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Please see our player page for George Valera 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. 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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76. Pirates 2B Termarr Johnson | 18 | A | 2025

A double-plus hit tool leads the way for Termarr Johnson, a 5’7” 175 lb left-handed hitter who calls Jose Ramirez to mind on a quick visual evaluation. The organization will be thrilled if Johnson follows a similar path, grinding his way up the chain before growing into power at the highest level. He’s off to a great start, slashing .275/.396/.450 with one home run and four stolen bases in 14 Low-A games. He also walked 18.9 percent of the time. Scouts have hung a lot of superlatives on Termarr. Some called him the best high school hitter they’ve ever seen. It’s a high bar, but I’m not going to bet against him.

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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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Guardians OF Will Brennan fits beautifully onto a playoff roster given his contact-heavy approach and solid all-around game. In 129 games between Double and Triple-A, Brennen slashed .314/.371/.479 with 13 home runs, 20 stolen bases, 69 strikeouts and 50 walks. They probably could’ve used him sooner, which would’ve given him time to adjust before the playoffs. It’s just three games so far, but he’s got three RBI’s, two stolen bases, zero strikeouts and a .364 batting average. 

As most MLB teams have moved ever closer to three-outcome lineups, Cleveland has traveled the opposite path toward roster construction, prizing low strikeout rates and all-field approaches. It’s working, and it could be a deadly brew to the fence-swinging clubs in October. Tampa gets a lot of love for maintaining a winner despite penny-pinching owners, but Cleveland is about to make its fifth postseason in seven seasons, and 2022 feels like the beginning of a dominant run through the AL Central. They’re up eight games ahead of the second place White Sox right now and eleven games up on the Twins. It’s not easy to see how those two bridge the gap next year.

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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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Rangers RHP Jack Leiter is a good place to start because he exemplifies what’s  weird about the Futures Game. Leiter hasn’t earned his spot on the field (6.30 ERA), but that’s not uncommon to this game, which different organizations use for different reasons on a player-by-player basis. It’s not an All-Star game, in other words. It’s not even an all-famous game, although that’s what gets Leiter on the roster. It’s not even really a combination of the two. Some organizations might send a middle reliever, like Baltimore did with Marcos Diplan in 2021, who the team DFA’d the other day, almost exactly a year after Diplan gave up home runs to Brennan Davis and Francisco Alvarez in Coors Field during the sixth inning of last year’s Futures Game. 

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List season continues this week here at Razzball. It’s a stressful time for yours truly, if I’m honest with myself, as I don’t have time to write about everything I’m noticing just under the surface of prospect world. Stress isn’t negative all the time. It’s also exciting in this case. Tickles the geek inside my haunted carnival of a baseball mind to check in with each and every prospect and rearrange them rung by rung, tier by tier. 

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, Prospect Rankings Update: Corbin Carroll Headlines Top 25 for June 22.

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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 Nolan Gorman is definitively a better prospect than George Valera 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

And here’s a link to the Top 50

Drumroll please and away we go!

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A few years ago, I joined a CBS dynasty league in motion one year after it had begun. The team owner quit mid-April after some sort of rules dispute. My entry fee was paid. I started trading. I cannot remember all the moves because I am an incrementalist on the market, for the most part. I do remember trading Yu Darvish and more for a High-A hitter named Juan Soto, which made someone else quit the league, so foolish was I to have done so. Soto got promoted to AA shortly after that, played eight games there, then jumped to the major leagues. 

This is not what I came here to discuss, but it’s hard for me to think about that league without rolling through its gruesome history. I joined in 2018, won the league in 2019, and it dissolved before 2020. I loved the team I’d built there by buying early on Soto and Tatis (two of my first three trades). 2021 would have been a blast. But I gained a ton from that league. I know to pump the brakes sometimes if my play style is tilting a league, for one thing. But most importantly, I learned the value of collecting impact outfielders. When I looked around to add speed or outfield help, I always came back to the same team because they had all the upside. Their minor league system was just outfielders with some shortstops sprinkled in. Every single guy had speed. And I learned something: Power/speed combo outfielders are a finite resource. 

No shit, right? Well, if we have a look around the prospect lists, we’ll find corner bats everywhere. Speed-free profiles are everywhere. Pitchers and catchers are everywhere. I’m not saying they have no place; I’m just saying it’s easy to wind up with a team peppered with all sorts of players. Might even be preferable. Not so easy to hold ten of the best power-speed outfield prospects at a given time. If you can pull that off, you’ll be on the rich-folks side of the supply/demand curve. Thus far, I’ve found the strategy a bit less profitable in practice than in theory because the people who aren’t focused on speed tend to want it cheap, and the people who collect speed already have enough to get by. That’s fine though. I’ve been running away with the stolen bases category in my four dynasty leagues for years now, and I’ve cashed in all four, so even if I’m not regularly charging rent on Boardwalk anytime someone wants stolen bases, I’m ringing the register in other ways. 

That intro got long in a hurry. Always dangerous when a writer veers anywhere near their own leagues, I think, but here’s hoping we came through it okay and that it made connective sense to the focus point today: Outfielders: What do they steal? Do they steal things? Let’s find out.

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Youth is power among the low-payroll clubs, and no team exemplifies that more than Cleveland, who has been mostly successful in terms of wins and losses despite constantly feeling the creep of (air quotes) market forces. After an eventful 40-man roster deadline day that saw the club turn over 20+ percent of its personnel, Cleveland is on the verge of something new in more ways than one (cue the Starlord memes). This system is loaded, is what I’m saying, and though they’ve faced a recent downturn in on-field talent, that should be short-lived, especially on the pitching side.    

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For this system, the script gets a bit flipped. First, no pitching stone should go unturned in Cleveland. Whereas we’re typically ignoring teenage arms in our quest to stock dynasty systems with power-speed bats, we want all the arms we can hoard in Cleveland. I’m trying to think of another system that operates similarly for our purposes. In Tampa Bay and Los Angeles, we want the arms, too, but we want all the bats just as badly. Plus, those clubs bounce their pitching prospects around between the rotation and bullpen and minors even after they’ve demonstrated they can retire major league bats in order. Cleveland might be the last place you can count on a young pitcher to get a shot at six innings every time out. Take Aaron Civale for example. A third round pick in 2016 and not an elite prospect by any means, Civale lasted six innings or more in 11 or 12 starts in 2020, falling short in only his final turn, a four-inning, eight-run blowup that devastated his season-long statline and dropped him down some draft boards. It’s beautiful to get the sparkling ratios that come alone with the quick analytic hook, but we need Wins in our game, and despite their typically anemic offense, Cleveland is one of the few places to find double digit winners throughout the rotation. 

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So here we are in Snape’s cauldron of countless bubbling outfielders–some poisonous if not handled with care–attempting to divine the future of fantasy baseball.

Here’s a link to the potion so far.

One outcome of doing these rankings is claustrophobia.

Although maybe that’s the corona.

But given the choice of three outfielders, my preference varies based on where my team is in its competitive cycle. Maybe that’s intuitive to most readers, but I’m brainstorming ways to maximize this multiverse of scenarios. In that spirit, please consider these rankings as fodder for fluid conversation and thought.

Please, blog, may I have some more?