Bernie on the Scene: Getting Ready for Prospects in 2022

Bernie on the Scene: Getting Ready for Prospects in 2022

This article is part of our Bernie on the Scene series.

This week, I will begin a multi-part series of scouting reports on the top prospect pitchers and position players who could be targeted at some point in the 2022 fantasy baseball drafts and auctions.

I will begin with pitchers and continue with position players in the coming weeks.

As a baseball scout, I have always preached that scouts serve three organizational purposes:

  • To stock the major league club
  • To use in trade to help stock the organization, and especially the big-league club
  • To stock minor league affiliate teams
     

The pitchers listed below are untested over time. Some have had a cup of coffee or even a cappuccino at the big-league level. Some have been injured. All can pitch.

In some cases, I have offered scouting reports before. These are updated.

Nate Pearson, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
6-6, 250
Age 24
1st-round draft pick by the Blue Jays in 2017 (No. 28 overall)
$2,452,900 signing bonus

I still consider Pearson to be a prospect, even though he has spent time on the parent club.

Pearson has battled injuries. He has had a right elbow flexor strain that sent him to IL and is still a worry for me. Elbow injuries are a caution. But … the guy can throw 100 miles per hour. That counts.

Pearson has that blazing fastball, but he also throws a very high quality, plus slider, a better than average changeup and an acceptable curve. That's a big-league, high-quality repertoire for a credible starting pitcher.

This week, I will begin a multi-part series of scouting reports on the top prospect pitchers and position players who could be targeted at some point in the 2022 fantasy baseball drafts and auctions.

I will begin with pitchers and continue with position players in the coming weeks.

As a baseball scout, I have always preached that scouts serve three organizational purposes:

  • To stock the major league club
  • To use in trade to help stock the organization, and especially the big-league club
  • To stock minor league affiliate teams
     

The pitchers listed below are untested over time. Some have had a cup of coffee or even a cappuccino at the big-league level. Some have been injured. All can pitch.

In some cases, I have offered scouting reports before. These are updated.

Nate Pearson, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
6-6, 250
Age 24
1st-round draft pick by the Blue Jays in 2017 (No. 28 overall)
$2,452,900 signing bonus

I still consider Pearson to be a prospect, even though he has spent time on the parent club.

Pearson has battled injuries. He has had a right elbow flexor strain that sent him to IL and is still a worry for me. Elbow injuries are a caution. But … the guy can throw 100 miles per hour. That counts.

Pearson has that blazing fastball, but he also throws a very high quality, plus slider, a better than average changeup and an acceptable curve. That's a big-league, high-quality repertoire for a credible starting pitcher.

Pearson is able to add and subtract velocity, using his size as a tremendous advantage.

Add his size to his repertoire and the only issue is his elbow. 

Grade: 60

Fantasy Relevancy: Yes for next year

Josiah Gray, RHP, Washington Nationals
6-1, 190 
Age 23
2nd-round draft pick in 2018 by the Reds; traded to the Dodgers in 2018
 $772,500 signing bonus from Reds

Gray was signed by the Reds and traded to the Dodgers in the deal for Matt Kemp. Consider that Gray was a compensation pick. The team's first-round selection was Jonathan India, who signed for $5,297,500. Their initial second-round pick was Lyon Richardson, who signed for $1,997,500. Then Gray was picked as a compensation second rounder. The Reds didn't have that much money invested in him, and traded him.

Now he was traded again at the trade deadline in the deal that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers.

I include Gray in the pitchers to target because I think he'll get the ball for the Nationals in 2022. Don't they have to use the guys who cost them Scherzer and Turner? You bet they do.  He and catcher Keibert Ruiz will play.

Gray sits at 93-96 with his fastball, but he can bring it to 97 and 98 without much effort. He has very good control, and that's the part I like best about him at this point. He can throw strikes. He can command his repertoire that includes a good slider, a curve and a changeup. None of his secondary pitches are off the charts good. Most are average, at best.

A smart pitcher, Gray doesn't have the stuff to be a top-of-the-rotation starter. But he could thrive in the middle to the back end of the rotation. He'll keep the ball in play, and his defense has to be sound behind him. 

Grade: 50

Fantasy Relevancy: Be cautious. Late-round flyer

Hunter Greene, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
6-5, 230
Age 22
1st-round draft pick by Reds in 2017
$7.23M signing bonus

Greene was an infielder/pitcher when he was drafted by the Reds out of high school. He's huge and he has a very, very bright future.

At this point, Greene relies on a Grade 80 fastball that can touch 102 miles per hour. He uses that big, powerful frame to get that high velocity. He has a reputation for throwing a rather straight fastball, with little movement. He does, however, use the entire plate.

There is some caution that comes with Greene — he experienced an elbow strain early as a professional. And as I've said many times, that isn't good. Maybe he's trying to get too much velocity on that fastball.

So far, his other pitches are average, at best. He throws a cutter, slider and changeup.

I have some concerns about the future health of his elbow, forearm and shoulder. However, his fastball is electric, and that generally plays. 

Grade: 55

Fantasy Relevance: Late round, if then. Better in keeper leagues

Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
6-5, 220 
Age 21
1st-round draft pick by Orioles in 2018 (No. 11 overall)
$4.3M signing bonus

Follow the money with Rodriguez, and you will find the Orioles will be rushing this kid to the big leagues. He is a Texas high school product, and he isn't ready for the big time yet. But give him time, and he will show that his repertoire is good enough to handle a major role on a bad club.

Rodriguez throws his fastball at 99 mph, and it is the bread and butter of a full repertoire. He uses his size to pitch downhill, making his above average slider a good secondary pitch to the fastball. He also has an average curve and a very good changeup. I would expect we will see any of the three best pitches used to mount strikeouts as he moves along in his career. He can become a dominant pitcher. 

Grade: 55

Fantasy Relevancy: Very good for a dynasty league and a hold in re-draft formats

Matthew Liberatore, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals
6-4, 200
Age 21
1st-round draft pick by Rays in 2018 (No. 16 overall)

The Tampa Bay Rays signed him for $3.5M and traded him to St. Louis in 2020. The Cardinals gave up Randy Arozarena, Jose Martinez and a compensation A draft pick to get Liberatore and catching prospect Edgardo Rodriguez and a compensation B draft pick.

Now, the Cardinals have to give Liberatore a chance to show what he can do.

Pitching this season at Triple-A Memphis, Liberatore is a big lefty with promise. He has a good, crisp fastball, just as good of a curve, a slider and a changeup. In all, his four pitch mix could play well.

The future key to Liberatore's success will be keeping his command as sharp as it has been in his development. He is a lefty with good control and command of all his pitches. That makes him a pretty special prospect.  

Grade: 60

Fantasy Relevancy: Very good option for 2022 leagues, as the Cards need him.

Reid Detmers, LHP, Los Angeles Angels
6-2, 210 
Age 22
1st-round draft pick by Angels in 2020 (No. 10 overall)
$4.67M signing bonus

Due to their starting pitching woes, the Angels have promoted Detmers to the parent club. I'm not sure he's ready yet, but apparently, their need was great. He is starting games.

Walking almost four batters per nine innings and striking out only 6.8 hitters per nine so far, the biggest fear regarding Detmers is being exposed. He lacks command and control at the young age of 22.

None of the pitches in his repertoire stand out as much better than average. He throws a good curveball, and it is probably his best pitch. But I've already seen him hang a few. He also throws a credible fastball in the low 90s, a slider and a changeup.

Again, he has to refine his command to be effective against the world's best hitters.

I think Detmers may struggle vs. right-handed hitters, but he will be just fine against lefties. His pitches will fool them. 

Grade: 50

Fantasy Relevancy: I would wait and see how he finishes this season.

HEADING HOME

I'm pleased to invite readers to join us in our BERNIE ON THE SCENE fantasy football league for the 2021 season. This is a 12-team PPR league, and there are a couple spots now open. The draft is the evening of September 6th — Labor Day evening.

If you are interested in receiving complete details of the league, email me at BernieHOA@gmail.com. The entry fee is $50.

•  In my opinion, MLB has tripped over itself the last few seasons, making ridiculous decisions and changing the fabric of the game of baseball.

However, on Aug. 12 they struck gold. And did it properly. The Field of Dreams game between the White Sox and Yankees was among the most exciting games we have seen in quite some time.

Everything about the evening in Dyersville, Iowa, went right. Everything MLB and its Fox TV hosts did worked well. The setting was beautiful. The community of Dyersville worked tirelessly to make the event a true classic. And the game was outstanding.

Rarely does a major event come off without a hiccup. This one was superb. Hats off to the folks in Dyersville who made it happen. Hats off the players who showed why they are the best in the world.

•  Now MLB has to fine more golden moments to showcase. They have to find a way to celebrate their stars — and there are plenty of them. They have to get back to baseball and not politics, bickering, tinkering with the rules and "force feeding" change on the public. The public likes the game of baseball. Not the gimmicks of baseball.

They built it in Iowa. And yes, they came. Tickets were provided to Iowa residents through a lottery. Winners of tickets were then free to do with them as they so chose.

Some sold them. For as much as $1,800 a pop. There were only 8,000 seats.

After the game the seats and the stands were taken down and stored. The field will remain and be used by various levels of baseball teams.

And Major League Baseball had their day in the cornfields without a hitch.

•  My question of the week: What prospect are you most excited to see play in the big leagues? Please leave your answer in the comments section below. I'll try to answer any questions you have as well.

•  Again, let me know if you want in on our new fantasy football PPR league. Email me at BernieHOA@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

•  Thank you for following me on Twitter @BerniePleskoff and for reading my work. Have a safe and healthy week.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bernie Pleskoff
Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.
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