Everybody loves Xander Bogaerts. Early NFBC ADP data has him going with the 67th pick. In a standard 15-team re-draft league, that equates to a fifth round selection. He is even more highly coveted in dynasty formats, where his combination of youth, production, and projection is one of the best in the game. Tristan Cockroft ranked him as the 29th most valuable player in his annual keeper list, and why wouldn’t he? Bogaerts will enter the 2016 season at the ripe old age of 23, and he is coming off of a 2015 campaign in which he batted .320 while driving in 81 runs and scoring 84 more. As the season progressed, he regularly batted third in a stacked Red Sox lineup, a spot generally reserved for the team’s best hitter. So why is Xander Bogaerts potentially a big ol’ lump of fool’s gold?
It goes without saying that a good knowledge of prospects is mandatory for long-term success in dynasty leagues. No matter how good your team is right now you still need to plan for the future. If you can build up a solid core of the top prospects in baseball chances are your team is going to be good for a long time, right? That is true — but maybe not to the degree we all expect.
Let’s face it: prospecting is like rolling dice. Sometimes you get boxcars sometimes you get snake eyes. No matter how good you are at evaluating prospects you are going to be wrong a lot. You can study all the major Top 100 Prospects lists each offseason, watch tons of video and go to minor league games and still make the wrong decisions regarding which prospects to invest in.
Let’s take a look at the 21 players who appeared on one or more consensus top five overall prospects in baseball lists in the last five years (2011-2015). We will organize them into three groups depending on how they have fared since being ranked as uber-elite prospects: Continue reading
Congratulations on surviving another off-season. Now that the new year is upon us, it’s time to spend the next month traveling across the positional landscape, labeling players with numbers that correspond to their value. It’s the very definition of freedom. A ton of hard work was put into these rankings, and will continue to be put in as we bring you just an ungodly amount of information over the next month. We hope you enjoy the product we’ve created, and if you’d like to show appreciation for that work you can do so through this link, or via the donate button on in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. All donations are truly appreciated.
The shortstop list might be the most prospect-heavy one thus far, and there’s good reason for that. There’s ample talent at the position in the minor leagues that has yet to move off for defensive purposes. The ranks will thin out as that happens, but for now, it’s a well stocked position. To that end, some of the weaker fantasy options at the major league level won’t appear on this list. This isn’t for lack of consideration, but rather the eminent availability of such types make them less valuable than someone with even a glimmer of hope.
1) Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 1)
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
It hasn’t been a banner year thus far for Team Goldrubio. It didn’t start easily, with the losses of Jarrod Parker, Matt Latos and Casey Janssen, three of the lynchpins to our entire pitching staff, and we’ve suffered more injuries (as have many others) to date. Carlos Beltran’s combination of poor play and missed time meant extra at-bats for Aaron Hicks who is on the DL presumably with a case of injured dignity. Mike Olt’s power made up for his inability to make contact for about three weeks and then that experiment went south in a hurry. We traded our injured Jarrod Parker for a soon-to-be-injured Francisco Liriano, and have also had to deal with Clay Buchholz’s strained ERA.
Last week, I took a look at my all-disappointment team; a group of 15 players who have murdered my fantasy hopes and dreams in plenty of leagues this year.
This week, I’ll attempt to be more positive, even though it is once again Monday morning, which is, as always, the worst. Once again, this is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list of the best players this season — rather, this represents some of my personal success stories as the season nears the halfway point.
I encourage you to share some of your own biggest hits in the comments below.
C: Evan Gattis, ATL
1B: Justin Morneau, COL
2B: Jose Altuve, HOU
3B: Anthony Rendon, WAS
SS: Xander Bogaerts, BOS
Thank god for several of the players listed above — without them, I’d be in even deeper trouble in many leagues than I am now. I’ve never been a big Gattis believer, but he fell to me in several drafts in shallower leagues and I figured I’d roll the dice and pray he received ~450-plus PA. Not only is Gattis right on pace to meet that mark, but he’s hitting .297/.348/.589, which is pretty much best-case scenario. Continue reading
This week I will take a look at some players who you should try to target in trade negotiations. The two best times to trade for a player are at the end of a slump when his price has bottomed out, and just before he goes on a hot streak that shoots his trade value skyward. The players below can be expected to provide future production that exceeds their current trade value, so now is the time to get them while you can!
Wil Myers — 24 Runs, 4 Home Runs, 20 RBI, 1 Steal, .238 AVG (Rank among all hitters: Yahoo #130, CBS points #127, ESPN #140) Continue reading