The Opening Round continues on with Day 2 matchups. You can also view the entire updated tournament bracket here.
Day 2 Opening Round
(1) OF Julio Rodriguez, SEA
.347/.441/.560 13HRs 47RBI 21SBs
(16) SS Alexander Vargas, NYY
.273/.362/.393 3HRs 26RBI 17SBs
JRod is the #1 overall seed for a reason. There’s not really much more I can add in analysis of his ability but I will be interested to see if he cruises to the Final Four or if high seeds like Riley Greene pose any threat to his advancement out of the Trout bracket.
(8) P George Kirby, SEA
2.53ERA 1.079WHIP 80Ks 67.2IP
(9) 2B/3B Nolan Gorman, STL
.279/.333/.481 25HRs 75RBI 7SBs
I’m not surprised by Kirby doubling Gorman in votes but I do think readers might be under-valuing the Cardinals prospect a little. He’s kind of bland in the signature Cardinals style but given his predilection for hitting the ball hard (25 HRs + 20 doubles), he’s the exact type of player that will be helping St. Louis in pennant races for the next decade. Kirby does excite the mind however, a command/control artist who was able to add major velo to his fastball. Now Kirby seems to have all of the weapons to be the future ace of a talented Mariners team, it will be exciting to see him rise.
(5) SS Orelvis Martinez, TOR
.261/.345/.549 28HRs 87RBI 4SBs
(12) OF Jasson Dominguez, NYY
.252/.353/.379 5HRs 19RBI 9SBs
Two teen phenoms going head to head. The hype for “The Martian” was almost guaranteed to weigh him down. I do think he has the ability to be an above-average player but the Harper-esque hubbub was never going to be matched. I don’t know where Martinez fits into the Blue Jays long-term plans (maybe at 3rd, now that Biggio seems to be on the outs?) but it really doesn’t matter from a fantasy perspective. Martinez will need to adjust his approach to increase his quality of contact but the power is legitimate, allowing Martinez to rise up the ranks.
(6) 3B Dustin Harris, TEX
.327/.401/.542 20HRs 85RBI 25SBs
(11) OF Luis Matos, SFG
.367/.438/.566 7HRs 48RBI 21SBs
It could probably argued that these seedings should be flipped as Matos has become a darling in the fantasy community in the last 6-8 months. The increase in value is borne out in the voting as Matos tripled Harris’s vote output. Matos presents as a potential 5 tool prospect but it’s very possible that as his build matures (5’11 160lbs) that he begins to slow on the base paths. I think Harris will make himself better known this season; even ZiPS recognizes his elite contact ability, projecting him at .266/.315/.406 with 14HRs at the major league level.
(1) 1B/3B Spencer Torkelson, DET
.267/.383/.552 30HRs 91RBI 5SBs
(16) SS Cristian Hernandez, CHC
.285/.398/.424 5HRs 22RBI 21SBs
JRod may be the highest upside prospect but Torkelson might be the most well-rounded. At this point, everything is set for him to be the next consistently good to great 1B for the next 10-12 years. Expectations for his hit tool/power combination goes back to his collegiate days at Arizona State. If he’s able to log any consistent time at 3B, his fantasy value skyrockets.
(4) OF Corbin Carroll, ARI
.299/.409/.487 2HRs 20RBI 18SBs
(13) P Brandon Williamson, SEA
3.39ERA 1.18WHIP 153Ks 98.1
This one was a bit of a curveball but the readers didn’t bite. I wondered if people might be off of Carroll due to the long absence after his shoulder injury/surgery interrupted his early breakout in ’21. Turns out that didn’t matter. I mentioned Matos earlier as a potential 5 tool player and I see Carroll in a similar light. The power numbers may not have the same ceiling but I can see Carroll giving 20-24 HR/18-24 SBs seasons with alarming regularity. Williamson is another entry in the stable of Mariners pitchers, unlike Kirby, I think there’s still some reliever concern lingering around. This season at AA should help determine Williamson’s trajectory.
(6) OF Robert Hassell III, SDP
.303/.393/.470 11HRs 76RBI 34SBs
(11) SS Ronny Mauricio, NYM
.248/.296/.449 20HRs 64RBI 11SBs
This matchup really seems to come down to how much you trust a teenager’s natural athleticism to develop into a consistent set of baseball skills vs. how much you trust a teenager’s hit tool to remain at an above-average level as he’s promoted from level to level. It appears the hit tool wins out here. Mauricio’s power and bat speed, specifically pull-side, is quite impressive. Unfortunately, I think Javier Baez has burned the community on believing that a swing-happy SS will naturally grow into a more disciplined hitter. I mentioned in the Day 1 write-up that I’m low on Zac Veen but inexplicably I’m taken by Hassell’s potential. They’re really the same player at this point in their careers but Hassell benefits from being in a more competent NL West organization. I want to see Hassell’s stolen base numbers once he leaves the wonkiness of A ball; if they are still 20+, then his FV increases decidedly in my estimation.
(2) SS Bobby Witt Jr., KCR
.290/.361/.576 33HRs 97RBI 29SBs
(15) SS Bryson Stott, PHI
.299/.390/.486 16HRs 49RBI 10SBs
Bless Bryson Stott and his mom for being the two votes in his favor.
Featured Image by Jacob Roy (@jmrgraphics3 on IG)