Last year, Vaughn Grissom went 19/32/.320-ish. That’s “ish” because I didn’t feel like doing the math for batting average. Plus, it’s goofy and those aren’t really his stats. Well, they are, kinda. That’s his stats if you combine High-A, Double-A and MLB numbers. Slightly misleading, but *thinking* Is it misleading? Okay, the major leagues aren’t High-A. I get that, but, and here’s when I say anything very controversial: For hitters, are they that different, when a guy is only 21 years old? If a guy is 28 years old in High-A, then his stats mean nothing. But if a guy is 21 years old, then what’s the difference where he’s playing if he can hit in the majors? Once a guy shows he can hit in the majors, then it validates everything that came before, when he’s young. I keep doing that caveat, because it is very important. A guy who is 30 years old hitting well in the minors may or may not transfer to the majors *cough* Joey Meneses *cough*. A guy, who is 21 tearing the ball up in the minors, is just good no matter where he’s going to play. You see it in all the future stars. It’s not the only path. A guy can struggle, then find something that clicks. But when it clicks that early anywhere in pro ball, he’s has got a high ceiling. That the Braves don’t seem to want to bring back Dansby Swanson implies they know it too. I’m only surprised they haven’t yet locked up Vaughn Grissom in a 12-year, 19-million dollar type deal. So, what can we expect from Vaughn Grissom for 2023 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Usually not a “Yankees game watcher” but I became a “Yankees game watcher” over the last six weeks of the season, because of the Aaron Judge home run chase, and then the playoffs, so by being a “Yankees game watcher” I became an “Oswaldo Cabrera watcher,” and, as I became an “Oswaldo Cabrera watcher,” I became an “Oswaldo Cabrera believer,” then, slowly, without even trying, against my better judgment, side thought separated by commas, I became an “Oswaldo Cabrera enjoyer.” As an “Oswaldo Cabrera enjoyer,” I’ve been impressed with his outfield defense, his poise in the box against some of the toughest pitchers, and his power and speed. An “Oswaldo Cabrera enjoyer” isn’t something I expected myself to become, but an “Oswaldo Cabrera enjoyer” I am. Quiz me on him, and you’ll see. Any question you have about “Oswaldo Cabrera” I can prove my “Oswaldo Cabrera enjoyer”-ness with just a flick of the finger, as I scroll the Google. Funnily enough, as an “Oswaldo Cabrera enjoyer,” you don’t get that title by just enjoying Oswaldo Cabrera, you have to enjoy him even while he’s not hitting incredibly well. His stats from last year 6/3/.247; 25.7% strikeout rate aren’t bad, but they’re not exactly affixing a match to the bottom of the earth and setting the world ablaze. Then again, I toyed with the autobiography title “IQ of 70” so what do I know? So, what can we expect from Oswaldo Cabrera for 2023 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Psyche! Before we get into the Oswaldo Cabrera sleeper post, just wanted to announce that I’ve begun to roll out my 2023 fantasy baseball rankings on our Patreon. It’s an early Hanukkah miracle! Or late Hanukah miracle, depending on when Hanukkah is this year. The Jews should really decide on one day to start Hanukah each year, and stick with it. It’s better for branding. Anyway II, the Oswaldo Cabrera sleeper:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Despite trading away everything from last year’s top prospect group, AJ Preller’s cupboards are not bare. He won’t have the talent to make moves for Juan Soto or Josh Hader this summer, but Preller himself is an elite scout who has little trouble adding new waves of gifted young players every year. It’s a skill that builds itself out across time. Preller probably had good vision for the game as a young person, but as a long-time executive who makes more trips to the field than anybody, his eye has been honed the hard way: 10,000 hours at a time. Malcolm Gladwell, eat your heart out. 

One way you know Preller is good is James Wood. Another is Jarlin Susana. How anyone else looked at these guys and said “meh, no thanks” is beyond me, but it’s a complicated game. You can’t just target giants and hope to thrive, but if you do see a giant who happens to move like a meta-human, trust your eyes and run, don’t walk, to add them to your squad. 

This trust-your-eyes talent likely provides him an edge in building a scouting department, too. Talent or skill in a craft doesn’t always equate to skill at teaching that ability, but it’s certainly better than being clueless about scouting and then interfacing with a scouting director. All this is to say I spend a lot of time watching young Padres squads and give the team all the minutes I can find before publication day. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Almost didn’t write this fantasy baseball sleeper post. Not because I don’t like Rowdy Tellez. I like him a lot. I almost didn’t write it because I had written a fantasy baseball sleeper for Rowdy Tellez two years ago and I didn’t really want to go back to the same well, like a shook Baby M. After a good think on the subject, and, after meeting with my spiritual advisors (my dog, Ted), I realized I wasn’t writing Rowdy Tellez sleeper because of him, but because of me, which shouldn’t be a reason to not write a sleeper post. If I need to write a Rowdy Tellez sleeper post every year, then so help me I will write a Rowdy Tellez sleeper every year. Nay, as Fonzie’s horse would say, I will write a Rowdy Tellez sleeper post every day. This will be the winter of Rowdy Tellez sleepers. I, Grey Albright, will make one promise to you in my role as your Fantasy Master Lothario (don’t abbrievate), and that’s to write a Rowdy Tellez sleeper post every day for the rest of my life, if you agree to read it. You don’t agree to read more than one Rowdy Tellez sleeper? Oh, great, then this will be the only one. Also, one other reasons why I felt like I just had to write the Rowdy Tellez sleeper was because of how low he was being drafted and every time I looked up stats for another sleeper, I kept seeing Rowdy Tellez doing as well or better. So, what can we expect from Rowdy Tellez for 2023 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Psyche! Before we get into the Rowdy Tellez sleeper post, just wanted to announce that I’ve begun to roll out my 2023 fantasy baseball rankings on our Patreon. Also, I set up an NFBC league that starts drafting next Monday, but it’s a slow draft, so you don’t need to be by computer all day or anything. It’s a 15-team Draft Champions league, so 50 rounds, 4-hour per pick and no waivers. Draft and hold, as the kids say. If you want to draft against me, click this linkie-ma-whosie. Anyway II, the Rowdy Tellez sleeper:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One thing you notice following the Dodgers’ prospects over the years is that they’re always on time. Some teams are slow to promote their players. Some teams are quick. Los Angeles is typically right on time.

 

1. 3B Miguel Vargas | 23 | MLB | 2022

Over the years, I’ve read a lot of reports that downplay the physicality Vargas brings to the game as a 6’3” 205 lb right handed hitter with baseball bloodlines. He’s not some contact-only, right-center slap-hitter and he’s not a mess on defense. He’s been underrated for a long time in prospect places, and he slashed just .170/.200/.255 in parts of 18 major league games. but his time is coming. The plate skills have always been elite. He’s struck out somewhere between 8.1 percent and 26 percent in all his extended stays: seven levels across four seasons. He’s settled in around 15 percent the past two seasons in Double-A and Triple-A. In 113 AAA games, he walked 71 times and struck out 75, slashing .304/.404/.511 with 17 home runs and 16 stolen bases. The team could bring Justin Turner back for another year or so, but that’s probably not the right play for where they’re at as an organization. They don’t need Turner to make the playoffs or probably even to win the division. Vargas turned 23 last week. There’s no reason for him to play any more minor league games.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Monday starts the sleepers on the site. Thank forkin gawd, amiright? On Patreon, I’m starting the rankings. Holy schnikes! The best Black Friday sale ever! You’re giving a discount? No, Random Italicized Voice, I’m just saying Black Friday sale because everyone else is. Ah, very cool.

So, the Houston Astros got a bad rap for, uh, rapping on a trash can. I get it. Think it’s pretty unfair, since everyone has tried to cheat. The “Yankees Letter” from Manfred couldn’t have been more ignored by The Sportswriters. People are fatigued by the cheating scandal. Fatigue is pronounced fay-tee-gay, it’s Italian. I get it, I don’t want to talk about it, after apparently talking about it. All I wanted to say is Astros seem to not get the respect they’re due in fantasy, and I think it’s because people are biased, whether consciously or not. The Astros’ pitching staff, for unstints, have they ever had a bad pitcher? Trying to remember. *pinching my temples* Who was their last bad pitcher? Odorizzi? Okay, they traded him away for pen help. Astros, also, don’t develop bad arms. It’s one lights-out guy after another. Framber Valdez, Lance McCullers, Cristian Javier, Jose Urquidy, and Luis Garcia were all developed in-house. Forrest Whitley is like their last big bust, and I wouldn’t completely write him off yet. That brings us to Hunter Brown. Maybe I’m giving him unearned credit, due to other guys who have come up for the Astros, but he went 20 1/3 IP in the major leagues this year with a 0.89 ERA and 9.7 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and 2.78 xFIP, which came after completely housing the minor leagues: 106 IP in Triple-A, 11.4 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, and 2.55 ERA. Feels like a virtual lock to be yet another huge Astros arm. So, what can we expect from Hunter Brown for 2023 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

First off, let’s see what Prospect Itch has said about Eury Perez previously, “Best mechanics I’ve seen from a pitcher in the 6’ 8” range. Might have the best mechanics I’ve seen from an 18-year-old (now 19), especially his ability to repeat his calm, controlled delivery. His fastball gets up above the mid-90’s already, and his changeup stops and drops like a splitter. It’s a nightmare pitch the Marlins have had success teaching a lot of their young arms (see Cabrera, Edward). His curveball is plus too, but it’s the fastball/cambio combo that gives him an inside lane on becoming the game’s top pitching prospect after Grayson Rodriguez graduates, and I want to punch Grey so bad.” All right, not cool. My one question to Itch would be about, “Best mechanics I’ve seen from a pitcher in the 6’ 8” range.” Ha, you see a lot of pitchers in that range? Randy Johnson, Chris Young, Jon Rauch and…uh…Marcus Stroman standing on a stepladder? We (I) talk a lot about Lab Babies, in regards to hitters, but a 19-year-old, six-foot, eight-inch pitcher? Is this real life or is this Vincent Adultman on the mound? It’s real life? Okay, I know you’re saying that, but I barely believe you. What if he has one more growth spurt? Can he pitch in Tampa or will his head hit the ceiling? Does MLB have a rule against putting a foul pole on the mound because I think that’s what we might have here. So, what can we expect from Eury Perez for 2023 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here’s what I said last year about Triston Casas, “There’s likely a lot of factors that go into fantasy baseball prospects, but here’s two I look at:

1. Ready and it’s up to the club.

2. Not ready.

Frank Voila! That’s it! Well, maybe not it it, but it is close enough to it. That it is in the It Crowd. In the big broad, general sense. If the player is in the 2nd category, then I’m not going to cover them. It’s why we have Prospectors Itch and Hobbs. They’ll tell you the guys who will be ready, eventually. My job is to tell you the guys who are ready, then leave it up to the team on whether or not they’re going to promote them. Triston Casas aka The House of Triston, as he’s known to George RR Martin, is ready. Honestly, Triple-A is a way station, in general. If a guy is in Triple-A, he could be in the majors. There’s no more “learning” for Triple-A guys. Maybe some are just not good enough for the majors, so they sit in Triple-A for years, but even those guys are Quad-A guys, not Triple-A guys. See, there’s no such thing as Triple-A. You’ve been woke’d up. You’re welcome. This doesn’t mean the Red Sox will call up Triston Casas, just because he’s in Triple-A. But they could at any time.” And that’s me quoting me!

I quote that long passage because it annoys me so much, and I thought I’d annoy you too. You’re welcome! What were the Red Sox doing last year? I get it, manipulating service time, but when teams like the Red Sox are doing that, what hope do we have for a team like the Pirates? The Red Sox went to Yu Chang, Franchy Cordero, Eric Hosmer and do I have to continue with how terrible their 1st basemen were? It makes me sick. I have RedSoxbotcheditulism. Only cure of RedSoxbotcheditulism is they finally turn to Triston Casas this spring. So, what can we expect from Triston Casas for 2023 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?