The Opening Round finishes up with Day 4 matchups. You can also view the entire updated tournament bracket here.
Day 4 Opening Round
(4) C Diego Cartaya, LAD
.298/.409/.614 10HR 31RBI 0SBs
WINNER (13) 3B Elly De La Cruz, CIN
.296/.336/.539 8HR 42RBI 10SBs
However the Elly train simply has too much momentum at this point. The power/speed skillset along with his ability to play at either position on the left side of the diamond clearly is appealing. While he’s still a couple years away, the wrecking ball currently being taken to the Reds major league roster makes his ascension even more imminent. 2022 will be an incredibly exciting year to see what else De La Cruz can do as he makes his way to the upper minors. Cartaya shouldn’t be slept on if you’re looking for above-average catching ’spects but he doesn’t have a single carrying tool offensively to make him stand out
WINNER (3) OF Riley Greene, DET
.301/.387/.534 24HR 84RBI 16SBs
(14) 2B Justin Foscue, TEX
.275/.371/.590 17HR 51RBI 2SBs
Greene continues to bully his way through the Trout region, dispenses all comers. It’s possible that he faces off against JRod in the regional finals. It sounds dumb but I actually think Greene might be undervalued based on his ability and his track record. Is it implausible to imagine Greene having a 30HR + 10-12SB season within the first 3 years of his MLB career? I don’t think so. Foscue didn’t really stand a chance; he’s a good power bat but limited to just second base (maybe LF?) and brings even lower value in BA leagues. Don’t let that .275 average fool you, if Foscue attempts to tap into his power consistently, the K rate will increase and the average will fall.
(2) OF George Valera, CLE
.260/.405/.505 19HR 65RBI 11SBs
WINNER (15) 1B Nick Pratto, KCR
.265/.385/.602 36HR 98RBI 12SBs
Shocked. Completely shocked by this result but in the best way possible! When I put this bracket together I was hoping there would be a significant upset and the readers didn’t disappoint. As far as I can tell, voters are placing more value in what Pratto did in both AA & AAA. There’s still enough variance in Valera’s hit tool that his outcome could be less than optimal while Pratto is pretty much fully formed as a player. Congrats to Pratto!
WINNER (7) 3B Coby Mayo, BAL
.319/.426/.555 9HR 41RBI 11SBs
(10) P Matt Liberatore, STL
4.04ERA 1.25WHIP 123Ks 124.2IP
I think the heat on Liberatore has completely dissipated. He pitched admirably in Olympic qualifying but it was decided that he should be kept off of the final Olympic roster. As such, he spent his time in AAA Memphis looking good but not great. Meanwhile, Coby Mayo has continued to climb in most rankings of Orioles farmhands. The power was known coming out of high school but Mayo’s been able to show better than anticipated barrel control early in his pro career. Joining 25HR power potential and surprise hit tool is a laser arm that should keep him at the hot corner for the foreseeable future. Mayo is 100% a name to know and watch. He could easily find himself earning a couple of promotions within this season.
(8) C Tyler Soderstrom, OAK
.306/.390/.568 12HR 49RBI 2SBs
WINNER (9) 2B Nick Gonzales, PIT
.303/.385/.565 18HR 54RBI 7SBs
I’m a little surprised this vote wasn’t a bit closer. Two players both with above average hit tools that should carry them playing less than premium positions. In the end, Gonzales carried the vote; I would imagine that having a definite defensive position along with the current morass at 2B for Pittsburgh were the guiding forces. I like Soderstrom but 19 year old baseball players are far from sure things. I don’t know how much power he’ll have at the major league level but Gonzales looks comfortable spraying line drives all over the diamond.
WINNER (5) OF Alek Thomas, ARI
.313/.394/.559 18HR 59RBI 13SBs
(12) P Taj Bradley, TBR
1.83ERA .93WHIP 123Ks 103.1IP
This outcome sort of surprised me as well. I thought the energy behind Bradley, the Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year, would surely propel him to victory. It’s not just hype either, as he’s shown the ability to not only get swings & misses but also suppress runs as well, earning the ERA title in all of MiLB. That being said, I’m happy to see Thomas advance. I’ve mentioned on the PL+ Discord (subscribe now!) that I feel like Thomas is underrated, especially compared to his D’Backs peer Corbin Carroll (he’s really good too). Thomas has a 5 tool upside that shouldn’t be ignored and even his floor as a high avg/OBP + SB threat that can play all 3 OF is enough to be recognized. The Carroll/Thomas battle in the Round of 32 should be fascinating to watch.
WINNER (3) SS CJ Abrams, SDP
.296/.363/.420 2HR 23RBI 13SBs
(14) 3B/OF Nolan Jones, CLE
.238/.356/.431 13HR 48RBI 10SBs
This result is equal parts the readers remembering how dynamic Abrams was before his injury in 2021 as well as how disappointing Jones has become as a prospect. There will almost always be a spot on a roster for a lefty corner with some pop and Jones has shown an exceptional ability to walk as illustrated by his consistently high rates. Unfortunately for him and dynasty managers who roster Jones, those walk rates are offset by an increasingly high amount of strikeouts. He’s not fully in 3TO territory yet but compared to Abrams’ skillset, a high OBP alone was never enough to advance.
WINNER (7) 2B Nick Yorke, BOS
.325/.412/.516 14HR 62RBI 13SBs
(10) P Cole Winn, TEX
2.41ERA .86WHIP 107Ks 86IP
The idea of a Yorke/Mayer double play combo for the next 10-12 years is a particularly frightening scenario to me as an Orioles fan. Yorke specifically gives me Pedroia vibes all over again, given his ability to barrel balls gap to gap at an advanced level. I’ve said before that I’m not a “call my shot” type of fantasy baseball writer so I’ll say this: Don’t be surprised if this time next year Winn is being rated as high if not higher than Jack Leiter in the Rangers org rankings. Just saying…
Featured Image by Jacob Roy (@jmrgraphics3 on IG)