Fantasy: FAAB Targets For Week Three

Image credit: Joshua Mears (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

With another week of minor league play in the books the early season breakouts are starting to reveal themselves.

As has been preached in prior articles, the early weeks of the season are often critical when it comes to buying players. This is the best window to buy in on underrated known commodities and the early season pop-ups. The sample sizes are still noisy and there’s plenty of fool’s gold on the wire but it’s important to act now before it’s too late. No one ever wishes they had leftover FAAB at the end of the year. Be as conservative as possible, but aggressive when necessary.

Here are our 10 FAAB picks for week three.


Cesar Prieto, SS Orioles 

League Type: Leagues With 150 Prospects Rostered 

The 22-year-old signed out of Cuba in January of this year and has four home runs over his last three games heading into Sunday. He has six already in the young season and looks too advanced for High-A pitching. He’s shown aggressive tendencies at times but he was lauded for his approach during his time in the Serie Nacional. As is noted in his scouting report, he added muscle since he left Cuba. It’s reasonable to think his added strength might be behind the early season power surge. I’m buying Prieto in everything but the shallowest of dynasty leagues. 

John Rhodes, OF Orioles 

League Type: Leagues With 250 Prospects Rostered

Early on in last year’s draft process I was fairly intrigued by Rhodes. A draft-eligible sophomore, Rhodes performed well in the Northwoods League during the 2020 summer and it was easy to fall for his quick and compact swing. The following spring he struggled at times against SEC competition and ended up popping up on the Cape with Cotuit last summer prior to the draft. The Orioles selected Rhodes in the third round last July and paid him an over-slot bonus of $1.38 million. So far this season Rhodes is showing the Orioles faith is deserved as he’s hitting .390/.510/.634 entering play on Sunday. Most importantly, Rhodes is walking more than he is striking out, a sign that his approach has taken a step forward. Rhodes is not likely a star, but is a worthy gamble as an everyday, bat-first, second division regular if it all clicks. He’s worth taking a gamble on in leagues where 250-plus prospects are rostered. 

Adael Amador, SS Rockies

League Type: Leagues With 150+ Prospects Rostered

This offseason I went out of my way to acquire Amador in a few leagues and so far I’m glad I did. After a strong debut in the Arizona Complex League, the shortstop is off to a fast start in his first full-season assignment. He’s shown contact, approach and impact early with the ability to stick in the infield long term. I’d be aggressive in acquiring him if he’s available on your league’s wire. It’s not unreasonable to think he could ascend to Top 100 status before the end of the season if he continues to perform. Teenage switch hitters with pedigree and production to match are rare. 

Max Muncy, SS Athletics 

League Type: Leagues With 250+ Prospects Rostered 

Max Muncy is the new Luis Garcia, we just need a few more of them and we might get to maximum Luis Garcia-esque name confusion. For now it’s just the two, the older, Dodgers Max Muncy and the younger Athletics version. The younger Max Muncy is off to a strong start in full-season ball, hitting three home runs while posting a 17.7% walk rate. There’s some swing and miss in his profile but that was always anticipated as Muncy was considered a little more raw at the plate compared to the other members of the vaunted prep shortstop class of 2021. There are likely to be some bumps in the road, but Muncy is likely available in a large percentage of dynasty leagues that roster 250 prospects. It’s a worthy gamble as Muncy has the athleticism and hitterish qualities that are worth a bid in most formats.  

Jackson Merrill, SS Padres 

League Type: Leagues With 250+ Prospects Rostered 

The second member of the loaded prep shortstop class of 2021 to make the FAAB report, Merrill has shown approach and bat-to-ball skills early in 2022. Despite Merrill’s power being his selling tool it’s yet to show in games early. All the more reason to buy now. Why? Merrill is physical at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds with above-average raw power. A cold weather prospect out of Maryland, Merrill doesn’t have a lengthy track record against high-level competition but he has unquestionably hit since entering the professional ranks. You’re going to have to bank a little on the power projection, but all the ingredients are here to develop into an above-average hitter with a balance of contact and power. The biggest issue at the moment is swing path, as Merrill is putting an ungodly amount of balls on the ground.

Marco Raya, RHP Twins 

League Type: Leagues With 250 Prospects Rostered 

Before going on the injured list due to his wisdom teeth last week, Raya dominated in his second start of his professional career on April 19. I was in attendance for that start and I can’t understate how well Raya pitched. He showed three above-average or better offerings with command and a willingness to attack hitters. A pop-up name during the 2020 draft cycle, Raya had been a bit of a mystery up to this point as he didn’t pitch at all in 2021. So far in 2022 he has 14 strikeouts to a single walk and very much looks the part of a legitimate pitching prospect. As with all pitching prospects there’s an inherent amount of risk, and Raya is no different, but the stuff and feel to pitch are unusual. He’s worth a flier, particularly in leagues where pitching is valued heavily. 

Carson Williams, SS Rays 

League Type: Leagues With 250+ Prospects Rostered

The third shortstop from the 2021 prep class featured here, Williams has been as impressive as Muncy and Merrill if not more so in the early going. A former two-way prospect as an amateur, Williams is now a hitter only and is showing why that was a wise choice. He’s hitting .381/.426/.714 with seven extra-base hits entering Sunday. While there’s been some swing and miss, the combination of power and feel to hit makes Williams an enticing add in dynasty leagues of moderate depth. A strong-armed defender with projection remaining, even if Williams moves off of shortstop he has a strong baseline of skills to fit as a third baseman. Williams is another precocious teenager from the 2021 draft to pounce on now if he’s available in your league. 

Kyle Bradish, RHP Orioles 

League Type: Redraft Stash

Depending on the depth of your league and the value of pitching, Bradish could be a wise buy. Bradish is likely the next pitcher not named Grayson Rodriguez to get the call for the Orioles. Bradish is already a member of the Orioles 40-man roster and with a full season of Triple-A experience there’s not much left for Bradish to prove in the minor leagues. Armed with an unusual fastball that sits 92-95 mph with cutter shape, the righthander mixes a hard sweeping slider at 84-86 mph with a curveball with big downer break and plus velocity at 82-85 mph. He’ll show a changeup but it’s rarely used. His ability to land his cut-fastball, sweepy slider and downer curveball for strikes with above-average velocity makes him a potential treasure in deeper redraft leagues where innings are at a premium. 

Austin Hendrick, OF Reds 

League Type: Leagues With 250+ Prospects Rostered

I’ll fully admit Hendrick was one of my favorite prospects during the 2020 draft cycle and despite a down 2021 debut, I’m still in the camp of believers. He’s hitting .325/.449/.575 entering play on Sunday and he’s already at 40% of his home run total from his disappointing debut. The strikeouts are still an issue—particularly against lefthanded pitching—but the power is up and he’s been more aggressive on pitches in the zone. There are likely a lot of leagues of moderate depth where Hendrick is available. It’s worth throwing a couple of FAAB dollars his way to see if he’s figured something out. If the approach once again tanks, move on. 

Joshua Mears, OF Padres

League Type: Leagues With 150+ Prospects Rostered 

When Mears missed out on the qualifications for my best raw power in the minors article Padres fans let me have it. Unfortunately, he just missed qualifying by percentage points and truthfully, I’ve never doubted Mears’ double-plus raw power even if he ended up on the bubble of my data-driven article. So far on the young season Mears is hitting .275/.373/.784 with seven home runs, placing him among the leaders in a variety of categories for the whole of minor league baseball. With a max exit velocity of 115.8 mph already this season and a 90th percentile of 111 mph it’s easy to see what I like about Mears. There’s serious juice in the bat, and power is always worth a gamble in dynasty leagues. As with many young slugging prospects there’s a high amount of swing and miss, but the plus-plus raw power is worth the bid. 

Bonus Sleeper: Jadiel Sanchez, OF Phillies 

League Type: Leagues With 300+ Prospects Rostered 

An early standout in Florida State League play, Sanchez was a 12th-rounder out of Puerto Rico in 2019. He debuted in the Florida State League in 2021 and held his own, but is still firmly under the radar early this season. He returned to the FSL in 2022 to start the year and is off to a hot start, hitting .313/.365/.479 with a pair of home runs. While the baseball card stats look good, it’s the underlying data that really intrigues me. He’s showing good power with a max exit velocity above 105 mph while making contact at a rate of 81.5%, good for a plus contact rate. Did I mention Sanchez is also an athletic switch-hitter? Yes, he’s still years away, but Sanchez looks to be a potential early pop-up of note.

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