By: Ian Hughes
My infatuation with prospects is no secret – unless this is the first time you are here – so I decided to compile a list of the top 10 prospects in the minor leagues most likely to help your fantasy team in 2013, and for good measure (and dynasty leagues) I’ve included a P4P (Pound for Pound) list of the top prospects for 2014 and beyond. In this section I will overreact to a player’s performance (or lack there of ), update the rankings, and of course complain about their path to the majors being blocked by marginal talent.
Before we get started a few rules:
- Prospects must be in the minors at the time of the list to be included.
- Prospects must have less than the rookie minimums for ABs (130) or IPs (50) to be included.
- P4P 2014 & beyond players may make an impact this year, but I won’t include them until I believe they are serious candidates for promotion
- As prospects get promoted or injured I will move them to the appropriate list until I deem them irrelevant.
- P4P 2014 & Beyond will be updated but will rarely include commentary.
So this is my inaugural and updated list… at the same time. A hybrid of my preseason rankings updated for week 7 of the baseball season… some trippy stuff I know, but next week’s will be a bit more normaler. To make it easier for both of us, just assume that I did this last week and the changes in rankings below reflect such – otherwise it will be a giant headache.
2013 P4P Prospects
- Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (#2) ▲: Currently day-to-day with an ankle injury after sliding into second base on a steal attempt Sunday. Taveras is hitting .317/.348/.480on the year, and if this injury is nothing serious should be in line for a midsummer call up. He is a free swinger that doesn’t walk or strike out much.
- Wil Myers, C, Rays (#4) ▲: Barring an injury Myers is guaranteed lock to be called up as soon as the Rays can avoid Super 2 status with him, mid-June. Myers is off to a somewhat slow start, hitting just .264 on the season, and in the midst of a 7 game stretch in which he is 5 for 23. The power has been slow to come on as he just hit is 4th HR of the season Friday night – he hit 37 in 2012.
- Jurickson Profar, C, Rays (#1) ▼: The consensus #1 preseason prospect has started the year off slowly, posting a triple slash of .244/.347/.374. He is hitting .285 (8/28) over his last 7 games, but with just 2 XBH he has not lived up to his top billing thus far. Profar is too talented not to come around, but will need an injury, trade or position change to get up to the bigs sooner than later – and neither seems likely.
- Zack Wheeler, SP, Mets (#6) ▲: After a slow start to the season Wheeler has really come on in his last 3 starts posting a 1.35 ERA to go with a 0.85 WHIP, striking out 19 over 20 innings. Wheeler appears ready to join Matt Harvey in the Mets’ rotation at some point this summer, but they will certainly look to avoid Super 2 status with him.
- Gerrit Cole, SP, Pirates (#5) ▬: Cole has had issues with walks earlier this year, but appears to have regained his control, 4 walks total in last two outings. I had the pleasure of seeing his last outing in person – against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – and he did not disappoint, tossing 7 innings of 1 run ball. He regularly reached 98 on the gun, with an effortless delivery. Cole’s season numbers sit at 2.23 and 1.21. The longer the Pirates stay in the race for a playoff spot the more likely Cole gets a crack this summer – or better yet they start to slip.
- Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins (#7) ▲: In his 19 games at Double-A since returning from injury Yelich has been on a tear, hitting .329/.407/.633, and homered in 3 consecutive games last week (giving him 3 on the year), Yelich is a lanky outfielder that should hit about 20 a year in the show, but hits the ball to all fields. The Marlins may be in no rush to bring him up, as they aren’t exactly playing for anything, so Yelich will probably have to wait until mid-June at the earliest.
- Trevor Bauer, SP, Indians (N5) ▲: Bauer has been bouncing between the Majors and the Triple-A Columbus in 2013, and is actually scheduled to start the second half of Monday’s doubleheader against the Yankees, but should be back in Triple-A by his next start so he is still included here. Bauer has been impressive – yet wild in 2013. In his most recent start, in Triple-A, Bauer gave up 2 runs in 6.2 innings, struck out 7 and walked 4.
Nick Franklin, SS, Mariners (N/R) ▲: Franklin has had an impressive 2013 campaign, .346/.462/.538, he is walking a ton, and striking out at a very good rate. His great play isn’t the reason he is climbing this list though, it is because of opportunity. Mariner shortstops – Brendan Ryan & Robert Andino are a combined 0 for 18 over the last 7 days, and aren’t much better on the season, as Ryan is hitting .122 and Andino a blistering .159 in comparison. Franklin may force their hand into an earlier call up.
- Kevin Gausman, SP, Orioles (MIX) ▲: Gausman has just 54.1 inning of professional baseball under his belt, 40.1 coming in 2013, and has already been speculated for a possible call up when the Orioles were looking to replace Miguel Gonzalez when he went down with an injury, but instead turned to Freddy Garcia. With Wei-Yin Chen likely headed to the DL next it is possible that GM Dan Duquette, who is not afraid of being aggressive with prospects, turns to Gausman. On the other hand, the Orioles have a bevy arms capable of taking his spot in the rotation including – Jair Jurrjens & Jake Arrieta. Gausman has a 3.35 ERA to go with a 1.09 WHIP, and has struck out 39, to just 4 walks.
- Billy Hamilton, OF, Reds (#9) ▼: It’s no secret that Hamilton can fly around the bases, 102 steals in 2011, 154 across two levels in 2012 and 19 steals this year. Unfortunately, Hamilton has looked over matched at the plate in Triple-A this season, and as they say “You can’t steal first base.” The shortstop, turned outfielder, is in the midst of a nice 5 game stretch that hopefully means Hamilton is turning the corner. Over this stretch he is 9 for 24 (.375), and has raised his average to .222 on the year. While it is good to see Hamilton starting to hit, he will also need to work on his on base skills to have any chance as his walk rate has dipped from 16.9% at Double-A in 2012, to just 7.5% in this season.
Walking Wounded (INJ): Dylan Bundy, SP, Orioles (#3), Travis d’Arnaud, C, Mets (#8), Danny Hultzen , SP, Mariners (INJ), Adam Eaton, OF, Diamndbacks (INJ), Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Rays (MIX), Jackie Bradley, OF, Red Sox (MIX), Mike Olt, 1B, Rangers (MIX)
2014 & Beyond P4P Prospects
- Taijuan Walker, SP, Mariners (#1) ▬
- Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox (#2) ▬
- Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins (#5) ▲
- Jameson Taillon, SP, Pirates (#3) ▼
- Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians (#4) ▼
- Archie Bradley, SP, Diamondbacks (#7) ▲
- Byron Buxton, OF, Twins (#10) ▲
- Aaron Sanchez, SP, Blue Jays (#9) ▲
- Javier Baez, SS, Cubs (#6) ▼
- Carlos Correa, SS, Astros (#8) ▼
Walking Wounded (INJ): Albert Almora, OF, Cubs (INJ)
Follow Ian on Twitter @IamIanH, he’d love to answer any of your fantasy baseball questions!