It is with great honor I submit to the fantastic readers of Razzball my first prospect-centered column. The concept will be a fun one for anybody looking forward to Ralph’s prospect omnibus that will drop in the coming days (stay tuned!).

Two prominent lists dropped in the last few weeks. One comes from Fangraphs, the other comes from Baseball America. Below I look at a few players with large differentials between the two lists. This gets tricky with players who are on one list and not on another, but I made it work.

Before we launch ourselves into the prospect stratosphere, a few logistics…

  • Fangraphs’ list (FG)
  • Baseball America’s list (BA)
  • Note 1: Both of these lists are NOT constructed with fantasy baseball in mind. Does that confuse things for your dynasty league? Yes. But prospect value and dynasty value have a strong correlation to one another with some exceptions (catchers, defense, etc.).
  • Note 2: As with all prospect lists, the difference between 10 and 20 overall is very different from 70 and 80 overall. Nit-picking slots if both players are outside the top 75 is a tedious activity with little reward.
  • Note 3: Fangraphs ranks 131 players. Baseball America ranks only 100. Fangraphs also includes 2018 draft picks, while Baseball America is waiting for the signing deadline to pass to update their list. There are about 10-15 players from the draft deserving of top-100 ranks. Since Fangraphs ranked an extra 31 players, the adjustment needed when I calculate +/- differences below is minimal and therefore dismissed for the sake of simplicity.
  • Note 4: The narratives below each playe are my thoughts and my thoughts alone. As for reasoning why each organization ranked each player in said manner, I cannot provide anything more than speculation.
  • Note 5: Each player will end with a “Who do I side with?” decision. For this exercise, I picked one rank or the other that I liked better – no in-between. As I am generally an indecisive person, this was excruciatingly difficult, and I presume, entertaining for all.
  • Note 6: Two players graduated on FG’s list and not BA’s: Alex Reyes and Ryan McMahon.

Jo Adell, OF, LAA — 59th overall on FG, 13th overall on BA — BA 46 spots higher

Guessing the thought process behind ranks for either list is difficult and likely misleading. So let’s try it anyways. It seems like the scouts returning the “big time” grades on Adell are not the scouts who the crew at Fangraphs sourced when gaining more information on Adell. Either that or Fangraphs is hedging for some of the risk embedded in every 19-year-old prospect with less than 200 plate appearances in High-A.

Inflation in Adell’s stock comes from the quick application of his future 70-grade raw power. While it’s easy to scorn the nine teams that passed on him in 2017, if you told each of those teams his power would showcase this quickly, he would have been neck-and-neck with the no. 1 overall pick, Royce Lewis.

I cringe as I say the words “Lewis Brinson” in tandem with Adell for who I am reminded of. If you reframe that sentence and say Adell could be what we hoped Brinson would be from day one in the major leagues, it makes me more comfortable. Regardless, it’s a loaded comparison given Brinson’s track record in the majors so far. Adell already has 16 home runs in 60 games entering Sunday, July 1. Brinson’s minor league high was 21 back in 2013. The difference? Brinson played in 62 more games.

Who do I side with? Baseball America 

Adrian Morejon, LHP, SD — 106th overall on FG, 24th overall on BA — BA 82 spots higher

Last summer, I witnessed the worst start of Morejon’s career in the minor leagues. Situations like this leave observers in one of two states: struggling to come away with positives or forcing the discovery of positives. Where you land on that spectrum comes from your expectations prior to first pitch. Morejon, at the time, was an 18-year-old lefty with a feel changeup as his primary offspeed pitch. While many considered his feel for that pitch unprecedented for his age, he didn’t throw gas to give on-lookers a characteristic to be wooed by if everything else fell apart. That said, I came away a little bit disappointed with what I saw.

Thankfully, development occurs with most prospects. Now in High-A, Morejon seems to be settling in extremely well. He has posted a 26:6 strikeout to walk ratio in his past three starts, eclipsing at least five innings in every outing since the middle of April. His strikeouts are also up substantially from his sub-30-inning sample in Fort Wayne, which provides some helium to the assumption that three average to slightly above average pitches can result in higher upside, even if it’s solely because of this volatile characteristic we call “youth”. I really struggle with which site I sided with due to how large the disparity in ranking Morejon is.

Who do I side with? Fangraphs

Luiz Gohara, LHP, ATL — 26th overall on FG, 72nd overall on BA — FG 46 spots lower

Gohara is the oldest of the players highlighted in this column… at only 21 years old. Three of the biggest differentials between these two lists come on players who are only 19 years old. In youth, there is uncertainty, and therefore, difference of opinion. We still overlook, however, how advanced Gohara is for his age, even with his recent struggles. Five starts at the major league level in 2017 presented us with success on the back of only a plus slider. His fastball didn’t grade out well and we confirmed how raw his changeup really was. But his peripherals looked decent and he was generating an exceptional rate of swinging strikes.

Fast-forward to 2018 and even without his health concerns, we were presented with an even rawer changeup than we initially saw, some squaring up of his plus slider, and a fastball that graded out slightly better. This is to say, pretty much everything changed with Gohara. Determining whether his command edges to average is where the baseline for his ranking starts, before you even consider whether his changeup can reach the plateau of average as well. Fangraphs seems to land more favorably on this factor than Baseball America.

Who do I side with? Baseball America

Christian Pache, OF, ATL — 28th overall on FG, not ranked on BA — FG at least 73 spots higher

The only player inside each site’s top 40 to not appear on both lists is Pache. He’s easily the most interesting prospect in baseball. He possesses three tools that presently grade out as elite or near-elite: speed, arm and fielding ability. The tools that matter most for fantasy – hit and power – are both in the development stages of his career. At only 19 years old, however, if one projects with partial optimism him figuring out how he becomes even a slightly below average hitter at the major league level, he can be the same defensive advantage that has kept Billy Hamilton in a major league lineup for (almost) the entirety of his career. Fangraphs has provided a Kevin Pillar comparison multiple times in chats they conduct with readers, creating even more confusion for the average fantasy owner trying to value a commodity whose fourth- and fifth-best tools primarily dictate his value.

I wrote this offseason about Pache and the potential for his swing to become more Acuna-like in the coming years. (That sentence may come back to haunt me.) His swing was extremely level, conducive to line drives and ground balls, confirmed by his lack of a single professional home run in 750+ plate appearances, a streak broken this season. Even more confusing were the two home runs he hit this spring… in one game. If I could ask for one thing from Pache, it would be for the intrigue around him to sustain. The industry – especially writers – need perplexing players for days when column ideas are few.

Who do I side with? Fangraphs 

Quick Hits

  • Keibert Ruiz, C, LAD — 65th overall on FG, 28th on BA — BA 37 spots higher
  • Franklin Perez, RHP, DET — 115th overall on FG, 42th on BA — BA 73 spots higher
  • Corbin Burnes, RHP, MIL — 27th overall on FG, 61th on BA — FG 34 spots higher
  • Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, PIT — 42nd overall on FG, not ranked on BA — FG at least 58 spots higher

 

I wonder how BA and FG would rank me on Twitter… – @LanceBrozdow

Austin Beck Interview – Athletics Nation

Nick Pratto Interview – Royals Review

  1. Raider says:
    (link)

    Nice stuff Lance!
    In your opinion, has Adell outpaced Jahmai Jones in the Angels org? Which gets the call first?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
      (link)

      @Raider:
      Yes, Adell is clearly ahead of Jones to me and I would bet almost everybody else in the industry.

      I would’ve guessed Jones hit the majors first, but at the moment, I think it’s pretty much a toss-up. Both in High-A, both with reasonable sample sizes, Jones is repeating the level with only nominal improvements. Might even lean Adell honestly. Tough to gauge progression of guys in High-A unfortunately.

  2. Don Majikowski says:
    (link)

    If I am falling out of contention this year is it time to grab Tatis? When do you envision him being up for good?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
      (link)

      @Don Majikowski:
      Grabbing Tatis would depend on a lot of things regarding the keepers, who you’re dropping, etc.

      I don’t anticipate him being up until 2019 and the granular timeframe within that is going to move based on how he does in AA and what I would expect is an eventual promotion to AAA by the end of the year.

      At the moment, I would bet the earliest he’s up is early June 2019.

  3. shibboleth says:
    (link)

    Thanks Lance, great read as always!

    Who do you like best ROS? 5×5 QS & Solds league: Kingham, Eovaldi, Loaisiga?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
      (link)

      @shibboleth:
      I think I’d go Eovaldi. All in the same bucket of “add and pray” guys.

  4. Another Dan says:
    (link)

    Lance,

    Good column, like the idea of having players who I could target because other managers are not as high on them.

    With that in mind are there any players that you think are significantly underrated in both ?

    Best wishes,

    Another Dan

    • Lance

      Lance says:
      (link)

      @Another Dan:
      This is a very good question actually, I would essentially boil it down to guys that I’d have in the 75-100 range that I don’t see mentions of on either list.

      I’m currently in the process of putting my top 100 together, but anticipate consideration for guys like Nick Pratto (who I think will tap into power), Blake Rutherford (another HS bat I think people are discounting a little too much), Ke’Bryan Hayes (who FG aggressively ranks, but I still want to mention), Cavan Biggio, and probably a few others I’m missing that I’ve probably mentioned on Ralph and I’s podcast.

      Another big name that I’m a little surprised didn’t crack either top 50 is Chris Paddack. We don’t seen numbers like his often at any level of the minors.

      Didn’t see any of these guys on either lists (save Paddack who I just think is discounted a little bit too much, no way an owner would turn down Sean Murphy to get Paddack in a league, for example, although this might be simply because these lists are real-life-value ranks).

  5. Sport says:
    (link)

    Great stuff! I really like the idea behind this write up.

    So do you side with FG or BA on Kiebert Ruiz? And do you consider him worth a stash in a 18 team dynasty where I’m hildinf onto 12 prospects? Lots of good catchers it seems and I thought maybe you liked Will Smith a little more.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
      (link)

      @Sport:
      Interesting thing here is that FG has Smith above Ruiz and BA has the opposite.

      From a fantasy perspective, I probably wouldn’t be in on either for their value because I just don’t invest in catchers often. A guy like Andrew Knizner from STL isn’t even mentioned and he’s been great this year across a few levels. Even a guy like Danny Jansen is on the verge of the big leagues and his bat is going to have a very high floor. So yes, I do agree that there are simply too many catchers, making me less inclined to bet on one or another.

      If you told me in 5 years that both Jansen and Knizner are producing more for fantasy purposes than Ruiz and Smith, I wouldn’t be blown away. (*this is purely a fantasy take.)

      I’d like to know what the other options are in terms of ownership around these guys. If the waivers are barren go for it, but otherwise it’s gotta be taken case-by-case.

      • Sport says:
        (link)

        @Lance:
        There are plenty of good options I think to roster over a catcher. What you said was very helpful!

  6. The Shoe says:
    (link)

    Lance, your columns are always superb!

    A. Could you help me figure out what to do with Jose Quintana? Should I be looking to sell low (I proposed a deal packaging him with Posey for Snell, and I don’t think it’ll be enough, ugh) or ride things out? I have always been a Quintana supporter and finally got back around to owning him after a few years without, but it’s been rough so far this year.

    B. I’m in a 12-team H2H points league, currently in 2nd place with a playoff spot looking likely. How do you think I should look to upgrade my team, which is as follows;

    Batters: Posey, C. Santana, Kinsler, Bregman, Arenado, Trout, Merrifield, Hangier, Cruz, Bauers
    Pitchers: Morton, Quintana, Stripling, Clevinger, Bieber, Eflin, Pivetta, Gibson; RPs – Treinen, C. Green, Norris, Rondon, Hicks (taking advantage of his SP eligibility)

    Should I play the waiver wire game or make a trade? If the latter, I think I need to find a top 15 starter since they’re so important in H2H matchups. For perspective, there are guys like Aguilar, Desmond, G Polanco and C. Anderson, Minor, D. Rodriguez, Wheeler, Eovaldi on the wire in my league.

    Thanks in advance for any fantasy wisdom you’re willing to share! Peace!

    • The Shoe says:
      (link)

      @The Shoe: Actually one more question. If I’m looking to snag an impact prospect on either side of the ball, which ones do you like? For instance, I’m currently keeping an eye on Tucker (who I’d probably swap with Bauers… though maybe Kinsler could be the odd man out).

    • Lance

      Lance says:
      (link)

      @The Shoe:
      A – Quintana ends up favorable on most RoS projection systems, top 100 guy on ours. I would be cautious to send Posey AND Quintana for Snell. I think that’s buying high, even as much as I love that kid. People continually underrate Posey’s average boost if you’re roto. Mediocre on the surface is actually solid as heck when you dig in.

      So all in all, I guess hold on Quintana if that’s the option you have on the table. I would be fine swapping Quintana for Snell however. But that’s not gonna get it done.

      B – Absolutely agree that you need a top-tier SP in a H2H playoff series. You’re likely gonna run into the Sevy or Scherzer owner and get beat up, even with how fantastic your offense is. All about who you can get for what price. I would be willing to give up Quintana and any of your depth pieces (even one of the SEA OFs) to get back a strong piece. With that replacement level on the waivers for OFs, even in a points league, I’m fine with letting one go on your end to upgrade SP.

      C (below question) – Tucker is a nice add, I think he’ll be up relatively soon, not sure where the playing time comes from, but he’s ready no doubt and I don’t expect a massive adjustment period.

      • The Shoe says:
        (link)

        @Lance: Really appreciate your input, Lance.

        A. Have you looked into Quintana’s struggles yourself, and if so, what’s your quick diagnosis? I like Posey too; it’s been cool to finally own him. His consistent production is so nice to have.

        Would you like Quintana plus one of my depth bats (Cain, Haniger, Cruz, Merrifield) better than Quintana plus Posey for Snell?

        B. Do you have some SP target ideas if I were to package Quintana and one of the depth bats? I was exploring the C-Mart route but based on your and others’ analysis, he isn’t a sure bet to perform either. Who else should I have in mind?

        (btw, Sevy and Scherzer are on the same team in my league lol. Also, the first place team has Kluber, Sale, Kershaw, and Berrios!)

        Thank you!

        • Lance

          Lance says:
          (link)

          @The Shoe:
          A – Haven’t dug in myself but have been asked to haha Quick looks shows he’s up on fastball usage, which is zigging when everybody else in the league is zagging and going offspeed. Poor command, looks completely lost on his CH, but if he goes back to bread and butter sinker curveball, he should be fine. I trust the better organizations in baseball, like the Cubs, to fix vets like this even if things look grim.

          Would probably be most inclined to go Haniger/Quintana for Snell, but I’d try to get another small piece with Snell. I just don’t like buying high and this is buying high.

          B – Don’t really have anybody off the top of my head without extensive research that’d I’d be confident in endorsing. I think Jon Gray could be a really interesting one because I still think he’s a good pitcher. Darvish I’d be fine betting on. Also think Luke Weaver can get back to average to slightly above.

          • The Shoe says:
            (link)

            @Lance: I’ve got another trade idea: Carrasco.

            1. Would a package including Quintana look similar to the Snell one you’ve suggested, i.e. Quintana plus Haniger? Which other hitter would you go with in that package?

            2. Alternatively, perhaps I should just try to go with something like Cruz straight up for Carrasco?

            3. Another idea would be to package a different starter than Quintana, but I’m just so hesitant to part with guys like Stripling and Clevinger even though their projected ROS values are much lower than Quintana’s (16 vs. 7.3 and 5.8).

            Thanks for continuing to offer your fantasy wisdom!

  7. Mike L says:
    (link)

    If you had a guess on who gets the call first who would it be and when with Luis Robert, Jo Adell, Taylor Trammell, and Kyle Lewis? The OF prospects available are getting thin but I need players who will (or should) be up sooner rather than later. Nice job btw.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
      (link)

      @Mike L:
      I really think predicting call-ups are borderline impossible. I don’t mind speculating, but I don’t think anybody can actually be confident with guessing unless they have primary sources with connections to teams, which is why I sometimes put stock in the Fangraphs guys for reference on things like this. Guys closer are easier to call (Kopech, Tucker, Senzel prior to injury), far off is rolling dice.

      With all that said, I will be a complete hypocrite and say they debut as follows…

      Luis Robert – Jo Adell – Taylor Trammell – Kyle Lewis

      All High-A guys, would just bet with who is at the higher level and has opportunity.

  8. Dave Wittenauer says:
    (link)

    Another great article – thanks!

    Two questions for you –

    Is it time to be “over” Pavin Smith or is he still worth holding in a full dynasty format?

    2. Where do you think Ryan Mountcastle ultimately ends up – corner outfield? He is really performing quite well at AA, although he could use to walk a bit more.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
      (link)

      @Dave Wittenauer:
      With like 150-200 prospects owned, somebody has a spot for Pavin. Not exactly sure what full dynasty is in terms of # of prospects owned.

      I liked him a lot in the draft, always thought his swing was compact/advanced, ok defender at 1B from the last reports I saw is gonna give him a chance. The discipline is still well above average, power showed up a bit this year, but it’s just been an enigma otherwise.

      Ralph is a big Mount guy, I wasn’t high at all last year because he changed him swing from one of the smoothest from the right side (Brendan Rodgers-like) to a little bit more rigid of one that I didn’t think worked.

      But maybe he’s gotten into a groove with it and seems to be proving me wrong. I think his improvements look pretty legit, don’t know where the upside is, and I don’t really trust anything Orioles (sorry), and neither do I think he’s going to be viable at 3B, so corner OF it probably will be.

  9. Al KOHOLIC says:
    (link)

    Great stuff thanks for everything

    • Lance

      Lance says:
      (link)

      @Al KOHOLIC:
      Anytime, Al!

  10. gc tacos says:
    (link)

    Chose two— Gore, Whitley, Senzel, Mejia for a Dynasty league.

    Besides Senzel, do you think any will get the called up this year? Thanks!

    • Lance

      Lance says:
      (link)

      @gc tacos:
      Senzel and Whitley.

      Mejia should get the call he’s on fire in AAA. Whitley has an outside shot, but I think it’d be out of the pen unless something happens health-wise. Senzel is down for the year, Gore is a 2020-ish guy.

      • gc tacos says:
        (link)

        @Lance: Thanks Lance! Looks like Loaisiga is getting sent down. While not unexpected, it leaves me with another choice. Would you rate him higher than Whitley? Gore? He came out of no where but I have loved what I’ve seen so far.

        • Lance

          Lance says:
          (link)

          @gc tacos:
          In a list, absolutely Whitley and then Gore, Loaisiga isn’t even close to either of those arms.

          But in terms of impact rest of season, Loaisiga will probably be back up, Whitley might debut, and Gore will not.

  11. TualatinTwoStep says:
    (link)

    Hey Lance,

    Wanted to get your thoughts on a couple of things:

    1) Why has pretty much every site that covers prospects turned on Austin Hays this year? Kid has had shoulder issues all year, shouldn’t people be giving him a pass? Or did he really go from consensus top 20 prospect to plate of hot garbage in 4 months?

    2) I’m in an extremely deep dynasty league where I am rebuilding and not in contention. I’ve been snagging youngsters both on my minor league roster and my regular roster that other owners have given up on. What are your long term thoughts on Yairo Munoz and Taylor Ward? If it impacts your opinion on the latter, it is a 2 C league and we have 30 keepers, which explains why I start McCann and Hundley right now, lol.

    Thanks!

    • Lance

      Lance says:
      (link)

      @TualatinTwoStep:
      1) Don’t think Hays was ever consensus top 20, I use consensus sparingly. I don’t think I ever had him ranked above 40-50 and my stock has always been stable on him. Did a lot of sites have him top 20?

      Agree with the shoulder problem, but I don’t know any more information related that, so I feel like you kind of have to act with what’s on the surface, which is strikeouts in AA, no walks and little fanfare.

      2) I think Munoz can be an average starter at the major league level, I don’t think I see much more upside than that. And the likely outcome is a decent utility guy who can still get 110-120 or so games in. With catchers, even 2C leagues, I just don’t like betting much on the guys who likely can’t handle a full workload (100+ games at the major league level behind the dish). Gimmie Munoz.

Comments are closed.