Please see our player page for James Wood 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.

If you’re gonna pull the early plug on a contention window, you better walk away with some future stars. To their credit, the Nationals did that. A better move might’ve been to hold Trea Turner in 2021 and hope for the best in 2022, but that wasn’t the play this team wanted to make, preferring to off-load Max Scherzer’s deferred money along with their star shortstop. 2022 then became an exercise in futility. It’s tough to imagine the front office saw the Turner trade as precursor to a Soto sale. I guess the checks keep clearing when an ownership group opts to quit an entire MLB season, but the cascading impacts of those tank-thoughts will be felt throughout the organization for years. Players might simply stop wanting to play. They didn’t have to move Soto, of course. Could’ve left him malcontent on the roster then watched him walk in free agency, but I don’t think any amount of free agent spending could undo the damage that had been done. 

 

1. OF James Wood | 20 | A | 2025

There’s a lot riding on the broad shoulders of the 6’7” 240 lb center fielder. If he remains a high-contact, big-power bat through the upper minors, the Juan Soto trade could look okay a couple years from now. CJ Abrams has a big part to play in that math as well, and he started hitting better down the stretch with regular at bats. Like Abrams last winter, Wood should be a consensus top ten fantasy prospect this off-season after slashing .313/.420/.536 with 12 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 76 games this year. He also walked 50 times and struck out 75. So far, his game has no apparent weaknesses. Depending on the timelines of Jackson Chourio and Elly De La Cruz, James Wood could be baseball’s number one overall prospect early in 2024.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You’re allowed to like the Juan Soto trade, I think. Probably feels good to leave it in the wake for all involved. Now the Padres can legitimately challenge the Dodgers as the first team I can remember that looks better than Los Angeles on paper. We’ll never know how close we came to having Soto (and maybe even Bell) in LA’s lineup. Feels like the kind of trade that would’ve made half the dynasty league quit, but I guess that’s okay in MLB where half the league quits before opening day. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Engine revs. It’s the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. Only instead of a Oscar Mayer hat on its front hood, it’s wearing a Padres cap. It’s staring down a lonely country road. Directly, a mile down, aimed right at it is the Dodgers’ team bus. The Dodgers’ team bus revs.

A half mile in front of each of them, at the midpoint is “1st place in the NL West.” What we have here is a game a chicken. Who will get there first? Behind the Dodgers’ team bus wheel is Magic Johnson. Behind the Padres’ pimped-out Weinermobile is the San Diego Chicken. “You’re going mano a chicken? With the Chicken?! This is not a game you want to play, Magic?” That’s the actor who played Magic in the Showtime series on HBO shouting at Magic. “A Showtime series on HBO? Are you talking riddles, Albright?!” That’s the voice inside my head. Back to the white hot asphalt! The San Diego Chicken guns it towards the Dodgers’ team bus! Magic slams down the gas!

Careening down the road, the Chicken bawks, “They need to lose some extra weight!” To get up to speed, the Padres throw out MacKenzie Gore, C.J. Abrams, Robert Hassell III, James Wood and Jarlin Susana. For Magic to get the Dodgers to increase speed, he throws out an anecdote about him hugging Isiah Thomas at half court. “You need more speed, Magic!” The actor who played Magic in the Showtime HBO series screams. Magic says, “Have you heard about the one of me and Clyde the Glide?” It’s not enough! The San Diego Chicken is the type that drives right towards a big trade and waits for the other team to swerve. It ain’t afraid — it accepts that Gore is sometimes necessary.

So, Juan Soto goes to the Padres. They have Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Sexy Dr. Pepper? Um…

Seriously…

Like seriously seriously…

Fun the Jewels, Macho Manny and Sexy Dr. Pepper. Guys and five lady readers, I am doing a horny. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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Today we continue highlighting prospects making the biggest jumps on the upcoming updated Top 100, soft-scheduled to hit newsstands on Sunday June 5. 

Cubs 2B SS 3B OF Christopher Morel has looked great so far, like a mushroom blooming in the damp baseball darkness of North Chicago, reaching base in all seven games he’s played, playing all the positions listed here and batting leadoff on Tuesday night. He’s got two home runs and a stolen base along with his .304/.407/.565 slash line. What initially seemed like some injury cover as Morel came up from AA has become a long-term appointment, as far as I can tell. He’s not quite the dynamo Royce Lewis can be, but it’s not totally insane to mention them in the same sentence, or at least I hope it’s not because I just did. I offered Tanner Houck for Morel in the Razz30, and Baseball America’s Geoff Pontes, a razor-sharp baseball mind and a Red Sox fan, rejected it, which offers some idea of how people might be feeling about Morel today.

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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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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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Feels like I should say something about MacKenzie Gore here, but I don’t know what to say that might be actionable for fantasy purposes. You probably can’t trade for him, nor should you want to, probably. If you have him already, you may have tried to trade him away. I hope you hit the timing just right on that if so. He’s not a spent asset by any means, but he’s been managing multiple deliveries for so long now it’ll be inconveniently tough for him to repeat any of them like an MLB starter. He’s still young though, and this system is about more than Gore. Even as it’s been strip-mined so AJ Preller could chase the playoffs (and the headlines), this Padres minor league group offers potential impact in both the short and long term. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?