Time for the last dance. 

Find your partner.

Sway with the Clapton.

You feeling wonderful tonight?

Then lean in. Hold close as we fade toward our disparate futures. 

Sorry, I’m sentimental about endings, and I’m finally finishing this project. The Rangers find themselves last on the 30-team fantasy prospect rundown, and as fate would have it, Texas has a big old Longhorn of a system, though perhaps one without a lone star.  

 

Player | Age on 5/1/2020 | Highest Level Played | ETA

1. 2B Nick Solak | 25 | MLB | 2019

2. 1B Heriberto Hernadez | 20 | R: AZL | 2023

I realize Nick Solak is going to be ranked below the next guy on most (every) lists, but if you do a startup dynasty auction or draft, I’ll bet Solak costs more. Time is real, and Solak is ready now. Despite a cluttered look, the roster is ripe for Solak to pick up daily playing time and build a sleeper case for rookie of the year. 

I’m not a believer in low-minors estimated flyball distances, but after seeing Heriberto Hernandez atop all the leaderboards, I’ve had to reconsider because that evidence certainly matches up with the eye test. This is my bet for the next guy to score an 80 power grade from one of the scouting publications, and he’s already getting to that power in games. I’m trying to get him in every league, and because he’s not a good defender, the non-fantasy lists could always keep his costs a little suppressed for our game. 

 

3. 3B Josh Jung | 21 | A | Mid 2021

4. 2B Keithron Moss | 18 | R: AZL | 2023

5. SS Luisangel Acuña | 18 | R: DSL | 2023

6. SS Maximo Acosta | 17 | NA | 2025

With their first pick in the 2019 draft, Texas selected Josh Jung out of Texas Tech, where he established himself as a power bat while walking more than he struck out. His defense makes him a legit 4-tool player and a nice blend of ceiling and floor for fantasy. 

Witness the transformation of Keithron Moss.

Note the extraneous, pre-pitch movements: March 16 2019 instructs via Fangraphs 

Now five months later, note how synchronized his pre-pitch motions have become, all harmonizing perfectly at hip-snap. : August 7-12 in AZL via Prospects Live 

I can’t think of another hitter I’ve seen morph so much in one season. Even his body is significantly different. Bahamanian players have been making physical and mechanical leaps after being signed due to improved physical training, nutrition, coaching and facilities than they’ve ever had. These are not the battle-worn types you find in the Dominican Republic, where kids like Wander Franco have been putting in 12-hour baseball days since before they were 12 years old. Anyway, Moss looks a bit like Aaron Bracho in the box, and that’s a sweet swing. 

“Yes,” is the answer, in case you were wondering whether Luisangel is related to that Acuña. Probably weren’t. This guy’s already famous. Sure, that’s not really his doing, but he might have a hand in it before long. Looks like a plate skills, hit-tool and speed type who finds some power as his athleticism and experience work in harmony. 

I’m not sure I really understand what’s happening with Maximo Acosta. I saw in fangraphs chat the other day someone asking if he’d passed Robert Puason for second place on the 2019 J2 rankings. I mean I guess it’s happening because Ben Badler said the words “Gleyber” and “Torres” in the context of Acosta. I’m not trying to suggest he won’t be great, and it’s entirely likely he’s transformed his body since the last public report–but I do think the hype is loud at the moment for reasons that aren’t especially predictive. 

 

7. RHP Cole Winn | 20 | A | 2023

8. OF Leody Taveras | 21 | AA | Mid 2021

9. C Sam Huff | 22 | A+ | Early 2021

10. OF Bayron Lora | 17 | NA | 2025

Cole Winn survived an aggressive assignment pitching against hitters with much more experience than he, so the stat line does not say much about his ability. If it comes together for Winn, he’s going to reel off a string of low-walk, high strikeout games, and I’m not sure he’ll ever go back from there. His base mechanics are wonderful, and his four-pitch repertoire is dynamic. (Fastball, curve, slider, change). 

Back in fashion after a decent 2019, Leody Taveras just doesn’t do it for me, but some of that might be confirmation bias. I’ve thus far been rewarded for fading and trading him away from a dynasty team I inherited. Perhaps I’ll regret it yet, but he helped bring back Vlad, and I won that league last year, so drinks are on me (and Leody), I guess! 

2019 Futures Game MVP Sam Huff combines basically all the traits needed to be an everyday catcher in the big leagues, all the way down to the batter-by-batter game-planning. The job seems teed up for him to take in 2021 if he hits this year. 

Bayron Lora’s path to stardom is littered with some high profile strugglers like Jhailyn Ortiz and ___, but Eloy Jimenez made it work. He was a little more lithe at age, but the conversation around Lora in fantasy circles seems focused on all the big bodied types who’ve failed, and that’s fair enough, but Lora wouldn’t be alone if he succeeded. Power is certainly not an issue. Everything else . . . well . . . we’ll see. 

I wound up with Sherten Apostel at 11, Davis Wendzel at 12, and a whole bunch of solid prospects just outside looking in. Among those dudes we find 2B Yonny Hernandez, for whom my friend Dylan White of Prospect361 has advocated in our conversations, astutely pointing out that Hernandez’s skill set isn’t that different from the kinds of guys we often rally around, such as Vidal Brujan. I like it. 

Thanks for reading, everybody! I hope you’ve enjoyed the series and that it proves useful as a touchstone throughout the season!

 
  1. Malicious Phenoms says:
    (link)

    GREAT series Itch, well done. Rangers will trade some of these specs to try and win in their new stadium, within the next couple of years. IMHO of course.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Thanks MP!!

      Good call. I’ve got a lot of confidence in this Rangers brain trust to bring this together.

  2. pinkman says:
    (link)

    Tremendous work Itch! I’ve never felt more prepared for my dynasty league than I do going into this year, thanks to this series. Salud!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Thanks, pinkman!

      That’s truly wonderful to hear!!!

      Salad and enjoy Alaska!

  3. Heathcliff Slocumb says:
    (link)

    Surprised to not see Apostel’s name on this list tbh

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Hiya, Heathcliff (one of my favorite Cubs),

      Got Sherty at 11. Super tough system to crack. Could easily swap him into the final tier, especially in OBP leagues.

  4. big league choo says:
    (link)

    16 team dynasty h2h points 1st yr dynasty draft right now, should I be grabbing prospects or bench depth/rp right now? It my first points league 15 prospects max 40

    C
    1B Olson
    2B B Lowe
    3B JD Davis
    SS Bichette
    CI Walker
    MI Hampson
    OF Soto
    OF Kepler
    OF Choo
    Util Ohtani
    Util Happ
    Minors Alek Thomas, Brennen Davis, Noelvi Marte

    P Syndergaard, Ohtani, Carrasco, Darvish
    P Urias, Lucchesi, Archer,
    Minors Honeywell, Brailyn Marquez

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Hi, Big League Choo,

      Head to head points scoring is generally tilted against relief pitchers in favor of starters, so I’d load up on pitching both majors and minors, mixing in high upside bats when the price is right (Bob Barker years).

      • big league choo says:
        (link)

        Top Rp not names Hader earned just under 400 pts. 1 pt per IP, 1.5 for Ks, 7sv, 4 Hld, -.5/BB/H. Top 60 Sp range=top 15 closer and top ratio RP were about 300. I went into the draft thinking I’d be better off not paying up for RP, top name prospects. Job security for closers is hard to come by, year over year guys come out of nowhere to save 25 games and guys like Alvarado lose their job.

  5. Parce says:
    (link)

    Great work with all the write-ups!

    Couple of Cuban questions…

    What do you see going on with Julio Pablo Martinez? He’s fallen down prospect lists, and isn’t even mentioned here. Sounded like he struggled, hitting around .250 but still came away with 15 HR and 32 steals (but with 12 CS) across A/High A ball.

    Also curious about Yolbert Sanchez with CWS, do you think we see him rise quickly this year (also he’s on the older side, about to turn 23) or stall out? Hit 19/2/12/3/.297 in his first 29 games stateside last year.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Thanks for the kind words, Parce!!

      Here’s what I said about Martinez in my Top 125:

      “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.”

      Here’s a link to that piece:

      https://razzball.com/top-125-prospects-for-2020-fantasy-baseball/

      He’s really tough to evaluate because the age to level is obscured by time off and how that impacts overall reps.

      Similar story for Yolbert, I think, though he might be a good enough hitter to make a smoother transition. Both have the benefit of playing premium positions well and could catch real-list helium for that. Good investments, I think.

  6. goodfold2 says:
    (link)

    wow, moss is the biggest mover i’ve seen you have yet going up, and apostel down (83rd). moss not in top 150, whereas hernandez (140), huff (139), jung (150) were, also l.acuna moved up a lot too, not in 150 earlier. wynn also wasn’t, but i remember thinking even at the time that was possibly an oversight (not that he isn’t owned already anyway, was a high pick in his draft class). good news is here if moss holds even close to this ranking by next year he’ll likely be a top 20 available-type guy, as he wasn’t drafted (and can’t be obtained till next year by anybody), whereas all of the others here were (hernandez, huff, acuna, acosta, lora all in the 2nd-3rd round, jung 1st). if he’s getting bracho comps i’d have gone moss over pages almost for sure (did get bracho with the 1.22)

    also jp martinez fell a lot (122nd to less than apostel earlier)

    • goodfold2 says:
      (link)

      or over preciado.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Yeah had a lot of time between the Top 150 and now. A few drafts and a ton of research later, my thoughts have moved a bit on the player pool and how to best navigate it. More to come on this front.

      PS: Is Moss still available? I’m not on an island about him, but the census wouldn’t take long, maybe. And now list season is behind us for the most part, and he’s been hype free, from what I can tell.

  7. Slappy Jack says:
    (link)

    Maximo Acosta hype started mid December when EricCross wrote:
    Signed for $1.65m out of Venezuela, Acosta wasn’t one of the bigger prospects in this year’s class, listed at 5’9/145 at the time, but is now listed at 6’1/170 around 5.5 months after signing.
    However, the skillset he brings to the table gives him intriguing upside that can stand toe to toe with any 2019 J2 SS prospect not named Puason. And on top of that, his floor is higher than most in this class.

    The reason for that is Acosta’s plus hit tool. He’s shown exceptional contact skills and a great feel for hitting for someone his age.
    He can use the whole field with a quick and compact swing that generates plenty of hard contact, albeit, without much loft. As he matures and adds bulk, he has enough raw power to turn into a 20-homer type, but it’s the potential to hit at of over .300 that makes him an interesting prospect. That and his above-average speed that should translate to 20-plus steals long term.
    Throw it all together and a .300/20/20 shortstop sounds pretty damn nice.

    and then he ranked him 7th for fantrax

    he’s been ranked organizationally since :
    #13 prospects1500
    #7 pitcherlist (also received votes for breakout 2020 milb prospect from staff)
    #11 prospectsLive
    -was drafted #84 at DynastyGuru’s fypd mock
    -and listed at #139 overall by fantrax on most recent top 250 list

    Consensus is :
    -he grew a shit ton
    -already had advanced hit tool
    -above average speed
    -everyday worthy glove
    -could easily grow into power
    – had some especially impressive BP/instructs recently in front of scout types (location? idk)

    add in that “Gleybar” comp and now we have Maximo Helium Acosta
    He’s probably been added in tons of leagues recently, including mine (by me).

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
      (link)

      Thanks, Slappy Jack!

      Great stuff! And a good rundown of how fast it can happen. Went 29th overall in the first round of the Razz 30 Supp draft, too.

      I won’t be surprised if he’s already changed a bit physically from the soft-bodied, slow-torque, two-part swing sort Prospects Live caught on video here:

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=f0547SIk9cc

      And given what we’ve seen with Texas hitters, it makes sense to buy early as the perceived value rises, especially as he can’t do anything to damage it for a good long time.

      • batflix says:
        (link)

        Get while the gettings good

      • Slappy Jack says:
        (link)

        yeah idk how much stock I put in this hype
        just was pointing out the patient zeros

Comments are closed.