Please see our player page for Termarr Johnson 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.

Three Rivers Stadium is about to get hit with a wave of young talent. And yeah, I realize the stadium is probably called Crypto Cathedral or something by now. (Narrator voice: “Three Rivers Stadium was actually imploded in 2001. The Pirates play in PNC Park now, which is, in fact, named for a bank that shuttered 200 branches in June of this year.) So . . . pretty close.

Fact remains that this list is loaded with players set to debut in 2023. One downside of a tank-tastic rebuild is the timeline crunch. Pittsburgh has too many good-not-great youngsters to play at any given time. We saw some of that in 2022 when the club would call up a prospect and let him ride the bench or make him walk the plank like Captain Jack Suwinksi. It’ll take a lot of skill and a little luck to separate playing time winners from losers and build a sea-worthy vessel from this veritable forest of prospects. 

 

1. C/OF Endy Rodriguez | 22 | AAA | 2023

Rodriguez is nearing the end of his minor league journey. In a real-world scenario, he’s probably the Opening Day catcher for this team. Pittsburgh punted in all sorts of creative ways last year, so the chances of Endy breaking camp with the big club are minuscule. It’ll probably be Jason Delay and his 53 wRC+ or Tyler Heineman and his 57 wRC+. You never know, though. If Pittsburgh suddenly decided to give a shit about wins and losses, they could field something resembling a competitive ballclub. Johan Oviedo was a big find for the rotation. Mitch Keller seemed to break through into something approaching functionality. Roansy Contreras is already good fresh off his 23rd birthday.

If you put the switch-hitting Rodriguez behind the plate and in the middle of that lineup, the whole team looks about 50 percent better. The athletic 6’0” 170 lb former Mets farmhand played a fair bit of outfield in 2022 but looks smooth behind the plate. His bat is racing his glove to the majors, and the presence of number one pick Henry Davis complicates the issue further, but it might help them both to share the workload and kick over to DH or left field on off-days. Rodriguez is a better baseball athlete than Davis and a more versatile defender, so he might find himself in the ideal fantasy catcher spot, escaping the rigors of daily dish duty while finding his way into the lineup much more than the average backstop. In 31 Double-A games last year, Rodriguez popped eight home runs and slashed .356/.442/.678 with an impressive 13-to-15.2 percent walk-to-strikeout rate. He finished the year with a week in Triple-A, where he collected eight RBI in six games and slugged .773. In short, he is ready. 

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?

I try to take a fairly simplistic view of the draft. My mind resists at times because the Major League Baseball Draft is an exercise in antitrust-exemption hyper-capitalism run amok, spotlighting primarily the lucky few blessed with generational gifts of wealth and circumstance along with their considerable physical skills. It’s a barefaced look at how structures that appear to be egalitarian in their theoretical bones are anything but in practice.   

Whoops, I did it again. Got lost in the games. Keep It Simple, Guy.

Reset: it’s about the organizations as much as it is about the players. You’ll see Jackson Holliday third here even though I like Elijah Green more as a player because I think the Orioles are doing well when it comes to communicating with their young players and aiding their development. No knock on the Nats, who have developed some hitters of their own, but Elijah Green brings some swing-and-miss risk along with the big power and elite speed, and I can’t remember this team developing someone with that specific hang-up. Plus, I don’t know . . . something about the whole organization feels bad right now. Can’t put my finger on it. Oh yeah, they’re doing this weird dance with Juan Soto a year after giving Trea Turner to the Dodgers to offload Max Scherzer’s contract. Their minor league system is weak, partly because they insisted on major-league-ready players in return for Turner and Scherzer. Their 2021 first round pick Brady House, also a high school hitter, has not played particularly well this year (0 HR, 2 BB, 31 K in his last 20 games before landing on the IL).  

I also like to take my time on stuff like this. Would prefer to see how these guys adapt to the pro game before ranking them for fantasy purposes, but I know some people have drafts that begin immediately after the MLB draft ends, so I burned the midnight oil for the past few weeks in hopes of replicating my best successes from FYPD lists of summers past like CJ Abrams, Corbin Carroll and James Wood.  

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re all enthralled by the likes of Elijah Greene and Termarr Johnson, but who is best-positioned to be the first college prospect off the board in the 2022 MLB Draft? 2022 will be nothing like 2020 in terms of the college arms that come off the board, but could the top-five collegiate prospects ALL be position players next year? That’s the way I have it drawn up as of right now, with Florida’s Hunter Barco, Arkansas’ Peyton Pallette and Alabama’s Connor Prielipp representing the arms most likely to break into the top five. But for now, it’s all bats — and as always, I have some bold opinions in my prospect rankings. So let’s get to ’em.

Please, blog, may I have some more?