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.