If you read down to the bottom of my posts, you should go outside and get some fresh air or something, I mean what are you reading the bottom of my posts for? However, if you have ignored your body’s dire need for fresh air and general movement, you may have noticed that I also write for a site called MLB Draft Insider (MLBDI). So what I’m going to do, is introduce you to the upcoming draft class by way of MLBDI curator Chris Crawford’s Board. I don’t know how much of it I will get through prior to the June 6 draft, but I will try to give you the basics on each player.
For today, let’s take a look at the top 10. Bear in mind that this is not a projected top 10, that’s what the Mock is for. After the draft takes place, I plan on ranking the prospects based on fantasy value, in some form or another.
1. Mark Appel – SP – Stanford
Appel is a fairly known quantity at this point. He was in play for the first overall pick last year before sliding to eighth overall and deciding not to sign with the Pirates. Appel has seen an improvement in his stock since last season when he as a bit passive as a pitcher and saw his superlative stuff get hit a bit more often than it should. He’ll show a fastball in the mid 90s and can touch 99 MPH on occasion. He’ll show two plus secondaries; in his change and his slider. He shows the ability to command his pitches well, and should move quickly as a minor leaguer and pitch toward the top of a rotation.
No extended intro this week. All killer, no filler.
I will freely admit that I was slow to join the Goldschmidt party, and I had my reasons. But those reasons are quickly evaporating, leaving me with just awe for a player who has completely worked his tail off to become the player he is today. The reports were pretty widespread when he was an amateur: he was a bad ball hitter, he didn’t have enough bat speed, he struggled against arm-side pitching. There was no shortage of reports telling you what Goldschmidt couldn’t become, but we now have a better idea of what he is. And what he is, is a major league middle of the order force.
One of reasons I was skeptical about Goldy was that he had made a living thus far in the majors destroying LHP, and was below average for a 1B vs right-handers (739 OPS vs starboard-siders in 2012). This year, he’s pulled that OPS versus RHP over 1.000–which is the entire difference in his performance, as versus lefties his performance is nearly identical to last year. On top of that, he continues to run, as he’s on pace for another 14 steals–which is a very underrated boon for his value. As per the most recent Top 500, Goldschmidt is firmly implanted as the #4 dynasty 1B behind the big three (and yes I still say big three even though Pujols has struggled so far this year).
In my weekly column, I made the world aware of an embarrassing comparison I made between Jesus Montero and a future Hall of Famer, then questioned the future of a man I once believed to be among the best prospects in baseball.
In our second installment of A Podcast For Your Eyes, I was forced to talk about Montero, Eric Hosmer and Will Middlebrooks: three former prospect sweethearts who are crushing more dreams than fastball these days.
And finally, in the waning moments of PFYE, The Sequel, I betrayed my better self by revealing to the world that I had succumbed to the affordable evil that is Yellowtail wine.
I need to get back on my game, and what better way to do so than to spill 600 words on how right I was on two pitchers carving up the National League as we speak?
This week, no panic button shall be pushed. This week, my back shall be patted. Continue reading →
When I released my Updated Top 500 Dynasty League Ranks last week, there were a few players with noticeable jumps, including a bunch of new players on the list. Of those Top 500 newbies, the prospect with the highest debut was Yankees RHP Rafael De Paula at #359. In fact, he was 35 spots higher than the next best debut, potential future teammate, Jose Ramirez. This may seem like a rather large jump for a prospect after just one quarter of the season, but then again, there aren’t too many other prospects like Rafael De Paula.
De Paula has been a name that’s been well known among those who cover international prospects for almost five years now. In the summer of 2008, then known as 16-year old Rafael De Paula Figueroa, he did not show enough in workouts to get a contract to his liking. However, when his velocity shot up from the high-80′s to the mid-90′s by early 2009, teams came knocking in droves. Yet still, no contract. In May 2009, it was reported by Baseball America, that the 17-year old Figueroa had been suspended for one year by Major League Baseball for providing a false identity. He re-emerged in 2010 as the now 19-year old Jose Rafael De Paula, but with the same electric fastball that drew scouts to him the prior year.
Almonte has been the recipient of some buzz recently, with Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus reiterating that he’d prefer the 20-year old to former first round pick Kyle Zimmer recently. Almonte goes after hitters with a plus fastball. It arrives in the low to mid 90s but hitters don’t seem to pick it up all that well. The fastball is good, but the change up is Almonte’s bread and butter, with good separation from the fastball, arm speed and movement. He’ll throw both a slider and a curve, but neither pitch has declared itself the go-to breaking ball just yet. He’s got lots of development left in front of him, but he’s an exciting arm.
As I hinted at in yesterday’s post on the updated Top 500 Dynasty League Rankings, Ben, Craig and I sat down to “record” the latest PFYE on the subject at hand. So for your amusement, we talked over gchat for almost an hour and a half about what we’ve liked and not liked so far during the 2013 season–along with some tough decisions to be made. The following conversation has not been edited, abridged or otherwise touched (besides cleaning up our names and the formatting so that it’s easier to read).
Without any further introduction (because this post is long enough as is), I present to you the Episode 2 of A Podcast For Your Eyes.
Bret: i’m back, babydoll!
Craig: BRETTY WESTSIDE
Bret: so you guys ready to kick this thing off?
Craig: as long as you’re not being Lucy to our Charlie Brown, yes.
Ben: i am prepared.
Craig: but seriously I just logged off twitter, so yes I’m ready
He who is resistant to change is destined to perish.
On one hand, it’s so simple. The whole off-season we build value-based mausoleums around all of these players, as time stands still long enough for us to construct them. But the only problem with that is that these players are not dead–they are, in fact, very alive. As as soon as you think you’ve built the perfect chamber, with statistics and narratives covering the walls, things begin to change. Quickly. And as dynasty league owners, it’s even more important to separate the signal from the noise when it comes to early season performance. If we wait too long to notice real changes, or if we refuse to accept the ones which are in front of us, it can derail a team off its course for years. So it’s in our best interest not to have static valuations, and part of that comes from placing a higher value on current season production. The future is great, but current production is king. So when Jose Reyes is out for two months, not only does his redraft league value go down, but his dynasty value does as well. Just not as much, since it’s unlikely to be something that will affect him long-term.
The risers on this list are sure to catch your attention, and in fact, there are 20 players who have jumped more than 100 spots in the rankings (including those who weren’t ranked in the top-500 last time around. Many are names which will not surprise you, like Carlos Gomez, Chris Davis and Josh Donaldson–but the important thing to note is that they are based on skill-set improvements which can be sustainable. On the other hand, you’ll find 17 players who dropped 100 spots or more, and those are even easier to spot. The vast majority of these are either older pitchers who have undergone surgery or players (closers-slash-otherwise) who have lost their roles. You won’t find healthy players drop very far based solely on performance, except in extreme circumstances. That tends to be more of a slow burn.