Fantasy Baseball Prospect Report: Adley Rutschman Becomes No. 1 Pick To Hide; Nolan Gorman keeps brewing

God bless all who hold on Adley Rutschman all this time.

Storing prospects is, of course, common practice in Fantasy Baseball. That’s the whole point of this column, actually. But putting away the catchers is another matter. The position is so dispensable, so limited in its usefulness. You’ll never use a receiver in your DH spot, so why keep one more?

This doubles at the time of year when roster space is most valuable, when anyone with a few good matches is considered another breakout opportunity. You want to take as many bites of that apple as you can, and a catcher, especially if he’s injured, particularly one who has yet to appear in a major league game, would seem like an obvious obstacle to that goal – one easily sidelined in the heat of the moment.

But here, Rutschman is still listed in 76% of CBS Sports leagues, more than any other minor league. And now that he’s recovered from the triceps injury that sidelined him for all of spring training, the rise to the majors could be quick.

“If he recovers at that time, I don’t see much more that he probably needs to prove in the minor leagues other than he is himself“, General Manager Mike Elias said during the 24-year-old’s return to play, essentially confirming that the Orioles are ready for Rutschman as soon as he shows up.

I just need to move it to the top of my…

five on point

(These are the prospects most worth hiding in redraft leagues.)

Adley Rutschman, C, Orioles

2021 minors: .285 BA (452 ​​AB), 23 HR, 25 2B, .899 OPS, 79 BB, 90 K
2022 minors: 1 for 6, 2B, BB

It is indeed unconventional that the best pick to put away is a catcher, but the big contradiction to position that usually doesn’t matter is that the best there is can really, really question. And Rutschman, perhaps unlike any receiver prospect before him, has the makings of one of those bests.

It’s like it was created in a lab or something. There are no weaknesses in his game – we’re talking 60-70 ratings across the board – and it goes beyond the traditional five tools. He’s a machine on base, bats from both sides of the plate and knows how to handle a pitching staff. Such a hard time Bobby Witt and Julio Rodriguez have had a breakthrough in the majors, there are no guarantees, but Rutschman presents clear potential for difference at a position with few decision makers.

2021 minors: .310 BA (271 AB), 17 HR, 19 SB, .969 OPS, 28 BB, 69 K
2022 minors: .190 BA (63 AB), 1 HR, 6 SB, .588 OPS, 6 BB, 22 K

Although I dropped it from the top spot in my five on the edge, I’m not suggesting anyone to drop Cruz in Fantasy. Power is legitimately 80, and with the way he’s run in the minors so far, he also looks like a prolific base-stealer. However, the wait could be longer than expected. He just isn’t performing at Triple-A, aside from steals, his strikeout rate is skyrocketing to a level it’s never been before.

He might be a bit of a blur after feeling like he won a job in spring training, which happens from time to time with top talent. Here, for example, is how he reacted after hitting his first home run on Sunday:

However, whenever Cruz settles down, you can expect the promotion to come quickly.

2021 minors: .279 BA (480 AB), 25 HR, .814 OPS, 38 BB, 115 K
2022 minors: .348 BA (66 AB), 10 HR, 1.230 OPS, 5 BB, 22 K

Remember how just a week ago, Gorman made a name for himself in the minor league world with his seven home runs in seven games? Well, if you thought he’d calmed down since, uh…not really. He hit two more homers on Tuesday, giving him 10 overall and continuing a 14-game hitting streak in which he hit .404 (23 for 57). And for all things early strikeouts, he’s only had four in his last 25 at-bats. We wondered what would happen Tommy Edman if Gorman got the call, but with Paul De Jong and Edmundo Sosa struggling to provide anything offensively, he could just slide to shortstop, leaving second base to Gorman.

Without a doubt, Gorman is more likely to be called up next week than Cruz, so if proximity is your main concern, then hide Gorman instead. I also take into account the impact potential when the player arrives, and Cruz’s is higher.

Max Meyer, PS, marlins

2021 Minors: 6-4, 2.27 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 111 IP, 42 BB, 130K
2022 Minors: 1-0, 1.83 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 19 2/3 IP, 5 BB, 27K

Meyer’s latest start was his worst of the young season, at least in terms of allowed baserunners. They were six. One of his four starts was perfect, and you might recall he also pitched four perfect innings in spring training. Clearly, he’s outperforming his current competition, but how would he fare against the major leagues? We actually already get a glimpse of that given that his last two departures have been met with rehab. Ronald Acuna.

Here he crosses out Acuna on the slider:

And here he is hitting Acuna on the fastball:

It’s not like Acuna has trouble finding its stroke, either. He generally dismantled minor league pitching during his time there. Maybe then Meyer is ready to join him in the majors.

2021 Minors: 9-1, 2.36 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 103 IP, 27 BB, 161K
2022 Minors: 2-0, 2.45 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 18 1/3 IP, 3 BB, 28K

Rodriguez looked closer to mortal in his last start on Tuesday, but basically all the damage came in the first moto after a 90-minute rain delay. The overall numbers are still mostly in line with Meyer’s, and of course there hasn’t been a single level of minor league competition that has slowed Rodriguez down. If the Orioles are ready to promote Rutschman sooner rather than later, so is probably Rodriguez, who is as close to a perfect pitching prospect as the minor leaguers currently have. The Orioles may be waiting for him to be fully built — he hasn’t even thrown 80 pitches in a game yet this season.

Five on the outskirts

(Here are a few more leads who are doing something remarkable.)

2021 Minors: .267 BA (409 AB), 20 HR, 27 2B, .870 OPS, 70 BB, 129 K
2022 minors: .305 BA (59 AB), 8 HR, 2 2B, 1.214 OPS, 17 BB, 19 K

Maybe these too easy Max Muncy comps sold Busch short. After all, he gets high marks for his punching tool as well as his power tool, and had it not been for a dip on the hand early last season, that would have been more visible in his numbers. It hit .297 as of July 1, after all. Power, of course, is also prevalent, and he recently enjoyed a five-homerun streak in five days. However, it’s the exceptional skill on base that sets him apart from most striking prospects. So far, he’s hit base at a .468 clip. A move to Triple-A could be just one stopover in the 24-year-old’s ascent to the majors.

Robert Hassell, DE, padres

2021 minors: .302 BA (443 AB), 11 HR, 34 SB, .863 OPS, 66 BB, 99 K
2022 minors: .385 BA (65 AB), 4 HR, 8 SB, 1.046 OPS, 8 BB, 9 K

The hit tool was never in question for Hassell, just how much power would go with it. He still doesn’t elevate the ball particularly well, but with the kind of damage he’s doing to High-A right now, that doesn’t matter. He hits close to .400, walks a ton, steals a base every other game and yes, the homer. The more I see him, the more convinced I am that he is the sort of supreme talent you shouldn’t bet against, even if he hasn’t fully maxed that talent yet. At just 20 years old, the eighth pick in the 2020 draft looks set to achieve this.

2021 minors: 3-8, 3.73 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 91 2/3 IP, 39 BB, 152 K
2022 minors: 1-0, 2.63 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, 13 2/3 IP, 3 BB, 30K

Espino’s ability to take out batters was already well established at lower minors. The big question was whether he had refined his secondary arsenal enough to thrive in the upper minors as well. The answer seems to be yes, but that may be a moot point because he always blows that fastball through everyone at Double-A, striking out 30 of the 50 batters he’s faced, not to mention the top 11 in his last start. He finished that one with 14 strikeouts on just 66 pitches. It’s time to treat Espino as one of the game’s top pitching prospects, just a cut below Grayson Rodriguez.

2021 minors: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 12 K
2022 minors: 0-1, 0.00 ERA, 0.58 WHIP, 12 IP, 3 BB, 30 K

High school pitchers are always a risky bet for major league teams, let alone fantasy ones, so it’s understandable that Painter lasted all the way to No. 13 in last year’s draft. Our first extended look at him this year, however, has been something to behold. He struck out 14 in his last start, allowing just one base runner in five innings, and has a ridiculous 69% hit rate and an even more ridiculous 23% hit rate so far. . He did it in large part thanks to his fastball, a high-spinning, high-90s offering that’s on the fast hitter given his 6-foot-7 reach. Whenever this pitch is an elite dud, the ceiling is really high.

2021 minors: .171 BA (269 AB), 8 HR, .565 OPS, 27 BB, 115 K
2022 minors: .423 BA (52 AB), 10 HR, 1.533 OPS, 4 BB, 14 K

Who is he, and how does he do this? Well, I can answer the first question: Gomez was once an up-and-coming actor in the Rays system, but it collapsed once it reached the upper miners. The Cardinals signed him as a minor league free agent this offseason, and all seems to be going well now. As a 23-year-old Double-A player, he’s still developing. Time will tell if it’s just a good start, but the Gomez who hit .171 in 76 games last year didn’t seem capable of such a stretch. Shoot, this guy has already outdone this guy.

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