More than 20 full editions and weeks later, we have officially reached the final MLB Depth Chart Review article of the regular season. It has been a wild ride, filled with the highs of baseball’s uptick in scoring and offensive production, and lows including debilitating season-ending injuries and severely underperforming “star” players. All in all, it looks like the MLB is on track towards increasing its popularity once again, specifically for the casual fans of the sport.
And now, we reach the postseason. By the time this review article posts, we will be a mere four days away from October baseball, and less than a week away from the first pitch of the postseason. Last week I touched on how tight the playoff races were, and not much has changed since then. These final games of the regular season could have crucial implications for final seeding purposes come next week. Thank you for joining me on the roller coaster throughout the 2023 regular season. Next time we meet, we’ll be talking about one of the most electric times in all of sport – playoff baseball.
Fantasy Baseball Depth Chart Review
As the Cincinnati Reds make their final push towards an NL Wild Card spot, one of their (endless?) rookie first basemen has gotten hot at the ideal time of year. This recent stretch has seen the 23-year-old promoted to hitting cleanup for his team, where he has continued to impress. Christian Encarnacion-Strand is going to be relied on by the Reds if they intend to make an unprecedented playoff run. This is even more important after news broke on Tuesday that another one of their top rookies, Matt McLain, will not be returning to the team this season as previously expected due to a lingering oblique injury.
Encarnacion-Strand has had a phenomenal month of September, to the point where he has been looking like the cornerstone piece of the franchise, despite all of the young Cincinnati talent surrounding him. The rookie is 22-for-67 (.328) in the month so far, with seven homers and 15 RBI. The Reds have one more game against the Guardians on Wednesday, and will then close out their season with a series against the last-place Cardinals. Encarnacion-Strand could easily be the x-factor in how many games Cincinnati can pull out over this last handful.
The Tampa Bay Rays decided to call up their youngest but most promising prospect in No. 1 ranked Junior Caminero on September 23rd. Caminero is just 20 years old, yet Tampa Bay will count on him to assist during their hopeful run toward the World Series.
Caminero has collected at least one hit in each of his first three big-league games so far, including his first extra-base hit against the Red Sox on Tuesday night. The youngster was unstoppable in the minors in 2023, as he slashed .324/.384/.591 across 117 games in high-A and AA ball. He also tacked on an impressive 31 homers and 94 RBI. Caminero could be just what the doctor ordered for the Rays as they head into October baseball. He possesses the type of bat that makes a true difference in any lineup, and he’ll possibly have the chance to become a blossoming face of the sport as early as next week.
To stick with the theme of young, promising baseball talent on playoff-bound teams in 2023, there arguably hasn’t been a hotter player than one Evan Carter of the Texas Rangers. Officially the top-ranked prospect in the Rangers’ organization, Carter has done nothing but produce since his September 8th callup.
The rookie has reached base at least once in each of the 16 games he’s appeared in, and his overall .326/.429/.696 slash line should leave fans in Texas more than optimistic. Carter truly looks like he could prove a difference-maker piece for the Rangers when it comes to how far they make it this postseason. At just 21 years of age, Texas could be looking at a franchise piece for years to come. With all of these young impressive prospects making rapid ascensions through playoff-bound organizations, fans everywhere should be in for a real treat this October and beyond.