Welcome to the All-Star break gang – the unofficial beginning of the second half signals the time to reorganize, revamp, and re-think approaches for us, as well as the folks making the calls for your favorite MLB teams. And, coincidentally, it also marks the time for me to revisit my Prospect Rankings. These are the current top-50 guys on my board that haven’t accumulated the standard minimum 130 AB/50 IP at the MLB level that most fantasy leagues recognize. When compiling my rankings, I try to consider as many variables as possible, but my main focus tilts toward future “difference-makers”… those guys that have the potential to make significant impacts when they reach “The Show”. Some players you’ll find on this list may be further away from making that impact than others, some may be struggling a bit right now (they may have been recently promoted to the next level to challenge them and are adjusting to stiffer competition), some may be on the shelf because of injury, etc., but this list represents the top-50 players I’d pick if you give me the first 50 picks in the MiLB phase of a draft in a newly forming fantasy league. These are the prospects GMs “dream on”, regardless of their current minor league level – the players they plan to build their rosters around at some point in the near future.
So here we go…
Razzball’s 2014 Midseason Top 50 MiLB Prospects
1.) Kris Bryant, 3B/RF, CHC
The Cubs’ 2013 1st Round pick (#2 overall) is ready to make an impact as a middle of the order bat now. The only question is whether it will be as an infielder or outfielder. His .346/.444/.701/1.146 first half slash line combined with 26 2Bs, 31 bombs, and 81 RBIs should place him squarely on top of everyone’s “must have” list. Theo and Jed may continue to be stubborn and keep him in Iowa during the second half, but we should see a combination of Bryant/Rizzo or Rizzo/Bryant in the middle of the Cubs’ lineup on Opening Day 2015.
2.) Byron Buxton, CF, MIN
The Twins are taking it slow with the 2012 BA High School Player Of The Year and 2013 BA MiLB Player Of The Year – he only had a handful of ABs before re-injuring his wrist early on this season – but there’s no doubt he’s the Twins’ long-term answer in CF, and his ETA likely only depends on how long it takes him to get comfortable again. Buxton was putting up comparable numbers to Mike Trout at similar levels before getting hurt, and while he may not eventually turn out to be Trout (a pretty unfair comp for just about anyone), he’ll make the same type of impact as young OFs like George Springer and Gregory Polanco once he calls Target Field home.
3.) Dylan Bundy, RHSP, BAL
If the Orioles stick to the plan of limiting Bundy to a maximum of 75 pitches per start for the remainder of the year he’s not likely to make an impact during the second half, but make no mistake – he is the guy that will front their rotation once the gloves come off. Bundy fits the typical “Ace” profile with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s (and touches 98) mixed with a wipeout curveball and a change that was consistently plus before he had Tommy John Surgery. Dylan had a bit of a hiccup in his July 4th outing, but a couple of those are to be expected during his recovery. He’s coming O’s fans, and he’s coming fast.
4.) Carlos Correa, SS, HOU
Correa was the Astros’ #1 prospect according to BA coming into this season, and he’s done nothing to change that projection. The impressive 19 year old’s ETA may be slightly delayed thanks to the broken fibula he suffered sliding into 3B on a triple in late June, but at the time of his injury the 2012 #1 overall pick was slashing .325/.416/.510/.926 with 16 2Bs, 6 3Bs, 6 HRs, and 20 SBs in 24 attempts. Hopefully the Houston brass sees fit to lock up Jose Altuve for longer than his current contract lasts (2019 if both option years are picked up) because that pairing could provide Astros fans with one of the most dynamic middle infield combinations in the game for years and years.
5.) Joey Gallo, 3B, TEX
The Rangers’ preseason #5 prospect earned a promotion to AA Frisco following his absolute demolition of Carolina League pitching (.323/.463/.735/1.199 with 9 2Bs, 3 3Bs, 21 HRs, and 50 RBIs in 189 ABs), and has continued pounding the ball with 7 2Bs, 10 HRs, and 23 RBIs without a huge dropoff at the higher level (.371 OBP). Strikeouts remain a concern as they are with all power hitters (49 Ks in 101 AA ABs), but if Gallo’s able to maintain the majority of his power as his pitch recognition improves, he could realistically provide GM Jon Daniels the opportunity to decline Adrian Beltre’s 2016 option and allocate that money elsewhere (paying a chunk of what’s still owed Prince Fielder would be a start).
6.) Lucas Giolito, RHSP, WAS
The big right-hander with Hollywood bloodlines (his Grandfather was Mr. Ross in Seinfeld, and his Mom had parts in Lost and Frasier) continues mowing down opposing hitters. Armed with an 80 grade fastball that sits in the mid-90s (touching 100) and a power curveball, Giolito has held SALLY League hitters to a .196 BAA with a 3-1 K/BB Ratio (72 Ks in 65.2 IP). If the Nationals and Jordan Zimmerman can’t find common ground for a contract extension, Giolito could be ready to step into the Washington rotation in his place to start the 2016 season (or possibly before).
7.) Francisco Lindor, SS, CLE
The Indians still hold out hope that the Puerto Rico native’s bat will continue developing at a quicker pace during the second half of the season since his glove has been deemed MLB ready for some time. Asdrubal Cabrera’s heir-apparent (this is the last year of Asdrubal’s contract) is slashing .284/.361/.400/.761 with 21 XBH and 24 SBs at AA Akron. If he shows Chris Antonetti & Company enough the rest of the way, he could be given the chance to start 2015 in Cleveland’s Opening Day lineup.
8.) Joc Pederson, OF, LAD
Pederson is one of those players that’s going to make a serious impact at the next level that just needs to be on a team where he can be called up. Joc can play all 3 OF spots defensively, and is one of those select few who can be called a legitimate plus defensive CF with plus power. A first half slash of .324/.445/.572/1.017 with 17 HRs and 20 SBs have to have Ned Colletti and his advisors thinking hard about eating a chunk of money to help move Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford regardless of the return.
9.) Oscar Taveras, OF, STL
While he’s struggled in his limited taste of the majors Taveras will hit once he gets everyday ABs, whether he’s eventually in St. Louis or elsewhere. His .318/.370/.502/.872 slash line at AAA Memphis is right in line with his career numbers and is a much better reflection of the hitter he’s going to be when given consistent ABs at the next level.
10.) Addison Russell, SS, CHC
Where Russell ultimately plays on defense (assuming he remains in Chicago) remains a question with Starlin Castro and Javier Baez as other SS options, but Theo and Jed will definitely find him somewhere to play (and it may be soon). Addison was slashing .333/.439/.500/.939 in limited Texas League action following a late start to his season before the Cubs got him as the focal point of the Jeff Samardzija trade with the A’s. Russell (like many of the Cubs’ impressive stable of position player prospects) is a premium athlete who finished last season with 17 HRs to go along with 21 SBs that just needs a bit of exposure to advanced pitching. He finished the first half trending upward, going 6/18 in his last 5 games before the break.
11.) Miguel Sano, 3B, MIN
Sano is spending the 2014 season on the shelf recovering from Tommy John Surgery, but he remains one of the true elite power prospects in the game. He reached AA last year as a 20 year old, slashing .280/.382/.610/.992 with 30 2Bs, 5 3Bs, 35 HRs, and 100 RBIs in only 439 ABs (and even stole 11 bases). His ETA will be slightly later than Byron Buxton’s since he won’t get any work at all this summer, but the pair promises to terrorize AL Central opponents for a long time once they get to Target Field.
12.) Jonathon Gray, RHSP, COL
The 2013 #4 overall pick out of Oklahoma works with a 94-97 MPH fastball (that touches 100 when he reaches back) with heavy life, a wipeout slider, and is mainly working on his changeup (that flashes plus at times). His first half wasn’t overly impressive – 3.77 ERA, and a 1.19 WHIP at AA Tulsa – but his .244 BAA, 81/26 K/BB Ratio, and only 79 hits allowed in 88.1 IP are a reflection that his control and command are improving. Expect to see Gray when rosters expand (if not before) with an eye towards having him join Eddie Butler as 2015 Rockies’ rotation additions.
13.) Blake Swihart, C, BOS
Swihart hit his 10th HR just before the break, finishing his first half in Portland (AA) with a .296/.351/.485/.836 slash line and a solid 25/51 BB/K Ratio. The switch-hitter has a solid approach at the plate and sprays line drives all over the yard – something that will really help his 19 2Bs and 3 3Bs play up when hitting in Fenway Park. His defense has improved across the board, and he now projects as at least an average defensive backstop. While the Red Sox won’t be overly aggressive with him (preferring to allow him to continue improving his game-calling and staff management skills), he could be an option for the big club early next season if he’s needed.
14.) Archie Bradley, RHSP, ARI
The Diamondbacks’ 2011 First Round pick (#7 overall) was cruising along, and looked like a 2014 rotation candidate until struggles with fastball location popped up late last season and in spring training. Archie was sent to Reno to get things ironed out at the beginning of this season, but the struggles continued (4.4 BB/9, 9.6 Hits/9, 5.18 ERA, and 1.56 WHIP), and he’s recently been demoted to AA where he’s walked 13 hitters in only 18.1 IP. Bradley’s agent expressed Archie’s frustration over not being slotted into Arizona’s rotation during their awful start to the season, but he simply hasn’t pitched well enough to earn a promotion. He has front of the rotation stuff when he’s on, and just needs to quit sulking and start locating.
15.) Javier Baez, SS, CHC
Baez represents the second member of the Cubs’ high-end hitting prospects who will likely eventually be moved to another position. Starlin Castro is signed to a very reasonable deal through 2019 (with a 2020 option), and will likely remain the big club’s SS unless he’s dealt. Baez possesses more pop, so a shift to 3B or the OF is certainly feasible. Despite his big HR in the Futures Game he’s struggled to make adjustments against advanced pitching, finishing his first half at AAA Iowa with a .240/.305/.449/.753 slash line to go along with 19 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 14 HRs, and 15 SBs. He’s going to have to show more patience and cut down on chasing breaking balls (28/110 BB/K Ratio) before being considered for the big league roster, but mainains a high upside with the potential to be a fixture in Wrigley Field for a long time once he matures a bit.
16.) Corey Seager, SS, LAD
The Dodgers announced that they were promoting 2012 First Round pick Seager to AA Chatanooga over the weekend while he was in Minneapolis for the Futures Game. The 20 year old punished California League pitching during the first half, slashing .352/.411/.633/1.044 with 34 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 18 HRs, and 70 RBIs in 80 games (327 ABs). One of the few questions about Corey is whether he sticks at SS long-term, but he’s been at least acceptable there defensively thus far. The Dodgers have time on their side with Seager and don’t need to rush him, but he’s likely to continue moving quickly if he can continue improving his plate discipline (30/76 BB/K Ratio during the first half at Rancho Cucamonga).
17.) Jameson Taillon, RHSP, PIT
The former #2 overall pick in the 2010 Draft is spending this season resting and rehabbing following Tommy John Surgery (April), but remains on track to become a fixture in the Pirates’ rotation during the second half of 2015. Taillon fits the prototpical Texas fireballer to a “T” – his heavy fastball sits between 93-97 MPH and touches 99, and he has a hammer curveball, and the majority of his development time has been spent working on a slider and change. Jameson was 3.6 years younger than the average age of players in the Eastern League last season before earning a promotion to AAA Indianapolis during the second half and will only be 23 when he returns in early 2015.
18.) Julio Urias, LHSP, LAD
There hadn’t been a real significant buzz surrounding Urias (although I mentioned him as the player to watch) prior to Sunday evening’s Futures Game. The youngest player ever invited to participate at 17 threw 11 of his 14 pitches for strikes in an impressive fifth inning, touched 95 with his fastball, and gained praise from fellow competitor Michael Taylor who said Urias was the best of the 4 Pitchers he faced during the game. According to all reports Julio is amazingly composed, and understands the Dodgers want to be careful with him. There’s no need to rush him given their pitching depth at higher levels, but Urias just oozes “special”.
19.) Austin Hedges, C, SDP
Hedges is widely considered the best defensive catching prospect in the minor leagues, with scouts rating both his receiving skill and arm as high as 70-grade tools. Some even have his arm as an 80, and he was producing 1.78 second pop times when he was signed away from his UCLA commitment for $3,000,000 after the Padres selected him in the Second Round of the 2011 Draft. Austin projects as an everyday Catcher with All-Star potential if he can just become an average hitter when he’s at the plate. He still needs development time in that area – his .243/.288/.363/.651 slash line at AA San Antonio bears that out – but if he hits at all he’s going to be a lot of fun to watch. His calling card will always be his defense, and he’s thrown out 39% of opposing basestealers so far in 2014.
20.) Henry Owens, LHSP, BOS
The Red Sox’ 2011 Supplemental 1st Round pick (#36 overall) doesn’t overpower hitters (his fastball typically sits between 88-92), but he just keeps getting swings and misses whenever he’s on the mound. He’s added 25 pounds since being drafted and has been clocked as high as 95 MPH but it’s his advanced feel for pitching that sets him apart, and when his curveball is effective he can be dominant. His impressive first half at AAA Portland – 12-3, 2.21 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 111/40 K/BB Ratio in 105.2 IP (69 hits allowed with a .183 BAA) – shows that he has little left to prove before he’s given a rotation spot. Assuming the big club further commits to its youth movement, Henry likely gets several starts during the second half of this season.
21.) Daniel Norris, LHSP, TOR
If the Blue Jays remain relevant during the second half, they’ll likely let the 2011 2nd Round pick finish out his 2014 campaign at AA New Hampshire (he’s been victimized by three bombs in his first four starts there). Before his promotion from Dunedin he was all but unhittable – 6-0, 1.22 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 76/18 K/BB Ratio, and a .209 BAA in 66.1 IP. He’s still held opposing hitters to a .210 BAA in his first 4 starts following the promotion, and could conceivably prove ready to join Marcus Stroman in the Totonto rotation in early 2015.
22.) Hunter Harvey, RHSP, BAL
There are already at least 12-15 teams that regret passing on Hunter and allowing him to slip all the way to the Orioles at #22 overall in the 2013 Draft. Much like Madison Bumgarner, some teams dinged him for the perceived lack of high-end competition he faced as a high schooler in western North Carolina. Oops!!! Harvey’s fastball has ticked up slightly since he debuted, sitting 93-95 MPH (touching 97), his curveball is already plus at times, and his changeup is coming along quickly. If not for one hiccup against Texas’ impressive Hickory Crawdads lineup (2 IP, 6 ER), his 3.01 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, .202 BAA, and 93/32 K/BB Ratio in 77 IP would look even more impressive. Hunter won’t turn 20 until just before Christmas, but he’s striking out 10.8 hitters per 9 IP, and may already be ready to be pushed to the next level.
23.) Noah Syndergaard, RHSP, NYM
Syndergaard has struggled a bit in the hitter haven that is the PCL, but most Pitchers do. His peripherals remain strong – 3.75 K/BB, 82 Ks in 79.2 IP – and he’s ready to join Matt Harvey when he returns to front the Mets’ rotation at the start of next season. If the Mets are able to find a decent return for Bartolo Colon prior to the deadline, look for Noah to get a taste of the bigs later this season.
24.) Raul A. Mondesi, SS, KCR
Mondesi hasn’t yet impressed with his bat, but that likely stems as much from being the second youngest player in the SALLY League last year and 5 full years younger than the average prospect in the Carolina League this season. A switch-hitter and 60 runner, he possesses an above-average arm with above-average range and eventually projects as an above-average hitter with at least average power for a SS. He should be ready in plenty of time to replace Alcides Escobar before his deal runs out (signed through next year with 2016 and 2017 options) if he’s not traded for pitching before then.
25.) Kohl Stewart, RHSP, MIN
While his K numbers haven’t jumped out at anyone (55 in 76.2 IP at Lo-A Cedar Rapids), Stewart’s yet another youngster cut out of the Ryan/Clemens/Beckett Texas Fireballer mold with a fastball that sits 92-94 (touching 96) and a wipeout mid-80s slider. One of the things that scouts point to about Stewart is his ability to limit solid contact – he’s only allowed 3 HRs so far in 2014, and didn’t allow any in 20 IP after he signed as the Twins’ 1st Round pick of the 2013 Draft (4th overall).
26.) Carlos Rodon, LHSP, CHW
The White Sox recently announced they’ve agreed to the highest bonus given to a player selected in this year’s draft when they signed the big lefty for $6,582,000. The consensus #1 pick prior to the season slipped to Chicago following an uneven start to his season at NC State, but slight adjustments to his delivery returned his fastball to the mid-90s, and his wipeout slider was widely considered the best pitch in the draft. Carlos shouldn’t need much development time if all goes as expected, and he could team with Chris Sale to provide the White Sox with a dynamic duo of LHPs at the front of their rotation starting next spring.
27.) Jesse Winker, OF, CIN
Winker earned a promotion to AA Pensacola just before the break, but it was well deserved – he slashed .317/.426/.580/1.006 with 15 2Bs and 13 HRs in only 205 California League ABs to begin his 2014 campaign. He’s not particularly athletic, and his limited range and arm strength will likely keep him in LF long-term, but he uses the whole field, exhibits a solid approach, and should develop into a plus hitter with plus power.
28.) Josh Bell, OF, PIT
Bell’s career started a little slowly after the Pirates were surprisingly able to sign him away from Texas after giving him a $5,000,000 bonus when they selected him in the 2nd Round of the 2011 Draft (his Mom’s a college professor), but he’s coming on quickly after shaking off injuries. The Pirates already own arguably the most dynamic young OF in the game at the MLB level, but Bell and fellow prospect Austin Meadows should provide GM Neal Huntington two very valuable trade pieces if the organization chooses to move them in an effort to improve the big club somewhere else.
29.) Tyler Glasnow, RHSP, PIT
Glasnow appears to be well on his way to becoming possibly the most impressive draft pick of the Huntington era. A relative unknown as a Hart High (Santa Clarita, CA) Senior, the Pirates signed him for $600,000 after they drafted him in the 5th Round of the 2011 Draft. Glasnow has a mid-90s fastball that can touch as high as 99 to pair with a solid curveball and improving changeup. He led the SALLY League in Ks (164 in 111.1 IP) last season in his first taste of full-season ball, and has limited Florida State League hitters to a .180 BAA while still averaging better than 1 K/IP.
30.) Jimmy Nelson, RHSP, MIL
Nelson doesn’t really have anything else to prove in the minors, and he’s likely going to be given several more starts with the big club to get comfortable even though he struggled in his appearance before the break. It’s conceivable that he could be sent back down if Milwaukee remains in the race and he’s having a tough time, but his spot in the 2015 Brewers’ rotation seems all but certain.
31.) Kyle Zimmer, RHSP, KCR
The #5 overall pick in the 2012 Draft by the Royals was shut down in late May after straining his Latissimus Dorsi (shoulder muscle) in his first outing facing live hitters. Originally projected as a late season call-up to help bolster the rotation this season, it now appears that he’ll be limited to around 40 IP in instructional league ball and the Arizona Fall League once he resumes throwing this month. Zimmer’s upside remains high if he proves healthy, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be a legitimate full-time option for the KC rotation until 2016.
32.) Jose Berrios, RHSP, MIN
The #32 overall pick in the 2012 Draft was dominant for Fort Myers (Hi-A) – 1.96 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, .218 BAA, 109/23 K/BB Ratio over 96.1 IP (78 hits allowed) – prior to earning a promotion to AA New Britain last week. Jose profiles as a potential #2 SP if he continues to improve his control with a low 90s fastball that can touch 95, an improving slider, and a good changeup that has late fade. He won’t be rushed, but could force his way into the Twins’ rotation late next season if he continues to impress.
33.) J. P. Crawford, SS, PHI
Crawford won the GCL batting title last season after the Phillies scooped him up at #16 overall in the 2013 Draft and the organization continues to be aggressive with him, already pushing him to Hi-A Clearwater following his .295/.398/.405/.804, 16 2B, 3 HR showing in 227 SALLY League ABs. He displayed a keen eye at the plate while he was with Lakewood, drawing 37 BBs while only striking out 37 times. A premium athlete (Uncle Carl’s still with the Dodgers for now), he displays soft hands and a plus arm and good instincts defensively. If his bat continues to develop and the organization continues to be aggressive with him, Crawford could supplant Roman Quinn as the eventual replacement for Jimmy Rollins. It might be a bit of a stretch to expect him to be ready before Rollins’ contract is up (if the Phillies exercise his 2015 option and he’s still there), but it’s not out of the question.
34.) Luis Severino, RHSP, NYY
The 20 year old’s early season success in Charleston – 2.79 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .242 BAA, 70/15 K/BB Ratio in 67.2 IP – earned him a quick promotion to Tampa, where he’s been even better in his first four starts. It’s tough to get overly excited about young Yankees’ Pitchers considering the fact that it’s been a long time since they’ve developed a good starter, but he’s doing a good job keeping the ball down (1.70 GO/AO Ratio this season). If they can keep him from falling in love with the radar gun (he’s touched the upper-90s while typically working at 93-95 MPH) and his offspeed stuff keeps improving, he projects as a #3 starter if not better.
35.) David Dahl, OF, COL
The #10 overall pick in the 2012 Draft was named the MVP of the Rookie Pioneer League (hitting a league-leading .379 and building a 27 game hitting streak) and he continues to flash his plus tools at Lo-A Asheville, finishing the first half slashing .299/.348/.495/.832 with 29 2Bs, 6 3Bs, and 10 HRs while being successful on 17 of his 21 SB attempts. The Rockies have a stable full of talented young OFs, but five tooler Dahl could eventually prove to be the best of the bunch.
36.) Alex Meyer, RHSP, MIN
Much like Jimmy Nelson, Meyer has proven about everything he needs to in the minors and is just kind of treading water while waiting for his call-up. That should come soon, and with only 89.1 IP so far, he could finish out the season with the big club to get him adjusted and have his innings at a level high enough to expect to give him a full workload in 2015.
37.) Arismendy Alcantara, 2B, CHC
It’s pretty tough to ask someone to do much more than Alcantara has in his first taste of MLB competition – a first week where he went 9-23 with 3 2Bs, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 6 runs scored, and a stolen base against a handful of solid SPs that play for contenders speaks for itself. He SHOULD remain in the lineup the rest of the way unless Theo and Jed are interested in improving the team’s draft position in an attempt to get one more Top 5 pick before the minors to Wrigley shuttle begins in earnest.
38.) Dalton Pompey, OF, TOR
Pompey’s development has been a bit slow, but once you realize he wasn’t picked by the Blue Jays until the 16th Round of the 2010 Draft, you’ll see him for the virtual steal he’s on his way to becoming. The switch-hitter could join fellow 2010 16th Round alumnus Cody Allen in the majors sooner rather than later. Dalton slashed .319/.397/.471/.868 with 12 2Bs, 6 3Bs, and 6 HRs with 29 SBs in 276 ABs with Dunedin (Hi-A) prior to earning a promotion to New Britain and an invitation to participate in this year’s Futures Game.
39.) Jose Peraza, 2B, ATL
While the 20 year old Peraza was setting the Carolina League on fire with Lynchburg (Hi-A) prior to his AA promotion, he’s been even more impressive since his arrival in Mississippi – slashing .374/.400/.484/.884 with 5 2Bs, 1 3B, 1 HR, and 8 SBs in his first 20 games (91 ABs). A really slick fielder with a good eye, Peraza projects as a prototypical leadoff hitter, and if he and Tommy La Stella keep their respective levels of play up there should be one heck of a battle waged for the Braves’ 2B job during camp when it opens at Dark Star (Disney) next February.
40.) Robert Stephenson, RHSP, CIN
The 27th overall pick in the 2011 Draft has struggled with his location and command during the first half of 2014 as a 21 year old with AA Pensacola – 3.97 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, with 48 BBs and 10 HRs allowed in 93 IP – but the Ks are still there (93), and he remains tough to hit when he locates (.216 BAA with only 74 hits allowed). While Robert appears to have taken a bit of a step back, he still projects as another front of the rotation arm from one of the more impressive classes of high school 1st Rounders in recent memory (his class included Jose Fernandez, Dylan Bundy, and Archie Bradley). The Reds have no need to rush Stephenson, but a strong second half could put him in the discussion to join the Reds’ rotation next season if they can’t come to terms on an extension with Matt Latos.
41.) Kyle Schwarber, C, CHC
The #4 overall pick in the 2014 Draft has already been promoted to Hi-A Kane County, and could have another promotion in his future following his .361/.448/.602/1.050, 8 2B, 4 HR, 11/17 BB/K Ratio showing in 83 ABs there. The Cubs expected him to move relatively quickly, but even the most aggressive prospect-hounds weren’t likely considering him as a legitimate candidate to be behind the plate in Wrigley in mid-2015. If he keeps this up, that may very well turn out to be the case.
42.) Tyler Kolek, RHSP, MIA
The Marlins surprised some pundits when they selected Kolek instead of Carlos Rodon at #2 overall last month citing Rodon’s likely quicker development curve, but Jose Fernandez’ injury may have contributed to the decision (at least somewhat). Assuming Fernandez fully recovers from Tommy John Surgery, Kolek could be paired with him to form the most impressive young front of a rotations in the game as early as late 2015. Tyler is the hardest thrower most scouts can remember during the draft era (consistently touching 102 MPH), and he’s flashed a power slider at times to go along with a decent curveball and a changeup he hasn’t had to throw very often. The Marlins’ organization has had consistent recent success in developing young Pitchers, and Kolek could become as good as any of them if he can throw consistent strikes with his secondary offerings.
43.) Kevin Plawecki, C, NYM
Plawecki’s impressive early start at AA Binghamton – .326/.378/.487/.864 with 18 2Bs and 6 HRs in 224 ABs – earned him a promotion to Las Vegas prior to the break to go along with an Futures Game invite. He’s a solid hitter who sprays line drives from pole to pole and can turn on a pitch when the opportunity presents itself. He projects as average defensively behind the plate, but could profile as a perfect platoon partner for Lucas Duda at 1B who should be capable of spelling Travis d’Arnaud whenever needed to keep him healthy as early as next spring.
44.) Jorge Soler, OF, CHC &
Soler’s been nicked up for most of the first half but has been arguably as impressive as any hitter in the minors when he’s been on the field. In 15 games since he was added to the Tennesee (AA) roster, he’s slashed .400/.456/.880/1.336 in 50 ABs, smacking 9 2Bs and 5 HRs. Can he continue at this pace? Of course not, but if he keeps impressing during the second half he could force his way into the conversation as an OF option in early 2015 (if not on Opening Day).
45.) Jorge Alfaro, C, TEX
Alfaro is one of the most intriguing Catcher prospects in the game with a bit of an odd skill set – a premium athlete with a small frame and well above-average speed for a backstop, he could shift to RF in the event his footwork behind the plate and ability to block balls doesn’t continue to improve. If he can remain behind the plate he has the plus arm to shut down a running game combined with the ability to be a well above-average offensive producer. His pitch recognition still needs work (.258 BA and a .318 OBP with 87 Ks during the first half at Hi-A Myrtle Beach), but he barrels balls up regularly and compiled 31 XBH prior to the break (17 2Bs, 3 3Bs, and 10 HRs) while driving in 59 runs. Another Futures Game participant, Jorge will be given every opportunity to remain behind the dish long-term, but he has enough bat to reach The Show even if he has to change positions.
46.) Hunter Dozier, 3B, KCR
Somewhat panned as an “easy sign” when Kansas City made him the #8 overall pick in the 2013 Draft, Dozier has rewarded the Royals’ confidence in him by continuing to hit as he’s advanced up the ladder. His OBP has not unexpectedly suffered a bit following his first half promotion to AA Northwest Arkansas as he’s seeing more advanced pitching, but he appears to be adjusting of late – slashing .273/.351/.606/.957 with 2 2Bs and 3 HRs in his last 10 games prior to the break. Hunter has an above-average arm and good range defensively and could provide the organization an alternative to Mike Moustakas as early as late 2015 if Moustakas continues to struggle at the plate.
47.) Albert Almora, OF, CHC
Almora is the seventh (and final!!!) Cubs yougster to make this list. After struggling mightily early in the season with Hi-A Daytona, he’s caught fire lately, slashing .395/.422/.721/1.143 over his last 10 games with 3 2Bs, 1 3B, and 3 HRs among his 17 hits. He’s still striking out too often to be rushed, but the 2012 #2 overall pick remains a big part of Chicago’s projected lineup as early as late 2015 if he can improve his pitch recognition and patience. Albert’s still only 20, and became the third player in Daytona Cubs’ history to hit for the cycle when he went 5-7 (2 1Bs) with 5 RBIs and 4 runs scored in a 13-8 win over Jupiter Monday night.
48.) Jeff Hoffman, RHSP, TOR
Hoffman will miss the vast majority of the 2015 season while he recovers from Tommy John Surgery, but was in the conversation to go among the top 3-4 picks in this year’s draft prior to going down. Toronto was more than happy to give him a #3,080,800 bonus to sign and rehab in their system when they grabbed him with the #9 overall pick last month. Hoffman has the stuff to front a rotation, pitching off a fastball that comfortably sat in the mid-90s (touching 98), a heavy two-seamer with sink and armside run, and a changeup and curve that have both flashed above-average at times. He maintains his velocity deep into games, and could move quickly if he returns to full health late next season.
49.) Clint Frazier, OF, CLE
I mentioned Frazier as someone who appears to be becoming more comfortable lately prior to his appearance in Sunday’s Futures Game, and he remains someone to keep an eye on as the second half opens. The organization will continue to allow him to keep refining his approach and progressing at his own pace, but he could become an option to begin 2016 in the Indians’ lineup with continued improvement.
50.) Austin Meadows, OF, PIT
Meadows was selected 4 picks lower than fellow Georgia high school OF Clint Frazier in the 2013 Draft (#9 overall), and has seen his 2014 campaign wrecked by a hamstring injury during spring training followed by a setback while rehabbing. Austin may eventually have to move to LF (he has an average arm at best according to most scouts), but was lauded for his advanced approach at the plate prior to being drafted, and he has the leverage to develop power although he’ll need to work on loft to deliver it consistently as he progresses.
Assuming he doesn’t keep getting hit in the wrists, when would you expect Buxton to see the majors? I’m thinking of shopping Correa or Sano to get him from a disillusioned owner. Buxton has only one year left of keeper status, and Correa and Sano have two – but I have no prospects who seem close to the majors. If Buxton is close, I’m wondering if he’s worth it.
Buxton will have every opportunity to begin 2015 in CF at Target Field if he’s healthy.
If anybody’s selling him, I’m buying.
I may have a chance to acquire Giolito fairly cheaply. In my league, we can only keep 3 ‘prospects’ heading into next year, but I don’t have to make a decision until our draft date at the beginning of the season. Seeing as how I already have Sano, Correa, Taillon and Zimmer, would it make sense to add GIolito to my stash by giving up a solid SP like Archer? I always like having extra prospect choices heading into the year – it amazes me sometimes how dramatically things can change in a few months.
@Jonesy: Sorry, I should mention that I also have Stephenson as one of my choices (so I would need to choose 3 to keep out of Sano, Correa, Taillon, Zimmer, Stephenson, and possibly Giolito). My concern is that of these guys, the only ones who are likely to help at all next year are Taillon (half-way through), and maybe Zimmer and Stephenson depending on how they rebound from injury and mediocre first half performance respectively.
I don’t think I’d simply just “drop” someone with Archer’s upside – keep in mind we’re not likely going to see Giolito at the MLB level prior to 2016.
What are your thoughts on Marco Gonzales, Max fried, Colin Moran, and Alex Guerrero? Only player on this list available in my 20 keeper is hunter dozier and should I drop one of the fore mentioned players or grant green for him?
@Hank: 20 team ( no keeper restrictions)
My main keepers btw are buxton, winker, dj Peterson, and JP Crawford along with the other mentioned
I’m not very high on Grant Green, but he’s really the only guy you mention that I’d consider dropping for Dozier personally.
Have a decision to make in dynasty league. 16 team 6×6 (obp and holds) h2h, 30 man roster plus 5 minor league spots. I took over a team that was abandoned after last season have worked to get to respectability. Currently have Franco and Zimmer occupying two valuable spots, with some of your top 25 prospects still available. Have an offer from a team cashing in their chips for Brandon Moss and rajai Davis for Franco and Zimmer. I could use the power and wouldn’t mind the speed either. I would be dropping Rasmus and Franco to make room. What do you think?
@Tim: make that dropping Rasmus and Juan francisco
@Tim: one more tidbit… I’m in fifth place, but only 6 games out
Will you be able to retain Moss beyond this season? Seems a little steep to rent him for a couple months, but not terribly (especially if you can keep him beyond this season).
Will you be in a position to replace Zimmer and Franco with those other Top 25 guys you mention if you make the deal?
@Chris: can keep forever… I can replace as soon as Franco and Zimmer are of my team. .. Giolito is one player available
Absolutely in that case.
looks like your value is on big upswing, this is most comments on prospect post in a long time.
@goodfold2: last time to bug you, since by now each and every possible nomination is out there, and other than the fact that the bidding could go on till everyone runs out of money (at the 24 time after a guy was nominated, each newest bid has a 4 hour runoff). any of these even worth cutting a player in short term for
morban OF SEA
healy P OAK
callahan P BOS
grosser P ATL
vasquez OF HOU
moscot P CIN
parsons P ATL
jaime P ATL
colvin P PHI
bauers CI SD
reyes OF SD
diaz CI MIN
streich P OAK
arano P LAD
I like Grosser a bit (had a strong outing last night too), Parsons has some upside left to reach, and Moscot would be somebody worth tucking away to see how he does.
Again, these aren’t guys I’d spend a lot of money on, but if you can get them pretty cheap they might be pretty good sleepers.
Always has everything to do with the players – there are A LOT of talented youngsters starting their climbs through systems these days.
Definitely has nothing to do with the columnist – you’re more than welcome to tell everyone differently though!!! ;-D
@Chris: i took it to be both of those. still, this is the most posts on prospects board in either very long time or ever.
i’m pretty sure this list is exactly eventually best overall players, so if that’s the case d.norris (TOR) is over H.Harvey, even though it’s only one spot. In like two leagues i can drop harvey for norris.
At that level, it’s probably nitpicking – I wouldn’t drop one for the other. (Norris won the tiebreaker because he’s closer to MLB ready.
16-team league with 5 keepers. Drop Baez for Buxton?
In a heartbeat.
After losing tanaka in my dynasty league, I’m frantically looking to rebound from the loss of tanaka. Anyway I’m thinking of trading my kris bryant and tanaka for darvish and pederson. Is this something worth doing or is losing bryant too much of a loss in a dynasty league?
@Ryan: for what it’s worth I think its a good deal for you. Bryant is not likely to stay at 3rd so his value is equal to or less than Pederson. Bryant strikes out a ton and doesn’t have the speed of Pederson. While healthy, Yu is a top 5 SP.
That’s definitely not the kind of “insulting” offers you sometimes see, and probably about as close to “fair value” as you’re likely to get – if you believe (like I do) that Pederson will swipe 15-20 bags after he’s promoted, it’s close to a wash IMO.
If you’re in contention and have a shot this year, it’s definitely the type of deal I’d look for..
Russell, Bundy, Castellanos, and Miller (and it isn’t particularly close for me personally).
I’m torn on the Baez ranking. It seems like with his ceiling he could be slot right into the #3 spot after Bryant and Buxton. The first month of his season was awful then he seemed to rebound.
Sidenote, I was just offered Russell, Bundy, Castellanos and Shelby Miller for Baez, Wheeler and Aaron Sanchez. Anyone have an opinion in a dynasty league which they would prefer?
@Superfan: speaking of Miller, exactly a month ago today I traded Shelby, B. Dozier and Chisenhall for Ryan Braun and RA Dickey. You need only one goal on mind here: Trade Miller! If you can trade high on him well more power to ya. Good luck!
I was offered: I’m considering just b/c saves can come so easy…
Porcello + A. Craig for F. Rodney + Robert Stephenson
Who wins for the future?
@Ryan: I prefer the Stephenson side because I think he has a chance to be the best player of all of them mentioned.
I’d probably agree – the deal’s pretty close, but I always want the player with the highest upside in deals like that.
Three guys I’d like to see get some ink: Jake Lamb, Andrew Velazquez, Austin Voth. Nick Williams has already been mentioned as a glaring omission; top 5 Rangers prospect, made every preseason list, then he goes out and slauters Carolina League pitching. He should be here, but aside from that I can’t find anything I would argue with this list. What about Velazquez, Lamb and Voth? Are these fringe prospects that you think may explode onto the scene? Those slash lines do not lie and Voth has been unhittable. What do you think?
In a keeper auction league, get to keep $120 out of $300 can keep MLB prospects for only a $1 each year. Was offer a trade where I give up E5, Corey Seager, and Simon in return get K. Bryant, Alex Meyer, and Hosmer. I have no plans to keep E5( he will cost 40-45 next year) is this trade good value? I have arenado, K. Seager on my roster and plan on keeping them for cheap. I hate to get rid of C. Seager but hes two years away and Bryant will be more than likely be moving to the OF. Also I have Baez and Davison as keeper prospects. Just wanted to get some input.
I love Seager, but I’d probably make that deal. In the event Bryant stays at 3B, you probably wouldn’t have much trouble shopping Arenado or Kyle next season or over the winter.
ok, i got reyes OF on the cheap 500 k when 400 k is minimum bid. other owner waited 3 minutes too long.
1. is soler really that far behind winker? i could have either, as one of 5 NA stashes in shallower league.
2. which of these is best grab?
kubitza P DET
o.garcia P BAL
prime CI COL
rosa CI MIA
kubitza CI ATL (what’s with 2 kubitza’s both getting nominated late in this process)
montas P WSOX
stephens P CIN (not stephenson of course)
asher P TEX
still got the same 10.291 million and already grabbed reyes OF ATL/drury (very expensive, but you had him ranked 3rd highest of names i gave you)/urena. reyes so cheap he could be put into minors right away and not count at all towards this year’s 100 million (minor guys when in our minors system are free, till brought up). drury/urena will stay on this year’s active roster so as to get their next 3 year contracts back to 400 K after this season ends.
@goodfold2: name top 2 or 3 from that list, kubitza the P is probably gonna cost too much and some other unforeseen large bids could show up by desparate owners wanting to use their money for something. by this point no more players can be added.
@goodfold2: the ATL kubitza looks pretty good statswise.
@goodfold2: also these two bullpen types
leclerc P TEX
gustave P HOU. add these to that list. it turns out we can nominate till tonight.
Asher’s a bit of an interesting arm. Kyle Kubitza (ATL) has a ways to go, but if you can get him cheap he’s worth a flier.
@Chris: asher might be cheaper than kubitza but i’ll fling some money around. thanks.
@goodfold2: got kubitza pretty cheap, 1.9 mil, same amount i got urena for. for some reason right now fantrax has brandon drury as a MI, not the CI he clearly is. weird.
Correa, Gallo or Giolito worth grabbing to potentially be one of my 11 keepers(15 teams)? Right now the 11 are looking like
And two of Ventura, Shields, R Zimm, Jennings
and Eaton is another possible keeper
3 Of spots (LF, cf, rf) and one util
The only one of the three that might push for a 2015 promotion (at this point) is Giolito, and that’s a longshot.
Thanks for the advice above regarding Gary Sanchez.
One more to run by you….
Jake Marisnik. Will this guy ever be able to hit in the MLB? I’ve also been carrying him on my farm but was thoroughly disgusted by his recent call up….
Is this guy a bust? Or will he put it together and join the OF in Miami next year?
“Bust” may be a bit of a strong term, but I’m not particularly high on him. I think he might eventually prove useful enough (from a baseball standpoint) to be a solid 4th OF, but he’s far from an “impact player” at this point, and I don’t think he’s a starter unless it’s on a second division team.
How would you rate the following guys in an AL-only keeper league? Odor, Betts, Singleton, Bauer, Odorizzi?
Not sure who to plan on keeping and who to throw out as trade bait.
@Big D: I’d want to keep Betts at least, maybe Odorizzi. I’d dangle the rest.
Betts, Singleton, Odor, Odorizzi, Bauer.
How far outside your top 50 is Mike Foltynewicz? He’s had a very inconsistent year at AAA, but the strikeout potential is obviously there.
Foltynewicz wasn’t close – he might be a Top 100 guy at this point, but a fringe one at best.
CarGo, Correa, Richards, Stroman
Dynasty auction/contract league format, OBP/QS (in place of AVG/W).
Adrian Gonzalez ($18), Jean Segura ($3, 2 years remain), Aroldis Chapman (final year of contract), and Alex Wood
CarGo ($36), Carlos Correa, Garrett Richards, and Marcus Stroman
Which side you like?
Rip maikel Franco :(
Please , in a 5×5 for ’15 please rate these rooks and injured vets.
I can bid low and stash a player for next season.
Then he gets a $3 in ’15 then $5 raise in 2016 each of the following 2years before he
can’t be kept in 2017.
So he has to produce quickly.
I’m not a fan of young pitchers BUT…. If he has Fernandez potential y not.
Please rate top 5 of all these for next year
Buxton, Bundy, Pederson, Wieters, Fielder
@Chris: i’m guessing you have a fair amount of doubt that Fielder’s surgery will help him if you slot him that low?
@Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey:
His power was dwindling before he was dealt to Texas, but the company line was that they thought they had that issue fixed. Now this.
No – I’m afraid there will be several better options.
Good stuff man. Got a quick question, 20 team dynasty with 40 player rosters. All 40 can be kept forever with no penalty. I’ve had Bundy rostered since he was drafted and I was hoping he would help my staff down the stretch this season for a run at a championship. Since it looks like that’s not gonna happen and my staff still needs a little boost down the stretch, what do you think about moving him? I have an offer on the table to send Bundy and Steven Souza for Alex Cobb. Think I should pull the trigger or is Bundy too valuable to give up in this format? Thanks man
@dp: Wow, definitely take that trade if you are trying to win now.
I’d personally shop around a little longer to see if I couldn’t get a “boost” a little cheaper. If the owner offering Cobb will take Bundy now, I’m pretty sure he’ll circle back to you before he accepts an offer of less than him before he accepts.
Let him know you’re considering it, but that’s a little steep for my blood.
So how sure are you that Bryant starts 2015 opening day on the MLB roster?
I’ll answer that question with a couple questions…
Don’t you think the Cubs’ ownership group will fire Theo and Jed if they send him back to Iowa just to find out whether or not he can hit 50 HRs there before the break?
Don’t you think Cubs fans will burn Theo and Jed’s houses down after they’ve seen Alcantara and they send Bryant back to Iowa next April?
Yes, he’ll be in the lineup on Opening Day 2015. I have no idea what position he’ll be playing though.
Would u drop Dickerson (col) to pick up kiermeier or Vogt??
@Mike: No way. Dickerson was bound to go cold but the dude will hit for high average, could be 25/20 300 over a full season in colorado
All 3 are part-time players at the moment (with CarGo’s return). In a keeper league I’d say no because of the park he plays in, but in a re-draft league it’s usually more important to be ahead of the trends and ride the hot hands – until Dickerson gets to play (and can perform) against LHPs I don’t consider his .225/.295/.350/.645 slash line “undroppable” by any stretch.
Great work Chris! I expected to see Aaron Sanchez but saw you’re reasoning above.
Can you give me an opinion on a trade for my dynasty team please?
I have no real shot at the playoffs let alone the title this year after taking over an existing team. Its only 8 teams, a H2H with point system that really rewards HRs, R’s, SB’s. Mostly HRs. I manged to get Springer this year and he is already one of the most valuable players in the league – and he hasn’t started really stealing bags yet!
Should I trade Rios and Fister for Buxton and Homer Bailey?
One thing to consider is that there are NO bench spots – so Buxton will be an empty space on my roster until he is up. I want to compete next year and that is looking good. But if I take Buxton then I have a “wasted” roster spot until he gets here.
Maybe its worth potentially being out of contention next year as well in order to have Buxton? Maybe you think its safe enough that he will be up by Super 2 or earlier next year for good?
Tough one there Carl. Over the long haul I’d say yes – Buxton has the ability to be that kind of talent. The step down from Fister to Homer is far from insignificant, but I do think Homer’s closer to what we’ve seen in the past than what we’ve seen this year – he’s looked to me like he’s trying to show that he deserves his contract rather than just pitching…I wouldn’t think of him as a castaway just yet.
Do you think (barring injury) Buxton’s a lock to be up at Super-2 next year?
Can you estimate full season stats (2016) for him as far as HR’s & SB’s?
Several of the other guys here at Razzball are much better with the projections and numbers – that’s probably a better question for them.
If he finishes the season healthy, I do think they’ll give him the chance to win the CF job during camp next season and start out on the club.
Glad to see Winker getting some hype. I think he is going to be a real quality MLB bat but generally gets knocked down prospect lists for his ability to really only play a corner OF.
Another guy I think should be higher on fantasy radars is Dan Vogelbach. Great bat and similar approach at the plate as Winker, he is just absolutely going to be relegated to 1st base/DH duties. I think his bat should eventually be an impact wherever he may land since Rizzo is making himself a name in Chicago
Thanks man for the list
Would you keep Bryant in 7×7 obp, slg over guys like Iwakuma, Bailey, Kazmir, Jose Fernandez, Seager, Yelich, Ortiz or Lester?
11 teams, we keep 5 per team. 1350 innings limit. C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, 3OF, 2 UT, 2SP, 2RP, 3P, 7 bench. Can stash him on N/A spot for the rest of the season.
Thank you in advance
No. He won’t be more helpful than any of them unless Theo and Jed change course and call him up soon.
Why have a defensive catcher at 19 in a fantasy top 50 list?
He’s that good defensively. The bat is usually the last tool to develop for Catchers that are elite defenders – they continually work as hard on blocking and receiving skills and footwork as they do at the plate because that’s their ticket to The Show. Excellent defensive Catchers who can come through with a big hit every once in awhile wind up with long careers.
Yadier Molina didn’t have a season where he caught at least 100 games with an OBP over .340 until he was 24 and in his 4th big league season. The prior season (2006) he slashed .216/.274/.321/.595.
Hedges is already a comparable defender and he’s 21. Time is on his side.
@Chris: I’m not sure Yadier is a fair comparison. Hedges will never even sniff a batting title or home run crown for catchers. Let alone the whole league.
Doesn’t being a good defensive catcher mean he’ll always be a catcher? He’ll be grinding out games in SD And getting beat up 5 days a week. Doesn’t really sound like a recipe for a top twenty fantasy prospect. I’ve never been in a league that counts blocked balls.
Not trying to be a buzz kill. Just trying to understand.
And prior to the year I mentioned, everyone pointed to Yadi in much the same way – great defensively, hasn’t shown much with the bat.
At the same age (Age 21 season), Molina had an MiLB career slash line of .278/.335/.368/.703 with 50 2Bs, 1 3B, and 14 HRs. Hedges’ career line is .261/.323/.403/.725 with 18 2Bs, 1 3B, and 5 HRs.
I’m not saying that Hedges is a lock to become the next Yadi – what I am saying (along with the BA crew who have him at #17, and others that believe in his bat) is that he has that kind of upside if he hits.
The reasoning is the same as with Lindor – elite-level up the middle defenders will get every opportunity to allow their bat to develop (and in some cases, even a couple more chances than they deserve at times).
Those players affect the games more with their gloves than they likely ever will with their bats (this is where their true value lies) – anything the Braves get from Simmons on offense is a bonus. The same thing goes for guys like Andrus, Lindor, Escobar, Christian Bethancourt, etc..
Remember, this is a ranking of the Top 50 Prospects – not the Top 50 Fantasy Prospects.
@Chris: Sorry I misunderstood. The title says ” top 50 fantasy prospects”.
@Chris: And you said you would pick them in this order of a fantasy draft. My mistake.
@Chris: Those statements look like I’m picking on you for your opinion of one player on a list of 50. Not my intention. I apologize.
@Baezaworldseries:It is important that all of a sudden we’re seeing a BA or baseball prospectus type prospect list here, when i’m sure each and every one of us thought we were in fact getting a top fantasy prospect list. The “fantasy” part is exactly what Scott used to do. just now is the first time we’re seeing anything to the effect that this is a overall prospect list and NOT a fantasy prospect list.
@Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: due to this, Scott wouldn’t have had Hedges/Lindor as top 50 guys. BA and BP do for sure.
@Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey@Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: Yeah, the lede said “fantasy”. Hedges’s ability (in my mind) didn’t warrant a top fifty ranking. I agree. Not one of us were expecting to hear this list is not for fantasy.
Not at all. These lists are always subjective. These are the guys I would take – there’s no doubt that very good arguments can be made to replace some of them with someone else…there are a lot of people that don’t think Hedges’ bat will come – I just happen to be one of the few that does.
@Chris: You are completely entitled to your opinion. I respect your knowledge and insight. You bring to light players and abilities most of us haven’t or never will see. We rely on your work to build fantasy teams of the future. Which is why I was really surprised to hear this is not exclusively a “fantasy” prospect list.
I don’t see it. Molina just suffered from very low BABIP in 2006, that’s all that held him back. Hedges strikes out much more than Molina, which will suppress his BA ceiling. He has shown no on-field proof of any tools of a top 10 fantasy catcher. You really would take him above Kyle Schwarber as a *fantasy* (i.e., hitting) catcher, even though you can see Schwarber in the majors in 2015?
@Sam: Schwarber will not be a catcher in the big leagues. He will be moved to outfield.
I think they’ll make every effort possible to keep him behind the plate if at all possible. He’s athletic enough to play LF, but won’t be very good defensively there either (profiles a lot like Evan Gattis).
He’s got a good arm, and if he can work hard over the winter on his footwork and blocking skills he could be at least “passable” back there – the type of guy that gets you more runs with his bat than he lets in – then you take him out late in close games.
51.) Danny Hultzen
The forgotten man on most prospect lists…
No one has “forgotten” Hultzen.
The surgery Dr. Andrews performed on him was MAJOR shoulder surgery…M-A-J-O-R. He had fraying of the labrum – not insurmountable. He has a slight to the rotator cuff – not irreparable. But he also had a torn anterior capsule – seriously scary stuff for Pitchers.
A partial list of Pitchers who had to have torn anterior capsules repaired includes – Mark Prior, Johan Santana, Rich Harden, John Danks, Dallas Braden, Chien Ming Wang, Dallas Braden, and Chris Young – two have had minimal success after the surgery if you consider #4/#5 starter level as a success (Danks and Young), and the others didn’t contribute at the MLB level after they had the procedure.
If you’ll give up #51 level talent for Hultzen, I’m sure you’ll have no trouble landing him.
Great list. Thanks!
Thoughts on Gary Sanchez? I’ve been carrying this guy on the farm team of my dynasty for a while now and he’s still ranked at #1 NYY prospect for what it’s worth. Should I be dumping this guy? The only player I think that is available off your list above would be Pompey. My team is already pretty speed rich and mostly lacking in power. Looking to 2015-16 who is more likely to produce value, Sanchez or Pompey?
Unfortunately being ranked as the Yankees’ #1 prospect is comparable to being the best looking girl left at the bar at 1:55 AM when the bartender calls “last call” these days.
The Yankee hype machine has trumpeted on and on about Sanchez for several years now. I’m not very high on him (and would rather have all the guys that made this list personally), but that doesn’t mean he’s “trash”.
He’s not going to play in New York with McCann in front of him, meaning he’s trade bait. That’s one of the worst-kept secrets around baseball. The problem the Yankees have is that they’re not happy with whatever offers they’ve received for him, signaling to me that they still consider him an “elite” prospect. Some lists still have him in the Top 50, but most also have several Catchers ahead of him as well.
Who should I try to hold on to more in my keeper leauge – Tevor Bauer or Marcus Stroman? Looking to trade one of them.
Stroman for me. Bauer looks to be getting better, but I’ll always worry that his control issues will surface again until I see him string 10-12 good starts together.
14 tm keeper league where I’m neck and neck with two other guys for the title.
I just made two separate trades:
1. Bryant (keepable in 23rd round) for Adam Jones (expiring) and Matt Carpenter (expiring)
2. Alcantara (keepable in 23rd round) plus some low draft picks for Zack Greinke (expiring) and Jose Reyes (expiring)
There are limited keeper spots, and I have good ones so I probably would have only been able to keep one of the Bryant/Alcantara combo. You can keep guys indefinitely with one round inflation each year.
This allowed me to (1) add Greinke to the rotation and (2) replace:
(a) Beltran at OF with Jones
(b) Alcantara at SS with Reyes
(c) Chris Johnson at 3rd with Carpenter
What do you think? Did I get enough?
I like both moves short-term (and as I’ve mentioned before, love it when owners go for it personally).
Jones is a monster upgrade from Beltran, Reyes could easily be a huge difference-maker in the second half and he, Joey Bats, and Encarnacion are healthy, and if someone has a staff that wouldn’t be upgraded by a Greinke addition, I’d hate to see it.
I’m not sure the Johnson —> Carpenter upgrade is quite as substantial, but if Carpenter is still 2B-eligible in your league, you’ve got great flexibility if both get hot at the same time and you can slide Carpenter over as a 2B/MI.
Hey Chris, we did a 3-round prospect draft yesterday and though I think I did ok, this list would have been great – oh well. I came away with Sano, Correa and Stephenson (not loving that last pick). I also currently have Taillon and Zimmer as prospects on my roster, so I get to keep 3 of those 5 for two more full seasons unless I get better replacements next year. Thoughts on my stash? My only wish is that I had someone in the mix who could potentially start next year on an MLB roster, but it doesn’t look good.
If we are talking 10 teams or more… Sano and Correa are going to be beasts. Sano lost a year of development with TJ, but still looks only 2 years away. Correa while not hurt is just simply young. I could see both in the big in 2 years, both have the ability to make the jump really young.
Stephenson could contribute next season. Taillon had TJ this year, and for a pitcher it is an 18month recover (for sano, a hitter, it is much shorter), and I just do not see the upside in Zimmer as the other 2, but still a great arm.
If you found a team that did terrible with prospects, you may be able to get somoene to take all 3 of your boardrline top 20 SP prospects for another elite guy.
@james: Thanks for the feedback. We do have one guy who only had one pick, and he took Henry Owens (I think he is the only prospect on his roster, and we can keep 3, so he is very short). I wonder if I can look to deal some combation of Zimmer and Stephenson or Taillon to get Owens and another solid asset for this year. From what I read on this list, Owens my be pretty ready. But I’m not sure he projects better than Taillon or Stephenson, so I might be better off waiting them out.
I can see that approach if you’re getting a “dead lock”, but that strategy has just as many potholes as others.
Taillon would’ve been in the Pirates’ 2014 if he’d had a good spring and stayed healthy – they’ll be as careful as needed with him when he returns, but you’re not looking at 18 months from now for him – without setbacks he could be pitching in games by May, and in the rotation for good after the break.
Stephenson needs to make an adjustment, it’s not like he’s hurt. The velocity is still there, and so are the Ks. If he makes that adjustment, I personally think there’s at least a 50-50 chance he’s in their rotation on Opening Day 2015. The Reds don’t have the financial means to re-sign Latos unless he’s willing to tak a well-below market deal, and that’s just not going to happen IMO.
If I were packaging Taillon, Stephenson, and Zimmer for someone, they’d have to be someone on the Bumgarner/Teheran level that some may not consider an “Ace” just yet, but they’ve already proven that they’re all but one.
there are people who do not consider MadBum an ace? I get julio since he is young and not been around that long, but MadBum bas been an ace for 3 years or more.
I consider both of them “Aces” personally, but they’re not typically referred to when you read what many pundits say about them, and they seem to fall just outside of that status when you see their draft rankings. Neither were listed as Top 12 Pitchers prior to this season (typical league size).
@Chris: Thanks to both of you for the feedback. What I’m reading here is that though Taillon and Stephenson may not be as elite as someone like maybe Giolito, they’re close, so I may be better off holding both and deciding at the beginning of next year which one to keep in addition to Sano and Correa. It sounds to me like if I’m going to deal anyone, it should be Zimmer (though I also am curious to see what the opinions are on him at the beginning of next year).
That’s my take – the one I’m the “least high on” would be Zimmer. I don’t want to say “lowest”, because I think all three are still terrific prospects – just that if I were dealing or releasing one of those three, Zimmer would be the one I’d part with first.
@james: Correa is hurt, btw. He’s out for the year, and it will be interesting to see if he comes back as a SS or if he moves to 3B.
Right – the write-up mentions his broken fibula.
Betts or Gallo…. I have Hanley, baez and Bogerates at ss, and my OF is silly deep. Seager is 3b.
Currently own betts but either him or dickerson are the only possible drops on my roster (unless nathan losing his closing gig tonight)
Close for me, but I can see dropping Betts for Gallo if you’re that loaded in the OF.
Is there a chance that betts ever moves back the 2b, or is it Pedoria until he retires. I thought betts was almost exclusively a 2b prospect, so found it odd that yahoo has him at SS.
ended up dropping casilla instead. I think i can grab a closer at the deadline easier, and i still do not like that situation for him.
Betts may eventually get enough time to qualify at 2B – he’d fill-in if Pedroia went on the DL, and would be the obvious backup for him, but it doesn’t look like he’ll spend time there otherwise.
I don’t see them starting Gallo’s clock unless they become sellers. Many teams are at the same point as the Cubs with their top prospects at this juncture – what’s the point? If the player can’t help them make a run at the playoffs, why call him up?
Baseball’s hard enough to begin with, and while we hate to hear GMs continue to say that they don’t want to put these youngsters in situations where they feel the pressure of being some kind of instant “savior” from the fans, they really are doing the best thing for the player.
Gallo’s struck out in almost half of his ABs since earning his AA promotion – quite a few of the Pitchers he’d see if the Rangers tossed him into the fire now are capable of making him look “clueless” and would ultimately stunt his development.
Excellent job. Being a Cubs fan, this list gives me something to look forward to.
Aaron Sanchez has fallen out of favor, huh?
Sanchez was close for me, but his control struggles put him a little below the guys I have here. I don’t think he’s “fallen out of favor” by any means, he just needs to iron out a few more wrinkles than the guys I have listed IMO.
Is Tapia a guy you like?
I do (and own him in a couple leagues), but he’s not Top 50 material yet.
great job,thanks for the work,will the rangers bring up gallo soon to help thier depleted team
Sorry Al…clicked the wrong spot when answering – I don’t (check above).
Below, sorry – today feels like Monday all over again!!!
Great list and write-ups, thanks.
I think it’d be more interesting that when readers bemoan players left out on such lists they also mention who those players should replace.
For example: Tapia (very promising but doing it at hitter-friendly Asheville) & N. Williams (very promising but with major k/bb issue). I like em both but can’t see who on this Top 50 they should replace….
Good point Fanthed, and exactly the reason I need to see more of both before I can feel better about either. That also explains why Dahl isn’t higher on some lists – power in Asheville hasn’t always translated to power in lots of other parks.
@Fanthed: I would substitute Tapia and Williams for Peraza, Plawecki, and (maybe) Pompey. Tapia and Williams have much bigger tools and higher ceilings, which I tend to favor in fantasy leagues. They are both also putting up very impressive numbers and showing that they can, at least to some extent, convert their incredible tools into production.
But to be fair, my dynasty leagues are shallower than some others, so high-ceiling, high-impact prospects have more value.
I can see that argument for either against Pompey, but until one of them learns to play 2B and steals 40+ bases in half a season or can produce offensively while wearing the tools of ignorance, Peraza and Plawecki are going to have more value in just about every non-shallow league.
@Chris: Unless it’s a two-catcher league, a catching prospect has to be dynamite with the bat to move the needle much.
Right. Mine (in the second deepest league) happen to be Sal Perez and Gattis. The point is they CAN move the needle – and pretty decisively – when they’re the right ones.
I never treat a position as a “throwaway position” because “most teams have one that produces at best” – those are usually places where leagues are won IMO.
@Chris: @Chris: Kevin Plawecki is not that guy.
Great list – thanks! I’m surprised to not see Raimel Tapia or Nick Williams on this list. It is hard to not be impressed by what Tapia is doing in his full-season debut and he has one of the best hit tools in the minors.
Tapia has definitely been impressive, and I’ll have a better handle on him as I get to see him more during the second half since I live about the same distance from McCormick Field as I do L. P. Frans Stadium (Hickory Crawdads), so I’ll get to see a good bit more of several interesting players over the next few months.
I fall into the camp of “show me for an extended period or against advanced pitching” like several prospect-hounds, meaning my default tiebreakers tend to go to the kids with success at higher levels in general.
Williams and Tapia will definitely be in the conversation I have to have with myself prior to the next reshuffling of my list if they keep up their current levels of production.
Thoughts on the Nat’s Michael Taylor? I see him listed in the 40-50 range on most lists as a power-speed guy, but he can’t get a handle on those strikeouts. Could he wind up as a Gomez type or more like Drew Stubbs?
Stubbs is the more likely comp for Taylor for me at this point, while that’s not a “bad” thing from a baseball standpoint, it’s also not particularly helpful for fantasy owners.
And you’re right – the Ks are the reason he didn’t make the list. I think Taylor will be a useful player for a good team at some point in the future, but it may ultimately be as a 4th OF type like Stubbs who can fill in for an extended period of time if someone goes down until he slips back into his “swing for the fences” mode.
(There’s a danger that Baez does the same thing – hitters with a high K propensity in the upper levels still get exposed if they’re not willing to adjust when they reach The Show – see Upton, B. J. among others.)
If you had to guess, could you name 2 or 3 bats that would make good NA stashes for this year only in a redraft. Ya know, some guys that would give a spark to a fantasy team treading water.
Anyone in particular available? The “best bats” – Bryant, Buxton, Correa, Gallo – aren’t likely to help this season.
@Chris: Only Bryant, Pederson, and Baez are taken. I own Baez so wondering if there’s a better stash out there for this year. I’d take a good foreseeable SP call-up too. Cheers.
I’d personally scoop Buxton up anywhere he’s available regardless of league or my current place in the standings (and would much rather have him than Baez personally). I do think we’ll see Jonathon Gray and Henry Owens at some point during the second half if you’re limiting your options to someone that will see time this year.
@Chris: Yes I’m just talking this year only. It’s a redraft. So you’d rather stash Buxton for the long-shot he gets called up, or hold Baez?
Yes – I’d rather stash Buxton than Baez.
@Chris: Yes I’m just talking this year only. It’s a redraft. So you’d rather stash Buxton for the long-shot he gets called up, or hold Baez?
expecting rookies called up this late in the season to do much is not the best bet. Barring injury to a big leaguer, most of these guys get 50-100ab cups of coffee on the high end. A few of the SP may hold down a rotaiton spot long enough to get 40-50 innings.
In redraft leagues, after the super 2 deadline in early to mid june, i am normally selling any rookies i was sitting on, and dropping if i have to.
@james: I’m not banking on it. I have an NA spot that would otherwise go unused. I know the answer “no one knows”, but just wanted to see if he had a hunch on who might get a call that could help.
Then the best bets to make the bigs would be Lindor and Peterson. Both have had some extended time in the upper minors, and are just awaiting their opportunities.
It also depends on what type of impact you need to be worth while. Lindor could be a .300 hitter with 25sb speed (over a full season) when called up, but that does not play well even for SS is most shallower leagues (the average is much much higher than i would expect… i keep saying this, but really he is alcindes escobar, if escobar is a FA, then do not bother)
@james: Word. Appreciate it.
Hey cram it what’s up… Do you think you can help me with my question above please?? Thanks Bud
@Frank White: I guess Collmenter only because he’s got an easier matchup and Smyly’s been brutal lately.
Sup Man… Who would you rather stream for the 20th, Smyly vs (CLE) in Detroit or Collmenter vs (CHC) in Arizona?? Doesn’t really matter who the pitcher is against cause it’s more about going the distance, K’s, less HA, less ER, less BB and QS.. A win would be nice. Thanks Bud!!
I’m afraid I’m not the best guy here at Razzball to help with that one – I think I’d check with Grey, Mike, or the other guys who are far more adept than I. Sorry!!!
@Frank White: i would think all those things have quite a bit to do with the team he’s pitching against. go smyly.
@Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: I’m pretty sure he was saying that the opposing pitcher is not the most important factor (except for getting the W). Obviously, the opposing team and park has an effect on the other stats.
I guess Eddie Butler doesn’t make the list b/c he made a start in the bigs, but where would he fit if included?….
@TreeFrog: Not sure how posted twice, sorry. And thanks for the great work, btw.
Butler would have, yes. He’s in that “prospect purgatory” with several guys that would’ve made my list if they weren’t “tweeners” at this point – Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Heaney, Mookie Betts all would’ve been on this list with Butler as well.
I guess Eddie Butler doesn’t make the list b/c he made a start in the bigs, but where would he fit if included?….
wow, look at what moving up levels with 2nd best power in all of baseball does to your ranking Gallo! he was much lower going into year by most lists
I see this is Seattle free article. DJ Peterson is top 5 material.
Glad you think so – Sickels and BA, like you, are higher on him – they had him at #40 and #46 respectively.
What about Maikel Franco?
I’m not the only one that thinks Franco’s regression is real – he didn’t make Keith Law’s Midseason list, and barely cracked BA’s (at #50).
Great stuff Chris! I have Archie in my N/A spot in a 3 year keeper. Was thinking of cutting bait for Buxton. Are you with me?
And absolutely. Buxton’s going to play as soon as he’s comfortable and producing, and I can see ranking he and Bryant 1A and 1B if Bryant ultimately becomes an OF. The deciding factor for me between the two is the lack of 30+ HR bats at the hot corner these days.
In a 12 team dynasty, would you drop shelby miller for Alex Meyer?
They’re both likely to be similar Pitchers over the long haul, but if doing so helps you free up an active roster spot, why not? Miller’s not likely helping you in many categories if you’re a contender for your league title at this point.
Andrew Heaney is outside the top 50?
@LA Sound Guy:
Andrew Heaney has already made 4 starts for the big club and is likely to be in their rotation for the majority of the rest of the season, so no.
1. shallower league with 5 NA’s. i guess one spot, but still drop h.harvey for d.norris
2. now i see where pompey matches up with many guys that i know of. i suppose this makes pompey (triumvirate mate) fastest mover in baseball, from preseason to now. i’ll very likely get drury and already got urena for really cheap. that vargas guy went for only 1 mil, i didn’t hear Sky’s testimonial on tv on radio/podcast thingy till yesterday and he was gone. severino went fo the most, i had to drop out of ramsey/pompey bidding, but i did help put them up a lot.
if i can’t get solorzano with my last 10ish million, any of these worth pursuing?
towey CI LAA
kubitza P DET
montas P WSOX
michaeczewski CI WSOX
mercedes P BOS
reyes OF ATL
o.garcia P LAD
andries P TB
dugas OF NYY
these guys might be trash, but that 10 million of mine isn’t likely gonna be spent in better ways. i’m a 11-15th ranked team (10 do make playoffs, but my team won’t matchup well with any good team). thanks a lot, finding out what value guys this deep might ever even possibly have is not easy.
Reyes’ hit tool is good, but I’m still skeptical about whether he develops much power. I would think you’d be able to get him relatively cheaply, but definitely wouldn’t spend $10 million on him.
Is there some rule in your league that you HAVE To spend the money or you lose it?
@Chris: no, money can be left over, but there’s only 2 times a year we can even get minors guys at all, now, and 5 round preseason draft. our minor guys allotment goes up 5 every year till it gets to 30, it’s currently at 20. so might as well use resources to bulk up.