Happy Thursday, Loupe fam! It’s been a crazy week over here on the Loupe app, but there’s always time to blog about baseball. We only have two divisions left to cover, so let’s take a look at the best rookies to collect on each team in the AL West!
Houston Astros: RHP Bryan Abreu
There were a couple other guys I was considering here — Chas McCormick figures to get plenty of playing time in the outfield as the season goes on, but apparently cards of him just don’t exist. Ronnie Dawson is a promising 2nd round pick out of Ohio State who made his MLB debut this month, but he got sent back down the other day. With all that being said, I’m going to break my rule and go with a pitcher for Houston: Bryan Abreu.
Abreu has made sporadic appearances in the big leagues over the past couple seasons, but he still has his rookie eligibility and is poised to spend the entire season with the Astros. After a disappointing 2020 for Abreu, the 24-year-old came to Spring Training this year as a different and more confident pitcher. His value will likely never be THAT high, but his rookie and prospect autos can be had for incredibly cheap right now. If he eventually cracks the rotation or even sticks as a high leverage reliever those prices will likely only go up, especially if Houston breaks out of their early struggles and competes in the AL West.
Los Angeles Angels: OF Brandon Marsh
I remember I was playing MLB The Show like 2 years ago and I took Brandon Marsh in a fantasy draft because he had A potential. He ended up absolutely raking. That’s not the reason I’m picking him but I thought I’d share.
Anyway, Marsh is the top prospect in the Angels system after Jo Adell graduated last season, and he’s a consensus top 50 prospect in all of baseball. The 23-year-old has hit at every level, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t do the same in the MLB. Once Marsh gets called up his card value is gonna spike, and when he’s a cornerstone of an Adell-Trout-Marsh outfield for years to come there’s no telling where his ceiling is.
Oakland Athletics: LHP A.J. Puk
Two pitchers in one post!? That’s right, but it’s for good reason. When you think of Oakland rookies in 2021, that list absolutely has to start with A.J. Puk. His MLB debut was highly awaited in Oakland ever since he was taken 6th overall in the 2016 Draft, and besides a cup of coffee with the big league club in 2019, 2021 offers Puk his first full chance to make an impact in the show.
The only thing you have to worry about with Puk is injuries, as he was recently placed on the IL with a strained bicep. On its own this is no big deal, but after already missing multiple seasons with injuries in his young career there is reason for concern. IF Puk can stay healthy he absolutely has top of the rotation stuff, and now could be the best time to snag his cards.
Seattle Mariners: OF Jarred Kelenic
The amount of young talent Seattle has in the pipeline is just unfair. They have the 2020 AL Rookie of the Year winner in Kyle Lewis, and the guy I’m writing about today might just win it in 2021 (if they ever call him up).
Of course I’m speaking about Jarred Kelenic, the future superstar that the Mariners famously didn’t call up at the start of the season because he “needed a few more ABs in the minor leagues” and totally not because Seattle was manipulating his service time. Regardless, Kelenic has all the tools to be a star the minute he steps foot on an MLB field, which is backed up by his consensus top 5 prospect status. If you think his cards are expensive now, just wait until him and Kyle Lewis are lighting up the AL for years to come.
Texas Rangers: C Sam Huff
I have a hot take for you all to close out this week’s blog post: some day when you Google “Sam Huff” I believe the Rangers catcher will be the first athlete to come up. By no means am I discrediting the former Giants linebacker who currently holds that honor, I just think baseball Sam Huff can be that good.
To put it simply the going rate on Huff’s cards right now are LOW. I know the Rangers don’t have the most stacked farm system, but Huff is their second highest rated prospect per MLB Pipeline and he swings the bat well at a premium position. In a small sample size last season, Huff slashed .355/.394/.742 and hit 3 homers in 10 games with the Rangers. Why are this guy’s cards so cheap!? If the value rises between the time I write this article and the time it goes live it’s because I went on eBay and bought every last one.