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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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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For you dynasty leaguers, September fantasy baseball isn’t just for those trying to secure league titles. Maybe your spot in the standings is fairly locked in and there’s little movement that can be made in 2022, but there’s still plenty of baseball news of interest for you that can help you in 2023 and beyond. […]

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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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Baseball fans are rallying around the new rule set and running numbers to build a case for Arizona and Baltimore to call up Corbin Carroll and Gunnar Henderson, who was reportedly already with the major league team until he was reportedly in the Norfolk Triple-A lineup on Tuesday night. Could still happen if Baltimore keeps winning. Arizona has less incentive to promote Carroll given their place in the standings, but it’s a new rule set. If the Orioles promote Henderson now, he’d still be eligible to win Rookie of the Year in 2023, which would earn the team a draft pick. If he finished Top 3 in MVP voting in 2024, they’d get another. It’s weird. They’d have to keep his at bats under 130, but I’m sure they could manage that.

In other 30,000 feet news, Arte Moreno has hired a firm to sell the Angels for him. He can’t even sell his own team? What the blue hell is going on around here? Which has been the general refrain around the Angels for the past few years. It’s a good thing for our game. Anaheim has been kind of aimless on the developmental side for a long time. Any kind of vision would help their prospects actualize.  

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I was going to copy and paste the whole list here, but then I remembered last time I did that, I had to scroll forever to read the profiles on this group, which is arguably the most important group in the list for our purposes given that they’re the likeliest to be available in the most leagues. Anyway, the links are still here and the most streamlined way to build this out, I think. 

Here’s a link to the Top 25

Here’s a link to the Top 50.

Here’s a link to the Top 75.

 

76. RHP Gavin Williams | Guardians | 22 | AA | 2022

77. RHP Cade Cavalli | Nationals | 24 | AAA | 2023

78. C Tyler Soderstrom | Athletics | 20 | AA | 2023

79. OF Sal Frelick | Brewers | 22 | AAA | 2023

Gavin Williams threw six hitless innings his last time out, bringing his Double-A ERA down to 1.59 and his WHIP to 0.95. That’s in 45.1 innings across 11 starts. WHIP is 0.81 in eight starts since July. Cleveland is somehow getting better at pitcher development, partly because they’re applying their systems to better and better athletes. Williams is 6’6” and 255 pounds but repeats his delivery well. Two plus benders. Double-plus fastball. 

Cade Cavalli is similarly enormous at 6’4” 240 lbs. You could convince he’s three inches taller and 30 pounds heavier than that. Looks like a linebacker pumping high heat with extreme run to the right-handed batter’s box. Bigtime tempo guy. When it’s going well, he’s back on the mound and firing in blinks. When it’s not, his whole game slows down. He’s been awesome for three months (2.12 ERA, 1.02 WHIP since May 22) and would likely be in the majors at the moment if the Nationals were. 

I’ve never been a Tyler Soderstrom pusher. I think he can hit, and I’ll give him the high-probability big leaguer thing, but ours is a game of impact. Standout tools. Soderstrom’s best tool is hit, which is often what you’d like to see, but Oakland is not the best home for a hit-first catcher who might not catch but doesn’t have much speed to handle the outfield. 

Get your money for nothing and your licks for free. Better Call Sal has a 200 wRC+ in 15 games at Triple-A. He’ll be on the next stash list. 

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One of the most popular pickups in fantasy leagues this past week was Atlanta middle infielder Vaughn Grissom. The 21-year old Grissom started off his Braves career with nine hits in his first 21 ABs, including a pair of homers and a pair of doubles while scoring eight runs. Grissom wasn’t of the Blake-Snell-Hates-You mold […]

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