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Please see our player page for Robert Hassell III 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.

Format = Position Player | Age on 4/1/2024 | Highest Level Played | Estimated Time of Arrival 

1. OF James Wood | 21 | AA | 2024

At 6’6” 240 lbs from the left side, Wood is always just a bit of contact away from a double and a barrel away from a bomb. Last winter, he was mostly untouchable in all my leagues. This time around, that shiny new bloom seems to be off the rose. I kinda get it. He slashed .248/.334/.492 in 87 Double-A games, but he also had 40 extra base hits (18 HR) and ten steals in about half a season as a 20-year-old in Double-A. I think I’m more impressed with him now than I was then.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’re gonna pull the early plug on a contention window, you better walk away with some future stars. To their credit, the Nationals did that. A better move might’ve been to hold Trea Turner in 2021 and hope for the best in 2022, but that wasn’t the play this team wanted to make, preferring to off-load Max Scherzer’s deferred money along with their star shortstop. 2022 then became an exercise in futility. It’s tough to imagine the front office saw the Turner trade as precursor to a Soto sale. I guess the checks keep clearing when an ownership group opts to quit an entire MLB season, but the cascading impacts of those tank-thoughts will be felt throughout the organization for years. Players might simply stop wanting to play. They didn’t have to move Soto, of course. Could’ve left him malcontent on the roster then watched him walk in free agency, but I don’t think any amount of free agent spending could undo the damage that had been done. 

 

1. OF James Wood | 20 | A | 2025

There’s a lot riding on the broad shoulders of the 6’7” 240 lb center fielder. If he remains a high-contact, big-power bat through the upper minors, the Juan Soto trade could look okay a couple years from now. CJ Abrams has a big part to play in that math as well, and he started hitting better down the stretch with regular at bats. Like Abrams last winter, Wood should be a consensus top ten fantasy prospect this off-season after slashing .313/.420/.536 with 12 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 76 games this year. He also walked 50 times and struck out 75. So far, his game has no apparent weaknesses. Depending on the timelines of Jackson Chourio and Elly De La Cruz, James Wood could be baseball’s number one overall prospect early in 2024.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Prospect News: Top 50 for Dynasty Leagues, Post-Draft Update

Here’s where the introductory words for part two would go, if I thought any of us wanted to see those.

And here’s a link to the Top 25, in case you want to see those.

26. RHP Taj Bradley | Rays | 21 | AAA | 2023

27. OF Zac Veen | Rockies | 20 | A+ | 2024

28. LHP Ricky Tiedemann | Blue Jays | 19 | AA | 2023

Taj Bradley is getting knocked around a bit at Triple-A (5.25 ERA in three starts), but this is Tampa we’re talking about. Nobody suppresses their own pitchers’ ratios like the Rays. 

Zac Veen has 50 stolen bases in 54 attempts with a 129 wRC+ in 92 games. The Rockies have more good hitting prospects than usual. Can’t wait to see how they screw them up. 

Give Ricky Tiedemann another couple dominant starts in Double-A and he’ll have a case for the top ten. He might be there already on some lists. No real argument with that from me. The rankings feel especially fluid right now. It’s a time of putting your money in your mouth and then chewing it up and chasing it down with a shot of tequila. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Engine revs. It’s the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. Only instead of a Oscar Mayer hat on its front hood, it’s wearing a Padres cap. It’s staring down a lonely country road. Directly, a mile down, aimed right at it is the Dodgers’ team bus. The Dodgers’ team bus revs.

A half mile in front of each of them, at the midpoint is “1st place in the NL West.” What we have here is a game a chicken. Who will get there first? Behind the Dodgers’ team bus wheel is Magic Johnson. Behind the Padres’ pimped-out Weinermobile is the San Diego Chicken. “You’re going mano a chicken? With the Chicken?! This is not a game you want to play, Magic?” That’s the actor who played Magic in the Showtime series on HBO shouting at Magic. “A Showtime series on HBO? Are you talking riddles, Albright?!” That’s the voice inside my head. Back to the white hot asphalt! The San Diego Chicken guns it towards the Dodgers’ team bus! Magic slams down the gas!

Careening down the road, the Chicken bawks, “They need to lose some extra weight!” To get up to speed, the Padres throw out MacKenzie Gore, C.J. Abrams, Robert Hassell III, James Wood and Jarlin Susana. For Magic to get the Dodgers to increase speed, he throws out an anecdote about him hugging Isiah Thomas at half court. “You need more speed, Magic!” The actor who played Magic in the Showtime HBO series screams. Magic says, “Have you heard about the one of me and Clyde the Glide?” It’s not enough! The San Diego Chicken is the type that drives right towards a big trade and waits for the other team to swerve. It ain’t afraid — it accepts that Gore is sometimes necessary.

So, Juan Soto goes to the Padres. They have Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Sexy Dr. Pepper? Um…

Seriously…

Like seriously seriously…

Fun the Jewels, Macho Manny and Sexy Dr. Pepper. Guys and five lady readers, I am doing a horny. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Rangers RHP Jack Leiter is a good place to start because he exemplifies what’s  weird about the Futures Game. Leiter hasn’t earned his spot on the field (6.30 ERA), but that’s not uncommon to this game, which different organizations use for different reasons on a player-by-player basis. It’s not an All-Star game, in other words. It’s not even an all-famous game, although that’s what gets Leiter on the roster. It’s not even really a combination of the two. Some organizations might send a middle reliever, like Baltimore did with Marcos Diplan in 2021, who the team DFA’d the other day, almost exactly a year after Diplan gave up home runs to Brennan Davis and Francisco Alvarez in Coors Field during the sixth inning of last year’s Futures Game. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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 Nolan Gorman is definitively a better prospect than George Valera 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

And here’s a link to the Top 50

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?

Feels like I should say something about MacKenzie Gore here, but I don’t know what to say that might be actionable for fantasy purposes. You probably can’t trade for him, nor should you want to, probably. If you have him already, you may have tried to trade him away. I hope you hit the timing just right on that if so. He’s not a spent asset by any means, but he’s been managing multiple deliveries for so long now it’ll be inconveniently tough for him to repeat any of them like an MLB starter. He’s still young though, and this system is about more than Gore. Even as it’s been strip-mined so AJ Preller could chase the playoffs (and the headlines), this Padres minor league group offers potential impact in both the short and long term. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Padres took a turn as America’s team this summer, partly because Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a grand slam on a 3-0 pitch when his team had a three-run lead, partly because the whole team pitched in to make the name Slam Diego stick, partly because we all love a rags to riches story, and the Padres’ future looks as rich as any club in baseball. 

Plus they really went for it in 2020, trading away several key cogs from last year’s list: 5) Taylor Trammell; 6) Joey Cantilllo; 8) Gabriel Arias; 9) Owen Miller after moving 3) Xavier Edwards and Luis Urias during the off-season. Trades are fun. AJ Preller is fun. The Padres are fun. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?