Brendan Tuma’s Prospect Report: Jarred Kelenic, Vidal Brujan, Hunter Greene (2021 Fantasy Baseball)
We’re deviating from the norm this week. So far this season my prospect reports have featured a table that highlights my up-to-date top-20 prospects for fantasy baseball purposes. I always include some other news and notes, including one player trending up and one trending down.
However, due to the start of the minor league season last week, there are simply too many developments to cover this week. Therefore, every now and then I’ll mix up the typical format in order to cover a wider array of notable prospects. This week I’m focusing on players off to hot and cold starts.
I could go on and on gushing about how exciting it’s been to monitor minor league box scores again, but doing so would only take away from the time I have to cover as many names as possible below. Without further ado let’s get started.
Reminder to reach out with questions on Twitter anytime – @toomuchtuma.
Prospects Starting Hot
Jarred Kelenic (OF – SEA)
Obviously we need to start with the Golden Boy. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Monday night that the Mariners are expected to call up Kelenic for the start of Thursday’s home stand. It’s a wildly exciting prospect promotion — arguably the most hyped arrival since Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in 2019. A legitimately elite hitter (power, patience, hit tool), the 21-year-old projects as a five-category contributor both in the immediate future and long-term as well.
Jarred Kelenic's Triple-A team (Tacoma) is based in Washington, same as Seattle
Tacoma is home right now and has an off day on Wednesday, then a road trip
The Mariners, currently on the road, return home on Thursday
I bet Kelenic never leaves Washington and we see him Thursday
— Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma) May 10, 2021
Vidal Brujan (2B/OF – TB)
Tampa Bay’s “other” top prospect, Brujan has always been a burner (he swiped 55 bases in 2018 and then 48 in 2019). Speed is a rarity in fantasy baseball these days, so Brujan was already someone to monitor in dynasty leagues. However, an early-season power eruption for Triple-A Durham has me thinking we’ll see him sooner rather than later. Maybe even before Franco? Brujan already has four homers through his first six games. His positional versatility could also fast-track his arrival in the big leagues, as Brujan has been playing second base in addition to all three outfield spots. Already 23 years old, the switch-hitting speedster could skyrocket up prospect rankings if this power display continues.
Hunter Greene (SP – CIN)
The No. 2 overall pick in 2017, Greene was hyped as a two-way player coming out of high school. The Reds decided to proceed with him as a pitcher, but he struggled early on before undergoing Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for all of 2019. The 21-year-old regained his triple-digit fastball velocity at the alternate site, which led Cincinnati to assigning him to Double-A this spring. In his first start Greene totaled 37 fastballs over 100 mph, which is a new record. He still needs to work on the verticality of that pitch, but it’s a number that is impossible to ignore. Through his first 10 innings the right-hander has a 15:1 K:BB. He might still be available in your dynasty league. Go add him.
Jarren Duran (OF – BOS)
Boston’s seventh-round pick from the 2018 draft was arguably the biggest “winner” of prospect coverage over the past calendar year. We obviously didn’t have stats to track, but all reports were suggesting that the speedy outfielder had undergone a swing change that dramatically increased his power. Savvy dynasty league players were hopefully able to reap the rewards. Following an 0-for-11 start to his Triple-A debut, Duran has three multi-hit games over his past four contests. He also has three homers during this span, including two on Tuesday afternoon. The Red Sox want him to get a meaningful number of games in Triple-A, so I’m not anticipating a big league callup until June, but the power/speed combo will certainly play for fantasy purposes.
Two homers for Jarren Duran in the first ever home game of the Woo Sox?
You love to see it pic.twitter.com/UR7DVTZSIz
— Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma) May 11, 2021
Alek Manoah (SP – TOR)
While Nate Pearson gets all the headlines, Manoah might be the difference-making SP to come out of Toronto’s farm system this season. A former first-round pick, the 23-year-old shined in his season debut against the Worcester Red Sox. Manoah piled up 12 strikeout over six scoreless innings, allowing two hits and not walking anyone. He’s someone to aggressively target in dynasty leagues before the entire industry catches up to what might be happening. Similar to Duran, Manoah looks like a prospect who greatly improved his stock while things were quiet over the past year. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in the majors after 2-3 more starts in Triple-A.
Corbin Carroll (OF – ARI)
20 years old and dominating in High-A, Carroll is a player I am having serious FOMO over not rostering in any of my dynasty leagues. Known for his innate understanding of the strike zone, Carroll’s approach at the plate is considered mature beyond his years. He’s undersized physically but the combination of his hit tool, plus speed, on-base ability, and excellent makeup peg him as a future All-Star leadoff hitter. Carroll is off to a roaring start through the first week of action, going 10-for-23 with two homers, six walks, three steals, and nine runs scored. I anticipate a quick promotion to Double-A.
Prospects Starting Cold
Spencer Torkelson (1B – DET)
It isn’t time to panic over most prospects off to slow starts, but I certainly wish that Torkelson had hit the ground running. Last year’s No. 1 draft pick was considered an extremely polished hitter coming out of Arizona State, but he’s 3-for-22 with an 11:4 K:BB ratio to begin his time in High-A. It’s slightly more concerning when you factor in that Torkelson also struggled in spring training, but we’re still working with small samples right now. Currently, I’m not worried.
MacKenzie Gore (SP – SD)
Okay, so this might be the one I’d be willing to sell in dynasty leagues due to a “slow start”, but there are reasons to be worried about Gore dating back to last summer. After eviscerating High-A in 2019 we were all ready for Gore to debut in 2020, especially since the Padres were contending. But the big league promotion never happened. We eventually learned that the lanky southpaw was struggling with the consistency of his delivery, and thus, his command. Those issues carried over into spring training and now to his Triple-A debut. Gore allowed three runs and five hits in four innings of work. Many still view him as the No. 1 pitching prospect. I’m looking to trade him for someone like Logan Gilbert of any top-10 hitting prospect.
Daniel Lynch (SP – KC)
It’s been a horrendous start to Lynch’s major league career, having allowed 11 runs on 11 hits and five walks in just 5 1/3 innings. He struggled with control and hard-hit balls in his debut against Cleveland. In his second start against the White Sox, Lynch was absolutely obliterated. It’s worth noting that Chicago is crushing southpaws this season, but the painful box score results could nonetheless be an indicator that Lynch isn’t ready just yet. After all he has yet to pitch above High-A despite being 24 already. The talent is still evident and the pedigree is there, which makes him a buy-low in dynasty.
Assorted News + Notes
- It’s no secret that the Blue Jays have a plethora of position players in their system, including at the big league level. Therefore, I’m fascinated as to where Austin Martin winds up. Through six games he has played center field four times and shortstop twice. I’m betting he’s an outfielder when he gets to the majors.
- Kristian Robinson is still in his native Bahamas due to a visa-related legal issue. He was involved in an incident with a police officer during quarantine last year. There were some mental health concerns stemming from this as well. You can read more about it here. The main hope is that Robinson gets the help he needs and can return to Arizona’s farm system as soon as possible, but the loss of development time needs to bump his down rankings.
- Brewers OF Garrett Mitchell had a strong spring training but suffered a muscle strain in his left leg once the minors began. Luckily it isn’t expected to be a long-term issue.
- Francisco Alvarez is a 19-year-old catcher in the Mets system with a fantastic 9:3 BB:K ratio to begin the year. He’s considered an “offensive catcher”, which is obviously good for fantasy. He could rise up prospect rankings as the season moves along.
- Adley Rutschman has 11 strikeouts in 29 plate appearances to open his Double-A tenure.
- Wander Franco has played four games at shortstop and two at second base thus far.
- 19-year-old Robert Hassell is looking like an extremely advanced hitter for his age. San Diego’s first-round choice last summer, Hassell has two homers and four steals through seven games in his pro debut.
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