In fourth grade, I was forced to pick an instrument.

Kennedy Elementary’s gym was adorned with little practice hubs, and my music class went station to station to try the drums, trumpet, xylophone, etc. 

I wanted to play the drums but wound up enrolled in the school band equipped with a used saxophone I was told was very expensive. $875, if I remember right, which still seems like a small fortune and a ridiculous investment for a ten-year-old who literally could not care less about playing a saxophone. I hadn’t even heard Coltrane yet. The only sounds I could create were the kinds of fork-on-a-plate screeches that made my ears bleed. 

Years I ‘played’ this thing. Daily practiced times were enforced under threat of Nintendo removal. The first song I remember playing that sounded like an actual song to me was Pomp and Circumstance. I’d played Twinke Twinkle Little Star and Mary Had a Little Lamb, but those didn’t feel like songs to me. Certainly didn’t feel like an endpoint for the squeaky saliva-world I was drowning in day after day. (If you’ve ever played a woodwind, you know the slobber involved in getting the reed just right.)

But the first time I nailed that graduation song, the ring-walk song for Macho Man Randy Savage, I felt like a real musician, albeit a miniature, unskilled musician. 

I’m sure Dylan Carlson has felt like a real ballplayer before, but today, he is blasting a flawless rendition of Pomp and Circumstance as he graduates the stash list alongside Spencer Howard, Lewin Diaz, Alec Bohm and Jorge Mateo

NOTE: This ranking is 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 publication day. 

1. Tigers RHP Casey Mize remains on the list. Detroit keeps winning. Time keeps ticking. Apologies to your lost games played count if you’re holding Mize in a tight redraft league. I should’ve probably dropped him in the 12-team shallow Perts league the second he didn’t get called up to make that rumored but rained out Sunday start.

2. Dodgers SS Gavin Lux not only jumps the list this week but gets a position change, in these pages anyway. My good friend Donnie Hookslide is the biggest Corey Seager backer I know, and even he’s been saying Seager should be a 1B/DH for years. I’m not saying that will happen this week, but it might, and the natural fit to play shortstop is consensus stud prospect Gavin Lux. Also Chris Taylor and Kike Hernandez. It’s tough to be a young Dodger, but the Lux clock-manipulation game is winding to a close at the same time a major league need could be opening up. In related news, I saw a stash list today that had Andrew Vaughn and Jarred Kelenic ahead of Gavin Lux, which made me wonder if it’s a decent time to send a few trade offers to whoever has the luxury to move him. 

3. Astros RHP Jose Urquidy probably hasn’t been dropped in your leagues because he’s carried an IL designation, but you might want to check just in case. Dusty’s been cagey about when your kitty can come home from the vet, but that’s just Dusty’s way. Dude’s even been suggesting Jose could be a reliever, to which I say no way. 

4. Padres LHP MacKenzie Gore is down to one player between him and a big league gig. That player is Cal Quantrill. Or another starter who gets hurt. 

5. Rays OF Randy Arozarena just rakes. It’s a blip on the timeline now, but perhaps you remember his sizzling Spring Training this year, when he looked all but certain to make a run at an everyday role. 

6. Yankees RHP Clarke Schmidt is a hot property in dynasty leagues at the moment. I’d be selling some shares if strong offers came my way. I’d want to hold one if I could, but he’s got a history of arm troubles, and Yankees pitching prospects have a checkered history in general. Not many tougher places to learn how to hang against the world’s best hitters. That said, he’s got great stuff, and there’s no better place to bank a win if you can survive five innings. 

7. Dodgers C Keibert Ruiz figures to get the call with Fresh Prince going on the IL. Ruiz is a tough out and could work his way into a timeshare quickly if the defense holds up. Short term, he’s kind of a flier in a two-catcher leagues, but I’m here for that in 2020.

8. Athletics RHP Daulton Jefferies is exactly the kind of pitcher who thrives early in his career thanks to plus command of a diverse arsenal. Frankie Montas missed his weekend turn with a balky back, and AJ Puk is just now getting back on the mound for 20-pitch sessions, so we might be opening Road House with Daulton any day now. 

9. Atlanta OF Cristian Pache would be higher on this list if I trusted his hit tool because he could be coming up this week with Ronald Acuna going on the IL. 

10. Atlanta has been circling LHP Tucker Davidson for weeks, in my opinion, choosing lesser options like Bryse Wilson, Huascar Ynoa and bullpen days. I find this a bit confusing for a talented team with a young core in a tight race, but it’s possible I’m overrating Davidson’s potential for sustained big league outings. Could be he lacks the command to turn a lineup over even once. Could be he’s not throwing great at the training site. Could be Atlanta’s just weird about pitching development and wants to run through their list of guys who probably won’t work (Robbie Erlin next, apparently) before they get to one who might. 

11. With Marlins 1B Lewin Diaz replacing Corey Dickerson on the 28-man roster, we have to wonder if RHP Sixto Sanchez is coming up next. The return of Sandy Alcantara puts a key piece back in their rotation, but there’s always room for another arm in 2020. 

12. White Sox 1B Andrew Vaughn needs an injury to get his opening, but it is 2020.

13. Tigers RHP Matt Manning and LHP Tarik Skubal could come up right after Mize and give the Exotics a uniquely potent shot in the arm. 

14. Orioles 1B Ryan Mountcastle and I have something of a history. I keep insisting he won’t get promoted this year, and Baltimore keeps winning. He should be part of the big league club, I think, but so should RHP Michael Baumann. The braintrust of Elias and Sig saw the power of premium draft picks in Houston’s turnaround, and I think they fully intended to bank another one in 2021. How do they feel about Baltimore entering the playoff picture? This next week or so should be illuminating on that score. 

15. Tigers 3B Isaac Paredes figured to get a look when CJ Cron went down for the season, but that first chance went to Willi Castro, who’s got enough talent to run with the gig. 

16. Rays RHP Joe Ryan is a personal fave and spin savant who I think could succeed in the short, Beeksy bursts favored by Tampa. With Brendan McKay, Yonny Chirinos and Charlie Morton on the mend, he’s creeping closer. 

17. Nationals 1B/OF Yadiel Hernandez is 32 years old. Seems like Nats are dropping like, well, flies? Hernandez could hit the ground running if given a chance. Dude can hit. Super deep flier. I’m picking him up in my 30-teamer tomorrow, assuming I’m not sabotaging myself as I type. 

18. 2B Brendan Rodgers: a Rocky. 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter and Reddit.

 
  1. Joe Shmoe says:
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    Excellent information. Thank you! Lewin Diaz was called up yesterday. What do you think his chances are in the Big Leagues?

    Peace

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Joe!

      I like him for a power boost if he gets some run.

      Think he’s a much better fantasy prospect than wherever he’s typically ranked, almost always outside the top 100.

  2. Moon Shots says:
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    Great stuff as usual Itch. Thanks.

    I succeeded in moving Kike for Vogel and a first rounder in my 30 team dynasty so thanks for the encouragement there. Looking to move Aguilar and some other minor pieces to continue collecting rebuild assets. Despite the uncertain outlook to kick the season off it seems like he has some genuine value to a contender at this point. Guys who might be in play to acquire are Toro, Arozarena, Kjerstad, Joe Ryan…maybe i could pry away Bleday but unclear. Anything jump out at you as a cut above to target?

    Also, think Guillome is worth a spec add in a dynasty league that deep? Ive been passive on a few guys (Austin Slater for example) and then regretted it.

    Thanks Itch!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Moon Shots!

      I think I’m holding Aguilar. Looks a like a top 15 1B heading into 2021.

      And yeah I can see a case for adding Guillorme, but I don’t think he’s toolsy enough to cause the pangs AC Slater has.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        Should probably note I’ve always been higher than consensus on Aguilar, to the extent I was not at all surprised by his splash season.

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
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          If someone came with a significant offer, I’d definitely listen, but it looks to me like these offers are all a step down from a middle order masher with near term job security.

  3. hot corner says:
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    Not expecting Joey Bart to come up at all?

    • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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      probably just less likely than the above.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        If he does come up, I think it might be too late to matter much in redraft.

  4. Worm Burner says:
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    Good morning!
    You did 1st BC base auto price article recently. What do you think is a good final value for Dylan Carlson?
    They’re hovering around $200 right now.
    Sell now or wait it out?
    Thanks man, have a great rest of the weekend

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I might give him the week to splash or not, but probably yeah that’s a good time to move, assuming that 200 represents profit. Keep the wheels greased.

  5. happyharry says:
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    Hey, great write up! 12 team, H2H, 6X6. No bench, weekly transactions. Your advice please on possible WW pickups. I could drop Wong, Alberto or Kyle Lewis for:
    Winker, Grisham, Santander, Carson, K.Calhoun, Verdugo, Hosmer…….Need three to put in for!
    Or Hold…thanks

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, happyharry!

      Sorry if I missed the faab run on this. Winker should probably be owned while he’s mashing, so maybe Wong if you’re okay at 2B and SB.

      Also think Grisham should be added if you can find a spot. Trouble is I kinda want all these guys except Calhoun.

  6. Chet says:
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    Thanks for the write-up! What are your thoughts on Luis Garcia (Nationals infielder)? Couldn’t find him in your prospect rankings. Just picked him up in a dynasty league.
    Thanks.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      You’re welcome and thanks for the kind words, Chet!

      I’ve never been big on Garcia, but he’s always been very young for level, so I think it’s smart to pick him up and see where it goes.

  7. Asking for a Friend says:
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    Itch,

    H2H Keeper with Standard Scoring
    All positions, plus CI MI 5 OF 1 Util

    1. Do you move Baez to acquire Bohm, Vaughn, and Torkelson ?

    2. Does Carter Kieboom have fantasy value? Thoughts on him?

    Thanks!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hi, Asking for a Friend!

      I would move Javy for that, yeah, and I’m a fan of his.

      Kieboom does have value, I think, but he’s an odd piece. If he could add speed somehow or drink the Nats-aid enough to hit .300 like everyone else there, he’d fulfill his prospect pedigree from a fantasy sense, but some of that pedigree was always founded in the confidence he could play big league baseball–not necessarily that he’d be good ink fantasy monster.

  8. Roddy says:
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    Good column, Itch. I, too, played the slobberphone. Greensleeves was my get woke moment. I loathed it all, mostly because I was bad at it.

    I’m holding an awful lot of minor leagues guys and it prevents me from taking a shot on MLB guys who might be stepping forward. I’m having trouble packaging the milb guys to other GMs in the league. Would you cut bait on any of these guys?

    Carlson, Vaughn, J. Garcia, O. Cruz, Chisholm, Brujan, Marsh, Campusano, J. Rodriguez, K. Robinson, Groshans, Skubal, Gilbert, S. Woods-Richardson, G. Rodriguez.

    I know you’re not a fan of Marsh, but I am. Grayson Rodriguez is a tough one for me. I think I want to see how he develops next year.

    Garcia, Chisholm, Campusano are my least valued guys, although I like Garcia as a break-out.

    Anyway, any insight you can lend would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Roddy!

      I like that: slobberphone. I can still send a shiver thinking of missing a note just right.

      I could cut Campusano, but I understand the reticence. I’d be hustling to move Marsh, G-Rod, and Camp in some kind of package deal, but if not them, maybe you could move Gilbert and/or Wood-Rich and/or Groshans?

      Keep and eye on Carlson, too. Maybe put him on the block and see what materializes? I wouldn’t be looking to move him, necessarily, but you never know what could happen.

      • Roddy says:
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        Thanks for taking the time to answer, brother.

  9. Giacomo says:
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    What You think about Forrest Whitley? Is it worth keep him in roster in dynasty league and considering him a top prospect? I have Manning, May, Howard among my pitchers…I have to make a choice.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        Thanks, Akron!!

        It’s always tough to hold a pitcher during an arm question, and if you’re deciding among just these four guys today in a league that’s tight enough to reward such a choice with short-term roto points in a league you really wanna win this year, I think you can cut Whitley.

        That said, I still prefer him to Manning and Howard, long term. May is . . . someone I should not have traded, which I did in two different leagues.

  10. Nightpandas says:
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    Itchy

    What are your thoughts on Alex Reyes? Maybe becomes closer?

    Looked good yesterday…wondering if I should look at dropping Houser or Gausman or Jon Berti for him, only have N Anderson and Workman as closers

    15 team keep 11

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Love the name, Nightpandas!

      I don’t think he’ll be CLOSER closer because of injury past, but he could get some saves for sure. Looks pretttttaaaayyy good right now.

      I’m liking Gausman this year. Berti is a weirdly valuable piece with the eligibility and SB. I guess I gotta go Houser, though I like him too. Trade hustle?

  11. fausto

    fausto says:
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    Better stash for 2020-21?
    BRodgers, Vidal Brujan, Arozarena? 16tm keeper. Currently have brujan in my NA would be able to keep any of the 3 for $3

  12. fausto

    fausto says:
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    Better stash for 2020-21?
    BRodgers, Vidal Brujan? 16tm keeper. Currently have brujan in my NA can keep either for $3.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Brujan for me.

      Love that dude.

  13. Philip says:
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    How are you feeling about Nate Lowe’s dynasty future? He just hit the wire. Thanks!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Kind of have to shake a magic 8 ball on Lowe.

      I’ve been out for a while, but freebie in a dynasty league is a new question, I think.

      Probably a decent snag in deepish leagues even as Tampa seems to feel about as low as one could go on a guy with his track record.

  14. jnienow says:
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    Great stuff Itch, I have Mize, Manning, and Skubal just drooling to get on my dynasty starting lineup, been holding on bench for 2 years now!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Let us toast to the future this night, jnienow!

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        I live in Iowa, so will likely have to watch these games on replay, which, on Skooby Doo night, will feel more criminal to me than it ever has.

  15. Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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    yeah only thing that easily scared me into doing something and it worked for many years was threats of taking away the NES/SNES. only reason i had gave any kind of shits to get good grades, basically never got into trouble etc. nowadays kids so into their phone technology making fun of somebody’s phone has become the new momma joke, the worst way to disrespect somebody. and i’m not even kidding when i say that some kids if their parents took their phones away would be to go all children of the corn on those mothers after not too long.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      many thoughts swarming here, wrote a story about a support group for phone addicts once, jokey story but largely because I pulled against a tug to get preachy . . .

      we are an experimental group of humans

      phones will change our anatomy

      already changing our pinkies

  16. Maaattttt says:
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    Dropped desclafani for skubal, smart or unsmart?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      sooo so so so friggin smart

  17. Worm Burner says:
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    Itch,
    Thanks for all of your advice!
    For fantasy ROS, do you like Skubal or the struggling Pearson?
    Thanks again!

  18. Moon Shots says:
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    Thanks for the thoughts above on Aguilar, Itch.

    What’s your read on Puason? I’m in full rebuild in 30 team dynasty and about to trade Brad Miller for Arozarena…could probably add my Taijuan Walker to get Puason as well. Been trying not to target the extreme youngins but…

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