Prospect Spotlight: Daulton Varsho
Thanks for checking out my very first delve into the world of fantasy writing. As Jeff, always asks "Do you have anything intelligent to add?" Well, when it comes to fantasy baseball and especially prospects, hell yeah I do!
This short season is going to require a lot of outside the box thinking. There is no way to predict what player is going to opt out next, or who is going to test positive for Covid-19. Heck, even a strained calf could cost a player nearly half the season. We're going to have to be creative and stay ahead of the curve. Throughout my 20+ years of playing in dynasty and keeper fantasy leagues, I've always had the knack for utilizing prospects to help me win. Today we dive head first into the first one for 2020: Daulton Varsho.
Varsho, who comes from a family of baseball pedigree, is a 24 year old catcher who comes in at 5"10" 190 lbs. My key scouting grades, on the 20-80 scale, are a 60 hit tool, 55 run, and 50 power. Varsho was drafted in 2017 and shown growth year over year, moving up at least one level every season. With a smooth, short stroke, he figures to be able to land a role this year with the Arizona Diamondbacks, especially with the institution of the universal DH for 2020.
Varsho improved his strikeout rate from 2018 from 26.9% to 13%. You will hear me say it a lot, I LOVE the guys that put the ball in play. Learning to go the other way with 32% of batted ball events going to left field leads me to believe the career .301 average he has earned in his minor league career is sustainable.
In his breakout 2019 108 game season in the AA Southern League, Varsho absolutely mashed, putting up a line of 58 RBI, 85 RUNS, 18 HR and the oh so sexy 21 SB behind a .378 OBP. The progression is a little reminiscent of J.T. Realmuto, who is now the clear cut C1 in every format. In this crazy environment that is 2020, if you can get even 5 SB from your catcher, you're golden.
The biggest holdup on Varsho is whether or not there is enough defense to stick behind the plate. The organization would like him to stay, as his athleticism produces above average blocking and receiving, but the catch and throw is below league average. He is also blocked by Carson Kelly who is under team control through 2023. He has shown an ability to handle CF, which along with the DH should give him a chance for some solid at bats in 2020. This year's service time rules will result in him being inactive for at least the first week, but he is an easy add for me as he is basically undrafted. Stash him in your later rounds, he will be a solid C2 for you this year with top 10 upside at the position next year. Just keep in mind 2021 might be the last year he retains his catcher eligibility, although I think in dynasty formats his bat will still play no matter the position.