Cowabunga, dude! I really dropped the Butterfinger on Joey Bart. Sorry about that. I’ve think I’ve done okay predicting the call-ups in this space, but I just didn’t think San Francisco would start Bart’s service clock during a lost season in exchange for five weeks of games. Turns out, it’s not a lost season. Despite occupying last place in the NL West, they’re just a few games out of a playoff spot at 13-and-16. Johnny Cueto looks pretty good, Kevin Gausman is pounding the strike zone, and young(ish) Yaz is still getting on base half the time. What up, Istanbul!? They might be Giants after all!

So who’s next?

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. Dodgers SS Gavin Lux finally claims a spot reflective of his perceived value entering 2020. 

Here’s Grey singing the Buy-Lux-y Blues with a pyrotechnic assist from Coolwhip.

2. Your window for buying Astros RHP Jose Urquidy is sliding shut as he creeps closer to his return from “undisclosed.”

3. Cut to fully disclosed Padres LHP MacKenzie Gore hanging like a Florida ballot chad during his uncle Al’s presidential bid in 2000. No word yet on whether MacK has simply conceded his spot like Al did. No recounts in baseball, as they say, but I’m curious about the behind-the-scenes on this one and suspect we might know more later. 

4. Athletics RHP Daulton Jefferies feels like a Cleveland pitching prospect, what with his plus command of a plus changeup that compliments a solid fastball and slider. He won’t rip anyone’s throat out and hold it up screaming “Wesley!!” but I don’t think we should hold that against him.

5. I’m dropping Yankees RHP Miguel Yajure in here as a wild card for a few reasons. One: he’s already been promoted–just hasn’t pitched yet, so kind of a gray area, timing wise. Two: he could just be an emergency bullpen arm. I mean who knows. They don’t even play baseball in New York these days. Three: he’s got mechanics I love, built from the ground up featuring a stable, balanced, athletic base that allows for plus command and means he’s rarely overthrowing. He surrendered just five home runs in 138.2 innings last year across two levels, mostly in High-A with an 11-inning graduation party, meaning he’s pretty close to Clarke Schmidt’s 19 at that level. If Yajure gets the first opportunity to fill James Paxton’s spot, he’s got the skills to keep the job. 

“You serious, Clarke?”

6. Yeah, Eddie. Yankees RHP Clarke Schmidt is a lifetime member of the Jelly of the Month Club, so he’s got that evergreen gift going for him. With James Paxton on a little IL vacation, let’s hope it’s time to see about Schmidt. Something tells me we’ll be waiting a while longer. 

7. Rays RHP Joe Ryan should be the next Ray recalled on the pitching side, at least among starting pitchers. He’d be a must own for me in all but the shallowest formats if promoted. Yonny Chirinos is set to have Tommy John surgery, and the law firm of Honeywell and McKay is out of business for the short term. 

8. Rays OF Randy Arozarena gets a little further away every time the Rays win a game. His late-season 2019 run with the Cardinals might delay him in a Lux-ian way. If anyone’s here for service time manipulation, it’s Tampa Bay. Still, he’s a good hitter who should claim a significant role and help fantasy squads when he finally gets enough sun to bloom.

9. Dodgers RHP Josiah Gray throws the kind of fastball that sneaks up on hitters and embarrasses them like a public stair-trip-but-catch-yourself. He’s thrown 39.1 innings at AA and turns 23 this December, so his time is nigh if he’s throwing well when the need arises. 

10. Athletics LHP AJ Puk threw 45 pitches the other day at alternative jam camp, and the club has made clear it intends to deploy him in a super-reliever role in 2020. This would cap his upside in a normal year, but it might be a perfect way to snag some wins while keeping Puk’s ratios masked like the true trickster he can become at peak. One reason is that relievers never really have to wear it the way a starter does, by which I mean sometimes a starter will walk off the mound having surrendered nine runs in 1.2 innings–something that rarely/never happens to the new normal of early game relievers. 

11. Robbie Erlin was twirling dervishly last time out, so we might be waiting a bit to see Atlanta LHP Tucker Davidson. What is it with these Tuckers and getting passed over by their organizations? 

12. White Sox 1B Andrew Vaughn needs an injury or two to get his opening, but in this the 99th year of the rona, stranger things happen every day.

13. Tigers RHP Matt Manning has athletic blood—not to be confused for tiger blood, which seems to be our government’s plan for surviving the pandemic.

14. Atlanta RHP Ian Anderson figures to hop aboard the prospect carousel before long. In the words of Manager Brian Snitker, “I think there’s still a good chance we’re going to see him.” This non-statement comes to us courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution via Gabriel Burns’ reporting.

15. Orioles RHP Michael Baumann could follow Mountcastle to the big leagues if Baltimore keeps bashing the baseball. I like his chances of early success–I mean relative to expectations for any rookie pitcher let alone an Oriole. 

16. Tigers 3B Spencer Torkelson seems just shy of click bait at this point with the Tigers slipping in the standings, but they’ve already pulled the ripcord on Mize and Skubal, so who knows. (As I was typing this, Willi Castro hit a ball about 20 miles off Triston McKenzie, who looks pretty awesome tonight against Detroit. We might’ve seen this coming if we had minor league baseball, but without it, McKenzie is a prime example of developmental strides happening behind closed doors. If you can add McKenzie and then Castro in a deep-ish league, I suggest you do so.)

17. Hobbs might never speak to me again if I don’t get Marlins RHP Max Meyer on here one of these weeks, but that’s not why I’m including him. The Marlins just flat out don’t care this year, by which I mean they seem to care very much about the relative value of every win in 2020, and I see no reason to hold Meyer back if he’s going mad at training camp. 

18. If Nationals 1B Yadiel Hernandez is available in your 20-team NL-only league, pick him up! Seriously though, he’s here not for stashing so much as reacting quickly if he does get an opportunity. He’s no August chicken, but he can hit. 

19-22. Cubs RHP Cory Abbott, Cleveland LHP Scott Moss, Dodgers RHP Mitch White and Mets LHP Kevin Smith could all be promoted when next we meet, or they could spend all year off-site. Super helpful, I know, but any could have short-term streaming success if given the chance. 

On Deck: Reds SS Jose Garcia, Blue Jays RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson, Royals RHP Jackson Kowar, Royals LHP Daniel Lynch, Marlins OF Jerar Encarnacion.

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter and Reddit.

 
  1. Another Dan says:
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    Morning Itch,

    Great stuff. Guys to try and acquire in my 30 team dynasty, but I guess the price might be too high for me.

    In that same league, I own Matt Foster. Do you have any thoughts on him? Is his success sustainable? RP’s are pretty valuable in this league (especially if they have dual eligibility). Have had a couple of trade enquiries. Would you look to move him?

    Best wishes,

    Another Dan

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Morning, Another Dan!

      And thanks for the kind words!

      Foster’s a hold for me in the 30-teamer where I have him, but that’s a S+H league, so the barrier to entry for reliever value is pretty low. If they’re especially valuable in that league, I’d have to get a significant long-term piece to move him at this point.

      That said, panning for RP’s is a favorite pastime of mine, and I think RP depth is mostly a product of hustle, so if the right deal comes along, I wouldn’t be married to Foster. Course I’m already married, and polygamy is illegal in my state.

      • Another Dan says:
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        Thanks, appreciated.

        Panning for RP’s has been one of my re-build strategies. Sign FA’s to cheap contracts and try to flip them for picks or prospects when their value rises. It’s been good fun.

        It’s a Holds league too. So, I might lose SV’s most weeks but I’m hard to beat in HLDS.

        Polygamy is a) illegal in England b) only contemplated by masochists c) there is no C

        Best wishes,

        Dan

        Another Dan

  2. malamoney

    malamoney says:
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    What up Itch. Do you think a guy like Adell, who is obviously struggling, will start 2021 in AAA or with LAA? And how about other players that have been called up since there is no minor leagues right now for them to be getting solid in game action?

    Abrams or Witt long term?

    If you had to rank your top ten players that will start 2021 in the minor leagues, who would they be. Sorry for the not so easy question.

    Love the work.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      What up, malamoney!

      These really are great questions.

      I think Adell opens 2021 in the bigs almost regardless of how he closes out this year, and I think he’s heating up.

      In the clock-watching orgs, there does figure to be some Lux-y treatment of valuable young assets. Also the Tigers and Marlins will have a glut of players to choose from if we go to 26 on the active roster next year, so some guys will just get edged out.

      Abrams for me.

      I think I’ll build Wednesday’s piece around this top-ten who’ll open 2021 in the minors, if you don’t mind. That way I can really dig in on it, and I think it’s an excellent question.

      • malamoney

        malamoney says:
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        I agree on Adell. My points league post coming out today/tomorrow has him and Vlad pegged as buy low guys.

        I was leaning Abrams, but wanted to hear someone else say as much.

        That works for me. Looking forward to Wednesday’s post.

        Thanks!

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
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          Just getting ahead of the crushing disappointment: I did not get this done for today but still have it in the hopper!

  3. How does Sixto Sanchez stack up against Casey Mize as a prospect to hold this year? Sixto routinely hit triple digits with his fastball & flashed some nasty changeups and sliders, but it’s not clear when Sanchez’s next start will come. Caleb Smith and Sandy Alcantara return to the team shortly. Mize’s cutter is a thing of beauty, stealing strikes at the top of the zone constantly and well commanded around the plate. He has an cinonsistent splitter an inability to command heaters to left-handers. I guess I like Sixto better, but I guess I don’t see a clear path to remain in the roster. What do you think Itch?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hi, madden_curser,

      With the Marlins playing a compressed schedule the rest of the way, I think Sixto will get several more starts. Just doesn’t seem like the type of guy you yo-yo too much, and even if they do option him, I’ll bet he comes back right away.

  4. JKJ

    JKJ says:
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    These are cool. I don’t know much about prospects so these little insights are the bee’s knees.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks JKJ!

  5. hitzone says:
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    16 team pts dynasty

    Trade my Darvish/fraley/Honeywell for jeter downs/skubal/varsho

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I’m holding the Darvish side or pushing for a non-Varsho piece I really like.

      At the moment, I’d want to be overpaid for YU.

  6. Powdered Toast Man says:
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    Hey Itch- hope things are happy happy joy joy for you.

    Been stashing Gore for most of the season, but as we get later and later in the season, I’m feeling it less and less. I was also offered Gore for Robles and Hoerner in another league, which I shot down.

    Where are we with this Hodge-Pad?

    • JKJ

      JKJ says:
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      Just wanted to say your handle is tops.

      POWDEREDDDDD TOASTTTTTTT MANNNNNNNN!!!!!!!

      • Powdered Toast Man says:
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        Thanks JKJ

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      You know I’m with JKJ on this one: just a truly smile-inducing screen name here!

      I think something’s wrong at the camp site, regarding Gore. Either he’s kind of hurting or just now throwing well or perhaps the Padres just don’t think he’d be good enough to warrant the lost service time. Certainly intriguing in this time when everyone’s getting the call up.

  7. chris pierce says:
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    Keep these articles coming Itch, I look forward to these more then this year’s Buy column. Sorry Grey. In a short season, where I have no re-draft next season I need young arms for trade bait next season.

    Itch, I read artical about A’s wanting Clevinger and Jeffries might be involved. Since you been putting up players in recent weeks all I do in google.

    I was hoping Ryan over Fleming today.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks for the very kind of words, Chris!!

      Grey’s Buys have been appointment reading for me for a long time, so I take this as the highest of compliments!

      Same same on Ryan. Have a quick blurb about Fleming coming out today. Tampa loves itself some underwhelming lefties with control, huh . . . but hey they get a lot out of them.

      And wow I hope you’re right on Jeffries. Looks like Plesac or Clev will be on the move, but Cleveland is pretty good at waiting out the market, so who knows. Will be fun to track.

  8. goodfold2 says:
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    was that a crack at d.cook’s theft of CK or somebody other than CK? from x.edwards post (last one)

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hi, goodfold!

      Yeah just a quick and dirty half-joke about that feud for those in the know.

  9. Moon Shots says:
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    Itch! Great content as usual.

    I’m in 30 team dynasty and playing for the future. Just flipped Taijuan Walker and Brad Miller for Puason and Arozarena. Good?

    Today I have the opportunity to send Justin Turner and get Heriberto Hernandez back. Take it?

    Thanks!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Moonshots!

      I love that trade for you!

      Miller is looking ridiculous right now, but you definitely upgraded on long term trade value for both pieces!

      I think I’d do that, but I wonder if you can get a pick or something?

      I’m almost certain the guy with Hairy Berto will be thrilled to turn him into Turner if he’s contending given his high BA and R+RBI.

      If you can’t get more, I’m okay with it bc Turner’s just not the kind of player that wins dynasty leagues at this stage. Useful, sure, but he’s not a brick in your next dynasty wall. He’ll be 36 this winter, and while I think he’ll age well, he’s a free agent this off-season. Is he going to hit outside LA? Again, I think he will, but Hernandez is one of my helium picks for whenever minor league baseball begins again.

      • Moon Shots says:
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        Awesome. Thanks for the input.

        I was thinking of trying to get a pick on top of it as well. Haven’t shopped him around town much yet but right now in our league it feels like everyone who was willing to trade top prospects already did so, leaving mostly guys like Hernandez who are not in that year yet but could get there.

        Thanks again!

        • Moon Shots says:
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          What do you think of Edwin Rios as a target?

          Is he the man at third base next year If Turner leaves?

          I’m guessing I might be able to pry him away from his owner, though that might mean using Turner and not getting Hernandez.

          • The Itch

            The Itch says:
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            Interesting . . .

            I’m higher on Hernandez than Rios, but I can see the appeal, given how likely it seems they move on from Turner and try to get Rios more plate appearances.

            I think he’d get exposed as an everyday bat, swinging at everything like he’s in a free love commune in the 60’s, but the Dodgers work a little magic every other day on the development side, so he’s a decent bet.

            I don’t think he should cost Turner tho. Maybe you can get a pick along with Berto and shop the pick and a vet for Rios?

            • Moon Shots says:
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              You have a beautiful mind.

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