Please see our player page for Grayson 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.

Here’s where the introductory words would go, if I thought any of us really wanted to see some introductory words. 

1. OF Corbin Carroll | Diamondbacks | 21 | AAA | 2023 

2. SS Gunnar Henderson | Orioles | 21 | AAA | 2023

3. OF Jackson Chourio | Brewers | 18 | A+ | 2024

4. 3B Jordan Walker | Cardinals | 20 | AA | 2023 

Corbin Carroll lived alone in his own tier at the top early in the process, but the other three have such strong cases for the top spot I had to include them.

Gunnar Henderson quickly found his rhythm after a rough start at Triple–A and has been arguably the best player at the level since the break. 

If you want to rank Jackson Chourio first, don’t let me stop you. He’s slashing .333/.396/.476 with a home run and a stolen base in 10 games at High-A. He’s also posting a 10.4 percent walk rate and 16.7 percent strikeout rate, shushing the whispers around his 28 percent K-rate in Low A.

I had Jordan Walker in the tier below at one point, but you can only watch so many multi-homer games from a 20-year-old in Double-A without moving a dude up the list, even if he’s already at the summit. Is this ETA light on Jordan Walker? The Cardinals added pitching at the deadline and moved an outfielder. Lars Nootbar is playing well, but Walker would be following a long tradition of elite players joining their clubs late in the season to push for the playoffs. 

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It’s second-half baseball! Nothing more exciting than watching the race for the bottom. [thinks of headline to submit to TMZ] ENYWHEY. Enough about the Athletics. We’ve got one of these great years for the AL Central. The Minnesota Twins would be in 4th place in the AL East, but are somehow atop the leaderboard in the flyover division. The Twins wouldn’t be in first place in any other division in baseball except for our beloved AL  Central, home to the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers. Remember when those teams were threats, and Miggy and Beltran and Greinke and Scherzer and Verlander were all just little spuds waiting to be big potatoes? No you don’t remember them because you were born in this century and only stumbled upon my article because some TikTok star made fun of it? Welcome, junior! Let’s win you a fantasy league. 

It’s the second half of the MLB season, so much like like our pants after seconds at the 4th of July picnic, we need to adjust.  

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“He’s a Mormon like a wolf!” That’s me singing about Ezequiel Duran (2-for-4 and his 1st homer) as he was called up by the struggling-to-get-offense Rangers, who are only spending $500 million this year. Whatever the case, circle July 8th on your calendar as the first day we can get the long-awaited matchup of Duran/Duran. Her name is Edwin Rios and she is dancing on the sand! In the Itch’s top 25 2nd base prospects, Ezequiel got some shine, “Acquired from the Yankees in the Joey Gallo deal, Duran is a twitch factory who logged 19 HR and 19 SB in 105 games in High-A this year, slashing .267/.342/.486 between the two organizations. He also went to the fall league and slashed .278/.333/.611 with another three home runs in 16 games. I’ve been into this guy’s baseball actions since the first time I saw video of him way back in 2017. He’s a stout right handed hitter at 5’11” 185 lbs, who swings like he’s killing snakes. Grey better watch out, since he’s a snake.” Not cool! In deeper leagues, where you’re struggling for everything — wouldn’t be me! (Absolutely is me!) — I could see grabbing Duran. “Just like that river twisting through a Dusty land!” Me singing about Duran when he faces the Dusty-led Astros. Unlike the Phils’ defense, that shizz is catchy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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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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The doubleheader in the Bronx started with Ohtani taking on Nestor. The hype, the excitement, the mustache! It was all there. Then the nightcap, what could it do to top such intrigue?! What, I scream at my ceiling. The nightcap ended up being a very stiff shot of Jameson. Did I do that, right? I haven’t drank in, like, ten years, I forget the terminology sometimes. Jameson Taillon took a perfect game into the 8th inning, ending the game with the line — 8 IP, 1 ER, 2 hits, zero walks, 5 Ks, ERA at…What’s his ERA? Go ahead. Guess! You know him! Let’s hear your best guesses! Please, indulge me! Imagine dopey guesses as little chocolate truffles. Roll them in cocoa powder and pop them into my mouth for my consumption. WRONG! He’s got a 2.30 ERA. You were two runs off. At least! No? Then you’re rostering him. So, Taillon is doing it with pinpoint control — 5 BBs in 58 2/3 IP — and that’s coming with almost identical stats from previous years minus some Ks. Elite command can carry a guy pretty far. Maybe not as far as a 2.30 ERA in 170+ IP, but won’t be much worse than 3.50 if he holds that kind of command. That Jameson can scotch tape together a lot fantasy staffs if you’re looking to Taillon. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Rockies aren’t good at home anymore and it’s so funny. Like, that’s the joke. The Rockies. Excuse me, the Jokies. Is that a thing? It is now! Bud Black is a joke, the entire organization is a joke. From top to bottom, just jokey joke jokes. The Jokies’ owner, Dick Monfort says, “Can’t believe we’ve got Kris Bryant locked up until he’s 37. We are so smart,” as Monfort pushes on a door that says pull. Also, and I know I joke a lot about the Jokies, so I have to tell you this is absolutely true, Dick Monfort appointed one of the majors’ youngest scouting directors. Who is this overachiever? His son! He appointed his son the scouting director. What’s his qualifications? I just told you! He’s his son! Any hoo! Edward Cabrera (6 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 4 walks, 9 Ks) threw a gem in Coors, in his first start up with the team. The command is pretty worrisome here. In Triple-A, he had a 4.6 BB/9 with a 4.56 ERA. I’m actually surprised he was promoted. The stuff is electric, but he could have some absolute roofies. Outside of NL-Only, I’d be concerned. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Me and seven guys who I picked up in a Home Depot parking lot are bringing home a life-sized cutout of Grayson Rodriguez in a wheelbarrow. “Cory, please help me get my make-believe son, Gray, uh, son, onto my couch.” Cory and my new Home Depot friends, who I paid with Venmo, manage to lean the 6’5″, 220-pound cutout onto the couch.

Later, me and Cougs are watching The Staircase and between us is my make-believe son, Grayson. “Say hello, Grayson,” I say. I nudge the Grayson cutout with my arm, and it falls over crushing my wife’s foot. At the Urgent Care, I explain to Cougs that Grayson Rodriguez is the best pitcher the Orioles have right now. As a horsey might say, nay, he’s a top five arm in the AL East right now. If he’s healthy, it’s stuff you’re not seeing from many pitchers in the major leagues. Five above-average to plus-plus pitches with control. Through nine starts in Triple-A as the 9th youngest pitcher at the level: His K/9 is 13.7; his BB/9 is 2.9; his FIP is 1.77.

I shush Cougs’s sobs. I ask, “Are you sobbing from your broken foot from my make-believe son cutout falling on you or are you worried about his slider?” Before she can answer, I anticipate and tell her his fastball sits 95 MPH with a plus whiff rate, and his two plus secondaries are his curveball and changeup with whiff rates above 50%. Oh, and by the by, he has a slider and cutter that grade as average or better too. Is this man a hydra? What kind of water do they have in the Rio Grande that they’re giving this Texan? He’s unreal, like an alien. He just needs a nickname to play off Grayson, and being an alien. Oh, I know! Call him Spawn. Grayson’s going to be the best thing you’ve seen since the last future Hall of Famer was promoted. A chip right off the old block that fell on Cougs, that’s my Spawn!

Also, here’s me talking about Grayson Rodriguez (please subscribe to this friggin Youtube channel — click that and click subscribe):

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Feels like we get big prospect headlines every weekend. Makes sense on the baseball calendar. Adley Rutschman, Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore all got that call this week, and I got an invitation to reshuffle the stash list.

Graduated from Volume 2: Royce Lewis Rolls Into TownGeorge Kirby, Adley Rutschman, Alek Thomas, Vidal Brujan, Nolan Gorman, Ryan Pepiot 

If you cared to look back that far, you’d see two graduates in this list from the class of Volume 1, Oneil Cruz Control featured again here in Volume 3, but that’s just the nature of the nomenclature these days. Confusing times when the top guy on the stash list just got demoted after dominating for a couple weeks, but here we are, and away we go. 

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As the fantasy community mourned the destruction of Minnesota SS Carlos Correa’s middle finger this week, we also wondered if such an injury would be the spark that lights a major league candle for Royce Lewis. The Twins wasted no time in promoting him, making the announcement before we learned that Correa’s finger was not broken as first reported. Even so, it’s the middle finger of his throwing hand, and it was damaged badly enough that initial examinations suggested it was broken. I don’t know when you last made the throw from shortstop over to first base, but you used your middle finger to do it. I suspect Correa will DH for a while before he goes back to short, giving Lewis some runway to establish himself as a viable big league option. If he does, the team might try to find room for him in the outfield. Don’t drop him yet.

Graduated from Volume 1, Oneil Cruz ControlSS Royce Lewis, 3B/1B Jose Miranda, 3B Elehuris Montero, C MJ Melendez, 1B/3B Juan Yepez, 2B/OF Vinny Capra. 

Now like Jock Jams we move on to Volume 2.

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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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So, Sean Manaea and the A’s are both heading south. Manaea to the Padres, and the A’s metaphorically, as they trade away one of their last pieces. Frankie Montas walking around the A’s clubhouse like that Will Smith meme. No, the other one. No, not that one. No, he’s not smacking anyone. The one where he’s by himself. The long-awaited sequel, No Moneyball, being directed by Werner Herzog, and it’s a grizzly bear mauling teddy bears dressed in A’s jerseys. Any hoo! I’ve loved Sean Manaea for a long time now, writing a Sean Manaea sleeper, and nothing changes on any of that. With the humidor in Petco, and lack of three miles of foul territory, Manaea’s ratios might take a hit, while his Wins get a boost. We’ll have to see if this is the Manaecea the Padres need. Pun points! Okay, the top 40 starters were updated. The top 100 for 2022 fantasy baseball, and the top 500 for 2022 fantasy baseball. Haven’t moved Mike Clevinger yet, but it sounds like he’s starting the year on the IL with knee soreness. He was never throwing a full season, nor Nick Martinez, so I’m slow-playing what to do with them for now. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in Spring Training for 2022 fantasy baseball:

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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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