With most dynasty baseball leagues getting back to the grind this month, now is a good time to take a look at this year’s prospects to buy low from a disgruntled owner. On the flip side, it’s also a nice time to move players while their value is, in my opinion, at their highest. With no games being played in 2020, I am basing these predictions on past performance, hunches, observations, and (where applicable) 2020 results if the prospect played in the majors or attended their team’s camp. As I wrote in last year’s edition, these are my opinions and don’t represent the viewpoints of our team’s correspondents.
Spencer Howard, RHP, PHI
Howard had a poor debut with the Phillies in 2020 going 1-2 with a 5.92 ERA and 1.64 WHIP in 24 innings pitched. He lacked command of his pitches and was prone to the longball, giving up 6 jacks overall. However, over his minor league career in 211 innings, he has a more respectable 3.28 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP and 12 K/9. He was also coming off a shoulder injury the year prior and injured the same shoulder last season. If fully healthy and with more time under his belt in AAA, Howard should right the ship and turn into a solid 2 starter for the big league team. It’s worth a shot to try to acquire him when his value is very low right now.
Spencer Howard’s stuff is special and only going to get better. pic.twitter.com/itq8yHQAg5
— Jack Fritz (@JackFritzWIP) March 12, 2020
Jordan Groshans, 3B, TOR
Groshans has only played in A ball but he’s slashed .309/.376/.457 in 71 games. His season ended early due to a foot injury but was ready to be part of the 60 man roster pool for the team in 2020. Groshans was a 1st round pick in 2018 and is in an organization that can develop offensive and is often overshadowed by the other young players on the roster. With his skills and blossoming power potential, Groshans could be in conversation for top-5 prospects next year this time.
— Nate Eckert (@GQ__82) October 4, 2020
Leody Taveras, OF, TEX
Taveras has been highly touted since he was signed by the Rangers as a free agent way back in 2015 as part of the J2 period. He’s been a great defensive player for all of his career and has shown great speed. His average and OBP has been about average slashing .260/.323/.358 in 1868 minor league at-bats and went .227/.308/.395 in 33 games in the majors last year.
So why am I excited about a player with those stats? First, Taveras has always been young for his level and has never been given the chance to repeat to become familiar with the pitching, having advanced about a level each year. Also, he’s at an age where the power will increase and that, along with the potential to steal, can possibly give you 15 home runs to go with 25 steals. If he can lead off, the runs will be there, also.
Leody Taveras started the game off with this loud homer. pic.twitter.com/QPc8u5YcRC
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 20, 2020
Jarren Duran, OF, BOS
So far we’ve looked at prospects whose luster has simmered. Duran, instead, has steadily moved up rankings and looks to have a near-future path to playing time for the Red Sox. Boston has recently moved on from Andrew Benintendi (our trade analysis)
), and Jackie Bradley is a free agent who isn’t being heavily courted to return to the team.
What can we expect? To start out, he has always hit slashing .322/.376/.446 in 2 minor league seasons after going .294/.376/.377 in his 3 years in college. Duran is also fast, as shown by his 70 steals over those 2 years. He has growing power and will score a lot of runs above a strong Boston lineup.
The championship game of Serie del Caribe was scoreless.
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) February 7, 2021
Noah Song, RHP, BOS
Song was drafted in the 4th round in 2019 with Boston knowing he had a two-year commitment to the Navy to fulfill before starting his baseball career. Well, May 2021 is almost here which means Song should restart playing ball very soon. He throws a mid 90’s fastball and has the potential to develop his off-speed offerings going forward. Song has a strong work ethic and the path is there for him to develop into a solid mid-rotation option or a very solid relief option. He could help your fantasy team in a couple of years in either role and if he still available on your waiver wire, make the move now before other owners read about him starting his baseball career.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) November 15, 2019
Royce Lewis SS, MIN
Lewis was the first overall pick in the 2017 draft and has had some success in the minor leagues but, overall, he has slashed .266/.331/.409 in 1,340 at-bats. In the Arizona Fall League at the end of 2019, Lewis absolutely tore it up, though, going .353/.411/.565 with 3 home runs and 5 stolen bases in 22 games. That performance put more helium in his stock. Now which Lewis will show up this year? He has good speed and impressive tools but I’m a believer that the outcome will be lower than the expected result giving us a .270/10/10 type of player. While that’s valuable in deep leagues, you can attempt to get better in a trade with another owner, perhaps.
— Ben Wilson (@TBDubbs11) July 8, 2019
Luis Patino, RHP, TB
When a prospect is traded, there is always a lot of focus on him, especially during slow off-seasons. Being moved from San Diego to Tampa Bay I think has actually hurt his future value. Now bear with me here. Tampa Bay is known for developing their pitchers, obviously, and have a ton of pitching prospects in their system. At the same time, there have been rumblings of Patino being better suited for a bullpen role. So if Tampa’s other pitching prospects continue to develop, will they have the patience to keep Luis in the rotation? With their unorthodox handling of pitching roles, it may be better to let another owner deal with the uncertainty while you move him for a return with more stability going forward. That’s a lot of “ifs” but the savvy owner has to prepare for everything.
Luis Patiño tossed a scoreless frame in his postseason debut. pic.twitter.com/lJTD9iMCOJ
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) October 3, 2020
Cristian Pache, OF, ATL
While Pache will carve out a long career in the majors, I see a player more valuable in real life than fantasy. He is a great defensive player and has good speed but his stolen base success rate is about 60% which is way below the 75% minimum threshold you want to see. His strikeout percentage is also higher than you’d like to see, 20% over his minor league career and 25% in 2019. Coincidentally, I see Ender Inciarte type of numbers in his future, which is by no means a bad career but just more than the hype is building.
— Prospects1500 (@Prospects1500) July 7, 2019
Taylor Trammell, OF, SEA
Trammell fared very well in A ball but his below-average hit-tool was exposed when he reached Double A. He has a nice blend of speed and power but his in ability to control the strike zone will limit his potential. Some owners may still remember how highly touted he was during his Cincinnati days and move more stable pieces in your direction in a trade.
Pro tip: Don’t hit it in the vicinity of Taylor Trammell. pic.twitter.com/Pmjdnx2LC1
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) July 16, 2020
Feel free to comment below or reach out to me on Twitter via @tonybps1 to let me know your thoughts on these players and if there are others I missed for either section.