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D.J. LeMahieu New York Yankees

Daniel Epstein makes the case at BP that

THE DEADENED BASEBALL KILLED D.J. LEMAHIEU'S SEASON

<spray charts for 2020 and 2022>

2022 is a busier chart given the longer season, but the home runs in right field weren’t as abundant. Only six of them cleared the wall at all (five in right field) despite having similar exit velocities to the prior year’s hits. A lot of them died on the warning track.

That home run cluster didn’t go away. It’s still visible in right, but it moved inward. There are a whole bunch of gray dots near the right-field fence. It stands to reason that these shots would have cleared the wall with a livelier baseball instead of landing in the right fielder’s glove.

Alex Patton Alex
Gleyber Torres New York Yankees

The Athletic asked its beat writers for a breakout pick on each team in the AL East.

Yankees

2B Gleyber Torres
2021 stats: .259, 9 HR, 51 RBI, 1.7 fWAR
2022 Steamer projection: .268, 23 HR, 82 RBI, 3.6 fWAR.

The real Gleyber Torres is in there somewhere, right? After a strong rookie season in 2018 and another All-Star year in 2019, the young Yankees’ infielder seems to have lost his way. The Yankees moved him from second base to shortstop after Didi Gregorius left in free agency, and it led to some poor results on defense, which coincided with some inconsistent offense from the young right-hander. Torres recently turned 25 years old — he’s still quite young for a major leaguer. He seemed more comfortable in the field and at the plate after moving back to second base late in 2021, and he may be at a point now where he has to learn how to really prepare himself and his body and figure out how to find consistent success at the major-league level. It’s a growth period all ballplayers have to experience, and it can be more difficult when you are a phenom like Torres who has had great success throughout his career until recently. If Torres can enter the 2022 season with clarity and less anxiety about his work in the field, his natural talent could still help carry him to a resurgent season. — Lindsey Adler


Alex Patton Alex
Yandy Diaz Tampa Bay Rays

Today in The Athletic, a player on each team in the AL East who "might be a revelation."

Rays

3B/1B Yandy Díaz
2021 stats: .256, 13 HR, 64 RBI, 1.8 fWAR
2022 Steamer projection: .274, 14 HR, 70 RBI, 2.7 fWAR

​​There was a temptation to go with: “Some minor-league free agent the Rays will inevitably turn into a useful piece of their pitching staff.” Assuming that wouldn’t fly, there was some thought of singling out Luis Patiño, a 22-year-old acquired in the Blake Snell trade who could get meaningful starts and innings. But, really, as good as they are at developing and maximizing pitching, the Rays spread the workload so much, it’s hard to say with much confidence that any one pitcher will really pop in a given year.

So, we’re left to consider the hitters (and we’re assuming Wander Franco doesn’t count). Again, the Rays tend to be more about the sum of their parts. It’s perhaps most likely a half dozen players exceed expectations and collectively make the Rays — yet again — a contending team with a bunch of moving parts and few household names.

But given another 500 or so at-bats, Díaz could make an impact. He’s probably going to see time again at both infield corners, and Steamer offers a pretty optimistic projection of 2.7 WAR on FanGraphs. He slugged .476 in 2019, had a 133 OPS+ in 2020, and got the most playing time of his career last season. A guy who was lost in the shuffle of a three-team trade involving Edwin Encarnación and Carlos Santana seems like the perfect guy to become a surprisingly valuable player for the Rays three years later. — Chad Jennings

Alex Patton Alex
Nate Pearson Toronto Blue Jays

From The Athletic today:

... It’ll happen again in 2022. We know it will. Assuming the league and players actually agree to have a season, there will be players who are under-the-radar today but end up making a difference in the division. We convened our American League East writers and asked them to pick one player from each team who might be a revelation in 2022. We’ve added their Steamer projections from FanGraphs.

If we’re right, we’ll all tweet links to this story again in seven months. If we’re wrong, don’t blame us. It was all Kaitlyn’s idea. She’s up first. — Chad Jennings

Blue Jays

RHP Nate Pearson
2021 stats: 1-1, 4.20 ERA, 15 IP, 20 K, 0.0 fWAR
2022 Steamer projections: 6-6, 4.39 ERA, 99 IP, 106 K, 0.9 fWAR

The 25-year-old right-hander is only two years removed from being the team’s top prospect and he’s still the most explosive arm in the system. But since his MLB debut in 2020, he’s dealt with a string of injuries that’s limited him to only 33 MLB innings over the last two years, about half of which have come in relief. When he has been on the mound, he’s also been inconsistent, sometimes looking wild, while other times looking unhittable out of the bullpen, especially when he flashes that 100 mph fastball.

The most important factor for Pearson will be staying healthy in 2022, but if he can remain on the mound, this could be the season we finally see him perform up to his potential. With so much missed time over the last two seasons, the Blue Jays will be closely eyeing his innings. Don’t expect 180 innings or 25 starts out of Pearson. The team has already indicated he’ll be used more in an extended outing role — or something that looks more like a cross between a starter and a reliever.

Pearson will be in the mix for a rotation spot in spring training (if we ever get there), but if the Blue Jays acquire another starter post-lockout, Pearson could begin the 2022 season in the bullpen, filling in with long outings or spot starts, if necessary, and perhaps even working his way into the rotation eventually. Pearson has the stuff to be a major-league pitcher, and he can help the Blue Jays be a better team. It’s all about gaining experience and confidence now. — Kaitlyn McGrath

Alex Patton Alex
Cade Kreuter San Diego Padres

I did look for him, Bob, but he's not in our database yet.

For our purposes players have to have Baseball Info Solutions player IDs; in the most recent fie that I am able to get from BIS, Cavalli doesn't appear.

So, while we are waiting...

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=cavall000cad

Alex Patton Alex
Jack Flaherty St. Louis Cardinals

For me, Flaherty is still an ace if healthy.  If he looks healthy in whatever counts for spring his year,  I'm hoping I can get him in the low $20s in 5x5.  But he probably goes for $25+.

Bob Elam Bob-in-TX

After two years of under performing, is this the year to buy Jack?  Where does the buy point come in?  Is this based on the mythical "Spring Training" that is unlikely to happen in the year of $B/$M bickering?

Kent Ostby Seadogs
Cade Kreuter San Diego Padres

Resending the ask on bringing Cade Cavalli up from the depths.  My request may have coincided with Alex's internet blackout.

Bob Elam Bob-in-TX
Adam Macko Seattle Mariners

On BP's list of players who might crash the top-prospect ranks a year from now.

Adam Macko, LHP, Seattle Mariners
Attempting to become the first Slovakian-born player in MLB since Elmer Valo retired in 1961 (when the country was still Czechoslovakia), Macko has a fascinating journey that pairs well with his excellent repertoire. The 6-foot-flat southpaw was drafted as a pitchability lefty in the seventh round of the 2019 draft from Vauxhall High School in Alberta, Canada. He sat in the upper-80s in high school but has improved dramatically with his physicality and arm efficiency, averaging around 94 mph on his heater in 2021. The four-seamer has good natural ride from Macko’s low 3/4 delivery, and pairs beautifully with his sharp, easy plus curveball. That breaking ball is Macko’s wipeout offering, which helped him strike out 36.1% of batters he faced as a 20 year old in Low-A Modesto and the formerly-named California League. Macko’s season was shortened for multiple stretches due to shoulder soreness, though reportedly non-structural, as Seattle eased in the young lefty cautiously. His newfound velocity came at the cost of command at times, as he walked over 13% of batters he faced, but his past faculty for strike-throwing gives optimism that as he matures Macko will be able to maintain his high-caliber stuff at a more sustainable rate. At times Macko showcased development on both his slider and changeup, and both pitches will be necessary to keep him in a rotation, but he’s already a bat-missing lefty with two plus offerings having traveled a route to pro ball with less game experience than most. —John Trupin

Alex Patton Alex
Brandon Lewis Los Angeles Dodgers

Another BP up-and-comer who maybe is available in dynasty leagues.

Brandon Lewis, CI, Los Angeles Dodgers
Drafted out of UC Irvine with the 131st-overall pick in the 2019 draft, the now 23-year-old Lewis blasted 30 home runs across two stops on the Dodgers farm in 2021. The bat-first corner infielder has advanced plate awareness and a professional approach to his at-bats. His .269/.348/.569 slash line proves he’s more than a one-dimensional slugger and his 86 RBI are a product of advanced situational hitting. He generates exceptional backspin and lift with his right-handed swing, launching baseballs from line to line. While he doesn’t provide much on the defensive side, he’s capable of playing a solid third base and is gaining experience at first. Lewis’ instincts and self-awareness will help him ascend the minor league ladder quickly. His run-producing bat could be making an impact in the big leagues as soon as late 2022. —Brandon Williams

Alex Patton Alex
Jose A. Ramos Los Angeles Dodgers

BP, prospecting for players who will be on its Top 101 next year.

Jose Ramos, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
The 2018 international free-agent signee slashed .329/.396/.576 across two levels of the Dodgers’ minor leagues last season. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, the right-handed hitting Ramos rapped 38 extra-base hits, including 11 home runs, while driving in 59 runs in a mere 62 games played last season. He uses his lean strength and fast-twitch athleticism to impart significant backspin and lift to the baseball while spraying hits all over the yard. Ramos moves well in the outfield, capable of playing all three positions, although he’ll most likely settle in one of the corners. The 21-year-old Ramos will be an exciting prospect to follow as he moves through the Dodgers’ farm system. His dynamic, run-producing bat makes him one of the organization’s most coveted outfield prospects with a major league ETA of late-2023 or 2024. —Brandon Williams

Alex Patton Alex
Everson Pereira New York Yankees

You play in a dynasty league? There's not one name on the three lists posted under Leaderboards that is useful to you? Every one of these dudes is already rostered?

Fine. Then subscribe to Baseball Prospectus, which rolled out ten Candidates for the 2023 Top 101 today.

Everson is one of them.

Everson Pereira, CF, New York Yankees
Everson Pereira may sound like the latest Manchester United youth team prospect, but he’s actually a member of the Yankees organization. The 20-year-old Venezuelan was a big-ticket international signing once upon a time ($1.5 million in 2017) before fading into relative obscurity over the past few seasons due to injury and ineffectiveness. It’s safe to say that he’s back on the map now after slashing a blistering .361/.446/.667 in 83 plate appearances for Low-A Tampa and posting a .259/.354/.676 line with 14 homers over 127 trips to the box with High-A Hudson Valley. The numbers aren’t soft, either; the dude hits the ball hard, with the bat speed and loft present for legit 20+ homer pop. The swing is fluid and level enough to cover different pitches in varied locations, but whiffs have still been an issue even amidst his strong run of form this season. Nonetheless, the potential is here for a level of offensive production that is very valuable coming from center field, where he should be able to stick thanks to his above-average athleticism and manageable 6-foot frame. If he can stay healthy through the 2022 campaign, Pereira is a candidate to lay claim to a belated Top 101 spot. —Ben Spanier

Alex Patton Alex
Grayson Rodriguez Baltimore Orioles

The "consensus top pitching prospect in baseball" edges out Shane Baz on all three lists that have been posted so far under Leaderboards. The only pitchers in the top ten on any list (so far).

Baseball America:

6
Headshot 2021 Grayson Rodriguez 97560 Mlb
Notes:

Tools: Fastball: 70 | Curveball: 55 | Slider: 70 | Changeup: 65 | Control: 60 
Skinny: The consensus top pitching prospect in baseball, Rodriguez combines four plus pitches, the ability to locate on both sides of the plate and intimidating physicality on the mound to project as a potential No. 1 starter. 


CLICK HERE TO READ HIS FULL SCOUTING REPORT


Alex Patton Alex

Here we go -- all the Top Ten Prospects on one page...


Baseball America

1) Adley Rustchman

2) Julio Rodriguez

3) Bobby Witt Jr.

4) Riley Greene

5) Spencer Torkelson

6) Grayson Rodriguez

7) Gabriel Moreno

8) Shane Baz

9) CJ Abrams

10) Anthony Volpe


Minor League Analyst

1) Bobby Witt Jr.

2) Julio Rodriguez

3) Adley Rutschman

4) Spencer Torkelson

5) Riley Greene

6) CJ Abrams

7) Grayson Rodrigues

8) Shane Baz

9) Nolevi Marte

10) Macro Luciano


Baseball Prospectus

RankNamePositionTeam
1Bobby Witt Jr.SSKCR
2Adley RutschmanCBAL
3Julio RodriguezOFSEA
4Spencer Torkelson3B/1BDET
5Grayson RodriguezRHPBAL
6Riley GreeneOFDET
7Jordan Walker3BSTL
8Shane BazRHPTBR
9Marco LucianoSSSFG
10Francisco ÁlvarezCNYM


I'll keep adding as the lists are rolled out. Here's the aggregate from prospects1500.com (last October; they will update, I'm sure).

Alex Patton Alex
Spencer Torkelson Detroit Tigers

BP rolled out its top101 prospects today. The top ten:


RankNamePositionTeam
1Bobby Witt Jr.SSKCR
2Adley RutschmanCBAL
3Julio RodriguezOFSEA
4Spencer Torkelson3B/1BDET
5Grayson RodriguezRHPBAL
6Riley GreeneOFDET
7Jordan Walker3BSTL
8Shane BazRHPTBR
9Marco LucianoSSSFG
10Francisco ÁlvarezCNYM


Alex Patton Alex
Jon Lester St. Louis Cardinals

Mike Wilbon on PTI said he belongs in the ML HOF, which seems shaky at best.

Mike Dean TMU2009
Bobby Witt Jr. Kansas City Royals

It's going to be a tough three-way battle for the top AL prospect for the first time in a while.  Two of the big pubs are already split.  4-5 seem to safely be both Tigers, although not a consensus order.  Grayson Rodriguez and Shane Baz likely to follow in the next positions.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Rusney Castillo Boston Red Sox

Nationals sign him to a minor league team.

Played last year in Japan with an OPS about .650. Played well in limited time in Mexican Winter league as well (.727 OPS).

34 so not a youngster with upside.

Kent Ostby Seadogs
Marco Luciano San Francisco Giants
17
Marco_Luciano.jpg
Notes:

Tools: Hit: 60 | Power: 60 | Run: 40 | Fielding: 50 | Arm: 60 
Skinny: Luciano showcased his prodigious power and enticing tools throughout his first full season in 2021. If he can cut down on his strikeouts, he has a chance to be a power-hitting force in the middle of the Giants lineup in the coming years. 


CLICK HERE TO READ HIS FULL SCOUTING REPORT

Alex Patton Alex
Bobby Witt Jr. Kansas City Royals

For me that "as long as he improves his approach at the plate" is a worry. He's walked enough in the minors, but will the step up to the majors be tougher? I and others had similar concerns about Tatis Jr. Can we always be wrong?

Peter Kreutzer Rotoman

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