Please see our player page for Austin Martin to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

This post picks up where we left off Sunday when I posted the Top 25 Outfield Prospects for Dynasty Fantasy Baseball in 2022. While we’re here, I might as well include a quick link to all my work this off-season: 2022 Fantasy Baseball Prospects, the Minor League Preview Index. It’s been fun to explore the game system by system then position by position. Starting pitchers are coming up next, followed by relievers in one of my favorite articles to build every year (I’ve been working on it for weeks) before we ring in the new minor league season with a fresh list of Top 100 prospects. Can’t wait! This particular list could’ve gone on forever (in the sense that “forever” refers mostly to a pretty damn long time), but I stopped at sixty to avoid overstaying my welcome (I hope). If someone you expected to see isn’t on here please drop a line in the comments section.

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Help, Miranda! Help Help, Miranda! 

Elite hitting prospects tend to carry the weight of their franchise’s future on their shoulders, sometimes deep into their careers. Byron Buxton held the Twins’ ultimate fate in his hands for almost a decade. Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, and Jose Miranda hope to lighten the load. Not to mention Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler are under contract through 2023 with club options beyond then. They might have done better to give that money to Jose Berrios, but time will tell. The baseball sphere was happy with the return, and I was surprised they pulled Joe Ryan from Tampa for Nelson Cruz. Ryan may never become Berrios, but he papers over at least a portion of that loss, and with another wave of help in the on-deck circle, things are looking up in Minnesota despite a down year in 2021. 

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I’m often referencing the echo chamber in this space, and sometimes I’ll throw in a specific citation even though I’m not here to drag other prospect people in specific as much as I’m here to help readers find value in general. A big part of finding value is knowing who’s free and who’s a helium-filled fever dream. When a deep lens into the echo chamber crossed my Twitter feed this week courtesy of High Upside Fantasy, it seemed like something I should share here. 

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Omaha! Omaha! Either Peyton Manning just put together a quick game of pick-up flag football in my backyard, or the College World Series is officially underway in Nebraska. *editor buzzes into my earpiece* Manning is in fact in Canton learning how to properly construct a Super Bowl trophy out of a Wheaties box for the next incredibly average Peyton’s Places segment, so it must be the latter — which is good for him, because my backyard is currently infested with slime mold and being treated for turf diseases, so that simply wouldn’t be advised for the local neighborhood youths. But alas, the CWS is here, and we have the luxury of scouting an excess of 2021 MLB Draft talent from June 19-30. Six players in my top 30 were able to advance to college baseball’s ultimate event, but countless others such as Arizona’s Ryan Holgate, Vanderbilt’s Isaiah Thomas and NC State’s Luca Tresh made the Omaha cut as well. This not only means that these rankings are fluid and will undoubtedly change prior to the July 11-13 draft, but also that I recommend taking the below intel and doing some of your own personal scouting over the course of the next week-plus. So, who has made the cut as we inch closer to the release of the complete college top 100? Check it out below, as there are a handful of new names previously excluded from the preseason list that utilized excellent 2021 campaigns to springboard their stock — such as Washington State’s Kyle Manzardo and Florida State’s Matheu Nelson. Where they’ll ultimately fall in the draft, nobody knows! For that reason, I like to refer to such players as this year’s “unsupervised children flying off trampolines at the annual Memorial Day reunion.” There’s always bound to be one or two.

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For a two-time World Series Champion with over 40 years of experience in MLB front offices, Dave Dombrowski gets a bad rap. The consensus on the baseball operations veteran seems to be that his only formula for success is to either ink big contracts or swap top prospects for elite talent that comes accompanied with hefty salaries. However, Dombrowski’s maneuvers have largely come as a result of the hands he has been dealt and the relative competitiveness of his various organizations at the time of his hire. He turned the 1997 Florida Marlins, a 1993 expansion team, into a World Series Champion. He built one of the greatest starting rotations in modern history in Detroit. He came to Boston in 2015 with a mandate to take the Red Sox to the top and did just that in 2018. Is he perfect? Far from it. Can he win a championship? Clearly. You should desire the same.

I say this to explain why I frequently refer to my strategy in dynasty leagues as Dombrowski-esque. It is not simply because of Dave’s suave, shiny gray hair to which I look forward to sporting myself in my mid-50s. In these formats, managers are drafting using such polarizing strategies that the key is to seek out excess value by pitting your opposition’s own intelligence (or so it may seem) against them. Seek opportunity where it presents itself, and if that means honing in on proven talent to win now, then do so. There will always be newer, shinier (but not as shiny as Dave’s hair) prospects to target in these leagues down the line. That’s why today I will be reviewing my selections in the 12 team, H2H points dynasty startup mock that fellow Razzballer Dylan Vaughan Skorish and I partook in this past week. Although I will reveal all of my selections, my focus in this piece will be to review my strategy and discuss the prospects I targeted in this mock draft.

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Toronto signified their intent to contend by signing Hyun-Jin Ryu during the winter of 2019, and he repaid their confidence with an excellent season in 2020. The rest of their pitching decisions didn’t pan out quite so beautifully, but the offensive core of a yearly contender is growing together north of the border (well, assuming they can play north of the border sometime soon), and it’s just a matter of time before they amass enough pitching to scare the bullies that beat up the AL East year over year. 

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Major League Baseball teams have to draft a lot of young pitchers. You do not. 

This discrepancy is a big part of what makes dynasty prospect rankings fascinating and fun for me. Simply put, at any given moment, more quality pitching prospects exist than dynasty leagues have minor league roster spots to accommodate. 

You can always pick up a relevant pitcher. 

You cannot always add a relevant speedster, and you very rarely add a legitimate bat with stolen base upside. . 

The TheoCubs tried to build a dynasty the way we would in fantasy baseball: drafting high-floor, well-developed hitters and buying pitchers via free agency and trade. This brought the Cubs a title but has proven difficult to maintain once they started stealing from the future to tread water in the present.

I attempted something similar in this space before the draft, building my Top Ten for 2021 First-Year-Player Dynasty Drafts by anticipating which international signings would crack the list on both the amateur and professional sides. 

A funny thing happened on the way to part two: MLB owners decided they didn’t want to pay up on the July 2 signing date and pushed that all way into January. Just like that, illegal handshake deals worth millions of dollars went poof. Families sacrificing toward this date for a decade were told to eff off, if they were personally told anything at all, and the dynasty draft season went up in smoke, at least in its typical form, at least for the time being. 

To that end, I’m ranking just the draftees here this time. Can’t really count on January signings or international free agency to actually happen in this climate when MLB just makes shizz up as it goes along. 

It’s not a coincidence that baseball’s head McDucks waited to see how the $20,000 per player free agent bonanza went before pushing the international deadline. Very dark timeline stuff all over in 2020, including the post-bonanza, post-postponement note from MLB for teams to be miserly with any scholarships connected to the ultra cheap sweepstakes. 

Just so ironic to bang the drum about pace of play and fan interest for years only to say screw it all in 2020, but here we are. Let’s talk baseball! 

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I was having a blast watching the 2020 Major League Baseball Rule 4 Draft, but at some point in the 4th round, the whole pageant started to feel gross. 

All these billion dollar teams focused on doing little maneuvers to afford the high school kids they actually wanted. 

In the draft.

When you presumably add the players you want. 

It’s incongruous. 

And it’s not some pandemic 2020 thing. 

That’s just the base design of the thing made even more salient by the compressed variation MLB farted together in what passed for their attempt to rise to these unique circumstances.

Seniors’ ages are leveraged against them.

Juniors’ ages are leveraged against them.

Sophomores’ ages are leveraged against them in a slightly different, Wilcoxian way.

All this so owners can acquire laborers who’ll make less than minimum wage as cheaply as possible. It’s a salary cap for amateurs, designed to be much, much smaller budgets than a free market would generate. 

One might think the Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers or just about anyone competitive would campaign for more, maybe even better, but it turns out: who doesn’t love the leverage provided by an artificial line beyond which you must not go?

Easy way to end negotiations. 

Just like writing some bullshit god-power rule into the bylaws of a short-term agreement built to get through a pandemic. I knew the players shouldn’t have signed that noise. 

Anyhow, onto the shizz, making my best Karl Ravich face. 

Let’s start with my least favorite few drafts so we can end on a high note. 

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During the Major League Baseball Rule 4 Draft, I am usually in China, eating my favorite breakfast in the world: a crispy pork bun and a pizza-shaped, spicy-salty bread that I don’t think I could describe, except maybe to say “mouth heaven.”

And that’s kind of the thing about China: the food. The cultures are old and the ethnicities are varied. Mainland China is comprised of some 57 different people groups with different cultures and cuisines. Food is a national pride and pastime. The word “variety” doesn’t even begin to describe the diversity of dishes and flavors. 

Mock drafts are not like Chinese cuisine.

Sure you might encounter a spicy pepper or two, but you’re not going to find sauteed eel, boiled jellyfish or barbecued squid on a stick. 

Maybe you’ll think it’s good to not find these specific foods, but if you don’t try everything once, you’ll be missing out on that miracle dish you’re surprised to find is perfect for you—the flavor combination you’ve been waiting a lifetime to find–and I’m happy to report that sauteed eel is incredible. 

So that’s what we’ll do here: saute some eel, boil some jellyfish, taste some chaos.

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The Rule 4 Draft kicks off this Wednesday! Time to get amped for an actual sporting event! 

Or not. I mean it’s your call. Would totally understand if you’re so irritated by big-wig greed you can’t pretend MLB doesn’t suck at being a professional league for a couple of weeknights. 

2020’s will be a supremely weird draft, but I’m geeked for it. I’ll post a mock draft here midday Wednesday, after which I’ll continue these rankings. I know some leagues like to do their First-Year-Player Drafts immediately after the July 2 signing date for international amateurs (in a typical season), so I figured the time was right to start synthesizing the talent trickling into our game this summer. 

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Eric Cross (@EricCross04) from Fantrax joins the show to dive into this years prospects and MLB draft. We discuss his top 10 highlighted by Wander Franco, Luis Robert and Jo Adell. We also go over guys he thinks could work their way into the top 50. Julio Rodriguez or Jarred Kelenic? We look at the loaded Seattle Mariners farm system and who we think could become the next wave of MLB stars. Eric gives us his top 5 draft picks and why that organization will take them. Who goes first overall? Spencer Torkelson, Austin Martin, Nick Gonzales.

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A few weeks ago, I ran into a white-haired “scientist” trying to sell me a souped-up DeLorean. He was on the run from some Libyans, he said, and figured his best move was to cover his tracks. Said the car could travel through time–that it had just enough gigawatt juice left for one round trip. 

I didn’t have much scratch on hand so had to trade my own car in the exchange but figured, hey, let’s go back and fix this Corona thing. 

Then I remembered the butterflies. What if I made it worse? Who would I even visit? So many Ashton Kutcher-esque variables. 

If you’re reading this in quarantine, you know I chickened out. Flashed forward to next March and watched baseball instead. In this article, I’ll discuss what I saw and how I built the 2021 top 100.

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