August 10, 2017
Four Prospects to Sell or Hold
You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to run. You never count your prospects, when they’re in the lower levels, there’ll be time enough for dealin, when their development’s done.
Jose Siri, OF, Reds
By now you’ve heard about the record Siri broke. No, not the 39-game hit streak, but spawning the most bad Apple-related jokes in a single day since AirPods were introduced. Siri briefly entered the national (sort of) consciousness with his hitting prowess, but now that his streak is over, you’re likely going to hear about him less. Is now the right time to sell high before his star fades, or do you have a legit keeper on your hands?
First, the full stats: Siri is hitting .295/.339/.524 in 452 PA in Low-A this season. That’s great, but Siri just turned 22, so if you’re looking to nitpick, that’s a solid nit to pick. Speed and defense are the main tools here, but, as you can probably tell from the hitting streak and the slash line, Siri has a solid hit tool, too. His 19 homers and 34 steals to this point overstate his power, but serves as an accurate representation of the type of speed he could bring to the table.
Given Siri’s age and his 23.5 K%, you’d be justified in trying to sell high on Siri right now, especially if someone wants to view him as a top-50 prospect thanks to the hype. That being said Siri isn’t quite a flash in the pan, and he’s not someone you desperately need to try and peddle if your league rosters 100-125-plus prospects.
VERDICT: Sell, but don’t appear desperate
Michael Chavis, 3B, Red Sox
Remember Chavis? A first-round pick of the Red Sox, Chavis was supposed to move fairly quickly for a prep bat thanks to his advanced hit tool, and the power was forecasted to come down the line. Oops. Chavis showed pop as early as his first full professional season, but more than occasionally looked lost at the plate. Add in some injuries, and Chavis’ arrow was pointing down big-time before the season began.
But we give first-rounders more rope than we give other players for a reason, and Chavis is a great example why. In his second stint in High-A and finally healthy, Chavis crushed in Salem as a 21-year-old, mashing to the tune of a .318/.388/.641 line in 250 PA. He’s now 174 PA into his Double-A career, and his line of .280/.333/.554 is perhaps equally encouraging, as he’s cut down on the strikeouts.
Chavis isn’t an elite prospect, and he might have a tough time finding a position if he stays in Boston—he’s not a great third baseman. The bat looks real though, and while Chavis now projects as more of a power-first bat than a hit-tool first bat, his proximity and performance should have him flirting with top-50 dynasty league prospect this offseason.
VERDICT: Hold unless someone knocks your (Red) socks off
Chris Flexen, RHP, Mets
ZOMG, a pop-up Mets starting prospect with a checkered medical past! Where have we seen this before? Flexen was relatively anonymous to all but the most hard core of prospect-lovers (and Mets fans) heading into the season, but he ascended from High-A to the majors in about 60 innings. Is that partially because the Mets rotation has starred in Final Destination: MLB this season? Sure. But it’s impressive nonetheless.
Much of what you need to know about Flexen was covered in this call-up from C.J. Cron enthusiast Jeffrey Paternostro and deceptively handsome gent Wilson Karaman. The TL;DR version: Flexen is a big boy with a big fastball and emergent slider, but if it all clicks he’s more of a mid-rotation asset than a true stud. If it doesn’t all click, well, we could be looking at a late-inning reliever instead. What a unique profile.
Flexen is in the majors now, which adds to his value, but he’s been absolutely shelled in his first three starts. The time to sell high on him could have come and gone already, but if someone wants to bet on him becoming the next Jacob deGrom, feel free to let him go. He might be a top-100 guy, but he’d be near the bottom of the list as a not-altogether-special mid-to-back-end option.
VERDICT: Sell if you still can
Mitchell White, RHP, Dodgers
White received a bit of preseason play, especially when we were asked for sleepers or potential fast-risers. Still, buried behind top-tier talents like Cody Bellinger, Yadier Alvarez, Walker Buehler and Alex Verdugo, he didn’t get a ton of attention in dynasty circles. Frankly, it’s tough to blame dynasty leaguers for this: High-risk, high-upside arms in the mid-minors aren’t exactly memorable.
White is starting to stand out more and more, though. After striking out over 30% of the batters he faced in High-A as a 22-year-old, White has held his own in three Double-A starts. But what we really care about are the scouting reports/notes, and by and large, they’re positive. White might lack premium, ace-level upside, but he’s got a nice repertoire, big fastball and a repeatable delivery. For me, his upside is two ticks higher than Flexen’s. White’s command escapes him from time to time, and he’s got TJ on the resume but, well, he’s a pitching prospect.
Now that he’s in Double-A, White’s ETA is probably mid-to-late 2018. That’s the timeframe a pitcher needs for me to be comfortably really suggesting investing in him, but we’re there with White. He’s probably owned in your league, but he’s not such a big name at this point that that’s a guarantee. If you roster more than 50, or 50 prospects, change that. This MLU from Steve Givarz hints at a pretty nice potential ranking for White this season. Now isn’t the time to include White in a deal unless you’re overwhelmed.
VERDICT: Hold ‘em for sure.