2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 16 Prospect Report

by Daniel Johnson
2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 16 Prospect Report

As those of you who've both been regular followers of this column and also kept your fingers resting on the pulse of all news related to marquee rookies might have anticipated, it is with not-insignificant sorrow that I penned for you the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 16 Prospect Report.

Max Meyer? Boom—welcome to the league! Here's a sprained right elbow, probably an irritation of the very same nerve issue you dealt with until mid-May. Might not be back for months.

Julio Rodriguez? Boom—thanks for showing out at the Derby, buddy, but you best believe that wrist is tired and bruised, and might affect your swing the rest of the summer. Missing time.

Bobby Witt? Boom—we Fantasy owners thank you for running wild on the bases this past month, but now your hamstring is on fire, and you're going to miss time.

Absolute slaughterhouse of a weekend for some of the most exciting—and my personal favorite—youngsters in the sport. We know not the specific extent of the damage of any of the above injuries, and thus, as of this writing, remain in the dark about their timelines. The dreaded "consider him day-to-day until further notice" sentiment applies to all three of these studs.

So, with heavy hearts, let's forge onward to some other prospect news around the league.

2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 16 Prospect Report

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Francisco Alvarez, C, New York Mets

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At the beginning of July, MLB's number-two-overall prospect was promoted to the Mets' AAA affiliate in Syracuse. And thus he departed AA Binghamton with a .921 OPS across 67 games—all of that at 20 years old.

Since then, he's certainly taking his time adjusting to AAA pitching, slashing a .600 OPS in his first ten games with the new club, with a 15:8 K:BB ratio. However, he did hit this missile with absolute nuclear power.

There was some small hope that James McCann's oblique injury might precipitate an expedited call to the bigs for Alvarez, but squash that. The Mets have officially stated that they are not considering him an option to replace McCann on the roster.

Despite the potential star power so clearly evident in Alvarez, the Mets have been linked to talks regarding likely-on-the-move Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, who would immediately be an above-average bat in their lineup. All signs, right now, point to Alvarez remaining in the minors the rest of the summer.

But! You never know. I'm a fan of stashing for the unexpected, and if the trade deadline comes-and-goes without any whiff of Contreras making his new home at Citi Field, Alvarez might get a look in August/September, depending on how the Mets keep pace in their division going forward.

Watch-list him.

Brayan Bello, SP, Boston Red Sox

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What's worse for prospect morale in fantasy owners? A situation like Meyer's, where he barely has any time to adjust to big-league lineups before his prized pitching arm gives out? Or one like Bello's, a rookie for whom expectations and anticipation were sky-high, and all he's done in three starts is get absolutely obliterated?

Neither are good. Nor are many of Bello's peripherals: 1.066 OPSAgainst, 41.3% hard-hit rate, 12.5% BB rate. He is inducing a lot of ground balls (56.5%, as opposed to the league-average 42.7%), which is encouraging, and he's got an unbelievable .471 BABIP, so perhaps correction to his numbers will come soon.

He'll continue to get his opportunities, especially with so many of the other Red Sox starters shelved with injuries. But I'm not sure I'd run him out there; he might even be droppable until his first decent start. He's barely striking anyone out right now.

Robert Hassell III, OF, San Diego Padres

I've just got this sneaking suspicion the Padres are going to emerge as frontrunners in the Juan Soto market. And I think that means that Hassell, one of my favorite year-away-from-MLB-time-at-least prospects out there, is a candidate to get moved.

He's got fantastic plate discipline, with a 34:56 BB:K ratio as of the time of this writing, and has a .307 batting average in the minors across two seasons since being drafted. The power will come, but it's not there yet; he is not yet 21 years old.

Presumably, if a trade were to come to fruition, this means he'd go directly to the Nationals, who are likely to head into full-rebuild mode. This scares me a bit for Hassell's immediate future. Should he remain on the Padres, I think they have much more of an incentive to give him reps in the outfield as early as next season than the Nats do.

I'm fully aware this might be the deepest and least immediately impactful prospect note in one of these reports yet. But I think the Padres like MacKenzie Gore (woof) enough that they're going to try to hold onto him through the trade deadline, and that makes Hassell a name to watch as the rumor mill churns.

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