Like some early critics who didn’t realize Dune was Dune, Part One until they’d been sitting there for a while, Arizona’s front office did not realize they were in a rebuild until they’d been molting for much of 2021. The pandemic hit this team hard. Talented international teeny boppers spent prime development days stuck in the bubble, which didn’t mean they couldn’t cause any trouble. Kristian Robinson struggled–and who didn’t my heart goes out to him–and found himself living life on the highway and wanting to ride it all night long. Baseball futures in search of desert power suffered another spice drought early in 2021 when wunderkind Corbin Carroll got his shoulder sliced in half by a Saudaukar, or separated on a swing. I can’t remember which. Spice is strong in these parts. Let’s breathe it in a little and imagine the possibilities. This is actually a very good system. Don’t mind the monster worm barreling down on us. Let’s just breathe and dream with the sand and wind for a minute.
Format: Position Player | Age on 4/1/2022 | Highest level played | ETA
1. OF Corbin Carroll | 21 | A+ | 2023
The chosen one. What else could we say? At 5’10” 165 lbs, Carroll is the rare Mookie Betts type dynamo who is truly plus everything when the lights go on. He hit two home runs and stole three bases in just seven games in 2021 and projects to be a roto gawd bah gawd whenever he gets off the mat from that season-ending shoulder injury.
2. OF Alek Thomas | 21 | AAA | 2022
Can’t believe this guy’s 21 until April 28. Feels like he’s been in my life since I was born, but that’s mostly because our timelines merged in the sense that I started this gig around the time he started sifting sands on Arrakis. In 106 games across two levels (AA and AAA), Thomas hit 18 homers and swiped 13 bags. He slugged .658 and hit eight of those home runs in 34 games in the late summer at Reno, which does fog the reality to some degree. We’re probably looking at a 15/15 .280 type when he’s firing on all cylinders.
3. SS Jordan Lawlar | 19 | CPX | 2025
The sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, Lawlar might’ve gone first if baseball made any sense. He’s a 6’2” 190 lb righty that nobody has any real questions about, by which I mean everyone who’s ever seen him believes he’ll hit all the way up. He’s also got the physical gifts to help us in all five categories at peak. His season ended, like Carroll’s, with a shoulder injury. Might be a buying opportunity for the patient in this year’s First-Year-Player Draft. This group has received some negative buzz, so I suspect you could move up in the draft with relative ease if Lawlar starts sliding.
4. 1B Seth Beer | 25 | MLB | 2021
The Universal Designated Hitter was made for Beer, in more ways than one. I think he’s a better defender than he appears to be at first glance and a little more athletic than reports suggest, but that might be the beer talking. He too dislocated his shoulder this year, but his injury happened in September, so he’ll miss the off-season, in the body-sculpting, swing-developing sense. He played well in AAA last year, slashing .287/.398/.511 with 16 HR and a 17.5 percent strikeout rate in 100 games. Feels like a moving target at the moment, trying to get any kind of read on what we’ll see from Beer as a big leaguer. I’m feeling optimistic at the moment, but it’s hard to separate that from the fact that I think now is a good time to buy in while the general murmur around Beer is lukewarm.
5. OF Kristian Robinson | 21 | A | 2023
The saga of K-Rob should reach some kind of turning point in the coming months. We won’t know how the mental health piece is coming along, but we should find out by next Spring if he can play baseball while on probation for assaulting a highway patrol officer.
Click here for the story from beat writer Nick Piecoro.
At his best, Robinson is a plus-everything athlete who looks born to play the game. He’s a 6’3” 190 lb wide receiver type who rotates like Luis Robert, who makes for a decent fantasy comp. Outfielders with 30/30 topside come along less often than big budget films as good as Dune, so if you’re in a long-term rebuild or have the roster space and patience to wait, Robinson could provide real desert power to the believers.
6. 3B AJ Vukovich | 20 | A+ | 2023
At 6’5 210 lbs with a puncher’s chance to stay at third base, Vukovich is a better fantasy prospect than a real-baseball list might indicate. He’d be a slow-footed left fielder or a right-right first baseman if he can’t hang at the hot corner. Or, you know, a DH, in a less ludicrous world. His double-plus power brings with it some strikeouts, but nothing egregious for a guy much younger than his competitors. On the season, he slashed .272/.320/.446 with 13 HR and 16 steals. Traded some power for contact at High-A, where he was 3.8 years younger than the average but hit .298 with 3 HR in 30 games. I wouldn’t be surprised if he opens the season in AA about half a decade younger than the average player there.
7. LHP Blake Walston | 20 | A+ | 2023
I might have Walston higher than his outcomes merit for a while because lefties with his level of stuff tend to become aces if they actualize, and Arizona has been aggressive with his assignments, getting him to the precipice of AA as a 20-year-old, where I suspect he’ll open 2022 after holding his own for 52.1 innings at High-A (4.13 ERA, 1.30 WHIP). When I let the dream sizzle, I can imagine the curveball becoming a dominant pitch paired with a fastball he’s spotting across the top of the zone, something like a 55 percent fastball, 35 percent curve nasty mix with 10 percent change. He’s young enough that he could go any number of paths, aided by the fact that he’s 6’5” with good extension and balance in his delivery.
8. RHP Drey Jameson | 24 | AA | 2023
All Jameson’s pitches are good. His curveball is plus, and he makes the most of his 6’165 lb frame in that all his stuff tunnels well together. He’s athletic in his delivery and repeats well enough that we can expect his command to improve across time. His 35.1 K% in 46.1 innings at AA is encouraging, as is the 25.8% K-BB rate. He might always be a bit homer-prone thanks to his height and attack angles.
9. RHP Ryne Nelson | 24 | AA | 2023
Don’t let the ranking here fool you: I’m way into Ryne Nelson, and not just because my mom was a big Ryne Sandberg fan, and I read his autobiography during a series of detentions when I was in junior high, but also because Nelson was a two-way player at Clemson, and it’s easy to see that athleticism manifesting in continued development on the mound throughout his pro career, when he has much more time to focus on the singular, intricate craft of pitching. He throws in the high nineties and gets easy whiffs atop the strike zone, as demonstrated in his 32.9 percent strikeout rate across 77 innings in AA.
10. 3B Deyvison De Los Santos | 18 | A | 2025
A 6’1” 185 lb right handed hitter straight out of central casting, De Los Santos might’ve gotten scooped up in your deepish dynasty leagues last year, particularly if transactions remained open through September. Over his final 22 games in full-season A ball, De Los Santos hit .315 with 3 HR and 1 SB–nothing to blow your top about but enough to lock in an impressive debut season in which he slashed .295/.370/.489 slash line with 8 HR and 3 SB in 62 games across two levels. Good time to buy if you can.
Next six because they matter to our game and all have a case to be higher on the list:
11. RHP Bryce Jarvis | 24 | AA | 2023
12. OF Stuart Fairchild | 26 | MLB | 2021
13. RHP Slade Cecconi | 22 | A+ | 2023
14. SS Geraldo Perdomo | 22 | MLB | 2021
15. RHP Luis Frias | 23 | MLB | 2021
16. 3B Manuel Peña | 17 | NA | 2026
Thanks for reading!
I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.
Thanks Itch, best in the biz.
What are your thoughts on Elijah Dunham tearing up the AFL? I’d normally chalk it up to small sample but that K-to-BB is outrageous!
I’m encouraged. Showed a lot of confidence in himself in signing when he did, and I think that’s in his approach at the plate too. Always better to hit than struggle.
Signed up for a free, fantrax, 4×4, dynasty, 45-round draft, keeper league with 15 minor league slots and 8 injury slots. Draft is 4-hour slow clock, starting this Monday (Nov. 8).
Four=OBP, RC, TB and SB!!
Four=K/9, sv+h, QS and WHIP!!
1. There will be a 30-round draft for the MLB roster. Anyone without a green flag at draft can be taken in this part.
2. There will be a separate 15-round MiLB prospects draft.
3. NO WAIVER WIRE LIMITS AND NO MAXIMUM INNINGS PITCHED, JUST MINIMUM 1000 IP.
a. Soto must be #1 overall, right?
b. I pick 8th. Trout in 8 is good or just wait for the best?
c. Any main strategies regarding drafting SP? I’m going to hit Burnes, Woodford and Peralta hard in this format.
d. Prospects strategy.
1. My top 6 prospects with MLB experience
Cruz at 77 is not TOO early right?
2. My top 21 MiLB only experience prospects
Appreciate all and any advice!
My thoughts on the pitching is to punt QS to some extent. Nice to have anchors and all, but this looks like 3 RP categories and 1 SP category.
That in mind, I’d be focused on great hitters and scraping dominant relievers late, regardless of role. OBP is a tough category to catch up on. I do think Soto is first here.
If the minors spots are fluid, like a guy can be in your active lineup one day and back in the minors the next, I’d keep a sharp eye out for Camilo Doval types who can flex in and out to extend your functional roster.
I suppose the 1000 minimum curbs the QS punt to some extent, but not entirely. I think you can get there rolling active RPs on a daily basis.
I suspect all those Crewers would be too spending for me. How many teams are in this thing?
On the prospect side, even moreso than in a 15-team dynasty, I’m collecting stolen base threats. Making them one of eight categories boosts their value into the stratosphere bc a good stolen base threat who’s good in the other three categories (Jose Ram) will be gold.
Thoughts on Perdomo? Taking up the last minor league slot on my roster. Worth hanging on to?
Not if you can get some upside with that spot, ideally a fast-rising type like Milwaukee OF Joey Wiemer.
Perdomo just doesn’t offer much upside as his game is presently construed.
Did you watch Dune recently? Lol
Yes, twice : )
The Diamondbacks have some really nice prospects. I know they have the 2!nd pick, but do you see them actually passing on guys like Jung, Jones, Lee, Johnson, Susac, etc. for a pitcher like Lesko?
Who do you see the Marlins targeting at 6?
I’m a Marlins fan haha, but reading the DBacks prospect list made me realize how strong of a future they have but their System is really weak with Pitching Overall unless I’m wrong.
Thanks and keep the lists coming!! Always a great read Itch!!
Yeah I doubt they pass on Jung. They’ve been trying to address the pitching thing since the Zac Gallen trade, but I agree that the #2 pick is not often the place to address a need.
Pretty far out to imagine who they’ll be choosing from, but I think the Marlins would be happiest with bats on the board.