Please see our player page for Nelson Velazquez 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.

A young boy pulls on his grandfather’s sleeve. “Will you please read me a bedtime story, Paw-Paw?”
“Sure, Timmy, I’d be happy to. From the same book as always?” Off the child’s nod, the old man picks up the storybook, and reads the title, “The Dismantling of a Dream by Peter Angelos.” The old man opens the storybook, and begins to read, “In the summer of 2022, millions of people clamored for my Orioles to win. ‘Win!’ they shouted. And ‘Bleh,” I said. I wasn’t a vampire, per se, but I had been taking blood transfusions of millions of caterpillars right before they turned into a butterfly…” Dissolve to later, “…the bullpen was a point of contention. My underlings said we should keep our late-inning arms. At 93 years young, this might be the last chance I could see a good team. I told them, ‘A good team is one that is losing enough money for a healthy write-off.” Any hoo! The Orioles keep winning, which is somewhat hilarious since they’re seemingly trying to lose. Yesterday, the home run barrage began in the 1st with Ramon Urias (1-for-4, 3 RBIs), who hit his 12th homer. He’s had a great year because the expectations’ bar is so low, and I’m not talking the Royals or Rangers’ closers. Next up, hitting batting practice off Yusei Kikuchi (5 IP, 5 ER, ERA at 5.13) was Anthony Santander (2-for-3) and Ryan Mountcastle (2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) in the 3rd. Surprised to see Santander’s home run total that far in front of Mountcastle. If only we had a BBC detective show that could look into that…Wait a minute! That’s Mountcastle on BBC at 9 PM GMT. Finally, Austin Hays (2-for-4) hit his 13th homer, and I was very happy to see this, because I put him in my weekly lineup at the last moment, and he pulled this home run over the left field fence that one can barely see from home plate, which is a great sign for his oblique injury that had sidelined him last week. Just another night in Baltimore, ending happily, like the O’s bottom line yielding subsidized financial reimbursement for a billionaire! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The 2022 deadline has already seen one unlikely winner in Pittsburgh catcher Jason Delay, a 27-year-old who had a 59 wRC+ in 28 AAA games this year when he got the call. Those outcomes obscure his ability though. He’d posted a 123 wRC+ in 13 AAA games last year, but he just hasn’t played all that much professional baseball since being selected in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. Shortly after his debut, the club traded Michael Perez, making Delay the lead man post-haste. The slow-to-arrive backstop has taken well to the gig, slashing .308/.357/.462 and passing the eye test as a defender. I’m already comfortable penciling him in as the club’s starter in 2023, which is kind of the goal here: I’m looking for players whose post-deadline, playing time windfall can carry over into next year and launch them into long-term fantasy relevance. 

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Poor Red Sox fans. After being subjected to Mookie Betts game winning home run and his game ending diving catch only a night before, Friday night the Blue Jays completed a historic Beantown beatdown at Fenway scoring 28, yes, TWENTY EIGHT runs on the Sawx hapless pitching staff like it was CFL game. Boston Massacre, […]

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I’ve been watching Pirates SS Oneil Cruz for a long time, but the sensory shock of seeing him run the bases stays fresh. As does the thump of seeing him square up a baseball. On big league broadcasts, we get more angles from better cameras than we see in minor league games. Some minor league broadcasts show mostly just the hitter/pitcher interaction, so I’d almost forgotten what Cruz looks like tagging from third base on a shallow flyball, or throwing a laser across the diamond from shortstop. I would say it’s probably too late to trade for him now, but I did manage to acquire him that way in two dynasty leagues this season, so perhaps it’s not impossible. I paid a lot, to be fair, but I’m happy with it.

In the 15-team Razznasty League, I moved Shane Bieber, Anthony Rendon and Gabriel Moreno for Cruz back on May 12. Bieber had just gotten touched up by Toronto, and I was worried about his diminished velocity. He’s since rebounded, but I’m happy with that. Always good if your trade partner has positive trade remnants from you on the roster. This deal might be an overpay, but I have a constant need to clear roster spots in that format, especially on the big league side. 

We’re not going to get four RBI every night from Cruz. He’s definitely going to struggle at some point, but the talent here is first-round fantasy gold type stuff. Prospect writers aren’t always great at differentiating between who’s a good prospect because he’ll be a major league regular and who’s a good prospect because he can help carry your fantasy teams. Even if they can see the difference, it’s complicated to articulate. Becoming a solid major league regular is an incredible outcome for any prospect, but guys like Cruz belong in a slightly different bucket. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We don’t spend much time with the stragglers around Prospect World, but a lot of highly ranked guys have struggled this season. That sentence reads like a timeless nothing-statement when I see it on the page, but it’s a pretty accurate description of my thoughts as I scoured the landscape to find the best 100 minor league players for the fantasy game. 

If you think of a name that you figured would be here, there’s a good chance they’ve scuffled to start this season. The Nicks, Yorke, Gonzales and Pratto, missed the list in surprising fashion. Perhaps I was more demanding of them because my human-person-walking-around name is also Nick, and I am subconsciously more disappointed with them than I would be with a non-Nick player. Seems unlikely, but you never know. 

Also a pretty good chance the player(s) you’re looking for were covered:

either here in the Top 25

or here in the Top 50

or here in the Top 75.

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

Anyway, the buns are in the oven. No changing the recipe now. Smells pretty good already, now that the prep’s done and the kitchen’s clean. Ish. Clean as it’s gonna get anyway. Let’s dig in. 

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Hope everyone had a glorious Memorial Day, while placing some hot dogs in your gullet and swallowing them whole with some cheap beer. Like George Washington would’ve wanted it! George used to remove his wooden teeth and eat hot dogs whole. True story. So, I’ve become Mr. Pull My Pitcher With 90 Pitches. I hate pitches 90-100. They suck. In ten years, I will hate pitches 80-90. Then, ten years later, I will be Mr. I Like The Starter Who Comes In From The 4th Thru The 5th Inning. ACKSUALLY, that brings up a point, what happens when no starters go more than four innings? It’s coming at some point. Will we adjust our fantasy scoring categories? Something to think about, which is why I’m looking for an emoji with a hand on a chin that is using its other hand to slowly raise its middle finger towards Craig Counsell. Aaron Ashby (6 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 12 Ks, ERA at 2.70) was fantastic. Dot dot dot. Through 6 innings! He never needed to go out there for the 7th, and it unraveled from pitches 90 thru 100. See? That’s why I am whoever I said I am five sentences ago, to paraphrase Eminem. Ashby’s 11.5 K/9, 5 BB/9, 3.08 xFIP is so itsy-bitsy close to an ace and unusable on the other side. Thankfully, his command is usually much better, i.e., AA – BB = CC, i.e., Aaron Ashby minus walks equals CC Sabathia. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Prospect News: Rankings Redux: Eury and the Henderson

In a recent post, I found myself saying Milwaukee OF Jackson Chourio was on track to be a top 50 prospect by mid-season, which got me thinking, as I should be this time of year, about updating the top 100 list. 

I made a trade offer for Baltimore SS Gunnar Henderson this week in the 20-team Highlander Dynasty League. Was just Arizona DH Seth Beer straight up, but that league is weird, with a double utility spot. Deepest hitting set-up I’ve ever played, unless I ran that math wrong way back when I half-sprinted through it just to create some context. It’s a half-step or so deeper than the Razz30, and the full-week freeze of lineups adds another wrinkle I haven’t played with a whole lot in a superdeep dynasty format.  

Also went a little overboard in trying to secure Colorado SS Ezequiel Tovar this week. 

Anyway the natural first question for most readers at this point is who’s rising the fastest, like Chourio and Tovar. Or maybe that’s just the most enjoyable question because its opposite might be equally immediate to most fantasy players: who’s feeling that baseball gravity? 

I tend to avoid the second question, if I’m honest. Players lose mind-share of course but it happens kind of quietly in the back of my mind as I build a list. Herbert Perez, is a recent player I can recall who I never really soured on in any real way. The evidence at present just didn’t support some trust-based ranking. But I’ll try to be proactive on that front and chronicle it here as I work through the list. If it’s a little dry or boring in the end, I’m hoping you just fast-forward a bit because that’s way easier with reading than it is on, say, HBOMAX. 

So who’s rising as I start building a rankings reshuffle? 

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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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If MLB implements a Universal Designated Hitter as expected this season, the new rule will impact more than just the lumbering gloveless wonders. A Universal DH opens up playing time for people all over the field, especially in the era of load management. If the DH spot adds something like 650 plate appearances, I suspect most teams will divide that up among several players. 

Seems important to note that some of this work will be obliterated or at least obfuscated by free agent signings shortly after the lockout ends. 

I could have sorted these guys out team-by-team, but I can be kind of a moron and wanted to go player-by-player instead. Things got messy in a hurry, but the completionist in me is pleased with the results: a document ranking just about every National League prospect who figures to benefit from the Universal DH. 

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This post picks up where we left off Sunday when I posted the Top 25 Outfield Prospects for Dynasty Fantasy Baseball in 2022. While we’re here, I might as well include a quick link to all my work this off-season: 2022 Fantasy Baseball Prospects, the Minor League Preview Index. It’s been fun to explore the game system by system then position by position. Starting pitchers are coming up next, followed by relievers in one of my favorite articles to build every year (I’ve been working on it for weeks) before we ring in the new minor league season with a fresh list of Top 100 prospects. Can’t wait! This particular list could’ve gone on forever (in the sense that “forever” refers mostly to a pretty damn long time), but I stopped at sixty to avoid overstaying my welcome (I hope). If someone you expected to see isn’t on here please drop a line in the comments section.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One glance at the Estimated Time of Arrival column here provides a lens into the Cubs’ timeline, or at least their next big wave of hitters. It’s a promising group, and bah gawd it better be, given the club’s firesale focused on these teenage, back-to-the-future lottery tickets. I’m not calling the front office yellow, but we all saw them flee from the fight in 2021 like Marty McFly after the time jump, and the rewards for doing so look bountiful at the moment. 

But it’s not all about a half-decade from now. To their credit, the club has a middle infield combo ready to roll in the superhero team of Punch and Judy. I’m not sure which is Nick Madrigal and which is Nico Hoerner, but I do think the club would be thrilled to get ten total home runs from the pair, which could combine with 3B Patrick Wisdom, 1B Frank Schwindel and C Willson Contreras to create a passable big league infield. Add that to outfielders Ian Happ, Rafael Ortega, Jason Heyward and (eventually) Brennen Davis and the team looks like a rebuilder. 

Sorry, I meant to say “contender” there, I think, or something more than rebuilder because you really can squint and see the start of something above the Mendoza line here. It takes a lot of wishful thinking to see much more than that, but they do have an interesting group at the top level, at least on the position-player side, and their minor league system is the deepest of the six I’ve ranked so far, so as the team’s most famous fan might say, they’ve got that going for them. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?