Please see our player page for Keibert Ruiz 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.

Atlanta Braves’ rookie flamethrower-slash-hotshot-slash-heartthrob, Spencer Strider turned in his best outing of the year Friday night, pitching five and 2/3 innings, allowing just five baserunners and punching out eight Pirates en route to his second win. Spencer finally hitting his Stride-er! He lowered his ratios to a real nice 2.35 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with the start and his 57/19 K/BB in just 38.1 innings was the exact same number I had on the vision board I made for my positive affirmations class. You just can’t find that kind of strikeout potential on the waiver wire, over-the-internet friends. He’s got a 36.8 K% and a 13.38 K/9. Mhmm. Oh my, is it hot in here? I need to calm myself down, I’m getting excited. *bites knuckles, does ice bucket challenge, thinks about baseball players* Wait! No to that last one! Spence, can I call you, Spence? No? OK, Spencer’s biggest knock is that he’s currently being stretched out after serving in somewhat of a long relief role, so he may not pitch deep enough into games initially to get you those sweet dubs, but Braves manager Snitker seems to be ramping him up quick. He threw 72 pitches in his first start, followed by 87 last week and 92 Friday night. That’s progress, y’all! The five and 2/3 innings was the longest outing of his young career, and even though it was the lowly Bucs, he produced a swinging strike rate of 34%. That’s 18 swings and misses, 11 of those on his stinky, stinky cheese, which topped out at 100+ mph multiple times. Yup, guy’s got gas to spare during a nationwide shortage. Basically, Braves have been ramping him up and he’s taking it in Stride-er. Sure, he’s had some cushy matchups so far with Arizona, Colorado and Pittsburgh, but he gets another juicy one next week versus the Nats. If you are looking to buy unfunny gag gifts, fart pills, embarrassing sex toys or lava lamps, I’d check out Spencer’s Gifts, but if you need starting pitching help with massive strikeout upside on a team that can’t seem to lose right now, I’d buy Spencer Strider. Maybe buy the fart pills, too, those sound fun. Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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I’ve got things to cover in this post, but first things first (instead of second where I usually put first things), Toronto RHP Dahian Santos (A, 19 yo) has earned an immediate pickup (click-up?) in most dynasty formats. I can imagine some scenarios where he’s more of a mouse-hover than a quick click, such as the 20-team Highlander with 900-max total players rostered at any time and no minor league requirements, by which I mean I’m only rostering three minor leaguers right now, and one of them is Oneil Cruz. Santos wasn’t high enough to jump Nelson Velazquez on my claim list there, but the teenager is striking out 49.2 percent of the batters he sees in a league where he’s three years younger than the average age. 

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Secretly, what no one could know, before yesterday’s game in Milwaukee, Christian Yelich hired a hitman. Did he want something done to a person? Heavens no! His fine eh eff mother raised that boy well! No, what Yelich wanted done he whispered into the ear of the hitman he hired off of Craigslist. Thanks to scouts Razzball hired, we know what was said, and by ‘scouts,’ I mean eavesdroppers. Yelich whispered, “Take this baseball bat that does me no good, and beat the shi*t out of the humidor until it no longer functions.” Yelich said the only way they’d know definitively that the humidor is busted is if Keston Hiura (1-for-4, 2nd homer) could hit it out. Job well done, Humidor Hitman! Yelich also benefited from his own mafia ties (3-for-5, 3 runs, 2 RBIs and a slam (4) and legs (3). The humidor hit was especially nice for me since two benefactors were two of my sleepers, Luis Urias (1-for-4, and his 1st homer, hitting leadoff), and the big star of the game, Willy Adames (2-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs) hit his 7th and 8th homer, as he hits third. That sleeper of mine makes up for my Jarred Kelenic sleeper post! *dodges tomato* It doesn’t make up for it? *dodges another tomato* Okay! Geez! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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On the eve of Opening Day, I’m trying to recall the last time so many high-profile rookies were scheduled to break camp with the big club. Might’ve been . . . never? Prospect coverage has come a long way these past few decades. Used to be cool to bash rookies and the prospect lovers who drafted them. Now you’re just leaving money on the table if you ignore the possibility that Julio Rodriguez opens the season in center field for Seattle. 

Focusing on Rodriguez in particular, I moved earlier than Average Draft Position at the time to select him in the 18th round of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational. Pick 265. He went inside the top 75 this week. Incredibly weird to me that three weeks of stats is worth 200 draft spots in the echo chamber, but that’s the illusion of certainty for you. Object permanence. I guess there was an outside chance Julio stayed in the minors until July, but not really. Not without a catastrophe of some kind. 

I’m already eager to see how next year’s crop of potential rookies is treated during draft season. Will we overweight the 2022 outcome, which happened partly due to a backlog built from the paradigm of punting combined with a CBA in flux and a lost 2020 season? Or is this simply the new reality? If a player is ready to help generate major league wins for a contending team, he will open the season on the roster. Sounds crazy, I know. 

So let’s run through the list, consider the fates of each player, and celebrate what we all hope will be a new chapter in baseball history, where service time suppression starts to creep away from center stage. 

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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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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 George Kirby is definitively a better prospect than Nick Lodolo 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 before we roll on down the mountain. 

Drumroll please and away we go!

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Last week, we hit the top 10 prospects for 2022 fantasy baseball, and now — we’ll navigate into the top 20. It’s filled with Q-Bert references, jokes about dinner plans, an homage to hippie culture, my new rendition of a Lorde song, and more. It’s what you need to keep your wits about you when trying to figure out which prospects will garner enough playing time to be fantasy relevant in 2022 in the midst of the ongoing lockout. Who makes the top-20 cut? Who gets omitted like chicken in a McNugget? There will be no shortage of fiery opinions here, and the piece is somewhat lengthy, so let’s get into it, beginning with one of the more fascinating names on the list.

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Starting the positional previews, everyone’s favorite, most productive position in all of baseball, catchers! YAY! Now go listen to the intro where Grey makes fun of everyone drafting catchers way too early. From Salvador Perez to Jonah Heim (o yeah, Grey covers a lot more than 20 catchers, right here), we cover them all and where we would potentially draft these players.

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After we went over the top 10 for 2022 fantasy baseball and the top 20 for 2022 fantasy baseball in our (my) 2022 fantasy baseball rankings, it’s time for the meat and potatoes rankings. Something to stew about! Hop in the pressure cooker, crank it up to “Intense” and let’s rock with the top 20 catchers for 2022 fantasy baseball. Am I at all selling you on the top 20 catchers being good? No? Good, don’t want to give you the wrong impression. Here’s Steamer’s 2022 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2022 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. The projections noted in this post are my own, and I mention where tiers start and stop. Subscriptions are up and running, and you can already get Rudy’s Draft War Room. Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2022 fantasy baseball:

NOTE: All 2022 fantasy baseball projections are based on a 162-game season, and will be until we hear definitively there will be less games, due to the CBA. Also, I’m going on the assumption the NL is getting the DH.

NOTE II: All my rankings are currently available on Patreon for the price of a Starbucks coffee, if you get one of those extra grande frappuccino jobbers. Don’t wait for the rankings to come out over the next month, and get them all now.

NOTE III: Free agents are listed as just that and not yet projected. Once a guy signs, I will write out their blurb and add in projections, or remove them, if they sign in an unfavorable place. They are ranked currently where I think they might be if they sign on for a full-time job.

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Weirdest trade of the year award goes to the Nationals, who attached Trea Turner to Max Scherzer’s remaining contract and moved about 130 million dollars off the payroll over the next seven years for the pre-free-agency life cycles of Dodgers’ prospects RHP Josiah Gray and C Keibert Ruiz. It’s an intriguing build, provided they get anything from Stephen Strasburg, Carter Kieboom, Victor Robles, Patrick Corbin and Luis Garcia. The team doesn’t look particularly close at first blush, but if they can find a few clever free agent moves, I can see the bones of a contender if I squint hard enough. 

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(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY THIS WEEK ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $10/MONTH OR $13/MONTH WITH AN EXTRA WEEKLY PODCAST.)

“Listen, I want you to go out there and treat each game like it might be your last,” Bud Black paused, as he addressed Garrett Hampson. Then, thoughtfully, he continued, “Because even if we don’t bring back Trevor Story for 2022, there’s a chance this offseason we sign the 33-year-old Elvis Andrus and I will play him over you.” Bud’s eye welled up, a slow tear trickled down as he continued, “I’d love nothing more than for us to sign Alcides Escobar too, and have a middle infield of two guys who are five years past their prime.” Bud wiped that tear, and finished, “That’s how I’d like to rebuild this team with C.J. Cron, Charlie Blackmon and two middle infielders who are awful, showing you, Ryan Vilade, Hilliard and Brendan Rodgers how to play.” Remembering one more thing, Bud added, “I wonder if we can lure Brian Dozier out of retirement. He’d look great playing in front of you.” So, until 2022, when Bud Black manages, literally, to bury Hampson again, he’s been playing and hitting. Clearly, the percentages for rostering are getting “Rodgered” in the whole keister since fantasy football started, because Hampson and Brendan Rodgers are supposedly rostered in less leagues than Alec Bohm and Keston Hiura. Speaking of Rockies’ middle infielders, all three (Story, Hampson and Rodgers) have been around equally valuable on our 30-day Player Rater. So, if Rodgers or Hampson are out there, they’re worth a grab, until Andrus, Alcides and Brian Dozier are brought in. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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