The endless summer of fantasy baseball season is now a three-week, autumn sprint. While our game itself feels faster, dynasty values move slower. Some of us are balancing football and baseball and life. Always forget to make time for that life piece. Some are fighting the fatigue of being more than six months into this game. And never mind that infinite spring of pining for this season that almost wasn’t. Been a long journey, is all I’m saying. Everything inside me is ready to rest. Or at least shift gears to a game that’s less work. On a weekly basis, I can manage four fantasy football teams in approximately 1/1000th of the time it takes me to run a single dynasty baseball roster. But that’s not how the math plays out in The Real, of course. Football feels fresh, so I click over to those pages even if I’ve got nothing to do there. With so many people’s focus points in flux, dynasty baseball players can get good returns for their time invested over these last few weeks.
We’d need more grains of salt than most shakers hold to keep Nationals 1B Will Frizzell’s (23, A) season numbers in context. Or maybe we could hop on the magic school bus and head into the cell structure of a single grain of salt. Fact is, Mr. Frizzell’s topside was obscured by the 2020 covid college season. He’s been an elite hitter in the SEC. Was great as a freshman. Slumped as a sophomore. Played okay during his brief junior season then slashed .343/.451/.686 with 19 home runs, 43 strikeouts and 39 walks in 56 games as a 22-year-old senior. He might be old for his level throughout his minor league journey, but the 6’5” left-handed hitter has made a big splash in his first 33 games at Low-A, belting 11 home runs and slashing .371/.423/.705 with 35 strikeouts and 13 walks. One interesting tidbit: he was 2.3 years older than the average-age player at Low-A Fredericksburg after being just 1.1 years older than the average SEC player during his senior season. This, among other reasons, is why college draftees are expected to thrive in the lower minors, meaning this hot stretch from Frizzell won’t put him on most prospect maps by any means, but his easy plus power makes him someone to watch on the opportunity rich Nationals.
Blue Jays SS Addison Barger (22, AA) keeps elbowing his way up the ladder. He’s a 6’0” 175 lb left-handed hitter who will have to make his own space in a crowded organization, particularly around the infield. His lines in A+ and AA are similar enough that we may as well jump to the full season line of .305/.369/.551 with 22 home runs and nine stolen bases in 108 games. He’ll turn 23 in November and seems good to go for Triple-A, which means he’s pretty much good to go for the majors, but he might have to wait in line a while.
Keep an eye on Nationals RHP Mason Thompson. I get asked a fair bit about which pensmen I’m adding, or how I’d rank the game’s top relief prospects, which is awesome. It’s something I take pride in: the way I treat relievers as actual citizens of Prospect World who could help fantasy teams thrive, rather than, I dunno, just flat out ignoring all relievers. I realize that’s not a high bar to clear, but here we are and that’s the bar, and I’m happy to clear it. Simply by taking Felix Bautista and Bubba Thompson in the prospect one mocks, I was way out in front on those league standings before the leagues got deleted. I realize it matters not to dominate a mock draft in a prospect league that will never happen, but it seemed indicative of the general approach around the dynasty game, where time is irrelevant to so many. I prefer to win now and later, if I can manage that. Time is money. I am utterly unmotivated to surrender several hundred dollars while I await my opportunity to strike; thus, guys like Camilo Doval and Felix Bautista and Mason Thompson tend to be on my rankings and radars.
No offense to Kyle Finnegan, who has performed admirably in the closer role during parts of these past two seasons, but Mason Thompson has a 0.66 WHIP and 0.66 ERA across 13.2 innings this season, and that’ll play. He went three innings for the save on September 5, facing just ten batters in an outing so easy-breezy that Thompson was approached by Cover Girl after the game. He’s recorded just eight strikeouts so far, but that will even out, and honestly, I don’t care if he’s a bit light in that category. I just don’t want my relievers hurting my ratios. I’ll take the high-K guy when I can get him, of course, but the lack of punchouts on the baseball card might actually serve to suppress Thompson’s value over the off-season, and I’m here for that.
Red Sox SS Matthew Lugo (21, A+) has been as good as it gets over the past month, pacing his sidewalks and stepping between the cracks while slashing .384/.455/.626 with six home runs and ten stolen bases across 25 games.
Diamondbacks 1B Leandro Cedeno got promoted to Triple-A this week, and while he’s struggled in just four games there, we should have him on our minds for deep redraft leagues next season. He might be catcher eligible in most formats next year, but his path to playing time is probably at first base and designated hitter. It’s crowded in that desert snake pit, but Cedeno slashed .310/.374/.563 with 30 home runs in 109 Double-A games. Some of those home runs are still flying. Thanks in part to the pandemic, Cedeno aged out of the Cardinals system, but he’s shown promise with the bat throughout his career and will be a unique piece as long as he carries catcher eligibility.
Mets 3B Mark Vientos was recalled to replace injured outfielder Starling Marte. The 6’4″ 220 lb former shortstop could probably fake it til he made it in an outfield corner. Manager Buck Showalter values solid outfield defense, so Vientos might be relegated to a short-side platoon option unless he bargers his way into playing time. He struck out 28.6 percent of the time in Triple-A but still slashed .280/.358/.519 with 24 home runs in 101 games. Pretty strong showing for a 22-year-old playing against guys 4.3 years his senior on average.
One quick prospect adjacent note: Yankees OF Miguel Andujar was pretty close to a can’t miss prospect before injuries rendered him closer to a can’t hit free agent floating around in dynasty waiver wires. Might be more noise than signal, but Andujar is hot right now, and New York needs all the hitters it can get.
Thanks for reading!
I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.