I’m not sure how to start this week because every time I do, I find myself saying something like “If there’s actually baseball,” and I’m kind of exhausted with reading that stuff. Wish I could stop myself from thinking it. And now I’ve said it in the intro anyway. Maybe I’ll delete it later. Maybe they’ll just delete all the stats from this year. Doh! It’s happening again. And so is baseball! I do think we’ll have a season, such as it is, for what it’s Wuertz. 

NOTE: This ranking is entirely focused on redraft impact of players who’ve yet to debut in 2020. It’s a snapshot of all the information I can synthesize as of Saturday night.

This week I traded for Kyle Lewis in a dynasty league and sold two Edwins to do it. Encarnacion is old and Diaz is dangerous to my health, so I figured I might as well make a trade for next year. I’m in third place now and finished second last year after tanking in year one, so I’m set up for the long haul and see little reason to cling to a depreciating old bat who might retire after all this 2020 stuff or a closer who makes improves my ratios and mental well being just by being gone. 

I love making trades, and I’d like to push all in for a few teams in the running, but I’m leery to do anything too dramatic because it would irritate the hell out of me to rob from the future to enhance the present only to have the present erased like some Umbrella Academy suitcase retcon. 

Nonetheless I traded Domingo German for Trevor Rosenthal in a 20-teamer that same day. Was offered Archie Bradley and a 2021 1st for Forrest Whitley in that same league but sat on my hands too long and watched Archie go for Dallas Keuchel. Was brutal on first glance and feels much worse today after the Whitley news about arm soreness. Part of me is glad because I’d feel like crap if I traded a guy a day before he started publicly flirting with TJ; part of me is extremely irritated that I stopped to check Archie’s always-low swinging strike rates across multiple time frames before going on a run to ruminate. I think I’d have wound up accepting the trade, and I’m usually superfast in trade talks, but 2020 is a thought vacuum making us all–or me anyway–just a tiny bit duller day by day, and making three deals in a day was a big ask for my corona battered brain. Beer battered brain? Mmmmmm beer battered brains . . . sounds like a Temple of Doom appetizer for the main course treasure hunt that is stashing rookies in redraft leagues. 

1. Cardinals OF Dylan Carlson: Postponements are stacking up and mixing up the service time math, but we could see Carlson this week if we see Cardinals baseball.

2. Tigers RHP Casey Mize: Saturday brought news that Mize would debut Sunday only to be erased by a rainstorm that turned Sunday into a double header featuring motivational speaker Daniel Norris. If the playoffs started today, the Joe Exotics would be in. If they even tread water over their next few games, Mize is coming up soon.

3. Phillies RHP Spencer Howard can be absolutely dominant when he’s on, demonstrated in part by his no-hitter in the 2018 South Atlantic League Playoffs. Can’t wait. Rumor had him penciled in for this week before the postponements hit. 

4. Marlins OF Monte Harrison was heavily featured on my Rookie Leaderboards and should be a rotisserie asset whenever he gets the call–something I expect to happen shortly after baseball resumes in Miami.

5. I would’ve called up Angels OF Jo Adell as soon as Mike Trout went home to see his baby’s birth then demoted him when Trout returned if I had to, but Maddon’s Angels are just 2-and-6 and have been finding ways to lose like it’s their job. Perhaps suppressing (and badmouthing) Jo Adell is just on brand for them. In their defense, Brian Goodwin has been the team’s best hitter, and Ohtani and Upton are heating up, so maybe they think they’ll be fine this week without the game’s best player. Maddon said he’s expecting Trout back in the lineup on Sunday, which seems foolish to me as both an expectation and as a thing to say in a news conference, but that’s Maddon.

6. Dodgers 2B Gavin Lux should still get a chance in mid August, but it’s a tricky spot for Los Angeles, who still has more solid bats than they do lineup spots.

7. Padres LHP MacKenzie Gore might be watching Saturday’s Joey Lucchesi start with a little more interest than usual. Zach Davies presents another path to playing time but looked good his first time out, and Lucchesi brings the lefty advantage if he’s moved to the pen. If I’d ranked this last Saturday, he’d be higher, but San Diego looks amazing. No need to burn Gore’s clock if you’re winning most nights anyway. 

UPDATE: Lucchesi hit with silver bullet train crashing through Rockies. Doubt that gets him the hook, but it might get Cal Quantrill the first turn next time around. Inching closer.

8. Yankees RHP Clarke Schmidt is next man up in New York, but Masahiro Tanaka’s return from the injured list means we’ll be waiting a little longer. Click here for a breakdown by Razzball’s own natural, Hobbs.

9. Reports suggest the Marlins don’t intend to use their top prospects to field a Rona-free roster when the time comes on Tuesday, but I’m not sure that applies to 1B Lewin Diaz. First-base-only, non-Hosmer bats don’t command much cash in free agency, so Diaz has a better chance than Jazz Chishom or the top-tier arms to debut within the next week or so, assuming he’s not among the infected. No idea why I’m assuming that. Still quite a lot of mystery in Miami’s suitcase present and future. 

10. Atlanta LHP Tucker Davidson got passed over for Touki Toussaint on the first post-Folty turn through the rotation, but I think he’s next in the pecking order and capable of beating big league batters. 

 

Must Mention:

Cardinals RHP Alex Reyes is throwing baseballs again and hitting 99 at the training site. St. Louis has questions up and down the pitching staff and could find an answer in the long-awaited Reyes. 

White Sox 1B 3B Andrew Vaughn has been working at third base at the off-site training facility. Could be a neat opportunity if he’s okay there. Theoretically, they could shift Yoan Moncada to 2B while Tim Anderson is out and play Madrigal at SS. That would be a nightmare defensive infield, but over a short stretch, who knows. Much more likely they move through other options first, and if we see Vaughn this year at all it’s due to injury ahead of him.

3B Alec Bohm’s 2020 at bats seem subject to the Phillies finding some pitching, so his fate is tied to Spencer Howard’s. 

 

In Limbo

1. Tigers LHP Tarik Skubal

2. Tigers RHP Matt Manning

3. Royals RHP Jackson Kowar

4. Rockies 2B Brendan Rodgers

5. Orioles 1B Ryan Mountcastle

6. Giants C Joey Bart

7. Astros RHP Forrest Whitley

Detroit’s early wins could alter the timelines of their big three pitching prospects. If Mize does indeed get a promotion and pitch well, I’m adding Skubal in my AL Only league. 

Kowar’s debut feels like it’s just a matter of time, but it’s contingent upon the Royals winning some games. 

Rodgers remains a Rocky.

A lot of people pound the table for Mountcastle and Bart, and I’ll be pleasantly surprised if they debut this year, but I’m still betting against it. If either team keeps playing peskily a little further into the season, they could force the issue. I hope they do. The expanded playoffs have the potential to change the shape of our game, and I’m here for that.

Whitley might be done for 2020. Tone shift. Record scratch. Bum bummmm, mannn this newszszss bummmz me out. But it’s the Astros so who cares, right? Dynasty players. That’s who. Astros and their fans too I guess but . . . 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter and Reddit.

 
  1. teri o says:
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    Nate Lowe ?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I did fudge the prospect barrier a bit for Reyes, but no such need for Lowe, in whom Tampa seems totally disinterested.

  2. LadyScorpio says:
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    Very informative article! Will be filling some of the NA slots on my team with a few of these prospects/rookies. I appreciate the headsup!!! Thank you!!!!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks for the kind words, Lady Scorpio!!

  3. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Hey Itch! What are your expectations for Solak now that he seems to be playing pretty much everyday and enjoying the 2 hole more and more? Between odor and Danny Santana, seems like he’ll be playing everyday for the foreseeable future…

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      What up, Duda!?!?

      I agree and think he’s in there every day now. Willie Calhoun complicates the matter a little, bit the Odor has opened for Solak to establish himself. He’s an interesting case as a fantasy player in that his average line might look a bit like the average line you need to win a 5×5 league if you divvy the season totals among the roster. About .275 about 25 bombs about 8 steals. In a full season. These guys tend to be a little undervalued but rare (Avi Garcia 2019).

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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        Makes total sense, sometimes you don’t need flashy, esp when your team BA is .210 ! (Yet somehow in 1st nonetheless). Stay well!

  4. RicoSuave says:
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    Thank you Itch!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thank YOU, Rico Suave!

      Also you’re very welcome.

      Also tell Gerardo I say hi if you get a chance.

  5. Harley Earl says:
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    Love your stuff Itch.

    Couple questions. Where did you see Reyes is hitting 99 mph? I can’t seem to find any information on Reyes and I look all the time!

    Also, do you think Rodgers might be over-rated? I know he’s with an organization that loves to hold down young talent but that’s not necessarily true — Arrenado and Story both blew through those walls as rookies and they’ve held their own. So knowing it can be done in Colorado, do the Rockies really just think Rodgers isn’t as good as all the so-called experts think? He seems to get passed by or injured every time he is close to getting a shot. I think there’s more to it than “He’s a Rocky”. I think they see something in his swing or approach that they don’t like, so they’re making him work on it first.

    • Bobbo says:
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      If that’s the case then they would have traded him… I’m sure plenty of organizations would still believe in his talent.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        Fair point but I wonder if this has been kind of a weakness of their front office I general. Who’s the last prospect they dealt? Maybe they really value him and never got an offer that came close to their feeling on it. Maybe they never really open dialog about this stuff. Surely someone has been curious about Hampson, Tapia, Rodgers, Colton Welker, etc at some point, but we never even hear rumors to that effect, to my knowledge.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Harley! I’m always happy to see you and Cat in the comments!

      I think he’s overrated too. I’ve always been down on him for the constant swinging, the inflated run environments, the blocked paths, and especially the constant swinging. If you can’t learn how to hunt pitches in your happy zone and ignore almost everything that’s not, you can’t hang against big league pitching.

      Can’t recall on the Reyes news but I’ll keep an eye out. I thought it was a Goold tweet or retweet but couldn’t find it on a quick recon mission. His timeline is thick w COVID stuff tho at the moment, so it might just be buried, and/or I might be misremembering the source. I’m typically a little OCD about citing and feeling justified in that right now as I’m struggling to retrace my steps.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Source = Anne Rogers of MLB.com

      Now on his Fantrax blurb.

  6. Jolt In Flow says:
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    It’s been a while since I posted a reply to you Itch. Just letting you know, still Sunday morning, still waking up to coffees, still loving these Sunday morning articles you post.

    Thanks for putting this one together. Will help me immensely.

    PS. We will essentially be (give or take) 17% through the 2020 season after today’s games, for most teams. This season’s flying.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Honored to be a mainstay in the Sunday morning coffee routine!!!

      PS: That 17 is blowing my mind . . .

  7. Jake says:
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    Great info!!! Who do your prefer ROS Griffin Canning or Marco Gonzales?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Jake!

      Are they both free agents?

      If so I’m trying to stream and leaning Canning over Gonzo, matchups being somewhat equal.

      Same goes in trade stuff if that’s the scenario: I like Gonzo but prefer the Canning Whip topside.

  8. Stumanji! says:
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    Itch, I’ve been looking at some minors guys to stash with the notion that I want them on my roster when (not if) the season gets cancelled and our rosters lock, and therefore could keep them for next year. So basically who are your top position players with a 2021 ETA? Might be the same as this list but wanted to get your opinion with the caveat that it doesn’t necessarily matter if they contribute this shortened season. Bats only, not interested in arms.

    I’m currently carrying Madrigal. Other guys that are already rostered are Wander, Carlson, Lux, Adell, and Tim Tebow. Who’s the next target for 2021 stud? Julio Rodriguez, Kelenic, Kristian Robinson, Luciano…other?

    Thanks!

    • Stumanji! says:
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      Update: Adell was just dropped.

      • Stumanji! says:
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        I just used my waiver (6/10) on…drumroll…Tyler Chatwood! Arghhh. I doubt Adell falls through the cracks to me with him just getting the call…

  9. Elwood Blues says:
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    Oneil Cruz, Jose Garcia- how would you rank them.
    Looking at the in an NL Only Keeper minor league draft 5×5 league.
    Would you take them over Drew Waters, Brenna Davis, Spencer Howard?
    How would you rank all 5?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Cruz

      Howard

      Davis

      Garcia

      Waters

      PS: If the name is in reference to Elwood Dowd, I tip my cap to you, sir. One of my favorite characters of all time.

      • Elwood Blues says:
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        Different classic movie..very different plot- The Blues Brothers.

        If the choice is down to Davis, Garcia, or Corbin Carroll? Does Carroll rise to the top or after Davis?

  10. Worm Burner says:
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    Hey The Itch,
    I know nothing has changed on the field, but are we still buying O’neal Cruz 2016 BC base autos for $30 without hesitation?

    Thanks man, I appreciate the advice and the articles

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hey Worm Burner!

      Ohhhhh yes. Price might dip ever so slightly in winter, but I think $30 is pretty much the floor.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        I saw a purple of his go for something ludicrously low. Didn’t set my alarm right that time, but wow there’s a lot of profit here.

        The name confusion helps a fair bit. You’re probably already doing this, but it can be useful to put multiple spellings in your search, such as

        (Oneal, O’neill, O’neal, Oneil, O’neil) Cruz (auto, autograph) Bowman Chrome

        • Worm Burner says:
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          Thanks man, I really appreciate the advice!

          Now that I’m almost sold out of Luis Robert, I’m looking to the future. I know these prices are higher than Cruz right now, but I’ve been looking to Luciano, Kristian Robinson & CJ Abrams.

          Sound about right for the star-value?

          Of course Wander is in there too.

        • Worm Burner says:
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          I’ve been buying Brujan also. I think his prices seem like a pretty good deal right now

  11. Moon Shots says:
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    Fantastic content Itch. As a 30 team dynasty manager who went all in on a rebuild first year (this year), i couldnt ask for a better read.

    Given that my major league roster is a strange collection of barely to mildly valuable guys im looking to strategically trade at high value moments (Kike, B Craw, Aguilar, Sierra, Samardzija, Graveman, Taijuan Walker, etc) for prospects and picks, its driving me nuts that my guys who are close to the big show (Adell, Bart, Sixto) arent getting the call since thats the only way i can open up a couple minor league slots to create space for incoming prospect haul. Sort of locked out of offloading MLB guys until i have a place to put them.

    Anyhow, i did trade Merrill Kelly for a (late) first round pick next year after we talked last week. If the season gets called off the draft order probably gets determined randomly so that pick could go from being late round to mystery grab bag. And its a late pick, still not bad Kelly who was a cheap waiver wire guy.

    All the best to you!

    • Moon Shots says:
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      And then Adel got called up!

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        To quote Grey quoting Jim Ross:

        Bah Gawd!

        Is that Jo Adell’s music??

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Moon Shots!

      All the best to you and yours as well!!

      Eyeing anyone in particular with the free spot?

      Also does this mean you cut Crawford or someone in that group?

      • Moon Shots says:
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        Once that minors slot opens the possibilities abound and its really a matter finding a dance partner who is in contention and has prospects to deal. Issac Paredes and Jeter Downs are a couple guys that could make sense. but really i have some scouting to do.

        And no i havent dropped anyone, in a league that deep almost everyone has some value! Crawford is by no means anyone’s ideal player at this point but my guess is he gets on a little hot streak at some point. Maybe starting like, today at Coors field?

        Who do you like better as a dynasty flyer Itch, Jaylin Davis or Brinson?

  12. leon says:
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    16 man dynasty league. 6×6 std + holds/walks..

    was offered Teoscar($1) and Gurriel jr(toronto)($15) for my verdugo($9) and bobby witt(0$). what do you think.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Yeah I’m jumping all over that.

      • leon says:
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        so this guy just changed the offer to alot more. would you still do it?

        now its ($5) puig, ($9)verdugo, witt jr, ($16)osuna(tommy john) for ($1)teoscar and ($15)gurriel jr

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
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          Man things move fast ’round here!!

          I think I do it in the right scenario, but that’s a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous.

          Is the other team tanking this year?

          Is there anything low-hanging you’d like that you can include in the counter?

          That’s a pretty different offer than where you started, and I think a counter is probably better process for future negotiations than a quick accept.

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