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Please see our player page for Daniel Espino 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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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 Chase DeLauter | 22 | AA | 2024

A gifted left-handed hitter at 6’4” 235 lbs, DeLauter could be a middle order mainstay and fantasy superstar. In 57 games spread across three levels, he slashed .355/.417/.528 with 30 strikeouts, 23 walks, five home runs and six stolen bases. He then extended his season by 23 games in the Arizona Fall League, where he slashed .299/.385/.529 with five homers and five steals. His blend of patience, power and contact skills are enticing and could land him in the majors late this season if Cleveland is contending. Hard to imagine they won’t be squarely in the mix given the relative weakness of the AL Central.

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1. Cardinals OF OF Jordan Walker | 20 | AA | 2023

At 6’5” 220 lbs with 80-grade power, plus athleticism and easy speed, Walker belongs to a rare class. No offense to Corbin Carroll or Gunnar Henderson, I’m just slightly more confident Walker will be an impact fantasy player. Check out Grey’s Jordan Walker, 2023 Fantasy Outlook for more. Fun videos in there. Really drives home how easy it can look for Walker when he’s on his game.

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Even as 2022 was a great season for the Cleveland Guardians, their future looks brighter all the time. Nobody has more ready-soon, major-league-level starting pitchers in their system, which is a nice fit because you could make a case that nobody is better at developing pitchers, particularly in the early stages of their major league careers. 

 

1. RHP Daniel Espino | 22 | AA | 2024

Injuries kept Espino sidelined for much of 2022, but he was around long enough to leave a loud impression, striking out 35 batters in 18.1 Double-A innings and posting a 0.71 WHIP across those four starts. He’s listed at 6’2” 225 lbs and looks like a bodybuilder. Upside is as high as any pitcher in the minors thanks to an 80-grade fastball and double-plus slider. I’ve got 2024 listed as the ETA just because he hasn’t thrown that many innings, and the team is deep in pitchers both in the majors and on the cusp, but Espino could almost certainly help the major league club this season if he’s healthy.

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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

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Prospect News: Top 50 for Dynasty Leagues, Post-Draft Update

Here’s where the introductory words for part two would go, if I thought any of us wanted to see those.

And here’s a link to the Top 25, in case you want to see those.

26. RHP Taj Bradley | Rays | 21 | AAA | 2023

27. OF Zac Veen | Rockies | 20 | A+ | 2024

28. LHP Ricky Tiedemann | Blue Jays | 19 | AA | 2023

Taj Bradley is getting knocked around a bit at Triple-A (5.25 ERA in three starts), but this is Tampa we’re talking about. Nobody suppresses their own pitchers’ ratios like the Rays. 

Zac Veen has 50 stolen bases in 54 attempts with a 129 wRC+ in 92 games. The Rockies have more good hitting prospects than usual. Can’t wait to see how they screw them up. 

Give Ricky Tiedemann another couple dominant starts in Double-A and he’ll have a case for the top ten. He might be there already on some lists. No real argument with that from me. The rankings feel especially fluid right now. It’s a time of putting your money in your mouth and then chewing it up and chasing it down with a shot of tequila. 

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This first published restructuring is always fussy to navigate. Even waiting longer than I wanted to didn’t even clear much space via prospect graduations. 

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

Oh and here’s a link to Wednesday’s article, Prospect News: Dahian Santos is Coming to Town or Commencement Day, in which I discussed the graduates. 

We’ve got a new name atop the list and some fresh powder further on down the mountain.

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Prospect News: Rankings Redux: Eury and the Henderson

In a recent post, I found myself saying Milwaukee OF Jackson Chourio was on track to be a top 50 prospect by mid-season, which got me thinking, as I should be this time of year, about updating the top 100 list. 

I made a trade offer for Baltimore SS Gunnar Henderson this week in the 20-team Highlander Dynasty League. Was just Arizona DH Seth Beer straight up, but that league is weird, with a double utility spot. Deepest hitting set-up I’ve ever played, unless I ran that math wrong way back when I half-sprinted through it just to create some context. It’s a half-step or so deeper than the Razz30, and the full-week freeze of lineups adds another wrinkle I haven’t played with a whole lot in a superdeep dynasty format.  

Also went a little overboard in trying to secure Colorado SS Ezequiel Tovar this week. 

Anyway the natural first question for most readers at this point is who’s rising the fastest, like Chourio and Tovar. Or maybe that’s just the most enjoyable question because its opposite might be equally immediate to most fantasy players: who’s feeling that baseball gravity? 

I tend to avoid the second question, if I’m honest. Players lose mind-share of course but it happens kind of quietly in the back of my mind as I build a list. Herbert Perez, is a recent player I can recall who I never really soured on in any real way. The evidence at present just didn’t support some trust-based ranking. But I’ll try to be proactive on that front and chronicle it here as I work through the list. If it’s a little dry or boring in the end, I’m hoping you just fast-forward a bit because that’s way easier with reading than it is on, say, HBOMAX. 

So who’s rising as I start building a rankings reshuffle? 

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Over the past few seasons, I’ve grown confident in my ability to play the timeline game along with major league front offices. This year feels different. We’re beyond what’s typically the first Super Two threshold, and I’m ready to spin the wheel, but I’m uncertain about the rules. 

Will teams slam the brakes if they didn’t promote a guy on opening day, knowing they’ll be “punished” if that player earns rookie of the year votes? 

Survey says . . . probably, if past behavior is the best predictor of future choices. 

By the way, before we go further, I should say I hope and pray some of the baseball writers know the rules enough to push good rookies up their ballots. I don’t really care about who finishes in the top five in these awards, and I think the same goes for most fans, but I want to see the players get a W at the negotiating table for the long-term health of the game, particularly where young players are concerned.

So who’s potentially stuck in this no-win position created by the recent Collective Bargaining Agreement? Let’s check the list.

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I hate to be rude, so I won’t be Brash in the truest sense, but Seattle pitcher Matt Brash will make this list, so Brash this list will be. 

The individual predictions, however, are a step below that. I can’t exactly call them reasonable predictions for 2022, but I do think these are all within the realm of reason, and I think those kinds of predictions tend to be a little more sticky and useful than the boldest ones.

I hope you’ll join me in the speculatory fun. What are your most reasonably brash predictions for the coming season? Which of these seems most bold to you? (Thanks for reading! I’ll tally everything in this piece up for an article next season, so if you want to get something on the record to amplify your human memory, here is a place to do it.) 

Now into the future we go! 

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