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On a recent spring afternoon, I hopped a DeLorean to go back to the future and discuss the top 100 prospects for 2021.

Then we explored next year’s dynasty landscape at  catcher, first base and second base. 

Today, we’ll stay on that future theme, continuing our position-by-position focus by zooming in on third base.

Something I’d like to try this week = two posts about the position. This first one can spark the conversations we might have throughout the week, and the next one will bring an updated list and a behind-the-scenes look at the process. 

One reason is I think it could be more fun for everyone this way. Another is my on-going/updated versions have been better than the one first sent to print. Many minds > one, for most things in life, and especially for a project this fluid, speculative and sizable.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Last night I awoke in a rush. I was sweating, panting almost – awakened by a nightmare more ghastly than you can imagine. One more horrific than the chronic nightmares I had as a child in which the tiny troll figurines stalked my bedroom through all hours of the night. One quick Google search and I’m reliving those dreams – and it’s all too real. Yet, even such horrors do not compare to the demons which disturbed my slumber last night.

Over the past several weeks, I have been struggling to cope with the delay of the Major League Baseball season – something I’m sure you can all relate to. While trying to keep a healthy perspective concerning the real issues and concerns of the present, I have been unable to keep my mind from wandering to the darkest corners of the baseball world. Before the Coronavirus even put the MLB season on hold, I dreamed of such harsh realities taking form. *queues Danny Glover voiceover* You can call it a vision. You can call it a coincidence. I don’t care what you call it, but last night, it got worse.

I found myself walking through an unfamiliar land in which Airpods were even more popular than they are now. Wandering through the streets, I was passed by an Amazon drone engaged in an air delivery. While gazing at its sheer beauty, I stumbled through the gates of Camden Yards and a game program subsequently blew though the wind and onto my startled face. As I pulled the flier away and began to read its text – I instantly gasped in disbelief. 2023 All-Star Game: The Long-Awaited Return of the Midsummer Classic it read, with an action shot of superstar catcher Adley Rutschman spread across the front page.

As I stood in disbelief, I overheard a conversation between two young fans, arguing who indeed was the top backstop in the game, Rutschman or San Francisco’s Joey Bart. But what about J.T. Realmuto, I thought? Or the mid-career development of Willson Contreras? I continued to eavesdrop with the hope that more details would soon become clear.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Even after harvesting the farm to add star-level MLB bats (Marcell Ozuna and Paul Goldschmidt) each of the last two off-seasons, the Cardinals’ system remains solid. 

We’ve known for years the Cards get more out of their fringe types than just about every organization. We even invented a phrase to encapsulate this quality, letting “Devil Magic” explain everything Cardinal for years before the Astros and Dodgers captured the zeitgeist. You’ll still hear the phrase, but not every ten minutes like once upon a time. These days, we know everyone’s just cheating and hacking and scratching and clawing for every little inch of advantage they can get, but hey, that’s the American Dream personified via sport. Better to ask forgiveness than permission. You can always find a fall guy no matter how ugly it gets. (See: Correa, Chris)

That’s a link to just one story, but the whole saga is pretty good lore if you get on an injustice kick.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

At some point in the process of curating these Top Prospects lists, I went to talk to Hampson.

I was allowed to see him but learned he’s fresh out of prospect eligibility and busy showrunning for a Winter pilot on CBS called “Everybody Hates Hampson.”

I suggested he tweak the name to “Everybody Loves Garrett . . . Except His Boss.” 

We’re in talks about a Sam Hilliard, Jorge Mateo spin-off/mash-up.

In the meantime, keep your TV Guides at the ready and enjoy these next few tiers of talent!

Review the top 25 here and the top 50 here.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Baltimore shortstop prospect Gunnar Henderson (2-for-5 with a triple and a homer) is riding a seven-game hit streak in the GCL. Henderson was a second-round pick for the Orioles in this year’s draft (42nd overall). There’s not a lot to get excited about right now in Baltimore, but if you play in dynasty league, I’d scope Henderson as a long-term project with a potentially sweet payoff. At 18, Henderson is 6’3″/180 with a nice left-handed swing that can make contact and hit for some power. Like a lot of shortstops, there’s talk of a slide to third if he doesn’t have the defensive chops, but his bat should play at either position. Henderson’s K-rate is a touch high at 23% but he also has a nice walk rate (11%) through 70+ plate appearances. Check him out if he’s available and you’ve got a roster slot to play with. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to the post where I copy and paste…er…uh…I mean rerank the Top 50 prospects for fantasy baseball. I know I shouldn’t have to say this, but this is a fantasy prospect list – not a real one. Therefore ergo such and such, you get the drift. I’ll say this about my rankings approach – I tend to chunk it and don’t get too caught up in ranks that are close to one another. So if you want to debate #35 versus #36 I’m going to have to put you in a timeout where you can debate yourself. I’m sure you are all master debaters. Anyhoo, I try not to let the first half of this season completely change the scouting reports we came in with at the beginning of the year. Then again, you do have to take this season into consideration, along with recent signings. Also, these are composite ranks averaged between myself and my five alternate personalities. My doctor says it’s healthy to include them in this process. It’s all an extremely complex algorithm that involves me, a bowl of cold spaghetti marinara, and a clean white wall. Oh, and one more thing…I don’t include players that I expect to exceed the rookie limits this year. That’s 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched for those keeping score. Not trying to waste your time on players that likely won’t be prospects in the fall. On to the list…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m a stone’s throw from Cleveland, and a lot of the talk on the radio (that isn’t about the Browns) is about when the heck the Tribe is going to promote Bobby Bradley. He’s been featured in my stash lists two months in a row and has just been crushing it for Triple-A Columbus (24 dingers, hitting .290+). Chief Wahoo is working his magic from beyond the grave because apparently the prayers have been answered. With Leonys Martin DFA’d, today’s a great day to bring up the young slugger and see what he can do. Bradley has always lurked in the Top 100 lists, so I doubt he’s available in your dynasty league. It’s possible he’s on the wire in redrafts however. BB has a lot of swing and miss in his game so don’t expect a pretty average or K-rate in the bigs. But he’s cheap power, and even with everybody and their brother hitting 40 homers nowadays, the potential for 20+ homers down the stretch is still useful. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well, we’ve had quite a week, eh? Lots of sexy promotions. Being a prospect writer is a touch bittersweet. It’s like watching a child grow. Once they graduate to the bigs in real life, they kinda graduate here too, moving up in the world of blog posts from minor league reports to the Grey League. Good luck Keston and Austin…I know you’ll make us proud. Back in the minors, our good friend Sixto Sanchez got a promotion to Double-A. His debut went swimmingly – even for a Marlin – striking out seven batters in six shutout innings. I was conservative in my ranking of Sanchez in the preseason, so if he continues to pitch well in the upper minors he’ll be a big riser when the midseason rankings come out. Despite the early promotion, I don’t think we’ll see Sanchez pitching meaningful innings for the Marlins this summer, if only because he hasn’t built up enough innings in previous seasons and the Marlins have other options such as Zac Gallen and Jordan Yamamoto in hand. Next year, Sanchez could be a very interesting flyer though. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Nestled between Moldova and Romania, Gormania is also known as the land of offense. Its lone citizen – Nolan Gorman – rules this tiny country with a mighty bat. Some say he was born human. Others say he emerged fully grown from the earth – eyeblack applied. Still others remember seeing him appear one night in a glowing crater, as if sent from some far away planet where he was weaned on Dubble Bubble, Skoal, and beer by the baseball gods. Wherever he came from, Gorman appears to be special. After hitting two more homers – in consecutive innings – on Monday, Gorman is now slashing .306/.393/.605 with 19 home runs in 298 minor league plate appearances dating back to last summer. He’ll turn 20 in a month, and my guess is the Cards will push him to High-A by the end of this season. Here’s what else is happening in the minor leagues…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Garrett Hampson is hitting .053 with seven strikeouts in 19 plate appearances. With injuries to Daniel Murphy and Ryan McMahon, owners figured Hampson would at least get regular reps at second and maybe work his way out of the slump. Not so fast. Enter Pat Valaika. He got the start over Hampson at second yesterday. I like Hampson and I own him in a couple of leagues, but I’m running out of patience. In redrafts, I’d move on. In keepers, you might want to give him a longer lead. Here’s what else is happening in prospect news…

Please, blog, may I have some more?