The Opening Round moves into the weekend with Day 3 matchups. You can also view the entire updated tournament bracket here.
Day 3 Opening Round
(1) 3B Jordan Walker, STL
.317/.388/.548 14HR 48RBI 14SBs
(16) OF Kevin Alcantara, CHC
.345/.423/.588 5HR 24RBI 5SBs
Jordan Walker probably won’t continue with racking up double digit stolen bases as he grows but the trade off should be 25+ HR power. Walker gets to that power with a simple swing; it’s rare to say for a prospect this young but it’s difficult to foresee many obstacles to Walker finding his way to the Majors in the next couple of years. Alcantara is much more high variance both due to age as well as size (those long levers!) but to quote a famous North Carolina alum, the ceiling is the roof. I am eager to where he stands this time next year.
(5) 3B Miguel Vargas, LAD
.319/.380/.526 23HR 76RBI 11SBs
(12) OF Josh Lowe, TBR
.291/.381/.535 22HR 78RBI 26SBs
I’ll admit it: I’m in the tank for Lowe. A legit 20/20 threat that can play all 3 OF positions? Sign me up! It looks like the readers agree too as he beats out Vargas by 21 votes. Lowe has hit for power & average at pretty much every level for several seasons and he has nothing else to prove in the minors. I know Tampa Bay is always finicky with their prospects but I strongly believe that he’ll be getting major league ABs somewhere by June of this season. Vargas isn’t to be taken lightly either, a seriously talented hitter with all fields approach and good plate discipline. Will Vargas’ lack of range and fringey footwork at 3B cause an issue at the major league level? Time obviously will tell.
(6) P Eury Perez, MIA
1.96ERA .885WHIP 108Ks 78IP
(11) P Kyle Harrison, SFG
3.19ERA 1.40WHIP 157Ks 98.2IP
Perez had this vote well in hand and that was before this tweet made the rounds on Twitter:
In almost 3 decades of Marlins Baseball there may not be a more highly thought of young pitcher than Eury Perez. This includes a list with Josh Beckett and Jose Fernandez. May be youngest MLB SP since Doc Gooden in ‘84 at 19 years old (in 2023). Untouchable.
— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) March 13, 2022
I do think Harrison is incredibly talented with above-average strike throwing ability. However, questions about how effective he can be with only two plus pitches and possibly no changeup of note makes him far from a sure thing.
(3) 1B/3B Triston Casas, BOS
.279/.394/.484 14HRs 59RBI 7SBs
(14) P D.L. Hall, BAL
3.13ERA 1.01WHIP 56Ks 31IP
I think Casas might cause some serious headaches for managers rostering him. Will he sell out for power? Will he dial down the HR stroke to make more solid contact? Will he be passive with pitches that he could handle, driving up his OBP but preventing him from maximizing his hard hit potential? There’s no questions about Casas’ hit tool, it’s just a matter of how it is utilized at the big league level. Meanwhile Hall has to show he’s 100% healthy and efficient with pitches before he returns to his 2019 hype level.
(8) SS Eddys Leonard, LAD
.297/.390/.539 22HR 81RBI 9SBs
(9) P Max Meyer, MIA
2.27ERA 1.189WHIP 111Ks 130 IP
For all of the love that Eury Perez garners, Meyer is still on track to be on the mound for the Marlins first. He was highly regarded out of high school and his pro career has lived up to the praise thus far. He has wipeout stuff backed up by a 30%CSW rate at AA. If he can bring his walk rate down from that 10% cliff where it hovered last year, he’ll be truly ready to ascend to SP1 territory. Leonard is yet another incredibly talented Dodger international signee; he’s added some muscle on his frame but not enough to cause concern about his ability at SS. His bat speed and angles are above average along with a loose swing that covers much of the plate. A year at High A and/or AA should help Leonard continue to develop.
(4) C Gabriel Moreno, TOR
.367/.434/.626 8HR 45RBI 1SB
(13) OF Heliot Ramos, SFG
.254/.323/.417 14HR 56RBI 15SBs
Okay so this is the first result that I will say I 100% disagree with the voters. I know these are unfriendly seedings and I know that Moreno has become incredibly tantalizing, in the offseason especially, with the Blue Jays trotting him out at 3B in the AFL. But hear me out: Ramos is more athletic than his frame looks, is capable of playing all 3 OF spots capably, AND has shown his power holds up no matter the level or ballpark (neither Richmond nor Sacramento are great for home runs). Yes a C/3B is rare and very attractive from a fantasy perspective, and maybe it’s my risk-averse nature, but I just think Ramos’ floor makes him a more solid bet. Maybe Moreno proves me wrong…
(6) P Nick Lodolo, CIN
2.31ERA .967WHIP 78Ks 50.2IP
(11) C MJ Melendez, KCR
.288/.386/.625 41HRs 103RBI 3SBs
Another 11th seed upset! As Mugatu would say, “Melendez is so hot right now”. A 40 home run season through multiple upper minors will put nitrous in the tank; the Royals catcher has shot up boards with each dinger. It’s not just home runs either, as he’s shown incredible plate discipline (17.4% walk rate at AAA). It really looks like he will force his way into the lineup in Kansas City. Lodolo looked incredible at AA Chattanooga but things got rocky for him after the promotion to Louisville. The splits also didn’t do him any favors as righties seemed to have some more success (68% contact rate) against the young lefty.
(2) SS Marco Luciano, SFG
.258/.344/.471 19HRs 71RBI 6SBs
(15) P Quinn Priester, PIT
3.04ERA 1.239WHIP 98Ks 97.2IP
Luciano took a tumble in fantasy rankings after he looked slightly below average at High A. But he’s still an incredibly young prospect and I believe in the physical skillset that put him on our radar in 2018/19. Priester is good but has to put together a great 2022 to get anywhere close to Luciano’s level. Comparing the value of position players & pitchers is always difficult but all stats, eye tests, and scouting point in Luciano’s direction.
Featured Image by Jacob Roy (@jmrgraphics3 on IG)