Please see our player page for Luis Matos 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.

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I hate to be rude, so I won’t be Brash in the truest sense, but Seattle pitcher Matt Brash will make this list, so Brash this list will be. 

The individual predictions, however, are a step below that. I can’t exactly call them reasonable predictions for 2022, but I do think these are all within the realm of reason, and I think those kinds of predictions tend to be a little more sticky and useful than the boldest ones.

I hope you’ll join me in the speculatory fun. What are your most reasonably brash predictions for the coming season? Which of these seems most bold to you? (Thanks for reading! I’ll tally everything in this piece up for an article next season, so if you want to get something on the record to amplify your human memory, here is a place to do it.) 

Now into the future we go! 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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

Drumroll please and away we go!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

My primary strategy for escaping the moneyball mindfuck that is being a baseball fan in the Manfred era is that I root mostly for individuals. I love to see it when players make it big. Get that money, if you can, while you can. I love to see it when front offices that have good processes experience enough success to fund more of that good process. Farhan Zaidi and company have good processes in place in San Francisco. One example is the Brandon Crawford contract. Guy earned it, was willing to stay, and the team accepted the risk of inking an aging player before any kind of deadline spurred action. The real examples, though–the best examples–are all the players succeeding up and down this system. If a free agent signs with the Giants, bump him up on your draft sheets. A similar rule applies to their prospects now as the organization seeks to join the top tier of baseball-development firms.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The tinkering is finished for tonight.

At this point in my highway hypnosis of staring at a spreadsheet for two weeks, I’m just hoping to park the car safely.

I’d love to discuss the work with you all, so drop a thought in the comments if that appeals to you.

The only real guide I’d offer to reading these rankings is the top group is fluid. The big two of Julio Rodriguez and Bobby Witt Jr. have built their own little neighborhood. Both should have played in the majors this year. Julio is flat out embarrassing AA pitchers. I maintain my stance that Jerry Dipoto chose foolishly when he decided to push Jarred Kelenic and slam the breaks on Rodriguez, a choice he apparently made sometime back in February and never once revisited throughout the season.

After the top two, there’s not much distance between CJ Abrams at #3 and Adley Rutschman at #8, a group that’s built in part by the injuries to Abrams and Carroll and the tanking of Baltimore, Chicago and Detroit. Can make a pretty strong case that all the healthy players in the elite eight earned a shot at major league pitching this year, but that’s baseball these days. Let’s get romantic about the rest of the list!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A wave of excitement ran through the baseball community like Bo Jackson bursting for the corner and up the sideline. Our collective breaths were held hostage once again by the state of Florida (why is it always Florida?) as we waited for our Wanderwall to save our batting averages. 

Turns out we got Taylor Walls, much to the surprise of nobody who’s followed Tampa for two seconds but certainly to the chagrin of baseball fans everywhere. 

But maybe Walls’ll be the one that saves us. Cause after all . . . 

He’s good at baseball.

He’s no Vidal Wandersoon, but he’s fine for anyone looking to save some coin, and let’s face it, our fantasy teams are in Tampa’s boat on that front. Everyone loves a price break in fantasy. We probably wouldn’t tap and sap our very souls to get it, but that’s life in the so-it-goes era of Major League fuckery. 

Sorry for the detour. I’m putting work into the Top 100 Update and wanted to open the floor to discussion. In this space, I’ll air out some thoughts kicking around as I build the list and invite your thoughts on the season so far. The more minds the better, is my general approach to all things thought and perspective.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I don’t have some big introductory explanation here. I trust you grasp the premise and intend to skip this paragraph, but if I still have your eyes for the moment, I’ll say I imagine a start-up build for a 15-team, 2-catcher dynasty league when parsing through the lists and try to explain when a player’s value varies based on settings. If you’re in a contention window, your rankings should look a bit different than they’d look on the front end of a rebuild. I’ll flag some players along the way for whom the disparity in value can get especially large from build to build. 

In case you missed it, here’s a link to the Top 10 Prospects for 2021 Fantasy Baseball.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For a couple nights this week, I drafted prospects with prospectors. Or against prospectors? Both, I suppose. Appreciated the invite from Scott White at CBS, who allowed me to come back and defend my crown from last year’s prospect mocks. That’s a joke. Not a funny one, sorry to say. Nobody wins a mock draft, let alone a prospect mock. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On the big league side, the Giants employed three specialized hitting coaches to great effect in 2020. This made an immediate impact on the field–a field that shrunk a little before the season when the front office decided to bring in the outfield walls. Last but not least, a huge tarp was hung behind the right center field fence, blocking a gust that might’ve been killing home runs for years. According to the story by Eno Sarris and Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic, the tarp was meant to shield the eyes of looky-loos getting a free peak, so there’s a non-zero chance it remains. If it does, if the park and the wins and the coaching stays the way it was in 2020, I’m taking a second look at every San Francisco prospect, especially left handed hitters. You had to be Barry Bonds on super balm to get to lefty power in previous iterations of the park. Now you can be Brandon Belt. Or Alex Dickerson. Or maybe Hunter Bishop?

One interesting piece of this is I feel like the front office has been targeting right handed bats for quite some time to try and navigate their park. It’s just anecdotal, and Hunter Bishop deflates the relevance pretty quickly, but it’s a thought I’ve been having nonetheless. I’m thinking of the pre-Zaidi group, but even if you look at Farhan Zaidi’s low-stakes acquisitions: Kevin Pillar, Wilmer Flores, Jaylin Davis, Mauricio Dubon, you find mostly righties. Last year’s top ten here had seven righty bats and just two lefties. I dunno, probably just silliness that’s irrelevant now, but thoughts are thoughts, y’all. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So here we are somewhere in Snape’s cauldron among our top hundred divining the future of the outfield position in fantasy baseball.

Wild things have happened already. I knew it might get weird when I saw the ghost of Shoeless Joe while I was watching Parasite. 

Sorry, Sev: while we were watching Parasite. 

The other day, I got asked about Luis Matos and wound up mentioning Ronald Acuna Jr. 

Then dug deeper down into that rabbit hole and ate the mushrooms that made the idea grow. 

That was after people got mad at me for some inadvertent Trout shade. I blame Christian Yelich for being better than him at roto. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?