2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 14 Prospect Report: Midseason Awards

by Daniel Johnson
2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 14 Prospect Report: Midseason Awards

We're pivoting from our regularly-scheduled programming this week, and giving out some hardware in the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 14 Prospect Report: Midseason Awards edition.

This time, it's less about potential and more about the concrete results. We're going to use this space today to celebrate this season's first-half rookie MVP, hand out some other accolades, and evaluate whether or not I think these lucky few are worth going after in redraft leagues before the trade deadline.

Before we start taking trophy photos, two quick watch-list notes:

1.) We're all understandably very excited about Brayan Bello, what with the staggering and spectacular ways he was eviscerating hitters in the minor leagues. But he has struggled mightily so far through two starts, and I wouldn't rush out to stash him on your bench just yet. Just keep an eye on him, and snatch him up after his first promising outing.

2.) Also, turn some of your attention to Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate Triple-A Oklahoma City's third-baseman-turned-left-fielder Miguel Vargas, with whom the Dodgers are defensively experimenting in hopes to expedite his arrival to the big leagues. He's a legit right-handed bat that would be the sort of immediate-impact presence in either the infield or outfield that Gavin Lux was supposed to be in 2019.

Now, let's get to some midseason accolades.

2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 14 Prospect Report: Midseason Awards

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Midseason Rookie of the Year Award

Julio Rodriguez, OF, Seattle Mariners

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Easy choice, and it's not close. Yes, sure; we toiled through April and most of May before Rodriguez started to electrify the AL West. But doesn't that make his current standing as seventh-overall on the ESPN Player Rater all the more impressive?

He's the fastest player in history to reach 15 home runs and 20 steals. He's a plus defender. Rodriguez is flick-the-lightswitch-off-and-is-in-bed-under-the-blankets-before-the-lights-go-out quick. And, to boot, he's showing no signs of slowing down, with over a .900 OPS so far in July.

So, where do I rank him the rest of the season in redraft leagues? Who might I swap, pound-for-pound, for J-Rod? Here's one for you: I'd offer Mike Trout for him, easily. I think you win that deal, and I think it's possible Trout's owners are frustrated with his hot-and-cold season, and nervous about the age cliff.

It's entirely possible that the only batters that end the season ranked higher than Rodriguez are Jose Ramirez, Paul Goldschmidt, Trea Turner, and Aaron Judge, if Judge can pick it up again. That's how high of a ceiling we're talking, here.

Put simply: do everything you can to acquire him. He is lightning in a big, big bottle.

The We're Over It Award (or, Midseason's Most Disappointing)

MacKenzie Gore, SP, San Diego Padres

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Good on you if you traded this guy away on hype alone before June. In his last six starts, he's given up eight earned runs twice, including his latest outing against the Giants. He's just not turning it around, plain and simple.

Advanced metrics do show that he's been a little bit unlucky, what with a .313 BABIP working against him, but that's counterbalanced by an ugly 4.89 xERA, and a xFIP of 4.30. Both are worse than his current ERA (4.08).

He's only 23 years old, so there's certainly plenty of time for him to figure it out, cut down the walks, and become a masterclass starting pitcher. But that won't happen this year. We're over it. You should be too.

In redraft leagues, he's nothing more than a streaming option for me in pitcher-friendly parks and against ragdoll lineups. You could probably still get decent exchange value on his name. Try for some less-sexy, more-reliable, inning-chewing guys like Chris Flexen, Zac Gallen, or the starter who gets our next award.

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The Maybe, Just Maybe Award

Roansy Contreras, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates

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I'll admit: this is a total gut call.

The Pirates sent Contreras back down to AAA after a stellar outing versus the Reds, but more as an inning-management strategy than a remark on recent performance. He will be back soon after the All-Star break, mark my words.

His strikeout stuff, when at best, is unreal. He's got a 10.62 K/9 in the minors this year, and a 9.0 K/9 in the majors. Aside from a horrible start against the Brewers on July 1st, he showed signs of getting in a groove, though he needs to focus a bit more on his command.

Here's what I'm saying: maybe, just maybe, when he's called back up, he'll rack up strikeouts in buckets for your fantasy team, and pitch deep into games.

You won't need to trade for him, as he's barely owned. Watch-list him.

The Sitting Here In My Party Dress, Waiting Just For You Award

Max Meyer, SP, Miami Marlins

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I know, I know. You may be asking: How much more mileage can Dan get out of this guy before they stop letting him write this column? I suppose I intend to test the limits.

I won't spend much time waxing rhapsodic about him today; if you want to read why I love him so much, you can do so here and here.

However, I will say: his pitching line, since returning from an elbow injury on June 17th, speaks for itself. A sparkling 21.1 IP/2.11 ERA/5 BB/25 K. He's healthy, and he's dealing.

There's no way the Marlins don't bring him up soon. So go grab your nicest party dress and await his arrival. I've had him on a roster spot all year long. As soon as he gets the call, you best be ready to dance.

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