I’m all about the win-now. This means I will rarely own a top prospect, because I’ll trade them for short term MLB value and/or I just won’t spend the dough on those guys, because I can look a bit deeper for translatable prospects that don’t have as much associated hype. Therefore, I’m not going to whine about not owning and emphasizing the obvious: Oscar Tavares, George Springer, Gregory Polanco or even Jackie Bradley Jr. Instead I’ll draft sure-thing offense so long as they’re healthy (Michael Morse and Yasmani Grandal), and then go with upside starters/or solid veterans like Marco Estrada, Alex Wood, Corey Kluber, Tyson Ross, Kyle Lohse and Tim Hudson (all were available around the same time as these prospects in deep leagues). I literally own all of these guys, and the following ESPN’ers <10% owned as of 4/14:
2) Abraham Almonte (1%) – Still batting leadoff, A.A. (too soon?) has 15/15 in him and he’s displayed well enough on-base skills in the minors to hopefully stay atop of the lineup. If he does, I love the associated counting stats. He’s currently “on pace” for about 75-15-70-15, but he’s somewhat struggled as of late.
4) Justin Ruggiano (.8%) – My spring-fling I guess, I thought he was going to go 70-25-70-20 this year. He’s had some ankle issues thus far and Bonfiacio is going crazy. I still think he can go 50-16-55-13 but ah well.
3) Oswaldo Arcia (.5%) – He’s not going to hit better than .250 with the K-rate, but I’d guess something closer to a 27% K-rate and 7% BB-rate meaning contact let’s say 73% of the time. If he stays healthy enough for 425 AB, that means 425 AB x 73% Contact Rate x 41% Flyball Rate x 15% Homerun per Flyball Rate = 21 to 22 HR. There’s a 30 HR season in his bat as soon as next year.
1) J.B. Shuck (.4%) – Mad contact skills & discipline, he really is a .300+ hitter and the Josh Hamilton injury opens up a spot for him until late May, maybe longer. I can see Shuck providing his annual projected value in the amount of time it takes for Hamilton to return. I wouldn’t necessarily say Kole Calhoun is struggling, but there’s a chance he gets moved down to a more run inducing spot opening the leadoff role for Shuck more consistently.
And now for 3 guys that I think could translate well this year despite not being tagged as a top 40 prospect. They’re ordered by possible plate appearances this year, but ranked by my zeal:
3) Steven Souza (.1%) – SteSou is not on any top 100 list I don’t think. He’s already 25, but he could provide value this year. He’s up already due to the Denard Span concussion for MLB depth. Jayson Werth is currently day-to-day due to his groin and Nate McLouth was recently d2d due to his knees so SteSou can find himself some AB’s impending. He went .300-15HR-20SB with a .54 BB/K ratio last year, but that was as a 24 year old in AA. If Span/Werth/Bryce Harper misses significant time, McLouth will still be needed as the 4th OF so Souza can go 5/5,10/10 or even 15/15 based on the amount of plate appearances.
2) Stephen Piscotty (0.0%) – I’m reading more and more that he might be up prior to Oscar Tavares, based on the fact that he’s a righty. We’ll see. A crazy elite .441 BABIP is driving Piscotty’s early success this year, but an impressive 1.00 BB/K ratio in AA as a 22 year old last year was inspiring. He’s my Garin Cecchini of the OF. He’s not going to be a 25/20 guy, but he could be a solid 15/10 #2 hitter as of 2015 with great surface stats…your Matt Carpenter, but slightly better, albeit without the position scarcity.
1) Joc Pederson (0.0%) – what I don’t like a bout Souza, I really like about Pederson. He’s only 22 and already raking in AAA (3HR-3SB w/ a 1.11 BB/K ratio and a .371/.511/.714 in 45 plate appearances! I think he’ll be a top-10 prospect by mid-season. When delving into a prospect, beyond discipline and contact rate, I want to look at BABIP potential and consistency/growth across levels. His power and speed combination should ensure .325+ BABIP’s and look at this prior to his age 22, AAA season this year:
2012 (20): A+: 18HR-26SB w/ a .63 BB/K ratio and a .313/.396/.516 line
2013 (21): AA: 22HR-31SB w/ a .61 BB/K ratio and a .278/.381/.497
If you’re in a shallow dynasty league and you own a guy like Polanco/Taveras/Springer, trade them for win-now guys and pick up guys like Piscotty & Pederson if they’re available.
Dano’s on twitter @Rotobanter.