2014 Has Been a Disastrous Year for Elite Prospects

We had a bumper crop of elite prospects to play with this Spring. We had visions of new players joining our rosters and playing like the next Mike Trout and Yasiel Puig. The consensus Top 12 prospects this year were as good as we have ever seen. The excitement was at a fever pitch for prospect hounds like us, but the season ended up being a tremendous letdown. Some of it was due to injuries, while most of it was due to flat out poor performance. It just goes to show that patience is key when it comes to prospects — even the elite “can’t miss” prospects often struggle when they reach the majors.

For this discussion let’s focus on what I consider to be the consensus top 12. These are the guys that were ranked at the top of nearly every major list that was published last offseason. We will go down the list and review each prospect. The theme of the day is disappointment. Every guy on this list except for one or two had a disappointing season for one reason or another…

1. Byron Buxton, OF Twins

Buxton has been touted as the next Mike Trout, an all around superstar 5 tool talent. His season has been absolutely destroyed by injuries. He sprained his wrist early in Spring Training and was forced to sit out until May, then he played 5 games and re-injured the wrist again. He had to sit out another two months. He played 30 games at High A Fort Myers but didn’t perform as well as he did last year. His .718 OPS wasn’t too impressive but you could still see the talent and tools in action and see a future superstar. On August 13th he got promoted to AA and what happens? He got hurt in his very first game. He suffered a bad concussion during a diving collision in the outfield. Buxton is still an elite talent and a future star but this season was a total bust. Continue reading

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#TDGX Transaction Report: You Get a Fourth Round Pick! And You Get a Fourth Round Pick!

You’ve been following TDGX. You love TDGX. We all love TDGX.  And every week here at The Dynasty Guru, I am going to be bringing you commentary from our flagship experts’ league, directly from the participants themselves. Today we’re going to cover all of the transactions made post-draft, including a few trades–one involving an elite prospect and another involving a potential high-end starting pitcher.

The goal here is to give you insight into the moves made by our group of experts so that you can use this information the next time you need to make a trade or prominent FA move in your league. So let’s not mess around with too much longer of an introduction. We’re going to break this up into three sections: trades, major league additions, minor league additions.

TRADES

Craig Goldstein/Mauricio Rubio trade Arismendy Alcantara and a fourth round pick to Mike Buttil for Yordano Ventura.

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TDGX Recap – First Six Rounds From Pick #20

Since all of our draft slot bids failed to land we ended up at the mercy of the randomizer. The randomizer was not kind to us as it quietly doled out pick #20 in the for the TDG draft. While we realized we wouldn’t land one of the top 8 guys we were interested in pick #20 meant that we would have time to fully survey the landscape of the draft and make two picks at the turn. And as you will see it also pushed us into the decision that we would go very young with our team, grabbing prospects early with preference for those closer to the majors. Figuring if we didn’t have a top ten player leaving this draft perhaps we’d have one next year or in 2015.

In fact we even considered taking the combination of Buxton/Bogaerts with picks 20 and 21 to really fuel our youthy, prospecty fire. But after some discussion we decided that we didn’t want to completely punt 2014 and settled on Jason Kipnis as our main target, we liked the position, the age, the potential for 20-20 over the next 3-4 years and believed in his BA from 2013.

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Prospect Smackdown: Archie Bradley vs. Taijuan Walker

When I began asking for suggestions for this series a few months back before our focus on positional rankings, the TDG readers inundated me with interesting match ups of prospects of all sorts. You asked me to compare elite players. You asked me about J2 guys. You challenged me to write about players on the periphery of fantasy relevancy, and you ask about prospects who should have an impact in 2014.

However, there were two suggestions for Prospect Smackdown that came up far more frequently than any others. The first was Xander Bogaerts vs. Javier Baez, and while that never made it to print, it’s something my colleague Mauricio Rubio and I did discuss on our There Is No Offseason podcast here (minute 29).

The second was a battle between the two consensus top fantasy prospect arms right now in Bradley and Walker, and it’s an interesting challenge that will require going beyond a cursory look into statistics. If there’s one thing The Internet has taught me, it’s to give the people what they want. And so without further ado, here’s a look at two potential fantasy aces.

Prospect Smackdown No. 6 – Who’s the better prospect: Archie Bradley vs. Taijuan Walker Continue reading

Ben’s 11 Bold Predictions: The Flops

I’m all about originality when it comes to column ideas.

For example, shortly after the Home Run Derby, I asked you which prospects you thought would some day win that exhibition.

After Dylan Bundy got hurt, I deftly explored what Dylan Bundy’s injury meant for fantasy owners.

And now, with the regular season in the proverbial rear view mirror, I boldly go where no Internet Baseball Writer has gone before: I’m going to revisit my preseason predictions.

Yes, that’s right. I will now analyze things I wrote before the season after the season has seen its final day come and go. What’s more, I’ll be following my “all posts must have sequels” rule, and will bring you only the flops today. That means you get to look forward to my self-congratulatory post next week!

Without further ado, here are the things I got horribly, terribly wrong in March.

You can catch my original 11 “insights” piece here. Continue reading

Post Hype Prospect: Anthony Ranaudo

There aren’t as many prospects who have had as many ups and downs before reaching the major leagues as Anthony Ranaudo, but his performance in 2013 has firmly established him as the top pitching prospect for the Boston Red Sox and someone who should be owned in all dynasty leagues.

Anthony Ranaudo’s time in the spotlight began when he was a sophomore at St. Rose High School in Belmar, New Jersey, when he threw back-to-back no hitters during the regular season, and finished the season by throwing a two-hit shutout and hitting a two-run home run in the state championship game. In his junior year, Ranaudo put had a 7-0 record with a 0.96 ERA and 99 strikeouts, which he followed up by going 5-2 with a 1.32 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 49 innings in his senior campaign. As a cap to his season, Ranaudo was named to the Rawlings All-America team in 2007. He was drafted in the 11th round by the Texas Rangers, but opted to go to LSU.

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Dylan Bundy And TINSTAAPP

Dylan Bundy, who has yet to throw a pitch in a game this season, had a setback yesterday as he threw from 120 feet.

According to everywhere on the Internet, Bundy felt discomfort near his “right flexor mass,” where the forearm meets the elbow. Bundy was shut down for similar reasons six weeks ago, given a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in April in the hopes he’d recover without surgery.

I am not a doctor and do not know what the future has in store for Bundy, but I’m also not new to monitoring pitching prospects, and this is not good news.

I bring this up simply because I want to call attention to something I wrote earlier in the season: something that, in hindsight, was foolish to publish. Here is my quick description of what Bundy brings to the table from my preseason Top 150 list.

The “safest” high school pitcher to come along in years has all the ingredients to be a Top 10 Fantasy starter for a very long time, though he may pitch in relief in 2013.

You see the word “safest?” I should not have used it. In fact, prospect writers and analysts should be fined every time they use the word “safe” and “pitching prospect” in the same paragraph. Except for this instance. Continue reading