Here’s your 2013 Deep Leagues Top 100 List! There’s been a TON of work put into this list! I hope it is up to standards, I hope that we all have some fun analyzing the list itself and the players. I definitely want to thank Bradley for his time and effort and contributions, as well as my league-mate Rob who edited and helped with the rankings. It was a long few days to type all this up, but 9,225 words later, the readers deserve it. Let’s get to it!
The list was posted on January 9th, but the date was edited to keep the list on the front page and towards the top, since the discussion is most centered on here.
DEEP LEAGUES 2013 TOP 100 PROSPECTS
1. Jurickson Profar (SS, TEX) – Profar is as smooth as can be. He’s polished, he’s got talent, and he’s got all the skills to make his tools work. He’s got a good to great arm, he’s above average defensively, he’s got a sweet swing and drives the ball well for a guy his size, he can hit for power, and he’s got above average speed. Oh, by the way, the kid is 19. He’s ready for the majors right now, after being one of the youngest AA players. He is the safest bet in the minors with the least questions about him. He’s going to be at least an above average regular, because that’s what he is now. If he keeps developing, then we start to talk about All-Star caliber. And that’s the road he’s headed on. I played it safe at the top.
2. Oscar Taveras (CF, STL) – I swear I’m a huge OT fan. A massive one. I believed in him even when others said “his swing is too violent” and “he can’t hit a ball consistently like that”, I looked at the numbers and saw a 19 year old driving the ball and hitting over .310 in AA. And I can see some batting titles in his future for sure. And he couples all that with power in his swing. If he could play CF for the Cardinals, I’d lock him in at the top slot. But Profar has the defensive advantage and positions like SS are much weaker than OF. But if I’m gambling on one player from every prospect in the world to win a batting title, it’s him. And if I had to choose one player to become a star, it’s Taveras. But he’s not as safe and not as elite positionally as Profar, and that holds him to number two. Which, honestly, isn’t that big of an insult. Right Bryce?
3. Wil Myers (RF, TB) – Well it has been an eventful off season for Mr. Myers to say the least. He was the center of many rumors, and then gets packaged off to Tampa Bay for Shields. I’m frankly glad for him, because it means that he’ll be in a competent team’s regime and have one of the best GMs looking after him, rather than Dayton Moore. He’ll likely split the year between AAA and the majors, so expect little in 2013 but big things from 2014 and beyond. He looks like a star to me, and most. Don’t mind the questions about his ability that were asked during the trade. He’s just as good as before. And maybe he’ll play with a chip on his shoulder. Watch for 30+ HR.
4. Dylan Bundy (SP, BAL) – He’s the best pitching prospect in the minor leagues today. Heck, he could be a top 15 pitcher in all of baseball if he was up on Opening Day, he has that kind of talent. If he was a few inches taller, we’d be talking Strasburgian hype. Bundy deserves the big rep he gets, especially on that epic run in High-A this year. He’s a monster and the O’s need to turn him loose. It wouldn’t surprise me, with the O’s rotation, to see him there on Opening Day if they are serious about competing. Will he or Gausman come up first?
5. Xander Bogaerts (SS, BOS) – Bogaerts is one of the best pure hitters in the minors. And yes, I think he will stick at SS (Law noted that it was a 50/50 proposition now). An elite bat, he tore up Hi-A and AA to the tune of 20 HR and a .307/.373/.523 line, good for a .896 OPS. I think he’s going to be a star.
6. Gerrit Cole (SP, PIT) – Well being the 2nd best pitching prospect isn’t that bad when Dylan Bundy is ahead of you. Cole is phenomenal in his own right, and should end up a very good pitcher for the Pirates, likely a #2 with good potential to be a true ace. The Pirates are counting on him to come through as a TOR arm, and it looks like he will. He did seem human at the end of the year, but that doesn’t worry me. If he’s available for trade in a league, don’t worry about the cost. I’d deal a good amount of value to secure him. Because it’s a lot more expensive to pay for Justin Verlander now than it is to pay for a TOR future arm like Cole.
7. Shelby Miller (SP, STL) – Well, he’s back to being a stud. After a rough first half, he started to “trust his stuff” according to his catcher, and throw his fastball. And due to that, he’s back in the top 10. He should see at least 10-15 starts in STL this year, and can be a quick return on investment if you’re able to nab him for a solid MLB starter.
8. Jose Fernandez (SP, MIA) – Talk about a jump. Fernandez went from “wow this guy could be a good closer one day” to “Well, I think he’s a starter” to “Top of the rotation in 2014″. And it’s all deserved. From watching video, he’s dominant. I could easily see him destroying AA and getting the call in June, or at least a trial run in September. He looks like the real thing to me.
9. Mike Zunino (C, SEA) – Personally, I think he’s the best catching prospect in the minor leagues. He dominates in college. And then goes and has a 1.137 OPS in 44 minor league games (Low-A for 29, AA for 15) with 13 home runs. He’s got no defensive sticking questions, so he’s my top catcher and could be a top 3 fantasy catcher for years.
10. Taijuan Walker (SP, SEA) – Walker was one of the youngest pitchers in AA this year. His scouting reports were clean and good from the scouts, but the numbers said differently. He’s still regarded as a potential TOR arm, and I don’t think many if any have soured on him. He could be a fantasy ace in the future, albeit with some risk attached.
11. Trevor Bauer (SP, CLE) – What an off-season. He’s a top prospect, and then gets thrown away for DiDi Gregorius to Cleveland. Well I think Cleveland stole him, with naughty pictures of Kevin Towers in some tropical island handy. Because Bauer is just about ready to walk into the MLB rotation and prove that he’s going to be a very good pitcher for a long time.
12. Javier Baez (SS, CHC) – If he’s a shortstop and you’re a believer, push him up about 3-4 slots. If you firmly believe he’s a 3B, then knock him down 5 slots to slightly above Sano. But overall he does look like the real deal, with power and contact. If he keeps gaining plate discipline, he’ll be a stud for the Cubs.
13. Jameson Taillon (SP, PIT) – Taillon is a prospect that has always escaped me. I typically am more of a stat guy than a scouting report guy, and Taillon is like a weakness of mine because he’s a lot of reports and less about the numbers. But I’ve learned to embrace it. He looks like a TOR arm. And he could be up in 2014 if everything breaks right. I think late 2014 is reasonable. He’s less risky now that you know who he is, but I don’t think I’d give up any player above him for him.
14. Zack Wheeler (SP, NYM) – Mets fans are hoping that prospectors were right. Maybe Wheeler is better than Harvey. Because Harvey was disgustingly good in his MLB debut, and Wheeler is still in AAA. He’ll be up in June, and projects as a TOR arm. He looks to me like a #2 pitcher, and a good one. Some even think he could become a top 12 pitcher in the league.
15. Miguel Sano (3B, MIN) – Power is the name of the game. He’s got a huge bat and he does know how to use it. If he holds up his power throughout the minors and into the majors, he looks like he could be a top 25 fantasy hitter for a long time, assuming he sticks at 3B. He could be moved off if his defense is lacking, which would mean that he’s either headed to 1B, or he’s headed to DH. Both of those spell a move from the “elite power 3B” category to the “good 1B bat”.
16. Travis d’Arnaud (C, NYM) – He’s the main competitor among catchers for Zunino. Most will have him above, but he too comes with risk. I think he could end up hitting .300 with 15 home runs. But I’m less certain seeing that he’s been injured, and is returning. He might open up on the NYM opening day roster if he’s healthy.
17. Robert Stephenson (SP, CIN) – My favorite pitcher in the minors. I think he’s going to be a #2 starter, maybe even a #1 when it’s all said and done. He’s got a nasty fastball (sits around 95-96 late in starts, can run it up to 99). And he’s got a knee buckling curve. He’s 19 years old with two plus pitches. The changeup (as for most) will determine whether he ends up at the front of the rotation, or the back of the bullpen. I love his chances.
18. Tyler Skaggs (SP, ARI) – He’s kinda under the radar now. He’s been good for so long that he’s skipped over quite a bit. He still looks like a #2/3 and he’s nearly there. He should be in the majors in 2013, maybe even opening day. I think that if you pay slightly less than even value today by offering, say, Buxton or Olt, someone might jump. And I’d love the Skaggs return on that.
19. Christian Yelich (CF, MIA) – Yelich has a ton of projection about him. Many times we hear about pitchers having physical projection. But Yelich is a prime case of a hitter yet to fill out. He looks like he could be a monster. He hit .330 (!) with 12 homers and 20 SB in high-A as a teenager. And that was good for a whopping wRC+ of 164 (!!!!!!). He should be in Miami soon, perhaps 2014. And expect big things out of him, especially if he can stick in CF. The only thing holding him back is that he hasn’t attained his projection, yet.
20. Billy Hamilton (CF, CIN) – Damn, he’s fast. He’s proved he’s the best base stealer the minor leagues have ever seen. But he also is being moved to outfield, which will take some of his appeal away from him. He could be a dominant base stealer, but I want to see him make it in the majors before I proclaim him the ultimate fantasy steals monster. But he could be.
21. Jonathan Singleton (1B, HOU) – Singleton made a smooth transition to AA posting 20+ HR’s and a .400 OBP. Singleton should arrive in Houston sometime this season, but the ‘stros can be patient if needed. He’s the best 1B bat in the minors, and it’s not close. Unless someone like Sano or Gary Sanchez moves to 1B, Singleton is the prime candidate to lead that position. Still super young, he’s one to target that could see reps late in 2013 if the Astros season goes as planned (ha!).
22. Nick Castellanos (RF, DET) – His hit tool was off the charts in High-A ball this year. He dominated, flirting with .400 for the majority of the season. But things tanked when he went to AA, which is the big step in development. I think he rebounds. I’d target him if possible, but I wouldn’t be giving up someone above here to do it. Pay the value that he will bring to your team as a RF or LF player, not a 3B.
23. Carlos Correa (SS, HOU) – We will know more next season b/c debut season will provide more information re: his power potential and ability to stick at SS. For now, long-term prospect offering excellent potential. His value will be very dependent on whether he sticks at SS or he has to move to 3B. But he could be an asset either way.
24. Kevin Gausman (SP, BAL) – Kevin Gausman is the best pitching prospect from the 2012 draft, as of right now. His main competition might be Fried and potentially Zimmer and Giolito, but I think Gausman will end up a #2 starter behind Bundy in Baltimore. Not a bad combo. He should be on your fantasy radars already because he could come up in 2013. And he could make an impact for the Orioles and for your fantasy squad. He’s my #2 overall prospect in the 2012 draft, and I think he’s a good and safer bet than most.
25. Byron Buxton (CF, MIN) – Buxton is a toolsy athlete, to say the least. I think he’s got the capability to dominate and become Matt Kemp, with less power and more speed. He’ll stick in CF because of his speed and athleticism. The issue with him is that he’s raw. And that does concern me a little, considering other raw players like Donovan Tate and Bubba Starling have yet to develop into the 5 tool studs they were projected. But he was the 2nd overall and highest paid player in the draft for a reason, so I won’t pass judgment until we get a full year of ball under his belt. The upside is superstar. The downside is just as steep, like AA org filler. I personally don’t love him like others do, but he’s an upside prospect and if you need to take a risk for a superstar, he might be your guy.
26. Trevor Rosenthal (SP, STL) – Just to note, I think he remains a starter and begins the year in Memphis or St. Louis, either way, he and his nasty fastball are in the rotation. And I think that he can be a great #2/3 starter, especially on the Cardinals where he could end up their third best pitcher in the rotation (Waino, Miller).
27. Noah Syndergaard (SP, NYM) – He was a key piece in the deal to get Dickey. It was amusing to watch Toronto fans go from “we wouldn’t give up d’Arnaud for Dickey” to “I’d love to just give up d’Arnaud, just don’t take Syndergaard too!” to “Well, World Series Locked Down”. I think Noah is going to be a starter with a great fastball, but if all falters he’ll find himself somewhere in the 8th and 9th innings. He could be dominant at that too.
28. Archie Bradley (SP, ARI) – Bradley looked really good at times, with a great curve and a lively fastball. And others he really struggled with command. He’s got the upside of being a TOR arm, but he does carry the risk of never fully mastering his control and being sent to the ‘pen (but what young prospect doesn’t?). I like him, but I’ve got my concerns about his walk rate that push him away from his history in the top 20 prospects. He could regain it quickly in 2013.
29. Mike Olt (3B, TEX) – Do the Rangers have any idea of what to do anymore? They need outfielders, but are going to likely platoon Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin. But then they’re going to watch Olt and Profar just bide time in the minors. He’s ready, but I think he might get Brandon Belt syndrome if he’s on the MLB bench for a while. Be wary. I could see 25 HR a year, but I could also see 15 HR and a ton of rust every time he runs out there.
30. Danny Hultzen (SP, SEA) – I don’t think I’m that low, and most have questioned his 4.29 FIP in AAA and his control problems. He’s not a fireballer, so control issues make him look like a good #3 starter to me. He’s always been a high floor guy, and his stuff will play up in Petco, depending on the fences. He’ll be a reliable starter in the majors for years, but don’t expect fantasy dominance.
31. Addison Russell (SS, OAK) – I’m not super high on him here relative to most. Sickels gave him a B+ grade and I agree with that value. If he sticks at SS, where there’s a chance to do so, he could be a force with the bat and even more fantasy relevant than Correa. Most of the SS have questions, but I think that his bat will impress many people, so get on him if you haven’t.
32. Jorge Soler (CF, CHC) – Soler has all the potential in the world. He was given a huge contract out of Cuba, and so far he’s proven that he’s not a complete bust. We won’t know if he’s worth it until he’s played 3-4 MLB years, but right now it’s looking like a good value. He’s shot up prospect lists and is just as toolsy as most. If he develops as he should, which is risky, he’s got star player upside for the Cubbies. He might be in your off season draft. And if you believe that he’s worth every penny of his contract, I could see him landing 1st overall. But as with most Latin America players, tread lightly. 2013 will make everything much clearer.
33. Gary Sanchez (C, NYY) – He plays third fiddle in the catching world, but he plays first fiddle in the Yankees system. He’s a power hitting catcher, and could be a force behind the plate for the Yankees (assuming they don’t drop 10 years, $60M on Bengie Molina). But he should come up in 2014 and hopefully make an impact. I don’t doubt his ability right now, but there are some questions that arise to some about his ability to stick behind the plate long term. He might have to go level by level to stay at catcher.
34. Taylor Guerrieri (SP, TB) – Similar to Stephenson, he’s a young guy but I think he gets more press. I think he has more risk. He also has a heck of a lot more ahead of him than Stephenson. He had a fantastic 1.99 FIP in short season, but only rung up 7.8/9IP. Could be a #2 starter, and his development of secondaries will determine how big of a fantasy asset he will be.
35. Aaron Sanchez (SP, TOR) – Sanchez profiles as having the best combination of polish and upside from the Lansing Three (what could have been?). He has less upside than flame throwing Syndergaard, but he also has less polish than Nicolino. If I were looking for the best neutral value between the three, Sanchez is my guy. Look at a potential #2 starter (Top 30 fantasy pitcher).
36. Anthony Rendon (3B, WAS) – This is one I definitely need to say I’m low on. Where does he play? As many have described, he has “glass ankles”. I doubt that plays at 2B (and Keith Law agrees). Can he stay healthy enough for 3B? I can’t see .290 with 15 home runs being a dominant force at 1B, fantasy wise.
37. Max Fried (SP, SD) – Max Fried has likely the most potential of any arm in the draft. If he and all the arms in the draft hit their ceiling, he’d be the best. He’s got true #1 upside, but he’s still young and just out of high school. He’s a risky proposition, because he’s got to succeed all the way up from the bottom of the minor leagues, but he does seem like the guy to succeed. And Petco park will do him some favors. I see a lot of potential here.
38. Alen Hanson (SS, PIT) – One of the two best PIT breakouts of the year. He went from middling potential bench player to potential above average regular with some pop and some speed. His value decreases if he moves to 2B, but he’s still got enough of a bat to be relevant.
39. Carlos Martinez (SP, STL) – He looks like he’d be an ace in any other org, but he might end up a closer in STL. With Miller/Wacha/Rosenthal already on the potential starting path, I think one of CMart, Wacha, and Rosenthal end up as a closer. And unfortunately for Martinez, I think it’s him. If he were more of a starter in my mind, he’d but up in the mid to late 20s.
40. Francisco Lindor (SS, CLE) – He could be Jurickson Profar 2.0, or he could be a wealthy man’s Jose Iglesias. He’s going to stick at SS. But he hit for a .707 OPS, good for a wRC+ of 102. He doesn’t strike out, and he has a good eye. I’m skeptical he turns into a great bat at SS for fantasy purposes. I don’t see a lot of pop, and I see about 20 steals. So he’s a SS with an OPS of around .725 with 8 HR and 20 steals. Take it for what it’s worth.
41. George Springer (CF, HOU) – It was a solid debut from the 2011 first rounder (20 HRs and 28 SBs). Heading to AA, challenge will be trying to maintain similar numbers without increasing his 26.2% strikeout rate. The strikeout rate is a concern for him, and one to keep an eye on. Other guys have busted due to a high strikeout rate, so it could be cause for concern. I’d rather see 15 HR and a 21% K rate, personally. But fantasy wise, he should be a good 20/20 threat yearly if he progresses.
42. David Dahl (CF, COL) – He’s good. Really good. The athleticism is on par with Buxton, or so it’s said. He destroyed the ball for two months beyond what anybody could have imagined. I think that if he keeps it up, the doubt will be erased, but right now I’m still counting on that Buxton was the 2nd overall pick for a reason and Dahl was the 10th. But time can easily erase that.
43. Austin Hedges (C, SD) – Another catcher I’m high on, but a lot of people believe in him. He had a wRC+ of 119 in A ball last year. He’s one of the top defensive catchers in the minors. I’m a believer that he’s going to be a good hitter at the major league level, and could be a good consistent top 10 fantasy option at catcher, one you don’t have to worry about moving to a different position.
44. Jackie Bradley (CF, BOS) – Bradley offers a solid combination of speed, power, and plate discipline. Terrific defense in CF will not help in fantasy beyond keeping him on the field. One of the most undervalued prospects in the 2011 draft, but for now, appropriately valued near the end of the Top 50. He’s a really polished player and is a popular player to replace Ellsbury in due time.
45. Matt Barnes (SP, BOS) – A Connecticut Huskies product (yay!), Matt Barnes is the Red Sox top pitching prospect. At the beginning of the year, he was absolutely filthy and mowed over players in High-A. He hit a bump in AA, where most players do but I’m not all too concerned about him. He looked like a #2 starter during his High-A run, but I think he’s a safe bet to be a #3 starter with higher potential. I think it’d be a disappointment if he ended up a #4 or 5 starter with the path he’s on now.
46. Gregory Polanco (CF, PIT) – Probably the biggest breakout in the minors in 2012. He hit like crazy and gave statheads fantastic numbers while posting solid scouting reports. If he was more of a sure thing, he’s be right near Buxton in ranking. With a solid April to June, he’ll likely be a top 30 candidate.
47. Albert Almora (CF, CHC) – Almora is the other big time outfielder in CHC, and he could be just as good as Soler. It was rumored that the Cubs were absolutely in love with Almora. If the Cubbies had the first overall pick, they still might take him over anybody else in the draft. The truth to that rumor is in question, but Almora gets a big vote of confidence that the Cubs got their guy, because I think that they should be able to develop him into a player. He’s got five tools as well as Soler. He’s got the upside of a star, but likely ends up somewhere as a regular, in my opinion. But, the upside remains.
48. Kyle Crick (SP, SF) – As Tim mentioned in a comment, he’s also a believer in Crick. I see a future #2/3 starter, but safer than most. He’s got a good mix of pitches, and the Giants develop pitching. He had a 3.15 FIP in Low-A last year, and coupled with a dominant 10.4 K/9. He did walk a lot of players (5.42 BB/9) but he has the stuff to be a front line guy. I believe.
49. Jesse Biddle (SP, PHI) – He’s the top arm in Philly. Even though Philly keeps churning out back end starters like Worley, Cloyd, and likely Pettibone, I think Biddle has a chance to be a good #3, and peak as a #2 in some years. He’s got a lot of value like that. I’d aim for him as a guy that is under the radar.
50. Oswaldo Arcia (RF, MIN) – Arcia got some love from John Sickels this year. Sickels gave Arcia the nod over Buxton, which I found interesting. Personally, I can see it but I don’t agree. Arcia tore the cover off the ball to hit .309 in the pitcher heavy FSL. And then hit .328 in AA. He looks like he’s going to be a good hitter in Minny, but he doesn’t have the upside of Buxton. I might be low on him here, and if he keeps tearing up AA and AAA, he could be pushed to a top 40 spot.
51. Clayton Blackburn (SP, SF) – Another Giants starter here. I’m obsessed with the 2011 Oklahoma HS pitching class. He struck out nearly 10 and walked less than 2 per nine innings in 2012. His FIP of 1.91 was incredible, and he’s known as a more polished “pitchablility” player than Crick. Not the upside that Crick possesses, but he could end up a #3 starter, and has a good chance of at least being a workhorse #4 that won’t hurt your fantasy squad.
52. Jedd Gyorko (3B, SD) – I feel bad for Jedd. He hits and that’s really all he does. But, the minor league parks and Petco hold him back. Hitting in the PCL is like playing at a Little League stadium, so much of his AAA time has to be taken with a grain of salt. And double the pain because he jumps to one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the majors, at Petco. I think he’s a 3B in the majors, but Headley might have something to say about that. Could he play 2B? How about RF or LF? I think he’s got a relatively good shot of being a ML regular
53. Casey Kelly (SP, SD) – Kelly struggled in his MLB debut, that’s for sure. A 6.21 ERA isn’t predictive of his talents though. When he was in Boston, he was supposed to be a #2 starter. When he got to San Diego, he didn’t turn it on fast enough and most wrote him off as another workhorse 3/4 type of guy. But I still believe in his stuff and I think that he does still have that upside of a two starter, especially in Petco. One plus is that he’s MLB ready, so he gives you a quick turnaround. He’s someone who might have lost some hype due to his results, but I like him still just as much as before (Remember that Anthony Rizzo guy struggling?).
54. Justin Nicolino (SP, MIA) – He’s quite under appreciated around these parts of fantasy prospecting. People look at him, see polish and a lefty without much projection and assume he’s gonna be a mid-rotation guy. He could end up better than Noah or Sanchez, the ex-Lansing Three. He’s a good target to look at for consistent production down the road. He’s a good bet to be a #3 starter, with some years as a #2. Very similar to Biddle’s upside.
55. Nick Franklin (SS, SEA) – Franklin is a guy I keep my eye on. I own him in a league and I think he can be a successful MLB 2B. If he moves to 2B, his bat will be average to slightly above average. If he’s able to stick at SS, he can likely be a good bat and fantasy relevant every year. He’s a switch hitter and he’s still developing and very young, so I actually wouldn’t mind seeing a full year of AAA for Nick before I hand him over to the Mariners.
56. James Paxton (SP, SEA) – Paxton had a great year in 2012. He more than held his own in AA and looks like a good future #2 starter, maybe a #3. I think he ends up a #3 starter with the occasional great year that reminds you of all his talent. His stuff will play up in Safeco, and boy does he have stuff. A hard fastball from the left side and a great breaking ball cap off a strong arsenal. I’d buy if you can, because of the combination that he could be in the majors soon (Seattle has little pitching depth) as well as his home park (ask Tommy Milone how much home parks are factors). He’s a buy now guy, and I could see him higher on my list if he starts hot.
57. Bubba Starling (CF, KC) – He struck out a lot. Like 30.2% of the time lot. Yes, that’s a real number. He’s incredibly raw and was about as likely to play football in college as turn pro in baseball. He’s got the power and physical potential to be Matt Kemp, but his skills just aren’t there. He could be a long time in the minors waiting on that potential to shine through. I’d look elsewhere and wouldn’t mind taking a safer bet on a prospect like Springer or JBJ if I could.
58. Chris Archer (SP, TB) – Surprisingly people don’t talk about him more. He is ready for the majors right now, and has nothing left to prove. The Shields trade left a gaping hole for him to step into. He’s likely to pick up 20+ starts in Tampa (I think so), and he could be a good #3 starter in the long run. What’s not to like?
59. Yasiel Puig (RF, LAD) – Puig is an interesting candidate for this list. On one hand, you have the $42M bonus. And then you have the physical freak that he is. But, you also see some holes in the swing and a lot of raw talent. If he develops, he could be a star player. If he doesn’t, then he is exactly what he is. I took a chance on drafting him with the 5th overall pick in DLF, so I’m a believer that he will progress and continue. But he’s a big boom/bust risk.
60. Michael Wacha (SP, STL) – Wacha is a nice surprise from the 2012 class for the Cardinals. They thought he’d have an impact, but he immediately came in and beat up AA for short stints. Not entirely predictive of future success, but obviously much better than not being good. And the scouting reports were the biggest plus, they came back saying that Wacha was better than what he was in college, namely in the secondary pitches. He likely becomes a mid-rotation starter for the Cardinals, one of many. I think he does end up in the rotation, with Martinez in the back of the ‘pen. But, it could work the other way too. Keep your ears and eyes open, folks.
61. Mason Williams (CF, NYY) – He’s going to stick in center field because he’s got plus defense. Williams is a good speed and potential power candidate (needs developing) here for the Yankees to replace Granderson. He’s got better tools than the Yankee below, but he’s a little less polished. I’m excited to see how good he is in Pinstripes; he’ll be fantasy relevant year in and year out
62. Tyler Austin (RF, NYY) – He could end up better than Williams. And I’m very torn between the two. I see Austin having potentially more power and hitting the ball better, but I don’t think he stays at 3B. I think he ends up in RF. That’ll knock his bat down to closer to average for the league. It’s a tough call, but because I think Williams will stay in center I’m giving him the nod.
63. Julio Teheran (SP, ATL) – He’s the opposite of Odorizzi. He could be a future ACE, and regain his spot right next to Shelby towards the top. Or he could become middle relief fodder, or a back end starter, or both (a swingman). 2013 is a massive year for him. He’s probably going to be the most intriguing guy to watch. I see the potential still for a #2, but way too much risk to lay him anywhere near someone like Skaggs.
64. Chris Stratton (SP, SF) – Stratton is one of the safer picks in the 2012 draft. He’s a college draftee, but he also doesn’t lack upside. Sickels has denoted him as one of his favorites. He looks like he’s going to be in San Fran in 2014 at the latest, and could possibly be as good as a #2. I actually prefer him over Zimmer, because I think that he has a much higher floor and nearly as good of a ceiling. He should be an asset in SF, and they do know how to develop really good pitching there.
65. Jake Odorizzi (SP, TB) – He is what he is. He’s going to be a #3/4 starter and a workhorse. Out go the potential #2 starter comps, people have come to realize (including me). He might be starting the year in TB, too. But there are many others who profile as a #3/4 starter, like Jon Pettibone. But Odorizzi just gets more press, because he’s a little safer and is a sure thing right now (just about) to not get much better or worse. This feels about right.
66. Alex Meyer (SP, MIN) – The big tall Kentucky product fit the mold of a Washington Nationals draft pick. Big upside, and big downside. He could become a #2 or a decent AA relief pitcher. He seems more on track for the earlier option. I think he ends up a mid-rotation starter, and will be fantasy relevant. Someone to definitely keep an eye on, especially because the Twins are starving for starters. He should see the majors in 2014.
67. Kyle Zimmer (SP, KC) – I’m low on Zimmer, and I know that. And I accept that, and I embrace that. He’s risky, really really risky in my eyes. He’s super raw for a college player, only pitching for a few years. And on top of that, he’s injured right into pro ball. On the plus side, he can develop his pitches and take care of his natural ability and become a #2 starter, like the Royals saw with the 5th overall pick. Or, on the other hand, he could break down and be an injury risk his whole life. I personally don’t believe in him, but if you do then I’d be thinking his talent belongs in the 50s somewhere.
68. Delino DeShields Jr (CF, HOU) – 2012 was a terrific bounce-back season for 2010 first rounder. Obviously, 84 steals is impressive. But also clearly improved in important areas (BB rate rose by 4%), but worth noting BABIP jumped by over 100 points. Minor League BABIPs are deceiving at times, because BABIP does reward solid contact and a player that improves vastly can have a huge BABIP. But he’s one to keep an eye on, he could be a more well-rounded Billy Hamilton type of player. Ceiling of Michael Bourn.
69. Eddie Rosario (2B, MIN) – Miguel Sano’s second fiddle has some good upside here. He has some speed and can play both outfield and 2B. If he’s able to stick up the middle (2B or CF) he’ll have good value with the bat. Still young and a ways off though, he’s got time to improve.
70. Lucas Giolito (SP, WAS) – He’s the biggest question mark of the list. If you promised me that he’d be 100% healthy and returning to his previous potential, he’d be a top 25 prospect, likely slotting in around Correa and Buxton. But the huge risk associated with him and TJ surgery gives most prospectors including myself, pause. If he does successfully get through TJ surgery, he still has to go through the minors from HS player to major leaguer. Not an easy task. He’s a guy who could literally jump 20 spots on a good report.
71. Cody Buckel (SP, TEX) – Seriously, genetics? Add about 10 spots on this list for every extra inch Buckel doesn’t have. If he was 3 inches taller, I’d have no issue with him in the top 45 prospects. He’s got the results; he’s just got to prove wrong the doubters. And the hardest part is that sometimes the strongest doubters are the ones in the organization controlling when and where he pitches. Stigmas do that to players, unfortunately.
72. Kolten Wong (2B, STL) – Kolten defines what it means to be a solid baseball player all around. He’s going to be a 2B, as he’s been through college and there’s no questions about him sticking there. He doesn’t project as a star and doesn’t have the huge upside of the flashier prospects, but he isn’t labeled “scrappy”, so it’s not like they are justifying a crappy short white guy playing baseball. Wong looks like he’ll be a solid option for the Cardinals and your fantasy roster. He’s a guy who I’d wait to target until after he debuts. Prospect hounds all have him around here, but when he comes up he won’t have flashy stats. And that’s when to pounce, because most will be thinking bust and you’ll be thinking a solid option for years. He’s a good post hype sleeper candidate, and I’m calling it before the hype strikes.
73. Wilmer Flores (3B, NYM) – Where does he play? That’s the question everyone is asking. He’s got the bat for his position at 3B, but that’s clogged. Nobody thinks that he’s agile enough to hold down a corner outfield spot or 2B, at least not anywhere near average. If he’s relegated to 1B, that’ll be a big hit on his bat.
74. Brian Goodwin (CF, WAS) – He reminds me exactly of Jackie Bradley. Both are polished and talented and have good all-around tools. I don’t think either turns into a star, but both can be above average players in the league for a long time. Nobody complains about .280 and 15/15, right?
75. Martin Perez (SP, TEX) – This one I should probably explain. Much like Teheran still has the ability to rebound and regain his prospect status, being so young, so does Perez. Both pitched in AAA with some polish and talent, and then fell apart. I never thought he’d be as good as Teheran, but I think he could still end up as a #3, and if everything rights the ship perfectly, a #2 starter. He’s got the stuff, he’s just gotta put it all together. But I’m being risk adverse here and listing him lower. He’s got top 45 talent.
76. Trevor Story (SS, COL) – Story rocked 2012. He hit for a wRC+ in A ball of 135. He’s got power and some speed, and he’s a shortstop. Hitting .270 with 18 HR and 15 steals is impressive. But there are questions that hold him back. First off, his K% is high, and secondly his home park is very hitter-favorable. On top of that, his defense is questionable and likely will have to move. He could move anywhere on the diamond. 3B would be great but Arenado is still around. 2B could work, maybe RF or LF. So his defensive home will determine his fantasy value, but he could have peak years of .275 with 20+ HR and 10+ steals. There’s nothing wrong with that. But he’s still young and in low-A, so don’t get too giddy. I’m interested to see the AA step when he takes it.
77. Michael Fulmer (SP, NYM) – I think I mentioned how much I loved the 2011 Okla Prep class with Blackburn, but it bears repeating. Fulmer could be a top 50 prospect by my 2014 list. He’s part of the Mets’ deep stockpile of young starters, and I think he will shine through. I have him here because I firmly believe in him.
78. Jose Berrios (SP, MIN) – He’s one of my favorite prospects from the 2012 MLB Draft. I think he’s got more upside than most give him credit for and I think he’ll be a fast mover throughout the minors. I could see him up in 2015, which is pretty darn good for a HS arm. He should end up as a mid-rotation starter, which most around this area seem to liken to. But he’s got something that makes me really like him.
79. Corey Seager (3B, LAD) – Seager slots in as the second best Dodgers bat in the system, and he’s got a chance to be a good one. He’s looking as if he’s going to be a wealthy man’s Kyle Seager, his older brother on the Mariners. He looks like he can stick at 3B (I don’t think he’s a SS) and potentially have a good enough bat to be on fantasy radars. I don’t know much about him, but I wish I knew more back when my draft happened. He’s one to keep an eye on.
80. Avisail Garcia (RF, DET) – Well he may not be an Xander Bogaerts, but he sure did hold his own in the minors this year. Showing speed and power, he’s got some upside in Detroit. I think he starts in AAA again, but is immediately up with any injuries.
81. Joe Ross (SP, SD) – He had a rough year in 2012. It started out looking like he could make a big leap, but he ended up just faltering and being injured. I think 2013 is his breakout year. I could see him landing a top 50 spot in 2014. He’s that talented.
82. Stryker Trahan (C, ARI) – He’s an athlete in the field. He’s a catcher now, but questions about whether he will stick or not lead to discussion of other positions. I’ve heard outfield and third base. If he sticks at catcher, which doesn’t seem that likely, he should be a valuable chip. But I’m banking on him ending up elsewhere on the diamond. And I’m hoping that his bat will still carry him. And by the way, if you somehow have lived under a rock for the last seven months, please Google “Stryker Trahan Collision” and enjoy.
83. Adam Eaton (CF, ARI) – He probably could start opening day in the Arizona outfield if it wasn’t so packed. I do see him having some potential though, so he’s worth a flier in the draft for a quick turnaround if Upton or Kubel do get dealt. In the long run, he does look like an average regular in Arizona, with the bat playing up.
84. Dan Vogelbach (1B, CHC) – Keith Law is notoriously low on him, while others see quite a bit of upside here. He’s a masher, through and through. Suggesting that he could play LF is crazy. But I think he can handle 1B in the NL, and likely will be a DH when it’s all set and done. He’s gonna be a trade chip (I see you Rizzo), but who’s to say that he can’t square up a ball well and .285 with 30 HR in a season? That’s valuable from any spot.
85. Dan Straily (SP, OAK) – I don’t necessarily think this is low, but many might. He’s a future #3 starter, maybe a #4 if he drops a little. His pitches went from “average” to “plus” once the results started coming, so I’m skeptical. He’ll pitch well in OAK and pitch mediocre elsewhere. He looks like a good pitcher to have, maybe a top 50 fantasy starter but nothing elite like some would hope.
86. Matt Adams (1B, STL) – He’s what I was referring to with Kolten Wong. Adams is kinda forgotten by the prospect world now that he’s already made his debut, but he still is prospect eligible. He’s going to mash the ball for STL in the near future, or another team. He’s torn up Memphis already. He’s still got the bat to hit .280+ in the majors with 20+ home runs. He could end up your run of the mill average fantasy first baseman, and you might be able to nab that at a discount now.
87. Allen Webster (SP, BOS) – Webster was acquired from the Dodgers in the Nick Punto-Ivan DeJesus trade. He struggled some in 2011 and dropped his stock, but he came back with a good 2012 and looks to be back on track. He could end up a mid rotation guy for the Sox. It’ll be interesting to see how he fits in with Owens and Barnes on prospect lists.
88. Matt Davidson (3B, ARI) – Matt Davidson, a former sandwich round pick, looks like he could be destined to impress this year. A 3B, questions do remain about his final position (3B or 1B?). His bat is likely average at 1B, but as a 3B he can be very good. He finished 2012 with a full year of AA, so Triple-A is ahead. He’s going to be a mediocre average guy, but he has some pop in his bat, and might slug 20 homers a year. That’s good enough for a flier in the middle of my draft, or perhaps dealing a high risk player for him to play it safe.
89. Josh Bell (RF, PIT) – A massive question mark. He was supposed to be very polished for a high schooler, but ended up pretty darn raw and didn’t come to play. Injuries have slowed him down. Interested to see if he gets back on track in 2013.
90. Aaron Hicks (CF, MIN) – He could be in Minny in 2013 Opening Day. He’s an intriguing player if you’re looking for a Span-clone. I like him. He usually does start slow, so be warned. But in the long run, he looks like he could develop into a regular in Minnesota.
91. Nolan Arenado (3B, COL) – I don’t like him. Not one bit. But I’ve been pressured by my superiors, and editors, to include him. I’ve always been down, but Bradley does make a great point saying “Terrific combination of power and contact (strikeout rates below 10%). One of the few prospects who–if more power is needed–can afford to make adjustments resulting in increased strikeouts that will increase his power numbers.”
92. Joey Gallo (3B, TEX) – He’s a masher. And he packs a huge punch with the bat. Most are sold, but he’s still only in rookie ball and has lots of maturing to do. He’s got some holes in his swing. I think he could be very valuable if he keeps his performance up, but I will be a little hesitant until he hits AA.
93. Roberto Osuna (SP, TOR) – He’s polished, and broke out in 2012 to be pretty darn good. I think he and Victor Sanchez have a lot of similarities, and I’ll be comparing them a lot (good size, little projection, early results). He’s still young, but could move fast because of his already polished ability.
94. Max Kepler (CF, MIN) – A European player (Germany) who’s an athletic player. Incredibly raw, but many see a huge upside. His athleticism is on par with Buxton and Polanco. He’s good enough for a back end spot now and maybe a top 50 spot in 2014.
95. Daniel Corcino (SP, CIN) – I wonder about Corcino at times. He looks really good some times, and then goes back to looking mediocre. He struck out nearly 8 per 9 IP, but also walked about four. So it’s not easy to say he’s gonna be a starter down the road. I do believe he has a shot at being a middle of the rotation starter, and I think he will hold his own, but that’s what the back end of the list is for. He’s one that you can think about targeting if you believe in his ability to stick. I do think the Reds FO likes him as a SP.
96. Luis Heredia (SP, PIT) – Luis was young before it was cool to be young. Heredia was sixteen years old, and stood 6’6 and held his own in short season ball for the Pirates. He’s lost some of his luster, as most youngsters do, because they go from being “the youngest guy holding his own” to “young guy doing above average”, which is a tough jump for prospectors to swallow. I think he ends up fantasy relevant eventually, but he’s so far off that he may only become a RP. He’s not one of the guys I’m targeting unless I know my championship window is 2018 and beyond.
97. C.J. Cron (1B, LAA) – Power and pop in his bat go a long way. The issue is he doesn’t have a home. He’d be a first basemen, but it’s blocked by a decade of Pujols. He’s going to be a trade chip. His value depends on whether he’s a 1B or a DH.
98. Jarred Cosart (SP, HOU) – Cosart posted respectable numbers during his first season in Houston, but a pitcher with his velocity, the strikeout rate was lower than expected. Cosart has been working on his secondary pitches, and while he should reach Houston in 2013, it’s possible he will begin his MLB career as a reliever. With the state of the Astros system, he likely will get a long look in the majors in 2013 to see if he has figured everything out.
99. Yordano Ventura (SP, KC) – Plain and simple, he looks like a future closer to me. He’s shorter and has two good pitches, but doesn’t possess enough of a third to start consistently. Being a closer isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it comes with such fluctuation that I can’t trust anybody who already is one (a la Brian Wilson going from dominant to released, Heath Bell, etc.).
100. Brad Miller (SS, SEA) – A popular “sleeper” labeled by most, Miller did hit well. Many are continually comparing Miller to Nick Franklin, the other Mariners SS. Miller has questions if he will stick at SS or have to move off (likely to 2B), but for now he’s a SS. The reason he’s nearly 50 spots lower than Franklin is partly age (he’s a year and a half older) and level (he’s a level lower). I think he could still jump up more on the prospect list, but I don’t see him in Franklin territory…yet.
Honorable Mentions: Jonathan Schoop (2B, BAL), Courtney Hawkins (CF, CHW), A.J. Cole (SP, OAK), Richie Shaffer (3B, TB), Leonys Martin (CF, TEX), Slade Heathcott (CF, NYY), Michael Choice (CF, OAK), Victor Sanchez (SP, SEA), Lewis Brinson (RF, TEX), Brandon Nimmo (CF, NYM), Zach Lee (SP, LAD), Nick Tropeano (SP, HOU), Lance McCullers (SP, HOU), Marcus Stroman (SP, TOR), Kyle Gibson (SP, MIN), Henry Owens (SP, BOS), Rymer Liriano (RF, SD), Marcell Ozuna (RF, MIA), Wily Peralta (SP, MIL), Tony Cingrani (SP, CIN), Jake Marisnick (CF, MIA)
This list is 100 names long. And that’s all it can be. So if you feel like I slighted someone from making the list, remember that someone else has to come off the list to make room. These are my best inferences of who deserves the spots, based on hours of research and reading, and talking to fellow fantasy players on their perspectives. Many of the numbers that I use are ones that I’ve come up with after studying similar players and minor league stats. In no way do I want to sound like the players that are on this list will all become major league and fantasy contributors, not even that they will all make the major leagues. I do think that they each have a chance, or else they wouldn’t be on the list. But things to happen, and I’m guessing that at least 50% of this list will never touch a fantasy team in regular-ville. I trust that you all are knowledgeable and understand the game we play is a game of risk v. reward. My list is my best opinion of the balance of the two, with some personal bias on players of course based on some things I’ve read that make them extraordinarily good in my mind, or some things I’ve picked up when watching video. I hope you enjoy the list, and I hope it does spark some discussion between player values and future value. You are the only one who knows your team, and you know it best. So as much as an ordered list can do, you have to make decisions. If this list were based on ceiling, or floor, or color of hair, it’d all look very different. So yes, it’s okay and I support your decision of taking Zack Wheeler over Taijuan Walker if it fits your team’s needs. The rankings become insignificant if you learn to cluster and look around, because every player brings something different to the table. Also note:
Remember, I always will have a personal vendetta against your favorite team, so don’t take it personally, I just never liked any of your team’s best prospects. On that note, thank you for reading and thanks to my assistants for their help, and I hope it serves you well! Best of luck in 2013!
Drop any questions you have and I’ll be happy to answer them, thank you for reading (if you actually made it this far, bless you!).