Tampa Bay’s farm system isn’t the best on the block for shallow league players, but there are a bunch of interesting fantasy pieces here to sift through if you play in a deeper dynasty format. The biggest news from the 2015 season was the explosion of left hander Blake Snell. He earned all kinds of accolades with his performance and now he’s set up to join the rotation in 2016. The Rays have good pitching depth again this year, and they’ll get Alex Cobb back at some point as well. Outfielder Steven Souza was a trendy sleeper prospect in 2015, but injury and strikeouts limited his value in his rookie year. He could be a decent buy low in dynasty leagues since the power and speed that made him interesting in the first place are still there.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Diamondbacks have shipped out their most recent top picks, improving the MLB rotation but at the same time leaving the farm a little thin at the top. I would have definitely considered Dansby Swanson in the first tier, and Touki Toussaint would have been my top prospect among the more distant ETAs. What’s done is done, and there are still some solid if not elite pieces in this system. The shine wore off of Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley a bit, but they are still strong options and should contribute to the rotation shortly. Meanwhile Brandon Drury and Peter O’Brien could have some value with their bats. Cuban import Yasmany Tomas made his much anticipated debut in 2015, and while the 25-year-old did hit nine homers, fantasy owners would like to see more of his raw pop surface in his sophomore season.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Even after the trade of Manuel Margot to the Padres, the Red Sox still feature three prospects with big fantasy potential – Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers, and 2015 draftee Andrew Benintendi. Cuban import Rusney Castillo was an adventure last year, and I’d imagine dynasty leaguers are faced with a choice between selling low or holding this offseason. Jackie Bradley is another question mark, but showed flashes and is still just 25 years old entering 2016. At the very least, his plus defense should give him a long leash. Blake Swihart graduated, and has a fantasy-friendly profile behind the plate thanks to his offense. Eduardo Rodriguez and Henry Owens made their debuts as well, and should be solid options in the middle of the rotation. In short, there’s still plenty of upside on the major league club and a top-heavy farm ready to feed it over the next two or three years.Please, blog, may I have some more?
We’ll step away from the minor league previews for a sec and take a look at some of the new additions to the player pool for dynasty leaguers. This is assuming, of course, that your league doesn’t allow them to be picked up in season and they’re already gone. Dynasty first-year player drafts are always fun. It’s the best way to inject your team with some new life outside of negotiating trades or getting lucky on the wire. In super deep leagues, this top 25 will just be a taste of the first round, but in most formats 25 names should get your feet wet in the second round as well. It’s important to realize that with all prospects there’s a bunch of risk involved. That’s even more of a factor in this type of list, since there just hasn’t been as much exposure to these prospects yet. Last, but not least, this list is tweaked to help your fantasy squad, and won’t necessarily follow the same path as traditional prospect lists or draft boards. It also has some of my personal fantasy philosophy built into it, so don’t get too upset if your favorite prep arm isn’t as high as you’d like him to be. Without any more rambling, here are the top 25 dynasty league signees for 2016 fantasy baseball…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Seattle’s farm produced two interesting players for the 2016 fantasy baseball season. I like Ketel Marte as a late-round flyer at a shallow middle infield position. He can hit and steal, and should be a good source of runs if he bats in front of Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz as he’s currently projected. Then there’s Carson Smith, who I imagine a lot of fantasy owners will be drafting as the closer in waiting if he hasn’t already taken the reins by opening day. The first thing I noticed when putting together this preview is the plethora of outfield prospects in the Mariners’ system, as well as the lack of impact talent from the 2015 draft (they didn’t pick in the first round). It’s a bit dicey gambling on hitters that may call Seattle their home one day, so this has never been my go-to system for fantasy prospects. Of course the flip side of that is that their pitching prospects have a little more room to breathe.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Last week I joined a league called The Devil’s Rejects. You’ve probably seen posts on this league over at FanGraphs recently. In fact, it must have subconciously rubbed off on me because that is a very FanGraphsy title. Rejects is a 20-team dynasty with 45-man rosters where we keep 28 forever. It’s full of industry talent from sites like FG and Baseball Prospectus. Razzball’s own J-FOH has a team and we’ve already made our first trade with no blood, sweat, or tears spilled. The squad I took over was one that had cycled through a couple of owners in the previous two or three years. So yeah, it’s a bit of a project. But the point of this post is that there’s one name on this roster I have absolutely no idea what to do with, and I’m wondering if other dynasty geeks out there are faced with the same problem. It’s Shohei Otani, the Japanese pitcher who’s tearing it up in the NPB.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Last season didn’t go as planned for the White Sox, but we did get to see the emergence of Carlos Rodon, one of the more exciting young arms in the game. The Sox followed a similar formula in the 2015 draft, selecting college righty Carson Fulmer in the first round. He might not be as quick to the show as Rodon, but Fulmer shouldn’t last long in the minors either. While rookie Carlos Sanchez held down the fort at the keystone in 2015, this year should bring another extended look for Micah Johnson. Tim Anderson could also get a shot this year. He’s a polarizing prospect on traditional lists but brings a high fantasy ceiling to the table.Please, blog, may I have some more?
There are organizations flush with prospects that you’d like to have on your fantasy roster. Then there are organizations like the Tigers. Not to hate on the Motor City Kitties, but finding a spec I can get excited about on this farm is a little bit like this. Even with trades, the players they brought in are mostly in the pitching category, namely Michael Fulmer and recent grads Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd. Their first round pick in 2015 also went to an arm, and a prep arm to boot, meaning it will be a while before he’s making any kind of fantasy impact. That said, your dear friend Mike is still going to trot out fifteen names and plow forward. Let’s just rip this thing off like a Band-Aid and on Sunday we can chat White Sox specs over turkey sandwiches.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Padres are probably the closest thing to your home league’s rosterbater. After trading for Craig Kimbrel last season, they’ve already flipped him to Boston. The latter move netted four good prospects, and while San Diego is still not a finished product, there are pieces that could start gelling together in the next year or two. Manuel Margot was the jewel of the Kimbrel return, and he’s a no-brainer to top this farm now. A butterfly flapped its wings in Panama and the fences were moved in, so San Diego trended towards neutral in 2014 after being considered an extreme “pitcher’s park” for a long time. It’s still no hitter’s haven, but the point being you don’t have to run screaming from their hitting specs.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Marlins have a young and talented big league roster that includes Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Jose Fernandez, and Marcell Ozuna. But at this point, the farm system is a dog. With most of the high-end specs graduated or traded away, there are just not many left to get excited about here, and none that fall in the elite tier. There are some good prospects, but they mostly check in as long-shots thanks to distant ETAs. Compounding the issue for fantasy is the fact that Crayola Canyon will be the final destination for the hitters if they stay within this organization. But hey, I’m not here to crap on the Marlins. I’m here to talk prospects. So while Miami will be at the bottom of most prospect power rankings this preseason, I still managed to scrape together fifteen names I think we should know.Please, blog, may I have some more?