The snakes have a strong system with several waves of help on the way. They have a lot of pieces to sort through and just this week designated OF Stone Garrett for assignment, trading for Kyle Lewis in a separate move that feels connected. Third base could be a platoon between Josh Rojas and Emmanuel Rivera. Roster resource has Pavin Smith penciled in at Designated Hitter, but I imagine that spot’s earmarked for Kyle Lewis or Rivera. Smith slugged just .367 last year as a rag-ball casualty. Lewis would have to get healthy and stay that way to make the lineup, where he could be a key right-handed cog amid a lot of promising lefties. I still think they should find room for Garrett and suspect he’ll clear his own path unless someone else claims him. You just don’t see many weak-hitting teams releasing power hitters who post a 131 wRC+ in their first 27 games as a major leaguer.
1. OF Corbin Carroll | 22 | MLB | 2022
A lightning-quick lefty, the 5’10” 165 lb Carroll calls Mookie Betts to mind for his surprising core strength and plus barrel control. It’s a lofty thought, but Carroll warrants the optimism, cruising through the minors despite losing a season to a major shoulder injury. His all-fields power and double-plus speed helped him to 15 extra base hits in 32 big league games. In 93 games across three levels, Carroll slashed .307/.425/.610 with 24 home runs, 31 stolen bases, 22 doubles and eight triples. I’m not sure how high is too high for redraft leagues, but I suspect his ADP will rise month-over-month from here through April.
2. SS Jordan Lawlar | 20 | AA | 2024
Some sources have Jones above Lawlar, for what it’s worth, but I can’t deny what Lawlar has put on paper so far. He played at four levels, slashing .303/.401/.509 with 16 home runs and 39 stolen bases. He couldn’t keep up that pace for the 20 games he spent in Double-A at season’s end, but that’s no reason to worry. It’s probably good for him in the long run, especially if he comes back strong in 2023. I don’t have all the high school game logs, but I’m guessing Lawlar has never struggled like that for a month. The 6th overall pick in 2021, he’s on a short list of contenders to be the number one overall prospect by this time next year.
3. OF Druw Jones | 19 | NA | 2026
Jones suffered the mandatory D-Back shoulder injury shortly after draft night, when Arizona landed him with the 2nd overall pick. Their top three prospects here all feel like windfall profits. You can make a pretty good case none of them should’ve been on the board, but there they were, and Arizona didn’t overthink it trying to pinch pennies or find the Vitruvian man in the case of Carroll, who was clearly an elite prospect who fell to 16th due to his size. At 6’4” 180 lbs, Jones looks like the 2.0 version of his old man. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say he’s an impressive variation on the young version of his dad, one with more speed.
4. RHP Brandon Pfaadt | 24 | AAA | 2023
If you can see this name without thinking “Pretty hot and tempting,” you have a better mind than mine. The 6’4” 220 lb Pfaadt got better outcomes than anyone could expect from a Triple-A Diamondback, posting a 0.99 WHIP with 74 strikeouts in 61.2 innings. Pitching coach Brent Strom has gotten great results from a lot of arms over the years, and Pfaadt comes gift wrapped with all the bells and whistles, carrying his plus velocity deep into starts and commanding his four-pitch arsenal like a veteran.
5. RHP Drey Jameson | 25 | MLB | 2022
His 6.95 ERA in Triple-A might’ve made someone forget about Drey, but inflated damage is the nature of pitching at Triple-A Reno. It’s unrealistic to expect the kind of numbers Pfaadt posted. Survive and advance, is the lens I’m trying to use with young Diamondbacks, and Jameson didn’t miss his first big opportunity to pitch with the help of gravity on the main stage. His 1.11 WHIP in Arizona was closer to his Double-A self (0.91) than the Triple-A version (1.59), so it’s not like the 1.48 ERA in 24.1 innings came out of nowhere. Jameson’s pitch-mix is lab-built for our game: a double-plus fastball at 95 that thrives atop the zone, a dynamic slider at 85 and a sinker that tunnels so well with both it adds deception to the 6’0” Jameson’s release. When he’s really in rhythm, the changeup flashes plus and provides a finishing weapon. He repeats his delivery well and will be a late target of mine in redraft leagues.
6. 3B Deyvison De Los Santos | 19 | AA | 2024
A powerhouse wunderkind at 6 ‘1” 185 lbs, De Los Santos has been rushed to get here: well below average age for Double-A. His 32.5 percent strikeout rate and .307 OBP should not be graduating metrics for a player who has spent just 38 games in High-A, but it’s a little hard to quibble with bumping a guy up after he hits nine home runs and bats .278 with a 120 wRC+ over that same stretch. For what it’s worth, he did more than double his walk rate and slice his K-rate down to 20 percent in ten games at Double-A. He didn’t hit particularly well, so there’s some fear here that he’ll make power trades to survive the level, but that might not be the worst thing in the long arc of DDLS’s career.
7. OF Jorge Barrosa | 22 | AA | 2024
After hitting 13 home runs and stealing 26 bases in 120 games across two levels last year, Jorge Barrosa feels a little underrated for our purposes. His Double-A slash line is unlikely to wow anyone, but .276/.374/.438 looks pretty good for a 21-year-old against older players, especially considering his 12.7-to-15.7 percent walk-to-strikeout rate, plus speed and solid centerfield defense. Would probably help his outlook to get traded somewhere with a little less depth.
8. OF Wilderd Patino | 21 | A+ | 2025
He’s 6’1” 175 lbs of electrical current running through a ballpark. In 92 games across two levels populated by older players, Patino hit nine home runs and stole 67 bases, slashing .290/.365/.432 with 109 strikeouts and 27 walks.
9. RHP Ryne Nelson | 25 | MLB | 2022
I’m not going full Nelson on Ryne. This ain’t Sandberg, is all I’m saying. I might be low here, but he ended the season with right scapula inflammation, and no sir, I don’t like it. Like Drey Jameson, he pitched much better in the majors than he did in Triple-A. Or at least, the results were much better when he wasn’t pitching on the moon. A 6’3” 184 lb prototype innings eater, Nelson is a good athlete who played both ways in college. His moneymaker is a plus fastball he threw 70 percent of the time in the majors. Probably can’t get away with that, long term. His other pitches are solid, but he’ll probably need to throw the changeup more than the 6.3 percent he did as a D-back last year. Only trouble is he had more control than command in general but especially of his off-speed stuff, but one of Strom’s specialties seems to be off-speed command, so I’m interested here even if I’m not eager.
10. SS Blaze Alexander | 23 | AAA | 2023
Could’ve easily put a half-dozen names here: AJ Vukovich, Kristian Robinson, Dominic Fletcher, Ivan Melendez, Manuel Pena, Blake Walston, Carlos Vargas and more, but Alexander gets the spot for his offensive consistency. Alexander had a 2021 hiccup after the pandemic layoff but has produced above average lines every other time he’s played, culminating in seven good games at Triple-A Reno to close out his 2022. Ironically enough, the 6’0” 160 lb right-handed hitter doesn’t run especially fast, but he picks his spots and could contribute to our cause out of an MI spot. The carrying tools are plate skills and surprising thump with just enough contact skills to let the profile sing. He’s in a tough spot here, with talent bubbling up beneath him and a front office that might seek to add veterans even as it sorts through a glut of high-minors tweener types.
Thanks for reading!
Alright Itch, I’ve got what I think will be a pretty tough one for you to answer. Every year we have a 3-round prospect draft at the all star break. We also allow each owner to protect 3 “prospect” players entering every spring draft, where only players who were drafted in that prospect draft can be kept as a prospect. We also can only keep any of those guys as prospect keepers for two years beyond the year they were drafted (unless we keep them as a “regular” keeper).
I think I have some doozy choices to make. Here are my options:
Hunter Greene (last year eligible as prospect keeper)
Corbin Carroll (last year eligible as prospect keeper)
Eury Perez (one more year after this eligible as prospect keeper)
Jordan Lawlar (one more year after this eligible as prospect keeper)
Marco Luciano (one more year after this eligible as prospect keeper)
I’m so torn. I think Luciano can safely be eliminated. Carroll is the #1 prospect this year, which makes him a lock. You’ve flagged Lawlar as potentially the #1 prospect next year. Eury could be the #1 pitching prospect after Grayson. Greene could be a young Max Scherzer if his development continues, albeit in a bandbox in Cincinnati.
Help me Itch!
Sorry, forgot the other important piece of context. We have to start a rookie hitter and pitcher – they get their own starting lineup spots beyond the others. Not a massive consideration, but it means if I keep Hunter Greene as a prospect, I can’t use him in my rookie spot and I have to draft a rookie pitcher. But I know Eury is may not even get the call at all in 2023, so it’s probably a moot point. But thought the context may help, because high performing rookies makes a big difference.
Just curious about these rankings here. As far as longevity and careers, you believe Carroll and Lawlar are better players than Jones? I play in a dynasty league so when I read rankings, I’m thinking as a dynasty league owner would.
My preference here would be Jones for the long term, but your rankings have him at #3. Based solely on playing dynasty, is Jones still #3 or do you believe he will end up better than the others?
I’ll take the impact big league rookie over the draftee who’s never played a pro game, probably every single time but especially when the rookie is as dynamic as Carroll.
I think some sites fall in love with their draft work and struggle to shake that year over year.
Probably the safer play. But man, with guys like Vlad Jr. and Bichette following in their father’s footsteps, it’s hard to not believe in a guy like Jones. Do I sense some hesitancy in Lawlar? You didn’t mention him. Obviously you believe in Carroll for the long term.
Anyway, I do appreciate the feedback. Puts a better perspective on it for me. Thanks buddy.
BTW, I won’t disagree with your comment about some sites falling in love with their draft work. That’s honestly why I’m asking you the question. A lot of sites are already promoting Jones as the next Julio Rodriguez. Just trying to make sense of it all!
Always happy to chat baseball with you, Harley!
I’m okay with taking Jones over Lawlar because the topside is so dreamy, but it just feels like a risk you don’t have to take.
Lawlar was regarded as perhaps last draft’s best athlete and cruised through his debut season. He might already be two seasons ahead of Jones on the trek to the majors. Jones will have to play incredibly well next season to even remain in the conversation with him. Or Lawlar will have to step back. Jones might be the right pick two or three years from now, but the evidence just isn’t there yet to support that conclusion in my opinion.
Thanks Itch! Always a blast.
Not sure if it’ll let me share a link in here but I took the liberty of documenting your top 100 post-draft update from August because I’m tired of combing the archives looking for it:
1 – Give us a name or two charging up your next list?
2 – I’m in round 3 of a 16-team FYPD. Do you have any sleepers who might still be available at pick 30-something?
Mervis is an easy 40 spots low. Probably more.
Cam Collier feels low.
Context free, I’d go to the free agent pool and sort by “rostered” or “owned” or whatever then sort by ownership change, make sure we’re not missing someone obvious should be on a team.
This is really good work, Itch. No question today. Just want to thank you for your expertise. The dynasty turd I took over at the end of 2019 just came in 2nd place and is built to dominate for five plus years. A big reason for that is your advisement. You’re a huge help, brother!
Nice work! And Godspeed to anyone with the gumption to jump aboard a sinking dynasty ship and start bailing water! (You’ve come to the right place : )
a. Sorry for making my stupid pursuit of something stupid take over. Apologize.
b. Thanks for the report. Super stoked about Carroll. Looking forward to see what 600 ABs looks like.
c. 12-team dynasty, H2H points (each category), daily, 60-man roster (40 man plus 20 minors plus 15 IL slots). Two slow drafts (10 hour clock), first the 40-man then the 20-minors draft. The draft is set for Feb 19 2023, so plenty of time. The categories are as below.
Caught Stealing (CS) -0.5
Doubles (2B) 2
Game Winning RBI (GWRBI) 1
Grand Slams (Sl) 5
Hit For The Cycle (CYC) 10
Home Runs (HR) 4
Runs Batted In (RBI) 1
Runs Scored (R) 1
Singles (1B) 1
Stolen Bases (SB) 2
Triples (3B) 3
Total Bases (TB) 1
Balks (BK) -1
Blown Saves (BS) -2
Earned Runs Allowed (ER) -1
Holds (HLD) 1
Innings Pitched (IP) 3
Losses (L) -5
No Hitters (NH) 10
Quality Starts (QS) 3
Saves (SV) 7
Strikeouts Pitched (K) 1
Walks Allowed (BB) -2
Wins (W) 10
WHIP Ratio (WHIP) 1
My questions? The top 20 in 2022 in this format using this scoring system was
Player, FPts, FPG
Judge, 1102.5, 7.02
Alcantara, 936.11, 29.25
Goldschmidt, 902, 5.97
Jo-Ram, 898.5, 5.72
5 Alonso, 890.5, 5.57
Freeman, 883.5, 5.56
TreaT, 876.5, 5.48
Gerrit Cole, 870.15, 26.37
Darvish, 866.98, 28.9
10 Verlander, 865.43, 30.91
Burnes, 857.81, 25.99
Framber, 856, 27.61
Riley, 854, 5.37
Bieber, 853.87, 27.54
15 Manoah, 850.47, 27.43
Nola, 849.91, 26.56
Machado, 849.5, 5.66
Betts, 847, 5.96
Bichette, 843, 5.3
20 Ohtani, 827.5, 5.27
Who from this list has production that is suspect to dropping off in 2023? The difference between Judge and Alcantara is the difference between Alcantara and 84th placed Wainwright! What Judge did is so awesome. Can he repeat like 90% of 2022? Obviously, pitchers will score more than hitters. Ohtani can have both pitching and hitting stats but if you start him at SP on the day he hits 4 HRs well you lose the 4 HRs.
d. George Carlin quote of the day for November 20, 2022
‘I hate groups of people but I love individuals. Every single person, you can see the universe in their eyes if you’re really looking.’
George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy (HBO, 1997)
d. That’s a wonderful Carlin line. I mean they’re all good, and a lot of them are timely, but dang that’s a nice combo of the two.
I’m betting against a 90 percent Judge repeat. Nola feels volatile among that group.
Hi The Itch,
I look forward to your prospect work every Wednesday and Sunday. The offseason adds and drops are the best time to shop. No rush or lines while everyone else is sleeping until February and March. I already picked up Jackson Merrill and Eduoard Julien in a fairly competitive dynasty league.
Can I pick your brain?
Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanks, joe shmoe!
Nice! Merrill has that rocket-fuel feel.
I guess it’s Stowers. I prefer Garrett as a player, but if I have to choose today, I’ll take the guy who didn’t just get cut.
I like Brito. Feels a bit like a classic Rockies gonna Rocky moment.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!
Your articles bring me joy. Less so now that I have cracked and told my league mates about the FML and all of His domain.
Your P fat blurb got me curious for him specifically what is plus velocity, 95-96? And how deep should he be expected to go at the next level? Two times through with minimal damage (QS) is the goal. He sounds intriguing.
Most importantly, as an M’s fan, it warms my heart to see that KLEW’s next home has a probable home for him. He’s an amazing talent who’s had to overcome so much adversity.
Thanks, NATRONEMEANSBUSINESS : )
I suppose the thing that makes P-fat’s velocity plus is that he holds it deep into his starts. That’s an interesting question. I’d say it varies pitcher to pitcher more than it can be measured by a hard mph number.
I had the same thought about Lewis. Big fan. Just didn’t come together there. Maybe he’ll say healthier in the heat.