There are organizations flush with prospects that you’d like to have on your fantasy roster. Then there are organizations like the Tigers. Not to hate on the Motor City Kitties, but finding a spec I can get excited about on this farm is a little bit like this. Even with trades, the players they brought in are mostly in the pitching category, namely Michael Fulmer and recent grads Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd. Their first round pick in 2015 also went to an arm, and a prep arm to boot, meaning it will be a while before he’s making any kind of fantasy impact. That said, your dear friend Mike is still going to trot out fifteen names and plow forward. Let’s just rip this thing off like a Band-Aid and on Sunday we can chat White Sox specs over turkey sandwiches.
Tyler Collins | James McCann | Daniel Norris | Matt Boyd | Bruce Rondon
Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.
JaCoby Jones, SS | Age: 23| ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats: 594 PA, .257/.322/.415, 16 HR, 25 SB, 8% BB, 28% K
JaCoby with the capital C might be the closest thing we have to a fantasy prospect in this system. Scouts don’t seem to think he has the chops to stick at shortstop, which is the bad news. Jones does provide an enticing package of power and speed though, which of course is the good news…strikeout rate be damned.
Steven Moya, OF | Age: 24 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA/MLB
2015 Stats: 577 PA, .243/.283/.431, 23 HR, 5 SB, 5% BB, 30% K
Moya is what he is at this point, a power-hitting corner outfielder who strikes out too much and whose floor is low enough to be scary. He’s huge, but still has a bit of speed. There’s a ton of raw power here, and that’s fun to dream on, but there’s legit concern that the contact issues don’t get resolved and we never see it realized in games. The upside is 30+ homers in the bigs with a low average and a handful of steals. The downside is a bench bat that shuffles between Toledo and Detroit.
Wynton Bernard, OF | Age: 25 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA
2015 Stats: 587 PA, .301/.352/.408, 4 HR, 43 SB, 6% BB, 12% K
If the Tigers writeup is putting you to sleep at this point, then Bernard might at least wave some smelling salts in your general direction. He’s hit over .300 and stolen more than 40 bags in each of his past two minor league seasons, and while he is old as hell for a Double-A prospect, he’s versatile in the outfield, gets on base, and can fly. He could be a fantasy type in the mold of Jarrod Dyson, who never really gets a starting gig but spells the starters and pinch runs.
Michael Fulmer, RHP | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats: 124.2 IP, 2.24 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 9.0 K/9
Fulmer was the main return for Yoenis Cespedes. The righty put up nice numbers in 2015 at the Double-A level, and going forward he looks like your typical mid-rotation starter with solid command and two plus pitches in his fastball and slider. It’s not the sexiest of profiles, but he should be owned in most dynasty formats and he’ll top most of the Tigers lists heading into 2016.
Jefry Marte, 1B/3B | Age: 24 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA/MLB
2015 Stats: 399 PA, .275/.341/.487, 15 HR, 8 SB, 8% BB, 16% K
If you’re not a big believer in Miguel Cabrera’s health, then Marte gets more interesting as a temporary fill-in. Good plate discipline numbers, average pop, and a tick of speed make the 24-year-old worth a peek in deep formats. He can also play a little third base, which gives both the Tigers and fantasy owners more avenues into the lineup.
Dixon Machado, SS | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA/MLB
2015 Stats: 567 PA, .261/.313/.332, 4 HR, 15 SB, 6% BB, 15% K
The name Machado should now be synonymous with fantasy stardom thanks to Manny, but this cat is pretty far down the road from the Machado Man. It’s a boring profile but one that would probably be useful in only formats thanks to the shortstop eligibility, plate discipline, and speed. This is a typical glove-first player that you’ll see higher on the traditional lists.
Jairo Labourt, LHP | Age: 21 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 116 IP, 5.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9, 8.1 K/9
Labourt would be really interesting if he could just get the control part of his game figured out. He’s a big lefty with a good fastball, slider, and change, but there’s just not enough upside to put up with the risk he brings by walking five batters every nine innings. Deep dynasty leagues, sure, but that’s about it.
Kevin Ziomek, LHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 154.2 IP, 3.43 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, 8.3 K/9
Ziomek progressed through another level in 2015, improving his walk rate but also striking out less batters and getting hit around a bit more. If the command and control stay in check I could see him being a 4th/5th starter type that makes for decent dynasty league filler. He probably doesn’t end up being much more than that since he seems to lack a true plus pitch.
Spencer Turnbull, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 116.2 IP, 3.01 ERA, 4.0 BB/9, 8.2 K/9
Turnbull is best left to the really deep formats or ones in which relievers carry more weight. The control gets a below average grade and a lot of scouts seem to think he’s going to end up in the bullpen. There’s the chance he ends up in a rotation, but outside of his heater he doesn’t have the plus stuff to be much more than a #3 starter.
Buck Farmer, RHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA/MLB
2015 Stats: 86.2 IP, 4.15 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 7.9 K/9
Farmer squeaked under the rookie eligibility requirements by a third of an inning. He’s appearing not because he has some amazing pitching ability and fantasy value, but rather because he’s going to get a chance to start accumulating innings in the rotation right out of spring training.
Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs.
Derek Hill, OF | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 235 PA, .238/.305/.314, 0 HR, 25 SB, 9% BB, 19% K
Wipe the vomit off your screen for a minute so you can read this guy’s blurb, because he might actually end up having some fantasy value. It’s not spectacular, but Hill has the upside to be an everyday center fielder who hits at the top of a lineup and steals 30+ bags. Outside of Jones and Moya, this is really the only must-own profile in most dynasty leagues, and even then you’re looking at a ‘maybe’ in shallower formats thanks to the long ETA.
Mike Gerber, OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 583 PA, .292/.355/.468, 13 HR, 16 SB, 8% BB, 17% K
Gerber is going to make a solid floorbored one day. He doesn’t have a standout tool and probably tops out as a fourth outfielder, but there’s just enough pop and speed to matter. The plate discipline and average hit tool raise his floor, making him one of the safer bets in this group.
Christin Stewart, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: Rk/A(ss)/A
2015 Stats: 301 PA, .285/.372/.508, 10 HR, 5 SB, 9% BB, 23% K
The Tigers selected Stewart 34th overall in 2015, and being a college bat it might not take as long for him to develop as some of the others in this group. There’s at least average power and the chance that he carves out a role as an everyday corner outfielder that kisses 20 dingers. He should see most of his at bats in High-A this season.
Zach Shepherd, 3B | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 443 PA, .245/.327/.339, 5 HR, 4 SB, 11% BB, 26% K
Shepherd may not have shown it to date, but at just 20 years old there’s probably room for more power to develop. That would come in handy, because a third baseman who only hits 10-15 homers isn’t going to get much fantasy love if it doesn’t also come with a high batting average.
Beau Burrows, RHP | Age: 19 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk
2015 Stats: 28 IP, 1.61 ERA, 3.5 BB/9, 10.6 K/9
Burrows was the Tigers’ first selection in the 2015 draft, and while he’s got a big fastball and curve combo that should give him plenty of strikeout potential, this cat is too far away to sweat in most leagues.
2016 Minor League Preview Index
Is Vogt enough back for Lind in 15 team, 2 C dynasty league?
Thank you for your time
yeah I think so, especially if you slot him at catcher
thanks, you too!
Mike, great stuff as always! I was hoping you could help me out. I just took over a dog in a 16 team H2H keep forever dynasty. My best player is Chris Sale and I’ve been offered Maikel Franco, Alex Reyes, and Nick Williams. This seems like a fair deal but I feel like I could get more . . . am I being greedy?
thanks! it’s not being greedy to ask for more, but I think that’s a fair offer to fall back on. You’re getting one MLB bat and another one that’s relatively close along with a high upside arm
Hey Mike, have you done the Braves yet?
I trust this finds you well. Its been some time since i’ve come to Razzball, really missed this site.
I had some family health problems that took me away from fantasy baseball for a few years, this week i got back into it with a old group of friends. Pretty deep league.16 teams 30 man roster’s 25 play each week. If a player has more then 10 IP or 30 PA they count as a major leaguer. 5 additional minor league spots. 13 keepers per year. Players go into the draft pool if they hit FA so only top 4-6 picks are decent
I’m taking over a team… that is barren. finished dead last 3 years in a row…. previous owner made gems of trades like sending Rizzo off for Will Myers (hes a padre fan).
My question sir, is i plan to obviously punt this year… i will sell all of my draft picks for young upside players.
Who would you target outside the top 50/70 prospects for a rebuild? who would you target from this past years draft? figure my 5 minors picks need to count this year.
I hope you and your family have a great thanksgiving, thank you for reading my post!
I’d go after players that are in the upper levels, maybe pieces like Alen Hanson in Pittsburgh. If you keep cycling through prospects that are far away, the rebuild may just end up taking forever, and that’s not fun. Recent draftees go after college kids and stick to bats (same reason).
hey Mike, just joined my first dynasty league with 8 minor league spots. I took over a team so the roster is already set. The team has a bunch of OFs including:
There is one 2nd Jose Peraza and one pitcher Robert Stephenson. The previous owner was obviously targeting OF’s probably since we play with 5 of them. Do you think this is the best strategy, more offense vs pitching, since pitching is more volatile and easier to find late in drafts. I’m thinking of promoting Peraza and Dalton and putting them on the bench this year to open up two more spots on the minor league roster.
yup, I’d go bats over arms most of the time
@Mike: Would you hold on to Stephenson or try to upgrade with a bat? Kid seems pretty wild.
In a 10 team 10 keeper
Huge Stroes fan and I’m thinking abt offering Goldy for Correa $4, would you do that heads up or would you want to try for more? Trade partner also has Carlos Gomez, Dickerson (who he might want to unload b/c of Plantar injury), Buxton, Rendon, Schwarber?
Goldy for Correa makes sense if he’ll go for it
Because my league is full of impatient junkies, we are having our first-year player draft this weekend. I’m probably slotted around #10. I expect the first 5 picks to be some order of
1. Dansby Swanson
2. Brendan Rogers
3. Alex Bregman
4. Brady Aiken
5. Carson Fulmer
After that, it’s up in the air. I was caught by surprise, and haven’t done enough research yet. Who is wroth picking in the next five picks? Daz Cameron? Corneius Randolph? Ian Happ?
Are there any high-impact international exports this year? Maeda, maybe. Don’t know any Cuban names.
Anyways, thanks for being the best Prospect Mike around.
haha anytime man…I think you’d have to look at Benintendi, Happ, Randolph, Cameron, and Maeda sure if he posts but also the two signed Cubans: Yusniel Diaz and Eddy Martinez (Yadiel Alvarez on the pitching side)
Thanks! I’ll keep this handy as a short list.
This got me thinking, any plans to do an “Internationals” post? They’re a great way to pick up MLB-ready players in a first-year draft.
yup…won’t be ready in time for your draft probably, but last year I did a “new blood” ranking that listed all the previous year’s draftees and international signings. I’ll do the same this year but it won’t come out until these team previews are hammered out
@Mike: Here’s my list I’ve been working on, you need to target Benintendi with your top two, guy is a monster right now. Just absolutely destroyed low A pitching this year at Lowell, got to watch him a couple times in person
Eddy Julio Martinez
@Mike: Hehe it goes to 106. I have 10 picks in that SSDL draft
the players in the triple play last year really didnt dry up until round 4. I was surprised. you’ll be in really good shape with that many picks
@Mike: Yeah I have 2 in the top 10 (2 and 9), and pick 20, as well as 35. Hoping Peter O’brien, Jake Thompson, and Berrios are up during the year.
Thanks! I really appreciate it. That will really help.
You have Beninendi higher, and Bregman lower than some of the other lists I’ve seen. Also, Eddy Julio Martinez is a complete mystery to me.
Could you expand on them a little?
@El Famous Burrito: IMO Benintendi has more fantasy upside than either Swanson or Bergman. On many prospect lists you read they aren’t looking at things from a fantasy perspective. Which is why Mike’s post are so valuable. Most of these lists are factoring in defense etc. of all the 2015 draftees Benintendi had the best showing, and more than likely might have the shortest path to the majors. I for one want the power bat.
@El Famous Burrito: As for Martinez, he, Vlad Guerrero Jr., and Diaz were the top bats from this International class. Vlad wasn’t on the above list because he’s owned in the league I made it for. He would rank right before Martinez.
There’s a lot of unknown with these international players but they’re very often worth the risk. If you have a deep minors roster and have time to wait. If you don’t have either of those than target American college hitters like Benintendi, Swanson, Happ, or Bergman.
If Maeda posts, where would you place him?
@El Famous Burrito: What I’ve read is that his stuff isn’t as good as Darvish or Tanaka, but his control is impeccable. I’m not sure if that makes him more or less risky. Personally I’d draft Alvarez over him.
@Ralph Lifshitz: you’re surprisingly low on Bregman. Is that because you’re not a believer or because of he’s prospblocked to the majors?
I’m feeling Beau Burrows, looks like he could have a ton of upside. He’s far away for sure but the mid 90’s heat and early returns have me buying. He and Ashe Russell both committed to A&M, that would have been a really nice one-two had it come to fruition.
hmmm, between him and Kolek, if I didn’t know any better I’d think you were into high upside prep arms Ralph
@Mike: Totally am, this guy seems to have adjusted (albeit a super small sample size) better than Kolek. I mean you should have known when I drafted both Kolek and Touki in Razznasty last year.
I’ve just done nothing but read scouting reports from 2015 draftees and international signings the last two weeks. The scouting reports are pretty positive at this point with Burrows. Funny thing is I like Allard even more. I’m like the Jared Fogle of pitchers in dynasty
ha! too soon? too soon!
@Mike: For a different draft I have upcoming in January, how would you rank out this specs. It’s a CBS points league and it behooves me to target specs with the best ETA’s. Players promoted from the minors are free keepers for two years in this league.
Peraza/Zimmer, Turner/Arcia, Phillips, Barreto/Torres, McKinney, Holmes, Johnson
Marte is hard to rank within the group since he’s up, probably between the Arcia and Phillips tiers
@Mike: So you think Pereza is more valuable than Turner this year? I’m trying to figure who I want from the Peraza, Turner, Arcia group. I assume Arcia’s ETA is later than those two.
all three should be relevant in 2016…tough call, I like all three to be honest
@Ralph Lifshitz: Ralph, I assume you’re “doing nothing but reading up on prospects” since you’re so thoroughly losing in fantasy football…BOOM
It’s like a product review of Wonderbread.
ha yeah exactly