Please see our player page for Endy Rodriguez 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.

Three Rivers Stadium is about to get hit with a wave of young talent. And yeah, I realize the stadium is probably called Crypto Cathedral or something by now. (Narrator voice: “Three Rivers Stadium was actually imploded in 2001. The Pirates play in PNC Park now, which is, in fact, named for a bank that shuttered 200 branches in June of this year.) So . . . pretty close.

Fact remains that this list is loaded with players set to debut in 2023. One downside of a tank-tastic rebuild is the timeline crunch. Pittsburgh has too many good-not-great youngsters to play at any given time. We saw some of that in 2022 when the club would call up a prospect and let him ride the bench or make him walk the plank like Captain Jack Suwinksi. It’ll take a lot of skill and a little luck to separate playing time winners from losers and build a sea-worthy vessel from this veritable forest of prospects. 

 

1. C/OF Endy Rodriguez | 22 | AAA | 2023

Rodriguez is nearing the end of his minor league journey. In a real-world scenario, he’s probably the Opening Day catcher for this team. Pittsburgh punted in all sorts of creative ways last year, so the chances of Endy breaking camp with the big club are minuscule. It’ll probably be Jason Delay and his 53 wRC+ or Tyler Heineman and his 57 wRC+. You never know, though. If Pittsburgh suddenly decided to give a shit about wins and losses, they could field something resembling a competitive ballclub. Johan Oviedo was a big find for the rotation. Mitch Keller seemed to break through into something approaching functionality. Roansy Contreras is already good fresh off his 23rd birthday.

If you put the switch-hitting Rodriguez behind the plate and in the middle of that lineup, the whole team looks about 50 percent better. The athletic 6’0” 170 lb former Mets farmhand played a fair bit of outfield in 2022 but looks smooth behind the plate. His bat is racing his glove to the majors, and the presence of number one pick Henry Davis complicates the issue further, but it might help them both to share the workload and kick over to DH or left field on off-days. Rodriguez is a better baseball athlete than Davis and a more versatile defender, so he might find himself in the ideal fantasy catcher spot, escaping the rigors of daily dish duty while finding his way into the lineup much more than the average backstop. In 31 Double-A games last year, Rodriguez popped eight home runs and slashed .356/.442/.678 with an impressive 13-to-15.2 percent walk-to-strikeout rate. He finished the year with a week in Triple-A, where he collected eight RBI in six games and slugged .773. In short, he is ready. 

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You don’t come to Razzball to be told that Gunnar Henderson, Corbin Carroll, and Anthony Volpe are terrific prospects that you should be trying to roster/acquire. You guys already know this, because you’re here–you’ve proven to have enough good fantasy baseball knowledge to know to be here rather than other places. You may have heard […]

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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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I’ve been covering so many Pirates prospects throughout the year that I feel like I’ve already written this article. Because I sort of did, particularly a month ago during Prospect News: Pirates Follow Secret Treasure Map to Roansy Contreras

Definitely some of my shiniest work in that one, mateys. If you’ve been around here this season, you know I like this swashbuckling system, so let’s hit the high seas. 

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Anyone getting called up for some September playing time is part of the Opening Day picture for 2022. The only real incentive to promote a player now is that it’ll be the same difference, service-time-wise, as breaking camp with that player on the roster. So although some call-ups this week seem on the surface like they’re too little too late for our fantasy purposes, they’re right on time to get us fired up about drafting these prospects as rookies in 2022 redraft leagues. 

Enter Keibert Ruiz, the primary return for Washington in the trade that sent Trea Turner and Max Scherzer to the World Champion Dodgers. 

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Get your bids in: these Mets are for sale!

It’ll be fascinating to see the fate of GM Brodie Van Wagenen under new ownership. Luckily for him, the team is obligated to pay his clients several million dollars regardless of his own future. Wild times in New York these days, but their scouting and development teams have done well over the past few cycles, so the system remains solid despite the purge of Jarred Kelenic, Simeon Woods-Richardson and more. 

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I’ve been estimating the time of arrival for every prospect in these team previews, but I’m not sure that adds much value in this case. There could be help on the way to Metropolis, but it ain’t Superman, and it won’t arrive for a long, long time. 

That said, the Mets are seeking accelerants. Ronny Mauricio followed the Amed Rosario path of aggressive assignments but fared poorly in the Midwest League at 18. I’ve seen the parks in that league. They’re cavernous and cold. That early-season, frozen-air fun of Spring in the Midwest bested Malcom Nunez and Jhon Torres in 2019, so Cardinals pulled them back. Worked with them. Sent them to warmer, softer climes. The Mets went the other way, leaving Mauricio to fight it out for 116 games.

The plan has its downsides, but I like the idea of trying to accelerate a player’s timeline if he meets the challenge. If a player gets red hot for a month in low A, he might as well be promoted to high A. If he gets demolished at high A for the rest of the season, he repeats the level the following year. If he instead has another hot month, bump him again to AA. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe the logistics make this impossible. But imagine an organization where everyone knows one hot month is all it takes to climb the ladder. I don’t know. Maybe it’s too soft a factor to make a blip. Anyway, I think these Mets are being very aggressive in playing the age-to-level lottery. 

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