The Top 500 In Review: Just Missed

Bret unveiled his midseason update to the top 500 dynasty league players last week and while it may seem like an exhaustive list, there are always good players who are on the outside looking in. Major leaguers who were left out include Chris Heston, Carter Capps, and J.T. Realmuto and you could make a case for any of them in the 450-500 range, in my opinion. Thee are also several prospects who were considered for inclusion but just missed. Here are a few:

Jake Bauers, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays

First base prospects typically need one loud tool in order to force themselves on to dynasty league rankings, as it’s just hard to get excited about them unless they have, say, A.J. Reed’s power. Bauers’ appeal is all about floor and confidence in his eventual ability to hit at the major league level. He was the second youngest player in the Florida State League and hit .267/.357/.433 before being promoted to Double-A. The six home runs Bauers hit as part of that line were  surprising given the league context and the fact that most evaluators didn’t see home run pop in Bauer’s bat. He is now the youngest regular in the Southern League and Double-A will be a great test for him in the second half of the year.

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Digging for Diamonds: Starting Pitching Prospects

A couple of weeks ago at Baseball Prospectus, I looked at eight pitchers who have gone up in value in dynasty leagues since the beginning of the season. The pitchers looked at were all pretty well known and are certainly owned in almost all dynasty leagues. I had quite a few guys left over that weren’t profiled, so let’s take a look at a few pitchers that might not be owned in your league that have seen their values rise since the beginning of the season: Continue reading

Digging for Diamonds: Lower Minors First Base Prospects

First base prospects are often tricky propositions in dynasty leagues. Some owners won’t bother investing in first base prospects because of the sheer volume of them that fail to hit enough to hold down a regular job in the big leagues- if they do even reach the majors. Justin Smoak, Yonder Alonso, and Eric Hosmer are recent examples of highly touted first base prospects that have alternated between being maddeningly inconsistent and just maddening over the course of their big league careers. Many owners also are hesitant to invest because of a perception that there is a seemingly endless supply of players that start out at other positions and then end up getting moved down the defensive spectrum and gain first base eligibility.

A closer look at the Top 10 First Baseman on our Top 50 positional list from the beginning of the season shows that there are only three hitters (Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion and Albert Pujols) that played other positions at the major league level prior to making the move to first. The other seven were by definition at one point, first base prospects. Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo and Freddie Freeman played a combined six games at positions other than first in their minor league careers, so let’s take a look at three first base prospects that could mash enough to hold down a regular job at the big league level one day:

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Keep An Eye on Drew Robinson

Three of the game’s most feared sluggers are from Las Vegas. The astonishing Kris Bryant, the otherworldly Bryce Harper, and the future of the Texas Rangers, Joey Gallo. These ball mashers are well-known in the baseball world. These baseball monsters playing their way into sports section headlines. These guys are can’t-miss fantasy assets.

Drew Robinson is also from the City of Casino. But unlike the aforementioned three, he is not a heralded young star nor he is an owner of tantalizing 80 raw power. Unlike Gallo, his teammate with AA Frisco who took Greg Maddux’s daughter to prom, Robinson is from the darker, labor side of the city. Still, even though he is less appealing as a prospect, one can see a future big league regular in him.

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Digging for Diamonds: Underowned Shortstop Prospects

Shortstop is certainly one of the most important positions to keep stocked as a dynasty league owner. I love shortstop prospects, almost to a fault. Other owners in leagues that I play in have joked that I should look into joining an all SS dynasty league because of my roster being continuously filled with them, particularly on the minor league side. There are many reasons why I do this, starting with the fact that many shortstop prospects will end up moving to other positions down the line and establish eligibility at other fantasy positions (like Addison Russell this year), and because the ones that do end up sticking at short can almost always be used as trade chips, even as minor leaguers, as they climb the ladder. This is especially true in deeper leagues, where there’s almost always somebody looking to upgrade from the (pre-2015) Zack Cosart experience. Once shortstop prospects reach Double-A, it’s often too late to grab them cheaply in dynasty leagues, so you’re often left scouring the lower levels in search of help. Even prospects just getting their first taste of full-season ball like Jorge Mateo, Amed Rosario and Ozhaino Albies are almost assuredly gone in your league.

Let’s take a look at three shortstop prospects that should be owned in more leagues than they currently are:
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Digging For Diamonds Profile: Anthony Alford

As requested, we here at TDG give the people what they want and take a deeper look at one of the most exciting athletes in the lower minors, Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Alford.  Toronto selected the former Mississippi Mr. Baseball and Mr. Football in the third round, 112th overall in the 2012 draft. Alford was an option quarterback at Petal High School, and was viewed before the draft as a tough sign due to his pending scholarship to play QB at Southern Miss. The Blue Jays convinced Alford to sign for $750,000, but also allowed him to pursue his football career in the fall in addition to playing baseball in the summer, quite a coup to secure what some scouts felt was a top-10 overall talent. John Sickels of SB Nation’s Minor League Ball, rated Alford as the 53rd best talent in the draft class, appearing ahead of more notable current prospects Lewis Brinson and Nick Williams, Braves rotation member Alex Wood, and also in front of fellow high-school prospect (and likely top-10 overall pick in next month’s draft) Alex Bregman, who went on to star at LSU.
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Digging For Diamonds: Low Minors Hot Corner Options To Watch

Self-evaluation is of monumental importance to improving as a dynasty league owner. You should always be evaluating your process and making sure that you’re making quality decisions that balance the short and long-term health of your team. Recently, one area that I’ve been trying to improve upon is my overvaluation of non-elite prospects that are far away from contributing at the big league level that I ‘like’ and have on my team. It’s hard for many dynasty league owners to part with prospects that they ‘like’ or ‘have a good feeling about’ but in reality, most non-elite prospects should be viewed strictly as trade chips to help improve your big league roster. The other important part of understanding how to make deals involving these non-elite prospects is that you must have a proper understanding of replacement level in your league. In other words, if I trade ‘3B prospect X’ in a 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 trade to improve my big league squad, what 3B prospect is available for me to add to replace him, if I need to replenish the third base prospect inventory on my team.

An example that I want to use is a player that I own on many teams, Rockies third baseman prospect Ryan McMahon, currently at Low-A Modesto. I happen to think that Ryan McMahon is going to be a good major league hitter, but he is far from a sure thing, and should be treated accordingly.
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