More dynasty rankings

A week ago Josh, Jeffrey, and I debuted our dynasty rankings and the discussion afterwards was informative. Based on what I gathered from that discussion, I’ve updated my original 25 and added seven more players to expand the list to 32. Below is my original list and new list side-by-side.

Just a quick reminder this is a list of the top players aged 25 or younger.

+----+-------------------+-------------------+ | Rk | Old List | New List | +----+-------------------+-------------------+ | 1 | Evan Longoria | Evan Longoria | | 2 | Carlos Gonzalez | Felix Hernandez | | 3 | Jason Heyward | Jason Heyward | | 4 | Justin Upton | Stephen Strasburg | | 5 | Felix Hernandez | Carlos Gonzalez | | 6 | Mike Stanton | Andrew McCutchen | | 7 | Jay Bruce | Jay Bruce | | 8 | Andrew McCutchen | Mike Stanton | | 9 | Carlos Santana | Clayton Kershaw | | 10 | Stephen Strasburg | Mat Latos | | 11 | Mat Latos | Carlos Santana | | 12 | Buster Posey | Buster Posey | | 13 | Clayton Kershaw | Tommy Hanson | | 14 | Tommy Hanson | Justin Upton | | 15 | Pablo Sandoval | Yovani Gallardo | | 16 | Yovani Gallardo | Jeremy Hellickson | | 17 | Jeremy Hellickson | Domonic Brown | | 18 | Domonic Brown | Pedro Alvarez | | 19 | Pedro Alvarez | Desmond Jennings | | 20 | Brett Anderson | Mike Trout | | 21 | Desmond Jennings | Brett Anderson | | 22 | David Price | David Price | | 23 | Mike Trout | Matt Wieters | | 24 | Jesus Montero | Daniel Hudson | | 25 | Madison Bumgarner | Billy Butler | | 26 +-------------------+ Madison Bumgarner | | 27 | | Jesus Montero | | 28 | | Mike Moustakas | | 29 | | Freddie Freeman | | 30 | | Jhoulys Chacin | | 31 | | Eric Hosmer | | 32 | | Elvis Andrus | +----+-------------------+-------------------+

First off, why 32? Because it gets harder and harder to rank players in this format as the type of player polarizes into two general groups—less exciting MLB regulars (Gordon Beckham, Pablo Sandoval) and players farther away from the majors (Julio Teheran, Bryce Harper).

Speaking of Harper, I found it nearly impossible to rank him given his unique potential. I will say that if I do not feel so strongly about my chances to contend for the next two years, I would probably flip most of the players ranked in double-digits for him.

Going back to why I stopped at 32, relievers such as Neftali Feliz and Aroldis Chapman should be ranked soon, and reliever value is not something I wanted to make a decision on.

Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters, Jake McGee, Kenley Jansen, Chris Sale, and probably a host of relievers I’m forgetting are not far behind them.

So let’s look at what changed in my new list compared to the old. I agree with Jeffrey and a few of the commenters—Felix Hernandez is in a class of his own and deserves that ranking. Plus, there is no chance the Mariner’s offense is worse than it was last year.

I moved Strephen Strasburg up all the way to fourth. Yes, he will miss most—likely all—of 2011, but talent like his is worth waiting for. What scouts call command is usually the hardest thing for pitchers to regain after Tommy John surgery and he had unbelieveable command pre-surgery, so I think he will find his feel again.

Agreeing with commenter “PAU,” I moved the contact-challenged Justin Upton and Mike Stanton below Andrew McCutchen and Jay Bruce. McCutchen is a true five-tool star and will look very similar to Carlos Gonzalez once CarGo’s batting average regresses some this year.

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Trust an Upton at your own risk. (Icon/SMI)

Upton I dropped all the way to 14 because his expected projection is not beyond Buster Posey‘s or Carlos Santana‘s enough to overcome their catcher value. Upton has the prospect-hype, the tools, and, at 23, a small window of youth in baseball years to improve, but like his brother, B.J., I see him as more of a tease than a turn-on with his actual production. I like Zach Sanders’ write-up of Upton on Fangraphs from a few months ago.

I agree with the masses and flip-flopped Mat Latos and Clayton Kershaw. The two are projected for similar numbers but Latos’ innings jump makes him a slightly higher risk.

Mike Trout is the only player without Double-A experience on this list, but I believe his potential justifies the ranking. He unquestionably has speed, stealing 56 bases between the Low-A and High-A levels. He also displayed solid plate discipline and projects to have decent power. His performance in Double-A this upcoming season will be telling, but if I own, for example, David Price in a league, I’d take the bet that Trout succeeds before his stock potentially rises higher come this time next year.

Three new players cracked my top 25: Matt Wieters, Daniel Hudson, and Billy Butler. Two years ago Wieters would have been near the top of this list, but after two mediocre MLB seasons his stock has taken a hit. His monstrous 2008 season in the minors should not be completely forgotten, though, and he has shown enough promise in the majors to make me cautiously optimistic about his future.

In his first year starting in the majors, Hudson delivered on his potential, particularly in Arizona. I don’t know how close he was to making Josh and Jeffrey’s lists, but I wrongly overlooked him on mine.

Especially at first base, Butler’s production won’t stand out, but dependability has its place in fantasy baseball. With Butler you can sleep easily to a .300+ average and 20 homers.

Freddie Freeman is a similar player to Billy Butler—think .290 average with mild power. He is just 21, so there is potential for improvement, but at the very least he should be a useful player. He should get plenty of MLB playing time this season as he is slotted as the Braves’ starting first baseman for 2011.

Card Corner Plus: Gene Michael and High Intelligence on 1972 Topps
Three smart players devoted their lives to baseball.

Jhoulys Chacin had a fantastic rookie season, though I am wary of him experiencing a setback in 2011. At just 23, there is time for him to sharpen his control and command.


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The Baltimoron
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The Baltimoron
A few things I don’t understand about this list.  For starters (hehe), you have four starters in the top 10, and seven of your top 16.  Yes, Felix is special, but there’s no way I’d take any starter over the likes of Heyward, CarGo, or Posey.  Also, your #4 player is not only a starter, but a starter with little major league experience who is out next season due to TJS.  I know how good Stras was, and might be, and he deserves mention on the list, but that’s just WAY too high.  Conversely, Posey is way too low.  He’s… Read more »
Jeffrey Gross
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Jeffrey Gross

Chacin and hudson are respectively #26, 28. I’ll be making a similar post soon…I hope

First I have some legal research and writing to finish…

Jeffrey Gross
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Jeffrey Gross

Also, I think you underrate Beckham, Sandoval and Upton. But no time to make the argument here. I get the Upton hate, but Beckham i expect .290/20/10 and Sandoval a .300/25/5

Justin
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Justin

Strasburg behind Hughes? Rather laughable…

Strasburg at 85% is better than Hughes

The Baltimoron
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The Baltimoron

Hmmm, the 24-year-old former top pitching prospect playing for a perennial powerhouse who’s gone 26-11 with a 3.78 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 242 Ks in 262.1 IP the past two seasons, over the guy with 12 career starts, playing on an awful team, who’s out for 2011 following TJS?  Yes, I’ll rank that guy 6 spots higher than the second and laugh my way to the league title as you yell “wait ‘til next year!”.

Say What?
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Say What?
I have to agree with Baltimoron there, Justin. I totally get that TJ Surgery today is not the same as it was in the past (although, I don’t want to hear this whole ‘they come back even stronger!’ spiel). However, we’ve yet to see if he can come back from this – if so, to what extent, and if it will happen again due to his violent arm action. The fact that he couldn’t stay healthy for more than 12 starts is disturbing. As Baltimoron pointed out, Hughes has been nothing short of outstanding for his age. People so quickly… Read more »
Bad Bill
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Bad Bill

Having Billy Butler on this list, while Colby Rasmus is not, seems … odd.  The absence of Castro is also hard to understand.

John
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John

Considering the author stated he was making a reliever ranking, and you hounding him about leaving RELIEVERS out is laughable.

The Baltimoron
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The Baltimoron

Just because he’s not ready to include them doesn’t mean they don’t belong.  And I (and the Reds) consider Chapman a starter long term, not a reliever (Hellickson makes the list).  In any case, he’s too big a talent to leave off.

Justin
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Justin
@ Baltimoron Skewed info…the first of the years you mentioned he was pitching relief (with starter stuff). As a STARTER last year his ERA was 4.20…so you’ll be riding THAT the championship? haha…right. So you’d rather have the slightly above average, 3 year older pitcher for a half a year longer than a guy for the REST OF HIS CAREER (this is dynasty) who could be one of the best pitchers in the league if he comes back even close to his form? Sound logic on your part…and yes, I know he had surgery. Even funnier is the fact that… Read more »
Paul Singman
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Paul Singman
Let’s see: I would have no problem taking Heyward over Felix if you want to favor hitting slightly and even CarGo but Posey I can’t see the rationale for. I’m curious what you see him developing into beyond a .300/20hr hitter. Strasburg is a risky play but his talent and more importantly his production in the minors and majors I feel justify the risk. Strasburg’s potential eclipses Hughes’ but a longshot, especially considering that Hughes is trending toward a pitch-to-contact approach. I view Santana and Posey as very similar players… the quality of the team has little impact on their… Read more »
Paul Singman
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Paul Singman

@Bad Bill – Butler is simply a better player than Rasmus. Butler I see as a consistent .310 hitter with 20+ home runs. Rasmus will give you something around .260/25/10 but his contact issues make me wary that he won’t maintain that.

Justin
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Justin

I just cant see Posey putting up as many HR consistently as Santana…plus Santana being able to hit at DH on his days off might save his knees a little bit more and potentially get him more ABs.

Werent several of those HR by Posey considered “lucky”?…I watched many of his games, several of those were line drives that cleared the fence by about a foot!

The Baltimoron
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The Baltimoron
Hughes started and relieved in ‘09, getting in 89 innings, so it’t not like he only threw 40, and they still calculate ratios the same either way.  What he’s done so far as a 24-year-old is very impressive, and my league doesn’t factor in last year’s ERA for 2011, so I’ll ride the 3.50 ERA (and 18 wins and 180K’s) I expect this year, not the 4.20 from last season. And let’s not forget, Hughes was an elite prospect.  He was ranked #4 overall by BA in 2006 after compiling a minor league record of 21–7 with a 2.13 ERA… Read more »
CS
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CS

I’m completely new to this site – can anyone tell me where I could potentially find owners for a dynasty league?

As per the list, Mike Trout over David Price? Odd

Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
@ Baltimoron Could you please explain why you think Santana is only going to get 300 AB’s this year and 400 next year?  I think those are absurdly low projections, and while they may have other options, Santana > Hafner, et al, so they won’t take his bat out of the lineup for lesser players.  I also find it highly doubtful that Posey sees much, if any time at 1B on his offdays.  For starters, playing 1B isn’t nearly as much of an offday as DH’ing.  Next, I fully expect Brandon Belt to be up early, and successful, thus between… Read more »
The Baltimoron
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The Baltimoron
Only one catcher topped 500 ABs last year, and only 12 topped 400, so those numbers are not extreme.  To be fair, I should have said “in the 300/400’s,” and not exactly at a cap of 300 and 400, but my point stands.  Santana is coming off a major, season ending knee injury and is returning to a team with no hope of making the postseason (and little hope of topping the .500 mark), so I see them taking it easy with their best prospect in 2011.  He was in a major slump before the injury, and he may need… Read more »
The Baltimoron
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The Baltimoron
@Willis: 1) I get that, but in the spirit of the original post, there’s more of a weight on the next few years in this list.  Of course, the league you play in makes a difference (is there a large bench?  minor league rosters?) as to whether you can afford to invest long-term and stash guys.  Plus, production now has to be considered more valuable than production later.  I think if this was a straight 10-year ranking, players like Harper, Trout, Moustakas, etc. might be higher, but for fantasy purposes, I think you have to look more short term.  So… Read more »
Willis
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Willis
@Baltimoron All valid points, but I’d still be very concerned about Garcia. Garcia reminds me of Mike Leake. Both were top prospects. Both pitched extremely well in the first half but had WHIP’s that did not correspond with their low ERA’s. Where Leake’s fall happened at the end of 2010, I see Garcia’s happening soon. His splits are concerning: 2.17 ERA 1.25 WHIP in first half and 3.53 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in second half. Really it just comes down to my belief that no pitcher with a 1.41 WHIP can consistantly keep his ERA under 4.  Even his total… Read more »
Willis
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Willis
@Baltimoron I have two major problems with your rankings. 1. I understand you moving Strasburg back but the bottom line is these are dynasty rankings and once Stras returns, I’m confident he’ll fall right back into a top-10 if not top-5 starting pitcher. Even if Matusz or Hughes can play in 2011, I’m fairly confident Strasburg in 2 or 3 years will already have produced more than either of those guys in their 3 or 4 years.  I mean Domonic Brown might not play much this year (his swing is not MLB ready from what I’ve heard) but you feel… Read more »
Moe
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Moe
@baltimoron Just another quick question, Why is Ike Davis so far ahead of Freddie Freeman? I think that Freeman is going to hit Billy Butler-esque numbers, basically average power with 15-20 HR’s, and Ike Davis is going to have a .260ish 25ish season. When you combine that with Freeman being only 21 and Ike Davis being 23, it makes some sort of sense to have Freeman over Davis no? Also I like Freeman way more than Delmon Young and Austin Jackson (both on the same dynasty team with Freeman, I may add) because of their stats as well as being… Read more »
Andre24
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Andre24
@ Willis Seeing as how Jaime Garcia missed essentially an entire season due to his TJ surgery in 2008, & after only throwing 37.0 minor league innings in ‘09, can fatigue not be considered an issue when it comes to analyzing his 2010 (163.3 IP) 2nd half “dropoff” as you alluded to (3.53/1.41)?  He may not reach a 2.70 ERA again in 2011, but with Dave Duncan behind him, command of 4 solid pitches & valuable ‘10 MLB experience as he distances himself from TJS, his / fantasy owners main concern should be the Cards IF defense potentially aiding in… Read more »
The Baltimoron
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The Baltimoron
@ Moe—I’d say Freeman suffers on my rankings for two reasons.  First, he’s still a very young guy, and while the Braves have shown they’re not afraid to promote player to the bigs if he’s ready (ala Heyward), I still think there’s no guarantee that Freeman sees significant time with the Braves this year, or next even.  He struggled in his cup of coffee in 2010, and I think he plays most of 2011 in AAA.  But even if he does make it and stick with the Braves, he just doesn’t have the power I look for in a first… Read more »
Moe
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Moe

@ Baltimoron

Thanks for the insight, your logic makes sense. Really my only counter-argument is that I’ve watched both Freeman and Davis play and it just seems to me that Freeman is better. This may prove wrong and obviously there’s no empirical evidence that Freeman is better than Davis. Also I applaud your ranking of Lomo (Logan Morrison) his OBP is phenomenal and the power will most likely come. Also Brett Anderson may be a tad low but I understand the injury and win concerns. Thanks for your insight.

Moe
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Moe

@ Baltimoron

If you extended this list to 26 year olds, where would you put Tulo?

The Baltimoron
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The Baltimoron
@ Moe—Well, Tulo would be #1, right?  I mean, he’s a top-5 fantasy pick now regardless of age.  I think only Pujols, HanRam, and Cabrera can be argued to have more value.  Votto, CarGo, Longoria, Utley, Cano, Braun, Hamilton, and maybe Wright enter the conversation as comparable statwise, but Tulo puts up similar numbers at the ultra-thin shortstop position.  The others either play deep positions, are older, and/or are more injury prone.  Only the perennially undervalued Cano is a threat, but Tulo brings more speed and I like the depth at 2B much more than SS this year.  Also, he’s… Read more »
Adam
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Adam

@ Baltimoron

Freeman will get every opportunity to lay permanent claim to 1B in Atlanta this year. Freeman spent almost all of 2010 (124 games,) in Gwinnett destroying AAA pitching to the tune of a .900OPS and a 2-1 BB/K ratio. The Braves have no other in house options to play 1B and Freeman would gain nothing by spending another year at AAA. I’m not huge on Freeman, but I think it’s pretty clear he will be the primary 1B in Atlanta this year.

The Baltimoron
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The Baltimoron
I concede: the Braves do seem committed to letting Freeman play first right out of the gate, and I think I might be underselling his power upside.  That said, it doesn’t mean he’s ready for the bigs, or that he’ll post his AAA numbers any time soon. I’m also not sure that, even with playing time, he’s a better prospect for fantasy purposes than the players ahead of him. Those players already have a full season in MLB under their belt, and/or play premium positions, and/or have higher upsides.  Would you take Freeman over Rasmus?  Over Phil Hughes?  Moustakas?  Billy… Read more »
Paul Singman
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Paul Singman
As you get closer towards the forties the rankings difference between an established MLBer like Sandoval and someone with more upside like Brandon Belt become less meaningful as long as they are reasonably close. I could see a dynasty team trading Sandoval for Belt given the conditions, and I could also see Belt for Sandoval. I like the comparison of Butler, Ike Davis, and Freeman. I admit I underrated Davis and if I updated my list again I’d slot him in between those two. I would have no problem slotting Rasmus and Sandoval ahead of Freeman as well, but I… Read more »
Adam
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Adam
@ Baltimoron I think Freeman is ready. That said, I do not think you’re drastically underselling his power. I think Freeman projects to be a Mark Grace type player. I think his rookie campaign will be a .260ish/12-15HR kind of season and I think in his peak years he will be a .320ish/25HR type guy. Another overlooked part of Freeman’s game is his defense (obviously not a part of fantasy,) and I think this is a big part of why he will be thrown out there. Having seen Moustakas and Hosmer in person (watching them rake against my hometown Springfield… Read more »
The Baltimoron
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The Baltimoron
Well, Freeman had eerily similar years in A ball in 2008 and AAA last year.  Here are his AB, R, H, 2B, HR, RBI, K, BB, BA, OBP, SLG, and OBP for those two years: ‘08: 491, 70, 155, 33, 18, 95, 46, 84, .316, .378, .521, .899 ‘10: 461, 73, 147, 35, 18, 87, 43, 84, .319, .378, .521, .898 That’s amazing, right?  Considering how young he was/is, I think that that has to be a baseline of anticipated stats in the bigs, and I’m always willing to accept that some of those 35ish doubles turn into homers as… Read more »
The Baltimoron
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The Baltimoron

BTW, just wanted to say how much fun these posts have been!  This is just what I needed to get my fix with a month to go before my rookie auction and two before the MLBers.

Paul Singman
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Paul Singman

You’re in luck Baltimoron, cause I believe both Jeffrey and Josh are coming out with their own follow-ups in the coming days. Thanks for the intelligent discussion in the comments.

Freeman has a lot more experience in the minors so he is a safer bet to produce in the majors. People have varying opinions of Ackley, for example John Sickels gave him an A- grade and called him a borderline B+.

The Baltimoron
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The Baltimoron

Sickels gave both Freeman and Ackley an A-, and Ackley produced at an elite level at a top college program.  And I’d take a B+ second baseman over and A- guy at first. 

Looking forward to the new articles!

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