Minor League Mailbag

Q: Hanson doesn’t seem to be more than a No. 3 pitcher in the majors—seems ranked high here. Guys like Fowler, Alonso, Lawrie, Alvarez and Carlos Santana seem very low. They are producing now and are quick movers. Tim Beckham as well. Triunfel has to be moved down again at this point.

Missing altogether: Jaff Decker OF SD and Peter Bourjos OF LAA. Ryan Strieby 1B Det has to be on the watch list.

— Posted by JFC in the comments section on 05/01 at 11:06 AM.

A: JFC has a lot on his mind, and he touched on a lot of hot topics. I’m going to take things one at a time.

First of all, there is no evidence to back up your pessimistic view of Tommy Hanson. He possesses ace stuff with his good fastball, solid change up, and dominating curveball. The only thing that could hold him back initially would be his control, and he has the work ethic and tenacity to work through those issues. He’s the best starting pitching prospect in baseball.

Yonder Alonso and Pedro Alvarez have not dominated like they should, revealing some chinks in their armor, although Alonso is certainly starting to turn it on. Dexter Fowler had a hot first couple of weeks, but I have legitimate concerns about his ability to hit for average and, especially, power—the speed is there, though. I have moved Brett Lawrie up since this post, but I won’t go overboard. He’s showing off against Single-A pitching. As for Carlos Santana, I was concerned about his poor first couple of weeks, and thus he gave me that one-year-wonder feeling. I was wrong. His bat has exploded since then, and he has moved up my list accordingly.

This is a good opportunity to address my Tim Beckham outlook overall. As a real-world prospect, Beckham would register in my Top 25, because of the position that he plays and the skill set that he provides. But from a pure fantasy perspective, his outlook is not as bright. The way I see it, if everything turns out right, a year or two from now he will be in the Elvis Andrus or Alcides Escobar class of shortstops. Meaning he would have great value for Tampa Bay in the real world, but he does not project to be an elite fantasy shortstop, only an above-average one—and, once again, that’s only if everything goes according to plan in the next year or two. I like him, but the fact that he was the top overall pick in last year’s draft has inflated his fantasy stock.

Carlos Triunfel is slowing descending my board, but I still love the kid. The injury could be a long-term concern.

Jaff Decker is a guy that I went out of my way to draft last year. But his poor start to the year had me concerned. As the temperature has heated up, so has Decker’s bat. He is back on my radar. He reminds me of Caleb Gindl but with better plate discipline. Unfortunately, he still has a lot to prove in the consistency department in order to catch up to Gindl.

Peter Bourjos was a bit of an oversight. I put together my initial watch list too hastily. I like him.

Ryan Strieby’s Double-A performance is mirroring his Advanced-A performance from a year ago, but something about him doesn’t stick out for me. I’m not sure his bat will translate to the big leagues. He will be one of the next guys to join my watch list, though.

Q: Josh Reddick? Did you overlook this guy? He is closing on Lars as the Sox best position prospect.

— Dan, Columbia, Maryland

A: Admittedly, I have never been a fan of Reddick’s. He screams fourth outfielder to me, and his poor Double-A performance last year added fuel to the fire. But this year he bounced back and had a strong April for Double-A Portland. I had no choice but to add him to the watch list while he heals up from his oblique injury. Thanks for reminding me about Reddick.

Q: Great article on THT about prospects. I just picked up LaPorta in a trade (12-team mixed keeper) and already have Wieters in one of two minor league slots. Question: Who do you think will have the better career and 2009 impact of these BoSox pitching prospects: Buchholz, Bowden, or Masterson? I’ve seen Buchholz pitch a few times, but Bowden seems like the sleeper to me if he can find a spot in the rotation this season. Any recommendations? Thanks.

— Trey, Florida

Retroactive Review: Ace
Looking back at some of Justin Verlander's most interesting moments.

A: Thanks for the compliment. If you have a choice, Buchholz should be your horse. He still has great stuff, is coming into his prime, and has dominated Triple-A this year. If he was still eligible for my Top 100 list he would fit in the top 20 somewhere, despite his age. He still has it. Go out and get him.

Q: How do you like Gerardo Parra for this year and the future? Thanks in advance.

— Brett

A: He’s off to a solid start in the big leagues, despite being rushed. I’m not counting on him for much this year, though. Unless you’re in a really deep league. He is moving solidly up my Top 100 list, and rightfully so. Long-term, he should hit for a high average with some stolen bases thrown in for good measure, but I’m not a believer in his power. He will probably top out at 15 home runs.

Q: Where is Greg Halman? Potential 30/30 guy.

— Posted by Jake in the comments section on 05/01 at 07:54 PM.

A: By now I think most of you know my feelings on Greg Halman. He is not a 30/30 guy, unless you mean 30 walks and 30 doubles; and even then I’m not sure he makes the cut. After seeing the amount of mail that I have received regarding Halman I am now thoroughly convinced that he is the most overrated prospect in baseball.

Q: Cecil needs to move up!!! Where’s Strasburg?!?!?

— Posted by Evan in the comments section on 05/12 at 12:29 AM

A: Brett Cecil has moved up, but his latest outing is cause for concern. He is not a savior for your fantasy team, but he should be a strong No. 3 pitcher long-term.

A little early to be jumping on Strasburg’s back, isn’t it? He will be joining the list with the rest of this year’s draft class, which will be in the offseason. That is unless he becomes ineligible.

Q: Hey, no Luke Hochevar? Also, since you seem to really get into the future stars and such, any interest in putting together lists for the Top 25 Fantasy Players five and 10 years down the line?

— Posted by NoPepperGames in the comments section on 05/08 at 04:29 PM.

A: Hochevar is not a rookie, and thus ineligible.

That’s an interesting idea for an article. I’ll take it into consideration.

To be featured in a future Minor League Mailbag, send and all minor league questions to

Print This Post
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Mike Clay
Mike Clay
Nice article. I’m certainly enjoying these minor league/prospect features, probably as a byproduct of the fact that I’m in a 12 team, 35 man roster dynasty league. Something I noticed is that it is extremely hard to figure out which next big prospect is going to get called up. For example, LaPorta gets called up and everyone scrambles to sign him. Then it’s Medlen or Martinez. Now it’s Fox in Chicago. I think a good idea would be to have a list of say 15 guys who you expect to be the next “big time” fantasy contributors to be called… Read more »
Matt Hagen
Matt Hagen
That type of list is a good idea, but I feel that the ETA that I include in my top 100 does a decent job of preparing you for the arrivals that matter. I’m glad you brought up Sean Rodriguez.  I’ve been meaning to get to him.  There are two main offensive problems with Rodriguez; he won’t provide much more than a mediocre batting average for a middle infielder and I project him to strike out – a lot.  So, LA will be hesitant to open up a full time spot for a guy that will strike out 150 times. … Read more »
Mike Clay
Mike Clay

No problem, just something I know I would enjoy and I’m sure a lot of other people would as well.

Maybe it is just something that can be incorporated into a monthly article? Who knows?

Thanks for your response.


Re: Hanson

Quote: ‘He’s the best starting pitching prospect in baseball.’

After Mr. Strasberg, of course! Tongue planted firmly in cheek, of course.

Personally Strasburg is going to be cursed by the #1 overall pick curse on pitchers.  All of the guys that have been picked 1st overall have had average or mediocre careers.  If I were Strausburg, I would go back to school because the Nationals have been known to change pitcher deliveries that have harmed them.  For example, the changed the mechanics for Colton Willems who threw 94-97 in high school and now throws 87-89 and probably won’t make it.  Now of course he could have juiced in high school, not hard to do might I add.  I just think it’s… Read more »

It may be early to jump on Strasburg, but many of us fantasy players may be able to do just that and want to know how to compare him to others in this list.

We are looking for help in valuing Strasburg now (in my keeper league he was available in reserve) and certainly feel he already belongs in top 100 (feel free to asterix him).

Great stuff!


When you say “Hanson is the best pitching prospect in baseball,” are you suggesting he is better than Price or is he not eligible?