This team features an embarrassment of riches at the major league level 

Churning out home-grown rotisserie monsters at an unparalleled rate over these past few seasons. Even had enough extra pieces to go get Matt Olson when they couldn’t convince Freddie Freeman to stay. Or however that went down. 

After trading for Olson then graduating RHP Spencer Strider, OF Michael Harris and SS Vaughn Grissom, the minor league system isn’t much to look at for our purposes, but that’s sort of irrelevant given the superteam they’ve built at the major league level, and this front office has been so hot for so long that we’d be wrong to leave any stones unturned in Atlanta. 

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The plan for today’s article is pretty complex in its simplicity. I set out to build a championship-level redraft team for 2023 using only rookies from 2022. 

C: Adley Rutschman

C: MJ Melendez

1B: Jose Miranda

2B: Vaughn Grissom 

3B: Bobby Witt Jr.

SS: Oneil Cruz

MI: Jeremy Peña 

CI: Gunnar Henderson

This infield is good. Might not win us the league, but getting steals all around the diamond puts us on a winning path. Not just because speed is increasingly rare but because these steals come from middle-order hitters with power.  

Catcher is a pretty clear win. I suppose the Sal Perez team has a leg-up on you if they’ve got anyone in the C2 spot, but aside from that, we’ve got a top-of-the-scale catching duo. 

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Tis the season to watch the scoreboard. My own teams are fighting down the stretch, and I’m looking their way more often than necessary. I’m hoping to write a postseason piece on my processes and outcomes, but I don’t want to jinx anything by starting early. 

For fantasy tweeters, it’s victory lap season. You might’ve seen a few threads already, typically in a shape like “What’d you get right and wrong this year?” Always worth our time to review the roads that brought us here, so I’ll be hopping back to March 30 to revisit my early season Brash Predictions 2022: Prospects Edition

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Guardians OF Will Brennan fits beautifully onto a playoff roster given his contact-heavy approach and solid all-around game. In 129 games between Double and Triple-A, Brennen slashed .314/.371/.479 with 13 home runs, 20 stolen bases, 69 strikeouts and 50 walks. They probably could’ve used him sooner, which would’ve given him time to adjust before the playoffs. It’s just three games so far, but he’s got three RBI’s, two stolen bases, zero strikeouts and a .364 batting average. 

As most MLB teams have moved ever closer to three-outcome lineups, Cleveland has traveled the opposite path toward roster construction, prizing low strikeout rates and all-field approaches. It’s working, and it could be a deadly brew to the fence-swinging clubs in October. Tampa gets a lot of love for maintaining a winner despite penny-pinching owners, but Cleveland is about to make its fifth postseason in seven seasons, and 2022 feels like the beginning of a dominant run through the AL Central. They’re up eight games ahead of the second place White Sox right now and eleven games up on the Twins. It’s not easy to see how those two bridge the gap next year.

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Oakland called up 3B Jordan Diaz after the 21-year-old slashed .348/.383/.545 with four home runs and a 12.5 percent strikeout rate in 26 games at the level. I love to see it and don’t think we would’ve in previous seasons. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement ain’t perfect, but it’s changing the way teams operate, and I’m feeling oddly thankful right now that we wound up with a full 2022 season that felt mostly like baseball. He started at first base in his first game, and he’ll likely stay there as long as the club keeps Dermis Garcia around. It’s an interesting set of corner men for 2023 redraft leagues. They’ll be starters in their fantasy lineups coming out of the auction in the real deep leagues. 

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With a little more than two weeks left in the season, my home league playoffs haven’t even started yet. We’ve voted to get them moved up, of course. Commish just couldn’t get it figured out, or couldn’t remember to do it. Time went by. People forgot, and here we are, deciding the winner of a 26-week season when all but two or three teams have called it a regular season. Don’t try this at home, if you can avoid it. Another league that’s a little more actively governed has its final set up as the last two weeks of the regular season, and I think it’s generally closer to the rule than the exception for head-to-head leagues to last up until the final day. Few things bother me more than that in our game, partly because my home league has been stuck in this rut forever, partly because it’s so obviously ridiculous. 

If your league is like ours, you know that names don’t matter at all right now. Joey Meneses has been carrying my ten-team outfield of Ronald Acuña, Luis Robert and Giancarlo Stanton. Bobby Witt Jr. has been on my bench for a long time while Luis Rengifo captains a shallow-league infield headed for the postseason. Without these guys, I’d be hurting. Every hot-now bat won’t keep it sizzling, but it rarely hurts to rotate some fresh swingers in if your lineups are scuffling. I know this is Fantasy 101 stuff, but I have to remind myself to go ahead and bench some names every year. 

Dynasty leagues aren’t all that different. You’ve only got so many days left. If you’re in the hunt, you might as well try the Rodolfo Castros and Nathan Eatons of the world. They may not matter for long, but they matter now while Castro is dropping bombs and Eaton is running wild. 

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Brewers OF Jackson Chourio has been promoted to Double-A at the age of 18, which is a little surprising but only because most teams don’t operate this way. Chourio would’ve likely opened next season at Double-A in a lot of organizations after posting a 119 wRC+ in High-A. They just would’ve let him play out the month at the lower level. I like how the Brewers are being aggressive and flexible in trying to keep challenging a player as unique as Chourio. 

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The endless summer of fantasy baseball season is now a three-week, autumn sprint. While our game itself feels faster, dynasty values move slower. Some of us are balancing football and baseball and life. Always forget to make time for that life piece. Some are fighting the fatigue of being more than six months into this game. And never mind that infinite spring of pining for this season that almost wasn’t. Been a long journey, is all I’m saying. Everything inside me is ready to rest. Or at least shift gears to a game that’s less work. On a weekly basis, I can manage four fantasy football teams in approximately 1/1000th of the time it takes me to run a single dynasty baseball roster. But that’s not how the math plays out in The Real, of course. Football feels fresh, so I click over to those pages even if I’ve got nothing to do there. With so many people’s focus points in flux, dynasty baseball players can get good returns for their time invested over these last few weeks. 

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Feels like a rare thing when baseball gets something right. We could build a case against the new CBA, I think, but it would have to be stacked up against an ideal world. In comparison to the collective bargaining agreement that came before it, this one feels like a dream. Every other day, another wave of prospects gets called up, whether to push for the playoffs or just to settle in before next season. 

Red Sox 1B Triston Casas came up a bit later than expected, but that’s partly due to an early slump and an injury that cost him almost two months in the middle of the season. The team calling him up now feels like an indication they hope to open next season with him in the majors despite adding Eric Hosmer’s salary at the deadline. Maybe they can find a dance partner for him this winter. Maybe they intend to use both, but Casas can almost certainly claim an Opening Day roster spot with a warm September. In 40 games after coming off the Triple-A injured list in July, he slashed .309/.416/.537 with six home runs and a 14.6%-to-19.7% walk-to-strikeout rate.

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Houston relievers Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly are scheduled to hit free agency this winter. The pair has 35 saves between them this season. Maybe Houston brings someone back. Maybe they anoint Hector Neris (or Ryne Stanek) the guy coming out of camp. Regardless of what the team does, it’s difficult to envision a scenario that excludes RHP Bryan Abreu from the ninth-inning picture, unless you’re building the scenario around injury or poor performance. Command has eluded Abreu at times, so that’s not out of the question, but you could say the same about a lot of relievers. And just so you know, this whole post idea sprung from the fact that Abreu was available in a lot of my leagues despite looking like an obvious closer in 2023 and beyond. 

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Diamondbacks OF Corbin Carroll was recalled shortly after my last article, Stash List Volume 6, Songs for the Jung in Summerwhich feels like a win for the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The league tried to lead these snakes and birds to water, but it’s just snakes drinking at the moment. Makes sense I guess, for the birds to wait their turn, but snakes don’t strike upward real well. Bird should be able to dip in for a sip, if she’s quick about it. Baltimore is three games out of first wild-card spot, two games out of third, so they’re well within striking distance of any or all three of the teams in front of them. The Sig and Elias braintrust imported from Houston has worked wonders in Maryland. Hot-hitting outfielder Colton Cowser was promoted to Triple-A this week, so the coming storm continues to gather just outside AL-Eastern cities. I just think it makes sense to jump him straight to the majors. I realize Kyle Stowers is ahead of him in the time-served column on the pecking-order spreadsheets, but they could go to him if Cowser falters. I suppose they could just easily do the reverse and might be setting up exactly that. Every day matters for them, and I feel like Cowser is more likely to help a team win games right now than Stowers. I haven’t even mentioned Gunnar Henderson yet. He’s reportedly joining the squad today, so they’ve got that going for them, which is nice. Baltimore could be fun to root for when they stop handling this stretch run in the most cynical way capitalistically possible. I realize this horse has been laying motionless between us for quite some time now, but you know who they could really use in that young lineup? A consistent, patient, veteran bat like Trey Mancini. 

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Sun’s getting real low on stash season

Hope remains its sparkly self in the nooks and crannies of the recent Collective Bargaining Agreement. 

If an organization thinks a young player will break camp on the major league roster in 2023, it has incentives to bring him up in September while he’s in rhythm. Downsides remain, of course, from a player-control perspective, but they’re mostly in the form of injury and marginally compromised roster flexibility, but those always exist. 

Graduated From Stash List Volume 5Miguel Vargas, DL Hall, Kerry Carpenter, James Outman, Cade Cavalli, Will Benson, Stone Garrett.

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