Dynasty Divorces: Michael Kopech and Victor Victor Mesa
This is the fifth installment of Dynasty Divorces! Every year, fantasy baseball websites release their Top 100 Prospects lists. In this series, Brett Cook (@beautyofgrace32) and Taylor Case (@TCasesLoaded) will both highlight one player who they see dropping on these lists. Keeping a highly coveted prospect too long could lead to you feeling regret for not ending things sooner. With each highlighted player, we will advise on what to do with that prospect. Follow us on Twitter and send us a message if you want to further discuss these guys! You can also contact us if you think of someone we haven’t covered that fits the criteria.
In case you are stumbling upon this series for the first time, here are the players we have highlighted in our previous articles:
Let’s get to it!
Michael Kopech, Age: 24: SP, Chicago White Sox
Analysis by: Brett Cook
Here is a riddle for you today. What do a Tommy John surgery and a pandemic have in common? Michael Kopech. The last time Kopech pitched was on September 5th, 2018. Kopech was just enjoying his cup of coffee in his fourth start that year, when he suffered the Tommy John injury. After missing the 2019 season due to injury, Kopech then decided to opt out of the shortened COVID season in 2020.
Kopech made his MLB debut on August 21st in 2018 as a starter. He looked impressive in each of his three starts. Kopech looked really dominant in his three August starts, as he gave up only one earned run in eleven innings. He finished the month with a 1.09WHIP and in his second start he went 6IP and only allowed 1ER, earning his first major league win. In his next appearance, though, Kopech gave up 9 hits, and seven earned runs, four of those hits coming on the long ball. Sadly, the damage didn’t end in the box score for Kopech, as it was reported he suffered the Tommy John injury in that same game.
We are now a few years past his injury, and when you don’t see someone play for two straight seasons, you need a reminder of what was there and what could be. Kopech has been in the Top 20 of lists since 2017. His repertoire features a 65 grade slider and an elite 80 grade fastball. He also throws a curveball that projects to be average along with a 50 grade changeup as well.
According to the websites we track, Kopech made the same amount of lists in 2019 as he did in 2020, but in taking his average rank on both years, there was a slight fall for Kopech. Some sites obviously loved the cup of coffee enough that even with the injury they kept him in their Top 20, but others opted to keep Kopech out of the Top 20 in light of that injury.
VERDICT – DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT, KOPECH
It will be interesting to see what prospect producing websites will do with Kopech on their 2021 lists. We may see a drastic fall on lists for Kopech this year, and if that happens, you need not be afraid. The talent is there. Find the owner of Kopech in your league and strike up a trade conversation. After a little friendly discussion on potential trades, try to add Kopech on their end and see where things go. If Kopech is on your dynasty roster then be patient. His time will come.
Victor Victor Mesa, Age: 24, OF, Miami Marlins
Analysis by: Taylor Case
I’ve been interested in Victor² since 2018. After slashing .354/.399/.539 with 40 stolen bags and generally slaying the game in Cabana in 2017, he was signed by the Marlins (along with his talented brother Victor Mesa Jr.) for $5.25 million and immediately slotted in as a top prospect on the Miami farm. Since then, we’ve seen an unfortunate decline, both in production and prospect rankings across the industry. Considered by many sites to be a top-100 pick and even as high as top-40 in 2019, he was left off of quite a few top-100 lists in 2020 and I’ve yet to see a 2021 list with his name on it.
So let’s break this down. We know that the Marlins made a considerable investment in Mesa’s potential impact, and I think that definitely works in his favor as far as playing time goes. We also know he’s an excellent center fielder with quite an arm, two qualities that every team should crave. The problem for Mesa over the last few years has been his bat. His ability to hit for average and even slam a couple dingers was obvious in Cuba, but over the last few seasons, his hit and power tools have fallen off a cliff. In fact, while researching his stats on Baseball Reference, I was shocked to see that he’s hit only two, yes two, professional homers since 2017. His average also dipped to .241 over that span, including the Fall League in 2019.
If you had asked me back in 2018 if he had the potential for prime Dee Gordon-esque fantasy production with maybe a lower average, I would’ve given an emphatic yes. That still may have been a stretch, but if you’d squinted, you could have made an argument that the high-average, high-steal, potential gold-glove profile was lurking in there, waiting to be unleashed on the NL East. At this point, however, he’ll need to find a new approach at the plate to make any sort of big-league impact, because as we know, offense drives the game these days. Here’s to hoping the instructional league and offseason can provide the support he needs to get back on track for 2021.
VERDICT – THIS BED’S GETTING A LITTLE CROWDED
I’m hesitant to say that Mesa is an immediate drop in the dynasty leagues, but he’s not far off from that verdict. After a flurry of moves from the Marlins since Derek Jeter took the helm, he’s now buried in a crowded system that now includes the likes of JJ Bleday, Monte Harrison, Jesús Sánchez, and Jerar Encarnación, not to mention his brother, who was even ranked above him on MLB.com’s prospect rankings. I have a bad feeling that he has the immediate ceiling of a bench bat, or worse, simply a defensive replacement. I suggest entertaining all trade offers this offseason or targeting that Marlins fan in your league who’s still willing to take a chance on the steals upside.
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