Holy cow do I miss writing these. 

Actual prospect news? Yes, please!

PS: We’ll circle back to round out the Top 100 on Sunday. 

PPS: I’m building an overall dynasty rankings set, and it’s already a scramble to stay ahead of the draft room in the Highlander Dynasty Invitational. I feel like Indiana Jones running from a rock. We’re on pick 34 as I type this part, and I only feel really good about my rankings through pick 50 or so. I’m at 143 in terms of building the list from scratch. Wish me luck, dear reader, as this hallway is narrow, and my computer time is scarce. 

I need to finish these before Friday. Fry! Day! 

Anyone else asking that too-much-of-a-good-thing question this week? I know I’m feeling whelmed. 

Wednesday night at 6 p.m.,the CBS AL Only Auction (SCD) kicks off. Need to have that player pool fully sussed before then.

Friday night, I’ll drive two hours to my home league auction then back home Saturday to help in the house and finalize the Top 100 before midnight (when it goes to press, so to speak). Then Sunday morning, I’ll drive about an hour to find a new place for a draft I joined because I have two brothers (in-law) in the league. 10:30 a.m. Sunday draft. Whazza whazza what!? I’m very afraid this is one of those ten-hour deals, just between you and me. Older I get, kind of worry. Also one of those things that could’ve been an email. I’m sure I’ll have a blast as it’s underway, but my brain is probably still a bit broken from the pandemic so I wonder why not a text thread. Smiling emoji would go here if I had one. Do I have one? : ) Not that one. You know what I meant. 

I saw new Oakland 3B Kevin Smith make a snazzy play at shortstop the other day. So snazzy, in fact, that the announcers thought he was Olympian and defensive wizard Nick Allen. How many at bats do you think Smith will get if healthy this year? Over/under at around 500? Here’s what I wrote about him in the Toronto Blue Jays Top 10 Prospects for 2022 Fantasy Baseball

Get ready for some Mallrats jokes! Pretty sure I got one in there somewhere last season, and I apologize for any future bits that don’t land. Gotta focus. Focus! Smith was doing just that in 2021, zeroing in on swing decisions that left him with an enticing 23.7 percent strikeout rate after punching out 32.3 at a percent clip in 2019 at AA. He also walked about twice as much: from 6.2% to 11.2% and slashed .285/.370/.561 with 21 HR and 18 SB in just 94 games. That’s a loud season for a former first-round pick taking his first licks at AAA. Felt like his success went mostly under the radar, and his MLB performance in 36 plate appearances (.094/.194/.188) certainly didn’t win any advocates, so it’s under the radar he’ll stay. I’m not saying he should top anyone’s wish list, but I do think he’ll get a legit shot to stick this season and could be a boon even in redraft leagues.”

Well lucky you if you drafted Smith before he got traded to Oakland, but that doesn’t mean we’ll just be chasing money from here forward. Smith is still a good get in just about any league in case he lands on his feet out West in the land of opportunity. 

Seattle RHP Matt Brash was mentioned by manager Scott Servais as his preferred candidate for the fifth starter’s role, which makes sense given how the club rushed him up the big leagues to help in a pinch during their playoff chase last season. 

Here’s what I wrote about Brash in the Seattle Mariners Top 10 Prospects for 2022 Fantasy Baseball

“I’ve got a pretty open mind to his potential role, and I suspect Seattle feels a similar way. Brash is enjoying a loud breakout season, especially if you do the cool kid thing and remove his one big hiccup: 1.61 ERA and a 36.6 K% in ten starts since June 23, seven of those coming in AA.”

I suspect the general expectation was for a red carpet rollout before George Kirby, and I’m not saying that won’t happen–just that it’s interesting to think Brash might get there first and establish himself as a mainstay. 

Cincinnati RHP Graham Ashcraft was throwing 97 with a nasty bender against the Cubs. He’s not the best of the club’s pitching prospects, which might give him an edge in beating Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Brandon Williamson to the big league club, depending on how Cincinnati wants to play the service time game. How can you not be romantic about baseball? With Luis Castillo on the IL to start the year with a shoulder issue, Reiver Sanmartin can be penciled into the opening day rotation. He might be the number three starter behind Mahle and Minor. 

Cincinnati RHP Tony Santillan is being stretched out to start after debuting in the arm barn last year. His competition for one of the last two spots is probably Vladimir Gutierrez and Justin Dunn with the aforementioned Ashcraft having an outside shot. Whoever wins their shot will be an intriguing streamer against the Pirates and Cubs

OF Steven Kwan has been playing center field, and while I think the first chance there will go to Bradley Zimmer, he’s had a lot of trouble staying on the field, and Kwan just does everything well on the field, especially in the batter’s box, where Kwan refuses to strike out. 

We were writing 3B Jose Miranda into Minnesota’s lineup following the Josh Donaldson trade, but the signing of Carlos Correa figures to bump Gio Urshella to 3B. Fortune may still favor the bold because Miranda is easily among the team’s best nine. Just be prepared to spend the first few weeks without him. 

Thanks for reading and good luck in what promises to be a weekend full of dunks and drafts!

50 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sport
Sport
4 months ago

Hey Itch! I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow morning to ask this so I thought I would take a chance on this on a Saturday morning.

I’m looking to clear a spot on my roster for an upcoming draft in my 10 team dynasty. It’s an aging roster and I’m not contending so I’m on a partial rebuild. I don’t have the patience I guess to keep both Kyle Lewis and Jarren Duran both. Plus with it being a 10 team league that only uses 3 OF I’m not convinced they ever become so relevant I can’t keep them out of the caliber of line up it will take to compete in a 10 team, 10 active hitter league. Make sense?

So the question is, who would you rather sit on and be patient with, Kyle Lewis or Duran? Or would you move on from both in this format?

I start JD Martinez, S.Marte, and George Springer. Dylan Carlson, Kyle Scwarber, and Kirilloff on the bench. Plus, Jay Allen and Luis Matos in the Milb slots.

Thank you for any feedback!

IntendedSteb
IntendedSteb
4 months ago

Hey The Itch,
Wanted to hear your take on Baz and his value in Dynasty. Elbow surgery is never good news for a pitcher and definitely puts a damper on this season. But does it affect his long term value?
Thanks.

Gurufee
Gurufee
4 months ago

Great article. Smith could be a huge add!

David Niven
David Niven
4 months ago

Btw big fan of your work, thanks Itch.

David Niven
David Niven
4 months ago

Devers or Tatis strait up? Dynasty league keep forever no price considerations.

David Niven
David Niven
Reply to  The Itch
4 months ago

Ye art en legend, thanks bud and have a great weekend!!

bigbear
bigbear
4 months ago

MacKenzie Gore… Is he a thing again? I haven’t seen him pitch but see his spring stats.

Gurufee
Gurufee
Reply to  bigbear
4 months ago

5 innings, 1 hit, and 7 k’s. Read article saying he has regained command. Going back to minors to manipulate service time. I took him in last round in super deep league. Detmers and Lodolo look good too.

toolshed
toolshed
4 months ago

I was set to take brash in my 4 rd draft but he went a few picks earlier. Who do you think makes a bigger fantasy impact this year and over the next couple of years: kwan or cody morris? I can use more depth in OF or pitching so it is equal from a needs standpoint. This is an obp format and almost like a points league with k, bb, ops, etc. Pitching is that way too with traditional categories and k/9, k/bb, etc. Thanks

Sonny
Sonny
Reply to  toolshed
4 months ago

Morris was shut down 4-6 weeks with a shoulder issue. Hope that helps in your decision.

toolshed
toolshed
Reply to  toolshed
4 months ago

Crap…morris shut down with a shoulder strain. I don’t like shoulder injuries amd this ruins his chance for a good chunk of the year since he will be completely shut down for 6 weeks.

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
4 months ago

Hey Itch,

Julio lookin’ good so far this spring. Word is, he’ll break camp with the Mariners and never look back.

Stosh
Stosh
Reply to  Harley Earl
4 months ago

Whose word?

Stosh
Stosh
4 months ago

I’ve got prospect fever, and the only prescription is Itch’s player comp on Michael Harris.

steve stevenson
steve stevenson
4 months ago

NL-only keeper, only 3 MiLB slots so there’s a bias toward near-term talent and league rules make it difficult to churn that part of the roster. Who’s the drop out of Gorman, Francisco Alvarez (2C league) and Edward Cabrera, all valued at $1?

Taco
Taco
4 months ago

Do you do any coverage of professional players from Japan, Korea, Cuba etc and when they may come to MLB ? Thanks

babbo
babbo
4 months ago
bigbear
bigbear
4 months ago

Love the pre-season hype around prospects starting the season this year! Detriot is saying all the right things for Tork and Riley! Witt looks like he’ll be 3B opening the season too. Let’s get TPTB in Seattle on board with Julio!

The Original Whatever
The Original Whatever
4 months ago

Hey Itch,

12 team OBP keeper with SV+H. We can all keep 10 minors and then draft up to 13 total minors. Here are my current minors. Have to cut at least 3

I have the first pick in the minors draft so going to take Seiya for sure.

Whitlock i want to keep as a cheap SV+H after season starts.

My for sure keeps are Greene,Jung,Barrero,Mayer,Whitlock.

Just looking for some guidance on the others. Terry, Olivares, Ethan Wilson seem like the no brainer drops.

McLain,Heriberto,Xaver,Nolan,Greg Jones? Worth keeping?

Heriberto Hernandez
Curtis Terry
Nolan Jones
Josh Jung
Jose Barrero
Xavier Edwards
Greg Jones
Marcelo Mayer
Matt McLain
Riley Greene
Edward Olivares
Ethan Wilson
Garrett Whitlock

The Original Whatever
The Original Whatever
Reply to  The Itch
4 months ago

Thanks Itch. Love your stuff. Keep it coming!

The discarded head of Ted Williams
4 months ago

Happy draft season! Got a keeper q for ya. 5×5 roto. 14 team. We are dropping from 9 to 4 keepers this year to do a soft reset.

Jazz C – $1
T O’Neil – $1
K Tucker – $8
T Edman – $8
B Witt – $1
S Baz – $1
L Hendriks – $8

Was leaning O’Neil, Tucker, Witt and Baz… but Baz surgery has me wondering if I should adjust. Thoughts? Thanks much!

The discarded head of Ted Williams
Reply to  The discarded head of Ted Williams
4 months ago

shoot. L gilbert $1 is also an option.

Al KOHOLIC
Reply to  The discarded head of Ted Williams
4 months ago

O’Neil Tucker Witt and Jaz

Dude
Dude
4 months ago

Talk to me about Duran and Jesus Sanchez and Melendez. Will Duran have a spot to open the season? Where does Jesus fit in? And when should we expect to see Melendez?

jnienow
jnienow
Reply to  The Itch
4 months ago

Way to dodge the Melendez question!

Dude
Dude
Reply to  The Itch
4 months ago

Thank you!

frankgrimes
frankgrimes
4 months ago

Kwan!

Chud
Chud
4 months ago

Great work Itch!

Im in a 10 team roto NL only full keeper n have Oneil Cruz, BDavis, & Veen as MiLB players.

I’ve been offered my Austin Riley, Jazz C, and either BDavis or Veen for Tatis. Tatis can be my 1 designated “lifer”.

Make them move or hold tight?

Appreciate all of your prospect insight.

steve stevenson
steve stevenson
Reply to  Chud
4 months ago

I’d do the deal. Which minor leaguer sort of depends on your build and league, but in a vacuum I’d keep Davis. Cruz is going to be on your major league roster shortly and Davis could be soon enough as well, so if you don’t have room to accommodate them on the big club without ditching someone good you may have a preference to keep the further away Veen. But I think I like Davis better overall as a player and generally trust the not-Rockies more with my young players.