Everyone in the baseball world is keeping at least one eye on the postseason, and everyone has the same question: is A.J. Pierzynski likable now? He looks like a nice dude, no?

Maybe that’s just me.

Humans are definitely wondering about bat flips and unwritten rules, though. Especially Grey, who wanted me to delete all Braves from the list because that organization is the worst thing that’s happened to baseball since Grey touted Rudy’s Tout Wars success on Twitter.

Take heart, though, baseball fans. No matter how many bats get flipped this Fall, I’ll be here talking about all the good players our future selves can enjoy (unless they flip bats).

Review the Top 25 here. Top 50 here. Top 75 here. Top 100 here.

 

101. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo | OF | FA

Tsutsugo’s only here because news just broke about Yokohama’s plan to post him. By which I mean he’ll rank much higher in the next iteration, assuming his posting goes as planned. The best power hitter in BayStars franchise history, Tsutsugo will be a fascinating case as the most decorated position player to come from Japan in more than a decade. Major League organizations have more history buying international arms than bats, and hitters have faced lean free agent markets in general these past few winters.
(Note from Donkey Teeth: we discussed Tsutsugo with Tim McLeod on our podcast back in August—Tim has a thing for Asian men)

102. Jordan Balazovic | RHP | Twins

103. Brusdar Graterol | RHP | Twins

104. Brandon Marsh | OF | Angels

105. Daniel Lynch | LHP | Royals 

106. Nolan Jones | 3B | Cleveland

This tier brings probability and upside, but the driving force for their ranking here is that likelihood that each will contribute to fantasy teams.

A hot air balloon in 2019, Balazovic is on a steep upward trajectory arcing toward major league innings by season’s end thanks to three plus pitches and impressive command, especially for a 20-year-old acing high-A.

Graterol’s already tasted the big league spreads, and Lynch could probably hold his own now. Well, not now as in postseason baseball, but now as in 2020.

MLB-ready in center, Marsh should help drain the swamp that’s drowned baseball in the County of the West Coast Republic of Los Angeles of Anaheim. He needs reps with the bat, but the glove might buy time to learn under the bright lights, where all five tools could soon shine.

From the patience-is-a-virtue school of hitting, Jones might need to add a pinch of controlled aggression to access in-game power.

 

107. Geraldo Perdomo | SS | Diamondbacks 

108. Jesus Sánchez | OF | Marlins 

109. Keoni Cavaco | SS | Twins

110. Jonathan India | 3B | Reds

111. Luis Garcia | SS | Nationals

I’m comparatively low on these guys except Perdomo and maybe Cavaco who’s straight projection at this point. Any fantasy contributions from him won’t come for several years, but he could be taken early in this year’s dynasty first-year-player drafts and flipped if he starts hot.

Part of the issue with Sanchez is that he can hit just about any pitch, but he’s lacked the patience to make pitchers come anywhere near his ideal bat path. The hands and bat speed carried him all the way to AAA at 21, but he’ll have to get selective to access his power.

India has a similar issue in reverse: the patience is present; the power isn’t. Juiced balls in the Great American Smallpark might fix the issue, but it’s not ideal to be counting on that.

An age-to-level love-fest, Garcia was 18 in AA when 2019 began. His .280 on-base percentage and .337 slugging percentage suggest he was not ready for the challenge. He’s faring better in the Fall League, inviting us to throw out the 2019 results and see what happens in 2020.

 

112. Kevin Cron | 3B | Diamondbacks 

113. Khalil Lee | OF | Royals

114. Hunter Greene | RHP | Reds

115. Luis Rodriguez | OF | Dodgers

116. Ke’Bryan Hayes | 3B | Pirates 

117. Abraham Toro | 3B | Astros

118. Yusniel Diaz | OF | Orioles 

119. Tyler Freeman | SS | Cleveland 

120. Travis Swaggerty | OF | Pirates 

Cron hit 38 home runs in 82 AAA games. He also walked 16.2 percent of the time and struck out at a 20.4 percent clip. Sure, he’s old for a prospect (26) and blocked everywhere on the diamond, but he’d be ranked quite a bit higher if we could bank playing time in 2020. And who knows: maybe the DH comes to the National League sooner than later.

Stealing 53 bags in AA will grab some fantasy eyeballs, and Lee paired the wheels with a 112 wRC+ thanks to plus patience that led to a .363 OBP. He’ll need to make more contact, but 2019 was a huge step forward.

The Reds invested in their arms by hiring Derek Johnson and Kyle Boddy. They’ve already reaped rewards with Johnson, and Greene brings as much untapped talent as any arm in the game.

A top-five international signing in 2019, Rodriguez looks like he was born for baseball. The Dodgers are scary. I’m buying most talented bats in their system. On an unrelated note, Hector Olivera is still on LA’s payroll for 2020. He’ll collect 4.67 million from them and 8.5 million from San Diego. The takeaway here is: visit your union rep today.

Hayes lacks the apparent upside of most on the list, but great hands on defense often become good hands on offense, so while he’s been overrated for fantasy pretty much his whole career, Hayes is close to the majors and has upside that’s obscured by his stats.

In an average organization, Toro would be a hyped rookie looking at an everyday opportunity in 2020. In Houston, he’s a trade chip in search of a chance.

A deadline trade in 2018 pumped up Diaz’s fantasy stock because people expected him to quickly break in with the opportunity-rich Orioles. 16 months later and following an injury-plagued down season, he’s the same guy still looking at a land of opportunity.

A plus-plus hit tool and plus speed have made Freeman the apple of some eyes. I’m not as wild about a fully actualized version as some, but the upside is obvious if not elite.

Speaking of the hit tool, Swaggerty is just a tick or two from becoming the five-tool talent ‘perts were drooling over during Supp draft season.

 

121. Keibert Ruiz | C | Dodgers 

122. Julio Pablo Martinez | OF | Rangers 

123. Braden Shewmake | SS | Braves

124. Matthew Liberatore | LHP | Rays 

125. Ian Anderson | RHP | Braves

Though he’s been blocked by the coming Willenium, Ruiz is an incredible young catcher who’ll begin this season as a 21-year-old in AAA who walked more than he struck out this year in AA.

Martinez finished the season with a flourish, hitting 4 home runs and stealing 11 bases in his final month. If he carries some of that over, he’ll make a profit for whoever hung with him through a tough couple seasons.

Shewmake ended the season in AA after being a first rounder in June. Well-rounded guy with excellent plate skills. Let’s hope he flips good bat.

The Rays know pitching like few organizations and fell into a gift when Liberatore landed on them in 2018’s first round. I think the buy window is open after a less than magical season, so I’m headed for my vault in Gringotts. (Sorry, had to pick the Potter theme up at the end here.)

Ian Anderson couldn’t get a grip on the juicy balls in AAA but had an excellent season overall and should be part of the Braves big-league plan in 2020.

Thanks for reading!.

 

  1. knucks says:
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    In my dynasty rebuild I just managed to move Archie Bradley + Dylan Bundy for your guys Gilberto Jimenez and Luis Matos. Victory is mine!!!

    (in 2024)

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      I like it!!!

      (especially for 2024 : )

      Bradley looked the best he ever has this year, but one bad week could make him a free-agent-level dynasty asset, and those kids have lots of open runway ahead.

      Almost always the right long-term rebuild move to trade a now-closing reliever for high-upside young bats, especially bats with speed who can hit.

      Love the idea of clearing Bundy’s spot, too. Maybe Bundy figures something out someday, but he’s little more than a dynasty free agent at present. He’s not an actual free agent until 2022, so unless Baltimore can trade him, he’s trapped in the toughest division for the foreseeable future.

      • knucks says:
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        Exactly! I don’t expect to care about Saves that much in 2020, when I’m going to be projected to finish in the bottom third of the league.

        And I actually picked Bundy up off the wire the last week of the regular season.

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
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          From free agent to fodder in a matter of weeks . . . living the dream, man! Well played!

          • knucks says:
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            How fair is this one and would you pull the trigger if looking towards 2021/2022 and beyond? A variation of this deal is already on the table. I’m just trying to get a little bit more than what he has already offered.

            My Yordan…

            For his C Kieboom, Mize, Nate Pearson, Alek Thomas

            Expecting Yordan to be UTIL only. Is this a big enough haul back for him? His initial offer was Kieboom, Kopech, Mize +something else.

            He also owns Luzardo.

            I could maybe try for Carter Kieboom, Luzardo plus one other guy maybe and see how he feels. Expecting him to be much more inclined to keep Luzardo than everything else discussed though.

          • knucks says:
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            He also owns Bichette and Lux and just confirmed that both of them, as well as Luzardo are on the table for something that nets him Yordan. Help me cobble together a fair package! He seems to really want Yordan and I am happy to move him for as many of these guys that he’ll agree to send. It would be nice to have a pie in the sky offer… and if he declines… a back of plan in place. Normally I don’t pester Grey this much to hold my hand in redraft trades, as I have a better grasp on things. Still working on the Dynasty version of the fantasy player I hope to be.

            Bichette
            Lux
            C Kieboom
            Alek Thomas

            Luzardo
            N Pearson
            Mize
            Kopech

          • knucks says:
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            Sorry to blow you up today. Here are the 3 offers I put together listed in the order I’m thinking about pitching them at him. And I promise this is my last comment for the day about this! He and I have talked about my Glasnow for his Pete Alonso recently and he was somewhat open to the idea…

            My Yordan + Glasnow for his…
            Pete Alonso
            Kieboom
            Alek Thomas
            Luzardo
            Mize

            Yordan for…
            Lux or Bichette
            + Luzardo

            Yordan for…
            Kieboom
            Alek Thomas
            N Pearson
            Mize
            Kopech

            • The Itch

              The Itch says:
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              Lotta variables here. Still processing. I think go for Alonso and Bichette. Kick in a non-Glasnow piece. Maybe Cesar for MI coverage?

              • The Itch

                The Itch says:
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                If that’s a no go, I think I’d take Bichette, Lux, Kopech and Pearson, unless you could get Luzardo or Mize instead of one or both.

                Even then I’m not sure.

                I’m not sure Yordan is stuck at Util only forever. He was so young. Can see him picking up 10 at 1B and/or OF pretty early in the season now that inter league play happens year round.

                • The Itch

                  The Itch says:
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                  So I guess I’m thinking I’d just map OF and 1B into his long-term evaluation.

                  He’s such an impact bat, I’d hate to sell based on eligibility only to find out he’s available at two of the tougher spots two months into 2020.

                • knucks says:
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                  Thx man. Appreciate all of this as always. Your right about the eligibility thing, An especially good point about the Interleague stuff.

                  His latest offer was…
                  Bichette, Kieboom, Kopech + the 16th pick in the FYPD in January. So I would end up with the 1st, 15th and 16th picks in that draft.

                  From your comments, I don’t think that’s enough.

                  I sent him a text saying Lux, Bichette, Mize, Kopech

                  But he balked. Back to the drawing board. We’ll see if he changes his mind.

                  • knucks says:
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                    Oh and I offered him the one that involved Glasnow and Pete Alonso but he wanted to figure out a way to get Yordan without involving Pete.

                    • The Itch

                      The Itch says:
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                      Course he did.

                      Might be time to step away from the table. Yordan’s a fair sight better than Alonso in your 7×7, and if he’s balking at Alonso, he’s not real serious about the upgrade Yordan represents.

                      That Bichette Lux Mize Kopech is good for him, I think. Maybe he’ll counter that structure with another minor piece or two from your side.

                    • The Itch

                      The Itch says:
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                      If you do get close to something you want, it sounds like his 1st rounder might be pretty much free.

                      Could swap out an arm for that pick late stages to entice him to finalize a deal if you’re liking the rest.

  2. Ceasar says:
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    Like these ranks. Nice work!

    Wondering about Orelvis Martinez though. Different profile, but he seems to me to be just as likely to pop as fellow teens Gilberto and Matos.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks Caesar!

      And good call on Orelvis! Big topside with the bat who’ll be on these lists for a long time. Which is kind of the rub. He’s a little far away to be top group right now for me as a guy who probably won’t steal bases.

  3. bigbear says:
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    “upside that’s obscured by his stats” – Pocketing that one for my year-end evaluation!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Happy I could help!!

      Sounds like a pay raise waiting to happen . . .

  4. Harley Earl says:
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    So Tsutsugo is #101!!

    This is an interesting development. I don’t know anything about Tsutsugo. Tell me more! So I don’t have to look it up! LOL

    Oh, hell, I’m going look him up and check out that podcast!!! I’m intrigued!!! Where do you think Tsutsugo ranks when you re-work the list once he’s posted?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hmmm tough call with all the unknowns.

      But Top 25, I expect. Top 10 for redraft.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Not sure if you’ve already looked him up, but I’ve got a minute this morning to add that he’s something of a Soto type: plus patience, power and hit.

      Not saying he’ll be an MVP caliber bat, but he’s got strong plate skills and will be 28 years old, was so plenty of tread left on the tire.

      He’s also super quiet at the dish—a lot less pre-swing movement than we’re used to seeing from hitters raised in the NPB. Just a small leg-left/hip-load and uncoil. I think he’ll get good plate coverage and be a real problem for pitchers.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      A question I’m processing now is where he’ll land on first-year-player-draft dynasty rankings . . .

      Enhances an already-loaded 1st round if he signs.

  5. Phil B.

    Phil B. says:
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    Been enjoying your columns thus far and need some advice. 16 team Dynasty 6×6 (with OPS & K/BB), I took over a team two seasons ago that needed a rebuild. I tanked and have pick 2 in the upcoming draft. Here is my minors roster; who would you cut (and/or call up)?

    C: Sean Murphy, OAK
    CI: Luis Garcia, INF, WAS
    CI: Jordan Groshans,TOR SS/3B
    MI: Nick Gordon, MIN, 2B/SS
    MI: Aramis Ademan, CHC SS
    OF: Brandon Marsh, LAA
    OF: Khalil Lee, KC
    OF: Alek Thomas, ARI
    UTIL: Nick Allen, SS, OAK
    UTIL: Nico Hoerner, SS, CHC

    P: MacKenzie Gore, SD
    P: Yadier Alvarez, LAD
    P: Jorge Guzman, MIA
    P: Nick Margevicius, SD
    P: Eli Morgan, CLE
    P: Mitchell White, LAD
    P: Jose Suarez, LAA

    Gracias in advance!

    • Phil B.

      Phil B. says:
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      Even more info…have the following guys that could replace any cut guys:

      Michael Kopech
      Brendan Rodgers
      Robel Garcia
      Adam Haseley
      Dario Agrazal

      Is it worth keeping the bottom 3 anyway?

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:
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        Hi, Phil!

        And thanks for the kind words and conversation! Love talking dynasty!

        Been a little confused on the structure. What’s the benefit of cutting down? Or calling up?

        I like Kopech and Rodgers enough that I’d find a way to hold. Would probably trade Rodgers at first sign of life but like Kopech long term. Haseley, I’d hold too, at least in the near term.

        I’d be okay losing large Marge vicious on cutdown day. Yadier A too.

        Might hold all the bats but give Ademan the side eye so he knows his time is limited.

        How many players do you get to carry and draft?

        If you can be over the limit throughout the off-season, that’d be my preference. I mean if you don’t have to cut down until March.

        • Phil B.

          Phil B. says:
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          Oh yeah, I can wait until March to make cuts. Basically, I have to fill that whole minor league roster (10 hitters and 7 pitchers) I called up those last five, but since they have rookie status I could send them down to replace guys like Yadier, Ademan,etc.

          I can draft enough to fill empty spots, so as you can see, right now, i don’t have any, but I def will want to open at least 2 for my 1st and 2nd round picks.

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