This post will attempt to identify thirty prospects with the most value for 2015 only. These are players with less than 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched at the major league level, but who are expected to arrive in the bigs at some point this season. Typically, we’d rank prospects overall on one big list, but I’ve broken the list up into three groups to try to make it easier for fantasy players in 2015 redraft leagues. The prospects are ranked within groups that are based on the projected ETAs (early/mid/late). While they are still just projections, the groups should help sort through who you need to be drafting versus who you need to be picking up off waivers and when. There are a few general comments after each group and, like any list, there are a few names on the cusp that didn’t make it. We can tackle them in the comments if we need to. Here are the top 30 prospects for 2015 redraft leagues…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (22) | 2013 (29) | 2012 (30) | 2011 (27) | 2010 (23)
2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [73-89] AL Central
AAA: [63-81] International League – Charlotte
AA: [60-80] Southern League – Birmingham
A+: [61-78] Carolina League – Winston-Salem
A: [62-75] South Atlantic League – Kannapolis
Jose Abreu, 1B | Marcus Semien, INF | Erik Johnson, RHP | Jake Petricka, RHP
Despite another losing season, the White Sox are headed in the right direction. Cuban import Jose Abreu looks like a steal after leading the team on offense and winning Rookie of the Year honors. Chris Sale continued to pitch like an ace and won’t turn 26 until March. Lefty Jose Quintana proved to be a reliable arm as well and is the same age as Sale. The recent acquisition of Jeff Samardzija adds even more firepower to the rotation. As part of the return, the A’s received first base prospect Rangel Ravelo, who was included on this list prior to the trade. Adam Eaton and Avisail Garcia are two other young pieces ready to contribute in 2015 and are also good options in the fantasy game. Garcia lost most of 2014 to a shoulder injury but still managed seven homers in under 200 plate appearances. The bullpen was a battle all year, but the signing of David Robertson is an immediate boost and this year’s first round pick Carlos Rondon could contribute later this season before joining the rotation in the spring of 2016.
Good God, Joey Gallo is on fire right now. He’s been on fire pretty much all year, in fact, but right now, in particular, he’s a blazing inferno of glorious power. Gallo homered 3 times on Friday, and once more on Saturday, giving him 8 in his last 10 games, and 18 on the season. He’s batting .340/.453/.792, and he’s even tossed in 4 stolen bags. His K% is 12 points lower than last year’s, his BB% is 5 points higher, and he’s even grown two inches taller since last summer. OK, I’m lying about the growth thing, but the other parts are true. Gallo, age 20, appears ready for upper levels baseball. There’s little left for him to prove in A-ball, and I can’t imagine it’ll be too long before he’s promoted. I’m anxious to see how his improved approach adapts to the advanced arms he’ll see at Double-A. Until then, enjoy the show.Please, blog, may I have some more?
2013 was supposed to be a breakout year for Trevor Story, who was coming off of an exciting 2012 campaign at Low-A Asheville where hit .277/.367/.505 with 18 HR and 15 SB. That line, combined with the fact he was stepping up to the hitter-friendly environment of the Cali League, made for some serious hype last spring – hype which his on-field performance couldn’t match. Story ended 2013 with a forgettable .233/.305/.394, 12 HR, 23 SB line. He’s out to repair his image in 2014, though. In a repeat assignment at High-A Modesto, the 21-year-old SS/3B is hitting .306/.394/.516 with 9 XBH (1 HR), and 11 SB in 71 PA.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (29) | 2012 (30) | 2011 (27) | 2010 (23) | 2009 (16)
2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [63-99] AL Central
AAA: [65-78] International League — Charlotte
AA: [77-63] Southern League — Birmingham
A+: [71-69] Carolina League — Winston-Salem
A: [61-76] South Atlantic League — Kannapolis
Arizona Fall League Players — Glendale Desert Dogs
Chris Bassitt (RHP); Charlie Leesman (LHP); Stephen McCray (RHP); Kevin Vance (RHP); Micah Johnson (2B); Marcus Semien (SS); Brandon Jacobs (OF); Jared Mitchell (OF)
Avisail Garcia (OF); Josh Phegley (C); Jordan Danks (OF); Andre Rienzo (RHP)
The Run Down
Back in July I went on a brief rant, imploring White Sox brass to change their ways and improve their flaccid trajectory. It went like this: “There are several questionable farm systems in baseball, but the Chicago White Sox are certainly one that stands out. For years now, the Sox have maintained a firm MLB-first approach to player personnel. They’re a principled franchise that would rather allocate its baseball operations budget toward free agent signings and MLB extensions than toward draft spending. And when they do stumble upon a real-deal prospect, they usually like to trade him for a veteran dude, someone to help that playoff push. It’s a model that occasionally works — they won a World Series by it in 2005 — but it’s not one that’s built to sustain success. And now, in 2013, the White Sox are awful. They’re in total rebuild mode — everything is for sale. This is finally their opportunity to change direction, to try to build a system that cultivates and utilizes impact talent. They’ve already dealt Matt Thornton to Boston for Brandon Jacobs, an upside outfielder with a skill set that might be very useful in the fantasy game. Don’t stop there, Chicago. Tear it all down.”
Well, they couldn’t quite tear it all down — there were no Adam Dunn buyers in the market — but they were able to make some key moves and splash some youth into an organization that desperately needed it. Most notably, Avisail Garcia was an outstanding acquisition. He’s ineligible for this list, but he’d be an easy #1 were he still hanging onto his prospect status. Don’t get me wrong here, this system is still lacking, but it’s no longer the weakest in the game, and its overall direction has improved greatly.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Twins fans might be in for a frustrating year at the big league level, but trust me, the future is bright in Minnesota. No other organization can boast such a high-profile pair of hitting prospects as the Twins can with Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton. Sano, who boasts raw power unmatched by any other minor leaguer, is simply on fire. The 19-year-old is hitting .370/.429/.765 with 9 homers in 91 trips to the plate with High-A Fort Myers. Meanwhile, Buxton, the 2nd overall pick last June, is having no trouble with his first taste of full-season baseball, batting .400/.524/.662 with 3 homers and 8 stolen bases through 82 PA. I went over my Byron Buxton fantasy the other week, in case you missed it. Judging by tools alone, these two are among the most exciting talents in baseball. The fact that they’re backing up their tools with such serious production on the field only vaults their stock to new heights — I’m talkin’ top ten overall for both. 2016 can’t arrive soon enough for Twins fans.Please, blog, may I have some more?