If you’re looking for a club to follow while your home team punts its players away, Seattle should be your first stop. Thanks to a shrewd series of signings, draft selections and trades, the rebuild that started in GM Jerry DiPoto’s rhythmic drips and drops is now a tempest gathering fury just off the West Coast. 

Format: Position Player | Age on 4/1/2021 | Highest level played | ETA

1. OF Julio Rodriguez | 20 | A+ | 2021

Perhaps the best young hitter in the minors, Rodriguez has a strong case for the number one overall spot. Concerns exist about his ability to handle elite chase pitches on the outer half, and while that’s true of just about every young hitter, J-Rod’s first move in the box is a slight drift toward third base, and his front leg moves that direction as well. He’s adept at slashing or driving the ball to the opposite field, so I suspect this could be just an aesthetic thing because sometimes the greats just look different and force us to retrain our eyes a little. Might wind up a double plus in hit and power with just enough athleticism to chip in on the base paths.

 

2. OF Jarred Kelenic | 21 | AA | 2021 

Recently tabbed the top fantasy prospect in baseball by Prospects Live, Kelenic does everything well on a baseball field. Looks like an old Robert Redford out there. Can shoot a frisbee out of the air with one swing of his bat. If we’d had a regular 2020, he almost certainly would’ve pushed his way to the majors. Instead, he spent the season generating as much training site buzz as anyone in the game. Legend has it he once hit home runs on six straight swings. Or maybe that was six straight days. Truth gets foggy at these training sites. Point is he’s ready and should be up for good after now-standard clock-suppressing period.

 

3. SS Noelvi Marte | 19 | R | 2023

Prospect lists this season are somewhat reflective of each organization’s ability to publicize their own talent. Seattle has a knack for this, even turning some of that responsibility (and a YouTube show) over to Julio Rodriguez. That said, Marte’s ascent is mostly a result of his own extreme physical gifts as a plus athlete across the board who showed he could hang with near-majors pitching at the training site. This winter might be the last chance to acquire him at anything less than top-20-prospect pricing.

 

4. RHP Logan Gilbert | 23 | AA | 2021

Another ready-now prospect who figures to earn an early promotion, Gilbert is a prototypical workhorse starter at 6’6” 225 lbs with plus conman of a diverse arsenal. He’s dominated so far, limiting walks and home runs while striking out more than a better per inning at every level. I think he can keep that up in the heavy north-pacific air.

 

5. RHP George Kirby | 23 | A- | 2021

Kirby moonlights as part of a cartoon fight club death cult but aside from that seems about as safe as young pitchers come. Double-plus command is the carrying tool, activating Kirby’s attacks in all parts of the strike zone and even extending the plate like an aged Atlanta arm from the 1990s as he gains the benefit of the doubt never waking anyone. Can he maintain his training site heat deep into games? Time will tell, but if we see Kirby shoving high nineties in the middle innings early this year, he’ll jump up prospect lists and float his way to Seattle by midsummer.

 

6. RHP Emerson Hancock | 21 | NCAA | 2022

Prospect Hobbs wrote a great blurb while ranking Hancock 4th in his Top 10 College Prospects to Target in Dynasty Leagues, so I’m compelled to paste that here.

“MLB Pipeline has Hancock tabbed as the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, but I’d be surprised to see a name other than Martin or Torkelson called in that spot. Still, Hancock commands four quality pitches, with his 65-grade fastball peaking at 99 MPH and typically sitting 94-97 MPH during starts. His slider and changeup both received grades of 60, while his hard curveball is a 55.

The consensus seems to be that Hancock often relies too much on his duo of breaking pitches and needs to trust his changeup more, which in itself is a plus pitch. If he does so as he develops as a pitcher, his stuff and natural build give him the ceiling of the top-of-the-rotation power pitcher.

Since he got roughed up in two of his four 2020 starts by Richmond and Georgia Tech, he’s unlikely to go number one overall in the 2020 Draft. His college track record (16-7, 3.47 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 206 K) still provides enough evidence to illustrate the upside Hancock possesses when taking into account his steady arsenal of pitches. What’s more, he improved both his K/9 and BB/9 from his career totals in his shortened 2020 campaign (12.8 K/9, 1.1 BB/9). When it comes to an arm like this, it’s often most important to see evidence of the guy harnessing his stuff and going after hitters because they simply outmatch the competition the majority of days they’re on the mound.

Although Hancock won’t be the best bang for your buck (depending on how your waiver wire functions) and there may be someone in your league who values him too highly, he’s too good to be any lower on your radar than this spot indicates.”

Thanks, Hobbs!

 

7. OF Zach DeLoach | 22 | NCAA | 2023

Could make a case for several players here but none that can truly contend with DeLoach for topside. After slashing .200/.316/.294 in 56 games as a Sophomore in the SEC, DeLoach went nuts on the cape (.353/.428/.551 in 37 games) then jumped another level in his junior year at Texas A&M (.421/.547/.789 in 18 games). What a difference a year can make. Seattle has a good idea what they’re doing on the scouting and development side. Even before his sophomore struggles, DeLoach hit well with wooden bats in the Northwest League (.323/.409/.495 in 51 games), so I’m inclined to just give him a mulligan on his sophomore season and treat him like an elite college bat who struck out just thrice and walked 14 times over his final 18 games at the level.

 

8. OF Taylor Trammell | 23 | AA | 2022

A power speed outfielder who doesn’t hit or throw particularly well, Trammell’s reputation in prospect circles has long exceeded his likely fantasy value. Non-zero chance he never gets much of a big league opportunity in this loaded outfield. He remains on the list more because Seattle is good at helping hitters than because I have any real confidence in the player.

Red flags to note for future and Jazz: if prospect writers start telling you stories about how cool a guy seems—how friendly he is in interviews or how happy he is with his teammates—be wary of buying that prospect. His value will likely be inflated human intangibles, a genie that will never go back in the bottle. Which, now that I mention it, makes me wonder if I should flip Julio and Jarred again for the fifteenth time. Might be right to push that prospect up lists sometimes because confidence is key to baseball, of course, but Trammell and Jazz are part of some developing tastemaker theories. Cool guys and fall league standouts are dangerous. 

 

9. LHP Brandon Williamson | 22 | A- | 2022

While he’s thrown just 15.1 pro innings at low A, Williamson is one of my pitching picks to click in 2021. He’s a high-strikeout ground ball inducer, and it’s tough to go wrong with that profile, especially as a 6’6” 210 lb lefty. If he can maintain at least average command, his potential mix of four average or better pitches (fastball, curve, slider, change) could set him up for a long big league life. More importantly for our purposes, I think he’ll dominate the minors this year and enter next season safely inside some top 100s. If I have to choose any M’s arm at current cost, it’s Williamson.

 

10. OF Jonatan Clase | 18 | R | 2024

Clase caught some eyeballs in 2019 after posting 31 steals in 63 games to go along with a 147 wRC+ and nearly 1/1 K/BB ratio in the DSL, but at 5’8” 155 lbs, he’s going to have to keep proving it to earn any real long-term look. Luckily, he has a great idea of what he can do at the plate and plays to his strengths, maximizing his tiny strike zone with a discerning eye. This will be the determining factor in his future. If he can recognize spin and win his walks, he’ll be the type of pesky, deep-counts lead off bat any team (or fantasy team) would be happy to have.

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.

 
  1. Regan says:
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    Finally the one I’ve been waiting for! Anyone outside the top 10 that your really high on for future fantasy greatness?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      George Feliz was 11th. Juan Then was 12th.

      Then could be a closer.

      Feliz could look totally different next time was see him. Signed for $900,000 in 2019 from the same academy that brought them Julio. Could have plus hit with plus-plus speed and plus defense in center.

  2. Big league choo says:
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    2nd year dynasty pts league can only keep 5 of these guys as rosters cut down to 30. We do FYPD/FA draft as one draft.

    Blake Treinen
    Zack Britton
    Richard Rodriguez
    Daniel Hudson
    Alex Wood
    Michael Busch
    Edward Olivares
    Brent Honeywell
    Tanner Houck
    JD Davis
    Christian Walker
    Shane Baz
    Orelvis Martinez
    Robert Puason

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Orelvis
      Busch
      Walker
      Houck
      Puason, Rodriguez or Davis

      Would be trying to move any of the last three as well as Honey, Baz and Olivares for picks or undervalued assets off the trade block.

    • Harley Earl says:
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      Big League Choo.

      Hahahahahhahaa … what a great name. I used to chew that crap like I was a real life big leaguer chompin’ on some Red Man. I thought I was a badass with my pouch of gum in my back pocket.

      Good memories!

  3. Jimmy says:
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    Thanks Itch!!
    Love your analysis! What about Sam Deleplane? Future closer? I read his velo decreased last year…. thoughts on this guy
    Thanks again! Keep me in mind if someone needs a replaced owner!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Jimmy! Will do.

      And I do think de plane will be part of the late-inning picture in 2021 and beyond.

  4. Philip says:
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    Itch, how would you order Hancock, Meyers, Lacy going into FYPD? Thanks!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Lacy, Meyers, Hancock

      Thanks, Philip!

      (I wouldn’t wind up with any of them)

  5. Rusty Shackleford says:
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    Hi Itch! 11 team points league – we keep 10 forever no penalty and start drafting in the 11th round. I am considering the following keepers.

    1. Mike Trout – CF (LAA)
    2. Trevor Story – SS (COL)
    3. Nolan Arenado – 3B (COL)
    4. Kyle Tucker – RF/LF (HOU)
    5. Jose Abreu – 1B (CHW)
    6. Pete Alonso – 1B (NYM)
    7. Yordan Alvarez – UTIL (HOU)
    8. Tyler Glasnow – SP (TAM)
    9. Zach Plesac – SP (CLE)
    10. Corbin Burnes – SP (MIL)

    Q: would you keep Wander Franco (or Kelenic, or J.Rodriguez) in place of any of the above?

    Does the analysis change knowing that the #1 team in our league has Betts, Acuna, Tatis, Soto, Harper, Albies, Bieber, and Giolito?

    To compete, I feel like I need to take a chance on players like Franco, Julio Rodriguez and Jarred Kelenic (and hope the pan out in a big way).

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Totally get why you’d take an uphill-battle approach.

      To that end, I’d try to find room for all three.

      Or at least try to trade them all or the pitchers or something from the Alonso Alvarez Abreu group.

  6. Hernan says:
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    you should see how many Noelvi Marte trade offers I’ve declined, in my only Dynasty League…, lol, Noelvi is the next infield stud!!!!!!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I can imagine some of those offers . . .

      : )

  7. Shawnuel says:
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    Clase reported to Seattle last summer as a mini version of Julio or Noelvi in terms of good weight put on and was STINGING the ball at summer camp.

    Recent International signings, Starlin Aguilar and Gabriel Gonzales:
    Any thought on their upside yet?

    Personally, I would have George Kirby at #4 and Gilbert #5. Kirby was also a summer camp superstar, increasing his velocity on all pitches and was at least 2.5 ticks up on his 4 seam FB. He was regularly sitting at 97-98 on several days at camp. He has 4-5 average to above average pitches. He also has, possibly, the best command/control in MILB.
    Once he starts improving his spin rates and angles, he could start following in the path of Shane Bieber, to whom many prospect analysts have compared him.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I went back and forth on that RE Kirby. Can be easily swayed there.

      Big Clase fan. Have to remember jot him down for my dynasty free agent post. Any chance you can recall the link to that cite story?

      Don’t have anything much to say regarding Aguilar or Gonzales, except that Aguilar is loud and likely to mash early. Decent buy and flip candidate.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        I mean he could be worth holding, too. I just tend to flip low minors corner power bats if they catch enough helium to make them worth the trouble, and I think Aguilar is going to put himself on that map.

  8. goodfold2 says:
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    ended up with
    1.6 nick zonz
    2.6 bowlan
    3.6 b.bailey OF WSOX
    4.6 c.mayo 3B BAL
    5.6 n.swiney SP/RP SF
    6.6 b.packard OF/CI DET (being moved to 1B apparently, got a 55/55/40 at PL and was a middle guy on your DET)

    other non drafted (we’re almost done): s.brown, e.garcia, p-mart (ex CUBS), j.encarnacion (went CI with packard as i’m far deeper in OF guys and went bailey already), even adding mayo/packard i’m still weaker there than OF (kirilloff/adell up now but my best 2 guys easily)

    • goodfold2 says:
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      nick gonz obv

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        I dig it!

        Any chance Jasiah Dixon is out there?

        Or Clase?

        • goodfold2 says:
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          dixon is. but we’re now done with being able to add anybody (unless called up in real life, then they are in waivers which are fri night to start of games mon, claims input till fri night, sat night, sun at a specified time it’s free for all till first games mon) from FA, outside of 5 weeks starting jan 31st then a 6th clean up week for bidding on FA’s but not prospects. both clase’s in fantrax owned.

          • goodfold2 says:
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            anybody picked up from FA in season is on 2021 only contract at league min. you could after each season tag a guy (3 total tags per year) obtained in season.

  9. Stealz2nd says:
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    Would you keep Mack Gore over Kelenic? DJL over Degrom?

    14 man roto

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Nope and nope

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      It’d be hard for me to make a good case for moving DeGrom in roto if you’re anywhere near contention. He’s doing inhuman things right now. Might as well see where it goes. On a decent team he could coast to 22 wins or some such league-winning insanity.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        Hmm that’s not exactly true.

        I can make several good cases, but it’s basically just elite young five category bats or Bieber.

  10. Harley Earl says:
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    Itch!!!!!

    Good to see you with J-Rod in the top spot. If it weren’t for an injury, he’d be in the top spot across the fantasy landscape of prospect rankings but he’s had a couple of setbacks and that’s held his ranking down a spot or two.

    So, do you have Julio behind Wander or ahead of him because by my way of thinking, you’ve either got Julio at #1 or #2 based on these rankings. Personally, I’d take Julio over Wander if I were drafting prospects and had the #1 pick.

    Just wondered where you stood. Good stuff!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      What up, Harley!?

      I have him behind Wander at the moment but am considering five players for the top spot.

      • Harley Earl says:
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        OK Itch, time to man up!!! Have some stones!!!

        Rank Julio #1!!! You know he’s the best!

  11. Moon Shots says:
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    Itch-Meister! I need your peerless wisdom.

    I sort of stumbled into owning Triston McKenzie in my 30 team dynasty when he was added as a kicker to a trade. So I gave no emotional attachment. But he rounds out my emerging rotation of May/Sixto/Burnes/Crochet nicely.

    But also maybe he’s a waifer thin sell high? I could probably get Heliot Ramos and Hedbert Perez for him. I’m a Giants fan so I know I’m probably a bit higher in Ramos than I should be. But those two might be a good get if he doesn’t seem like he will hold up as a starter.

    I guess I’m finding it hard to read Mckenzie’s value. Any insight much appreciated!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hey, Moon Shots!

      I put McKenzie right alongside Ian Anderson and Sixto Sanchez.

      Don’t think he’s a sell high because age, injury and metabolism have been a big part of his scrawny build. He’ll add man strength and bulk just by the sad reality of time.

      I’d love to get Hedbert Perez, but I’m kind of in a camp that think McKenzie is a piece you can’t really sell in dynasty leagues. If he puts in a healthy 2021, he’ll be a top 100 pick in redraft come 2022 and the type of young safe-seeming SP you can trade for just about anything.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        The gap between what he could bring next year and what he can bring now seems as wide as any arm in the game.

        • Moon Shots says:
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          Ok Itch thanks for talking me down from the ledge as i really wasnt sure how to read that one.

          What do you think of me sending Alek Thomas and Pete Crow and getting Heliot Ramos and Hedbert Perez back?

          I know values are similar between Ramos/Thomas and between PCA/Hedbert so its probably a personal preference kind of deal. So i guess im curious on your personal preference.

          • The Itch

            The Itch says:
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            Anytime!

            I think you’re “losing” that deal on perceived value but not by enough that it really matters if you want Heliot.

            I’m pretty sure I’d do that trade in your spot because I don’t want to miss out on Hedbert and don’t have the love for Alek Thomas that’s reflected in his current prospect rankings. Pete Crow scares me a little. Would love to see even a small sample stat line before I moved him. I wonder if he could be swapped out for a different piece but wouldn’t want to gum up the works.

            Maybe a draft pick? Next year if you can’t do this year’s?

            • Moon Shots says:
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              The guy on the other end is a Mets fan so it’s probably PCA but who knows. Do you mean that he scares you because you don’t know if he’s going to be good or it scares you to trade him without seeing his early stats in pro ball because he might just be good?

  12. Tedy says:
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    What’s your thoughts on Evan white this year? Having a hard time evaluating him and what to expect.

Comments are closed.