A key part to fielding a competitive team each season in dynasty fantasy baseball leagues, leagues like the ones here at dynastysportsempire.com, is to be very successful in finding the right prospects to fill your fantasy baseball roster and/or minor league system with. As your star and solid players age the time will come when their skills and production on the field diminish and you had better have a player waiting in the wings ready to become the consistent starter in place of that ageing veteran. If successful scouting and prospecting hasn’t been done then your dynasty league team surely will be headed into a longer than desired rebuild phase.
The purpose of this top 10 fantasy baseball dynasty league prospect series is to highlight the best prospects available in each MLB organization. Every prospect ranking system should have some sort of easy at-a-glance phrase that illustrates the expected MLB future fantasy baseball value of a prospect. I have opted to use the 5 star rating system.
5 STARS = Elite Future MLB Player. Decent or better chance of being a superstar fantasy baseball player. These are prospects that, barring injuries plaguing them, I expect to have a solid chance of having multiple MLB All-Star seasons. Many will become superstar players for a couple seasons. Some will become decade long MLB and fantasy baseball superstar players.
4 STARS = Great Future MLB Player. Decent or better chance of being an All-Star fantasy baseball player. These are prospects that I expect to have a solid chance of having at least one All-Star season at the MLB level. Many will have multiple All-Star seasons and be very valuable dynasty fantasy baseball players to have on your roster.
3 STARS = Good Future MLB Player. Decent or better chance of being a dependable fantasy baseball player. These are prospects I expect to have a solid chance of having many seasons as an everyday MLB player.
2 STARS = Common Future MLB Player. Decent or better chance of being a common fantasy baseball player. Prospect has enough known “tools” and/or “skills” to warrant some legitimate hope he will become a common or better everyday MLB level fantasy baseball player worthy of a roster spot. This is not a guarantee such a thing will happen as there is still much uncertainty with these prospects.
1 STAR = Maybe Common Future MLB Player. Marginal or better chance of being a common fantasy baseball player. Some will eventually become everyday MLB players as every season some prospects have breakout minor league seasons and become deserving of a higher prospect rating the following off-season. Often you will find many recent international signings listed here and many recent amateur draft picks as well.
0 STARS = Organizational Depth. Little chance of being a noteworthy fantasy baseball player.
Note: This is a snapshot in time. Prospects will continue to try to turn their “tools” into productive “skills.” They will make adjustments. Some will fade. Others will take that next step. I will do a short write-up on each player to give you a better overall impression of the prospect’s current and future value beyond his current rating. The statistics listed here are courtesy of fangraphs.com.
5 STAR PROSPECTS:
- Ronald Acuna
OF, Age: 19, DOB: 12/18/1997
To me, there is no other way to start my analysis of Mr. Acuna than to borrow from the famous Hakuna Matata song from The Lion King movie. Acuna matata! What a wonderful phrase. Acuna matata! Ain’t no passing craze.”
Mr. Acuna ain’t no passing craze, as I believe he is here to stay as a 5 star prospect and one of, if not the top dynasty league fantasy baseball prospect in all the land! Acuna matata truly is a wonderful phrase, and describes him perfectly for opposing pitchers. You see, in Swahili, matata is the plural form of problem…and Mr. Acuna gives opposing pitchers many problems to try to solve when he walks up to the plate.
Problem #1: Across three minor league levels (126 A+ ball, 243 AA ball and 243 AAA ball plate appearances) Mr. Acuna had a combined .325 batting average. Here’s what makes it even more scary for opposing pitchers: He only got better as he moved up the minor league levels: .287, .326 and then .344 batting average!
Problem #2: Mr. Acuna has the necessary speed in his game to maintain a high BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) going forward, which will only help keep his batting average high and pester opposing pitchers more because then it leads to problem #3.
Problem #3: He is a stolen base threat, as his 44 stolen bases last season shows. However, he was caught stealing 20 times.
Problem #4: Pitchers will often wish they had allowed him the opportunity to be on first base making an attempt to steal second base…after they see him round the bases from a home run hit off them. He has displayed enough power to be considered a solid power hitter already (.191, .195 and .204 ISO, which stands for Isolated Power) and hit 21 home runs in 2017.
Problem #5: Mr. Acuna displays a plate discipline profile that is solid. His walk percentage ranged from 6.3% to 7.4% (poor to below average). However, his strikeout percentage improved dramatically over the season (31.7%, 23% and then 19.8%). The even more scary part of this news for opposing pitchers is he got a lot better in his plate discipline while reducing his strikeouts each time he was promoted to a higher level of competition!
The write up on Mr. Acuna just might end up as the longest one (word-for-word) that I do on a prospect in this series of articles…but he is worth every word and then some. As you can see, this five-tool prospect brings five problems to the plate for opposing pitchers. However, when you combine these 5 problems with problem #6, that is where the prospect analysis of him moves from legitimate potential multiple season All-Star player to legitimate decade-long MLB superstar talent.
Problem #6: Mr. Acuna did all of this as a 19-year-old prospect that had only 171 plate appearances under his belt above the Rookie ball level entering the 2017 season. In A+ ball he was young for his level, and had he put up his 2017 performance while remaining only in A+ ball he would be considered a 5 star prospect by me. In AA ball he was even younger for his level (obviously)…but got better as a hitter. In AAA ball he was EVEN YOUNGER for his level…but continued to get better as a hitter!
When you consider everything about his game (tools and skills) and factor in his age relative to the leagues he participated in and the results he produced…well…it is not outlandish to say the following: He is the rare fantasy baseball prospect that it is ok to openly wonder not IF he will be a superstar MLB player, but for HOW LONG he will be a MLB superstar player.
Will he have the number of All-Star appearances as Vladimir Guerrero (9) had? Will he crack double digits like David Ortiz (10) did? Maybe he could match Tony Gwynn’s 15 appearances? Will he continue to improve (after all…he is only 19-years old…and not even close to his prime as a player) and become the second-coming of Hank Aaron (21 All-Star appearances), one of the greatest players (and former Braves outfielder)? Like all prospects, his future is unwritten. However, I for one am looking forward to watching one of, if not the best prospect in the game, become a generational baseball superstar player. Fantasy baseball and Braves fans alike…it is perfectly fine to dream this big with Mr. Acuna.
Acuna matata! What a wonderful phrase!
4 STAR PROSPECTS:
- Luiz Gohara
SP, Age: 21, DOB: 7/31/1996
Mr. Gohara had 29.1 innings pitched (5 games started) in the major leagues last season and had a 4.91 ERA. However, don’t let that influence your perception of him as his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) was only 2.75 to go along with a 25.2 K% (great) and 6.5 BB% (above average). Prior to pitching at the MLB level in 2017 he spent time last season in A+, AA and AAA ball. Each time he pitched very well and fully earned the promotion.
- Kolby Allard
SP, Age: 20, DOB: 8/13/1997
Fantasy baseball owners of Mr. Allard should be quite happy to see the young prospect pitch well in AA ball. After all, most of his season while there was spent as a 19-year-old. He pitched 150 innings and compiled a 3.73 ERA and 3.52 FIP. His 20.8% K% and 7.3% BB% were average.
- Mike Soroka
SP, Age: 20, DOB: 8/4/1997
Braves fans should be very excited about the young and talented starting pitchers they have. Mr. Soroka is yet another young and talented arm. In reality, I wouldn’t take issue at all with Mr. Soroka, Allard and Gohara being ranked in a different order than I have here, as all are young arms any fantasy baseball dynasty league owner should love to have in their minor league system. Mr. Soroka spent the entire season in AA ball (153.2 innings pitched) and posted a 2.75 ERA and 3.19 FIP while having a 19.9 K% (just 0.1% short of a grade of average) and 5.4 BB% (great).
3 STAR PROSPECTS:
- Kevin Maitan
SS, Age: 17, DOB: 2/12/2000
Mr. Maitan spent last season in Rookie ball. He struggled a bit while there, but as you can see, he is super young and has the tools needed to be ranked this high even at such a young age.
- Kyle Wright
SP, Age: 22, DOB: 10/2/1995
I’m really excited to see what the 2017 June Amateur Draft 5th overall pick will do in 2018. He could very well turn in a performance worthy of moving him up to a 4 or even maybe 5 star prospect.
2 STAR PROSPECTS:
- Joey Wentz
SP, Age: 20, DOB: 10/6/1997
Mr. Wentz spent his 2017 season in A ball, his first action in professional baseball above the Rookie ball level. He pitched 131.2 innings last season and had an impressive 2.60 ERA and 2.68 FIP. He also was excellent in strikeouts with a 28.8 K% while needing to make some improvements in BB% as he had an awful (yes, I can be a bit harsh in my grading here) 8.7%.
- Ian Anderson
SP, Age: 19, DOB: 5/2/1998
Here is the good from Mr. Anderson’s 83 innings pitched in A ball last season: 3.14 ERA, 3.04 FIP and 28.5 K% (excellent). Here is the bad: 12.1 BB% (beyond awful).
1 STAR PROSPECTS:
- Bryse Wilson
SP, Age: 19, DOB: 12/20/1997
You have to respect what Mr. Wilson accomplished in 137 A ball innings pitched last season: 2.50 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 25.5 K% (great) and 6.8 BB% (average).
- Austin Riley
3B, Age: 20, DOB: 4/2/1997
After hitting for a .252 batting average in 339 A+ ball plate appearances with 12 home runs (.157 ISO) Mr. Riley had 203 AA ball plate appearances where he hit for a .315 batting average and 8 home runs (.197 ISO). Sure, the AA ball batting average was fueled some by a .393 BABIP that likely isn’t sustainable, but that still is an impressive showing for such a young player in AA ball.
CLICK HERE to check out other MLB organization top 10 dynasty fantasy baseball prospect lists!
FOLLOW ME on Twitter for more articles. Also, contact me on Twitter or at my email email@example.com to purchase my off-season fantasy baseball cheat sheet!