We have now ranked our 2013 Top 100 Fantasy Prospects. While in general ranking prospects based on their major league fantasy contribution is similar to ranking their projections as major league players, there are some slight differences.
Batters over Pitchers
When building a fantasy team, particularly one that has Keepers, you must value batters above pitchers. Why?
- Historically, hitters have superior health grades over pitchers. In other words, pitchers generally spend more time on the DL with the risk of catastrophic injuries such as damage to their ulnar collateral ligament or a variety of shoulder injuries.
- Hitters contribute to 50% more counting categories than a pitcher in a traditional 5×5 league format – runs, RBI, home runs, and stolen bases vs. strikeouts and wins. These counting stats, particularly with hitters, are best found at the top of the draft; particularly with players that can provide both power and stolen bases. Rarely do you find power/speed players later in the draft unless they provide significant downside risk to your batting average such as Danny Espinosa or Drew Stubbs.
In our list, Oscar Taveres moves up from number three to the second ranked prospect. Additionally, Anthony Rendon gets a boost based on his hit-tool, power potential, and his overall readiness for the big leagues. Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott and Joc Pederson move up significantly based on their five-tool potential while Adam Eaton gets a boost based on the trade that sent Justin Upton to the Braves freeing up the center field for the gritty rookie.
Several pitchers fall including the Braves potential number five starter Julio Teheran. While one could argue that Teheran should actually rise in the rankings based on the likelihood that he’ll start the year in the Braves rotation, his ability to strikeout batters and keep the ball in the ballpark has become a problem. While the reports from the Winter Leagues were encouraging, it was only 17.2 innings. Many other pitchers including Manny Banuelos, Justin Nicolino, Robbie Erlin, Wily Peralta, and Daniel Corcino drop in the rankings. In fact, each one of these pitchers has fallen out of my Top 100 list.
Shelby Miller and Taijuan Walker change places in the rankings due solely to Miller’s overall readiness for the Big Leagues. As I discussed in Walker’s write-up, I love his combination of stuff and athleticism and believe the future is very bright. However, Miller is more ready. Finally, you could argue that Walker should be ahead of Jose Fernandez based on the same logic. The bottom line is that group of RHP pitchers starting with Gerrit Cole through Walker are very close in terms of upside.
Speed counts and defense doesn’t
While stolen bases can be used as a weapon in baseball, it’s a category in fantasy baseball and therefore players who have the ability to steal a base become extremely valuable.
Billy Hamilton takes a huge leap to the seventh overall prospect on our list. While I doubt he’ll steal 155 bases in the major leagues, there is a real possibility that he could steal 80 plus stolen bases. Think about this for a moment… You could draft Hamilton on your team and not target that category for the rest of the draft and load up on power and pitching. Of course, if Hamilton gets hurt, your team will likely not finish in the money. Still, Hamilton could become a huge factor in Fantasy Baseball and candidly, I can’t wait to see the effect.
Delino Deshields and Philadelphia young speedster Roman Quinn make the list. I’m particularly enamored with Quinn and while I don’t think he’ll stay at shortstop, the kid has crazy speed and could be the next “speed guy” that everyone is talking about. Gary Brown and Lewis Brinson also get a boost in the list. While Brown is a traditional speedster, my love for Brinson goes well beyond that and while very young, the kid could be a fantasy monster.
Jackie Bradley Jr. and Hak-Ju Lee also tumble in our fantasy rankings. While I believe both could be nice contributors to your fantasy team, particularly Bradley, they receive considerable value from their elite defensive chops.
As always, please provide any comments you have and where you believe I got it right as well as got it wrong.