I’ve got things to cover in this post, but first things first (instead of second where I usually put first things), Toronto RHP Dahian Santos (A, 19 yo) has earned an immediate pickup (click-up?) in most dynasty formats. I can imagine some scenarios where he’s more of a mouse-hover than a quick click, such as the 20-team Highlander with 900-max total players rostered at any time and no minor league requirements, by which I mean I’m only rostering three minor leaguers right now, and one of them is Oneil Cruz. Santos wasn’t high enough to jump Nelson Velazquez on my claim list there, but the teenager is striking out 49.2 percent of the batters he sees in a league where he’s three years younger than the average age. 

Velazquez felt like a good example of doing the hustle in the sense that I’m out of faab money and had no business even bidding the $0 on him in my own mind, but that’s the nature of the dynasty game. We’re all looking at the field our own way. 

And in Highlander, where we lose a number of players to tiers of redistribution drafts every off-season, the season-one M.O. has leaned toward a modified Buddhist sort of approach, forgoing most attachments by deciding early on keepers and trading all the leftovers for picks. This isn’t everyone’s strategy, of course, and the teams near the top are buying up the cast-offs in exchange for picks across the redistribution tiers. For instance, I just dealt my Highlander pick for Willson Contreras, Dustin May, Mike Yastrzemski and Seth Brown. My own strategy is to flood the keeper hurdles with bodies rather than worry over who I’ll lose in which drafts. I no longer have a draft pick until round six, which is actually round two of the Benchwarmer Draft, after which point all 20 teams will have kept about 25 players. Does it sound like I’m playing Dungeons and Dragons yet? It could, if I wanted it to, if it doesn’t already. This is the most complex yet streamlined league I’ve played, rules-wise, and it’s been fascinating to see various approaches to its challenges. 

My team isn’t even particularly good, or at least my results haven’t been so strong it’s obvious I should be pushing in to win it in year one. I’m in sixth place today, about 30 points behind the league leader, but the standings show a ripe harvest of points for the picking in tight categories if I can just string together a few healthy weeks. But that’s the rub with weekly formats. You lose Luis Robert and/or LaMonte Wade on a Tuesday, that’s that: you’re down 12 games on the season. 50 at bats or so just poof in the wind. Tyler Naquin is this week’s zero. Same problem faces every team, of course, but I have felt that flaw/feature in the format pretty keenly in the early going. I also drafted Jacob deGrom. That one’s on me. Knew what I was getting into there. Oneil Cruz, kind of the same thing, so there goes my 2nd and 4th picks. Javier Baez was my 5th rounder, a pick I’d gladly give back today. His combination of 31 HR, 18 SB and a middle-of-the-order lineup spot was too enticing to pass up, and maybe it will work out in the wash, but he’s on the bench for the moment because he’s been about as useful as an article about how every team in baseball could trade for Juan Soto. 

Someone wrote precisely such an article over at ESPN this week detailing how Juan Soto would fit into all the teams that aren’t the Washington Nationals, if the Washington Nationals wanted to trade Soto, which they almost certainly don’t want to do. I was thinking of it as something close to the ultimate time waster, brought to you by some intrepid young reporter named Fillmore Space. Then I saw the actual writer’s actual last name was/is Doolittle. Can’t make this stuff up, folks. 

Anyway, in this space I will put together 99 hypothetical trade packages for Juan Soto.

Kidding, although I realized mid-sentence that if I built an article around offering a Soto trade in each of my six dynasty leagues, that could work for readers if I structured it well. 

I’m not doing that either though because none of those teams is going to be trading me Juan Soto. 

Instead I’m talking about the people who stand to graduate from my last top 100 list before my next one.

Julio Rodriguez was my number one guy then and graduates looking like a superstar for Seattle and our fantasy teams. I offered Luis Robert for Julio straight up in the Highlander Dynasty Invitational this week, and Michael Waterloo turned it down. He asked me if I minded if he tweet about it. I do not, except that I’d prefer if it came along with a counter offer if I had my druthers, which I rarely do. Doubt I could even pick my druthers out of a lineup. I said as much to Michael. Not about my druthers but about the counter offer. 

Kansas City SS Bobby Witt Jr. graduates about where you’d suspect, a 103 wRC+ comfortably on pace for a 20/20 season. Slashing .295/.319/.659 with three home runs and two steals over his last 11 games. 

Detroit 1B Spencer Torkelson represents our first real road bump, but he’s been warming up this week and should get better with time and kind weather. Who doesn’t. Can’t paper over the fact that’s been a disappointment, but he’s a 22-year-old with a 95 wRC+ in his first crack at major league pitching, and his 12.6% walk and 26.4% strikeout rates show that he’s not totally lost in the sauce. 

Cincinnati RHP Hunter Greene is at 44.1 innings, so he might make the list, but either way he’ll go out with poor numbers but clear improvement throughout the year until his recent game against the Cubs. 

Cubs OF Seiya Suzuki goes out on the IL. Not really a prospect anyway. 

Houston SS Jeremy Peña graduates with a case for the top spot. I knew he’d be good . . . wait, well, I suspected he’d be good . . . but this is intense. 

Washington C Keibert Ruiz graduates hitting an empty .281 with one home run, but his .340 OBP is nice, and Washington plays much smaller in the summertime. 

Cleveland OF Steven Kwan has 123 at bats as I write this, but he’s not making the Top 100, betrayed like so many others by new big league fooly ball. Perhaps his skill set wouldn’t have flowered anyway, but I fear he requires the extra carry of the old baseball to profile as a viable regular on offense. 

Minnesota RHP Joe Ryan is already at 70 career innings, and wow have they been spectacular. Not many rookies rocking a 0.91 career WHIP at the 70-inning mark. 

Milwaukee LHP Aaron Ashby graduates in the rotation for one of the best pitching-development organizations in baseball, having struck out 12 Cubs over six innings in his most recent start. He has a 2.70 ERA in 40 innings this season and looks like an every-week cog in any fantasy team. 

On the one hand, Angels LHP Reid Detmers threw a no-hitter in his rookie season, which is very cool. On the other, he struck out two guys that night and has a 5.98 K/9 and 4.65 ERA in 40.2 innings this season. Spot starter territory in our game at the moment. 

Siri, who’s the starting center fielder for the Houston Astros? 

OF Jose Siri was out there on his Commencement Day, where he’s been for most of 2022 in large part because he’s a double-plus defender who shrinks the field for his pitchers. His 0.9 WAR per Fangraphs in 33 games would make him a 4-win player on a full-season basis. Hard to predict how the team will deploy Jake Meyers once he returns from the IL, but Siri is starting to look like the answer in Houston. 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.