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Please see our player page for Austin Wells 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.

1. Pirates RHP Paul Skenes | 21 | MLB | 2024

2. Nationals OF James Wood | 21 | AAA | 2024

3. Orioles SS Jackson Holliday | 20 | MLB | 2024

4. Rangers OF Wyatt Langford | 22 | MLB | 2024

5. Rays 3B Junior Caminero | 20 | MLB | 2023

These guys are untouchable like Sean Connery swearing at Kevin Costner. Despite rocky starts for Holliday and Langford, few questions remain about their long-term viability as core dynasty assets.

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The Orioles did their thing week, demoting SS Jackson Holliday and 3B Coby Mayo despite both belonging to what might be Baltimore’s best opening day lineup. I got a kick out of a recent article claiming the Orioles didn’t get where they are by tanking. I like the project, as a position-statement-type writing assignment. Tough side to support. I mean sure they Rule 5 drafted Anthony Santander and played him every day until he was functional. Sure they landed Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson and Kyle Bradish via strategic quitting. They also did other stuff, but that doesn’t change the fact that they lost as badly as possible for several years to get to where they are now. They did smart stuff, for sure, but I don’t know why it’s bad to call this reality by its name. 

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It’s tricky business reacting to spring training outcomes. Veterans are working on their game, treating reps like practice, while youngsters and journeymen are striving to make a good impression. That doesn’t negate all the outcomes, of course, but I feel a little silly reading sentences about how a player looks based on a week of half-games, and I feel even sillier writing them. Nonetheless, playing time is up for grabs, and small samples or not, guys are proving themselves worthy (or unworthy) of season-opening opportunities, so we can’t just play ostrich and ignore the new realities revealing themselves. 

If you’ve been around a while, you know I’m not crazy about Brayan Rocchio. SS Angel Martinez is my preferred pick among Cleveland’s options at shortstop, and he’s in a heavenly rhythm right now, batting .529 with two homers and a triple. Rocchio is hitting .118. Both players have 19 plate appearances. Would be a pretty big upset in the echo chamber if Martinez claims the gig, but I doubt the Guardians see it that way. Here’s a link to a story by Jesus Cano on mlb.com that details the changes Martinez made heading into 2024. 

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Please clap for Busch’s slash line of .323/.431/.618 with 27 home runs across 98 Triple-A games in 2023. Now that he’s out of Los Angeles and being all but handed the first base gig in Chicago, he can finally stop faking second base and fully flower as a hitter. Or so goes the thinking that led the Cubs to acquire him, anyway. 

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1. OF Jasson Dominguez | 21 | MLB | 2023

The Martian landed in New York on September 1, smashing four home runs in eight games before his season ended due to an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery with a side of an internal bracing procedure. If his elbow heals well, the 5’9” 220 lb switch hitter should be an option for the major league lineup by midseason. He wasn’t great across 109 games in AA (.254/.367/.414), but that was enough for a 118 wRC+. Can’t complain about that from a 20-year-old. Then he torched Triple for nine games, walking twice as much as he struck out. The plate skills seemed to be mid-leap when he got hurt, and he’s starting to feel a little underrated for the dynasty game.

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Elly De La Cruz (3-for-5, 3 runs, 4 RBIs and his 12th and 13th homer) hit one of his homers so far in Cleveland, over the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, past the Drew Carey statue, that it went back to Cincy. That home run ball went 467 feet and 119.2 MPH. You don’t have to know about exit velocity to know that 119.2 MPH is not a real number. You hit that sorta number when you’re in the Grand Prix in some far-flung city in the South of France. “Excuse moi, I am Elly De La Cruz’s batted-ball and I wish to know where the Autobahn is because of how fast I travel.” It’s ridiculous. That people are talking about Elly De La Cruz already as a bust is so absurd. Elly De La Bust This! You write off E! for 2024 fantasy at your own risk. Also, in this game (and it was a lot): Candace Bergen’s husband, Luke Maile (3-for-4, 3 RBIs) had the most random slam (6) and legs (2) of the season; TJ Freidl (1-for-4, 2 runs) hit his 18th, and is one of the hottest bats in the majors, while stacking up to be great 2024 fantasy value; Christian Encarnacion-Strand (1-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) hit his 12th. More like Christian Encarnacion-Strong! Then on the other side, Bo Naylor (1-for-3, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) hit his 10th. He’s been way more productive in his call-up than either of the “hot” Pirates catcher bats (Endy and Henry — Hendry); Kole Calhoun (1-for-4, 2 RBIs) hit his 6th for gingers everywhere; and Andres Gimenez (2-for-4, 2 runs) hit his 15th for people who still confuse him with Amed Rosario. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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If The Voice chairs be swinging around for any free agent pitcher this offseason, I do believe it’ll be Blake Snell (6 IP, 0 ER, 6 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 2.25). See, I said pitcher, and Ohtani can’t not do that there. I’m doing The Voice in the voice of Blake Shelton, is it working? No? Okay, pardon me, pardner. I done upset you, I hear that now. I’m still doing it, is it working? No? Okay, I will stop now. You can’t say Blake Snell is slapdick by going out and having a Cy Young year when he’s about to become a free agent for maybe his last huge contract of his career. (Maybe not, will depend on where he signs and for how long, but he seems like that type to take the money, then go into a five-year siesta. I’m Cust kayin’.) If Snell wins the Cy Young award (which I imagine he will), then signs a five-year or something-year deal with the Yanks (or Red Sox or even goes back to the Padres), you’re betting on him being great again next year? If so, please tell me, I have a bridge in Kansas I’ve been trying to offload. He has a 5 BB/9! I mean, that’s not everything, clearly. I’d take that and his near-12 K/9 and would love it, but that command and expecting anything close to a sub-3 ERA in 2024? That is a hoot now, I tell ya what. I’m doing the Blake Shelton voice again. I’m sorry, I’ll stop now. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The September prospect parade is upon us, and it really does feel like a parade in the sense that our only possible moves are to rubberneck what’s coming and scramble for position or just stand still and let it pass. Both strategies have merit. Not for parades. Just stand still, please. Encourage your children to do the same. Holy cow the things you learn as an early parent. So many kids cross the streets between floats. Gore-drenched streets are avoided by last second blind braking or a stranger’s lizard-brain instinct to scoop a child out of a tire’s path. It’s tough to blame the kids. Candy covers the streets. Gotta grab what you can while you can in this world. Or so goes the teaching most of us get from a million portals all around us. 

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Sadly, Spencer Howard was released by the Yanks. Shame, their big trade deadline acquisition just never caught on for them. The release of their big-name acquisition signals a changing of the guards by the Yikes. First, Donaldson, now Spencer Howard. Who’s next Jake Bauers? Now, let’s not talk crazy! They also put Harrison Bader on waivers, and the writing’s on the wall, and the rumors are swirling like orange and vanilla for the creamsicle of the future: Jasson Dominguez. He’ss cominguez. You need to grab him now and see how it plays out. If he’s not any good in his first go around, then *raspberries lips* and drop him. So, why such hype? He’s the truth. Looking at a guy who could put together a 20/40 season over 162, and he might be the last of the red-hot call-ups. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The shortstop question has hovered over this organization since Derek Jeter retired. That can’t be right. They’ve had a real shortstop since Jetes, haven’t they? Can we count Tulowitzki? 

A quick giggle search brought me to a New York Post article from 2021 titled “Yankees Still Searching For Derek Jeter’s Long-Term Replacement at Shortstop.” A year and change later, the search continues. 

The word “search” feels a little aggressive to describe how this has looked in the real. 

Nobody’s gathering groups with flashlights to comb the forests of upstate New York. Instead, they’re hoping a shortstop emerges from atop this list. 

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