A Podcast For Your Eyes: The 2014 Top 10 Fantasy Prospects Edition
As I hinted at in yesterday’s post on projecting the Top 10 fantasy prospects at this time next year, Ben, Craig and I tried something interesting on Wednesday night as we sat down on gchat and conversed for almost an hour and a half about the topic at hand. The following conversation has not been edited, abridged or otherwise touched (besides cleaning up our names so that it’s easier to read).
Without any further introduction, I present to you the Episode 1 of A Podcast For Your Eyes. If you like it, tell us and we’ll do them more often. If you don’t, tell us and we’ll forget this whole thing ever happened. And we’re off..
Bret: whats going on guys?
Craig: watching O’s/Rays over here
Ben: watching NYY/BOS
Craig: also eating a peanut butter and jam sandwich, because I’m 12
Bret: i’m watching the mets start their WS run
Ben: sooo playing MLB the show?
Craig: I was going to say…can we have a moment of silence for Bret’s sanity?
Bret: my sanity has been missing for a long time
Bret: alright, so you guys have the consensus list, right?
Craig: yes but I just dripped jelly on my shirt so I’m in crisis here
Bret: save that gold for when we’re “recording”
Craig: hahaha. ok problem solved, but you feel free to include it
Bret: fair enough, i’m going to do an introduction, and then we’re just going to jump right in and ben and i can fawn over xander bogaerts
Ben: im super good at fawning over bogaerts
Bret: ha, i’m sure you are. alright, let’s do this
Bret: Welcome everyone to what will eventually reveal itself as either a fun experiment or a train rolling off the tracks. What we’re planning on doing here is recording a gchat conversation and then posting it, unedited, for your viewing pleasure. If it isn’t an abject failure, it will be an ongoing series called “A Podcast For Your Eyes”. And if it is, we’ll never speak of this again. Joining me tonight is Craig Goldstein and Ben Carsley. Gentlemen?
Ben: Great to be here.
Bret: Ben’s classy
and Craig has jelly on his shirt
Craig: only one of those things is true and I do have jelly on my shirt.
Bret: Regardless of who may or may not have jelly on their shirt, yesterday, we posted our consensus (and invidivual) top 10 fantasy prospects for 2014 and now we’re going to talk about it
wow, it didn’t even take me two minutes to abandon the caps to start a sentence
it was an ambitious goal anyway
Craig: RIP. We will always cherish and remember it’s time here
Ben: this is going really well.
Bret: people are totally going to enjoy this
Craig: if Ben would stop getting us off topic, maybe
our #1 prospect is Xander Bogaerts
and he is amazing
Craig: /thunderous applaus
Bret: we all know why he should be #1 on the list, so let’s see why Craig didn’t have him atop his
what say you?
Craig: In a topic we’ll cover more in depth later, I had Oscar Taveras on top of my board
so, no slight to Bogaerts, I just like Taveras more and think he will retain his rookie eligibility this season
Bret: fair enough
Ben, as the resident Sox fan, here’s your platform to talk about Bogaerts
please don’t get a restraining order
Ben: I came really, really close to ranking him above Jurickson Profar on my personal Top 150, if that says anything
I saw him in Portland last August, and was expecting to see a Jhonny Peralta body type
but what I saw was a shortstop.
Bret: this leads perfectly into the next question
what percentage chance do you think he has of being a shortstop in 2016?
Craig: I was just about to ask that type of question
Ben: That’s an excellent question, and really tough. But in 2016 he’ll still be 24, so I’ll go 65%
Craig: Do you see a Hanley type decline from the position, if I can reference a former Red Sox prospect?
And I don’t mean that in a bad way, but more in that Hanley was a competent SS for a bit, but has since fallen off
Bret: I think that’s a fair guess – mine’s a little lower, but it’s definitely higher than it was at this time last year
mine would be just under 50%
Ben: they’re really different as you know, and Hanley always projected as the better defender. but I guess from a non-scouting standpoint, yeah, I could see a decline coming in his mid-to-late 20s that leads to a move
Craig: Gotcha. Yes, I didn’t mean in body types or athleticism, but more in a defensive career arc
Bret: the tough thing with him moving is that if he does, I think he’s more likely to end up in the OF with the presence of WMB on that team
is that fair?
Craig: I’m not a Red Sox expert, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Middlebrooks was traded when he gets more expensive
Ben: I agree, and WMB is an underrated defender. But if he’s a good defensive right fielder with his type of bat, how is he any worse than Wil Myers?
Bret: that’s the thing, right? bogaerts can be great for fantasy even as an OF
he’s just special if he stays at short
Ben: you’re talking 1/1 potential if he’s a SS, 1/5 if he’s at 3B and first round if he’s an OF. the upside is that big.
Bret: i’m with you on that, i love the guy
Craig: seconded (thirded?)
Bret: while i’m sure we could talk about bogaerts for a long, long time, let’s move on to our #2 prospect
Ben: thirded. your counting skills are on par with your ability to consume jelly
Bret: the first of three pitchers on this list is Seattle righty Taijuan Walker
now, I was the low man among all of us with Walker
I was the only one who had him outside the top-4
Craig: You’ve got some ‘splaining to do
Bret: so I guess I have some ‘splainin to do
Craig: oh god
it’s happened. Ben, run before it’s too late
Bret: I SAID JINX
someone doesn’t understand the rules of jinx
Craig: I’ll buy you a soda?
Ben: jynx was a crappy pokemon
Craig: it was all about Charizard
Bret: i have to say your name before you can speak again
Craig: oh fine.
Bret: you’ve already tempted fate by DESTROYING THE FABRIC OF THE JINX, so i’ll just move on
I like Walker a lot – it was just honestly a bit of a hedge
if he’s amazing this year, I think he spends the last 2-3 months of the season in the majors
and if it’s another developmental year, I think he’s still a top-10 prospect, but just not a top-5 guy
Craig: That’s understandable, though I think the Mariners have some depth in the pitching staff that they wouldn’t need to put him on the 40-man quite yet
Bret: how confident are both of you that he’ll be the #1 fantasy pitching prospect in 2014?
Craig: Losing Jose Fernandez due to eligibility makes me feel pretty good. I’d say 85%
Ben: nowhere near that. 20%, because of all the variables involved. promotion is a possibility with him, as are command issues
Craig: I’ve been on the bandwagon for a while now, so I guess I might have some bias there
Bret: and you guys are still on board with Walker as a potential ace even though his raw numbers weren’t overly impressive in Double-A
I am 100%. He’s got a really solid repertoire and he was young for the level
that’s really important. He’s got good control, though as Ben said, the command needs work
Bret: i am as well, just wanted to throw it out there since it’s a question i get asked
Ben: now im 85% that he’s an ace. super athletic, repeatable delivery, fast arm. love him.
Craig: That and the recent reports from Parks and others from Arizona have me salivating
Bret: someone get craig another sandwich
#3 – Christian Yelich
let’s start off with a question i want to discuss
does the promotion of jose fernandez cause you to think it’s more likely that we see Yelich this summer in Miami?
because I do
Craig: Honestly I don’t know what to think. I want to say yes, because that would be logical…but the promotion of Fernandez is so illogical to me that I can’t believe they’d do it with Yelich too
Ben: i think predicting consistent behavior from the marlins in any regard is impossible. so no. i dont think well see him before august, if at all
Bret: i’m getting to the point where i really would not be surprised to see him in july
i wouldn’t put money on it, but it would not surprise me
Craig: I’m at the point where either everything Marlins do surprises me, or nothing does…I just don’t know which
Bret: fair enough, let’s move on to Yelich the player
chances of him winning a batting title before he turns 30?
i say 20%
Ben: i mean i can’t put a percentage on it, because the percentage for any player is, what, like 0.25 percent? (i suck at math)
Craig: The last player I felt that way about was Howie Kendrick…so I’m going with 10%
Ben: but he’s as good a bet as any in the minors to win that sort of title, I think. other than Oscar
Bret: ok, so let’s phrase it like that
is he the 2nd best option to win a potential batting title in the minors, behind taveras?
i agree with that – it’s either him or profar for me
Craig: I think so, at this very moment. But I wouldn’t want to be held to that
Bret: consider yourself held to that
Bret: consider all of us held to that
Ben: remember that time craig guaranteed that Yelich would win multiple batting titles?
Craig: no! you guys! it’s a trick
he’s trick you!
Bret: i do remember that time craig guaranteed yelich would win multiple batting titles
it was glorious
Ben: it was now.
Bret: #4 – Javier Baez
Craig: You guys are the worst. I hope I’m right.
Bret: could you make the argument that Baez has more fantasy upside than anyone in the minors?
firstname.lastname@example.org: i can’t put him ahead of taveras or bogaerts, no
Craig: I can’t put him ahead of Taveras
but right next to Bogaerts? Yeah
Bret: that’s fair – but baez has speed that taveras and bogaerts doesn’t have
Craig: that’s IF it all clicks. But he’s maybe the most beta type prospect out there
Ben: i haven’t read anyone projecting him for more than 15-or-so SB
Bret: that’s still more speed than either guy though
and better eligibility to boot
of course, he’s not all that likely to hit his crazy ceiling
Craig: The thing with Baez is that he could be a 70 hit/70 power guy if it all clicks…but he could flame out in AA due to his approach
Ben: so i can see the 70/70, but i think bogaerts could basically be 65/70 and he has a better chance to do so
and i think taveras could be 80/65
Craig: Agreed Ben, and the only reason I put him next to Bogaerts is because Bret was asking about pure ceiling
Bret: absolutely – he has a sizable flame out risk
yea, i’m just talking about pure ceiling
Craig: I absolutely think Bogaerts has a massive edge on security
Ben: so i guess in the strictest sense, then yes the upside is higher. but nowhere near high enough to outweigh the risk, IMO
Bret: clearly, i don’t think he’s a better prospect than either taveras or bogaerts
so we’re all in agreement that he could be amazing or he could suck?
Ben: sorry im just defensive about bogaerts
were bogaerts composed of jelly, i would spill him on me on purpose.
Bret: that’s, like, deep
Craig: Understood. That way he will never leave your clothing
Bret: #5 – Miguel Sano
the man with the monster power
craig – why he no make your list?
Craig: He was right on the edge for me
The power is obviously massive and I know the hit tool isn’t bad. But we’re projecting out a year, and if there’s a guy I can see stumbling developmentally…it’s Sano
I’m not saying I think that will happen, but we’re playing probabilities, and I think his swing has the potential to get exploited
Ben: I’m with Craig here. Every year I don’t like how highly I rank Sano.
Bret: i understand that argument, but i think he’ll become a better hitter as he makes his way up the chain
Ben: I also don’t think we’re talking about a 3B, so the bat will have to really play. honestly, there is Adam Dunn potential here.
Bret: i don’t think his hit tool is that bad
i think he’s more of a .260 hitter, not a .220 one
Craig: I see conflicting reports on the defense. Some say 3B is impossible…others say it’s not that bad. I’m not sure what to make of it really. But a guy his size, it’s a concern
Bret: with potential to be a .280 guy
Craig: You had me til .280
Bret: i’m not projecting it, i just think it’s possible
Ben: I guess I was thinking peak Dunn, a .260 guy with 40 homers. not White Sox “dear god shield your eyes” Dunn
Craig: I think he’s a .260 guy when it’s all said and done too…but I also think that’s one potential outcome, and more of them line up below that than above that
Ben: yeah i cannot project .280 either
Bret: but these days, isn’t a .260 hitter with 40 HR power in the outfield a top-25 player?
Craig: Sure is
Bret: is that so different from what people think stanton is?
Ben: that’s why he’s in our Top 10, no?
Ben: very interesting. I was just about to bring Stanton up
Sano is definitely less athletic/handsome, but the end result might not be too different
Bret: exactly – you’d never confuse them on the field, but maybe on the stat page
and just to throw the question out there – anyone else in the minors with sano’s power?
Ben: gallo maybe
Craig: Good call
Ben: not there yet, but could be
Craig: I think he has the same raw
But he has even MORE swing and miss which is scary
Bret: yea, he’s the first guy who comes to mind for me, but it’s ALL projection with gallo at this point
#6 – Addison Russell
are you guys surprised that he’s starting the season in the Cal League?
Craig: It’s aggressive, that’s for sure
Ben: it’s not where i wouldve started him but im not surprsied
Bret: on that note, knowing the assignment, when do you think we see him in the majors?
Craig: I think a return to Burlington would have made the most sense – he only had 60 at-bats there in 2012
If I’m going to be conservative? May 2015
Aggressive? July 2014
Bret: i can see that – the aggressive one
Craig: I’m not saying that’s how I would do things necessarily…but the A’s are clearly fast tracking him
Bret: the A’s just seem to think he’s an old baseball soul and can move really quickly for such a young player
Craig: And he’s done nothing to prove them wrong thus far
Ben: i think he’ll hit the AA wall pretty hard
even if he does well at A+
Craig: I know they invited him to Spring Training because they thought he was mentally ready for it, and they love his make up. That says to me they’re going to push him and push him hard
It wouldn’t shock me Ben, despite my adoration of him
Ben: Jonathan Schoop syndrome
Craig: Oh we can’t start talking about him, because I honestly cannot figure out what the hell they’re doing over there
Bret: i think he’ll hit a wall at some point as well – but who knows when that’s going to be
could be right now
yea, let’s not get craig started on schoop – we’ll never stop
#7 – Jorge Soler
craig, how close was he to making your list? was he in consideration?
Craig: Honestly, without having my list in front of me…I thought he was on it
Ben: typical craig
Craig: so yes, he was a very close consideration
Bret: haha, fair enough
Craig: I love Soler a lot and I can’t tell you why he doesn’t deserve to be in consideration
Bret: it’s tough to really discuss soler, as we clearly all need to see more from him
but, one question we can ask
Ben: right, but has anyone read a bad report yet?
Bret: still confident soler is the better prospect than puig?
Craig: Not I
Bret: not i either
Craig: my answer was in regards to the bad report
Bret: (so was mine)
I still prefer Soler to Puig
though the gap has closed a bit
Ben: i still prefer Soler to Puig as well
Craig: I do prefer Soler to Puig…but am I confident? I don’t know about that
Seeing Puig in person will change a man
Bret: well, yea – how confident can any of us really be with small samples everywhere
Ben: exactly. so this is more me sticking with my process and not flipping my rankings based on one spring training
#8 – Billy Hamilton
Craig: He fast.
Ben: the poor man’s Roman Quinn
Bret: this one is interesting, but not from a skills perspective
Craig: I just dropped my spoonful of jelly.
Bret: oh god, ben and his roman quinn
Ben: you just need to give him time guys. roman wasn’t built in a day.
Craig: /throws shoe
Bret: /throws craig’s jelly
Craig: Hey I wasn’t done with that!
Bret: i love hamilton as a fantasy prospect, but think he’s going to be in the majors during the second half
ben, i assume you feel the same way?
(as we were the two who didn’t rank him)
Ben: yes, especially with the ludwick injury
otherwise I’d have him as No. 2
as in, ranked No .2. not as in poop.
Bret: I’d have him #1
and thanks for clarifying
Craig: To be fair, I did rank ahead of the Ludwick injury
Ben: you can make a very reasonable argument for him being 1
you probably won’t, but it’s possible
you can make an argument for him being 1 now
Craig: So I guess I’m alone in thinking he’ll be prospect eligible then?
Bret: i’d take him over bogaerts because he can single handedly win you a category
though, in H2H leagues, i’d rather have Bogaerts
Hamilton should be roto gold
Craig: To clarify – I ranked him 8 in my ranking as a hedge in case he was called up. If I knew he was going to be eligible, I’d rank him considerably higher, as you guys are saying
Bret: i’m going to ahead and combine the last two, since they’re both pitchers and we’re running over
#9 – Jameson Taillon
#10 – Kevin Gausman
how much should we factor in the leagues and the parks that these two will pitch in when determining their rankings? because their environments will be very different
Ben: you definitely do need to factor them in, but I think Gausman is just flat out better. I”m aware that I’m somewhat lower than many on Taillon, although I still like him. he’s on my short list of players to see this season
Bret: I think I’m going to be alone on this one
Craig: It obviously has to matter. But as I’ve discussed with Bret before, I prefer to rank on talent and let the rest sort themselves out. And as Ben said, I think Gausman is just straight up better
Bret: I prefer Taillon to Gausman, even with the same park/league
Craig: I’m not sure I can figure why that is?
Bret: it mostly comes down to the curve
Craig: Calm down Clint
Bret: GET OFF MY LAWN
Ben: so how long do we let Taillon go without being dominant before we call into question his ceiling? because other than 17 Double-A innings, he’s never been great
Bret: i think some of that is on the pirates and i think he takes a big step forward this year
Craig: That’s where I am Ben. I was ALL ABOUT Taillon for a long while. Preferred him to Cole. But I’ve backed off that recently for the exact reason you said
Bret: i’m coming around on Gausman, but not enough to slot him above Taillon
Craig: Not that Cole has been as dominant as I want either
Bret: who, in all fairness, I ranked above Walker
Ben: that’s why I want to see Taillon. I was skeptical about Cole until I saw him and now I am in love.
Craig: YOU RANKED TAILLON ABOVE WALKER
Bret: I did. I think Taillon is the #1 pitching prospect in the game next year
Craig: Even with Walker eligible??
Ben: I think Taillon is the #1 pitching prospect for the Pirates next year
Craig: I…I’m speechless
I dunno Ben, Glasnow looking pretty good…
Bret: I very much want to see Taillon this year too
Ben: honestly though, I think Taillon looses eligibility this year which is why he didn’t make my list. He would’ve been No. 9 otherwise
Bret: hoping to get that chance in the next few months
that’s fair – i could see that
especially if the pirates are in contention at all
Ben: I think they’ll be close enough that they can’t resist calling up Taillon in July
and I think we see Cole by early June
Craig: I do think he somewhat legitimized himself with his showing in the WBC, even though I wasn’t floored by it
Bret: I think we’ll see Cole by early May
Craig: I assumed Cole wasn’t listed because we all thought he’d lose eligibility
anyway, this is going WAY longer than i had initially thought
Craig: I’ll shoulder that blame
Bret: as much as I’d love to continue this conversation for much longer, we should get to the lightning round
we’ll be able to dig deeper on some topics in future installments
Craig: let’s do it
Bret: so let’s go to our top ranked guys individually that didn’t make the list
craig – you mentioned yours already, so let us have it
Craig: Oscar Taveras
I just think the Cards are stacked and he doesn’t see enough time this year
Bret: fair enough – he’s clearly #1 with eligibility for me
he’s my #1 right now
Bret: not much more needs to be said about taveras – he’s otherworldly
i’ll go next, my #2 prospect didn’t make anyone else’s list, quite to my surprise
and it’s Anthony Rendon
i’m curious to know what makes you both leave him out of the top 10
Craig: Opposite of Taveras, I think he sees plenty of time in the bigs this year
Bret: fair enough
and if he did have eligibility?
Ben: No.3 if he’s healthy
Craig: Yup 3 for me, ahead of Yelich
Bret: what odds do you put on him seeing time at 2B this season?
Craig: similar players, better eligibility for me
Craig: maybe 75%? I’m pretty sure he spends some time there
Espinosa isn’t a paragon of health
Bret: so you both think he enters 2014 with 2B eligibility?
Ben: he is a paragon of facial hair tho
yes i do
Craig: depends on the league – Yahoo? Definitely
Ben: but i dont think he stays there for long
slash THIS IS NOT LIGHTENING
Craig: that’s right, it’s lightning
Bret: i’m with you guys that if he loses his eligibility for prospect lists, it will be at 2B
and ben – it’s now your turn
Ben: Gary Sanchez
highest upside of any catcher in the minors — d’Arnaud and Zunino included — and should reach AA this season
Craig: He’s a good choice who I didn’t consider but should have
Bret: i agree on the upside statement – he was a late cut for me
Craig: he has the potential to absolutely explode
Bret: i just worry about him defensively still
Ben: he could follow a Napoli career path where he moves off in his late 20s/early 30s, but I think he’s good enough to stay at C for a while
i think he’s pretty similar to Carlos Santana in a lot of ways, but with a better pure hit tool
Bret: there you have it, ben predicts that gary sanchez’s hip will explode
Craig: the defense doesn’t bother me enough to push me off him as a prospect – it’s not so bad that the Yankees will move him. His attitude in general is a bit of a concern for me
Better pure hit than Santana, but not nearly the approach at the plate
Ben: if my prediction comes true can we say my hips didnt lie?
and i agree with that, craig
Bret: you can say whatever you want, as long as you duck
Craig: I’m going to call you She-Wolf preemptively
Ben: im upset that i get that reference
Craig: I’m upset that I made it, so
Bret: i’m glad you both are in agreement on this
and to wrap things up, let’s each throw out a couple of names of players who didn’t make our individual top-10’s who could surprise and get there
I really like Yasiel Puig and I’m not sure if anyone is aware of that so there now I said it
Bret: i guess Craig is going first
Ben: Aaron Sanchez
Craig: oh just a phenomenal pick
Bret: love the upside of both puig and sanchez
i’m going with two names
and they won’t surprise either of you very much
Ben: perks of being the boss i guess.
Bret: i told you 2 names were allowed!
Craig: I have another, but I’m waiting
Bret: Max Fried
Craig: I’m not surprised you love him, but you see a potential top 10 for him?
Bret: i think he could just explode and be a top-10 guy
Ben: i had him as my No. 10 too
Bret: i really wanted to make room for him on my list, but just couldn’t
Craig: interesting. I’m a fan, but can’t really anticipate that type of season
Bret: i know, i was jealous when i saw that
Craig: I guess I’m not as big a fan of Fried as I thought I was…
Bret: i’ve said this before, and it’s crazy to say, but i see a little bit of kershaw in him
Craig: you hush your mouth
Ben: i don’t think he’s quite AS good as kershaw, but I think he’s the best LH prep SINCE kershaw
Craig: I can get behind that, Ben
Ben: sometimes i use CAPS to ACCENTUATE my points
Bret: i think we’re all in agreement
that is what i meant by “a little bit of kershaw”
Craig: I do wish gchat had italics
Bret: not the whole clayton
Craig: “the whole Clayton” = something I’m saying from now on
Bret: i like it
Craig: your second guy?
Bret: Brian Goodwin, of course
Ben: NOOOO BRET
Bret: he should be right on the edge of the majors at that point
Craig: oh lord
Ben: I’m going to call my boss out in public. I think you are making the previously underrated brian goodwin somewhat overrated.
Craig: /complicit silence
Ben: and i love brian goodwin. i hate what you’ve done to me.
Craig: I don’t see him on the verge of the majors by early 2014, I’ll say that much
Ben: I do, but with Werth/Harper/Span i dont know where he plays
Bret: i think he’ll be in Triple-A by the end of the season
Craig: That’s awfully aggressive for a guy who stunk in AA last year
Bret: me neither, but that’s not goodwin’s problem
he’ll play somewhere
whether it’s in washington or not
Ben: no, but it’s a prob if these are Fantasy rankings
Craig: I don’t understand why Washington would be so aggressive
Bret: i don’t think the nationals, a contending team, will just keep an asset in the minors because they don’t have room for him
Craig: Goodwin beat up Lo-A as a 21 year old
Bret: if anything, i’d think they deal him
Craig: that’s good but not great
Ben: I would like to agree with you, but see: Olt, Mike and Profar, Jurickson
Craig: he stunk in Double-A in a not that small sample size
Bret: the rangers are weird
Ben: p.s. Profar Jurickson could totally be a name
Bret: and the nats have a history of it with the Gio trade
anyway, we don’t need to get into all of this now – i just love Brian Goodwin
Craig: and I’m convinced that the only reason they skipped him over Hi-A is the awful condition of the field in Potomac
Bret: either of you have another name you want to throw out before the closing ceremonies?
Craig: Archie Bradley, Jr
Ben: Alex Meyer
Bret: just don’t call him ABJ
Craig: We already have JBJ
that’s enough for me
Ben: i will prove my gentlemanly worth and eschew the easy joke here and just say that I had Bradley as my No. 9, which is why I cannot list him here.
Bret: i can confirm this
Craig: Ahhh. I was going to say I am surprised I was alone there
but I’m glad I’m not
Bret: well gentlemen, this was a lot of fun
i’m sure we’ll hear from people whether this was a complete waste of everyone’s time once it goes up
Ben: if we eventually do a podcast we sort of have to call it A Transcript For Your Ears now, don’t we?
Bret: i am absolutely on board with that
Craig: Jokes on them. They don’t know how little my time is worth.
I guess Ben’s not just a pretty face
Ben: let’s hope Xander agrees
Bret: anyway, let us know whether you (the readers) like this format
if you do, we’ll do it more in the future with other topics
so, on that note, goodnight ben and craig
Ben: thanks for having me!
Craig: goodnight guys, this was fun
and that’s a wrap
we were only 45 minutes over!
Bret: well done us