My primary strategy for escaping the moneyball mindfuck that is being a baseball fan in the Manfred era is that I root mostly for individuals. I love to see it when players make it big. Get that money, if you can, while you can. I love to see it when front offices that have good processes experience enough success to fund more of that good process. Farhan Zaidi and company have good processes in place in San Francisco. One example is the Brandon Crawford contract. Guy earned it, was willing to stay, and the team accepted the risk of inking an aging player before any kind of deadline spurred action. The real examples, though–the best examples–are all the players succeeding up and down this system. If a free agent signs with the Giants, bump him up on your draft sheets. A similar rule applies to their prospects now as the organization seeks to join the top tier of baseball-development firms.

 

Format: Position Player | Age on 4/1/2022 | Highest level played | ETA

1. OF Luis Matos | 20 | A+ | 2023

In his best season (2003), Matos’ old man slashed .303/.353/.458 with 13 HR and 15 SB in 109 games for the Orioles. That’s roughly a 20/20 full-season pace with a nice boost to your batting average. Luis the younger has more juice than his old man, and the game itself has changed to get more from elite-hands players like those in the Matos family. I’m not sure why he didn’t get promoted to High-A along with Marco Luciano, but a .313/.358/.494 slash line with 15 HR and 21 SB in 109 games is a wonderful outcome for a 19-year-old’s first crack at full season ball. 

 

2. SS Marco Luciano | 20 | A+ | 2023

A 6’2” 178 lb right handed hitter, Luciano pulls the ball with a ferocity seldom seen among teenage bats. He also swings and misses a lot and gets himself into pull-focused rhythms that experienced pitchers exploited in High-A, where Luciano struck out at a 37.2 percent clip and hit just one home run in 36 games. He’s not a sell for me, strictly speaking, but he’s not a buy either. The big-power upside is fully factored into his market value. 

 

3. C Joey Bart | 25 | MLB | 2020

When Buster Posey announced his retirement, the clouds parted for Bart like he’d just opened an episode of The Simpsons. “The Caaatcherrrrs.” Whole lotta good young ones coming our way in 2022, which could keep Bart in the room until late in your drafts, scribbling away on the ADP chalkboard “I will never pay for catching.” And fair enough. A 6’2” 238 lb bear/human hybrid, Bart can hit the ball a long way to any part of the park. He can also swing and miss a lot. The Giants have one of the best hitting coach crews in baseball, and Bart kept his K-rate just under 30 percent (29.4) in 67 AAA games last year, so I’m not as worried about the whiff factor here as I would be for someone playing a different position in a different uniform. 

 

4. SS Aeverson Arteaga | 19 | A | 2025

Here we journey from well-trod ground into the unknown like Elsa looking for the plot of Frozen 2. It’s not that we know nothing, though. The 6’1” 170 lb Artaega hit the ground thumping in the Arizona Complex League, slashing .290/.362/.495 with 9 HR in 57 games, which doesn’t exactly tell the full story. Arteaga captured the imaginations of dynasty players everywhere by smashing seven home runs in first 20 professional games, a noteworthy feat in its own right but especially given that plus speed and defense appeared to be Arteaga’s carrying tools before he stepped in the box. He’s a buy for me even if you get a little squeezed, by which I mean he tailed off in his second professional month, and I suspect that moved him into a sell bucket for some of the people who scooped him up on the cheap at the first signs of thunder. 

 

5. RHP Camilo Doval | 24 | MLB | 2021

Reminiscent of Francisco Rodriguez’s run for the Angels in his rookie year, Camilo Doval was K-Rod’s opposite in mound demeanor. It’s not that Doval doesn’t show some life from time to time, but he was the picture of a slow-heartbeat in high-pressure situations down the stretch in San Francisco. I’m pretty sure he’ll be the highest-ranked reliever among all the top tens. His 25.7 K-BB percentage and 1.04 WHIP (0.55 in the playoffs) both point toward a big future in the late-innings limelight for Doval. 

 

6. OF Diego Rincones | 22 | AA | 2022

This pocket of the system seems really strong to me. Arteaga, Pomares, Harrison and Bednar give us something to dream on, Doval looks like a lights-out back-end piece, and Rincones is a low-strikeout, high-average, plus-power guy who’s just about ready for the big leagues with the bat. I’m not a big fan of the phrase “bad-body guy,” but it does accurately describe a case where a player gets less hype than his outcomes warrant because he’s not a love-at-first-sight type for scouts who see him. Rincones, at a glance, is round and slow, but he’s athletic in his hands and even athletic in his base during his swing. In 76 games spread across High-A and AA, Rincones slashed .293/.377/.514 with 15 HR. He was about two years young for the level in AA but was just as good there as he’d been in A+. He struck out just 37 times in 51 AA games. 

 

7. RHP Will Bednar | 21 | A | 2024

The club’s first-round pick (14th overall) in 2021, Bednar dominated his Sophomore season, culminating in six hitless innings against Vanderbilt in the deciding game of the NCAA Tournament. A 6’2” 238 lb linebacker type, much like his brother David in Pittsburgh, Bednar is comfortable pounding the strike zone pitch after pitch, night after night, featuring a mid-90’s fastball that rides up top and a mid-80’s slider than burrows underneath. He’ll mix in the occasional change and curve as the night goes along. Could find something with the change as he’s pushed to throw it more. Good chance he’s too low here. I’ve moved him around a lot thinking of the success this team has had with strike throwers of late (Webb, Gausman, DisCo) and Bednar’s own stellar mechanics and outcomes. 

 

8. OF Jairo Pomares | 21 | A+ | 2024

Pom was wonderful in 2021, slugging 20 home runs in just 77 games across two levels. His career total in 51 games had been three home runs, so something shifted for the 6’1” 185 lb lefthanded hitter. Specifically, he went pull-hunting like a season one Kendall Roy. The previous iteration of Pomares employed a read-and-react, opposite-field-heavy approach, but this Giants development staff has these guys working with VR machines to simulate the stuff they’ll see from opponents on any given night, and I imagine this helped Pomares zero in on the pitches he could punish. That plus the mechanical and strength development across time left us with a totally new player here: my favorite kind of prospect story. 

 

9. LHP Kyle Harrison | 20 | A | 2024

His first full season was something of a mixed bag for Harrison, who logged a 1.40 WHIP despite striking out 14.32 batters per nine across 98.2 innings covering 23 starts. He allowed just three home runs but walked almost five per nine (4.72). Part of the issue is lower-minors umpires trying to keep up with Harrison’s elite stuff. Same goes for hitters, who didn’t have much of a prayer. Even with the inflated WHIP, Harrison finished with a 3.19 ERA. A 6’2” 200 lb lefty, Harrison’s fastball stays up in the zone around 95, touching the upper nineties; his changeup slams the breaks at about 50 feet, and his slider bends like bullets in that wild-ass Angelina Jolie movie, Wanted, which is coincidentally how I felt about Harrison heading into First-Year-Player Drafts last winter. I’m sure he could still be acquired via trade in most dynasty leagues, and I’m just crazy enough to try that even though it flies in the face of my general strategy of waiting until at least AA to bother with pitching prospects. So many arms pop-up late through hard work and application of coaching across time that it’s unnecessarily risky business to pay market price for a hyped teenage tosser. 

 

10. OF Heliot Ramos | 22 | AAA | 2022

Ramos didn’t graduate AA so much as he aged into AAA, where he was still 5.7 years younger than the average player. Across the full season (116 games), he slashed .254/.323/.416 with 14 HR and 15 SB. Not bad. Not ideal. The hope is that he settles in at AAA and soaks up some coaching, applies that across his opportunities and takes the slow road to becoming a fantasy factor. I doubt the club will rush him to the majors in any needs-based scenario. This is good news for Ramos and us, as it gives the 6’1” 188 lb, 2017 first-rounder time to grow into his skillset. 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprosectitch on Twitter.

  1. Harley Earl says:
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    Itch!!!!

    I picked up Doval on a whim late in the season after seeing a Tweet by Ken Rosenthal that he had gone 11 straight innings or so without allowing a run. His very next appearance netted him a save, and then another save and another and another. Suddenly I had San Fran’s closer lol.

    I watched him pitch several times. Love his mound presence. He looks like a veteran that’s done it a thousand times. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a beautiful, long relationship!!! Haha!!

    Needless to say, timing is everything in fantasy.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      He’s a major dude all right. Nicely scooped!

  2. Ante Galic says:
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    The Itch!!

    Awesome write-up!!

    a. Bulking up for the 15-round MiLB, supplementary draft to our full dynasty 4×4 league keep forever.

    1. 4×4 (OBP, SB, TB, RC) x (WHIP, K/9, SV+H, QS).
    2. 1000 IP minimum, no maximum
    3. Keep forever, dynast
    4. No limit moves in-season
    5. 7 bench slots
    6. 8 IL slots

    C Mitch Garver – MIN 22/256
    1B C.J. Cron – COL 12/136
    2B Jonathan India – CIN 7/81
    3B Matt Chapman – OAK 13/153
    SS Xander Bogaerts – BOS 4/40
    CI Frank Schwindel – CHC 18/208
    MI Miguel Rojas – MIA 28/328
    OF Jared Walsh – LAA 10/112
    OF Randy Arozarena – TB 3/33
    OF Mookie Betts – LAD 1/9
    OF Jake Fraley – SEA 24/280
    OF Starling Marte – (N/A) 2/16
    UT Cavan Biggio – TOR 20/232
    UT Nick Senzel – CIN 26/304

    Bench
    2B Owen Miller

    IL
    3B J.D. Davis – NYM 21/249
    OF Derek Hill – DET 30/352
    OF Connor Joe – COL 23/273
    OF Trevor Larnach – MIN 25/297

    P Tanner Houck – BOS 16/184
    P Alek Manoah – TOR 6/64
    P Ranger Suarez – PHI 17/201
    P Diego Castillo – SEA 27/321
    P Chad Green – NYY 29/345
    P Liam Hendriks – CHW 5/57
    P Raisel Iglesias – (N/A) 9/105
    P Michael Kopech – CHW 14/160
    P Garrett Whitlock – BOS 15/177

    Bench
    P Bumgarner
    P Taijuan Walker
    P Tejay Antone
    P Dylan Cease – CHW 8/88
    P Tony Gonsolin – LAD 19/225
    P Joe Ryan – MIN 11/129

    IL
    P Boyd
    P Brubaker
    P Gomber
    P Singer

    Draft completed yesterday, guys with no round/draft pick # were taken this AM off waivers. Don’t know why Antone isn’t IL-eligible, he’s drilling a hole on my bench.

    b. This is my MiLB list so far. Please be brutal about the order when considering the roster above and the league scoring system.

    Oneil Cruz
    Brujan
    JLowe
    Tork
    CorbinC
    Addley
    Abrams
    GRodriguez
    JuRod
    Detmers
    Witt Jr
    Barrero
    JassonD
    Walker
    Whiteman
    Jung
    Doval
    EHancock
    RGreene
    Miranda
    Seiya Suzuki
    Austin Martin
    Max Meyer
    Luis Matos
    HGreene
    Duran
    Lodolo
    Ashby
    Cavalli
    Noelvi
    Vaughn Grissom
    Casas
    Herbert Perez
    HBishop
    McCray
    Ji-Hwan Bae
    Jake Vogel
    Jake Meyers
    Davis
    Royce Lewis
    Mackenzie Gore
    RMoore
    Kjerstad
    Tyler Freeman
    Kyle Isbel
    Marco Luciano

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Cheers, Ante!

      List looks good to me, but I’d bump up Casas, Matos, Luciano, Jung, Julio and Witt a bit.

      • Ante Galic says:
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        The Itch!!

        Thanks a million, man. Will bump.

        Cheers,
        Ante

    • Sport says:
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      I have been really curious how your draft was going. I have one on fantrax coming up in December.

      I really like your Starting Pitchers! Manoah and Cease at the top of the rotation are solid, but I love Ryan at 129, Houck at 184, the Ranger at 201, and Gonsolin at 225! Those are some nice bargains in my opinion.

      Curious where Baz was drafted if you don’t mind me asking?

      • Ante Galic says:
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        Sport!!

        Baz went round 7 (77). He was on my radar but went too early for me. Here’s round 1.

        Round 1

        Pos Team Player Pk Ov Type
        UT Shohei Ohtani – LAA 1 1 LS
        OF Fernando Tatis Jr. – SD 2 2 LS
        SS Bo Bichette – TOR 3 3 LC
        OF Juan Soto – WSH 4 4 LS
        1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – TOR 5 5 LS
        OF Ronald Acuna Jr. – ATL 6 6 LS
        2B Trea Turner – LAD 7 7 LS
        3B Jose Ramirez – CLE 8 8 LA
        OF Mookie Betts – LAD 9 9 LS
        P Gerrit Cole – NYY 10 10 LA
        OF Bryce Harper – PHI 11 11 LS
        P Walker Buehler – LAD 12 12

        Cheers,
        Ante

        • Sport says:
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          thanks for input! That’s an interesting round 1. Totally did not expect to see Shohei number one. You were so very close to getting Ramirez, had one of the SP gone earlier, but Betts is a solid get.

          Man I’m going to be torn on when/if to reach for Baz. If I have as much success as you with your SP staff I won’t worry about it.

          Thank you!

          • Ante Galic says:
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            Sport!

            You already have a great knowledge set (not being facetious or using flattery). One thing that helped me that I never thought would help me…having a paper list of players broken down into rounds where they would be taken (in your mind). For example

            rounds 1-4
            Soto
            VGJ
            Shohei
            Trea
            Bryce
            JoRam
            Marte
            Marte
            Bichette
            Acuna
            Tucker
            Wander
            LouRob
            Bette
            Trout
            Judge
            Freeman
            Cron
            Alvarez
            Bogaerts
            Reynolds
            Devers

            Rounds 4-5
            Hendriks
            Hader
            Iglesias
            Burnes
            Woodruff

            Rounds 6-7
            Houck
            Ryan
            Baz
            Whitlock
            Brujan
            Doval

            Excluded from first 7 rounds
            Sal Perez
            Mullins
            Correa
            Semien
            Teoscar

            Etc. having it on paper was a Godsend and the first time I used it in a draft. The rest of the league was going off the default league on fantrax.

            The second thing I did…I exported data for the scoring categories in my league from fangraphs as CSV onto my harddrive. Then I imported the same into fantrax as my data. So easy to use. I got a list of 132 batters (Newman was #132). Same for SP and RP. putting three lists of 130-ish is the most difficult thing in fantasy. But the worst you can do is try and fail, ’cause having ANY plan is better than having NO plan.

            Cheers,
            Ante

            • Sport says:
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              I have actually done a paper list by rounds in old redraft leagues, where I used ADP data to determine how late I could grab a guy. This year, with ADP data so fresh I hadn’t really planned on it. Plus, with it being a 12 hour limit per pick, I was thinking of ‘winging’ it.

              But after your advice, I think I will make a list! I have a lot of info on the SP I want, but I need do it for the RP and positions like you did.

              Thank you!

          • ATG6 says:
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            I love Ohtani (an April trade for him helped me win my league), but I in no way expect him to repeat his numbers from this season.

  3. junior56 says:
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    Hi Itch

    Have been looking forward to this list. Great work. Figured we see Matos leapfrog Luciano.

    Do you think Bart will get the nod at C or a time share in 2022?

    Where would Luis Toribio land on this list? Is the bat good enough for regular ABs? Is the glove good enough to stays on the dirt?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hi, junior56!

      Yes I think Bart will be the primary catcher but I feel like that’ll still be a 90 / 70 ish split on games.

      Toribio is pretty meh for me. Doesn’t look like a regular at the moment.

    • ATG6 says:
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      I’m starting to realize that Low A numbers don’t have a lot of predictive value. Some guys are just too skilled or too athletic for the other guys at that level to handle. All we really know from Luciano’s low A numbers is that he has tremendous raw power. If he can adjust to better pitching and stay in the infield he’ll stay a Top 10 talent, but it could take a while.

  4. fivepoundbass says:
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    Great stuff Itch. I appreciate the time you put into these.

    In our 12-teamer you can stash 8 guys for free until they reach rookie minimums. So there are maybe 100 minor leaguers kept.

    Your pitching strategy is spot-on in our league. The odds of these young pitchers making the bigs is small, and the chance of them making enough of an impact to occupy a roster spot once they do is limited also.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, fivepoundbass!

      Always winds up being more time than I meant to spend : D

      I think a lot of us are leaving profit on the table by rostering pitching prospects. It’s tough to avoid when “real baseball” sites have to put a premium on pitching, and rightly so. It’s almost impossible to overcorrect for that in the dynasty/keeper game, I suspect.

      • fivepoundbass says:
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        I agree, if you carry them with the intention of them anchoring your staff one day. Thankfully not everyone in my leagues reads Razzball, and many of the owners are happy to trade something you can use for the next big pitching prospect. If you can get out while the prospect lists have them highly ranked, there is opportunity for profit.

  5. Sport says:
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    Nice bold move on Matos to number one! I have had stock on Matos for two years now and he’s still just 20! Matos and Luciano coming off their 19 year old seasons is crazy.

    Thank you for the time you put in. Very much appreciated.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks!!

      Yeah he’s starting to feel like he’s been around forever, especially for a 20-year-old, which I guess is the result of everything skewing younger combined with pandemic brain messing with everyone’s perception of time.

  6. kcc26 says:
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    not really a prospect question but:

    it’s my first Ottoneu offseason and i’m not super confident in my evaluations of player values with salary factored in. I’m well-stocked in the OF, but need some more infielders. Willing to move my $10 Mullins, but would like to acquire a stud infielder.

    how would a deal like $10 mullins for $44 jose ramirez or $44 trea turner need to be balanced assuming i can absorb salary no problem (i can)? thanks!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      If the salary’s no problem, you should probably do it. I dunno if you have arbitration there, but Mullins is going to get hit anyway if so, and the jump in predictability and situational positional value is worth the cost, imo.

  7. kcc26 says:
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    yes, the $10 is after arbitration. thanks for the reply!

  8. Milarky says:
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    Hey Itch, good stuff! I think I have one of those “good” kinda problems that I’d like your thoughts on. Our league has an interesting wrinkle where we draft three prospect every all-star break. Going into every year, we have to choose three prospects to keep, and each prospect can be protected twice after they were drafted as prospects. It means we’re often having to choose between some just drafted that year (likely hasn’t played in MLB yet) and others who have. The other interesting wrinkle is that we have to start a rookie hitter in a spot dedicated as such.

    In my case, I have to choose three from the following list:

    Jarred Kelenic
    Alex Kirilloff
    Marco Luciano
    Corbin Carroll
    Hunter Greene

    My thinking was that Kelenic is a lock, and Kirilloff is a near lock as well, even though neither will be rookies – plus the other two hitters likely aren’t landing in 2022, but sexy upside. I usually am also less fired up to keep pitchers because they’re so volatile, but Greene could be big.

    But anyway – if this were your team, which three would you keep and why?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, Milarky!

      I would keep Carroll, Greene and Kelenic.

  9. Moon Shots says:
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    Itch, you are a light in the darkness. I’m an avid reader and avid Giants fan so i’ve been checking every day for this one to drop.

    Given that its my ‘home org’ its fun to see how your list departs from the normy line. I expected to see Matos pull ahead of Luciano…i also have both of them (and Doval, Ramos, Bart, Bailey, Santos lol), so i cant be upset either way by an order change.

    I am curious…ive been in mega rebuild and have a completely stacked minors system coming online for contention now/soon. Ive been wondering about maybe flipping Jasson Dominguez for some kind of package thats a bit more tangible need for the window im in. What do you think i should expect to haul in? Would you deal him for, say, Gavin Lux and Everson Arteaga?

    Thank you sir.

    • Moon Shots says:
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      3o team dynasty btw!

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