Managing prospects in dynasty can be a struggle, because a guy’s value is only as much as someone is willing to pay for them. Until they make the majors they don’t technically contribute anything to your team, and so many prospects end up having very little success in the majors. Essentially, prospects are lottery tickets. Some have better odds than others, some have better payouts, but in the end they’re all lottery tickets. For this reason, I’m a big proponent of moving prospects for established big league pieces. You still have to be careful to make sure you don’t trade away future stars for guys who aren’t that much of an improvement from waiver wire options, but for the most part prospects are expendable and can be replaced. For example, if you trade any of the two guys in this article for major league pieces, you could likely replace them with any of the six guys I predicted to skyrocket this year and suffer very little to no loss in prospect value. If none of those guys are available, comment on this post and I’ll happily give you more names to replace these guys with. That being said, these guys are ones who I personally would sell high on right now, not necessarily because they’re bad, but because I think they’re being overvalued and ranked too high.

Drew Waters, OF, ATL

In MLB Pipeline’s executive poll that came out earlier in the month, Drew Waters received the most votes for the category of “most underrated prospect”, which I couldn’t disagree with more. Looking through some lists, I’ve seen Waters ranked as high as 9, and as low as 37. Personally, I wouldn’t even put Drew Waters top 50, due to some glaring holes in his game and his 2019 statline that people seem to be ignoring. Waters had a great year statistically, but when you dig deeper you start to expose some of the flaws. His .313/.360/.464 slash line looks really good, but it was also supported by a ridiculous .435 BABIP, which simply won’t last. Over the last 3 years, Moncada had the highest BABIP of anyone in the majors, at .367, which is a far cry from .435. As his BABIP regresses, Waters’s slash line will take a serious hit as well. Another issue is that I have not heard great reports about Waters’s swing from the right side, and the stats support it. A switch hitter, Waters slashed only .258/.293/.371 from the right side of the plate. This isn’t a new thing either, as last year he slashed .240/.300/.357 from the right side. Some switch hitters are able to be essentially the same hitter from both sides of the plate, but Waters is unfortunately not one of those guys. I’m sure people will say that as long as his overall slash line looks good (which it might not but hypothetically speaking), then it doesn’t matter how the splits look, but at that point he’s basically a platoon player, and anyone who owns Jesse Winker knows how frustrating that is. The cherry on top of the cake is that Drew Waters’s power isn’t really what people say it is. I’ve seen 60+ raw power assessments on him, yet his average flyball distance was a very average 288 ft. in 2019. Waters just turned 21 and already reached AAA, so he is still a solid prospect who can sort all of this out, but if someone else in my league values him as a top 30 prospect or better, then I would definitely have to trade him.

Nick Madrigal, 2B, CWS

I’ve been pretty vocal in the past about why I’m not a fan of Nick Madrigal, but I’ve never written about him. It’s not that I hate him, it’s just that people continue to massively overrate his profile. The most common thing I see thrown around is that Nick Madrigal is a guarantee to hit .300, which is just a ridiculous statement to make. No hitter is a guarantee to do anything, and that’s especially true when you’re talking about translating stats from the minors to the majors. Madrigal is absolutely not guaranteed to hit for an amazing average, and if you need proof of that then look no further than Nicky Lopez. While not as good, Nicky Lopez has a very similar profile to Madrigal, with ridiculously low strikeout rates and solid speed, but very little power in his small frame. In AAA at the start of 2019, Lopez had a ridiculous 5:20 K:BB ratio; yes those are in the right order. Throughout his minor league career, Lopez posted a K% of 8.8% and a BB% of 10.6%, but so far in the majors the K% has risen to 12.7%, and the BB% is all the way down to 4.5%. A career .296 hitter in the minors, Lopez only hit .240 with the Royals in 2019. If you’re asking why this happened, well then I’ll tell you. Pitchers in the majors are significantly better than pitchers in the minors, that’s why they’re in the majors. Guys like Nicky Lopez get attacked by major league pitchers, because they’re not worried about him punishing a mistake. While they’ll usually work around the strike zone looking for swinging strikes, pitchers know that Lopez is unlikely to swing at pitches out of the zone, but also likely to swing and make contact on most pitches in the zone. Because of this, pitchers are able to pound the strike zone with all of their pitches, baiting out weak contact. Even the best hitters are gonna struggle to make solid contact when a pitcher is able to mix up speeds, movements, and locations, all while staying in the strike zone. Nicky Lopez’s Zone% (percentage of pitches seen within the strikezone), was 47.4%, which was the highest in the majors by a pretty decent margin. His zone contact% and overall contact% were still among the league leaders in baseball, but it’s not all about making contact, you need to make solid contact too. I personally think the same will happen with Madrigal, so expecting him to hit .300 is not only not guaranteed, but it’s arguably not even likely. Defenses are also more likely to shift accordingly in the majors than the minors, so Madrigal’s BABIP could take a hit.

The other comparison people like to throw out with Madrigal is Luis Arraez, a guy that I’m a really big fan of, but I don’t think that’s all that accurate. Arraez’s success comes from his ridiculously high LD% of 29.4%. LD% in the minors can be a bit questionable, so Madrigal could hit more LD in the majors, but my main concern is his 52.8 GB% through 2 minor league seasons. Especially when teams will shift way more in the majors, ground balls are not conducive to a high BABIP, and 52.8% is a huge difference from Arraez’s 41.5%. My last concern is that people’s expectations for Madrigal’s speed are too high. Don’t get me wrong, the guy can run, but it’s no coincidence that his success rate has gone down at every level (A+: 73.9%, AA: 70%, AAA: 57.1%). I’ve seen predictions as high as 50 SB, but I think Madrigal is likely around the 20-25 range. Madrigal is a safe bet to be a decent major leaguer, but in terms of fantasy I really don’t think his value is that great. I’ve seen him in most top 50s, but I don’t have him near top 100, so if you can sell him at that price, I would do it.

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Mike L
Mike L
2 years ago

Everyone’s a critic. I think you’re right and wrong about Madrigal. He’s one of those prospects that is hyped much more for his defense and hit tool than actual fantasy stats. But if I’ve got Sano, Gallo, or a couple of other guys who put up big numbers in home runs, rbis, and runs but suffer from their average, Madrigal is a perfect fit to offset that average even if he hits 280.

As for Waters, I don’t think I’d pick him up and drop a guy like Trent Grisham or Bryan Reynolds but it all comes down to what mode you’re in with dynasty. I’ve got guys in my league who refuse to accept the prospect strategy and try to win every year. Personally I’d rather wait on a guy like JJ Bleday or Julio Rodriguez than pick up Waters but maybe if I was a Braves fan I’d feel different. Sometimes you gotta grab guys who play on teams you like to watch also.

c
c
2 years ago

ummmmmm.

We can agree to disagree on Waters, as I see a healthy AJ Pollock profile in his future (with a Yelich-lite profile if all goes well). But I can see where you’re coming from.

Madrigal I can agree with.

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
2 years ago

Great piece Wil. Really good stuff here. You’re providing some excellent content here.

As for the insight on Madrigal, you couldn’t have said it any better. For almost the very same reasons, I’m not sold on this guy. I think he’ll hit, but I don’t think he’ll hit .300. His power isn’t just suspect, it’s Dee Gordonish. No thanks. His speed looks like 25-28 bags to me. Yippeee.

Totally agree. Sell him now before the rest of the world figures out what you and I already know!

One question, are you doing a top 100 prospects like all these other places that are releasing them now? Yeah, I know Wander Franco is #1, but I’d like to see your rankings.

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
Reply to  Will Scharnagl
2 years ago

Thanks! I’ll check them out!

Allan Tamarkin
Allan Tamarkin
2 years ago

Hasn’t Madrigal’s batting average gone up in each league has he ascended in the minors ? I think that weakens your argument about his batting average in the MLB .

Batman
Batman
2 years ago

Hey Will, been loving the content. Have a question for a 20 team dynasty league. I’m starting a rebuild and moved guys like Encarnacion and Ketel Marte for Vaughn and Carroll. Now looking to move my studs – JRam, Scherzer, Strasburg, Pham, Morton – what would you be targeting for a return? Have targeted top 10 guys like Adell, Lux, Kelenic etc but am having trouble gaining traction. Best offer someone was willing to do so far was JRam, Scherzer and Strasburg for Bohm, Groshans and Kieboom but that’s not enough return value in my opinion. Would appreciate any thoughts or strategy advice!

Drew
Drew
2 years ago

Thanks for this, Will. Wondering if you can help me out. I’m only able to keep 6 milb players in my 16-ops keeper league, and I’ve got 9 on the roster. Wondering who I should try to trade or throw back.

J. Rodriguez
M. Luciano
D. Carlson
Luis Garcia (wsh)
G. Rodriguez
A. Kiriloff
N. Hoerner
Alek Thomas
G. Valera

The Old Professor
The Old Professor
2 years ago

Equating Nicky Lopez with Madrigal negates the validity of the entire article.. please stop

Dong Show
Dong Show
2 years ago

Long post incoming but I am curious about something and I do have a question on this topic and am wondering your thoughts on one guys strategy in my league around how he’s building his team: So a league mate is basically collecting every high end lottery chip or top Players under 25 (meaning older“ players no good to an extent), He wants his entire team to peak at same time, be a similar age and have years of dominance. Honestly it’s not a bad strategy and he owns pretty much all the consensus top 10-15 prospects In our league and a number of possible elite guys 24 or younger.. It’s also led to some great trades as he’s either been willing to overpay to get elite guys (I sold him Acuna for Mookie, Thor and a pick which I turned into Kelenic from another team or essentially a 3-1 in my book) or sell some older guys he owns for comparable, younger players/prospects (I sold him Gleyber for Ketel who was a better fit for my team)

This is where my question comes in: One of those I floated to him for was Brujan (he may ask for a little more) for Merrifield. What’s your take on a guy with age and a profile who hits and runs like Whit, but is clearly declining some vs trading a possible future stud in Brujan? is the age gap and skill set worth selling?

Also I do want to show you his team just for sake of this exercise and get your thoughts here. Please note that after our draft he will basically have 7 free spots to add to this team as some of these players won’t be on his squad which I put a * next to their name.

Thanks for any feedback you can provide Will and I’m loving the dynasty content you have put us thus far. Keep up the great work!

Abrams, CJ
Acuna, Ronald
Adell, Jo
Bellinger, Cody
Cole, Gerrit
Dominguez, Jasson
Franco, Wander
Giolito, Lucas
Guerrero, Vlad
Jimenez, Eloy
Lewis, Royce
Luciano, Marco
Luzardo, Jesus
May, Dustin
McKay, Brendan
Merrifield, Whit
Muncy, Max
Neris, Hector*
Quintana, Jose*
Realmuto, JT
Robert, Luis
Rodriguez, Julio
Smith, Caleb
Snell, Blake
Torres, Gleyber
Turner, Trea
Vaughn, Andrew
Vazquez, Felipe*
Whitley, Forrest

Philip
Philip
Reply to  Dong Show
2 years ago

I’m not Will, yet I can’t help be excited about his team. It may be a few years off, but he’s set himself up to dominate forever if he’s smart from here on out.

I own Brujan and you would have a hard time getting him from me. Then again, I’m rebuilding like your league mate, and utilizing a similar strategy. I have a new hero.

batflix
batflix
Reply to  Dong Show
2 years ago

4 team league?
How does one guy have all those players?

Jolt In Flow
Jolt In Flow
Reply to  batflix
2 years ago

You think a guy who has a team like this doesn’t follow Razzball?

Anything Wil says will be seen by him.

Just a quick FYI for you.

Dong Show
Dong Show
Reply to  Will Scharnagl
2 years ago

You have nailed this guy’s strategy. Him and I are basically 1-2 when it comes to prospects in our league, so I can tell you that I have owned a good portion of his teams prospects, but him and I pivoted in what we want to do to dominate. My team is basically ranked number 1 in our league for right now. This is a 10 team dynasty, keep forever by the way, we just have a Rule 5 every year where you have to put up 7 players, followed by a Rule 5 draft and FA draft. This is open world so you are free to grab anyone at anytime basically up until our made up deadline when you can’t grab prospects so we have some for draft next year (each prospect cost a real life $5 which is tossed into the championship pot).

Thanks for the feedback! Our league is really fun and trades have made it that way. Last year alone we had 108 trades which is nuts! But it has really helped build some great teams for about half the league. The other half doesn’t want to trade and it shows because they are years behind half the other teams. Each team has their own strategy on how to succeed but I can say, this is a full time job for me almost, but it’s so worth it.

goodfold2
goodfold2
Reply to  Dong Show
2 years ago

should’ve gotten more for gleyber than ketel one, or just kept gleyber. obv the 3 for acuna was great though.

philip
philip
2 years ago

Thanks for the heads up, Will. Good stuff.

Who would you be shopping out of these guys: Varsho, Pache, Trammell, Chisholm? Thanks!

I prefer actual content
I prefer actual content
2 years ago

I came here for two names? Jesus Christ… GTFO.

NCPhilly
NCPhilly
Reply to  Will Scharnagl
2 years ago

I really enjoy articles about fantasy baseball prospects, so this was a great read. Two in-depth examples are great: I do not need to be spoon-fed instructions on what moves to make in fantasy baseball, but analysis such as yours helps me pick up on what to look for and models for analyzing other prospects on my own.

Erik S
Erik S
Reply to  Will Scharnagl
2 years ago

Two are more than zero, which we’d have without you. Thank you for that, Will.

Jay
Jay
Reply to  I prefer actual content
2 years ago

Yeah.. you sure paid a lot of money for those two names. You should get a refund.

The Harrow
The Harrow
Reply to  Jay
2 years ago

i’m sure you and everybody else will be far happier if you didn’t show up for any amount of names, and i’d bet money nearly every other person who comes in contact with you in real life would agree on this. and this almost couldn’t be news to you either, otherwise you’d not be the kind to show up and bitch about how many names a prospect writer wrote about in a free site as if you were somehow owed some amount more than 2. good luck anybody in the future that comes in contact with you for any amount of time, as those people should feel entitled to a refund of their time and psyche.