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A quick primer to begin:  This is not a list of my top overall prospects — Shelby Miller would not lead that list.  No, this list exists only to serve those of us in fantasyland.  The names that follow are, at this moment, the prospects who have the best chance at offering positive contributions for fantasy owners in 2013.  My method here was quite simple:  each player was assigned a grade for both potential fantasy impact, and for current opportunity.  Those variables were weighed equally, and totals were then tallied.  I sorted out the ties and adjusted here and there as I saw fit.  Opportunity grades are always tough.  At this point in the year, circumstances can shift overnight and a prospect’s ETA can change dramatically (see Miller).  My plan is to revisit this list before opening day, and also to keep a running Top Ten Fantasy Prospects throughout the year in order to keep us posted at any given moment as to which fantasy-relevant prospects are next to arrive in the bigs.  For those of us drafting early, though, this list should suffice.

1.  Shelby Miller, RHP | STL:  With the news breaking yesterday that Chirs Carpenter is set to retire from baseball, a spot has opened in the St. Louis rotation.  In all likelihood, Miller will step into that role.  The 22-year-old should be able to handle a workload upwards of 180 IP.  Tremendous stuff will allow for loads of strikeouts, and a solid team around him will help him tally up the W’s.  Here’s Grey’s Shelby Miller fantasy.

2.  Oscar Taveras, OF | STL:  Taveras will likely start at Triple-A Memphis, but he shouldn’t last too much longer in the minors.  The Cardinals are flush with fragile players, and more importantly, Taveras gives them a better chance to win than Jon Jay does.  As soon as ineptitude is apparent, or injury takes place, Taveras will be up, and he’ll be mashing at the big league level immediately.  Here’s Grey’s Oscar Taveras fantasy.

3.  Wil Myers, OF | TB:  Like Taveras, Myers should start the year at Triple-A, but expect to see him in Tampa before long.  He’s as advanced as any hitter in the minors, and the 22-year-old slugger shouldn’t have too much trouble adjusting to big league pitching once he’s arrived.  Here’s (one of) Grey’s Wil Myers fantasy.

4.  Tyler Skaggs, LHP | ARI:  Grey ranked Skaggs as the 89th best SP for fantasy in a recent post (he ranked a few SP’s on this list in the 80-100 range, so that link will be useful). He’s in great position to begin the year in the D’Backs’ rotation.  The 21-year-old features outstanding command and an elite 12-6 breaker, which will miss plenty of bats.  He’ll be ready to go for 180+ IP, provided he stays healthy and effective.

5.  Julio Teheran, RHP | ATL:  I ranked Teheran #1 in the Atlanta system in my recent Minor League Preview for the Braves.  Scouts blame some mechanical tweaks for his loss of stuff in 2012, but the Braves are confident he’ll return to form in 2013.  The #5 slot in their rotation is Teheran’s if he performs well this spring.

6.  Bruce Rondon, RHP | DET:  Rondon came in as Detroit’s #3 prospect on my Tigers Minor League Preview.  I called him “Jason Motte-ish” in that post, and I think that descriptor holds.  He’ll be closing games for Detroit this year, and amassing plenty of K’s in the process.

7.  Trevor Bauer, RHP | CLE:  #86 on Grey’s SP list, Bauer is a perplexing case.  His fastball has lost some of its heat since his days at UCLA, and Arizona was eager to ship him out of town.  But Bauer is still just 22 years old, and he features a deep, impressive repertoire for a dude that young.  A fresh start in Cleveland might be just what he needs to get back on track, and an impressive spring could earn him a spot in the rotation to begin the year.  Grey also has a Trevor Bauer fantasy.

8.  Wily Peralta, RHP | MIL:  Grey ranks Peralta at #83 on his SP list (just click on of the other links), and Sky went over his sleeper status in a post last week.  Sky draws some useful comparisons in his analysis, so do read that post for more on the Brewers’ 23-year-old starter.

9.  Hyun-Jin Ryu, RHP | LAD:  Grey likes Ryu much more than I do.  He ranked him #31 on his SP list, projecting nice ratios and so-so strikeout figures.  My expectations are tad lower, but the 25-year-old Korean is safely entrenched in the Dodgers’ rotation, and he should have enough stuff and pitchability to be effective in stateside baseball.

10.  Travis D’Arnaud, C | NYM:  The learning curve for catchers is always a bit longer because of dual responsibilities.  It’s tough to anticipate a seamless transition for D’Arnaud as he adjusts to responsibilities both at and behind the plate… not to mention he’s coming off of injury, too.  His long-term potential is much greater than his immediate outlook, but If there’s any catching prospect capable of surprising me, it’s D’Arnaud.  Grey’s D’arnaud fantasy is there.

11.  Adam Eaton, OF | ARI:  With Justin Upton out of town, Eaton is primed to leadoff and start in center for Arizona.  Grey has him slotted at #63 in his Top 80 Outfielders post, writing that his “nether-loins are jazzed” about Eaton’s fantasy potential.  My nether-loins are likewise jazzed.

12.  Dan Straily, RHP | OAK:  #3 on my A’s Minor League Preview, Straily is in good position to begin the season in the Oakland rotation.  If he can start fooling big league hitters the same way he toyed with minor leaguers last year, he could be the most immediately valuable fantasy asset here.

13.  Leonys Martin, RHP | TEX:  Grey ranked Martin right behind Eaton on his OF ranks, projecting a nice line for the Rangers’ starting CF:  75/7/45/.270/25.  The opportunity is there for the athletic Cuban who posted a 1.033 OPS in Triple-A last year.

14.  Mike Olt, 3B/1B | TEX:  Texas has Mitch Moreland penciled in at 1B for now, but it might not be long before Mike Olt takes over full-time at first.  Olt is oozing with power, and brings very real 30+ HR potential to Texas.  The Mike Olt fantasy is there.

15.  Jurickson Profar, TEX | SS:  He’s my #1 overall prospect, but frankly, I just don’t see a lot of time on the field for him this year.  Of course, I said the same thing about Mike Trout in these rankings a year ago, so take that as you will.  The Profar fantasy is, you guessed it, there.

16.  Zack Wheeler, RHP | NYM:  The addition of Shaun Marcum fills out the Mets’ rotation for now, so Wheeler will have to wait at Triple-A for an opportunity.  Unfortunately, he’ll be passing that time in Las Vegas, home of one of MiLB’s most prolific launching pads.

17.  Dylan Bundy, RHP | BAL:  Bundy will likely return to Double-A to begin the year, and there’s a distinct possibility that he won’t even see the bigs this season.  Still, he’s the best starting pitching prospect in the minors, and if there’s a need, he’s absolutely ready to help in Baltimore.  The Dylan Bundy fantasy is there.

18.  Martin Perez, RHP | TEX:  Perez is a frontrunner to earn the #5 spot in the Rangers’ rotation, but he’ll need to return to his Double-A form if he’s to be a viable fantasy option.  Folks around baseball believe he can.

19.  Rob Brantly, C | MIA:  I covered Brantly in my Marlins preview a few months back.  It looks like he’ll begin the season as part of a platoon in Miami, but a solid hit tool and decent pop could make him the full-time guy before long, and a potential bargain-buy catcher.  There was also a Rob Brantly sleeper post.

20.  Trevor Rosenthal, RHP | STL:  We watched Rosenthal blow hitters away with 100+ MPH heat out of the Cardinals’ ‘pen last October.  But with Carpenter out of the picture and Jaime Garcia’s health in question, Rosenthal might have the opportunity to start games for St. Louis this year.  There’s plenty of competition for a starter’s gig in the Cards’ organization, what with Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, and Carlos Martinez, but Rosenthal might be the best option next to Miller at this juncture.  His fantasy potential as a starter would be quite good.

21.  Jedd Gyorko, 2B | SD:  Here’s Grey’s Jedd Gyorko fantasy.  He wrote it while blasting Bob Seger and drinking Bud Light Platinums with Karl Welzein… or something.  In any case, Gyorko will compete with Logan Forsythe for the second base job in San Diego.  He’ll bring good power, AVG, and on-base skills as a MI if he wins the job.

22.  Gerrit Cole, RHP | PIT:  The Pirates are content to begin Cole at Triple-A, but the 22-year-old should make his way to Pittsburgh sometime before July.  Legitimate ace potential will make Cole a coveted asset in all formats.

23.  Hunter Morris, 1B | MIL:  The #5 prospect on my Brewers preview, Morris is coming off of a .303/.357/.563, 28 HR year at Double-A.  He’ll be ready to take over 1B duties in Milwaukee if Mat Gamel proves ineffective.

24.  Oswaldo Arcia, OF | MIN:  Arcia has little left to prove in the minors, and Minnesota’s iffy outfield allows for some opportunity.  The 21-year-old Venezuelan posted a .955 OPS at Double-A last year.

25.  Jake Marisnick, OF | MIA:  Marisnick could use some more seasoning in the high minors, but Miami fans will be clamoring for something to root for outside of Giancarlo Stanton, and Marisnick could serve as a useful pacifier.  He’ll offer value in AVG, HR, and SB once up.

From Around The Web

  1. Jake says:
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    No Billy Hamilton? Potential category winner on his own, and a lot closer to the bigs than a good number of these guys.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      He might get a late season look in Cincy, but he’ll be adjusting to a new position in the outfield, and I just don’t see the Reds rushing him. Not completely sold on his hit tool, either.

    • apoxonbothyourhouses says:
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      @Jake:

      Hamilton will need to prove he can hit advanced pitching before he does anything.

      And for the record, pretty much every guy on that list is closer to the Majors (with the possible exception of M. Perez) than Hamilton.

      • Scott Evans

        Scott Evans says:
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        Yeah, just watch clips of Hamilton & look at the types of hits he’s getting — infield singles & padding his slugging avg by stretching singles into doubles, doubles into triples. I’m definitely not sold just yet.

        • jimbo says:
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          He could probably hit .250 if all he did was attempt bunts.

          I want to know if he can recognize a pitch and get on base enough…

          • Scott Evans

            Scott Evans says:
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            His approach has improved every year. He’ll be on base often again in 2013 & it’s likely that he’ll do well in that regard in the bigs once he’s settled in.

    • wily mo says:
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      @Jake: i agree that hamilton should probably be on there. it’s true his bat might not be completely ready, but here are what i see as the two key factors:

      1. the reds are trying to go with an outfield of ludwick, choo and bruce. choo’s not a center fielder. bruce really isn’t either. by about june this might really be an issue for them. hamilton plays CF. it’s gonna be tempting to bring him up no matter how he’s hitting, for defense and because he has a nearly unique ability to get on base without either hitting the ball very hard or walking, so they’ll be able to picture him faking it for a while.

      2. the day hamilton comes up and gets consistent playing time, whoever has him basically owns the SB category in their league from that day forward and for all time. i really don’t think there’s another player in baseball who can dominate one category the way hamilton has the ability to own steals. his fantasy difference-makingness is off the charts. and it’s also the one skill you can be pretty sure is a thing a rookie can produce in the majors immediately without much of an adjustment period (as opposed to hitting).

      • Scott Evans

        Scott Evans says:
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        I see where you’re coming from, but you’re taking for granted that Hamilton will be a capable MLB CF by mid-season. I’m not willing to make that leap yet. Sure, he’ll cover plenty of ground out there from the get-go, but there’s quite a bit more to it than that. They’ll be better off with Ludwick’s bat in their lineup & Choo in CF than with Luddy on the bench & Hamilton trying to scrap his way to first base vs. MLB pitchers & MLB defenders.

        • wily mo says:
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          @Scott Evans: maybe they would be, but (a) maybe not – reports i’ve seen make it sound like he’s taken to the OF surprisingly quickly – and (b) they might not feel that way. a couple of the scouting reports on choo-as-CF made the idea sound almost untenable. maybe choo shows up to camp in amazing shape and tears it up out there, but who knows.

          guessing who gets the opportunity really is the hardest part of making these rookie-impact-this-season lists, so i respect different opinions. just wanted to throw some ideas out there

          • Scott Evans

            Scott Evans says:
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            Yes, predicting ETA’s is near impossible. And I obviously encourage all criticisms & other thoughts. That’s what these comments are for!

          • Clifford says:
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            @wily mo: im interested in these “reports” youve seen that “make it sound like he’s taken to the OF suprisingly quickly”….outside of the handful of games he played in the AFL, im not sure where this is coming from….CF is not an easy position to play…i played there through both HS and College, and it takes a lot of repitition to become even decent at reading the ball off the bat….there isnt really another position on the field quite like CF because not only do you not even see the ball until its already out of the infield in some cases, but its coming straight at you…plus, sound carries quite slowly, meaning you cant always use the crack of the bat to determine how well the ball was hit…also, you are making quite a substantial assumption in regards to Hamilton’s SB potential once he gets to the bigs. He’s not gonna steal 125 bags. Lets just get that out of the way. when catchers are developing in the minor leagues, throwing runners out is way down on the list of things to improve upon….calling games, framing, and hitting are all more important…furthermore, pitchers spend much much less time worrying about runners on base, A.) to ensure that their mechanics are sound, and B.) because no one truly cares who wins the games. There have been a lot of guys steal a lot of bases in the minors, who eventually do nothing at all in the bigs. Cough, Vince Coleman, Cough. I think Hamilton has become extremely overrated as a prospect…he still struggles against righties, which is problematic given thats the majority of guys he will face in the bigs…ill be shocked if he is anything but a pinch runner brought up in Septemeber this year….you are severly underrating the abilities of Choo…i understand hes prolly gonna be a below-average CF at best, but hes also gonna be a darn good lead-off hitter with pop.

            • philthebluntman says:
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              Dont know how you can throw coleman in there as a bust. Guy had three straight seasons of a hundred steals. For fantasy purposes that made him a top ten player alone.

  2. Trey says:
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    Agree about Hamilton. I’d also consider Hicks, Hultzen, Yelich, Castellanos, and maybe even Taillon before Marisnick, who likely doesn’t surface till 2014 at the earliest.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I originally had Yelich in the 25 slot, but swapped him for Marisnick. Arguments can surely be made for the others you bring up, but opportunity seems ripe for Marisnick, and his all around game is a bit further along than Yelich’s.

      • Bryan says:
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        @Scott Evans:

        Aside from the above Yelich/Marisnick debate i really like and agree with the list.

        If Singelton does not get popped for 50 games i wonder where he’d fall on this list.

        • Bryan says:
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          @Bryan:

          …oh and to add my thoughts are that Yelich to Jake M. is nearly night and day. Yelich is about as safe a bet as far as minors as you’ll find. Lot of questions in Jake’s game still. Upside can be argued but from what i’ve read from other scouts there upside is pretty even, just a much lower floor potential to Marisnick.

          • Scott Evans

            Scott Evans says:
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            Thanks! And when I say Marisnick is the more complete player, I’m referring mostly to his defensive game. Guy can handle MLB duties in CF right now, which might give him an edge on a call up. In any case, Yelich is the better long-term guy… can’t argue that.

    • Jon says:
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      @Trey: Taillon won’t see the majors until ’14, either. Watch when Cole comes up this year and Taillon will be about the same next season, assuming all goes well with both.

      • Scott Evans

        Scott Evans says:
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        I agree with your timetable on Taillon. Don’t see room for both he & Cole in the Pittsburgh rotation this year.

  3. Bada Bing says:
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    I’m in an NL only league with 3 minor league keeper spots. I already have Miller and Gyorko, and I have the number one pick in minor league draft coming up. I am seriously considering taking Jose Fernandez over d’Arnaud with the pick, in part because i am not sold on d’Arnoud. The buzz on Fernandez and the fact that I wouldnt mind having a guy stashed since Miller and Gyorko will like get called up this year has me leaning his way. Am i crazy?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      You are most definitely not crazy. I love me some Jose Fernandez… probably my #2 starting pitching prospect behind Bundy. And he’s just a year a way…

    • CookieRojas16 says:
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      @Bada Bing: Freaky. I am in the same position, with the same keepers (plus Yelich and Teheran) and the same options at second pick in my Ultra (assuming Taveras will be taken first.). I plan to take D’Arnaud – it’s a 2 catcher league, and I need the help this year – but I do like Fernandez as well.

  4. mooseknuckles says:
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    Do you think Wong gets any PT in St. Louis this year?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I do, and he wasn’t too far from cracking this list. There are some variables that could hold him back — Matt Carpenter working on 2B, Descalso looked good down the stretch last year. But realistically, I think we see Wong in St. Louis sometime around All Star Break.

    • Johnny Five says:
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      @mooseknuckles:

      I think that Wong plays after the break. I’m thinking that he comes in for that half a season and bring for a fair average, low power, a decent OBP, and a handful of steals. I think he’s definitely a better consideration than somebody like Marisnick.

      • Scott Evans

        Scott Evans says:
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        Well I had to list some guys outside of Cardinals prospects!

  5. Mike says:
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    very surprised Yelich is not on the list. I question Matisnick making it in minors this year, has alot to work on.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I had Yelich at 25, but swapped for Marisnick after further consideration. Yelich hasn’t yet reached the upper levels, and it’s tough for me to anticipate a 2013 call up for a guy who hasn’t faced AA pitching. Not that I think he’ll struggle, but quite a few high profile prospects get off to slow starts at AA. That could hold him back.

      There’s definitely opportunity in the Miami OF, and it would seem that either Yelich or Marisnick will get a look this year… maybe both. I went with Marisnick because he seems a bit more well rounded right now. Definitely Yelich for long-term.

  6. Bryan says:
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    I agree that Wong and Hamilton are more 2014.
    Hamilton – I would not worry about hit tool when he is getting on base at a 40% clip. I would not care if he was a pinch runner, his impact could be significant, particularly in fantasy circles.
    Wong – Still could be up in June as the regular 2B. Though unspectacular, he has decent tools across the board. Who is blocking him? Descalso, Carpenter and Cedeno…..Yuck

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      If Carp hand handle himself defensively, he could block him. His bat would be very nice from a 2B. But I don’t see that scenario playing out & I think Wong arrives mid-season, too.

      • Bryan says:
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        @Scott Evans: Honestly, I expected more from Wong in AA last year. He probably wont be an All-Star in the majors, but a solid regular.

        In regards to Hamilton, I think the only way he gets more than a cup of coffee, is injury or callup should the Reds be out of it and trade Choo. Thoughts??

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          I see Wong as a solid everyday 2B… a guy that could have a nice long career, but not all star caliber. Very sound game all around, but nothing really pops.

          Re: Hamilton, I’m on the same page 100%. What folks keep forgetting is that he’s only played OF in AFL play. Never mind the weaknesses in his offensive game. He foremost needs to get used to life in CF before Cincy can even consider him a viable option.

          • mooseknuckles says:
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            @Scott Evans: so you see Wong as the opposite of Utley, who was an all star for a short time until his whole body popped.

            • Scott Evans

              Scott Evans says:
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              Ha! Yeah, that’s pretty much what I’m saying. Wong is the anti-Utley.

  7. TheNewGuy says:
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    Great list, very useful to know who’s in with a chance of making the bigs this year. Little bit suprised my boy Castellanos isn’t on there, but apart from that it looks about right. Guess it would likely be a midseason call up, so only half a seasons worth of AB’s.

    Looking forward to seeing Miller, Teheran and Bauer if they make the team outta ST. Definately some sleeper candidates to take late in standard drafts there.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Thanks, my man. Re: Castellanos, he needs a bit more time in the high minors. Don’t think we’ll see him ’til July, at the earliest, unfortunately. He could headline this list a year from now, though.

  8. Jay29 says:
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    Don’t know if Grey reads these comments, but I clicked through to Grey’s Shelby Miller fantasy and he has Miller going 150 innings in 21 starts. Unless he means Miller will also pitch in relief, that’s an absurd 7.14 IP/GS for a rookie who has yet to average even 6 IP/GS as a minor-leaguer.

    I’m projecting him for about 5.5 IP/GS, which leads him to about 110-135 IP, depending on anywhere between 20 and 25 GS. I could see him extending a bit and reaching close to 6 IP/GS, but projecting him to pitch “upwards of 180″ innings this year seems mighty optimistic to me.

    Just a word of caution to anyone getting their hopes up based on the Carpenter news and Grey’s/Scott’s projections.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Valid spin on Miller — definitely should be noted. However, in light of his new opportunity to join the STL rotation out of ST, I see Miller getting closer 30 starts. So if he can come in somewhere around 6 IP/GS, he’ll be in the neighborhood of 180 IP. I don’t think that’s out of the question.

      • Jay29 says:
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        @Scott Evans: Thanks. Yeah, I suppose as we get closer to April, my projection will rise as long as Miller seems more and more likely for the rotation. I imagine I might end up putting him as high as ~160 IP if there’s only good news on him. (Also keep in mind that 5th starters are often skipped, especially the first week of the season and around the ASB.)

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          For me, Miller took such tremendous strides in the 2nd half last year. He was pitching deeper into ballgames down the stretch, his sequencing was improved, and his stuff was electric late into August. My thought is that he’ll continue to progress. I can surely see where you’re coming from, but I’m excited about Miller’s chances this year & I think he’ll take another step forward.

          • Jay29 says:
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            @Scott Evans: Oh no doubt I’m going to target him, too. He seems like a good bet for solid ratios and a near-lock for a high K-rate and 10-12 Ws. My current projection puts him in the low 60s of SPs. I’m just wary of the role and short leash — or else I’d project him probably around 40-45.

            But I’ve probably done 1/10th the prospect research you have, so if you’re saying his 2nd half indicates (1) the Cards won’t be able to keep him out of the rotation, and (2) he’s trending towards going deeper in games (I see that he averaged 6 1/3 IP over his final 7 AAA starts), then I’m sold. Would you rank him ahead of guys like Harvey, Minor, Niese, Estrada, Parker, etc?

            • Scott Evans

              Scott Evans says:
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              Tough to put him ahead of Niese, Estrada or Parker, but I like him a tad more than Minor & Harvey… He’s right in that neighborhood for me.

            • Jay29 says:
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              @Jay29: (Of course I just checked my league info and he’s going to be someone else’s keeper… so it’s all pretty much moot for me anyway.)

              • Scott Evans

                Scott Evans says:
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                Gah! I hate getting excited about a dude in a deep keeper, only to discover that he’s buried on someone’s roster already.

                • Jay29 says:
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                  @Scott Evans: Yup, but I’ll still have to estimate his value for keeper inflation purposes… yay.

            • Clifford says:
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              @Jay29: just a quick thought on Mike Minor….his post ASB numbers last year:

              14 starts, 6-4, 2.16 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, .197 BAA, 67 Ks

              September: 5 starts, 4-0, 0.87 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, .129 BAA

              literally the least talked about pitcher who was just about as dominant as any guy in the bigs in the 2nd half last year outside of his teammate Medlen

              for the record, i would rank those guys as follows: 1.) Niese–ridiculously underrated, its laughable…2.) Parker, 3.) Harvey, 4.) Minor, 5.) Miller……………………………………..953.) Estrada–own him in several leagues, but i dont think hes anywhere near these other guys in terms of stuff, pitchability, and durability as well

  9. 2 Giant rings says:
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    How do you feel about Aaron Hicks for 2013? Does he displace Mastroianni?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I think Hicks is buried a little to deep on their org depth chart at the moment. While he has a much brighter future than, say, Joe Benson, I see Benson getting the first shot at CF because his service time clock has already started ticking & realistically he’s a bit further along than Hicks in terms of development. I like Hicks for a late season arrival… might not be ’til 2014 for him, though. Twins have some depth with OF prospects, so no reason to rush him.

  10. Grey

    Grey says:
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    What’s your thoughts on Cowgill?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      With regular playing time, I could see a 15-15 type season with AVG in the .285 neighborhood. That’s best case. Worst case, he’s stuck in a platoon and offers little fantasy value.

  11. Smokey

    Smokey says:
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    Carlos Marmol sucks, Kyuli Fujikawa is on ready five for the cubbies and could be a sleeper for saves.

  12. George says:
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    Hey Scott – Are we ready for a new season? I need to know when your overall top 50 fantasy prospects is coming out! I have the 1st pick in the draft this year (trying to decide between Sky Walker and Taveras) as well as picks 17 and 33. I have a 1st draft of my prospect rankings for the draft and am interested in your thoughts on the following:

    Sky Walker
    Buxton
    Zunino and Sanchez (catcher)
    Jackie Bradley
    Matt Barnes
    and the Cubs prospects…..

    I have Josh Hamilton, Austin Jackson, Andre Ethier occupying LF-RF with Singleton, Billy Hamilton and Wil Myers rostered and hopefully Myers is up in Tampa occupying my OF slot.

    Also, I am interested in what you think Mesoraco’s season is going to be like…

    With that said – I am currently over the cap. Do you truly believe that Gerrit Cole is going to be up in June/July? I already have Skaggs and Teheran and if they are in Arizona and Atlanta, then that will go a long way in deciding whether Ethier or Wainwright are cut because of salary cap concerns.

    I am looking forward to your feedback.

    • George says:
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      @George: One other question – Do you have Jose Fernandez ahead of Sky Walker?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I normally don’t put out an overall top 50 — we usually try to keep thing fantasy-specific, but this is an exercise I wouldn’t mind doing… I’ll run it by Grey. Moving on to your questions:

      Taveras over Walker (and that’s a no-brainer)

      Re: Walker, outstanding profile; legit ace potential w/ deep plus-plus repertoire, durable frame & outstanding athleticism. He’s my #3 overall SP behind Bundy & Fernandez.

      Here’s my writeup on Buxton: http://razzball.com/2013-minor-league-preview-minnesota-twins/

      I like Sanchez long-term outlook better than Zunino’s, but Zunino is a bit closer & arguably the safer option in terms of reaching potential.

      Like Bradley as a real-life prospect, but his fantasy appeal isn’t tremendous — more of a defensive phenom w/ a so-so bat.

      Barnes looks like a future #2, but he’ll be tested this year at AA. He’s certainly a guy you want in dynasty formats.

      Here’s my writeup on the Cubs prospects: http://razzball.com/2013-minor-league-preview-chicago-cubs/

      Re: Cole, so hard to say definitively… I think he’ll be ready by June/July, but if the Bucks are out of contention (and they easily could be) there’ll be no rush to bring him up & start his clock.

      • George says:
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        @Scott Evans: Whoa…..Really…So you got Taveras, Fernandez and Walker in that order huh….

        I have a decision to make:

        Hamilton-A. Jackson-Taveras-Myers with Singleton-Hamilton with a rotation of Sabathia-Wainwright-Scherzer-Kennedy-Hanson-Skaggs-Teheran-Cole-Taillon-and a pitcher in the 2nd round

        or

        Hamilton-A. Jackson-Ethier-Myers-Singleton-Hamilton and an outfielder in the 2nd round with a rotation of Sabathia-Scherzer-Kennedy-Hanson-Skaggs-Teheran-Cole-Taillon and either Fernandez or Sky Walker.

        Scott – if you were me – what would you do? Option 1 or Option 2?

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
          (link)

          Option 1, amigo. If you can get Taveras, you must. YOU MUST.

          • George says:
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            @Scott Evans: I have to watch some Taveras clips…..I guess that is why I drafted Taillon and Cole in the 1st round last year and picked up Skaggs. The good thing about this strategy is that I am fairly confident in getting a starting pitcher prospect at pick 17. The downside is that I would probably miss out on one outfielding prospect that won’t get to pick 33 that hails from the Cardinals chief rival (Cubs).

            • Scott Evans

              Scott Evans says:
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              Unless your league is full of Cubs fans, I imagine Soler will still be around at 33.

              • George says:
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                @Scott Evans: Hey Scott – I wanted to let you know how hard it is for me to change my mind as I have been waiting for this draft that is going to start shortly and I have been sold on Sky Walker as my top pick. I just listed to a Baseball Prospectus scout as well as watch some video. Looks like I am going with Taveras…

                • Scott Evans

                  Scott Evans says:
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                  You will not regret it.

                  • George says:
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                    @Scott Evans: Thanks Scott. Grey and yourself do a great job and I am a big fan of the work that you guys do,,,,

                    • Scott Evans

                      Scott Evans says:
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                      Thanks!

      • Dallas Schneiderman says:
        (link)

        @Scott Evans: PLEASE HELP! URGENT!

        I’m in a KEEPER league where your only allowed to keep a player you took in the MINOR league draft for 2 years. Then you either promote him to your major league roster or send him back into the next Minor League Draft. Here’s my IMPOSSIBLE situation.

        I currently have the following players in my MINOR league system.
        * Shelby Miller (need to decide to promote or send back to the minors) I’m thinking keep now with the Carpenter injury.
        * T. (sky) Walker (I’ve already had for one year, so he can sit another year in the minors. But will he be ready by 2014? If he isn’t.. then he’s not worth keeping is he?
        * D. Hultzen (same as Walker on years available on my minor league roster. But I feel like he will be in the Majors sooner? 2014 or bust
        * M. Sano ( same as others… I can keep for another year.. then have to promote or send back. I’m a die hard Twins fan.. So it’s hard for me to let go, but I don’t think he will be there in 2014.

        I also have the 1st pick in this years draft. Going OSCAR for sure!!

        Help me make the decision before the draft gets here. Who to keep.. who to let go.. PLEASE!!

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
          (link)

          Promote Shelby, keep Walker, keep Sano… if you need to drop one of these guys, I’d go with Hultzen.

          • Dallas Schneiderman says:
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            @Scott Evans: Thanks for the response! I feel the same way you do about keeping Walker and Sano. Hard NOT to feel that way.

            So you’re saying that you believe both (Sano/Walker) will be on the MLB Roster come 2014 Opening Day? If not, then I’d have to drop them from the minors or promote them! Even if they are just dead space on my MLB Roster and still in the minors. That’s my biggest concern! Last year I promoted J. Teheran and he say on my bench all year and was worthless.

            Any advice is good advice! Thanks again

            • Scott Evans

              Scott Evans says:
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              Walker could certainly be there. Sano might take more time… I was pandering to your Twins allegiance w/ the keep Sano idea. I feel like you could justify holding him inactive on your MLB roster. Plus, his ceiling is way higher than Hultzen’s. If it’s not gonna handcuff you completely, I’d still keep Walker & Sano.

      • Bourne says:
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        @Scott Evans:

        I drafted Matt Barnes and Adams as my two minors in my 20 team keeper. Barnes could be an ace in the Boston rotation. Is there a current pitcher you would compare Barnes to?

        • Bourne says:
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          @Bourne:

          I drafted them last year. Still have this year draft in march.

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          Similar frame & arsenal to James Shields. Barnes fastball could be better than Shields, but his secondary offerings have a long way to go if he’s gonna be a true front-end starter.

  13. Rags says:
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    Is this part one of a series? At least once before the start of the season, you should do a longer list than this. I’m in an NL-only keeper league with a supplementary MiLB draft. Lots of these guys are owned already, and I’d love to see something deeper.

    How close was Arenado to making the list? I know he had a down year, but there’s not much blocking him.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
      (link)

      I’ll try to put out 26-50 next week & I also plan on revisiting the top 25 prior to opening day. I also plan on keeping a running top 10 prospects for fantasy throughout the season — a new feature for Razzball — so yeah, you could say this is pt 1 of many…

      Arenado fell short, but he’d surely be included in the next 25. Opportunity is there, but I’m a little down on Nolan… beginning to wonder if his bat has enough pop to meet original expectations. Gorgeous swing & solid hit tool, but if he’s not hitting homers, he won’t be all that relevant in the fantasy game as a 3B.

  14. Atari says:
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    I am not sure he is eligible anymore but how do you feel about Avisail Garcia? What about for 2014 and onwards?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I like him lots. The Torii Hunter acquisition likely blocks him for2013, but he could use some more time in the minors to work on approach. Very high fantasy ceiling.

  15. daniel says:
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    Do you plan on doing the top 25 for 2014 and beyond like you did last season? That list was gold for me. Ended up with Bundy, Cole, Yelich, Singleton and others.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      There will most certainly be a list for 2014 & beyond.

  16. DiRo says:
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    So I stashed Dylan Bundy away last season in my keeper league that has 7 more years left. Needless to say I have attracted a lot if interest in him. So would he be worth keeping for this year or is it better to move him in a trade that I was proposed… Bundy/Tulo for his King Felix/Andrus?

    The only pitcher I have worth keeping is Sabathia.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
      (link)

      Always nice to get real value for a prospect, so I would definitely consider all offers, but not sure I’d pull the trigger on that Felix/Andrus package just yet. It’s a fair swap & it fills a need of yours, but I think you can get more.

  17. TheNewGuy says:
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    Been tempted by G Cole in my keeper league, a guy’s trying to pry him away for Encarnacion:

    E Encarnacion ($1) for G Cole (prospect) + maybe another lesser keeper

    Awesome price on E5 I know, even when he gets signed to a multiyear contract ($8 2 years, $10 3years). Should I even be entertaining dealing E5? Or should I keep him at that price no matter what flashy top prospect gets offered my way. Im sure Cole’s gonna be great though, see true ace potential there.

    • CookieRojas16 says:
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      @TheNewGuy: I wouldn’t even consider that deal unless you are in total rebuilding mode and can get another top prospect or a bargain-priced regular in the deal. Cole MAY be an ace, but that’s years off. Meanwhile, you know what EE can be, and you have him for 3 years for $20-30 below value.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I’m with cookie here. Hold Encarnacion.

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Scott Evans:
        Yeah im heading that way too, wouldn’t like to deal E5 in this deal.

        BUT (and its almost a J-Lo sized one) im gonna be keeping all these cornermen as things stand: Hosmer($6), Moustakas ($0), E5($1) and Butler($7). And its a 10 team keeper league, so being forced to have Moose at 3B next year (OBP league) aint all that. Either that or I draft a 3B too, and I plug in either Moose/Hos at Util during the year depending on the hotter bat.

        Or of course I trade one of them. Been trying to offer him Butler instead in a deal for Cole but not sure he’s biting. You still like the idea of keeping Encarnacion if I can’t find another player as bait for Cole?

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
          (link)

          Yeah, I think you gotta keep him at that price. Must keep.

          • TheNewGuy says:
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            @Scott Evans:

            New counter deal in outta nowhere! No idea what to make of this, hoping your fantasy brains will help me make the decision:

            Cole (prosp), Freeman ($6), and either Choo ($15)/ Morrow ($6) for Encarnacion ($1) and Medlen ($6)

            Wow…confusing! On the face of it though it doesnt solve my CI overload, as im getting Freeman back! Look any better to you though?

            • Scott Evans

              Scott Evans says:
              (link)

              It’s a little better, but I’m still not crazy about it. Still hold Encarnacion.

  18. Bourne says:
    (link)

    I’d have to put Matt Adams into that list. Fantasy wise he could be full time by may and then he could be a top ten 1b from that point on. I would put him top ten at least but he should be on every one’s top 25.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
      (link)

      Adams is definitely in the next 5, but I suspect he’s buried behind both Craig & Carpenter at 1B, so his opportunity grade suffered. We’ll have more clarity on this closer to opening day — Carp might be at 2B & Craig’s health is always iffy. If he’s on the field in May, as you say he could be, then he should be top 10 on this list. But I just don’t see the opportunity as things stand right now.

      • wily mo says:
        (link)

        @Scott Evans: thing about adams, he might actually be in front of taveras in the cardinals’ callups line. taveras is awesome but he’s also younger, with less high minors time, and they might want to delay his clock. adams can’t play the outfield but craig can. so if beltran or holliday (or craig, obivously) gets hurt it might be adams and not taveras that comes up.

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
          (link)

          Provided he’s not the full-time 2B, I think they’d look to Matt Carpenter to handle 1B duties before they’d give the job to Adams. Adams might be called up for depth in the case of injury to Craig/Beltran/Holliday, but my guess is that Carp would be the guy moving into a full-time role. And Taveras is such an elite impact prospect that the Cards could easily look past service time in favor of winning now. They’re a win-now team anyway & I highly doubt they let Oscar get to an arbitration table three years from now.

  19. allan says:
    (link)

    I think you are correct in your Shelby Miller perspective in being able to pitch 180 innings this year.

    He pitched a total of 154 innings last year including the Postseason.

    I think the same would be true of Trevor Rosenthal. He pitched a total of 140 innings last year. He ought to be able to pitch 17% more innings as you are proposing that Miller can. That would put Rosenthal up around 170 innings. Several in the Cardinal’s organization like Rosenthal better than Miller.

    I would really like to see some projections of Rosenthal as mostly a starter. It appears that ZIPS comes closest as to what his performance could be, but I think that Grey could supply some added input with his unique views. In Grey’s projection of Miller, he implied that Rosenthal would be somewhere projected between Miller and Trevor Bauer.

    What is very interesting to me is that the same day that Chris Carpenter was announced that he could not pitch in 2013 that a projection appeared from Oliver on Michael Wacha’s
    Fangraphs profile. It projected a 4.20 ERA, in just over 100 innings and a .500 record as a starter. Some projections had Carpenter around the same for 2013. Of all the prospects that the Cards have, Wacha looks more like Carpenter than any of them. Wacha also is listed in the top 5 to top 10 in the organizational prospects. If several of the Card’s prospects graduate, then Wacha, if he builds on his resume, could be one, two or three next year.

    Interesting stuff and interesting situation in St. Louis.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
      (link)

      Yeah, the Cards are loaded with young arms. Shelby, Rosenthal, Lynn, Kelly, Martinez, Wacha… it’s a good problem to have. Rosenthal’s projections for 170sih IP would fall just short of Miller’s, in my eyes… looking forward to seeing how PECOTA projects these guys. Wacha seems like a very safe bet to reach #3 starter potential, perhaps more. He should be ready by year’s end, but with all the arms here, I wonder how he fits in… Have to assume Carlos Martinez will lead the Cards’ prospect list a year from now, but Wacha surely could be #2 or #3.

  20. George says:
    (link)

    Yahoo Baseball Just Opened. Their Player Lists Appear to be the same as last year as in NO NEW PROSPECTS! Hopefully, this is just a glitch.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Knowing Yahoo… Well… We could be waiting for Wil Myers to get added to their players in June….

      • George says:
        (link)

        @Grey: Hi Grey – Myers was a part of the database last year as well as Cole, Taillon, Shelby Miller, and others. It appears that they have not added any prospects from last year which is disappointing unless it is a glitch. That means that Oscar Taveras, Sky Walker, et al. are either going to be added shortly, during the season or not at all.

  21. TheNewGuy says:
    (link)

    Hi dude have been working on an offer to ship Butler out instead of E5, to reduce my logjam of CI’s. I really wanted Boegarts or Myers back but he’s held firm on them, so he offered me this:

    Pitching prospect (Bauer/Bradley/Skaggs) and 1st overall prosp pick
    FOR
    Butler ($7) and 8th pick

    Like I say Butler is really expendable as I have E5, Hosmer, and Moose all as CI keepers. I think I still like Bauer the most out of these 3, and I upgrade my upcoming pick where I can now take either Correa or Buxton 1st. Thoughts?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
      (link)

      Really depends on who’s available in your prospect pool, but I think you could do it. Skaggs is safest, Bradley has highest ceiling & Bauer is a sorta happy medium between the two. I might go Skaggs for the guaranteed value, but you can’t go wrong with the other two either.

      • TheNewGuy says:
        (link)

        @Scott Evans:
        Yeah it seems a good idea, 80 prospects are taken so you can guess it is quite deep, with savy owners so the good ones are always snapped up. I think im gonna go with Bauer as he’s close to the show and now gets out of Chase, and im still not sure about Skaggs pitching in Chase yet…could give up a lot of bombs.

        Only way I could get a top hitting prospect like Boegarts, Myers etc would be if I sent my 8th pick along with Butler to him. But I think I like the idea of keeping my pick more, you agree?

        And who do you like as the 1st overall pick choice btw? Outta Correa, Buxton, Soler etc. Im thinking Correa being a shortstop and all.

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
          (link)

          Between those 3, Correa & Buxton are awfully close, so go Correa for the position scarcity.

          • TheNewGuy says:
            (link)

            @Scott Evans:
            Did it for Bauer. Looking forward to our prospect draft now!

            You reckon Bauer starts the year in the bigs? The opportunity is surely there…

            • Scott Evans

              Scott Evans says:
              (link)

              He’ll need to be out Carrasco in camp. Very possible.

  22. griff says:
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    I’m in a roto dynasty and was wondering which OF you think has more potential: starling marte or adam eaton?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
      (link)

      Marte

  23. Garrett says:
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    I have 3rd overall pick in my prospect pool if Myers profar or Taveras are not available who is the next best hitting prospect that I should target ? I was thinking of taking cole there but figured he could potentially be years away .

    • George says:
      (link)

      @Garrett: There are a lot of hitting prospects that you could draft depending on availability. If I were to chose ONE prospect after those three guys, my money is on Nick Castellanos, Mike Olt, or Travis D’Arnaud.

      • Garrett says:
        (link)

        @George: Out of those 3 who do you like the best? in addiiton do you think it is realistic to see cole in june or july this year ?

        • George says:
          (link)

          @Garrett: I would have to say yes. As you can see below, I have Cole and Taillon on my roster and Cole is definitely going to be pitching in Pittsburgh this year and I think that it happens by August. I really like the Pirates this year and I would not be surprised if they are still in the playoff race come September. As far as overall prospects, I like Cole in front of Castellanos, Olt and D’Arnaud.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
      (link)

      Cole should reach Pittsburgh by mid-season. Comfortable that he will… My favorite bats behind Myers & Taveras: Profar, Bogaerts, Castellanos, Baez, Yelich.

  24. George says:
    (link)

    Hey Scott – I drafted Taveras 1st in this years’ 3-round entry draft.

    C – Mesoraco
    1B – Fielder
    2B – Altuve
    SS – HanRam
    3B – Middlebrooks
    IF – Segura
    LF – Josh Hamilton
    CF – Austin Jackson
    RF – Andre Ethier
    OF – Wil Myers
    Bench – Oscar Taveras, Jurickson Profar, Billy Hamilton, Jonathan Singleton

    SP – Sabathia, Wainwright, Scherzer, Kennedy, Hanson, Teheran, Skaggs, Cole, Taillon

    BOOM. Two more rounds to go…

    • George says:
      (link)

      @George: $125 million salary cap….

      • Scott Evans

        Scott Evans says:
        (link)

        I like, I like. Taveras & Profar & Cole & Taillon? Boom, indeed.

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