This is always painful, but it’s also necessary. What follows is a look back at my preseason prospect rankings — a self audit, if you will. To be clear, this isn’t a re-ranking or anything, but it should suffice to remind all of you that I am mostly stupid. Please keep in mind that these guys are very early in their careers, and there is plenty of time for each to either figure it out, or get figured out. Anyway, let’s cut to it. Here’s the list as it appeared back in February:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Right about now is when I expected to start hyping the arrival of Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. The 26-year-old Cuban defector reportedly signed with the Phillies in late July, and we covered his potential fantasy impact here and here. Given the nature of the contract and all the money involved, there was plenty of incentive on the Phillies’ part to push Gonzalez through to the bigs as quickly as possible in order to get him accustomed to performing on a MLB stage. He was set to be your savior for the H2H playoffs, your last-ditch effort at a late-season roto push. He easily would’ve been top-two on this list by now, provided he hadn’t already surfaced in Philly. Alas, folks tend to tread carefully when there’s $60 million on the table. Reports suggest that some concerns popped up regarding Gonzalez’s elbow, and as of today, he remains unsigned. Whether it’s with the Phillies or elsewhere, M.A.G. figures sign for a much more reasonable sum ($60 mil was a little ridic).Please, blog, may I have some more?
As veteran players are shipped out at the trading deadline, it’s inevitable that opportunities will reveal themselves for several high profile prospects. The Phillies are set to trade away Michael Young, and they’ve already called-up third base prospect Cody Asche to fill the soon-to-be vacant hot corner. The Cardinals are looking to bolster their starting pitching for the stretch run, and reports suggest that MLB-ready prospects like Carlos Martinez and Kolten Wong could be dealt out of town and into situations that provide them with regular big league roles immediately. This is an important time to monitor the various deadline deals that are bound to take place today. Pay close attention to the implications of each deal as it passes through the commissioners office, as these swaps are likely to result in at least a few high-impact prospects stepping into full-time roles. Such arrivals can be hugely important to your stretch-run success.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Quite a bit has changed since the 2013 MiLB season began in April, and folks have been clamoring for a mid-season prospect list. Well, here it is, 50-deep. But before we get into it, a quick primer on the criteria for this top 50: There was no specific timetable considered, so the rankings below can be considered a dynasty league list. You’ll notice that the ETA’s here range from this season all the way to 2016. To prevent any overlap with lists that Grey and JayWrong put together last week, I’ve included only prospects who are currently in the minor leagues. That means I had to remove Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick from the board after news of their call-ups — Yelich was #7, Marisnick #40. It also means I couldn’t list Carlos Martinez, who’s currently working in relief for the Cardinals — he would’ve been ranked right around #20.
Anyway, I’ll be writing notes on all of these fellas during the off-season, once the dust has settled on the 2013 season and I’ve had a chance to take a more thorough look at depth charts, injuries, etc. For now, I’ve included only a few pertinent details: age, current level, fantasy impact categories, and ETA. Each player is linked to his player card on Baseball-Reference.com, or his Razzball player card where possible. My hope is that this list will help dynasty leaguers sort out their rosters as keeper deadlines approach. Enjoy.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Wow. Dot, dot, dot. I mean, WOW. Dot, dot, dot. Pause for reaction. WOW. Wow. WOW. Stunned silence. I mean, we all knew the suspension was coming, but everyone also figured he’d appeal it like Papa Smurf, you know, until he was blue in the face. The only explanation is the MLB had him dead to rights, which isn’t the same as an epitaph for a pigeon you feed instant rice; that’s dead to rice. Ryan Braun probably realized that 1) The Brewers aren’t going anywhere this year. 2) He’s injured. 3) There’s no three. With the suspension of the Jewish Braun by the Jewish Selig, Selig becomes the 1st Jew ever sanctioned by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, but Selig received high marks from the Jewish Self-Deprecation League. “As Selig was suspending Braun, Bud also pointed out how he had to bring out his media-friendly toupee,” said Jewish Self-Deprecation League president, Yitz Steinberg. Mr. Steinberg added, “That kind of self-deprecation is hard to pull off.” Obviously, Braun is droppable in all redraft leagues, and, if you’re holding onto an expensive Braun in keepers, I’d look to drop him there too, if I needed the room. The good news is you can find off of waivers what Braun has been giving you thus far this year. The bad news, now they have to add an asterisk to the Famous Jewish Athlete pamphlet. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
We haven’t spent much time discussing Henry Urrutia in these parts, and that’s a factor of two items: (1) I really don’t know that much about the guy. The Cuban-born prospect signed with Baltimore way back in 2009, but defection issues followed by visa troubles delayed his stateside debut until this season. (2) What I do know about Urrutia — or at least what I’ve seen reported most consistently about the 26-year-old — is that he’s a defensive liability, a well below-average outfielder with game instincts that probably mirror yours and mine. Those reports, I thought, didn’t bode well for a hasty arrival in the bigs. Don’t get me wrong, I knew the O’s had planned to use him in a DH/PH capacity this season, but I was thinking that’d be more of a September thing. In any case, Nolan Reimold’s injury has sped up the timetable, and beginning yesterday, Henry Urrutia is Baltimore’s DH. The fantasy implications of this arrival are tough to gauge. Urrutia hit .365/.427/.531 with 28 XBH (7 HR) through 288 PA between Double- and Triple-A, which is a nice line, reflective of an advanced approach and modest power. That skill set should help him adapt quickly to big league pitching, but there’s little upside here outside of OBP and AVG. Still, Urrutia is a guy to keep an eye on, and he’s maybe even worth a speculative grab now if you have room. He’s certainly not another Puig, but his stick is probably advanced enough to provide some help to those in need.Please, blog, may I have some more?
A couple items before we get started: (1) Carlos Martinez is currently on the big league roster, so I can’t really rank him here and break the rules I established to begin the season. Now, I suppose I could always rewrite the rules, but I’m an honorable dude, and that wouldn’t be right. Anyway, Martinez is still an extremely stashable arm as the Cardinals decide on his future role. There’s a good chance he’ll end up in a starter’s role before long, and he’ll be a must-own if that should be the case. (2) George Springer is currently torching Triple-A pitching, and there’s little doubt that he’s ready for Major League Baseball. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but he’s not gonna surface this season. The Astros are giving Springer the Wil Myers treatment, and it’s very unlikely that we’ll see him in the bigs before next June. Now for the top ten:Please, blog, may I have some more?
There hasn’t been much turnover from our last revision until now, so the names here are pretty much the same ones we’ve been talking about for a few weeks. There are a few exceptions, though: Grant Green was on the list much earlier this season, but disappeared from these ranks for the last several weeks. His recent hot streak in conjunction with Oakland’s need of a reliable second baseman has propelled him all the way up to #3. Xander Bogaerts also makes his top 10 debut this week. Other than that, there’s a little bit of shuffling around, but the core group (Erasmo, Yelich, C-Mart, Taveras, Castellanos, Hamilton) is still intact.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?