The Arizona Fall League is over, but prospect season is in full swing. Razzball is posting fantasy-driven top ten prospect lists every Wednesday this offseason so be sure to check them out. While the AFL isn’t a long season, it features some of the better prospects in baseball and it’s worth looking back at a few of the top performers in the league this year. Moving forward, we’ll focus on the winter leagues. Big leaguers and prospects from many MLB organizations are still playing baseball! There are several leagues like this, but I tend to gravitate toward the Dominican Winter League the most. Players like Maikel Franco, Joc Pederson, and Rymer Liriano are just a few of the names you’ll find on the DWL rosters. Last year’s MVP, Gregory Polanco, created quite the buzz in 2014. The league runs until the end of December and I’ll check in on some of the performances there periodically in this Minor Accomplishments series. To follow along, you can live stream games here, here, and here. Just brush up on some Spanish first! Back to the AFL…here were this year’s top performers with some commentary:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Arizona Fall League is a couple of weeks old now, so we’ll peek at a few of the highlights and lowlights. In a league with only six teams, there is a limited pool of players and we’ll have to take the small sample sizes with a grain of salt. There have been a few standout performances, and this league is a good way to get eyes on prospects returning from injuries or facing some tougher competition for the first time. One name from the AFL that has surfaced quite a bit this year is Reds’ outfielder Jesse Winker. Reports on Winker like his approach and power, with left field a likely destination when he reaches the bigs. Despite a concussion early in the season and a wrist injury that ended his season prematurely, the 21-year-old hit .327/.426/.580 with 13 homers in the hitter-friendly California League before a brief stint in Double-A. In 38 AFL at bats, Winker has two homers, two doubles, and a league-leading 13 runs batted in. He’s top 5 in average (.368), on-base percentage (.479), and slugging percentage (.632). I’m not totally on board the Winker train yet since he hasn’t seen much of Double-A, but I am at the station in line to buy a ticket. Here are some other noteworthy AFL prospect performances so far…Please, blog, may I have some more?
A Scottsdale Surprise might sound like something you’d find listed in the Urban Dictionary, but it’s really just the last two teams in our Arizona Fall League preview series. Some of the best prospects in baseball will be getting their extra reps in this fall. Each team in the majors is represented across the six Arizona Fall League teams and we’ve already covered a few of the fantasy relevant prospects on Mesa, Glendale, Salt River, and Peoria. You can follow the links at the end of this post to view those. Stats included are the cumulative stats for 2014 across all minor league levels. Strong farm systems like the Pirates and Red Sox are represented on the Scottsdale and Surprise rosters, so let’s take a look at some fantasy prospects from each to put a bow on this thing.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Welcome to the All-Star break gang – the unofficial beginning of the second half signals the time to reorganize, revamp, and re-think approaches for us, as well as the folks making the calls for your favorite MLB teams. And, coincidentally, it also marks the time for me to revisit my Prospect Rankings. These are the current top-50 guys on my board that haven’t accumulated the standard minimum 130 AB/50 IP at the MLB level that most fantasy leagues recognize. When compiling my rankings, I try to consider as many variables as possible, but my main focus tilts toward future “difference-makers”… those guys that have the potential to make significant impacts when they reach “The Show”. Some players you’ll find on this list may be further away from making that impact than others, some may be struggling a bit right now (they may have been recently promoted to the next level to challenge them and are adjusting to stiffer competition), some may be on the shelf because of injury, etc., but this list represents the top-50 players I’d pick if you give me the first 50 picks in the MiLB phase of a draft in a newly forming fantasy league. These are the prospects GMs “dream on”, regardless of their current minor league level – the players they plan to build their rosters around at some point in the near future.
So here we go…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (15) | 2012 (7) | 2011 (6) | 2010 (17) | 2009 (14)
2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [90-72] NL Central
AAA: [69-75] International League – Louisville
AA: [59-79] Southern League – Pensacola
A+: [55-85] California League – Bakersfield
A: [65-74] Midwest League – Dayton
Derrick Robinson (OF); Tony Cingrani (LHP); J.J. Hoover (RHP)
The Run Down
The fantasy buzz surrounding this group of Reds prospects is largely focused on Billy Hamilton and his mind-bending speed. The Hamilton hype is certainly warranted, but what goes overlooked amid all that talk is the fact that he’s not even the highest impact prospect in this org. No, that title belongs to Robert Stephenson, who headlines this top 10, and is soon to be headlining rotations across the fantasy game. Behind the top two, the Reds have compiled a nice collection of prospects with polish, and prospects with upside. From top to bottom, it’s not an extreme high-impact farm, but for fantasy purposes, this is a group to watch closely.
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (7) | 2011 (6) | 2010 (17) | 2009 (14) | 2008 (3)
2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [97-65] NL Central
AAA: [51-93] International League – Louisville
AA: [68-70] Southern League – Pensacola
A+: [72-68] California League – Bakersfield
A: [60-78] Midwest League – Dayton
Zack Cozart (SS); Devin Mesoraco (C)
The Run Down
Cincinnati is coming off of a 97-win season, and while it’s tough to expect that kind of success on a year-to-year basis, I really don’t see much regression out of the Reds this season, or for the next few seasons either. The pitching depth that Cincy has accumulated in their farm system is outstanding — there are high-impact arms at every level, and there’s plenty of fantasy intrigue given that most of these young pitchers are of the lots-o-whiffs variety. The bats of this system are a little less appealing, but not completely lacking. Jesse Winker is a young player with a huge ceiling at the plate, and Henry Rodriguez is ready to make an impact in the fantasy game at 2B as soon as there’s an opportunity for him. Oh, and there’s also this Hamilton dude. He’s a big time slugger, or something.
Top Ten ProspectsPlease, blog, may I have some more?