The opening week of the 2023 MLB season is in the books and there’s been plenty of movement on the MLB prospects front. A handful of prospects have come up already, and a few more have suffered injuries. We’ll touch on Grayson Rodriguez and Brett Baty and more in this latest edition of the MLB Prospect Report.


Recent MLB Call-ups

Grayson Rodriguez — RHP Baltimore Orioles

The time is here! Baltimore is calling up their top prospect for his debut on Wednesday. He’s long been considered the best pitching prospect in baseball and likely would’ve come up last year had it not been for an injury-shortened season. Rodriguez is an absolute ace-caliber arm with a devastating four-pitch mix. The fastball and changeup are both 70-grade pitches while the slider is no worse than a 60-grade offering. Bringing up the rear, if we want to describe it that way, is the curveball that’s a 55-grade or above-average pitch. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a pitching prospect with this kind of arsenal, pedigree, and upside come up. Just how good has he been? Over his 296 minor league innings, Rodriguez has posted a 2.49 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, a .174 BAA, and a whopping 421:102 K:BB ratio. That is nothing but elite. What can we expect from him this year though? Likely not ratios of that caliber, but perhaps close. His first start is against someone he likely draws comps to in the future — Jacob deGrom — but he has a while until he’s in that range of MLB starter. Expect Baltimore to keep him up the rest of the way at this point, though he may face innings limits in his starts. While he’s initially up due to Kyle Bradish being put on the IL, he should kick out Tyler Wells from the rotation once Bradish is back. Either that or Baltimore could go to a six-man rotation and keep both Gray-Rod and Wells in the group. He’s likely not still available in your league but if he is, he’s a must-add in any format.

Ji Hwan Bae — 2B/SS Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates don’t get a lot of talk by most in the baseball industry. However, one of their Opening Day rookies is getting a lot of buzz now for what he’s done in the first few games. Bae hit his first career home run, opposite field, and over the Green Monster on Tuesday. He also made a spectacular catch against the same Green Monster later in the game. That’s what’s so intriguing about the 23-year-old Pirates prospect — his versatility. Let’s not get too excited with the home run though as that was his 17th total homer in his 328 combined games between MiLB and MLB through Tuesday night. The hit tool and speed are plus tools though, with each grading out at at least 60-grade on the 20-80 scouting scale. The other thing that’s highly intriguing for fantasy baseball is his defensive versatility. In 2022, between his 10 games in Pittsburgh and 108 at Triple-A, he played 61 at 2B, 25 at CF, 24 at SS, and 9 in left field. That means he should be in the Pirates lineup most days as they can move him around like a Swiss Army knife on defense. Across his 314 minor league games he slashed .294/.373/.419 with 16 homers (eight coming last year at Triple-A), 66 2B, 18 3B, 240 R, 137 RBI, and 91 steals (including 30 last year at Triple-A). So in Bae you have a hitter capable of a .290 AVG and .360 OBP with a handful of homers and 25-plus steal speed. Get ready fantasy baseball managers for Pittsburgh to have another sneaky good fantasy player in addition to Bryan Reynolds, Oneil Cruz, and Ke’Bryan Hayes.

Dylan Dodd — LHP Atlanta Braves

How sneaky has Dodd’s rise through the Atlanta system been? Not even the manager knew much about him prior to seeing him in spring training. Then he went out and threw five strong innings against the Cardinals in his debut. The lefty has been a very quick riser through the minors with just one full season under his belt (2022) when he threw 142 innings across three levels. The southpaw has a four-pitch mix that works mostly off of control and late life rather than pure velo. The fastball, a 55-grade pitch, sits in the low-to-mid 90s with late movement that misses bats more than it should while the slider and changeup are his two main secondary pitches, both sitting in the low-80s. A slurve is mixed in for good measure and a change of looks every so often. Dodd profiles as a number 4 or 5 starter in a big league rotation who can eat innings with solid ratios and decent strikeout rates. In the 142 minor league innings in 2022 he posted a 3.36 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and a 153:31 K:BB ratio. That all matches his expected role as a backend starter for the Braves who need extra depth with Max Fried’s trip to the IL as well as other injured arms. Expect Ian Anderson or Jared Shuster to be their fifth starter the next time spot start is needed for them.

Joey Wiemer — OF Milwaukee Brewers

Another one of Milwaukee’s young core has made their appearance in the bigs for Milwaukee. Wimer, a fourth-round pick in 2020, has posted back-to-back 20 HR, 30 SB seasons across multiple levels in the minors prior to getting the call following Luis Urias landing on the IL. There are some interesting notes about Wiemer’s profile that make him intriguing for fantasy managers but also could cause fantasy managers dismay. Firstly, his hit tool. It is below-average which was exposed a bit in the upper minors last year as he hit .256 over 127 games. There is also a propensity to strikeout more than he probably should. Over his 236 minor league games thus far, Wiemer has K’d 252 times, or more than once per game on average. The righty-hitting outfielder does have plus tools elsewhere though has the power and speed are both plus while the arm is double-plus and fielding is a borderline-plus tool. The profile combines to make Wimer a better candidate for right field given the arm strength. He’s gotten off to a hot start in his handful of games in the majors so far but there is a question as to whether he’ll stick for the long haul once Urias is back from the IL. Milwaukee has outfield options with Garrett Mitchell and Christian Yelich in center and left respectively and Brian Anderson manning right when Urias is healthy. We could also see Sal Frelick get a call too at some point so there’s a lot of at-bats to be divided between a few guys. If you want to take a chance on Wiemer staying up and being a nice combo of pop and speed, just know there is risk with his average and OBP as well as playing time going forward.

Early Season Prospect Injury News

Let’s take a look at some of the top prospects that have suffered some injuries in the last week or so or have had injury updates that make them fantasy notable.

Brett Baty — 3B New York Mets

Sorry Mets fans but the news keeps getting worse for you starting the season. Not only are there issues on the MLB roster but one of the top hitting prospects that pushed to break spring with the MLB team is injured too. Baty had injury issues with his thumb last year but looked to be all good in spring training, that is until he got to Syracuse. In Tuesday’s game, he left after taking a swing and shaking his hand in discomfort. He went for testing which revealed no structural damage other than inflammation and he’s considered day-to-day. However, it is something to watch going forward as inflammation could be a sign of something brewing. The Mets plan on bringing Baty up likely some point in May and just wanted him to get more full-time at-bats at Triple-A first.

Rickey Tiedemann — LHP Toronto Blue Jays

This one is good news, Tiedemann has been recovering from left shoulder soreness, his pitching shoulder, but now appears to be close to a return. The Blue Jays are slating him to return to the mound and game action in the first home series of the season for Double-A New Hampshire which is about the middle of April. It’s unlikely that Tiedemann would have been up any time in the first half even if he’d had a healthy camp but if he pushes to Triple-A quickly, we could see the flame throwing lefty up in August for the Blue Jays as they likely make a divisional or playoff push in the AL East.

Griff McGarry — RHP Philadelphia Phillies

Things aren’t getting any better in the land of Phillies’ pitchers. Already dealing with thinness on the MLB roster and having seen Andrew Painter and Noah Song go down with injuries earlier in camp, McGarry is starting the season injured too. He is dealing with tightness in his side, though believed to be mild, and thus will miss the start of the season. McGarry wowed some folks in spring training before cooling off toward the end and being assigned to minor league camp followed by Triple-A Reading. Philadelphia doesn’t expect it to linger but it does mean that Mick Abel is the only one of the three top Phillies’ prospects to start the year healthy. McGarry needs this year to improve on some of his data points as his stuff has been more hittable than it profiles to be. The fastball is elite and his other three pitches are at worst above-average if not bordering on plus at their best. However, his 5.4 BB/9 and 1.19 WHIP in his minor league innings so far indicate control and contact concerns. His 13.9 K/9 is elite but if the control and missing contact doesn’t improve he could be a high-end reliever after this year, when healthy.


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