This post picks up where we left off Sunday when I posted the Top 25 Outfield Prospects for Dynasty Fantasy Baseball in 2022. While we’re here, I might as well include a quick link to all my work this off-season: 2022 Fantasy Baseball Prospects, the Minor League Preview Index. It’s been fun to explore the game system by system then position by position. Starting pitchers are coming up next, followed by relievers in one of my favorite articles to build every year (I’ve been working on it for weeks) before we ring in the new minor league season with a fresh list of Top 100 prospects. Can’t wait! This particular list could’ve gone on forever (in the sense that “forever” refers mostly to a pretty damn long time), but I stopped at sixty to avoid overstaying my welcome (I hope). If someone you expected to see isn’t on here please drop a line in the comments section.

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A few years ago, I joined a CBS dynasty league in motion one year after it had begun. The team owner quit mid-April after some sort of rules dispute. My entry fee was paid. I started trading. I cannot remember all the moves because I am an incrementalist on the market, for the most part. I do remember trading Yu Darvish and more for a High-A hitter named Juan Soto, which made someone else quit the league, so foolish was I to have done so. Soto got promoted to AA shortly after that, played eight games there, then jumped to the major leagues. 

This is not what I came here to discuss, but it’s hard for me to think about that league without rolling through its gruesome history. I joined in 2018, won the league in 2019, and it dissolved before 2020. I loved the team I’d built there by buying early on Soto and Tatis (two of my first three trades). 2021 would have been a blast. But I gained a ton from that league. I know to pump the brakes sometimes if my play style is tilting a league, for one thing. But most importantly, I learned the value of collecting impact outfielders. When I looked around to add speed or outfield help, I always came back to the same team because they had all the upside. Their minor league system was just outfielders with some shortstops sprinkled in. Every single guy had speed. And I learned something: Power/speed combo outfielders are a finite resource. 

No shit, right? Well, if we have a look around the prospect lists, we’ll find corner bats everywhere. Speed-free profiles are everywhere. Pitchers and catchers are everywhere. I’m not saying they have no place; I’m just saying it’s easy to wind up with a team peppered with all sorts of players. Might even be preferable. Not so easy to hold ten of the best power-speed outfield prospects at a given time. If you can pull that off, you’ll be on the rich-folks side of the supply/demand curve. Thus far, I’ve found the strategy a bit less profitable in practice than in theory because the people who aren’t focused on speed tend to want it cheap, and the people who collect speed already have enough to get by. That’s fine though. I’ve been running away with the stolen bases category in my four dynasty leagues for years now, and I’ve cashed in all four, so even if I’m not regularly charging rent on Boardwalk anytime someone wants stolen bases, I’m ringing the register in other ways. 

That intro got long in a hurry. Always dangerous when a writer veers anywhere near their own leagues, I think, but here’s hoping we came through it okay and that it made connective sense to the focus point today: Outfielders: What do they steal? Do they steal things? Let’s find out.

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Some of these guys will have to move off the position, either because they’re blocked by a star-level regular or because they lack the hyper-elite twitch, reflexes, hands and arm required to make it as a big league shortstop, but for the most part, these guys will man their middle infields for the next decade or so. Some dynasty league veterans build minor league rosters populated almost exclusively by shortstops and outfielders. Solid plan, really. Shortstop might be the game’s deepest position at the moment, and it’s only getting deeper. 

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Dynasty drafts come in several shapes and sizes. Some leagues break the player groups into veterans and prospects. Some leagues let you draft 34-year-old relievers right alongside 16-year-old little brothers. I don’t really have a favorite way to cut it up. I just love the game. Though I will say the Razz 30 has something special going on with a prospects-only draft and a vets-only auction that becomes, at its core, a bums-only auction. It’s about two weeks of slow-bidding Steven Brault up to $21, and it’s a treat like few others in the fantasy realm. Jose Martinez once sold for $96. Michael Pineda went for $62. Zach Davies for $36. Two of those are purchases of mine! The fun never ends! Well, except when you ask MLB owners if they’d rather make money or take all the different balls and go home.

Anywho, I’ve broken this year’s First-Year-Player Draft rankings down into tiers and included some snippets about where my head would be during those spots on the draft board.

You can find most of these guys in the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Prospects, Minor League Preview Index

If not, feel free to drop a question in the comments so we can talk some baseball, pass the time.

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Thirty third basemen thumping? What is this the Twelve Days of Christmas?

Well, yes and no. The gifts in that song, except for the golden rings, seem awful, and the third base position has gone down something of a  barren road the last few seasons. Vlad Jr. wound up at first base. Nolan Arenado wound up in St. Louis. He’s still fine, and Anthony Rendon is still good, probably, when healthy, and there’s still elite bats at the top, but in general, this position needs a talent infusion from a fantasy baseball perspective, and it might be about to get just that. Are there five golden bats in this group? We’ll have to peel our way to that truth one day at a time. 

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Last week in the Top 20 First Base Prospects for 2022 Fantasy Baseball, I dubbed first base the Island of Misfit Toys for its tendency to collect prospects who fail out of other positions. 

Welcome to the sequel! It’s untitled at the moment, so chime into the comments if you’ve got thoughts. Once upon a time, a guy had to be pretty quick to handle the keystone, but advances in defensive positioning have mitigated that need for speed and opened the spot to some slow-moving bats looking for a place to sit and wait for their turn to hit. 

If a guy is a plus defender at shortstop, like CJ Abrams in San Diego, I left him there for the purposes of this list. I know he’s blocked and likely to play somewhere other than short, but he profiles as a plus defensive player at the infield’s toughest non-catching position, so he’s earned that spot. Some of the guys here can still hack it at shortstop, but they’re trending toward a future elsewhere on the diamond.

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Welcome to the Island of Misfit Toys!

That wannabe dentist elf is plucking the bumble’s teeth in the igloo over yonder. Rudolph’s in the corner puking his guts out (crying his eyes out). Except igloos don’t have corners. 

And just like the Island of Misfit Toys, First Base Archipelago seems like a pretty cool place to end up after a journey around the diamond looking for a place to fit in. Players wash up here for any number of reasons. Sometimes it’s just a depth chart issue. Cody Bellinger, for instance, could play anywhere in the outfield. More often, it’s a last-chance stop for players who’ve proven themselves below replacement level everywhere else on the field. If they hit enough to keep their head above water where bat-first prospects go to drown, they can find their way home in time for the big Christmas party at the end of the movie/season.

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Like much of the Reddit world, I’ve been thinking a lot about the show Yellowjackets this week. At its core, Yellowjackets is a wilderness survival show hinting at cannibalism while juggling multiple timelines. It’s a lot like dynasty baseball leagues that way, which is where we’re going today: into the wilds of dynasty baseball strategy to hunt and gather six tips to survive and thrive. 

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Some great prospects are about to find a home on the Rangers. I wrote about their future at some length back on December 1 after they’d signed Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Jon Gray and Kole Calhoun. Click here if you’d like to mosey through their organizational outlook in Prospect News: Texas Rangers Wrangle a Future For Their Jung

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Don’t tell anyone I said this: I like this system for our game. It features pieces of all shapes and sizes, most of them cheap for us. The ones who should be rostered in dynasty leagues mostly aren’t, while several players who probably shouldn’t be rostered are. It’s an odd assortment of talent, and I had a lot of trouble trimming this list down to ten, balancing the old-for-level, close-to-the-majors types with the distant-upside teeny boppers. In line with my typical play style, I erred toward the near term partly because opportunity should abound in Oakland over the next couple seasons. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?