I teach in China for a month every summer, and all I really have access to for that month, entertainment wise, is baseball and whatever I can download or arrange ahead of time, so that leads to lots of podcasts and audio books.
The books I repeat most feature a certain group of young wizards invented by J.K. Rowling, and during this summer’s listen-through the whole Potter series, I had some new thoughts.
First, poor Filch. I mean what a awful gig that dude has. Whole castle full of magic, and he’s on his hands and knees scrubbing vomit and blood and snot and who knows what all.
Second, Summer for Harry Potter is a lot like Winter for baseball fans. Harry just sits around waiting for news. All. Summer. Long. So every little snippet of something takes on extra meaning. And The Daily Prophet has its head so far up it’s cauldron that even the snippets are just glances through a cracked mirror.
So who’s ready to fire up the rumor mill and speculate our way through the off-season!?
I’m hanging onto Fall as long as possible.
If that appeals to you, let’s hop on a Thestral, fly over prospect country and pretend it’s still Summertime.
Jones can do anything on a ball field, especially run. Could be top group with another strong season.
White muscled up last year and ended the season at AAA. If he’s mashing juicy balls early, he’ll be in Seattle by July.
Let’s raise a glass to the spirit of opportunity! Beer puns all around! Next round’s on Seth!!
There’s a case to be made that Skubal had the best full seasons of any minor league pitcher. A 6’3” lefty with deception and high-spin heat, he improved command and off-speed to the extent he went mostly untouched in 2019.
Cabrera turned in a similarly sparkling season and could make the majors in 2020 on the strength of a solid curve-change combo that compliments an upper 90’s fastball with late life.
We spend a lot of energy wanting wheels but sometimes miss the steals right under our noses. Sierra might not make anyone else’s hundred, but he’s got a window to an everyday gig, and I like to win fantasy baseball leagues, so he makes mine.
Arozarena brings a well-rounded game that’s ready for the show right now. A low-key five-tool talent, if such a thing can exist.
I haven’t been high on him, but Apostel’s making a convert out of me after a slow start in 2019. Lots of Rotowear potential here.
Traversing three levels at age 18, Greene hit the scene so hard people wondered if Detroit had stolen the draft. He finally petered out in the Midwest League, but that was just a month, and he was 3.2 years younger than the average dude there.
Relief prospects: where opportunity cost squares off against the early-movers discount. Rare to put relievers in the hundred, but closers have to come from somewhere, and the Chapman and Kimbrel types tend to self-identify early like Muñoz and Karinchak have. Trouble is holding for the 18 months or so it could take them to inherit a ninth-inning gig.
If you dream of power, Casas might be just the trade target for you. 80 raw is rare, and Casas got to his in game as a 19-year-old in full season ball.
Rocking a 0.98 WHIP across 50 AA innings added jet fuel to the flame of the 6’6” Gilbert’s fantasy stock.
Corry looks like a nightmare to me. Doubt I could hit him, even with a magic wand. Particularly like how he repeats and hides the ball, which explodes out of his hand from the same spot no matter the pitch.
The Count of Mountcastle figures to be above average with the bat and will get plenty of opportunity in 2020. That’s the driving force for this ranking more than my confidence in his talent. I’d probably try to sell high if he starts hot.
There’s a coal mine joke to be found in the Canario blurb. I’m still looking for it but can say he’s safe to buy in the meantime.
92. Daulton Varsho | C | Diamondbacks
93. Brendan Rodgers | SS | Rockies
94. Brett Baty | 3B | Mets
95. Seth Brown | OF | Athletics
96. Deivi Garcia | RHP | Yankees
97. Joey Cantillo | LHP | Padres
98. Hunter Bishop | OF | Giants
99. Taylor Trammell | OF | Padres
100. Ronny Mauricio | SS | Mets
If Road House taught me anything, it’s that “pain don’t hurt.” If it taught me anything else, it’s to always bet on the man named Daulton. See his car looks dumpy, but he’s actually got a really nice ride hidden under a tarp in a barn somewhere. Also he’ll rip your throat out.
It’s not that I hate Rodgers. I just don’t love him. He swings at everything, doesn’t steal bases, and ended 2019 with a labrum tear. He’s also a Rocky, which means he’s buried under the mountains.
Baty calls for everyone! I mentioned the Mets success in development before, and here’s a powerful piece of their next wave (which means he’ll probably be traded for an overworked reliever and a client of BVW).
I know it ain’t cool to rank a boring oldster like Seth Brown, but the guy can mash, and Oakland has a magic touch for finding low-profile hitters who exceed expectations like Harry Potter in a Potions exam.
What Deivi Garcia lacks in stature at 5’9”, he makes up in stuff. With four plus pitches and plus command, he’s more likely to follow the Marcus Stroman path than become the reliever his size suggests.
Cantillo is a personal favorite after posting a 0.87 WHIP in 98 innings as a 19 year old in the Midwest League. He’s a 6’4” lefty with a high arm slot and a high-spin fastball that’s still adding velocity. I think he’ll outperform the scouting profile all the way along, even as the scouts keep tweaking their grades to keep up with his outcomes.
Bishop has struggled with wooden bats in the Cape Cod League but had a solid month in the Northwest League this autumn and might be getting the hang of it. If his hit tool plays, it’ll support plus patience, pop and speed.
You might have questions about Trammell’s ranking here as compared to other lists. If so, I wrote a long-form think-piece on the issue in the comments.
Ronny Mauricio was in over his head as a newly 18-year-old kid in the Midwest League. Curious choice by the Mets to send him considering how poorly he’d played in rookie ball.
“Hey, uhh, Brodie, it looks like Ronny sunk to the bottom of the deep end over there. Should we dive in and pick him up?”
“Nah, he’ll figure it out.”
“It’s been, like, a long time.”
“Yeah we’ll check in after the season.”
. . .
These are air bubbles coming up . . .
. . .
Anyway I think it’s safe to throw out the stat line here.
Hope you’re enjoying the lists! Thanks for reading! Wanna meet up and talk in the comments?