Please see our player page for Jack Leiter 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.

After going through some new league averages for pitchers and batters last time, this week we will tackle updating for park factor changes, using Statcast. I will caveat that 2023 still offers a small sample on ballpark factors and the hottest months of the summer haven’t arrived in places like Baltimore and Cleveland, both have […]

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Money talks, and the Rangers have had a lot to say these past two winters. The timing was connected to their new stadium but nonetheless ideal for a system stocked with ready-soon contributors. 

Format: Position Player | Age on 4/1/23 | Highest Level Played | ETA

1. 3B Josh Jung | 25 | MLB | 2022

Happy birthday week to Josh, who turned 25 on February 12. Fantasy baseballers (Grey’s mom’s term) probably shouldn’t penalize players on their way back from injury, but Jung feels underrated in the wake of an abbreviated 2022. When Jung had surgery for a torn labrum around this time last year, I expected him to miss the whole season, so getting 49 games across two levels feels like a win. Jung was a shadow of his 2021 self that slashed .348/.436/.652 for 35 games in Triple-A. The difference was most notable in his plate skills. His walk rate dropped from 11.5 percent to 3.8 percent and his strikeout rate spiked from 17.2 to 28.3 percent. Shoulder injuries can permanently lower ceilings and even ruin careers, but Jung has the talent to overcome it. He’s a target for me in the CBS AL Only auction tomorrow night.

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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 an exciting time. 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. 

51-75 was the toughest group on the list, in terms of my mind’s ability to settle on a decision and turn the page to the next task. It chewed through hour after hour of my life like the hungry caterpillar, and now I have a tummy ache. 

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.

And here’s a link to the Top 50, Prospect Rankings Update: New Top 50 for June 2022

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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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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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Dynasty drafts come in several shapes and sizes. Some leagues break the player groups into veterans and prospects. Some leagues let you draft 34-year-old relievers right alongside 16-year-old little brothers. I don’t really have a favorite way to cut it up. I just love the game. Though I will say the Razz 30 has something special going on with a prospects-only draft and a vets-only auction that becomes, at its core, a bums-only auction. It’s about two weeks of slow-bidding Steven Brault up to $21, and it’s a treat like few others in the fantasy realm. Jose Martinez once sold for $96. Michael Pineda went for $62. Zach Davies for $36. Two of those are purchases of mine! The fun never ends! Well, except when you ask MLB owners if they’d rather make money or take all the different balls and go home.

Anywho, I’ve broken this year’s First-Year-Player Draft rankings down into tiers and included some snippets about where my head would be during those spots on the draft board.

You can find most of these guys in the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Prospects, Minor League Preview Index

If not, feel free to drop a question in the comments so we can talk some baseball, pass the time.

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Some great prospects are about to find a home on the Rangers. I wrote about their future at some length back on December 1 after they’d signed Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Jon Gray and Kole Calhoun. Click here if you’d like to mosey through their organizational outlook in Prospect News: Texas Rangers Wrangle a Future For Their Jung

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I know a lot of leagues start their First-Year-Player Drafts directly after the MLB Draft, so I figured no time like the present to rank the first round or so. 

1. Miami SS Kahlil Watson, pick 1.16

Watson’s interview with the broadcast team was a tough listen. Sounded like he was exhausted from being on the phone all night, telling his agent he wasn’t willing to sign for whatever fully leveraged, arm-twisting deals teams were offering, probably as early as the fifth pick. Probably negotiated with at least five teams before the Marlins landed him at 16. Sounded like he shut down the Giants, who pivoted late to College World Series star Will Bednar. 

As much as I love aspects of the draft, the reality of a multi-billion dollar corporations needling high school kids down as far as they’ll go exhausts me as well. No doubt they tell the kids what they’re not good at, why they should definitely sign this lowball contract, how they’re risking their family’s well being by betting on themselves. 

Between the lines, Watson can do it all: hit, field, throw, thump, run, and it’s this last piece that really ties the room together for us. Miami isn’t a great place to hit, but Donny Baseball’s fish sure like to steal. Can’t really predict he’ll still be there when Watson arrives, but the Marlins will always have to manufacture runs at home. 

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Omaha! Omaha! Either Peyton Manning just put together a quick game of pick-up flag football in my backyard, or the College World Series is officially underway in Nebraska. *editor buzzes into my earpiece* Manning is in fact in Canton learning how to properly construct a Super Bowl trophy out of a Wheaties box for the next incredibly average Peyton’s Places segment, so it must be the latter — which is good for him, because my backyard is currently infested with slime mold and being treated for turf diseases, so that simply wouldn’t be advised for the local neighborhood youths. But alas, the CWS is here, and we have the luxury of scouting an excess of 2021 MLB Draft talent from June 19-30. Six players in my top 30 were able to advance to college baseball’s ultimate event, but countless others such as Arizona’s Ryan Holgate, Vanderbilt’s Isaiah Thomas and NC State’s Luca Tresh made the Omaha cut as well. This not only means that these rankings are fluid and will undoubtedly change prior to the July 11-13 draft, but also that I recommend taking the below intel and doing some of your own personal scouting over the course of the next week-plus. So, who has made the cut as we inch closer to the release of the complete college top 100? Check it out below, as there are a handful of new names previously excluded from the preseason list that utilized excellent 2021 campaigns to springboard their stock — such as Washington State’s Kyle Manzardo and Florida State’s Matheu Nelson. Where they’ll ultimately fall in the draft, nobody knows! For that reason, I like to refer to such players as this year’s “unsupervised children flying off trampolines at the annual Memorial Day reunion.” There’s always bound to be one or two.

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Sam Houston State. South Alabama. Miami (OH). Just a short list of all the top Division I programs that you typically find first-round talent at, right? Either every premier Power Five program completely whiffed on these guys, or head coaches are scurrying around the recruiting grounds like a bunch of half-blind moles trying to find their own siblings. As I unveil college prospects 6-10 in my rankings for the 2021 MLB Draft, you’ll find players from each of the above mid-major programs entrenched in the top 10. We all know young players develop significantly while playing the college game, but it’s downright incredible to see this many top prospects coming from such schools. Last year, the top pitcher in the draft came out of the University of Minnesota and the No. 7 overall pick came out of New Mexico State — further evidence that you can’t live and die by the blue blood programs when assembling your prospect pool in dynasty leagues. In this edition, we’ll go in-depth on players 6-10 on my list while providing plenty of links to previous college prospect coverage to assist you in putting together the best first-year player draft board as possible. So take a seat in the optometrist’s chair, make like a cartoon mole with bifocals and check out the rest of this year’s top ten.

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And here we are. Our coverage of college prospect talent has finally come full circle, which is kind of redundant, don’t you think? Circles are fully completed to begin with, unless by “full circle,” we are describing the actual filling in of a circle, which in reality, would then effectively become a dot. So, you might say that here at Razzball, our coverage of college prospect talent has come dot. Ahh. That’s better.

What do I mean by this? On March 12, 2020, the college baseball world came crashing to a halt, as did numerous other sports entities and industries. My own existence was thrown into a whirl; a seemingly unfathomable reality all too sudden to believe — as I’m sure yours was, and your friends’, and your friends’ friends’, and your friends’ friends’ mothers’ friends and so forth. As I admittedly understand, the reaches of all that has occurred over the last year-plus comes accompanied with far more tragedy than the impact on sports. But even so, the events of March 12 pushed me into becoming a Razzball contributor and on March 19 — just seven days later — I released my Top 10 College Prospects to Target in Dynasty Leagues, otherwise known as my debut post on the site, otherwise known as the date I first started leaving Grey *67 voicemails. It was written while I stared deeply into Trevor Bauer’s eyes, indirectly of course, via a photo I took standing outside of his house unbeknownst to him.

Fast forward to present day, one year and two months later (Note: NOT a Yellowcard song), and I am tackling that same practice yet again. However, this year we are beginning with the timeline we should be. The college baseball season has NOT been canceled and there ARE conference tournaments and postseason play ongoing. The 2021 MLB Draft is just under two months away, scheduled for July 11-13. It will be 20 rounds this year, not five. Thank. Freaking. Goodness.

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