When you’re perusing the latest prospect lists for the next fantasy star, the next Mike Trout or Manny Machado, it’s important to keep in mind the variables that go into such rankings. Defensive ability plays a major role in player evaluation — it’s not all about the hit tool and the power potential. And when it comes to guys who play premium positions on the diamond (catcher, center field, shortstop), a plus defensive projection can vault a prospect far, far up the board. This sort of inflation based on defense oftentimes skews perspective when considering prospects from a fantasy perspective. When we constantly see a certain light-hitting shortstop pop up in the top 20 overall prospects at Baseball America or MLB.com, it can be easy to look past the scouting report and simply click “add player” once he surfaces in the bigs. To help avoid such unnecessary blunders, I’ve detailed a couple of the more highly-touted defense-first prospects below. I’ll go over a couple more next time through.Please, blog, may I have some more?
I told you last week about the implications of Xander Bogaerts’s Triple-A promotion. This week, we celebrate another Triple-A promotion, as the Mariners have bumped Taijuan Walker from Double-A Jackson to Tacoma. Walker has everything you look for in a pitching prospect — size, stuff, athleticism… the works. He’s as elite as they come. After an up-and-down 2012 at Jackson, the 20-year-old returned to Double-A in 2013, performing with much greater consistency this time through. Walker cranked it up a notch in June, though, posting a 33/3 K/BB in 25 IP this month. He’s only 20, and it’s probably a little premature to wonder about a 2013 arrival considering the M’s have arms like Erasmo Ramirez and Danny Hultzen waiting for an opportunity, but Walker’s ceiling is the best of the bunch. By far. Now that he’s just one stop from the bigs, he needs to be on your fantasy radar.Please, blog, may I have some more?
As expected, the passing of the Super Two deadline has decimated our list here. Six of our previous top ten are gone. Poof. That means lots of turnover. We’ve got a new number one and we’ve got some guys making big moves up the board. The overall upside of the list has sunk for obvious reasons, but there’s still plenty of fantasy help looming in the minor leagues. Also, notice two exciting names in the Next Five group — Gary Brown is on fire at Triple-A, finally unlocking some of his five-tool potential, and Archie Bradley continues to pitch too damn well to be ignored.Please, blog, may I have some more?
First, I’m sure a good chunk of our readers are dads, so happy Fathers Day to ya! I’m not a dad, but I have one, and he’s the man. I’ll be hanging with him later today, watching golf and enjoying good booze. I just might even root for Phil Mickelson, even though I suspect that dude’s a phony jerk — all those fist bumps and fake smiles aren’t fooling me, Mickelson! Anyway, my dad likes him, so go Phil. Now I’m tempted to write an entire post about pro golf, but some of you might consider that boring, so I’ll get on with the usual prospect talk instead.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Last week’s draft poured a whole shizzload of new prospects into the realm of pro baseball, and damn near all of them carry zero fantasy relevance at the moment. Don’t let Harold Reynolds fool you. Mark Appel will not be pitching for the Astros this season. Also, Harold Reynolds is dumb. Appel, however, is one of a handful of draft prospects who could offer value to fantasy teams as soon as this time next year. And in a recent Scouting the Unknown series, I took a look at nine draft prospects who appeared destined to move quickly toward the bigs — the Michael Wacha/Kevin Gausman/Mike Zunino types of the 2013 draft. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, check out part 1, part 2, and part 3 by clicking those links.Please, blog, may I have some more?
I explained yesterday that I’m out of town and extremely drunk, possibly scoring in the 80s (likely not) on a lush golf course in the trashy state of Ohio. Therefore, I’m going to be saving week 10’s Minor Accomplishments post for this coming Wednesday. Instead, today I’ll grace you with the final installment of our feature on draft prospects. We’ll get back to our usual schedule next weekend. Same as yesterday, J.B. Gilpin will be filling in for me in the comments, but I should be back at some point this evening to address questions.Please, blog, may I have some more?
I typically don’t delve into any notes on the Next Five section of this feature, but with some intriguing names popping up there this week, and one name in particular being Carlos Martinez. With recent injuries to Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, and John Gast, the Cardinals have already turned to Michael Wacha and Tyler Lyons to fill rotation roles, but they’ve also optioned Martinez to Triple-A, where he’s being stretched out as a starter. Coming into the season, there were plenty who graded the 21-year-old as the best arm in St. Louis farm system — better than Shelby Miller, better than Wacha. It might be a little farsighted right now, but be sure to keep a close eye on Martinez as he gains stamina in Memphis. He could be a hugely valuable commodity for the stretch run of the fantasy season.Please, blog, may I have some more?
In case you missed it, May rolled over into June yesterday, which is an exciting development for those of us who’ve been stashing guys like Wil Myers, Zack Wheeler, and Christian Yelich. Most folks are projecting dates in mid-June for the Super Two cutoff, so we’re likely just a couple weeks away from some high-impact call-ups. Of course, these Super Two projections are an inexact science, and it’s always possible that ball clubs err on the side of caution, and give it an extra week or two for cushion. In any case, Myers, in particular, is heating up at just the right time. I’d already speculated that his cold start wouldn’t delay his timetable much, but you can forget that conversation entirely now. Through his last ten, Myers is batting .341 with 5 homers and 19 RBI. If he’s somehow available in your league, now is a good time to stash him.Please, blog, may I have some more?
With the First-Year Players Draft a little more than a week away, we’re continuing our discussion of some of the more advanced amateur prospects — guys who’ll be popping up on your fantasy radars within the next year or two. Last week we went over Braden Shipley, Kris Bryant, and Jonathan Gray. You can read that post here. Today, three more draft prospects:Please, blog, may I have some more?
With the constant influx of new talent, new names, new statistics, it can be easy to lose sight of a prospect who’s fallen from grace. A little more than a year ago, in their 2012 Prospect Handbook, Baseball America ranked Joe Benson as the #2 overall prospect in the Twins organization. Benson was coming off a 2011 in which he hit .285/.388/.495 with 16 homers at Double-A New Britain, finishing the year with a call-up to the big club and a spot on the 40-man. He was on the fantasy radar before injuries delayed his 2012 debut, but he hasn’t been relevant since then. Across four levels in 2012, the former 2nd round draft pick managed a line at .202/.288/.336. And after watching him hit .192/.256/.285 through 43 games at Triple-A Rochester this season, the Twins had seen enough and released Benson to make room for P.J. Walters. The Rangers claimed him have assigned him to Double-A. At 25 years old, there’s still a glimmer of hope for the toolsy outfielder, but that will fade quickly if the horrendous hitting continues.Please, blog, may I have some more?