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If you’re gonna pull the early plug on a contention window, you better walk away with some future stars. To their credit, the Nationals did that. A better move might’ve been to hold Trea Turner in 2021 and hope for the best in 2022, but that wasn’t the play this team wanted to make, preferring to off-load Max Scherzer’s deferred money along with their star shortstop. 2022 then became an exercise in futility. It’s tough to imagine the front office saw the Turner trade as precursor to a Soto sale. I guess the checks keep clearing when an ownership group opts to quit an entire MLB season, but the cascading impacts of those tank-thoughts will be felt throughout the organization for years. Players might simply stop wanting to play. They didn’t have to move Soto, of course. Could’ve left him malcontent on the roster then watched him walk in free agency, but I don’t think any amount of free agent spending could undo the damage that had been done. 

 

1. OF James Wood | 20 | A | 2025

There’s a lot riding on the broad shoulders of the 6’7” 240 lb center fielder. If he remains a high-contact, big-power bat through the upper minors, the Juan Soto trade could look okay a couple years from now. CJ Abrams has a big part to play in that math as well, and he started hitting better down the stretch with regular at bats. Like Abrams last winter, Wood should be a consensus top ten fantasy prospect this off-season after slashing .313/.420/.536 with 12 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 76 games this year. He also walked 50 times and struck out 75. So far, his game has no apparent weaknesses. Depending on the timelines of Jackson Chourio and Elly De La Cruz, James Wood could be baseball’s number one overall prospect early in 2024.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When mapping out this year’s Top 100, I found myself getting caught up in the layout. I’ve tried a few different ways to skin this cat, and I think my favorite so far was my first: Top 25 Prospects for 2020 Fantasy Baseball.

It was simple, sleek, easy to see, easy to scroll, and it was built in tiers, which feels like a realistic lens through which to view these players. You can argue that Bobby Witt Jr. is definitively a better prospect than Julio Rodriguez if you want to, or vice versa, but if you get offered one for the other in a trade, you might freeze up like me pondering the layout of this article. The differences are real, certainly, but they’re more aesthetic and subjective than anything like objective truth. It’s a difference in type or style more than a difference of quality.

I’ll try to stay concise in between the tiers here, but you can access a more in-depth consideration of each individual player by clicking on their names or skimming around in the 2022 Minor League Preview Index.

Let’s bring this thing home!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When mapping out this year’s Top 100, I kept getting lost in the layout. I’ve tried a few different ways to skin this cat, and I think my favorite so far was my first: Top 25 Prospects for 2020 Fantasy Baseball.

It was simple, sleek, easy to see, easy to scroll, and it was built in tiers, which feels like a realistic lens through which to view these players. You can argue that George Kirby is definitively a better prospect than Nick Lodolo if you want to, or vice versa, but if you get offered one for the other in a trade, you might freeze up like me pondering the layout of this article. The differences are real, certainly, but they’re more aesthetic and subjective than anything like objective truth. It’s a difference in type or style more than a difference of quality. 

I’ll try to stay concise in between the tiers here, but you can access a more in-depth consideration of each individual player by clicking on their names or skimming around in the 2022 Minor League Preview Index

Here’s a link to the Top 25 before we roll on down the mountain. 

Drumroll please and away we go!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Some of these guys will have to move off the position, either because they’re blocked by a star-level regular or because they lack the hyper-elite twitch, reflexes, hands and arm required to make it as a big league shortstop, but for the most part, these guys will man their middle infields for the next decade or so. Some dynasty league veterans build minor league rosters populated almost exclusively by shortstops and outfielders. Solid plan, really. Shortstop might be the game’s deepest position at the moment, and it’s only getting deeper. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Dynasty drafts come in several shapes and sizes. Some leagues break the player groups into veterans and prospects. Some leagues let you draft 34-year-old relievers right alongside 16-year-old little brothers. I don’t really have a favorite way to cut it up. I just love the game. Though I will say the Razz 30 has something special going on with a prospects-only draft and a vets-only auction that becomes, at its core, a bums-only auction. It’s about two weeks of slow-bidding Steven Brault up to $21, and it’s a treat like few others in the fantasy realm. Jose Martinez once sold for $96. Michael Pineda went for $62. Zach Davies for $36. Two of those are purchases of mine! The fun never ends! Well, except when you ask MLB owners if they’d rather make money or take all the different balls and go home.

Anywho, I’ve broken this year’s First-Year-Player Draft rankings down into tiers and included some snippets about where my head would be during those spots on the draft board.

You can find most of these guys in the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Prospects, Minor League Preview Index

If not, feel free to drop a question in the comments so we can talk some baseball, pass the time.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Weirdest trade of the year award goes to the Nationals, who attached Trea Turner to Max Scherzer’s remaining contract and moved about 130 million dollars off the payroll over the next seven years for the pre-free-agency life cycles of Dodgers’ prospects RHP Josiah Gray and C Keibert Ruiz. It’s an intriguing build, provided they get anything from Stephen Strasburg, Carter Kieboom, Victor Robles, Patrick Corbin and Luis Garcia. The team doesn’t look particularly close at first blush, but if they can find a few clever free agent moves, I can see the bones of a contender if I squint hard enough. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?