This post will attempt to identify thirty prospects with the most value for 2015 only. These are players with less than 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched at the major league level, but who are expected to arrive in the bigs at some point this season. Typically, we’d rank prospects overall on one big list, but I’ve broken the list up into three groups to try to make it easier for fantasy players in 2015 redraft leagues. The prospects are ranked within groups that are based on the projected ETAs (early/mid/late). While they are still just projections, the groups should help sort through who you need to be drafting versus who you need to be picking up off waivers and when. There are a few general comments after each group and, like any list, there are a few names on the cusp that didn’t make it. We can tackle them in the comments if we need to. Here are the top 30 prospects for 2015 redraft leagues…
MLB Roster / Early 2015 ETA
These players are either expected to break camp on the MLB roster, or are projected to be up in May/early June. Typically, you’ll see them drafted in March and “stashed”.
Most of these are no-brainers to be drafted this March and many of these players are expected to be on the field Opening Day. How high they are drafted is another story, and will likely be determined by how much risk you want to assume. Things get a little shaky towards the bottom. Michael Taylor’s time on the field could come to an abrupt end when Werth gets healthy. Kang is a big question mark given we don’t know exactly how his offensive stats will translate. Today, Sanchez is the frontrunner to land the fifth spot in the Toronto rotation, and could log 160-180 innings. He could also end up in relief (even closing) which would most likely bump Daniel Norris into that fifth spot.
There are two other wild cards that I didn’t rank. Cuban free agent Hector Olivera is a solid bat overall that could find himself playing 2B in the majors early this year. Alex Guerrero just needs a spot to open up on the field for him to see more at bats for the Dodgers. There are other pitchers like Nick Tropeano, Anthony DeSclafani, etc. who are most likely going to start the year in rotations, but I figure with pitching as deep as it is, they are streamer types from the get-go and won’t be dearly missed from this post.
This group is the largest but also hardest to project as their ETAs could be anywhere from mid-June to early August. They represent the players that are most likely to be the hot waiver pickups if they aren’t already owned.
The Twins could look like a totally different team by the end of this year with all of the talent they have in the minor leagues. Peraza, Lindor, and Johnson will be hot adds for stolen bases. Lindor should be up the earliest of the three, and possibly the earliest of this entire group. Franco is another bat that could come up much earlier than expected. I’m not as gaga over Rodon as maybe I should be, but he’s one of several arms that could come up mid-year and make an impact. Just another reason not to blow your load on pitching in this year’s drafts I guess. 2015 should finally be the time for Bradley to show what he’s got in the majors. Jon Gray is a very talented pitcher, but gets dinged in fantasy playing half his games at Coors. He’d be a great arm to stream in road starts though.
Need more pitching? There’s always Marco Gonzales of the Cardinals. Another wild card is Raisel Iglesias, who the Reds signed last season and could be in the rotation or the bullpen mid-year. This group is the hardest to peg in terms of arrival, and there will be a lot of fantasy players who either stash too early or hit the waiver wire too late. We’ll try to avoid that problem this year at Razzball by posting often on the players who are nearest to the bigs.
Late 2015 ETA
These are the late August arrivals and September call-ups that may help decide 2015 fantasy championships.
Correa, Russell, and Seager are gambles since their ETAs are really more in the early 2016 range. Still, there is a chance they see some time in the majors this September and given their talent level each could make a 2014 Soler-type impact with that opportunity. Based on the ADP info, it looks like most drafters are putting their money on Russell. The other three names on this list are safer bets to actually come up later this year. Bundy is getting innings under his belt after Tommy John surgery, but the talent is still top notch. Swihart could help a lot of teams at the catcher position down the stretch. Herrera is a talented hitter whose only real roadblock to the majors at this point is Daniel Murphy.
Two other names to watch later this season are Stephen Piscotty and Alex “Chi-Chi” Gonzalez. Piscotty is an outfielder for the Cardinals who can hit for average with some pop, while Gonzalez could get a late call-up for the Rangers and is regarded as one of their best pitching prospects.