MLB Top Prospects Questions and Answers
Who are the prospects to pick up now in shallow keepers leagues?
Many of the names near the top of prospect lists are either too far away from the majors (Rodgers, Robles, Espionza, Alvarez, etc), while others are oozing with potential, but nowhere near polished enough to keep, let alone draft as MLB rookies for next season. The top fantasy rookies next season (besides those like Dahl, Giolito, Reyes and Benintendi who have already debuted) are:
1. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (2B/CF, Free Agent*)
2. Dylan Cozens (OF, Phillies)
3. Hunter Renfroe (OF, Padres)
4. Jose De Leon (SP, Dodgers)
5. Jeff Hoffman (SP, Rockies)
6. Bradley Zimmer (OF, Indians)
7. Amir Garrett (SP, Reds)
8. Lewis Brinson (OF, Rangers)
9. Vladimir Gutierrez (SP, Free Agent**)
10.. Nick Williams (OF, Phillies)
11. Jamie Schultz (SP, Rays)
12. Norge Luis Ruiz (SP, Free Agent**)
13. Josh Hader (SP, Brewers)
14. Austin Meadows (OF, Pirates)
15. Jharel Cotton (SP, Dodgers)
*Gurriel probably won’t sign until October 19th, since he turns 23 on that day and will no longer be subject to international bonus pool limits. If your league allows you to add players who aren’t in the database, make sure to grab him, as he should be a dynamic rookie star.
**Both Gutierrez and Ruiz are free agents from Cuba who will likely require a month or two of seasoning before they are called up, but are likely to be fantasy relevant assets as soon as their MLB clubs promote them.
Which prospects could eventually become the top overall prospect?
These players are sorted by where the appeared in my August top 200 list–some of these guys have serious upside and if they run into some helium, could launch all the way to the top of the list one day. Only players who are currently outside of the top 10 and haven’t played in the big leagues are eligible for this list:
(11) J.P. Crawford (SS, Phillies)
(19) Yadier Alvarez (SP, Dodgers)
(20) Jason Groome (SP, Red Sox)
(22) Kevin Maitan (SS, Braves)*
(27) Eloy Jimenez (OF, Cubs)
(31) Rafael Devers (SS, Red Sox)
(38) Kyle Lewis (OF, Mariners)
(43) Triston McKenzie (SP, Indians)
(44) Kolby Allard (SP, Indians)
(50) Adrian Morejon (SP, Padres)
(53) Lazaro Armenteros (OF, A’s)
(69) Yusniel Diaz (OF, Dodgers)
(90) Vlad Guerrero Jr. (OF, Blue Jays)
(97) Matt Manning (SP, Tigers)
(108) Lucius Fox (SS, Rays)
(110) Daz Cameron (OF, Astros)
*Maitan has the best odds of the group in reaching the coveted No. 1 ranking
Which prospects will leap into the top 100 by next summer?
1. Adrian Rondon (SS, Rays)
2. Daz Cameron (OF, Astros)
3. Alex Kiriloff (OF, Twins)
4. Justin Williams (OF, Rays)
5. Willie Calhoun (2B, Dodgers)
6. Lucius Fox (SS, Rays)
7. Franklin Perez (SP, Astros)
8. T.J. Zeuch (SP, Blue Jays)
Who will the Braves take with the top overall pick in next year’s draft?
There are, oddly, about 10 guys who are still in contention to become the top overall pick this season. There is no clear-cut top choice, or even close to it, but what we do know is that there are four players who are currently more highly regarded than anyone in the 2016 draft was at this stage. Those players are J.B. Bukauskas (SP), J.J. Schwartz (C), Tanner Houck (SP) and Jaren Kendall (OF). If my job was on the line, I’d take Tanner Houck, the tall righty from Mizzou, who has a 96 MPH heater and a wipeout slider among other well-commanded pitches. The highest upside appears to belong to prep shortstop, Mark Vientos, who could certainly separate himself from the pack between now and then.
Most importantly, what’s your take on Tim Tebow?
Yes, the idea that anyone, be it Michael Jordan or Tim Tebow, could go from 11 seasons away from baseball and morph themselves into a major leaguer overnight is absurd because first round picks like Randal Grichuk who oozes with tools, are fighting for their life just to make the big leagues despite a healthy body and a life committed to making it in the big show. With that being said, Tim Tebow has the same body as Frank Thomas, plus a little extra muscle. We all know nobody will outwork or outstudy him, and that he is extremely intelligent and a quick learner. Tebow has received a raving review from Gary Sheffield, then a glowing report about his plate discipline, power and wise adjustments by former big league reliever, David Aardsma. The bottom line: Someone is going to invite him to spring training, and Tebow will battle the grind of minor league baseball for at least one full season (he isn’t a quitter). At some point, the big league team will call him up for at least 20 at bats, and when they do, I’ll bet anything that he isn’t as terrible as everyone expects, but still gets absolutely torched by the peanut gallery despite achieving something remarkable.
Career Prediction: 3 seasons, 52 games played, 106 at bats, 4 homers, 2 stolen bases and a .236/.313/.424 slash line (comparable with Trevor Plouffe’s 2016 rates)