One of my favorite traditions as a young fan was Peter Gammons profiling each team’s spring training focus points.
I loved the spittle and shake of his voice, the depth of his details, and especially how he always shot the segments in front of people playing catch, gloves popping symphonically as Gammons predicted an MVP future for Yankees youngster Ricky Ledee.
It’s in that spirit that I begin our next prospect series—one that works in concert with Razzball’s Gammonsian team previews and one that involves a few nods to some non-prospects. Graduating from eligibility requirements doesn’t mean you’re a known quantity, nor that you’ve graduated to an everyday opportunity. Yesterday’s failed prospects are often tomorrow’s sleepers, so let’s take a lap around the division looking for some fantasy profit.
Success exists where talent meets opportunity.
Opportunity is waiting at the bus stop in Baltimore.
Talent is presumably stuck in traffic somewhere nearby.
If we bust out our maps app, we see Andrew Velazquez recently transplanted from Tampa Bay via Cleveland. He’s competing with La Vida Loca for a roster spot in support of Enrique Iglesias.
Let the rhythm take you over.
Martin’s hot right now. He was a rule 5 snag they made wear it when he wasn’t ready to play every day, but that sink-or-swim method can lead to sophomore bounces, partly because the stock is so thoroughly depressed by the awful early returns.
Professional swinger Ryan Mountcastle probably doesn’t crush like Castlevania on Netflix, but he should be owned in all but the shallowest of leagues.
Austin Hays may not run like Mays, but he’s done a million push ups for hitting pop-ups, so he’s super jacked now and looking at 600-plus plate appearances as long as he doesn’t spike himself.
I like John Means.
I know. I know. This is serious business, and John just doesn’t mean it in the strikeout department, but I recently took him at pick 349 in the TGFBI. He had a 1.14 WHIP in 155 innings as a rookie in the AL Beast. In Baltimore. With a 3.60 ERA. I get that his FIP is whatever and yada yada about his statcast, but we’re talking about a 24th round pick who will only lose his job if he’s hurt.
The floor here has comfy carpet.
Check out his game log, if you’re worried about match-ups as I was. Dude had a boatload of SP2/3 outings. Might be a fantasy SP2/3. I know. I know. It’s unlikely. Except that it kinda just happened. Even got 12 wins. On the worst team since teams. And what if he doesn’t regress? What if he learns stuff and things? 200 innings with a better K rate and a lower WHIP? Wouldn’t be the craziest thing I’ve seen. And you’re not paying for anything like that. The pitchers just before him in that draft were Steven Matz, Wade Miley and Rick Porcello. Maybe you’d prefer them to Means. But that’s the tradeoff, or thereabouts.
I like Hunter Harvey for similar reasons. Might nab a save week one and juice a value leap. Easy enough to cut at ADP 436.8 if you see an early angle you need to play.
But I’d drafted elite outfielders early specifically because I like a lot of the lower tier options late, and Pillar is just one of many I want. Not THE one that I want. Ooo. Ooo. Ooo. Honey.
Nor is Alex Verdugo, though he multiplies my chills a little more.
Wong is an only-league gem at the moment, a multi-positional type who could bash his way into way more at bats than any system would projection at present. Downs is a dynasty buy, still a little underrated from what I can tell, as well as an interesting draft-and-hold slash only-league dart for redraft purposes.
Who needs it?
I guess Workman seems good. Cheap saves. Huzzah. (But seriously I like him.)
Opportunity’s the name of a bus stop in New York, thanks to unsurprising soft-tissue issues for Stanton and Judge. I’ve been on team Tauchman since before it was cool and think he’s a value at his ADP, though I doubt 358.92 reflects where he’d go in a real draft today.
Gio Urshela is a buy for similar reasons. If you can draft a .314 hitter with power in Yankee stadium around 250, why wouldn’t you? Miguel Andujar has been moving around the diamond all Spring. New York has no reason to bench Urshela even if Stanton and Judge can get well enough to form Voltron someday.
In slightly related news, I watched The Little Mermaid with my daughter the other day, and that Ursula is not playing around. Much more menacing than I remember. Do not underestimate Ursula.
Rumors abound about how GM Brian Cashman should address the club’s rotation woes in the wake of injuries to James Paxton and Luis Severino. The most-circulated name as I type this is Steven Matz. I don’t think that’ll happen because I think the Mets are all-in this year, and the Yankees don’t have many spare parts for 2020 at the moment. Plus, they have Domingo German coming back when his suspension ends, so I think they stay internal with Jonathan Loaisiga, Clarke Schmidt, and Deivi Garcia or maybe use Luis Cessa in a bulk/follower role. I think our play is to buy Loaisiga on the cheap while we can and hope he enjoys a healthy enough stretch to open the year in the rotation.
This area of the watch could be its own article. Several articles, probably. I’ve typically felt like I had a strong read on Tampa’s plans and have made profit that way (eg. Brandon Lowe in the end game last year), but that’s not the case in 2020.
Though if you don’t know I love Randy Arozarena, now you know. He’s free for now.
Tsutsugo’s a go for me at ADP.
As are Glasnow and Morton on the mound. Yonny’s playing in the background, and I wanna hear that tune, too. Nick Anderson . . . excites me. That word’s not enough to describe the feeling, but I don’t want to get graphic.
Snell got a cortisone shot in his elbow where he’d had loose bodies removed (that’s what she said?), but there’s no new damage, so we’ll see. He fell a bit in RazzSlam, so I took him at 60. Might’ve been early but didn’t think he’d be there at 84, slapdick injury or no.
Pretty much everyone’s cost is suppressed by Tampa’s Rayness.
I re-watched Castlevania season 2 the other day, and I gotta say, I think Vlad’s due for a bounceback. The joke here, if there is one, is that Vlad Dracula Tepes dies at the end of season 2. Very sorry if I spoiled anything there because I think that series is worth a watch, especially if you played Symphony of the Night.
Man, where was I?
Ahh yes, Vlad. Bigger than the screen at the end of that game. Bigger than the screen in 2019. But not in that show. And not in 2020. Svelte Vlad is about to impale the world. He gave us a year to make ready, and I am.
His ADP is illusory though. Gotta move early on he and Bo both in most leagues I’ve seen, and I think they’re both worth it.
Teoscar Hernandez is a buy for me. Steady playing time. Huge power surge last year backed up by the data. Maybe even a little speed. Yes please.
Shoemaker can walk a mile in my roster any day. Trouble is it usually lasts about that long.
Nate Pearson is on a lot of my rosters, and I feel great about it.
Thanks for reading! Hope you’re having a fun Spring!
You can follow me @theprospectitch if that’s the kinda thing you might be interested in.