This is a first on our site: a guest post. The post is by Ryan Condon, a Sgt. in the United States Marine Corps who is currently deployed overseas. He definitely wins the award for reader from farthest away! Ryan asked to write a post discussing the fantasy value of prospects, and he did a terrific job analyzing ten prospects who are perhaps overrated or underrated in fantasy. His contribution is really appreciated, and here is the post:
Top overrated players based on Potential:
Dustin Ackley 2B SEA
Ackley is no Tulowitzki. Taken #2 overall last year, I expected this kid to storm the fantasy scene. Then I realized he lacks the statistics that help fantasy players win leagues. The Mariners started him at an advanced level, as at age 22, he split time between AA and AAA. But he only had 7 HR’s in 502 at bats with just 10 stolen bases. Also remember he’s on a team that could barely drive Ichiro in last year.
Jarrod Parker SP ARI
Coming back from Tommy John’s surgery isn’t a crazy idea anymore, some return throwing harder. My issue is that Parker hasn’t dominated at all in the minors, and now with his return, he’s expected to? He has a career 3.31 ERA and 8.9 K/9, which are both nice. The concern is that he’s never pitched more than 117.2 innings in a year, and his WHIP is a miserable 1.29. Note that when he moved to AA his WHIP ballooned to 1.48.
Martin Perez SP TEX
The next Pedro Martinez is what I’ve read and heard about, he’s not. With a terrible ERA of 5.96, a WHIP of 1.67, and 50 walks in 99 IP’s, I don’t care how many K’s you have. Yes he’s just 19, so send the kid down to A+ ball and let him learn more. He’s not even close to helping in fantasy, so stop with the Pedro comparisons!
Chris Carter 1B/OF OAK
I’ll start with his MLB debut numbers: .186 batting average with 7 BB’s and 21 K’s. He’s 24 so he’s still a prospect. His power is not the issue, the issue is contact. Carter, since arriving in AAA, has hit .258 and has an extremely high K rate. He will hit HR’s, but will he kill your team’s BA and K’s.
Aaron Hicks OF MIN
Out of these 5 players, Hicks could make me look bad. He is the prototypical 5 tool athlete that every team and fantasy owner tries to find. The problem is that not many five tool players pan out, and Hicks is 21 without playing above A ball. His batting average is only .279, which is a major concern since batting averages tend to drop as a player advances through the minors. He did have 21 stolen bases last year but what many don’t see is that he got caught 11 times. As he faces better catchers, he could see his managers giving him the red light instead of a green light. Red alert, with 16 HR’s in 847 at bats, managers and fantasy owners better hope his potential wakes up.
Watch out for: Casey Kelly SD
Top underrated players based on Production:
Brandon Belt 1B/LF SF
Belt shocked most of us last year. But that’s how All Star players are born; they show up, work hard and do their job. Belt did just that with a .352 batting average, 23 HR’s, 22 SB’s, and a crazy .455 OBP. With that said he won’t do that in AAA this year, nor in the show. But if he switches to LF and he makes the show, he could be up for rookie of the year. Stats I see this year; .280 BA, 18 HR’s, .385 OBP, and 90 RBI. Did I mention I liked this guy? Because you should.
Shelby Miller SP STL
Miller, though only having one year of experience under his belt, is showing a lot of people why he was drafted in the first round last year. His 130 K’s in 104.1 innings pitched with a 1.24 WHIP in class A are huge considering he was only 19. Look for Dave Duncan to work with him during spring training and throughout the season. He could be the #1 pitching prospect by next year.
Nick Franklin SS/2B SEA
What I heard last year: defense should be good, offense will be lacking. It turned out to be the opposite. When a 19 year old player has 23 HR’s, 25 SB’s, and a .281 batting average while playing SS you have to pay attention. Realistically, we’ll see in AA this year if the power is real. I’d expect a drop in SB’s as he was caught 10 times last year. The real question is can he shore up his .947 fielding percentage to stay at SS. If he can and the power wasn’t a one year wonder, fantasy owners will be drooling for all his stats (other than his K rate, which does scare me).
Jonathan Singleton 1B/LF PHI
The project that couldn’t wait! Singleton showed the Phillies that there is life in their system after Dominic Brown. At 18 he hit .290, had 14 HR’s, a .393 OBP, and showed a lot of patience with 62 BB’s to 74 K’s. All of that happened in A ball with only 376 AB’s. Yes he has a long ways to go and he’ll probably move to LF, but that could be a good thing for fantasy owners.
Randall Delgado SP ATL
Delgado, though overshadowed by Julio Teheran, put up huge numbers in A+ ball. His 2.76 ERA, 120 K’s in 117.1 IP’s, and amazing 1.03 WHIP earned him a promotion. AA was a bit rocky. His 4.74 ERA and 1.28 WHIP aren’t good, but at 21, I feel he can prove enough to be a very high end fantasy player in a year or two. My guess is Delgado will end up as a good #2 with room to get better.
Player to watch: Jaff Decker OF SD