For your viewing and thinking pleasure, I have arranged a list of top 25 prospects for fantasy baseball. It’s just a snapshot, subject to change after the hustle and bustle of Fall, but I had a lot of fun working through the scenarios. Would I trade Gavin Lux for Jo Adell? I’m not sure. Would depend on that build in that moment. But I am sure I’d lose some sleep over it because I already have.

 

1.  Wander Franco | SS | Rays
2.  Luis Robert | OF | White Sox

Franco is an impossible player. He shouldn’t exist. Scares me to think he’s about to turn it up a level: add some loft and increase his success rate on stolen base attempts, which will make him want to run more. Only a mythical creature like Wander Franco could keep a five-category Cthulhu like Luis Robert from taking the number one spot.

 

3.  Vidal Brujan | 2B | Rays
4.  Gavin Lux | SS | Dodgers
5.  Jarred Kelenic | OF | Mariners
6.  Jo Adell | OF | Angels
7.  Kristian Robinson | OF | Diamondbacks
8.  Marco Luciano | SS | Giants
9.  C.J. Abrams | SS | Padres

One check point for me in the top group is speed. Don’t have it, you’re out. Another is whether I think the player would be a likely number one pick in his age-appropriate draft year(s) if said draft were run (or rerun) today. It’s kind of a silly mechanism but also one I hope (and think) is fairly easy (and fun) to get a feel for (or try to anyway). These all feel like foundation pieces to a dynasty build.

 

10.  Julio Rodriguez | OF | Mariners
11.  MacKenzie Gore | LHP | Padres
12.  Dylan Carlson | OF | Cardinals
13.  Royce Lewis | OF | Twins
14.  Xavier Edwards | 2B | Padres
15.  Andrew Vaughn | 1B | White Sox
16.  Oneil Cruz | SS | Pirates
17.  Brennen Davis | OF | Cubs

Julio Rodriguez is here because he hits so much it sets him apart whether he steals or not. Even so, he’s always been so young for his level that he might run a little when that evens out, a la Dylan Carlson.

I’m going to like Gore late in 2020 draft champions leagues because I think he’ll get 80 plus MLB innings.

I moved Lewis around more than anyone on this list. Was in the mid-20s at one point, but I decided it’s probably just the leg kick messing with his timing. Not the easiest adjustment but certainly something he could tweak to his advantage sooner than later. I like this Baldelli group in Minnesota. Still on team patience equals cash money.

Edwards is unlikely to add power. Maybe you’ve heard. But what if? Or how much? And when do they change the ball? And does it even matter if he steals 40 bases and hits 300 with a 400 OBP? I don’t think it does and almost put Weapon X in the top ten.

Vaughn brings shine to a 1B landscape seeking sluggers. Cruz might have highest topside in the minors and brings the exit velocities to prove it.

Fans have been critical of Theo Epstein, but he should get full marks for the 2018 draft haul, and especially for how the club developed Nico Hoerner and Brennen Davis, with whom they’ve been perfectly aggressive.

 

18.  Alex Kirilloff | OF | Twins
19.  Sean Murphy | C | Athletics
20.  Carter Kieboom | SS | Nationals
21.  Adley Rutschman | C | Orioles
22.  Dustin May | RHP | Dodgers
23.  Jesus Luzardo | LHP | Athletics
24.  Jazz Chisholm | SS | Marlins
25.  Jasson Dominguez | OF | Yankees

Kiriloff didn’t transcend the sport this season like some expected but still looks more can’t-miss than missed-the-bus.

Murphy is either scary hot or just plain scary. Probably a combination. Playoff heat could boost sticker price such that Murph gets traded a lot over the cold winter of dynasty baseball. Rutschman might be the better long-term asset, but I’ll take the near-term bounce potential and now-production of Murphy, at least until Adley gets a chance. I feel like catchers have to prove it at the MLB level before anyone cares a whole lot, and even then, people might not care a whole lot. I get it, but I think this is a zag moment in most two-catcher leagues: there’s profit to be made at catcher.

Kieboom won’t dislodge Trea Turner from shortstop but could wind up a good big league second baseman. Trouble with that is second base is now a catcher in the rye for mashers with just enough hand-eye to fake it ‘til they make the plays, now that range is mitigated by analytics. Kieboom may never be above average in a fantasy world where Muncies, Hiuras, and McMahons are popping up on the regular. Unless, that is, he finds some stolen bases in his game. Wouldn’t take much. 10-15 can make all the difference these days.

May pitches for the Dodgers and throws a 98 mile-per-hour heater from hell that means to go back home even if it has to dig through half the planet. May is Thor throwing sinkers. Not Mets Thor. Not Hemsworth Thor. Actual. Bleeping. Thor.

Not really. That would be ludicrous. May does limit home runs though.

BECAUSE HE THROWS ACTUAL LIGHTNING!!

Luzardo might be better than May on a per-inning basis, especially in strike-outs, but his shoulder issues complicate the valuation. A hot playoff stretch would impact how the masses perceive Jesus.

Feels like a Buy window for Jazz popped open when the Marlins got him. He’s hit well enough with their AA affiliate that he might’ve already closed it.

Dominguez is a top-tier upside play, worthy of the shot on five-tool upside and confidence in the market getting him to 5 million–a big figure on the international front.

  1. Smitty says:
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    Good work Itch, plenty of guys who could soon be contributors. Thanks

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks Smitty!!

      Here’s hoping you roster the ones that turn out best!!

  2. Dj says:
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    Really interesting list. Has Forrest Whitley fallen that far from grace?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks DJ!

      Whitley just missed this list and is near the top of the next 25, coming this Sunday.

      The topside is still there, and I’m still buying.

  3. Stumanji! says:
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    Brendan Rodgers is available in my league. He was a top 10 prospect for a few years but bombed in his call-up and then had shoulder surgery. Has he completely lost his shine? With only 76 ABs he still qualifies for a minors slot…

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Rodgers is such a tough case. I’ve moved him around a lot in this process. He’s got some ugly strikes against him:

      1) torn labrum
      2) Rockies gonna Rockie
      3) swings at everything

      but he’s also got incredible hand-eye and quick, strong wrists in Coors field . . .

      I think you have to track and jump at the first signs of life and should maybe even add in that league you’re talking about, depending on how many minors guys you can carry.

  4. Dj says:
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    Interesting list. Has Forrest Whitley fallen that from grace?

  5. dude says:
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    Who are you top 5 on this list for 2020 contribution?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Good question, dude.

      1. Robert
      2. Lux
      3. Carlson
      4. Adell
      5. Murphy (but Kyle Tucker is right around the bend and might bounce him if including the next group . . . might have to move Tuck up in general if Houston commits to him)

  6. NoOneIsHome says:
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    Just wanted to say thank you for putting this list together….hopefully there will be a lot more from you this offseason!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks for the kind words, NoOneIsHome!

      And good news!!! I’ll be doing a thing every Wednesday and Sunday all offseason!

  7. Donkey Teeth

    Donkey Teeth says:
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    Nice work, Itch! I love the boldness…

  8. knucks says:
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    Lemme just come right out and admit that 1/2 the reason for my comment here is to bait my leaguemates and find out if they read the Razz.

    I took over a Dynasty team a couple weeks ago. I never play in keepers, so figured this would be a fun challenge. I’m gonna post my team (sorry for the following long a$$ post of this entire team). But the other 1/2 of my motivation to comment is to get to know thee. And to get some feedback as to the direction to take with Team Knucks. A lot of young talent”here obvi. And I have the 1st pick in the First Year Player draft coming up in January, but don’t want to tip my hand with who I’m taking.

    Prob going to sell Goldy to the highest bidder during the offseason. But not really sure what to be shopping for. Any general tips or things to keep in mind? Other than decide when to be all in and when to rebuild.

    7×7 Roto
    Hits / Runs / HR / RBI / SBs / AVG / OPS
    QS / Ws / Ks / Saves / Holds / ERA / WHIP

    On Fantrax, so plenty of these guys are multi elig. And some other nuances that aren’t really worth explaining, but here it goes…

    30 Majors roster slots, 25 Minors slots

    C- T d’Arnaud
    1B- Paul Goldy
    2B- Caesar Hernandez, L Arraez, J Peraza
    3B- Sano
    SS- G Hampson, JP Crawford, D Fletcher
    OF- Eloy, Y Alvarez, Piscotty, H Bader, Inciarte, L Brinson

    SPs- Glasnow, ZGallen, Pablo Lopez, Trevor Richards, Dylan Bundy, K Freeland, K Gibson, Jeff Samardzija, Aaron Sanchez

    RPs- A Bradley, M Givens, K Crick, Gausmann, Melancon, H Strickland, Jairo Diaz

    Minors Bats
    Contreras, William (ATL)
    Lowe, Nate (TB)
    Santana, Luis (HOU)
    Bohm, Alec (PHL)
    Nunez, Malcom (STL)
    Lewis, Royce (MIN)
    Garcia, Jose (CIN)
    Rocchio, Brayan (CLE)
    Rodriguez, Julio (SEA)
    Lewis, Kyle (SEA)
    Torres, Jhon (STL)
    Conine, Griffen (TOR)
    Robinson, Kristian (AZ)
    Kelenic, Jarred (SEA)
    Davis, Brennen (CHC)
    Davis, Jaylin (SF)

    Minors Arms
    Canning, Griffin (LAA)
    Rodriguez, Grayson (BAL)
    Hall, DL (BAL)
    Patino, Luis (SD)
    Gilbert, Logan (SEA)
    Singer, Brady (KC)
    García, Deivi (NYY)
    King, Michael (NYY)
    Bukauskas, J.B. (AZ)

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      “Knucks? Is that you? I knew it!”

      You look like on everything, that pitching is especially messy…. But if you trade away Goldy, who’s your 1B? Lowe?

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Oops, I’m Itch’s post, my B

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Hey, Itch!

      • knucks says:
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        Grey! Shhhhhh

        I was trying to keep this ridiculously beastly comment off your post! Thx for jumpin’ in on this. I am a bit out of my comfort zone with this style of league.

        And I’m more than likely finishing in dead last again next year. I knew this when I bought in on the league that just completed its first year and I’m fine with that. The previous owner looks to have severely mistreated this squad in 2019 and decided to sell off all his big league talent for 20 year olds. So I really don’t think I have a reason to go after it in 2020. Playing that long game… I guess… right? That’s what I should be doing? Or selling all my top prospects to try to compete next year. I guess I could do that. Everyone in the league loves to trade (I’m told).

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Sorry to put you on blast! Will be interested in seeing what Itch thinks

          • knucks says:
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            Yea me too, G!

            @ The Itch
            I’m glad to see that I own 5 of the bats on your list here (# 5, 7, 10, 13 and 17).

            Something I didn’t mention is that this is a 14 Team League, so there are about 350 Minors players rostered at all times.

            So having some of the top ones is really helpful, whether its to hold and wait for serious production (hopefully). Or use as trade chips to claw my way back into being a contendar at some point.

            • The Itch

              The Itch says:
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              I dig the big questions, knucks!!!

              Why are we here? What would we be without money? What is love? (baby don’t hurt me)

              Also dig the big dynasty questions with all the particulars.

              Having this urge to build a whole article from this because taking over defunct dynasty teams has become something of a thing for me. Love love love the rebuild!

              In a general sense, I’d say try not to get locked into one direction. If someone offers you Jacob DeGrom for a package built around Royce Lewis, be open to it. I’d take it even during a rebuild. Maybe Lewis has that big year and ascends to #1 overall prospect, but even if he does, you’ve got Jacob DeGrom, and he’s got a skill set that tends to age well. His trade value is less likely to flux in the short-term, so he’s an asset you could sell at any time to almost any team.

              Pretty much just the rebuilders lining up to buy the Royce Lewis types. Might be as few as three to five teams in that 14-teamer, whereas if you’re putting a Max Scherzer on the market, everyone is interested to some extent.

              In specific, first thing I’d probably be looking for in your case is takers for Cesar Hernandez, Stephen Piscotty, Jeff Shark, and Kyle Gibson. Perhaps you’ve already shopped them, but don’t give up; they have value to someone and aren’t likely to be part of your winning squad. Moreover, you’ll need their roster spots.

              Your minors are so loaded I agree with Grey (sup Grey!!) about holding Goldy, at least until someone comes knocking. Fetch a much better price as reluctant seller than you’ll fetch as aggressive salesman. Also there’s research that suggests big-ticket free agents are better in their 2nd seasons, and while Godly wasn’t a free agent, he functionally was in the sense that moved to a new city and got paid a lot. Also First Base is thinning.

              Can you still make moves? If so, I’d probably seek replacements for Kyle Freeland, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, and Hunter Strickland.

              Nothing wrong with cutting these guys. Can’t know your wire or league, but over the off-season, you’re probably better off with young, high upside types. Some guys I’ll be highlighting soon might be available (Luis Matos!! Gilberto Jimenez, Johan Rojas).

              In my experience, somebody tends to flip the switch to seller (or check back in with the league) over the off-season and shop around for exactly the Jimenez, Matos, Rojas tier of helium prospect.

              Let’s see, what else . . . oh! Young arms! They’re super fun to have and to hold, but anytime someone wants one of my young arms, I try to sell ’em for a solid bat. Ideally a Major League bat. It’s backfired on me in the recent past (I sold Flaherty and Buehler in the same trade to Donkey Teeth for Ohtani last year about a week before Shohei’s elboy crapped out), but I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting the next wave and have not regretted selling arms.

              New pitching prospects with upside and shine pop up all the time.

              Could be your league is hip to all that and undervaluing arms as a result. If so, disregard that piece and continue to zag against that league-wide zig.

              Anyhow, I tend to buy established arms and sell prospect arms.

              Then buy prospect bats and sell average-ish but established bats.

              • knucks says:
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                I copied and pasted this reply into Word. Heading over to the seedy part of town to get it tattooed on my chest after work.

                But seriously. Thank you!!

                Looking forward to all your write-ups brother.

                • The Itch

                  The Itch says:
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                  Haha thanks Knucks!

                  That . . . is going to make one helluva large tattoo!!

                  Please send photos ?

                  And keep me posted on the rebuild! We’re in this together now ??

                  • The Itch

                    The Itch says:
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                    Sorry—those ?? were emojis on my end. I should know better. Just actual punctuation from here on out.

                  • Donkey Teeth

                    Donkey Teeth says:
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                    Send dick pics?

                    • The Itch

                      The Itch says:
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                      ???

                      That’s either eggplants, 100s, or Peppers . . . dealer’s choice

                    • Knucks says:
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                      Yes, Mr. Burgandy, it should read “We’re in this together now!!!!!”

                      Also no DT. Its chesties to the besties. The dick picks are for the chicks.

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
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          Oh and I wouldn’t rush it. Time is an ally in a rebuild because everyone else is playing against time, to a large extent, counting beans after every day while running out of days.

          Your beans don’t matter. Or maybe they’re legumes? Anyway it’s the soil that matters for you.

          You’re on time’s team

          Go Team Time!! . . .

          ?

          • knucks says:
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            One thing I left out yesterday is that we shorten rosters to just 1 IL/DL slot starting next Friday. I was planning to keep Aaron Sanchez in there through the off-season and hopeful that he could be ready mid 2020 in an Astro’s uni.

            Reading this morning that its possible he doesn’t pitch in 2020 at all. And that the typical time frame for recovery is 12-14 months. Lets say he comes back for Opening Day 2021, he’ll be pushing 29 years young.

            Also…. “Sanchez enters the offseason as arbitration eligible, so whether he returns to Houston is unclear. The Astros can decide not to tender his contract, a strong possibility given he will not be ready for Opening Day.”

            We mentioned a few pitchers to move off of at some point in the future (Jeff Shark, Kyle Gibson). I don’t want to get into describing the waiver pool, but I just want to hear someone else say that cutting Sanchez is something to strongly consider.

            If I were to cut Aaron Sanchez today, I could hold Kyle Crick or Griffin Canning in that IL slot going into the offseason. This would open up an extra Minors slot for me. Which I’ll need in January for after our 3 round first year player draft. I realize I do have a few minors players that could be dropped and also that my roster could be shaking up soon, dependent on offseason trades, drops/adds, etc.

            • knucks says:
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              Oh and I also saw your mention of moving off Kyle Freeland, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, and Hunter Strickland…

              I can still make moves. So maybe when your next post comes around, that will likely be what I’m commenting about. There really isn’t a ton of young talent to scoop. With 14 Teams, 25 Minors and 30 Majors, there are 770ish players owned (not including the guys on some IL slots that will need to be dealt with by next week). But I’m gonna get to work cruising that wire, for sure.

            • The Itch

              The Itch says:
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              Tough call here for sure.

              Does anyone else have an IL spot open?

              Maybe you could write a post offering any of the three for a pick?

              I like Canning but the elbow is scary. Like Crick for the spec saves play. Like Sanchez for the Astro of it, but they didn’t pay much to get him and are perhaps less committed to him than we might imagine.

              Anyway I do think it’s probably okay to cut him if you’re seeing something you really like, but I do think he’d get pinged late in a Supp draft.

              • The Itch

                The Itch says:
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                I wonder if you could offer a Canning, Gibson package for a 1st rounder? Lotta good bats available this year.

                • knucks says:
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                  Not entirely sure about how the 3 round 1st year player draft works in this league. Don’t know if I’m allowed to have more picks than other teams, but its worth asking. I have the first pick in all three rounds (no snake).

                  No supp draft, all players are gonna just be out there on the wire through the offseason.

                  Going to check in about what kind of stuff that package could get me back though. Def a solid idea.

              • knucks says:
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                Thx man, yea I’ll hold for now in case anyone is interested.

                Not a ton to move after now anyway. Except Jake Bauers is there. I could add him today. Not a great year, the shine is def off. But he did come to Cleveland with pedigree and is only 23. What do you think?

                • knucks says:
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                  By the time I’m done commenting, you and my league gonna be intimate…

                  We have 6 bench slots for our active Major League Roster. Which I like, cause it helps keep the wire juicy with plenty of opportunity for batty calls + churn/burn capabilities.

                  Gonna fling a few names from the wire at you and see if any tickle your fancy, why the hell not. These guys are on my watch list at the moment.

                  Arms:
                  Framber Valdez, Jalen Beeks, Jake Faria, Jose de Leon, Joe Biagini, CJ Edwards Jr, Shaun Anderson, Mike Montgomery,

                  Bats:
                  Jake Bauers, Nicky Lopez, Austin Dean, Alex Dickerson, Roman Quinn, Cedric Mullins, Derek Fisher, Corey Ray, Jose Martinez (maybe he finallys gets into the AL)

                  • The Itch

                    The Itch says:
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                    Quinn for sure; agree on Jose: good off-season property in case he ends up in a DH role.

                    Dickerson should probably be owned.

                    I can see the case for Bauers and think he’s probably owned in a lot of leagues that size—just have some confirmation bias there bc I never thought he’d make enough contact.

                    Interesting twist with the Supp draft and open waivers. Will need to think on that a minute. You’re able to pick up minor leaguers all winter? Or just MLB players? Are trades open before next Friday? After?

                    I like the open FA off-season. A lot.

  9. Meckard says:
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    Love the list Itch! Well done!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Meckard!!

Comments are closed.