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:
- Mitch Keller
SP, Age: 21, DOB: 4/4/1996
Mr. Keller spent almost all of his time in 2017 at the A+ ball (77.1 innings pitched) and AA ball (34.2 innings pitched) levels. He had nearly identical ERA numbers at both stops (3.14 and 3.12), however his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) improved a lot from what he posted in A+ ball (3.54) to what he posted in AA ball (2.50). His K% (20.9% to 31.7%) got much better as well at the AA ball level while his BB% (6.5% to 7.8%) didn’t increase by a huge amount.
3 STAR PROSPECTS:
- Austin Meadows
OF, Age: 22, DOB: 5/3/1995
It pains me to list Mr. Meadows as a 3 star prospect instead of a 4 star one. Partially it pains me because I have been a big supporter of his in the past, a supporter that previously would have given him a rock solid 4 star rating for sure. Partially it pains me because I have him in a league here at Dynasty Sports Empire and he hasn’t grown as a player as I previously thought he would have by now.
Mr. Meadows spent almost all of his time in 2017 at the AAA ball level where he hit .250 with 4 home runs and 11 stolen bases. He has consistently been a prospect that has displayed great plate discipline and last year in AAA ball was no different (7.7 BB% and 16 K%). I’m still waiting on that defining breakout performance from Mr. Meadows. Maybe in 2018 it will come and make my past beliefs about him appear more likely to come to fruition.
- Shane Baz
SP, Age: 18, DOB: 6/17/1999
Mr. Baz was the 2017 June Amateur Draft 12th overall draft pick. He pitched 23.2 innings in Rookie ball in 2017 and had a 3.80 ERA to go along with a 4.82 FIP. I’m excited to see how he performs in 2018.
2 STAR PROSPECTS:
- Ke’Bryan Hayes
3B, Age: 20, DOB: 1/28/1997
If only Mr. Hayes showed power during games then he would quickly move up prospect lists. He already is a prospect that can hit for a decent batting average and one that has good plate discipline. He stole 27 bases in 32 attempts last season, so he also has that going for him.
- Cole Tucker
SS, Age: 21, DOB: 7/3/1996
Mr. Tucker increased his prospect status in 2017. In 316 A+ ball plate appearances he hit for a .285 batting average and stole 36 bases in 48 attempts. Then in 194 AA ball plate appearances Mr. Tucker hit for a .257 batting average with 11 stolen bases in 14 attempts. He had a 10.8% BB% (above average) at both levels in 2017 and posted a 22.2 K% (poor…but I’m a tough grader here) in A+ ball followed up by a better 16 K% (average) in AA ball.
- Nick Kingham
SP, Age: 25, DOB: 11/8/1991
Mr. Kingham is a Tommy John surgery survivor. This season almost all of his time was spent in AAA ball with 113.1 innings pitched (19 games started in 20 games pitched). Now, while the 4.13 ERA he posted doesn’t look the best, his 3.59 FIP certainly looks a lot better. He only had a 19.3 K% (below average) but did have an above average 6 BB%.
- Kevin Newman
SS, Age: 24, DOB: 8/4/1993
Mr. Newman spent a bunch of time (375 plate appearances) in AA ball in 2017 and some time (178 plate appearances) in AAA ball in 2017. He had a decent to good batting average and stole 11 bases in 14 attempts. His K% remained great at the plate. Yes, he is hard to get excited about. However, his defense will give him every opportunity to play at the major league level and give him more time to find a way to hopefully one day provide more fantasy baseball upside.
- Taylor Hearn
SP, Age: 23, DOB: 8/30/1994
The 4.12 ERA Mr. Hearn put up in A+ ball (87.1 innings pitched) in 2017 might have some down on him a bit, as he was old for that level of competition when looking for top prospects to put on a top-10 list. However, his FIP was a much better 3.41 and he had an excellent 29.8 K%. He does need to work on the free passes he allows as his 10.4 BB% (beyond awful) shows.
1 STAR PROSPECTS:
- Will Craig
1B/3B, Age: 22, DOB: 11/16/1994
Mr. Craig, the 2016 June Amateur Draft 22nd overall pick, played the entire season last year in A+ ball (542 plate appearances). He had a .271 batting average with 6 home runs.
- Kevin Kramer
2B, Age: 24, DOB: 10/3/1993
Mr. Kramer spent almost all of his season in AA ball (234 plate appearances) where he hit for a .297 batting average and 6 home runs (.203 ISO) and 7 stolen bases.
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