Unheralded Prospects To Target In Dynasty Leagues (2021 Fantasy Baseball)
Sometimes in dynasty leagues it can be impossible to trade for high-end prospects. Fantasy managers are almost always going to overrate their own players, and this is especially the case when it comes to dreaming on the most talented youngsters in the sport. Therefore, it can often be a winning strategy to trade for prospects who don’t currently have the same shine as the top names, but ones that are still highly valuable. Of course, figuring out which prospects fit that description is the hard part. Below are three names dynasty league players should consider targeting in offseason trades right now.
My goodness. The Blue Jays simply have a preposterous amount of infield talent in their organization. We know they’re loaded at the big league level, but did you know that three of their top six prospects are currently listed as shortstops? In addition to 2020 No. 5 overall pick Austin Martin, Toronto (Buffalo? Elsewhere?) has Jordan Groshans and Orelvis Martinez in their system as well.
We’re focusing on Groshans today, as the 21-year-old deserves more love from the fantasy industry than he’s currently getting. A first-round pick from 2018, Groshans has hit exceptionally well across his 71 career minor league games. The issue, of course, is that his track record remains so limited.
Groshans was hitting .337/.427/.482 in 23 games at low Class A before plantar fasciitis ended his 2019 season prematurely. He was ready to go at the start of 2020, but obviously we didn’t get a minor league season last year. This has caused his shine to fade a bit entering 2021, and that makes this the perfect time to buy.
I must note that the long layoff creates some risk in Groshans’ future outlook, but Josh Donaldson comparisons should have fantasy managers excited about the upside. Groshans reportedly led the Blue Jays’ alternate training site in home runs last summer, and while many expect him to end up as a third baseman in the big leagues, fantasy players should be focusing on the bat. Groshans is an athletic, advanced hitter with good bat speed who has fallen victim to the industry forgetting about him as of late.
Infield talent in @BlueJays organization
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Austin Martin (BA No. 19 prospect)
Jordan Groshans (BA No. 34 prospect)
Absolutely loaded for the long haul
— Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma) January 29, 2021
Depending on your preferred prospect ranking site, Casas has been listed as high as Boston’s No. 1 prospect entering 2021. However, he doesn’t rank all that high on Top 100 lists. This partly due to the Red Sox having a weak farm system, but it’s also due to most prospect sites ranking for “real life” purposes. This lowers the value of first basemen, who don’t provide as much defensive value as up-the-middle positions like shortstop or center field.
Yet fantasy players shouldn’t be all that concerned with where prospects fall on the defensive spectrum. If a player can hit, they’ll be worth rostering. Casas can hit. Another first-round pick from 2018, he lasted just two games before a strained thumb ligament ended his pro debut. He came roaring back in 2019, joining Xander Bogaerts as the only Red Sox teenagers in over 50 years to hit 20 homers in a season.
Described as “uncommonly mature” by Baseball America, Casas is a 6’5″, 245-pound power hitter who idolizes Joey Votto‘s control of the strike zone. Similar to his role model, Casas regularly chokes up with two strikes and has enough of an advanced feel for the strike zone that he shouldn’t be labeled as merely a “power hitter.” His power is prodigious, though, and it has only improved as his stance became more upright and athletic throughout 2020. Casas isn’t quite Spencer Torkelson or Andrew Vaughn, but just like with those slugging first basemen, fantasy managers shouldn’t worry about his defensive position the way traditional prospect rankers do.
Whereas Groshans and Casas possess bat-first profiles, Marsh is considered a near five-tool prospect capable of bringing plenty of defensive value to the Angels. A second-round pick from 2016, Marsh is a career .288/.368/.431 minor league hitter. That slugging percentage leaves a lot to be desired, and it’s the main attribute holding him back from a fantasy perspective.
The 23-year-old worked on his swing throughout the 2019 campaign, and the power stroke really came together late in the year. Five of his seven homers came in the season’s final 25 games, and then he posted a .909 OPS in 19 Arizona Fall League contests. Scouting reports from FanGraphs say that he was lifting the ball better during this stretch, which gives some visual evidence to the improved stats.
Just like Groshans and Casas, Marsh didn’t receive the opportunity to put his skills into legitimate game action last summer. Once he arrived to the team’s alternate training site, Marsh reportedly built on his swing adjustments from the season prior. A high-level athlete, it wouldn’t be a surprise for him to arrive to spring training with an even more improved feel for his in-game power. Additionally, Marsh is 43-for-54 stealing bases in his minor league career, which checks in at an efficient 80% success rate. There’s 20/20 upside with a solid batting average potential here. A true center fielder, expect Marsh’s defensive chops to give him plenty of chances to continue his offensive transformation.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy baseball, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you navigate your season. From our Lineup Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball season.