Archive for Prospects

Top 5 Prospects for 2015: New York Yankees

This 30-part series will look at the projected Top 5 freshmen contributors for each big league club for the year ahead. The rankings take into consideration a mixture of ceiling, readiness and potential playing time allocation, which is to say some players with lower ceilings may be ranked ahead of others with higher ceilings because they project to have a greater impact in the coming season.

In a Nutshell: New York doesn’t have the deepest system but it continues to produce big league contributors and its Class of 2015 could be one of the best in the Majors — if the rookies are given enough playing time to strut their stuff.

The Top 5 Freshmen for 2015

1. Jacob Lindgren, LHP: The club’s second-round pick in 2014, Lindgren allowed just 12 hits in 25.0 innings of work while pitching at four different levels of affiliated ball. The under-sized lefty also showed his dominance by striking out 48 batters and kept the ball almost solely on the mound when contact was actually made. Lindgren and Luis Severino (see below) could make for a dominating tandem of high-leverage relievers in the years to come.

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Top 5 Prospects for 2015: San Diego Padres

This 30-part series will look at the projected Top 5 freshman contributors for each big league club for the year ahead. The rankings take into consideration a mixture of ceiling, readiness and potential playing time allocation, which is to say some players with lower ceilings may be ranked ahead of others with higher ceilings because they project to have a greater impact in the coming season.

In a Nutshell: The massive roster overhaul by Padres’ front office has shed some prospects in trades and block others with newly-acquired veteran players. The outfield is especially deep with nine outfielders on the 40-man roster, which doesn’t bode well for the two outfield prospects on the list below (one of whom isn’t even on the 40-man).

The Top 5 Freshman for 2015

1. Matt Wisler, RHP: Like the outfield, San Diego has beefed up the pitching depth, which could leave Wisler in Triple-A for much of the season. However, a number of the pitchers are well-acquainted with the disabled list (such as Brandon Morrow and Josh Johnson) so that depth will likely be tested in 2015… and this young hurler is tops in the system. Even if he doesn’t break into the starting rotation this year, though, Wisler could make an impact in the bullpen where his stuff could play up and thrive.

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Top 5 Prospects for 2015: San Francisco Giants

This 30-part series will look at the projected Top 5 freshman contributors for each big league club for the year ahead. The rankings take into consideration a mixture of ceiling, readiness and potential playing time allocation, which is to say some players with lower ceilings may be ranked ahead of others with higher ceilings because they project to have a greater impact in the coming season.

In a Nutshell: The Giants’ freshman class of 2015 doesn’t have a lot of depth but it has a strong hitting prospect, a number of capable arms and even a guy that can make things happen with his feet — when he manages to get on base. All in all it should be decent but unspectacular.

The Top 5 Freshman for 2015

1. Andrew Susac, C: Veteran backstop Buster Posey has been seeing increased playing time at first base to try and shield him from injury. Susac could be the guy that finally pushes the former MVP to first permanently. The rookie backstop is a competent defender and has enough hitting skill to become an above-average hitter for a catcher. Because he’s lost some development time to injuries in the past, it will be understandable if the Giants want Susac to open the year back in Triple-A. But if back-up Henry Sanchez struggles again with the bat, it may be too tempting for the front office to give the freshman a shot on this perennial-playoff team.

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Finding Above Average Fastballs

I am huge proponent of the pitch type work which has led to the Arsenal Score here are FanGraphs. One possible issue with pitch type data is a reasonable amount of data needs to be collected before any conclusions could be draw. I am going to take it a step further today and look for MLB ready fastballs knowing just the pitcher’s velocity and break. Just knowing how the pitch’s speed and trajectory, some conclusions can be drawn on how the pitcher will perform in the future.

This past summer, I found how to estimate a pitcher’s fastball ground ball (GB%) and swinging strike rate (SwStr%) knowing just the velocity and break. The ground ball rate was the same for all pitches while the swinging strike rate varied a bit. Well, I went into meld/average mode to come up with a method to find a simple way to determine how productive a fastball may be knowing its current break and speed.

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Top 107 Redraft Prospects

Prospects are usually the sole dominion of keeper and dynasty league owners. In a redraft league, there is usually hype around a few players. Jose Abreu, Masahiro Tanaka, Billy Hamilton, and Gregory Polanco were among the most popular last year. There were also plenty of useful, under-the-radar types like Jacob deGrom, Kolten Wong, Danny Santana, and Collin McHugh.

What follows is a list of 107 prospects, gathered for their proximity to the big leagues and potential for valuable contributions. There will be names missing, if only because my methodology for hunting down candidates was imperfect. I used FanGraphs’ depth charts, 40-man rosters, and top prospect lists to gather everybody I believed could be a positive contributor in 2015.

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Prospect Classes In Ottoneu

Chad Young and I have written a couple times about our general disdain for prospects in ottoneu. It’s not that we dislike all prospects, they’re just rarely a cost effective means to build (or even rebuild) a team. It would be fantastic to own Kris Bryant for $3. Unfortunately, his average price is actually $10 – on par with Danny Salazar and more than Nolan Arenado. Of course, Bryant is a “can’t miss” star. Right? Right!? While prospects of his caliber don’t often fail, it does happen. Given that his owner has probably invested upwards of $20 over the last couple years, Bryant needs to do a lot better than “not fail” in order to be a profitable asset.

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Top 5 Prospects for 2015: Arizona Diamondbacks

This 30-part series will look at the projected Top 5 freshman contributors for each big league club for the year ahead. The rankings take into consideration a mixture of ceiling, readiness and potential playing time allocation, which is to say some players with lower ceilings may be ranked ahead of others with higher ceilings because they project to have a greater impact in the coming season.

In a Nutshell: The Diamondbacks made a lot of moves this winter in an effort to get younger and boost up their farm system. I actually prefer most of the in-house prospects they already had when compared to the near-MLB-ready talent they brought in. From a ceiling perspective, and compared to the rest of the league, Arizona could have some of the best prospects contribute at the big league level in 2015.

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Top 5 Prospects for 2015: St. Louis Cardinals

This 30-part series will look at the projected Top 5 freshman contributors for each big league club for the year ahead. The rankings take into consideration a mixture of ceiling, readiness and potential playing time allocation, which is to say some players with lower ceilings may be ranked ahead of others with higher ceilings because they project to have a greater impact in the coming season.

In a Nutshell: Promotions and trades (not to mention so-so draft results) have left the system somewhat bare and the ceilings for upper-level talents modest. The list below definitely lacks a “wow” factor.

The Top 5 Freshman for 2015

1. Stephen Piscotty, OF: The Jason Heyward trade was good news for Cardinals fans, but not as well received (I would assume) by the family and friends of Piscotty. A former third baseman, he was being groomed as the next corner outfielder in St. Louis before the deal put the kibosh on that for 2015 — unless an injury occurs to Heyward or Matt Holliday. He has a chance to hit .280-.300 with 15 or so homers. Piscotty makes good contact and will even steal the odd base.

2. Marco Gonzales, LHP: A polished southpaw, Gonzales has a modest ceiling considering he was selected 19th overall in the 2013 amateur draft. He doesn’t have “stellar stuff” but he succeeds due to above-average command/control (although that slipped during his MLB debut) and a plus changeup. Gonzales has a chance to settle in as a No. 3/4 starter. He’ll compete for a rotation spot in spring training but he has the likes of Jaime Garcia, Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez ahead of him, which means he could be destined for more Triple-A time or a bullpen spot.

3. Randal Grichuk, OF: Like Piscotty, the acquisition of Jason Heyward puts a damper on the 2015 outlook. However, Grichuk is a little ahead of his fellow rookie on the depth chart (but has a lower ceiling) so he may spend the year with sporadic playing time as the club’s fourth or fifth outfielder. The young outfielder has some pop in his bat but his overly-aggressive approach puts a dent in his production and hurts both his on-base percentage and his ability to make consistent contact.

4. Tim Cooney, LHP: Cooney, 24, is very similar to Gonzales. The southpaw’s best asset is his changeup, followed by perhaps his durability or command/control. He was prone to the home run ball in 2014 at the Triple-A level so it’s something to be cautious of as he settles into a big league role. Unless injuries blow through the Cardinals’ starting staff in 2015, Cooney is likely to see his first big league action or a middle or long reliever. His ultimate ceiling is that of a No. 4 starter.

5. Sam Tuivailala, RHP: A former pro shortstop, it took Tuivailala a couple of seasons to acclimatized himself the new role on the mound. Things really clicked in 2014, though, and played at four different levels, including the Majors. He features an upper-90s fastball and promising curveball, which should allow him to eventually settle in as a high-leverage reliever.


My Home League’s Prospect List

A little background on my home league before we dive into today’s post would be a good thing, as it is a custom Yahoo! league. It is a keeper 6×6 format with total bases and holds being the extra categories and with on-base percentage rather than batting average. The league is a snake draft, despite my best efforts to change it. Sporting the normal positions plus two catchers, CI and MI, as well as two OF positions in addition to individual LF/CF/RF slots and two utility options, it is a deep league.
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Fantasy Reactions: Souza, Peterson, Perceived Value

I’m not sure I’ve seen this before. As of this writing, the Padres have either completed or began finalizing five trades in the last 48 hours. I feel like we’re living inside a copy of MVP ’05. The Padres are positioned to make still more trades to alleviate a roster crunch. Seth Smith, Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin, Will Venable, and Yonder Alonso are currently looking at just three or four spots. Somebody has to go. Then there’s Tim Federowicz, whose role with the club may have been co-opted by the David Ross signing. The Friars have also shown a willingness to re-package players, so we could see an unexpected swap involving Wil Myers, Derek Norris, Justin Upton, Will Middlebrooks, or even Matt Kemp.

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