A number of players have been signed or traded since our organizational minor league previews started posting. Things can get crazy in the offseason and Jimmy Rollins is now a Dodger. I’m going to need a minute with that one [sniff]. Talk amongst yourselves…I’ll give you a topic…does Mookie Betts have a job?…discuss. Okay, I’m all good now. Some prospects who were signed or moved in the trades are impact players that are worthy of a spot on their new team’s top ten list. By the timing of the previews, they end up in a sort of top ten list “limbo”. Consider these posts a division by division catch-all for such players. It’s also an opportunity to discuss a few of the names that were borderline top ten but didn’t quite make the cut for their organization’s list. In other words, some of the notable “#11s”. Here are the prospects that fell through the cracks in the NL East…
Trea Turner, SS | WAS | Age: 21 | ETA: 2017
Turner’s trade situation is a little unique and it’s leading some to question the rules. Essentially, he was part of the three-team deal with the Rays and Padres that involved Wil Myers, Steven Souza, and others. But technically Turner can’t be officially traded to the Nats until June since he was just drafted by the Padres. This brings up questions about how Turner will be handled by San Diego in the meantime and whether the rule even makes sense to stay the way it is. In any event, Turner would slot into the top half of the Nationals’ top ten. He has the profile of a leadoff hitter who can steal 30+ bags and shouldn’t be allowed to slip too far in dynasty league first-year player drafts this winter.
Jakson Reetz, C | WAS | Age: 19 | ETA: 2018
Reetz was selected in the third round of this year’s draft by the Nationals and was just outside the top ten thanks to his position and an extended ETA. He can hit and hit for power – think 15-20 homers – and can even chip in a handful of steals. He’s not all that different from Cleveland’s Francisco Mejia in terms of his bat and ETA. Reetz makes a nice play in the later rounds of a dynasty draft this winter if you’re willing to wait on his development. I tend to avoid catching prospects, but Reetz is a solid pick after the big names like Schwarber and Pentecost are off the board.
Zach Eflin, RHP | PHI | Age: 20 | ETA: 2016
Eflin was part of the return for the recently traded Jimmy Rollins and immediately becomes the Phillies’ best pitching prospect after Aaron Nola. He’s mostly fastball/changeup and both are graded as above average pitches. He also throws a breaking ball that is at least an average offering at the moment. Eflin has good control as well, posting sub-2.5 BB/9 rates in each of his last two seasons. That plus control will help him reach the majors quickly. He’ll start the 2015 season in Double-A, where he’ll join the recently acquired Ben Lively and Tom Windle, Jesse Biddle, and Aaron Nola in a stacked Reading rotation.
Mike Foltynewicz, RHP | ATL | Age: 23 | ETA: 2015
Foltynewicz becomes one of the top arms in the Braves’ system after the Gattis trade and he’s close to the majors. The righty’s bread and butter is a double-plus fastball. He hits triple digits with his heater and he has nice strikeout potential thanks to a solid breaking ball. How everything comes together for him as a starter is still up in the air, but the Braves are a good landing place for a young pitcher. Foltynewicz’s stuff is exciting, but he’s probably still more of a #3 starter ceiling with a power reliever floor.
Rio Ruiz, 3B | ATL | Age: 20 | ETA: 2016
Another piece in the return for Gattis, Ruiz also slots into the top five in the Braves’ rankings. The Astros took advantage of their depth at third base to land Gattis, and the Braves are getting a prospect who was already ranked on Keith Law’s top 50 list last summer. Ruiz plays good enough defense to stay at third, but his bat is his calling card. A .270-.280 average with 20+ homers and good OBP numbers are reachable. With Kyle Kubitza traded, Ruiz basically has a clear path to the third base job in Atlanta. One word of caution, 8 of his 11 homers last year came at his home park of Lancaster in the hitter-friendly California league. Lancaster is known as a launching pad. The good news is Ruiz also hit 40 points higher on the road (.314), so his offense wasn’t purely tied to his home park.
Max Fried, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017
Fried won’t pitch most of this year thanks to Tommy John surgery, but he is still going to slot into the middle of the Braves’ top ten. He was consistently ranked as a top-100 prospect in the two years prior to the injury. While it doesn’t get much better than San Diego for fantasy pitching prospects, his value really doesn’t take a big hit moving to Atlanta. Fried is a former first-round pick (7th overall). It’s now a matter of getting back on the mound, building up innings, and rebuilding his fantasy value. This is a good time to check in with his owner if you’re looking to buy low, similar to Jameson Taillon of the Pirates or Taylor Guerrieri of the Rays.