Prospect Fatigue: A New Market Inefficiency?

I don’t want to sound like an alarmist doctor who is trying to frighten you into buying something I’m hocking, but Prospect Fatigue is a very real thing. Prospect Fatigue is when a prospect has been in the public consciousness for so long that they appear to have lost some of their luster, when in reality they contain the same potential we initially assessed. You see it all the time. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ve already experienced Prospect Fatigue in your past. If so, you’ve likely experienced some or all of the following symptoms:

involuntary slamming of one’s head into a desk
heartburn
indigestion
wistful staring at box scores
nausea
sudden anger
deep, soul crushing regret

There are others of course, as we’re only just beginning to understand this pervasive issue. What we do know is that it can create an environment in which the savvy fantasy owner can take advantage of those suffering from Prospect Fatigue. Sure, sometimes the lack of interest or lost value of a prospect is legitimate but we can often hold too much of a grudge against a prospect that we’ve seen struggle, despite the presence of adjustment to those struggles. Below, I’m going to discuss a few prospects I think have lost some of their shine due to struggles or possibly, for no reason whatsoever.

Mike Olt – 3B – TEX

Olt has been on the verge of mattering to fantasy owners for some time. That’s part of the issue. The other part is that he doesn’t really have anywhere to play. Oh, and yeah he was terrible to start the year but part of that was related to an vision issue. While that issue has been addressed and he’s returned to action, he still hasn’t been the stud we want him to be. He has been better though and I think that there is a buy low opportunity here. I know saying “buy low” is useless without providing some options, but drop some ideas in the comments and I’ll let you know. Suffice it to say, I still think he’s a top 100 prospect.

Taijuan Walker – SP – SEA

Maybe it’s just me but I feel like people aren’t “getting” Taijuan Walker. He was my second ranked pitching prospect for much of last year and into the offseason and it seems as though he’s been passed in many’s eyes by the likes of Zack Wheeler and Archie Bradley among others. All prodigious talents, no doubt. But I think what Walker is doing is getting lost in the shuffle. His numbers as a 20-year old at Double-A: 77.1 IP, 52 H, 22 ER, 30 BB, 84 K (!), 2.56 ERA, 1.06 WHIP. AS A TWENTY YEAR OLD. IN DOUBLE-A. Yes, it is his second go at Double-A, but he was incredibly young the first time and perhaps qualifies as merely super young this time. That you might not have to pay through the nose to get this kid means people aren’t paying enough attention.

Cheslor Cuthbert – 3B – KC

All the rage after a breakout 2011 (if you look up the numbers they were depressed by a weak finish to the season due to exhaustion), Cuthbert disappointed all his new fans and fantasy owners by showing some makeup issues and production issues in 2012. That lack of production and the subsequent hit to his value seems to be persisting despite an excellent start to his 2013 season, one in his he’s already received a promotion. Cuthbert earned the move to Double-A by hitting .280/.354/.418 in the Hi-A Carolina league, a vast improvement over his .240/.296/.322 effort in 2012 at the same level. Still only 20 years old and already in Double-A, it might be a good to time invest in Cuthbert. The Royals Double-A affiliate plays in Northwest Arkansas and their stadium is a luscious environment for hitters. If you can buy him now, he could explode in that hitters paradise as a 20-year old and the hype train will once again be moving full steam ahead.

These three players are just examples of the value that can be had when your fellow fantasy owners are beset by prospect fatigue. Be ever vigilant both in guarding yourself from this disease and in exploiting those who have fallen to it. Do so, and you’ll be rewarded with great value.

Source Material
Baseball Reference

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10 comments on “Prospect Fatigue: A New Market Inefficiency?

  1. RotoLando says:

    This was a timely article. I’ve been holding onto Olt for so long, and I was almost ready to give up on him.

    I think Julio Teheran fell into this category, and possibly Martin Perez.

    • Craig Goldstein says:

      Definitely on both of them. I had mentioned Teheran in the article multiple times before some edits removed his mention, but he is exactly the type of guy I’m talking about. Perez too. They’re often latin players because they sign so young.

      • Chad says:

        Held onto Teharan and is working out now, getting pretty decent offers too but kinda want to hold him… Back to the point of your list – I have Olt and Walker. Just got Olt in ST since needed SS help to start the year (Hanley BS) but gave up Jedd, little upset esp w/ Olt’s start but will he be an impact in 1-2 years or be traded hopefully??? As for Taijuan – he is worth the wait for what I see! ??? Thoughts can only help! love the site!

      • Craig Goldstein says:

        I think Olt is a .260 22-28 HR type bat, so it depends on your definition of impact. That’s pretty good from 3B. Walker is a potential monster. I’m very high on him.

  2. KO says:

    I’ve been eyeing Cuthbert lately in my league as he was dropped post-2012 and have a chance to scoop him up this month. Who do you prefer between him and Maikel Franco with the way the latter has been crushing it at a similar age and level, plus Cuthbert’s status as property of the Royals?

    • Craig Goldstein says:

      I prefer Franco if only slightly. I am wary of Cuthbert’s power numbers and I believe Franco has that. That said they’re close for me overall.

  3. Wham Bam! Thank you Ma'am says:

    Hello Domonic Brown! I grabbed Walker with 17th pick in rookie draft. I already had Bundy and many rookies were kept before the draft. I felt like T Dub was a steal at the time. next time around I took SS Alan Hanson, as the position was getting thin, perhaps a stretch at #37. Albert Almora fell to #57 and with my final pick I took Max Fried at #77. we own these guys until they lose rookie status, with an optional yearly redraft. say I wanna drop Fried, I get a 4th rounder back for him. I am hoping these younger guys turn into trade bait in future seasons. do you see any of them really jumping up in prospect rankings this year? or even next? ps I don’t want to drop Fried, it was only an example LOL

  4. Kyle says:

    I’d throw Wilmer Flores on the list, along with someone maybe like Michael Choice?

    • Craig Goldstein says:

      I would definitely include a guy like Choice. I do think that Flores changes in value have been based on real legitimate issues (moving to 1B for a bit, repeating a league twice) but so have the rebounds. I don’t personally believe he can stick at 2B (what he’s been playing in Triple-A), but his value gets a bump if he can. Or if the Mets think he can. I don’t think it’s as much fatigue as legitimate changes with Flores

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