Please see our player page for DL Hall 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.

A crucible is a trial or challenge faced by a protagonist, where they endure a challenge and come out new and improved. Kind of like the time Grey brought us to Chucky Cheese as a “team building” exercise. Naturally, we all started sumo wrestling in the ball crawl pit, only to find that Grey had released several crocodiles among the balls. Where did he get the crocodiles, you ask? I dunno, I didn’t ask — I spent most of the evening consoling Son after he lost his big toe. But after that “Chucky Crocodile” experience, we emerged as a bonded team, readier than ever to do battle on the fantasy baseball front.

A lot of you are in that fantasy crucible right now. About 50 games remain in the season; I round up because I only work in base ten numbers. So, about 10 starts remain for your favorite hurlers, constituting about 25% of the season. Rankings fail more than ever now: playoff teams will rest their aces, non-playoff teams will give cups of coffee to their minor leaguers, and a quick search of the baseball news sites indicates some teams are talking six-man rotations already.

Of course, “rotation” can be loosely construed because minor league relievers are plentiful and can eat up plenty of innings. From August 17, 2021 until the end of the 2021 season, Paul Sewald made 26 appearances and made 26 IP. Comparatively, Logan Gilbert — the top starter for the Mariners last year — made 8 appearances and pitched 42 IP in the same span. Over on the White Sox, Michael Kopech made 16 appearances and notched 23 IP in the same span. Kopech pitched as many innings over the final bit of 2021 as did Carlos Rodon, who ran out of steam and watched his fastball velocity plummet. Sometimes, your fantasy dream is as much about letting go of players who have run out of steam as it is about finding new, shiny players.

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Stands from a folding chair, and clears throat. I’m in the back of a church. Around me a group of people who look like they need a cigarette. The group leader asks me to introduce myself. “Hi, I’m Grey, and it’s my first time here.” Everyone murmurs hi to me. I force a smile. Then, I continue, “Yesterday, I not only thought about a perfect game happening while it was in the process of happening, but I also mentioned it to my wife, Cougs. It was me, who jinxed Drew Rasmussen.” Everyone nods their head. One guy who’s wearing a Steel Panther shirt says, “I did the same during Armando Galarraga’s.” Reactions from the group members, they can’t believe he jinxed Armando. I continue, “That makes me feel better, actually. Armando’s jinx is much worse than mine.” Steel Panther Guy screams, “I jinxed it, but I inadvertently caused instant replay to be adopted!” As he stormed out of the room. The leader swallows hard, “Um, thanks for sharing, Grey.” So, I turned the TV onto Drew Rasmussen (8 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 1 hit, 7 Ks, ERA at 2.80), and his Maddux perfecto just in time to jinx him. Sigh, my bad. The trade of Willy Adames for Rasmussen has ended up working for both teams, and for all involved in fantasy. Rasmussen has been mostly Yesmussen with a 7.4 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, and 3.68 xFIP as he throws a slider that’s mostly unhittable (.212 BAA), and not just by the O’s. His 38.6% HardHit% would be around Sandy Alcantara, Gerrit Cole and Kevin Gausman. I blame myself for yesterday’s perfect game lost in the 9th, but, in 2023 fantasy, Rasmussen is going to be undervalued, even though the Rays haven’t had a bad pitcher in, like, ten years. (Hyperbole to make a point; don’t tell me about Yarbrough.) Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Here’s where the frontispiece would go, if I didn’t think that word was kinda nasty. 

Here’s a link to the Top 25.

Here’s a link to the Top 50.

51. 1B Triston Casas | Red Sox | 22 | AAA | 2022

52. RHP Andrew Painter | Phillies | A+ | 19 | 2024

53. OF Evan Carter | Rangers | 19 | A+ | 2024

54. OF Jasson Dominguez | Yankees | 19 | A+ | 2024

Triston Casas hasn’t had the season some expected, and Eric Hosmer joining the club muddies his playing time outlook, but he remains a high-probability major league bat. 

For all the talk about Eury Perez being huge and young with good command, you don’t hear much about 6’7” 215 lb Andrew Painter, but Painter has been every bit as dominant as Perez, racking up 109 strikeouts through 68.1 innings across two levels and posting a 1.32 ERA along the way. He threw seven shutout innings against the High-A Yankees his last time out, allowing two hits and one walk while recording eleven punchouts. Makes me wonder if they’ll send him to Double-A for September. 

Evan Carter has 22 extra base hits and 13 stolen bases over his last 39 games, slashing .333/.415/.605 over that stretch. He’s controlling the zone, too: 11.1% BB and 15.8% K-rates. He’ll turn 20 on August 29 and might be in Double-A before then. 

Gotta hand it to Jasson Dominguez for evolving his game to make plate skills his calling card. Or one of his calling cards, anyway. He’s already stolen eight bases in 19 High-A games, where he’s posting a .410 on base percentage and 16.9-to-22.9 walk-to-strikeout rate. The power is coming, too. He’s got 39 extra base hits in 94 games across two levels this season. 

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The baseball world got some disappointing news Friday night when San Diego Padres shortstop slash motorcycle rider slash drug user slash all around cool guy Fernando Tatis Jr. was handed a 80 game suspension by Major League Baseball after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. WTF FTJ, PEDs!? SMH. I can think of some other […]

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Is there ever a bad time for a stash? 

On one hand, three of the top four prospects graduated from my last stash list, so it’s not only a good time to post a new one, the posting of a new one feels essential to the purpose of this space on the internet. 

On the other hand, the minor league tree of stashes looks a little picked over at the moment. It might replenish itself in a week or two if the Orioles can stay in the race or the Diamondbacks can rip off a Seattle-like string of victories, but right now, we’re waiting for some playing time to shake loose for most of the top guys to get their shot. 

Graduated From Stash List Volume 4: Esteury Ruiz is Ready for His Close-Up

Vinnie Pasquantino, Esteury Ruiz, Max Meyer, Nick Pratto. 

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We don’t spend much time with the stragglers around Prospect World, but a lot of highly ranked guys have struggled this season. That sentence reads like a timeless nothing-statement when I see it on the page, but it’s a pretty accurate description of my thoughts as I scoured the landscape to find the best 100 minor league players for the fantasy game. 

If you think of a name that you figured would be here, there’s a good chance they’ve scuffled to start this season. The Nicks, Yorke, Gonzales and Pratto, missed the list in surprising fashion. Perhaps I was more demanding of them because my human-person-walking-around name is also Nick, and I am subconsciously more disappointed with them than I would be with a non-Nick player. Seems unlikely, but you never know. 

Also a pretty good chance the player(s) you’re looking for were covered:

either here in the Top 25

or here in the Top 50

or here in the Top 75.

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

Anyway, the buns are in the oven. No changing the recipe now. Smells pretty good already, now that the prep’s done and the kitchen’s clean. Ish. Clean as it’s gonna get anyway. Let’s dig in. 

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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!

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To win most dynasty leagues, especially ones that have been around for a few years, you need elite pitching. In my experience, farming prospects is not the most efficient way to accrue elite pitchers. It can work in fits and starts, but you’ll probably need to supplement your staff via the trade market, swapping sizzling young bats for established WHIP suppressors. This winter I saw Elly De La Cruz and Andy Pages traded for Tarik Skubal, and that’s a fun version of this kind of trade: huge upside all around, good chance both teams are happy with it in two years. In my spot on the win curve, I prefer Skubal, but I see the rationale for getting two topside hitters, who you could argue should be swapped instead for an older arm with a better WHIP history. Gotta throw them bones sometimes to win it all. No such thing as a risk-free trade. 

A third way is to never pay for pitching. I’ve yet to put it into function, but I’d like to try it someday. I’ve developed a skill (or perceived skill, anyway, good fight confidence in the words of Shea Serrano) for scooping the Quantrills and Gausmans of the world at the right moment. I also like looking for the Luis Garcia types. This year’s candidates include Cody Morris, Jayden Murray, Jacob Lopez, and Matt Canterino, among others, and I’m holding last year’s versions like Peyton Battenfield and Joe Ryan. I think maybe this is the way, especially in deep leagues where it’s exceptionally hard to build a well-rounded offense, but I’d be nervous to try it in full. Probably I’d break down and start looking for veteran arms on the cheap. Adam Wainwright has been ridiculous the past two seasons, for example, though you could mark him as yet another reason to never really pony up for the big arm when a team in your league decides to shop Gerrit Gole or Max Scherzer. 

It’s hard for me to ignore that kind of moment. Feels like dynasty leagues are often decided in tiny windows when someone decides to make a big sell-off. Typically worth your hustle to get an offer in, even if just to provide some kind of competition in the pricing. This is in an ideal world where you have any idea such a sell-off is happening. In my experience, it’s often kept secret until suddenly Trea Turner has been dealt for Blake Snell a half hour after the midnight trade deadline. Circling back the original thought, it might be better to just let it go. Over the past few years in a 15-teamer, I have traded for Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Shane Bieber, Chris Bassitt, Blake Snell and Yu Darvish, all shortly before their injury or, in Darvish’s and Snell’s case, their dip in production. The Buy High-Priced-Pitching strategy has not been kind to me. The toll of talent lost is incredible: Vlad Junior, Bo Bichette, Ozzie Albies, Julio Urias, Will Smith the Dodger and Byron Buxton (who also brought back Lance Lynn). Brutal. I still won the league in 2021, but that was due to Quantrill, Ranger Suarez, Walker Buehler, Lance McCullers, and some clutch relief help from Kendall Graveman, Paul Sewald, Dylan Floro, Joe Barlow and Jake McGee. I only lay all this out to explain why I’m more in the pan-for-pitching camp than the pay-for-pitching one, so let’s grab our gear and start sifting through the waters. 

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These birds are in no rush, man.

They’re just getting going on the international front, so even though we might pounce on players who sign for big deals, I’m skeptical of the infrastructure in place to ease those teenagers’ transitions to professional baseball in the states. I’m skeptical of the whole plan, to be honest, given the slow-roasting, historical-losing outcomes we’ve seen so far. If Baltimore can follow the path the Astros and Cubs laid out by being truly abysmal for a half-decade just before the dawn of a successful stretch, the fans will appreciate the end point, assuming any remain. The AL East piece suggests their hands were tied to some extent–that the only path was full-tank with no on-field investments in the pitching or hitting side. I dunno. It’s just tough for me to get super hyped about the big future all these guys might have when we’ve seen what it took to acquire them. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?