of baseball. He too has a sad ERA at 4.50, but the 1.09 WHIP and 33.8 percent K-BB rate tell a different story. I’m not rushing out to grab him just yet, but I will be if he gets promoted and throws well in AAA. Him being faded in most corners of the prospect world buys some time to watch and wait.

Kansas City 3B Emmanuel Rivera — 4-for-4, HR, BB on Tuesday. Slashing .287/.333/.559 with 9 home runs across 33 AAA games. His previous slugging high was .468 back in 2017, when he hit 12 HR across 122 games in A ball. Clearly made some man strength gains during the shutdown and now looks like a big leaguer with average hit and plus power to go along with solid defense. Nice org depth piece for the Royals who might be a bit more than that if they give him the chance. 

Kansas City 1B/OF Ryan O’Hearn isn’t a prospect in the technical sense. He’s 27 and has 729 big league plate appearances. And yet, something with promise seems to be happening in Omaha. The man won’t stop mashing, O’hitting his 11th on Tuesday night as part of a 4-for-5 effort that brought his line to .404/.460/1.035. Probably just a heater in the wrong spot, but who knows. Just something to monitor if he comes up hitting. He’s playing outfield on the farm and could help against righties in KC. 

Tampa Bay SS Wander Franco was a home run shy of the cycle, or as we’ll call it in 20 years, the Wander. When’s he coming up? Whenever he finally slumps, perhaps 20 years from now.

Tampa Bay 2B Vidal Brujan is slumping, hitting .200 in June. You know what that means? I’m kidding. Tampa just does the thing where they don’t promote hot hitters. Slumping hitters don’t get promoted either. Unless they sign an extension before playing their first game. Then they can join the team. Otherwise it’s Brett Phillips and Kevin Kiermaier to the World Series!  

Pittsburgh 2B Rodolfo Castro hit his 7th HR on a 2-for-4 night. Season line at .301/.351/.534. He’s already gotten some run this season in a pinch and could be coming back up later on when Adam Frazier gets dealt.

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter. 

 

 
  1. Polanco Stinks says:
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    Itch ! 12 team dynasty… my team is good and/or has a future everywhere but 3B currently…. Have one open spot in my minors… go with ranking? Heriberto Hernandez and Peguero both avail… or try to shore up 3rd w/ Vargas ? (Best 3B avail) .. or scratch both and get in on Leonel Valera early? Thank you as always! You’re stuff is the best…

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Polanco Stinks!

      Great question!

      I love the hit tool on Vargas but think I’d go Hernandez in that case. He’s not hitting well right now but still getting on base 40 percent of the time.

      If I couldn’t get anything done on the trade market for a couple weeks, and Heriberto is still hitting .200, I’d make the switch then. Can see the logic behind doing this the other way around, too: add Vargas and track the others carefully.

  2. Jimmy says:
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    Demarcus Evans is getting shellacked….should I hold in a 18 team 5×5 dynasty? Thanks itch! I had such high hopes!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Yeah I’d drop him.

      Team isn’t winning much and Kennedy is due back.

      Plus Evans isn’t throwing hard. Like 92 on the regular. He’s been effective at times with it, so Texas keeps using him, but something looks off to me,

  3. Ryan says:
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    Itch, you are much appreciated.

    I usually try to not ask for full-roster analysis, but I’m going to do it here. Sorry in advance. It’s an 18-team dynasty 6×6 (OPS/Holds) where we keep 29 players. I’m rebuilding with hopes for a competitive window beginning in 2023.
    C- Stassi, Raleigh, Moreno
    1 – Walsh, Vaughn, Kirilloff
    2- Brujan, Gonzales
    S- Seager, Peguero, Barrero
    3- Sano (until next year), H. Kim, Baty
    O- Kelenic, Carlson, Verdugo, Franimal, J-Rod, K. Rob
    SP- Woodruff, Flaherty, Gausman, Trevor Rogers, Peralta, May, Urias, Skubal, Gilbert, Roansy Contreras, SWR, Jefferies, Sammy Long, Davidson, Sandoval
    RP- Demarcus Evans, Andres Munoz
    1. Would you shop Walsh, Gausman, or Woodruff? Sano isn’t getting love around the league.
    2. I am reluctant to add more prospects, especially young-ish players in A-ball or lower. That said, are any of my young guys worth dropping for other prospects like Greg Jones, Hedbert Perez, Andy Pages, Michael Busch, Gilberto Jimenez, or Orelvis Martinez?
    3. In general, what would you do if this were your squad?

    Thanks, Itch!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Ryan!

      I’m probably dropping or shopping Munoz, Evans, Sandoval, and Kim. Would add Greg Jones, Hedbert and Gilberto if you can squeeze all three.

      It’s tough to move Sano, I know. 18 team OPS probably makes him a hold even tho I’d get a rush every time I considered cutting him.

      My goals here would be 2B and 3B for 2022.

      I’d hold Walsh and the pitchers. More likely to shop Vaughn, Kirilloff, Kelenic but happy to hold all three. Nice that so many 1B are OF eligible here.

      I wonder if DJ LeMahieu owner is feeling a little frisky about the slow start . . . would he send you a piece with DJ for Vaughn? Maybe you could offer Sandoval and Kelenic/Vaughn for DJ and a pick of something? Wouldn’t have to be DJ of course. That’s just a guy I suspect could be gotten.

  4. Ben W says:
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    Thank you Itch!

    How would you currently rank these prospects right now?
    OF – Luis Matos
    OF – George Valera
    3B – Jordan Groshans
    3B – Nolan Gorman
    OF – Brennen Davis
    OF – Oneil Cruz
    SS – Noelvi Marte
    OF- Hedbert Perez
    OF – Erick Pena

    Thank you Itch!

  5. Jimmy says:
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    Sorry itch…another question! Why won’t the Royals give Oliveres a real shot? It doesn’t make sense!! Thank you!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I got nuthin here.

      I mean they traded for him with their best deadline piece last year. Makes no sense to ignore him while he’s playing well.

  6. Umpy70 says:
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    Itch, I asked Grey the same question, but im kinda curious where you stand.

    Im top 3 team in a 12 team H2H keeper league, where I got Wando in my NA slot. With his late call up, i’ll have him for a $1 next year, but if you could move him to get a return of SP Cole and Nola (both are too expensive for me to keep, so just rentals) would you do it?

    with the rules i could have wando in my lineup for years, probably 7, before he became expensive, but to get a return like that, is it worth it? H2H guarantees nothing, but it would give me everything i need to get that belt.

    Basically is wando too good to trade, even for 2 elite pitchers?

    btw, great writeup…im glad you didnt delete it.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Umpy70! Glad I left it in now.

      I’d hold Wander.

      If you could afford to keep both for even one year, and one for longer than 2022, I’d consider it.

  7. Slimcompoop says:
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    I agree with Glasnow’s take about not changing the rules in the middle of the season, but blaming his injury on not being able to use “sticky substances” was weak.

    • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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      esp since when his entire career he’s constantly injured while being allowed to use whatever he wanted. he should have to claim he was ONLY EVER healthy when using stuff for that first one to make sense.

      • Slimcompoop says:
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        I don’t know about all that you’re alluding to down below, but when we’re talking about questioning the impact on the “health of everyone playing”, as Itch mention above… that’s just an overreaction.

        A pitchers grip affects not only the tendons in your forearm, but also your elbow. “Illegal substances” make you NOT have to grip the baseball as hard to throw the same pitch. The rule book clearly states that “illegal substances” are not allowed to alter a baseball. So MLB hasn’t been enforcing it (until now), but does it not still make it a rule that was not followed by pitchers? Still a rule and pitchers this year have been abusing it more than ever.

        I’ve tried to think of a good analogy for us common folk, and the best thing I could come up with was speed limits…

        A rural county road has a base speed limit of 35MPH, yet drivers and motorcyclists speed down it everyday because there’s no cops there to pull them over and it gets them to where they’re going faster. At the beginning of the year, the police say that they’re going to start policing speed limits more, yet the speeding continues. Finally, they start putting out cops to pull people over and people are now pissed cause they’re getting tickets and are late to where they’re going.

        Not a perfect analogy, but you weren’t supposed to speeding in the first place, right?

        • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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          i’m perfectly fine with them throwing out stuff starting a new season, that’s fine. tell all the teams in advance what’s going on, even give far worse suspensions than 10 games when caught if need be. i’m good with all of that. same thing with throwing at players intentionally (which is actually dangerous for hitters (i mean their actual lives/brain health), unlike putting some gook on a ball), suspend/fine the hell out of the pitchers and managers that allow it. it would stop immediately and it’s actually quite sociopathic.

          – with your analogy here we’d have to add a couple things to make this commensurate, at least:
          – imagine in the entire history of this county, it’s been over 120 years, and less than 1% of any speeder has ever been pulled over even, much less penalized. cops even behave in a manner where it’s clear they don’t care during this 120 years (i.e. umps never did anything in all those hilarious instances of some dude having like his whole neck/jersey smeared with orange gook, many in the last few years)
          – imagine also in this county just over 2 years ago it was discovered that one specific element of the county got caught doing FAR worse than speeding, but let’s keep it to driving dangerously for our purposes. it was discovered recently 2ish years ago that for a decently long period of time one family (let’s say an extended family (or gang), say a few dozen instances of this spread over 2 years caught 2 years ago) actively ran OVER people with their cars, whole thing, cover ups, bodies dumped or burned. when caught the family patriarch was told he had to leave the county for one year (but could come back after that year) and a fine that was very small to his net worth was given. none of the rest of the family was given any penalty at all, even though they were the drivers in all of these instances.

          – might not everybody in this imaginary county suspect that some slight speeding might in fact never be policed, seeing how never in the history of this area it had never really been, and much worse stuff is allowed to go on with nobody having any penalty very recently?

          • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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            my guess with what itch was mentioning about about health, 2 things:

            – glasnow claiming he “got injured since he had to stop using the gook” is silly, BUT, when pitchers get used to doing one thing for years (and what they are doing is super risky physics-wise to their arms anyway as pitching at world best levels is just super rare and super risky for any human to be attempting as it’s by no means anything normal for humans to be doing at all) then suddenly on a dime have to stop doing that it’s quite believable that any changes in the physics of that violent throwing could easily injure them, which i suspect what he’s claiming in fact happened. had pitchers had time to say get used to having to follow these no gook rules that’d be another story. say training camp. like sane people would do when trying to enforce this.

            – also, it’s been mentioned before, often by ex-player announcers when i hear about it, the reason hitters themselves don’t mind the gook being used (for 120 years+ now) is since some pitchers, and in some conditions (cold/wet/humid weather for instance) can’t control very well what they are throwing, the gook lets them control it. thus they tend to not throw at say somebody’s head, which is good for the hitters. making ALL gook outlawed immediately and for the rest of time would suddenly present very real dangers to hitters going forward. i don’t just mean more broken ribs and the like (although that too).

            • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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              so even though the hitters know the gook the pitchers use is worse for their stats, it’s better for their health and since everybody does or can do it, no one team has any edge. unlike say the HOU thing, where pretty sure only HOU was doing that one. till soon of course. this stuff ain’t got anything to do with being “fair”.

              • The Itch

                The Itch says:
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                Yeah my health sentence there was as much about the errant pitches headed for eyeballs as it was about forearm strains.

                • The Itch

                  The Itch says:
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                  Have seen a lot of wild pitches on fastballs these past few days. Anecdotal, but wow a lot of 55-foot spiked heaters.

                  • The Itch

                    The Itch says:
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                    Which means, in part, like Glasnow said, pitchers are squeezing the hell out of the ball.

                    • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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                      hadn’t many at start of year (pitchers i mean) complained about the this year ball change and that it was harder to grip in general anyway? so let’s see, league makes balls themselves harder to grip starting march/april 2021 or so, by june 2021 now the stuff that allows people to grip them better be suddenly illegal. did these owners buy some sort of stock options in sports insurance claims that magically end in say june of 2021 or so? or do they already own the companies at the forefront of major brain trama innovations or the like (the kind that can really only be afforded by say millionaires?). i’m not even kidding possibly. if a bunch of billionaires think somebody got over on them (or say would be about to and/or at least try in less than a year) there are ways to fix whoever did that to them. they gon GET that money back.

                      – for a future universe fictional, possibly only that, last season of brockmire for owners such as this.

  8. Logan says:
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    Who would you keep for the next three years between Winker and Devers?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Devers. 3B is tough.

  9. Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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    yeah wait till this part of an in season rule change after more than 120 years of not enforcing anything’s gonna go: “if the ball has stuff on it, even if the pitcher was searched and nothing found on him, he’ll STILL be suspended.” ok, in what world where HOU for 2+ years got away with outright actual cheating (with no penalties when caught at all) will no player, at the behest of his manager or not, simply wipe some stuff on balls to get their opposing pitchers thrown out for 10 games (i’m guessing it’s more than that the 2nd time “caught”). it’s gonna be happening all over. they’re trying to go from allowing the wild west to nazi regime type shit here, overnight, about 40% of the way into a season. if they did this why wouldn’t have like anybody playing on HOU have been banned for a long ass time. doesn’t seem possible it’s the same regime here.

    • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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      this’ll end up crazier than any of the dictator shit god dell has input to the NFL at his whims, which is saying a ton.

      • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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        and if the justification from the league is that the “clamor has gotten too big so we gotta do something” didn’t everybody freak the f out over HOU cheating for 2+ years FAR more than anybody whining about lack of offense now, and not one player got anything at all over that (to be fair MLBPA fought to protect them from that having happened of course so all those players in social media whining about it, well, if you want to penalize players for cheating yes, you have to lower your rights on purpose if/when getting caught cheating later, and of course nobody was interested enough in revenge for THAT)

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Haha, yeah, this is all CBA posturing

          • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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            intent could be trying to get a break in the ranks, i.e. players mad at each other not the league. when players start smearing stuff on balls to get other players suspended it’ll divide players, when really league caused all of it. classic union busting tactic (or just how to handle lower classes in general, the old “it’s easy to get the 2nd lowest class busy wanting to put down the lowest class rather than team up against their actual villan, the masters”)

            • The Itch

              The Itch says:
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              Well said

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Ha, yeah it’s slightly preposterous

  10. Sideshow says:
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    Love the prospect updates. Just grabbed Mainning to see what happens tomorrow.

    Off subject I was offered Jazz for Ramon Luareano. I have both almost accepted and declined a few times. Any opinion? It is a very aggressive owner that gets bored easily.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks!

      Good call on getting Manning ahead just to see what’s what. Can’t hurt as long as you don’t have to play him.

      I’d take Jazz. I’m surprised that offer was made. Except in the context you provided. Can totally relate to sending offers just to play the game.

  11. Five-on-One says:
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    Not a prospect question, but how much leash does Chapman have as the Yankees closer? He is still throwing 100 mph but has recently imploded a couple of times. Is Britton (fresh off the IL) or Green next up?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I doubt they’d move him out on any kind of permanent basis, but I do expect he’ll see a few off days while he gets himself back in order.

  12. Tim says:
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    When is Adell coming up? Angels just going to let him have one of those George Springer minor league seasons?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I’m guessing they’re trying to recoup the service time they burned the past two years, which is pretty damn dumb in my opinion.

      I mean he’s striking out a ton, but they’re running zeroes out there on the regular. Even striking out, Adell is unlikely to be a zero.

      Long term, this team is in trouble.

  13. Tim says:
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    When is Adell coming up? Angels just going to let him have one of those George Springer minor league seasons?

  14. Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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    this is one of the longest leashes in the entire league, if not THE longest. probably not green, over the last few weeks (less just lately, but still once lately) he was supplanted as latest inning guy before chapman by johnny lasagna (who’s FIP says he deserved it). britton not long off entire season DL, both he’d have to do very well AND something would have to be wrong with chapman for probably a str few consecutive weeks entirely. now that i think about it pressly HOU probably has longer leash just since the other HOU guys have been really bad for almost a half year now. outside of when abreu was healthy.

    • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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      sorry, this was supposed to go into the chapman leash guy’s question above, site had some goofyness, when it came back it didn’t link to the reply. might’ve only been like a 5 minute issue (it’s not on my end the error showed it to be cloudflare to site, plus everything else i’m doing is fine)

  15. Dave Phillips says:
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    In second place currently and want to make a move to help stay at or push above the top. I need SP and RP help. We have a minor league system of 7 people each which give us dibs on calling up when ready. That said would you move Kelenic and Witt for Trevor Rogers, Hader and Hendriks ?

  16. Moon Shots says:
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    Thanks as always for the great content Itch!

    Im in 30 team dynasty and in rebuild/stack prospects mode. Curious if you…

    Would trade Luis Urias, Solak, or Luis Garcia (Nats) to obtain Cade Cavalli (my hitting side is mega stacked and my pitching side not so much)?

    Do you like Kyle Harrison as a trade target?

    Lastly, do you go with Puason or Westburg? Thanks Itch!

  17. Steamin Beamen says:
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    Hey Itch,

    1. What’s the deal with Brent Honeywell? Is he going to be a starter next year? Reliever?

    2. And same question for Luis Patino?

    The goddamn Rays!

    Thanks a lot!

Comments are closed.