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Please see our player page for Nick Loftin 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.

1. 2B Nick Loftin | 25 | MLB | 2023

The 32nd overall pick out of Baylor in the 2020 draft, Loftin plays all over the field, logging eight games at first base, seven games at second base, and four games at third base in his 19 games with the major league squad in September. He hit .323 over that stretch and has a chance to beat out Michael Massey for the primary job at second base after slashing .270/.344/.444 with 14 home runs and six stolen bases in 82 Triple-A games. He’s always controlled the zone well and struck out just 13.1 percent of the time in those 82 games.

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Diamondbacks SS Jordan Lawlar is one-for-seven with three strikeouts through two games but has tended to adapt quickly even if he struggles a bit early at a new level. Good to see the team promote him after just 16 games in Triple-A. They might not take the World Series this season, but the sand snakes are going to be trouble for the next several cycles. 

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“All Waiver Claims Are Mines,” the newly minted state motto of Ohio. Previously, the state motto was “Put Slop On My Pasketti.” So, I’ll be honest, I kinda like the new waiver wire claim madness. Or WWCM as it’s known colloquially. The WWCM gives us one more shot in the arm of excitement as fans, and it allows teams who got ungatz at the deadline to make one final push, like the Guards did by grabbing Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Matt Moore. It’s a move, in retrospect, that makes so much sense yet I never thought the Guards had it in them. Kinda thought if you poked the Guards with a stick, they’d remain motionless. Giolito is the only one that has any fantasy value in all leagues — the other guys might have value in Holds leagues, but that’s about it. Giolito goes to a better park — Flo from Progressive Field is dead-last for offense. That is slightly misleading because if you have good pitching, you’re going to suppress offense — dur. Still it’s up there with the best pitchers’ parks. I’d put it in the top five for best pitchers’ parks. Giolito’s biggest issue is allowing homers and walks. Walks won’t change in his new park, but the homers should. He’s likely still a 3.75 to 4.10 ERA pitcher, but that’s better than he’s been, especially if it’s on the low side of that projection. Change your license plate frame, it’s not just a slop on pasketti state anymore! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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2022 wasn’t fun in the standings for Kansas City fans, but in the long arc of time, 2022 was a good year for the organization. MJ Melendez, Vinnie Pasquantino and Brady Singer all emerged as first-division starters. Melendez even looks like a functional defensive outfielder. Bobby Witt Jr. is also here and good. Needs work on the approach but who doesn’t. Every season brings them closer to the post-Dozier era, which is only addition by subtraction because the team insists he’s an everyday player. New Manager Matt Quataro figures to come in like a kind wind after years with Mike Matheny. Might be some playing-time surprises in our near future. 

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This week began with big news adjacent to the prospect realm: Kansas City fired its major league hitting coach, Terry Bradshaw, and replaced him with Senior director for player development and hitting performance, Alec Zumwalt, whose role will be bigger than that of a typical major league hitting coach. The Royals have seen big gains in the minor league hitters that haven’t carried over to the big league side, so this move makes a lot of sense from the outside looking in. 

Reading between the lines, the goal here includes creating synthesis throughout the system from the bottom up. One way the Giants and Dodgers have gotten ahead the past few seasons is having multiple voices saying similar things all the way up the development chain, so that when a young Dodger makes the majors, he’s not suddenly learning a new way to talk about the game at the same time as he’s adapting to the extreme leap in skill from AAA to MLB pitching. 

In short, this feels like good news for all Kansas City prospects but especially those with solid plate skills. In his press conference, team President Dayton Moore said, “We need to see nine players in our lineup that are committed to get on base any way possible. That means we cannot chase pitches out of the strike zone. When we do have pitches to hit in the strike zone, we can’t miss them.” Pretty good summation of baseball 101 there, but manager Mike Matheny seems due for a refresher every now and then, as he continues to run Ryan O’Hearn out there in the cleanup role for reasons that no human on the planet except Matheny can comprehend.

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Some of these guys will have to move off the position, either because they’re blocked by a star-level regular or because they lack the hyper-elite twitch, reflexes, hands and arm required to make it as a big league shortstop, but for the most part, these guys will man their middle infields for the next decade or so. Some dynasty league veterans build minor league rosters populated almost exclusively by shortstops and outfielders. Solid plan, really. Shortstop might be the game’s deepest position at the moment, and it’s only getting deeper. 

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Bobby the Witt leads a crew of young bangers simmering in Kansas City. Ace Lacey, Nicky Pratto, Vinnie P, Frank the Maserati and MJ Melendez give us a glimpse at the ghost of Christmas future in KC.

Full disclosure here. I slipped up and wrote Bibbt Wutt Jr. at one point. Bibbt–wutt? Then my phone wrote Bobby Whipit. Like when a problem comes along, Bobby Whip it! In this case, the problem is several losing seasons in a row. Typos, amiright? I’m getting light-headed over here, but that’s probably just the Royals’ sunflare future vibing in my blood. Let’s check the system. 

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