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:
- Eloy Jimenez
OF, Age: 20, DOB: 11/27/1996
Mr. Jimenez started the season out as a Chicago Cubs prospect. In 174 plate appearances while with the Cubs A+ ball team he hit for a .271 batting average and had 8 home runs (.219 ISO). Then in 122 plate appearances at that level with the White Sox he hit for a .345 batting average with another 8 home runs (.336 ISO). He also had 73 plate appearances for the White Sox AA ball team where he hit for a .353 batting average and launched 3 balls into the stands (.206 ISO). This is an elite prospect playing at a high level as a prospect that is young for the leagues he has been playing in.
- Luis Robert
OF, Age: 20, DOB: 8/3/1997
The White Sox made a big splash in the international signing market by paying Mr. Robert a $26 million bonus to sign. This guy is a tool box. Thus far, the only American league professional ball numbers we have to look at are from his 114 plate appearances in Rookie ball in 2017. He had a .310 batting average with 3 home runs (.226 ISO) and 12 stolen bases in 15 attempts. I’m excited to see him play in 2018!
3 STAR PROSPECTS:
- Michael Kopech
SP, Age: 21, DOB: 4/30/1996
Mr. Kopech spent almost all of his time in 2017 pitching in AA ball for the first time (119.1 innings pitched). He produced a 2.87 ERA that was almost identical to his 2.83 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching). His 31.8 K% was excellent and his 12.3% walk percentage was beyond awful. In short, he needs to work on limiting the free passes he allows.
- Dylan Cease
SP, Age: 21, DOB: 12/28/1995
The 2017 season was a season of change and improvement from Mr. Cease. He changed organizations within Chicago, moving from the Cubs to the White Sox and he improved while pitching in A ball for both organizations.
Mr. Cease spent 51.2 innings pitching for the Cubs minor league team and produced a 2.79 ERA and 2.76 FIP. In his 41.2 innings pitched for the White Sox minor league team he produced a 3.89 ERA, but his FIP of 2.71 was actually marginally better than it was while with the Cubs. With both organizations he had an excellent K%. However, he has work to do on his walk percentage, as is the case with many minor league starting pitchers.
- Dane Dunning
SP, Age: 22, DOB: 12/20/1994
Mr. Dunning pitched 26 innings in A ball this season, where he dominated the hitters. We won’t focus on those numbers though, as it is better to focus on the 118 innings pitched in A+ ball as he spent the bulk of his time there against overall better and more experienced hitters. His ERA was 3.51 at that level but his FIP was higher, bordering on that of a 4.00 (3.98). What I liked seeing from him though was his 26.4% K% (great) and his 7.1% walk percentage (average).
- Alex Hansen
SP, Age: 22, DOB: 10/10/1994
As you can see, the White Sox minor league system is not short on talented starting pitcher prospects. Mr. Hansen pitched almost all of his innings in A ball (72.2) and A+ ball (58.1) in 2017. He had ERA/FIP numbers of 2.48/2.52 (A ball) and 2.93/3.04 (A+ ball). He had very excellent K% numbers of 30.3% (A ball) and 34.5% (A+ ball) and walk percentages of 7.6% (average) in A ball and 10.5% (beyond awful) in A+ ball.
2 STAR PROSPECTS:
- Zack Collins
C, Age: 22, DOB: 2/6/1995
While it’s justifiable to have a small amount of concern about the batting average Mr. Collins put up in A+ ball this season (.223) in his 426 plate appearances at the level, lets all take a collective deep breath in and relax a bit and allow him another shot in 2018 to prove his prospect worth. He did, after all, hit 17 home runs (.220 ISO) at that level (with another 2 more in 45 AA ball plate appearances).
1 STAR PROSPECTS:
- Jake Burger
3B, Age: 21, DOB: 4/10/1996
Mr. Burger has the power to push himself up to being a better rated prospect at this point next year if he has a successful 2018 season. He is coming off a 2017 season where he hit for a .271 batting average in A ball (200 plate appearances).
- Casey Gillaspie
1B, Age: 24, DOB: 1/25/1993
Mr. Gillaspie was a first round draft pick in the 2014 June Amateur Draft. He has not lived up to his draft slot. In 2017, his batting average in AAA ball while with the Tampa Bay Rays and White Sox was very low partially due to a low combined BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play). However, that doesn’t completely excuse the batting average woes.
- Luis Alexander Basabe
OF, Age: 21, DOB: 8/26/1996
The 2017 season wasn’t the most inspiring season from Mr. Basabe. He had 435 plate appearances in A+ ball and only had a .221 batting average. He has some speed, as his 17 stolen bases would suggest…but he was also caught stealing 6 times.
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