Farm Futures: Prospect Mailbag

Farm Futures: Prospect Mailbag

This article is part of our Farm Futures series.

At the end of every month during the season I do a mailbag podcast with questions from Twitter on the final Wednesday of the month and then publish the article version on the final Thursday. I got to as many questions as I could -- thank you to everyone who sent one in! Sometimes the questions were too open-ended and would have required more time than I had to devote to any one question, so I apologize about those that I didn't get to.

Rob DiPietro: Josh Jung will finish 2023 as the ___ ranked player on a 15-team auction calculator

Jason Erb: Josh Jung looks good. Anything under the hood that would give you concern?

For Rob's fun question, I'll say Jung finishes as the 115th ranked player on a 15-team auction calculator. That's roughly where Matt Chapman finished last season, and Chapman was my comp for Jung coming into the year. To Jason's question, obviously Jung's contact rate (72%) and whiff rate (35.4%) aren't ideal marks, but they're fine marks for a rookie corner infielder who is hitting for significant game power. I'd expect Jung to continue to refine his approach in the coming years, so we haven't seen the best from him, even though he's playing a little over his head right now (.377 BABIP). 

Mike Sheets: What's a realistic timetable for Heston Kjerstad? Could he be up this year if the O's deal with injuries?

Fortunately for those who have Kjerstad in dynasty, he's played

At the end of every month during the season I do a mailbag podcast with questions from Twitter on the final Wednesday of the month and then publish the article version on the final Thursday. I got to as many questions as I could -- thank you to everyone who sent one in! Sometimes the questions were too open-ended and would have required more time than I had to devote to any one question, so I apologize about those that I didn't get to.

Rob DiPietro: Josh Jung will finish 2023 as the ___ ranked player on a 15-team auction calculator

Jason Erb: Josh Jung looks good. Anything under the hood that would give you concern?

For Rob's fun question, I'll say Jung finishes as the 115th ranked player on a 15-team auction calculator. That's roughly where Matt Chapman finished last season, and Chapman was my comp for Jung coming into the year. To Jason's question, obviously Jung's contact rate (72%) and whiff rate (35.4%) aren't ideal marks, but they're fine marks for a rookie corner infielder who is hitting for significant game power. I'd expect Jung to continue to refine his approach in the coming years, so we haven't seen the best from him, even though he's playing a little over his head right now (.377 BABIP). 

Mike Sheets: What's a realistic timetable for Heston Kjerstad? Could he be up this year if the O's deal with injuries?

Fortunately for those who have Kjerstad in dynasty, he's played as many games at first base (five) this year as he has in right field, while also getting four starts at designated hitter, so there are several long-term avenues to at least the strong side of a platoon. Given that they've got Colton Cowser and Kyle Stowers ahead of him on the outfield depth chart and several infielders at Triple-A who are also more likely to get the call than Kjerstad this year, I think we see him early next year. Kjerstad also isn't on the 40-man roster, and I think they'd be more likely select Cowser or Jordan Westburg's contract this year.

Erik Halterman: When a prospect gets called up unusually quickly like Mason Miller or Zach Neto and we have much less statistical data than we're used to, what factors push you towards "his team must know something" vs. "this guy is obviously not ready yet"?

It's pretty rare for a legitimate prospect to get the call and for it to be clear from the outside that they're not ready. The specific contexts with Miller and Neto tell a pretty clear story: 

The A's rotation is terrible and Miller's short-term and long-term health are far from guaranteed, so why not get him into the big-league rotation as soon as he could reasonably be expected to hold his own? We have so much crucial data at our disposal for Triple-A pitchers and pitchers in spring training games, that I think it's fair to judge pitching prospects by what they've done over their last handful of starts when they get a surprise call-up.

The Angels went into this season without a viable everyday shortstop, so they essentially told us before the year that they were going to Neto at some point. They went to him sooner than anticipated, but he also got off to a red-hot start at Double-A. I said in Neto's preseason outlook that "it would be surprising if he were better than league average if the Angels push him to the majors in his first full season as a pro," and I think that still applies.

When it's a smart team with a strong track record (Atlanta with Michael Harris last year), those surprise promotions can get more of a "they must know something" qualification, but there's obviously a bunch of factors at play with all of these individual promotions.

Rhys White: What are your thoughts on Andrew Abbott?

In my call for questions, I made it clear that Abbott questions were unnecessary, as I planned on touching on him since he's been the prospect I've gotten the most questions about since the start of the season, but I'll give Rhys the honor of having his name tied to the token Abbott question.

For what it's worth, two of the lineups Abbott dominated at Double-A (after making 20 starts there last year) were terrible lineups with zero top-400 prospects (Mississippi and Tennessee), and the other lineup he faced was Rocket City, in which Zach Neto went 1-for-3 with two walks and the rest of the lineup was pretty bad, except Edgar Quero, who is a 20-year-old who jumped over High-A.

My buddy Dylan White at Baseball America says Abbott's fastball has sat 93 mph, touching 96, which means he's up about a tick on his fastball from last year, and he's getting over 40 percent whiffs, with an even more outlandish 60.0 Whiff% on his low-80s sweeper, which he has optimized over the last year. His changeup and curveball project as average offerings. My instinct is that Abbott is a sell high, or at least a player whose Q-Rating is higher now than it will be in a couple months, but at the same time, the quality of his fastball and slider are better than anyone believed heading into the year.

He doesn't need to dominate Triple-A hitters, he just needs to be solid, and he'll look like the team's fourth-best starting pitcher in a month or two, so we should see him in the majors this summer.

Todd Whitestone: What's your best guess on ETA of Gavin Stone and Gavin Williams, and how do you think they'll perform?

Stone and Williams would have massive redraft appeal if/when they get the call this year. Stone is coming off his best start of the year at Triple-A and Williams just got the bump to Triple-A. I'd guess we see them around June, and if that's the case, they'll be the last pitching prospects worthy of triple-digit FAAB bids (out of $1000).

John Laghezza: Which bad team prospect outfielder has the best chance of sticking in redraft: Alex Call, Stone Garrett, Conner Capel, Kerry Carpenter?

Carpenter is my favorite of these four, as he was before the season. He got his first start against a lefty (Eric Lauer) and homered Tuesday in Milwaukee, and he's primarily hit cleanup against RHP. Carpenter wasn't acquired by the current regime and he's best deployed at designated hitter, so they may not be loyal to him if he goes through a slump, but as I said before the season, he could hit 25 HR even if he's only starting against opposite-handed pitchers. The other three are more streamers than holds in redraft.

Eric Samulski: Will Brayan Bello have any redraft value this year? Ronny Mauricio is getting 2B reps now, when do you think he's up and will he be viable in 12- or just 15-team leagues?

I think Bello will be heard from again this year, but he's not worthy of a stash in seven-man bench mixers. Boston rushed him into the rotation, and they didn't need to, but he'll probably look ready for another opportunity in a month or so. 

If the Mets/Buck Showalter can't give Bretty Baty everyday playing time and can't give Francisco Alvarez more than a 50/50 split with Tomas Nido, then it's hard to feel optimistic about how much playing time they'd give Mauricio if/when he gets the call. The best thing for Mauricio's value would be a trade to a rebuilding club. He's trending up for dynasty regardless based on how much game power he has developed, but I'm guessing he'd hit for a pretty low average against big-league pitching this year.

Dandy F Chiggins: Should everyone stay patient with Gunnar Henderson? Are you still as high on him as you ever were? Also any Jordan Walker worries or will he be fine?

Your Name Here: It is getting more and more difficult holding both Gunnar Henderson and Anthony Volpe for their upside while having productive veterans get gobbled up off the waiver wire. How long do you hold such high-upside players when other injuries and underperforming has plagued my team the first three weeks?

I'm not optimistic about Henderson returning value on his redraft price tag, but I'm still optimistic about him in dynasty. Beyond sitting him in matchups against lefties where possible, there's nothing really actionable, unless you're able to buy low in dynasty. I don't recommend selling him in dynasty (I'll have him ranked in my top 40 on next week's update) and I don't recommend dropping him in redraft leagues unless it's super shallow.

I mentioned on the podcast that I wouldn't be surprised if Walker got sent down and he got sent down a couple hours after that. He's just not a good enough defender to be playing regularly over the Cardinals' other outfielders at this stage of his development. I'm not worried at all about Walker long term, but I didn't draft him in any redraft leagues because the price was too high for a player where this was a conceivable outcome in April. He's a stash for as long as you can afford to stash him without it noticeably affecting the quality of your lineup. 

The Henderson/Volpe question is a good example of why you don't want to leave a draft with too many unproven hitters, especially if you have to pay up for them. That said, Volpe appears to be rounding into form, so he should be in your lineup unless you're loaded at shortstop and middle infield. If you see a guy on waivers who is a clear short-term upgrade, maybe you could dump Henderson, but I think they're both still top-300 players in redraft.

CJ Baseball: Are you buying Brent Rooker in deeper redraft leagues?

I haven't bought into Rooker in any leagues, but he's basically an everyday No. 3 hitter who's red hot at the plate, so I'd try to ride it in the short term if you've got a spot in your lineup for him. As soon as he starts sitting against most righties and/or his strikeouts spike, then I'd burn and churn.

Ted Morgan: If Jonatan Clase stays healthy this year, what is the chance he gets significant time in AA, with a chance at AAA? What is a 75th percentile outcome for him?

Everett is an extreme hitter's park, as is Spokane, and those are the two parks where his four home runs have been hit. He's at an age-appropriate level and his 29.3 K% is more likely to sustain than his .412 BABIP. So he's playing way over his head right now. We're also talking about a guy who is already on the 40-man roster and doesn't appear ready for a bump to Double-A. He should get the bump to Double-A, ready or not, later this year, but I highly doubt he gets all the way to Triple-A. A 75th percentile outcome might be closer to Akil Baddoo than many people would care to admit.

Drew Wolf: Termarr Johnson upside vs. Junior Caminero upside?

Advantage Caminero.

Toolsy: Wilmer Flores (DET) has struggled. I thought he was somewhat undervalued given his proximity, but now I have my doubts. What kind of projection do you have for him behind 2023?

Before the season I said he could be an innings-eating No. 4 starter, and that's still my projection. You were probably a bit too high on him before the year, but I expect him to round into form. Even so, we might not see him in the majors until 2024.

Matt Mountin: Who are some batters outside your top 150 to keep an eye on with high hit-tool/low K-rates? Thinking about a H2H points league...

Justyn-Henry Malloy, Luis Matos, Tyler Black, Sterlin Thompson, Alec Burleson, Osleivis Basabe, Justin Foscue are some guys who stand out in those parameters, although Malloy and Matos specifically should be valued quite a bit higher than 150 at this point.

Malloy is going to get the call sooner than later to be the Tigers' everyday third baseman and he'll be an appealing add in 15-team mixed leagues and possibly 12-teamers. In deep mixed leagues with deep benches, Malloy is a worthwhile stash, especially if you're hurting at the hot corner.

Robert Eastin: What the heck is going on with Luis Matos? He's got an 8.2 K% and 16.4 BB% at AA which are both shockingly good. On the flip side, he's not really hitting for a lot of power or stealing much. I continue to be intrigued but I just don't have a clue what his true talent is...

Joshua Roberts: What do you think of Luis Matos' start to the year? Is he back?

Teams are clearly really stressing swing decisions with their young prospects -- look at Gunnar Henderson and Miguel Vargas in the majors -- and someone really drilled that into Matos in the offseason. His contact-based approach might have capped him as a Manuel Margot type of big leaguer based on his lack of plus power, but if he can be a high-walk, high-OBP guy that gives him a chance to be a leadoff hitter in the big leagues. I don't know if he's officially back based on 15 games, but he's a top-100 guy for sure.

CJ: Is now the time to sell high on James Outman in dynasty?

Possibly. I'll be releasing my updated dynasty ranks next week, but I haven't settled on where Outman will slot. With any young player who's performing at an unsustainable level, there may be someone in your league who will overvalue that player in a trade, but I think Outman is legit enough to be a viable buy high if someone is just looking to cash him out. 

Ross Redcay: Is Lyon Richardson just beating up on weak competition while on rehab or does the increased velo make him a legit difference making SP prospect (let's say top 100 upside)?

Sonny: Everyone's talking about Andrew Abbott, and rightfully so, but how high are you on the guy who was promoted to AA behind him, Lyon Richardson?

Yeah, Richardson arguably has louder stuff than Abbott, as he's back up to touching 99 mph after having more of a low-90s fastball pre Tommy John surgery. There are still some reliever-ish traits, but his fastball/slider combo is very strong and we should learn a lot about his command and the depth of his arsenal now that he's at Double-A. Richardson is probably a borderline top 200 prospect at this time, but a lot can change in either direction before my next update goes live in a month.

Ross Redcay: What's your read on Tyler Black at this point? I thought of him as a boring hit tool guy, but offseason reports indicated his speed had ticked up (and he's running early). And now he appears to be making a concerted effort to lift and pull. Is there some sneaky upside here?

Black has really improved his stock in the early going due to the power gains. As you noted, his hit tool, and more specifically his patience, have been strong and remain strong, and he projects as a double-digit stolen-base guy, but there was concern that he wouldn't hit for enough impact to be an everyday guy. As much as any hitter mentioned in this article, Black's stock is trending up and he's worth scooping in any dynasty league where he's still unrostered.

Ross Redcay: I wasn't overly excited about Sterlin Thompson coming into the season, but he's destroying High-A. Do any of the tools appear to be better than expected? The low swinging-strike rate makes me think maybe scouting reports were light on the hit tool...

Thompson's hit tool is the reason he was drafted on day one and the reason he's ranked on the top 400, but if there were scouting reports you saw that weren't high on his hit tool, then yeah, those weren't very accurate. He hit .354 with a 15.4 K% in his last year at Florida, which is awesome for an SEC hitter, and in his draft note I said he had one of the better hit tools among college outfielders. All that said, he's at High-A and turns 22 in June and is playing for Spokane, which has a very hitter-friendly home park, so it would have been surprising if his surface stats weren't great. 

Franklin D. Brosevelt: What are your expectations for Brennen Davis at this point?

There was a chance that Davis would come back to Triple-A this year after dealing with all those back issues and be one of the top post-hype breakouts. It doesn't really look like that's happening. His run at Triple-A kind of reminds me of Joey Wiemer's run in the big leagues, where the strikeout rate is much lower than anticipated, but they are seemingly sacrificing impact for contact. Davis will be 23 for the whole season and his raw tools haven't completely dried up, but odds are against him turning into an everyday player.

Ryan: Do you intentionally diversify your early-season prospect pickups? Especially on the pitching side, I've found myself spreading pickups out on guys like Justin Lange, Jacob Miller, Trace Bright, Brycen Mautz...

I'm only in four dynasty leagues and I'm only in two leagues where that caliber of low-level pitching prospect is worth adding, so I don't really need to worry about diversifying. That said, I'm more likely to just load up on the guys I believe in and hope to be right more often than not. Of the guys you mentioned, I like them in the order you listed them.

BadProspectRanks: When are we the people going to discuss Daylen Lile as a prospect living up to his draft pedigree after recovering from an injury? Early results look encouraging...

Yeah, Lile has helped himself so far at Single-A. He was generating strong reports in the spring too, and he's a clear top 400 prospect at this point. There's a potential for five-category production. Single-A is a pretty easy level right now for pitchers and hitters to put up impressive stats, so we don't want to get carried away on how much we value what a 20-year-old is doing there, but fortunately we should see him at High-A in a couple months.

David M. DiCenzo: Given some recent struggles and the young IF talent in Baltimore, can Connor Norby still have a positive impact in MLB this season?

Russ Hinnen: Any chance Connor Norby is getting surpassed in the pecking order for Baltimore? Lots of MI prospects in that system and he's been OK but not great in AAA to start the year...

If the Orioles called up an infielder today from Triple-A, I think Joey Ortiz and Jordan Westburg would get the call ahead of Norby. Now, it's April 26 and the Orioles don't need to summon any of these guys yet, so it's still possible Norby earns the call this summer. I definitely wouldn't be stashing him though in redraft leagues.

Will Bell: When does Jackson Holliday become your No. 1 prospect (joking, sort of)? What do the Orioles do with all these middle-infield prospects and do we see Colton Cowser debut this year?

Holliday could finish the year as the No. 1 prospect. He definitely has that kind of look to him. 

I'd expect Joey Ortiz and/or Jordan Westburg to get opportunities at some point this summer due to injuries, and at least someone in this mix, either a big leaguer or a prospect, could get traded by the deadline, which could open up a spot.

I'm guessing we see Cowser at some point this summer, but I think we'll see Kyle Stowers first. None of this is good for fantasy. The Orioles are basically building an even better version of what the Rays have built, at least on the position player side of things.

Andrew Price: What are your early impressions of Cole Wilcox and potential ETA?

I love what Wilcox has done so far after getting jumped over High-A completely. He's not even generating groundballs at his usual excellent clip and he's still been dominant. Wilcox is probably behind Mason Montgomery, who I like even more, among the Rays' Double-A arms, but I think we'll see him in the majors next year if he stays healthy.

CH4RLEYS: Oscar Colas seemed to have earned his playing time from spring training play, but he's been scuffling. Any concerns long term? How about the play of Josh Lowe (break out?) and Cody Bellinger (bounce back?)

Colas is a clear case where rushing a guy to the majors wasn't the way to go. It's surprising that he's got more steals (two) than home runs (one), and while his max EV (112.2 mph) is strong, he's rarely making that kind of contact. Gavin Sheets has been the better hitter thus far, but Colas is one of Chicago's only viable defensive outfielders, and he's not even that good. But Sheets and Eloy Jimenez need to DH as much as possible, and their inability to capably play the field could allow Colas to stick up in the majors longer than he would on a more balanced roster.

Lowe's breakout is maybe the most exciting long-term breakout in the league, but I'm not sure whether he'll play as much as we want him to in the short term now that Jose Siri is back. 

It's hard to pick holes in what Bellinger is doing so far. The batting average should come down a little bit, but he has a chance to be a league winner this year.

Toolsy: Do we see Ben Joyce in the majors soon? Control issues may push out his ETA...

We won't see him in the majors in April or May, but he's shown poor control (seven walks) in 5.2 innings, so if he shows solid control over his next 10 innings, all of a sudden it won't look like a major issue. Additionally, four of his seven walks came in his first appearance of the year and he hasn't walked more than one in an appearance since then, so it's not a persistent issue. He's a hold in roto dynasty, but I can't really think of a redraft format, besides maybe AL-only, where you'd want Joyce on your bench.

Andrew Mason: Does Cristian Mena fit the next super young breakout pitcher mold in Double-A this year, a la Eury Perez or Ricky Tiedemann last year? Love the K/BB so far...

I haven't heard that the stuff is quite on the level of Perez or Tiedemann, but the stats are comparable, even dating back to last season's run at Double-A to close the year. Mena is a good guy to add in shallower dynasty leagues and he could enter the top 100 at some point this summer if he keeps this up.

Joey DeClercq: Any pop-up prospects catching your eye so far?

I've been asked about many of the guys who have caught my eye, but Frank Mozzicato is one I was watching closely after his underrated finish to last season and so far he's been dominant at Single-A. Who knows if the Royals will actually be able to develop starting pitching after promoting internally, but if Mozzicato can keep the walks in check, he'll be a big riser on the next update.

BMo: Do youo think Jeremiah Estrada is the future closer of the Cubs? If so, what closers would you compare him to?

The Cubs have too many intriguing young relievers for me to feel confident in any one guy. I know Estrada's stats and Stuff+ have led to a cult following among those speculating on saves in dynasty and draft-and-hold leagues, but Codi Heuer could just as easily be the closer of the future in Chicago. Daniel Palencia has ninth inning stuff too if the Cubs decide to pull the plug on developing him as a starter anytime soon.

Cale Loken: Are you moving Kevin Made into your top 400? Seems like a huge riser so far...

It seems like the main thing Made is doing is getting on base at a high clip (.373) thanks to a career-high 13.6 percent walk rate. He's been on and off the rankings in the past, and if he gets added again, it would be to the back half of the list. He's a better real-life prospect than fantasy prospect.

First to Third: Luisangel Acuna has performed well in the early going. Strikeout rate is decent. Where do you think the power ends up in the majors?

Acuna has more power than the typical 5-foot-8 hitter, but his groundball rate is usually around 50 percent and his hard-hit data is middle of the pack, so I'd expect him to be a 15-homer guy during his peak years. Maybe he has a random juiced-ball year where he gets to 20-plus, but I'd be hoping he turns into a Tommy Edman type and be satisfied with him just hitting enough to play every day.

OnlyBaseball: Long term, who do you think is going to be the better fantasy contributor, Luisangel Acuna or Noelvi Marte?

Marte. I think he'll be a 30-homer third baseman in that park who chips in 10-15 steals and hits around .240 with a .335 OBP.

Cam Gustafson: Is Jarred Kelenic a real post-hype breakout or is this just a hot streak?

More breakout than hot streak. The batting average should come way down and settle around .250, but I'm now confident he'll be an everyday player who hits in the middle of the lineup, and before the season there was still a chance he'd end up being a platoon bat or a total bust.

SportsJ: Where in the pecking order in terms of call-ups is Brandon Walter within the Red Sox org?

Walter has been surprisingly mediocre through his first four starts. I'd rather have Brayan Bello and Kutter Crawford in dynasty and redraft, but Walter has at least been better than Bryan Mata and Chris Murphy. If Walter can round into form over the next couple months, he could get a look in the majors later this summer.

Bored & lazy: I have Alejandro Kirk, Danny Jansen and Gabriel Moreno in a daily one catcher dynasty. Been using Kirk and Jansen to make sure I have a good starter every day. How would you move ahead? Silly to trade Moreno, and what level of return?

In your situation, I'd trade Moreno for any hitter or pitcher who you think can make a noticeable impact for your team this season. Your Kirk/Jansen combo is a great way to approach this format, and you don't need a third top-20 catcher.

Big doink: Have you liked what you've seen from Cole Young? How would you group him with Zack Gelof, Adael Amador, and other guys like that?

Young has been great. The power hasn't really been there, but he'll get to it eventually, especially once he gets to the hitter-friendly park in Everett. I'd take him over Gelof and Amador in most dynasty situations. Maybe Gelof if I've got a win-now team, but even then, I think you could get a better win-now piece than Gelof if you traded Young in a few months.

Patrick McCulloch: What is a realistic outcome for Matt McLain, and a 90% outcome? Any thoughts on his timeline to get to the call-up?

McLain got off to an amazing start last year at Double-A and then struggled for the next four months, so we don't want to get too carried away just yet, but if he can maintain his current level of performance, I could see him up and playing regularly in the majors in June or July. He has a pretty big difference in his 90th percentile outcome in OBP leagues versus AVG leagues. The best 90th percentile comp I could come up with is Brandon Lowe with more speed.

Alex M.: Andrew Painter or Eury Perez next five years in a points league?

Painter. Odds are they'll both deal with their share of arm issue over the next five years, but if one of them stays relatively healthy it would tilt in that player's direction. But Painter is clearly the better prospect when fully healthy.

First to Third: Thoughts on Jackson Merrill? Rocky start and only at High-A...

Zero concerns there. It's 13 games and he has a .190 BABIP and 11.3 K%.

J Ship D: When you are rebuilding in dynasty how long do you give players like CJ Abrams time to figure it out before you try and salvage what value you can?

It's got to be a case-by-case basis, but the nice thing about being a rebuilding team is you can be patient, especially with guys like Abrams. You can always listen on trades, but I'm guessing the return would be low enough where I'd rather just hold him and hope he gets going. Abrams is so young and had such little minor-league experience (82 games above rookie ball) before reaching the majors that he's a pretty rare case where we might be waiting until Year 3 before he shows signs of breaking out. If you lack patience and would rather be aggressively churning spots, then that changes things, but a big part of rebuilding in dynasty is rostering young pre-prime big leaguers.

Robert Leahy: Edgar Quero is more than holding his own as a kid at Double-A. With the Angels propensity to rush their advanced prospects combined with Logan O'Hoppe's injury, do you think there's a chance we see Quero in the majors this year?

There's a chance, sure. There wouldn't be a chance with most teams, and it would probably do more damage than good if he's actually as bad of a defender as his scouting reports suggest, but if they were willing to start him at Double-A, then it leads me to believe they'd be willing to push him to the majors.

John Snider: Please rank the following starters for value in a redraft league for 2023. Brandon Pfaadt, Mason Miller, Tanner Bibee, Logan Allen, Luis Ortiz, Matthew Liberatore, Gavin Williams, and Ricky Tiedemann...

Pfaadt, Miller, Bibee, Allen, Liberatore, Williams, Ortiz, Tiedemann.

Tbone: How do you rank Mason Miller, Taj Bradley, Brandon Pfaadt, Tanner Bibee for rest of season and dynasty?

ROS: Bradley, Pfaadt, Miller, Bibee

Dynasty: Pfaadt, Bradley, Bibee, Miller

Super close between Pfaadt and Bradley, and super close between Miller and Bibee.

3-Putt Par: What do you see in the approach from Matthew Liberatore that's resulted in the drastic improvement? Sustainable or move while he has some value?

It's really just the increased fastball velocity. He went from low-90s to mid-90s. If that velocity gain sustains, then the performance is sustainable. Anecdotally, I think Liberatore is still a little undervalued, so I'd probably be holding.

BMo: Who would you add between Brett Wisely, Brett Sullivan, or Mark Mathias?

Hey, don't ask about all the exciting guys at once! I'll go with Wisely just because I think we kind of know what Sullivan and Mathias are at this point.

SparTy09: Do the Tigers have any interesting prospects or are we just doomed?

DrOctagon Cards: Colt Keith ceiling?

You're doomed in the short term, at least. Keith was the Tigers best prospect before the season, and that remains the case, but Justyn-Henry Malloy has closed that gap significantly. Keith and Malloy are bright spots in a desolate farm system, and they are both bad defensive infielders, so hopefully Detroit can find room for them at second base and third base, as Spencer Tokelson and Kerry Carpenter have first base and designated hitter accounted for.

As for Keith's ceiling, I wouldn't rule out a plus hit tool with plus power, but that's the ceiling not the likely outcome. So a .290 hitter who hits 25 home runs (could be more with a better home park). He won't run, and as I said, his defense is bad enough that he'll need to be at least an above-average hitter to have a long run as an everyday player.

DrOctagon Cards: Cristian Hernandez seems off to a solid start. Chance for him to shoot up boards with a good showing at A ball?

Hernandez is a perfect example of a prospect where I'm glad I'll get another month's worth of data before I have to figure out where to rank him. It's not hard to put up good numbers at Single-A if you're any good, but he will move up if he keeps this up. I'd say borderline top-100 guy at this moment.

Toolsy: Vaughn Grissom needs to work on his defense to stick at SS. It has been painfully obvious to me that Atlanta was right and would rather have a glove in that spot over another bat. I could see him going down again. Do you think he ends up in the OF?

I think they'll either make it work at shortstop or they'll trade him. He's never once played the outfield in pro ball, and if that was something the team was interested in, I think they'd at least experiment with it.

Rumham13: Do Jordan Lawlar or Evan Carter's low hard-hit percentages give you any pause? Looks like most other metrics are strong, but not sure how much weight to give the Hard%...

Lawlar and Carter are still in the growing into power phase of their development, so it's not a red flag, but once we get a bigger sample I'd like to see their Hard% come up. 

Josh Firstbrook: Emmanuel Rodriguez or Evan Carter?

Carter. They're both good OBP guys, but the rest of their profiles are basically exact opposites. Rodriguez probably has the higher ceiling, but Carter has a significantly higher floor, and he's got a high ceiling as well.

Tom Braun: It looks like Evan Carter has been killing it in AA. He has a 1.125 OPS. It seems like Texas is in win-now mode. Any idea when we could see Carter in the bigs?

I thought Dustin Harris would spend a good chunk of the season as the Rangers' everyday left fielder, but at this point it seems just as likely that they rocket Carter up to the show. You're right about them being in win-now mode, and he's got the plate skills to hit the ground running. It could be similar to Michael Harris last year, and I wouldn't be surprised if they gave him a look in early June if he's still performing like this.

Andrew Mason: What would a Jonny DeLuca projection look like? Seems kind of under the radar for being pretty successful at most levels in the Dodger organization...

Yeah, I think DeLuca is one of the most under-discussed prospects in the upper levels. He's got five-category potential -- definitely a plus runner and while most scouting reports say he's got average power, he's show at least above-average power so far at Double-A, dating back to last year, and Tulsa is a neutral park. He could got 20/20 if he can get everyday playing time. It's tougher to project the batting average, but I think he'll hit enough to play regularly.

Michael Thomas: For a rebuilder, which pitchers are must-hold and what pitchers do you sell to contenders? For instance, Graham Ashcraft...

A big part of this equation is how far away you are from realistically contending. If you're three years away from having a realistic shot, then you should be willing to trade pretty much any pitcher, but if you're one year away, you should be collecting arms you really believe in, as you don't want to have to just trade for your entire pitching staff the offseason before you're making your push. Ashcraft is young enough and has enough potential for growth that I'd be happy to hold him if I was a year or two away.

Neil Mills: If you had to bet on a prospect outside the top 50 or so to hit 40 home runs at some point, who would it be?

I'll give you two: Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Spencer Jones.

John Vaghi: Is Patrick Monteverde a long-term rotation option or is his stuff not electric enough? How would you compare him to Richard Fitts?

Montverde definitely doesn't have electric stuff, but that doesn't mean he couldn't pitch at the back of a big-league rotation someday. Fitts has a full grade better on the fastball, just more of a legitimate prospect with a whiff of upside.

John Vaghi: Chase Meidroth has a great K/BB and hard-hit rate. How's the defense? Quick jump to AA? Marcelo Mayer seems to be the long-term SS, so can you handicap Nick Yorke vs. Meidroth?

Meidroth is just as bad of a defensive second baseman as Yorke, and Yorke got 10x as much money in the draft, so they're much more invested in making him an everyday player than Meidroth.

Ryan Veneman: Would you trade Mason Miller for Brandon Nimmo straight up? Rebuilding, last place team in dynasty...

Nimmo should have more dynasty value than Miller given the uncertainty regarding how long Miller can stay healthy. Granted, if you're rebuilding, you're acquiring Nimmo with the intent of trading him again later this year.

Antonio Andolini: Is Luis Ortiz a must own? Which two would you keep out of these three, Brandon Pfaadt, Mason Miller, Tanner Bibee?

Nobody who is unrostered in a league is a "must own", but Ortiz has a high ceiling and should make double-digit starts in the majors this year. I'd want Pfaadt and Bibee in dynasty and Pfaadt and Miller in redraft.

Jim Delaney: Do you believe the reduced K-rates of Nolan Gorman and Matt Chapman are real?

Gorman's gains with K% seem more significant and sustainable than Chapman's. The big difference with Chapman is that his barrel rate almost tripled to 32.3 percent, which is not sustainable.

I might have to take the L on Gorman -- I didn't think he'd make these plate discipline gains this year.

Leo Kelser: What is your take on Jake McCarthy? Was widely viewed as a breakout candidate going into the season but results have been very poor. Hope for a turnaround or throw him back?

I don't think he was "widely" viewed as a breakout candidate -- he was one of the most controversial guys in redraft leagues this winter because people were chasing speed and speed was the only justification for valuing him as a top-200 player. In redraft, he's a cut, in dynasty he's a hold.

FTK: What are we doing with Riley Greene in dynasty? Am I just stuck with his striking-out ass for the long haul?

You're stuck with him unless you want to sell super low. Jarred Kelenic and Josh Lowe are prime examples of why being patient with this caliber of player can pay off, and Greene is over a year younger than Kelenic and over two years younger than Lowe.

Tom Braun: With Jose Urquidy scuffling, is it crazy to contemplate dropping Kyle Bradish for Forrest Whitley?

Yeah, I think that'd be crazy. Bradish is coming off what will probably be his worst start of the season and Whitley hasn't been great in his last two starts at Triple-A.

Phil Kramer: Everson Pereira was dropped in my 20-team dynasty league where we roster nine minor leaguers per team. How concerning has his performance been? Is he a must add? Several top 100 industry ranked prospects have been dropped in the first few weeks based on performance...

I could see you having nine prospects that you don't want to drop, so I wouldn't say he's a must-add, but Pereira should definitely still be rostered in that league. He's pretty streaky, so I don't want to overreact to his slow start through 14 games.

Danny J: Should I view Hector Rodriguez as the next huge helium teenager?

Probably not. He's a 5-foot-8 center fielder at Single-A. It's impressive that he's already got three home runs, but I don't think he has the tools to generate the type of helium you're talking about.

Jason Q: Pick two to hold from Jackson Chourio, Elly De La Cruz, Jackson Holliday, Evan Carter...

Chourio and Holliday.

Danny J: Cody Bradford's stats rule. Could he be a sneaky dynasty add?

I just don't see much upside with Bradford. Lefties with great changeups can often put up minor-league stats that oversell their big-league potential. He made 26 starts at Double-A last year and was unselected in the Rule 5 draft.

BabboB: After moving Casey Schmitt into your top 100, any second thoughts now given his relatively punchless performance so far in AAA?

He'd probably move down, but not enough to get a red down arrow. I'm more concerned about his lack of walks than his lack of home runs. Sacramento is the least hitter-friendly park in the Pacific Coast League.

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James Anderson
James Anderson is RotoWire's Lead Prospect Analyst, Assistant Baseball Editor, and co-host of Farm Fridays on Sirius/XM radio and the RotoWire Prospect Podcast.
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