It’s been a long time coming for the Kansas City Royals, but they finally tasted the sweet fizz of championship champagne last fall, and it was all due to Jonny Gomes. I’m not sure if you know this, but he’s the kind of guy you want to go to war with. Hacksaw Jonny musings aside, the Royals built a winner the old fashioned way. And by old fashioned I mean good drafting, solid player development, and excellent trading. In the process, they’ve graduated quite a few players onto their major league squad, traded some for established vets, and let others take the time needed to fully develop. The aftermath is there isn’t a ton of sexy fantasy prospects anymore, but the farm’s not barren, and there are some really intriguing players in the low minors. Dayton Moore and his constituents stuck to their philosophy, and in the end they’re the poster children for why prospects matter. Just ask Baseball America!Please, blog, may I have some more?
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The Blue Jays sort of operate their franchise like your buddy that chases strippers and always ends up with a massive credit card bill to show for it. Sure, sometimes it makes for a once in a lifetime experience (Josh Donaldson), but other times it’s for fleeting exploits with a disappointing outcome (David Price). Only the bill in this case isn’t an actual physical one, but a bare cupboard once chock full of valuable prospects. In recent years, the Jays have upgraded the major league roster for sure, but have seen prospects like Franklin Barreto, Daniel Norris, Jeff Hoffman, and Miguel Castro leave their system. So now we’re left to review a mortgaged farm with a prized cow, a lot of young calves, and some goats. Confused? Me too! Then again is it any more confusing than a team that needs pitching trading away all it’s young pitching? Time to review the Blue Jays Prospects! You’re excited, I can tell…Please, blog, may I have some more?
The best way to describe the Dodgers system is “an embarrassment of riches”. Not only do they have one of the biggest budgets in MLB, but they’re also the proud owner of one of the top farms in all of baseball. With two top ten prospects in Corey Seager and the newly two eyed Julio Urias, there’s a ton of top level talent. Including top 100 darlings Grant Holmes, Jose De Leon, and Alex Verdugo. Additionally, there’s a good amount of depth in the other tiers boosted by good player development (Cody Bellinger), recent trades (Frankie Montas), solid drafting (Willie Calhoun), and an aggressive approach in the international market. One of the biggest components of the Dodgers recent success, and organizational depth, is their ability to hit on late round picks and develop prep arms. Two areas where most franchises miss the mark. With impact specs on both the pitching and hitting side, the Blue Bloods should be a pipeline of fantasy scrumptiousness for years to come.
By the way a big shout out to my Grandma Betty who turned 100 last week, and grew up not too far from “Da Bums” original home, Ebbets Field.Please, blog, may I have some more?
If the excitement of the World Series wasn’t enough, the Mets can also celebrate the success of Michael Conforto and Steven Matz in 2015. Both look like solid fantasy options moving forward. As much as it hurts my insides as a Phillies fan, the Mets should be good for a while with that pitching staff. On the farm there aren’t a ton of impact fantasy players if you’re not counting Matz anymore. Dom Smith might be your best bet, but he’s yet to show his game power. Amed Rosario hasn’t taken off offensively, and Marcos Molina went under the knife. There’s a lot of international talent in the low minors however, and those signings will keep feeding the system. What this farm lacks in star power it makes up for in depth.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Rangers have one of the deepest systems in the majors and it’s packed with upside for fantasy. Even after trading away three good prospects in the Cole Hamels deal, it’s still a beast. The appeal for our game is the type of player – toolsy, power bats, power arms…all good stuff. One of the pleasant surprises on the MLB roster was Delino Deshields, who the Rangers selected as a rule 5 pick from the Astros organization. If you’re like me, you threw Deshields on your farm for some depth and by the end of the season it was all like ‘whoa this is a solid player right here’ and then Grey’s writing a sleeper post on him and next thing you know he’s got an ADP in the teens. Grey is influential like that. Coincidentally, the Rangers also lost Odubel Herrera in the rule 5 draft to Philly, and that young man had a hell of a season too. Just goes to show that this whole prospect game isn’t always easy to peg, and you have to stay on your toes and roll with it. Back over to the Texas farm now, which features three top 50 fantasy prospects.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Yankees have a strong system, and by holding on to their prospects last summer they’re going to enter the 2016 season with a lot of potential energy. Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge are poised to help the big club this year. So is Greg Bird, although he technically lost his eligibility. Because the Yankees are active in the international market, there’s a solid crop of teenagers coming up in the low minors. It’s not going to be anytime soon, but you can sort of see how this might converge into an even stronger group in the next year or two, especially when you factor in their crop of new draftees stateside. Of course not all of them will make it, but the more lottery tickets you own the better your chances, right?Please, blog, may I have some more?
What a wild year for the Astros. They made the playoffs, called up their star shortstop Carlos Correa, and made some big trades that have changed the look of this farm heading into 2016. It’s still very strong and full of great fantasy options, but just look at the list of players who left this system – Brett Phillips, Mark Appel, Vincent Velasquez, Domingo Santana, Rio Ruiz, Mike Foltynewicz, Nick Tropeano. Not to mention losing Delino DeShields in the rule five draft and the quality graduations. That kind of hit would cripple most systems, and yet here we are with still one of the best farms in the game right now. Last year’s draft netted the Astros two top bats in Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker, and they saw a big breakout in A.J. Reed, who could be in line to play first base for Houston early in the 2016 season. It’s a good time to be an Astros fan.Please, blog, may I have some more?
This system is what’s known as a three-bagger. You’ll need one brown paper bag for its head, one brown paper bag for your head, and a third brown paper bag handy in case one of the two paper bags currently in use happens to rip. Sean Newcomb was a lefty arm that would have easily topped this list if he hadn’t been traded to the Braves. Sad trombone. The Angels had a first round pick in 2015 (26th overall) but used it on Taylor Ward, a glove-first catcher with pretty limited fantasy value. All in all, you’re going to have a tough go finding prospects worth your time in shallower formats. Some of the players listed might not even be worth your time in really deep ones. And yet together, hand in hand, we march on…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Today I will continue my proud tradition of not watching football and instead focus on the most notable fantasy prospects in the San Francisco Giants organization. As usual, they don’t have a true blue chip prospect. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t players on this farm who will develop into good fantasy pieces. In fact, over the past few years the Giants have been pretty good at bringing guys up that weren’t on the prospect radar and presto-changeo they are suddenly on everybody’s fantasy team. Matt Duffy comes to mind. Joe Panik is another. The pitching-friendly home park and the Giants’ success in developing arms also makes the pitching prospects a little more interesting than they’d normally be.Please, blog, may I have some more?
We’re more than halfway through the minor league previews, and this Nationals list was the first one I really had a hard time whittling down to fifteen names. It’s not that it’s packed with studs, it’s more that there’s lots of interesting upside. You’ve got your no brainers like Lucas Giolito and Trea Turner of course, but we also saw a big breakout with Victor Robles. There seems to be a focus on speed, toolsy outfielders with good defensive skills, and up-the-middle talent. It’s all good stuff for fantasy players, and since even your great-grandmother has heard of Giolito, I find the lower levels of this system to be a lot more interesting to talk about. Don’t believe me? She has a cross-stitching of his curveball grip. Stepping away from the farm, 2016 will be the sophomore campaign of Michael Taylor, whose power and speed will probably come cheap in drafts this year. He doesn’t have to rack up that many more hits to make his average palatable as a 4th or 5th outfielder. Hey, I managed to write the whole intro without mentioning Bryce Harper! D’oh!Please, blog, may I have some more?