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.
Guardians OF Steven Kwan hits .295 with 16+ HR and 12+ SB in about 500 plate appearances.
Stop looking at me, Kwwaaannnnn!!
Keep in mind this was March 30. As I type, Kwan is hitting .298 across 602 plate appearances with six home runs and 19 stolen bases, so this looks like a pretty ho-hum prediction, in hindsight, but reading it might have enhanced your chances to land Kwan in your leagues, and that’s all we’re really doing here in a bold predictions piece, I think.
Turned out a little heavy on the power but light on plate appearances and speed. I traded Kwan early where I could because the 2022 rag ball scared me. I watch a lot of baseball. Feel pretty good about my off-the-bat predictions, so I bought into the narrative of a dead-ball early because I also know a little bit about the behind-the-scenes fuckery that leads us to a new baseball every six months or so, while the old balls get phased down through the minors. So I traded a lot of deep-fly-thump guys like Kwan to acquire big-framed players like Nate Lowe, Oneil Cruz, Seth Brown, Josh Naylor, etc. Wasn’t only size I wanted but size with athleticism, contact upside and strikeout suppression.
Giants RHP Camilo Doval saves 20+ games with an ERA under three and WHIP under 1.10.
Yeah yeah I know what Kapler said. Jake McGee. Sure. But who was it in the playoffs last year with the season on the line? Not McGee, that’s who. Baseball’s season is a marathon. San Francisco wins a lot of games. Doval will save a lot of them.
Here’s another one that looks pretty obvious now. Captain Hindsight would fart in my general direction.
Padres SS CJ Abrams plays 115 games in the majors, stealing 20 bases and hitting 10 home runs.
Preller moves aggressively in most matters, and this season lines up perfectly for an early Abrams debut.
This one looked good until it didn’t.
OF Julio Rodriguez hits .290+ with 20 home runs and 25 stolen bases.
Doesn’t feel particularly bold to me, but the stolen bases might surprise some people.
Julio is hitting .280 with 27 home runs and 25 stolen bases in 129 games. Yipes.
RHP Matt Brash wins the fifth starter spot out of Spring Training and remains in the rotation all season.
Looked good for a minute. I think I learned something here, process wise. Mechanics and balance always matter more than stuff for starters. Learned other things, too, I think, but they’re harder to articulate than that.
LHP Nick Lodolo pitches 100+ MLB innings with an ERA under four and a WHIP under 1.2.
Plus command from a tricky angle will make Lodolo effective from the jump.
Lodolo has a 3.75 ERA in 98.1 innings with a 1.24 WHIP and 126 strikeouts. He’s probably got a start left but won’t have enough runway to chisel that WHIP down to 1.19. Will be a popular pick for 2023 redraft leagues.
RHP Hunter Greene pitches 110+ MLB innings with 140+ strikeouts and an ERA under four.
Greene has a 4.91 ERA with 146 strikeouts in 113.2 innings. Well, that’s what he had before Tuesday night’s game, which is in the fifth inning now.
SS Bobby Witt Jr. is the best statistical rookie since Bryant. 30-30 season.
Witt has decided to never miss when he swings this spring. Seems like a good strategy.
Great season for Witt: 20 home runs with 28 steals and a .257 average. 80 runs with 81 RBI. Certainly paid back his draft price and then some. Little heavy on the optimism here though. KC is a brutal park.
Eury Perez and Daniel Espino are the top two pitching prospects in baseball entering 2023.
Who’s gonna hit these guys? Watch them pitch if you get the chance!
Meh. I’m not impressed with my March self here. He’s not wrong. I just don’t care. Lil chalky.
Corbin Carroll and Luis Matos are the top two position-player prospects in baseball entering 2023. Honorable mention to Kahlil Watson.
My three favorite rocketmen poised to launch themselves up the lists this season. Carroll doesn’t have much atmosphere left above him, but those final ten spots are the toughest ascent.
Hmmm. Mixed returns here. Carroll is ready to launch as the consensus top dude heading into 2023. Matos slashed .211/.275/.344 with 11 HR and 11 SB in 91 games. Watson is a whole story that’s too long to tell here.
RHP Art Warren refuses to return the closer gig to Lucas Sims. A timeshare ensues. Warren wins out in the end. 25+ saves.
Warren just doesn’t give up home runs: one so far in 26.1 big league innings. That’s a good trait for a reliever with a 41.5 percent strikeout rate.
Woof. Let’s hope I learned something. One takeaway is that we don’t get great return on our investment for off-season closer speculation. Might be better to plan on taking a bunch of free agent fliers early in the season.
OF Oscar Colas dominates after a shaky couple weeks and winds up inside the top 25 on several prospect lists next season.
Icy early, fizzy late.
Nailed it! Colas is slashing .354/.391/.634 with five home runs and two stolen bases over his last 20 games at Triple-A. Full-season line is now .314/.371/.624 with 23 home runs in 117 games across three levels.
Atlanta SS Vaughn Grissom is included on Atlanta’s playoff roster and plays a role in their 2022 postseason run.
No numbers here. Just glory. Grissom is a tough out with a center-right approach, and he might just skill-out of the minors by August even though he’s only played a month or so at High-A. I’m not saying he’ll bump anyone off their spot, but things happen, and Grissom will look like a possible solution to any roster problems that bubble up late season.
“Just glory.” Who’s this guy think he is?
Cubs LHP Justin Steele enters next season locked into the starting rotation.
Oh hey, here’s a bold one. Steele pitched well late last season and his pitch mix matches well with the current era.
In his last ten games, Justin Steele pitched 54.1 innings with a 1.49 ERA, striking out 65 batters and allowing just three home runs over that stretch and dropping his season-long ERA to 3.18 in 119 innings. He allowed eight home runs and recorded 126 strikeouts. Looks likely to be a popular sleeper pick in 2023 redraft leagues.
Reds LHP Reiver Sanmartin wins ten games.
On the Reds? Yeah, dude, the Reds.
Ouch. My bad.
Oakland 3B Kevin Smith goes 15/15 in 500+ plate appearances.
I’m a little worried about the contact skills, but the defense, power and speed all play at the highest level.
Ouch. My bad. I’m not even supposed to be here today.
Bonus: Non-Prospect Predictions:
RHP Tony Gonsolin wins and holds the five-spot while healthy this season, spinning 150 solid innings and winning 14 games for his efforts.
Bet against Dodgers pitching at your own peril. Gonsolin was solid as a swingman but will settle back into his plus command as a starter.
16 wins. One loss. 2.10 ERA. 0.865 WHIP. Only 128.1 innings though. Key to my Highlander Dynasty Invitational squad. No jinx!
Yankees 1B Anthony Rizzo hits 30+ home runs.
If this doesn’t happen in New York, Rizzo might be in trouble.
32 home runs with a week to spare. One more makes a career high. Key to my CBS AL Only squad. No jinx!
Couple quick blips on the way out:
Dodgers RHP Gavin Stone threw six shutout innings with 11 strikeouts on Tuesday night, in case anyone wants to know how he’s doing.
Angels C Logan O’Hoppe will reportedly make his debut today. Could bag a couple cheap homers if you’re in need.
Thanks for reading!
I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.
14 Team Dynasty. Who are the 4 odd men out?
Jarren Duran, James Outman, Juan Yepez, Kerry Carpenter, Aranda, Will Brennan, Olivares, Aquino, Bleday, Waters, Jurickson Profar, Gavin Sheets, Ramon Urias, Adam Duvall, Jose Barrero.
Thank you in advance for your expertise!
Also, I didn’t plan on keeping Joey Bart but is he a keeper above any of the above?
How high are you on Eury Perez?
oh do tell the long watson story somewhere though, he’s highest ranked 1st year guy i’ve been able to get at all (in 2 spots).
You are the gold standard! I appreciate you so much! Couple questions…do I keep Melendez over Gabriel Moreno? Will Brennan over Wesneski…Gavin Stone over Bryce Elder or Domingo German! 13 team 5×5 dynasty…one more Colas over Bubba Thompson or Jake McCarthy?
Yes, Yes and Yes: Melendez, Brennan and Stone would my picks there.
Kinda depends on build and settings for the McCarty question. If can move em up and down and need some speed, I’d go McCarthy then Thompson for contending teams.
If those extra up-and-down steals don’t matter as much, I’ll take Colas.
Hey The Itch,
You’re the man!
Just wanted to get feelers for Darell Hernaiz and Leonel Valera.
I know you’ve talked about them before. I’ve been following them all season and they’ve both progressed and put in decent seasons kind of under the radar. I like them, just checking with you.
Also, long term, who would you take Witt Jr or Wander?
Thanks man, enjoy the day!
Thanks, Worm Burner!
I still like them. You described their seasons well. Hernaiz started to catch some shine for good data but not enough to push him up lists.
I’ll take Witt Jr. Great question!
Pre rag ball, I’m probably on Wander, but athleticism and tools matter more in this iteration of the game than the 2019 version.