Aaron Hicks, Darin Mastroianni, Travis d’Arnaud, John Buck, Dan Straily, Tony Cingrani, Billy Hamilton, Wil Myers
So you want to be one of those “smart” people in fantasy baseball that takes the hot shot rookie for the “upside” play early in the draft OK, maybe you aren’t that person, but let’s say you are more than willing to scoop up that prospect in the 15th round because of the “boring” options that are available. As I point out all the time, give me a team of Nick Swisher, Torii Hunter, Adam LaRoche and Michael Cuddyer and nine times out of 10 I will crush your team of Jurickson Profar, Domonic Brown, Dylan Bundy and Mike Olt. It’s just the way it is. Well, it’s the way I tell you it is without actually attempting to quantify that position with facts. Now we have them.
The following discussion comes from the mind of Kyle Elfrink. It’s not just his brainchild, in terms of him coming up with the idea, but it’s also penned by him. So special thanks to Kyle for the research he did to dig up the facts, and for allowing me to post his words here on the site.
I searched Baseball America’s Top 10 prospects (perhaps the most trusted source on minor leaguers) every year, going back to the turn of the century in 2000. (note: I did not include either 2011 or 2012 because it’s too early to give close-to-definitive answers on players). Here’s what I found.
- 89 different prospects were listed as ‘Top 10′ over the course of 11 years (many players were repeats from one year to the next).
- 29 of those 89 were ‘hits/fantasy assets’ (32.5%)
- 22 of those 89 were ‘OK fantasy players’ (24.7%)
- 38 of those 89 were ‘misses/busts’ (42.8%)
- If you repeat from one year to the next, your chances are quite good of becoming a serviceable MLB player (Joe Mauer was a ‘top 10′ prospect for four years!).
- Hitters have a far better success rate than pitchers … 31 of the 52 ‘hits’ and ‘ok’s’ have been hitters.
- Projections have become much better in the past few seasons.
- ’04 and ’05 are the only years since 2000 with more than three hits.
- What has the ‘Top-3′ done over the years? Well, not including ‘repeats’, there are 10 hits, eight misses, and 3 OKs … less than 50% of the top-3 (i.e., guys that most everyone thought would become All-Stars) since 2000 has been a ‘hit’ … i.e. a good fantasy player.
- 2013 list - 1. Jurickson Profar 2. Dylan Bundy 3. Oscar Taveras 4. Wil Myers 5. Jose Fernandez 6. Shelby Miller 7. Gerrit Cole 8. Xander Bogaerts 9. Miguel Sano 10. Byron Buxton
- History says that three of these will be hits … two will be hitters … Profar, Bundy, Myers, and Miller are repeats from previous years, thus helping their odds
2000 – 0 hits, 3 OK, 6 miss, 1 repeat
1. Ankiel (MISS)
2. Burrell (OK)
3. C. Patterson (MISS)
4. V. Wells (OK)
5. N. Johnson (MISS)
6. R. Mateo (MISS)
8. Furcal (OK)
9. R. Anderson (MISS)
10. Patterson (MISS)
2001 – 3 hits, 2 OK, 1 miss, 4 repeats
1. Hamilton (HIT)
2. C. Patterson
4. Rauch (MISS)
5. Sheets (OK)
7. Sabathia (HIT)
8. R. Anderson
9. Ichiro (HIT)
10. N. Johnson
2002 – 3 hits, 1 OK, 6 miss
2003 – 4 hits, 2 repeat, 4 miss
2004 – 4 hits, 1 repeat, 3 OKs, 2 miss
3.Del. Young (OK)
4.Ed. Jackson (OK)
5.R. Weeks (HIT)
7.K. Matsui (MISS)
10.P. Fielder (HIT)
2005 – 2 hits, 3 repeats, 5 miss
2.F. Hernandez (HIT)
10.H. Ramirez (HIT)
2006 – 3 hits, 1 repeat, 2 OK, 4 miss
2.J. Upton (HIT)
5.S. Drew (MISS)
2007 – 2 hits, 3 OK, 2 repeat, 3 miss
2.Al. Gordon (HIT)
8.B. Wood (MISS)
2008 – 3 hits, 4 miss, 3 repeat
8.F. Morales (MISS)
2009 – 2 hit, 3 OK, 3 repeat, 2 miss
4. T. Hanson (OK)
7.B. Anderson (MISS)
10.N. Feliz (OK)
2010 – 3 hits, 4 OK, 1 miss, 2 repeat
4.J. Montero (OK)
6.D. Jennings (OK)
10.C. Santana (OK)
(1) Kris Medlen, best pitcher in baseball?
(2) Jacoby Ellsbury struggling to produce.
(3) Chase Headley – out of control. Just killing it.
(4) Marco Scutaro strong pickup for Giants.
(5) Chris Iannetta surging at the dish.
(6) Wil Myers Minor League Player of the Year. Not getting called up Royals?
(7) Troy Tulowitzki nearing a return from groin injury?
By Ray Flowers
Each week I’ll be answering questions that have been sent to me at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account in my never ending attempt to replace myself by explaining to everyone how I evaluate players thereby making myself obsolete.
Who would you rather have for 2nd half of season… Josh Hamilton or Mark Trumbo? Hamilton is slumping badly.
I got this question and thought it was a joke. It wasn’t. There followed a couple of tweets that pointed out that since June 1st that Trumbo had outproduced Hamilton. OK, well, let’s play that parsing game and see what we come up with.
Hamilton: .368-21-57-39 with a 1.184 OPS
Trumbo: .348-10-26-22 with a 1.029 OPS
Hamilton: .207-7-21-17 with a .725 OPS
Trumbo: .269-16-39-25 with a .954 OPS
Hamilton dominated the first two months. Trumbo has dominated the last month an a half. But…
Hamilton: .300-28-78-56-6 with a .988 OPS
Trumbo: .309-26-65-47-4 with a .991 OPS
Overall Hamilton is still the better performer, though it is obviously a lot closer than most of us would have thought before looking at the numbers. Still, there is no comparison between the two when it comes to talent. Hamilton is a vastly superior talent. He’s dynamic. I’ll give Trumbo full credit for what he has done, it has surpassed everyone’s expectations, and he does qualify at first base and the outfield in all leagues adding to his versatility (maybe even at third in some leagues). Still, I honestly don’t know a single “expert” who would say they prefer Trumbo in this matchup. Not a one. If you don’t buy the talent argument then how about this one – Hamilton has shown himself to be this hitter for a while now. Trumbo? It’s pretty hard to think he can maintain a 26.3 HR/F ratio – a massive total that would have been the best in baseball last year, in 2010, in 2009… you get the point. It’s also pretty hard to take Trumbo at face value. The guy was a .275 hitter in six minor league seasons. He hit .254 last year. That .309 average isn’t supported by his history or by his 15 percent line drive rate this season.
Trumbo’s been great, and he’s performing better the past six weeks, but the odds are still heavily tilted toward Hamilton being the better performer the rest of the season.
Drop Chris Davis for Wil Myers in a keeper? I can only keep five guys, but in the round drafted, aka 24th for Myers, I’d consider it.
Davis has had a productive season for the Orioles hitting .260 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs in 77 games, putting him pace to be a .260-28-80 type of hitter. Davis has the skills to do that. However that doesn’t make him a keeper in any league that protects only five players. His production also isn’t to the level that he’s keeping your team afloat this year either (at least I hope not). Bottom line is that you could move on from him with an eye to the future if it made sense (i.e. your team could handle the loss right now).
Myers has a luminous future, a fact I pointed out last November in AFL – 2011 Review when I was able to interview Myers at the AFL Rising Stars Game. Myers has killed it all year long, at Double an Triple-A, hitting .319 with 28 homers, 76 RBIs an a 1.057 OPS in a mere 90 games. The only thing holding him back from roaming the Royals outfield right now is that they don’t have a spot for him with Lorenzo Cain being healthy (he’s joined by Alex Gordon and Jeff Francoeur). Perhaps the Royals will move Frenchie at the trade deadline to open up a spot for Myers. At least that would be a logical move. Regardless of what happens at the deadline, it would be a shock if Myers wasn’t in the starting lineup on Opening Day 2013. Does that make Myers a keeper in a five keeper league given his 24th round value?
A brief history lesson. Here are some of the names of some recent elite level prospects that were looked at as can’t miss options who missed in their first season.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. We’ve all been spoiled by the success of Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. The game just isn’t that easy.
I’ve got no idea who you’re other keeper options are, but in a league that protects only five guys I’m not inclined to keep Myers for 2013, even at a 24th round value.
Need ERA/WHIP. Send Paul Konerko for C.J. Wilson? I can slide Michael Morse or Kevin Youkilis in at 1B.
Konerko has had an excellent season with a .322/.402/.511 slash line (the average and OBP would be career bests). Still, his performance has been really rough lately. Over his last 35 games he’s gone deep just three times with 11 RBIs while his slash line has been pathetic at .244/.331/.336. What’s going on? First off I’d posit some normal regression as he was simply performing over his head early in the year. Second, he had that minor wrist procedure that knocked him out of action for a few days, and he’s been pretty awful since then. Is the wrist still bothering him? Third, let’s not forget that he’s 36 years old. I know we have been spoiled with a lot of players being good into their last 30′s, but traditionally 36 year olds slow down. I’m not saying Konerko should be viewed as a drag on any fantasy team moving forward but I’m also not exactly in love with what I’m seeing either.
Wilson had his worst effort of the year Wednesday allowing seven runs in six innings, but even so he still owns a 2.82 ERA with a 1.20 WHIP on the year. Moreover, that’s 54 starts with a 2.90 ERA and 1.19 WHIP since the start of last season. Wilson continues to be one of the most effective hurlers in baseball, and there is no reason to think that he’s likely to see a major regression any time soon.
If your goal is to improve your ratios Wilson is a fine target. Since you’ve got Morse/Youkilis to also fill in at first base, go ahead and send Konerko packing.
Think Santiago Casilla is permanently out as closer or needs a breather? Seems SF will give Casilla every opportunity as they want Sergio Romo left as setup guy.
All I can say about this situation is that I’ve been extremely frustrated all year. As I have said, consistently since January, Romo is the best reliever the Giants have. Period. Nothing, not a single thing, that he has done this year has changed my opinion at all. In fact, Romo is one of the five best relievers in baseball. Period. Think I’m crazy? Look at the numbers.
You hear this crap all the time about how he can’t handle lefties. What are those people talking about?
In 2012 lefties have hit .143 with a .374 OPS against Romo.
For his career lefties have hit .189 against Romo with a .483 OPS.
It’s a completely fallacious argument.
The only valid argument for keeping Romo out of the 9th is that the club doesn’t think he can work a full inning every other day because of an often tender elbow.
Given the totality of the data, Romo should have been closing the moment that Brian Wilson went down with injury. Period. Instead the Giants went with an inferior pitcher in Casilla. For the majority of the first half Casilla was admittedly impressive, he converted 19 of his first 20 save chances, but he’s turned into a disaster of epic proportions of late blowing five of eight save chances as his ERA has gone up two full runs over his last 10 outings. Hopefully the Giants will finally do the right thing and use Romo in the 9th inning, but even if they move on from Casilla, as they should, don’t be surprised is Jeremy Affeldt sees some 9th inning work.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday.
It’s Thursday, so it’s time to answer the questions you’ve sent me at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.
Mike Stanton for Bryce Harper/Trevor Plouffe/Andre Ethier?
Reality check everyone. As great as Stanton is and will one day be, he’s merely an impressive power hitter right now. The best hitter on the planet in May, he’s been pretty darn blah the other two months of the season. In the end he’s on pace to hit .274 with 35 homers, 100 RBI and 90 runs. Those are impressive totals indeed, but they are not the jump off the page I’m going to win a fantasy championship because of them numbers. Did you listen when I told you to back down from expectations before the season started?
I know that Ethier injured his left oblique Wednesday, and that there is no clear cur answer as to how much time he is going to miss throwing his value up in the air, but do you know what his current pace is for the Dodgers? How about 291 with 20 homers, 115 RBI and 75 runs. Is that really that far off of Stanton’s pace? Harper has slowed a bit but he’s still hitting .281 with a .841 OPS and a pace that would lead to a 20/20 season over a full slate of games.
Plouffe is the wild card. Over his last 10 games he has hit .243 with one homer, a far cry from the insane pace he set early in the month when he blasted nine homers with 16 RBI in 12 games. The power is legit, he’s gone deep 25 times in 512 career at-bats, but he’s also hit .232 with a mere .299 OBP – not exactly the stuff of legend. Still, he qualifies at shortstop and third in all league, and in most he’s also eligible in the outfield and possibly even second base.
If Ethier was healthy this would be a killer deal. Even with him injured it’s certainly not an awful haul, even though Stanton is the most exciting player in the group. I think the question becomes which two players would you need to drop since you’re adding three players and only sending one away? Add in those two players and the deal likely won’t make sense.
Where is Wil Myers going to play if KC promotes him? How long before promotion?
I get this question all the time, and here is my standard answer.
Alex Gordon will be playing everyday in the outfield.
Jeff Francoeur, unless he is traded (the club is probably hoping they can move Frenchie), will be playing everyday in the outfield.
Lorenzo Cain, slated to start in CF this year before injuries struck (remember when he was killing it in the preseason leading to people drafting him as one of the potential breakout starts of 2012?), is closing in on a return to the big leagues as his rehab work (hip issue) was shifted to Triple-A this week.
Billy Butler is the DH and Eric Hosmer is the first baseman.
Where can Myers fit in there? He can’t is the answer. The Royals will need to trade Francoeur, or Cain will have to stall out in his recovery to give the power hitting Myers a chance to play everyday in the bigs (Myers is killing it hitting .325 with 35 homers and 65 RBI in 75 minor league games this year). As I wrote last November in my AFL – 2011 Review column, the guy is gonna be a star – we’re just going to have to wait a bit longer.
Any chance Logan Morrison will have a decent second half?
After hitting 23 homers with 72 RBIs last year there was some hope that LoMo would take his game to the next level this season as a prime time run producing force. He hasn’t. His average is down .020 points to .227 and his OBP has dropped to .305 (career .340). He’s on pace for about 18 homers and 55 RBI. He’s also walking less than he did in either of his two previous seasons. Toss in a sickly .241 BABIP, some .041 points below his career rate, and there really isn’t much to get excited about here at all. I can’t envision a player of his skill set being this bad all year long, but there’s nothing going on here that screams to me that LoMo is going to be a significant player in the fantasy game the ROTW.
Jon Lester and Michael Bourn for Justin Verlander?
Lester has a 5-5 record, 4.53 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. After years of upper echelon work those are terribly disappointing numbers. Still, he’s tossed 5-straight “quality starts” as he slowly seems to be rounding into form. Oddly, Lester has lost more than a batter off his K/9 rate while also dropping a batter off his BB/9 rate. The result us a 2.93 K/BB ratio that would actually be a three year best if you can believe it. He’s also produced a 1.76 GB/FB ratio that is better than his 1.44 career rate. The real issue is that his he’s been getting hit hard. Currently his line drive rate is 23.3 percent, an unheard of level for a guy with a 19 percent career mark that has kept that mark under 21 percent each of the past four years. I’d expect his effort to continue to improve.
Bourn has been an elite performer — just like I said he would be. Oddly though, he’s accomplished it in a bit different way that was expected. After hitting seven homers the past three years he has gone deep seven times this season. Clearly this is one of those random things that just happens sometimes (don’t expect him to go deep 15 times this year). However, after 3-straight years of at least 52 steals he has “only” 20 thefts this year. He’s still on pace for a fifth straight effort of 40-steals, but it would be nice to see a few more stolen bases. Still, you can’t complain when Bourn is hitting .309 with 50 runs scored in 74 games.
Verlander is as good as it gets. His ERA is up a tenth from last year to 2.52, his WHIP is up less than a tenth to 0.97, and his K/9 rate is down three tenths to 8.64. Wow, he’s really fallen off. He’s the pinnacle of the elite. Period.
The deal is pretty fair for both sides. Most people don’t want to give up the “best player” in a deal, but the return here is significant – an elite outfielder and a solid hurler who is slowly rounding into form.
I was offered Chase Utley or Billy Butler for Derek Jeter? I have Jose Reyes to play SS and Allen Craig to play 2B.
Pull the breaks on the hype train. Utley returned to action, and homered in his first game, but there is NO way you can take him for Jeter straight up, even if you do have Reyes to fill in at shortstop. None. Utley missed nearly the first three months of the season with knee issues, this coming on the heels of seasons of 115 and 103 games played. You know the Phillies aren’t going to play him every day the rest of the way either (he’s resting Thursday). I’m all for taking a shot on Utley because I think he will still be an effective hitter when on the field, but you’d be better off pouring soap in your eye and trying to read a smutty novel than doing this deal.
The Butler offer does make sense. Though everyone always likes to put the guy down, or just flat out overlook him for some reason, Butler is a hell of a hitter. Not only is he hitting .297, he’s hit at least .291 each of the past three years, he’s also on pace for a career best in the homer category with 15 through 72 games (his previous best is 21 homers). I don’t think he’ll get to 30 homers, it’s not likely that he’ll be able to keep his 22.1 percent HR/F rate given that it’s double his career rate of 11 percent, but that doesn’t mean a .300-25-100 season can be ruled out for the Royals’ hitter.
In this situation, with Reyes ready to take over at short, I’d take Butler in the deal. Jeter has solid all-around numbers (.305-7-25-40-6) but he’s had only 12 RBI and hit a mere .269 over his last 50 games played after his tremendous start to the year.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday.
(1) R.A. Dickey – is he the best pitcher in baseball?
(2) Mike Trout – is he the best player in fantasy baseball?
(3) Royals OF situation is muddled. When will we see Wil Myers?
(4) Josh Hamilton should return to starting lineup Tuesday.
(5) Jason Marquis, strikeout artist for Padres?
(6) Aaron Hill on fire of late. A top-10 2B?
(7) Astros coaching staff destroys Brett Myers with moronic usage.
(8) Mark Prior — he’s baaaack? Close to return for Red Sox?
By Ray Flowers
It was amazing to be able to broadcast from the Rising Stars Game for SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. We had a booth in the press box pretty much directly behind home plate. The picture to the left was taken from our view in the box. Felt like a VIP up there.
Beautiful ballpark there at Surprise, Arizona. It has like 125 acres of land, tons of ball fields on the side, and it’s got a great atmosphere in the stands. Make sure you get dropped off on the right side of the stadium though or you’ll be looking at a 20 minute walk to get around the massive complex (I’m speaking from experience unfortunately).
I was able to get down on the field with my co-host Kyle Elfrink to take in batting practice. We also had the unique opportunity to interview a few of the future stars of the game in Wil Myers of the Royals, Jaff Decker of the Padres and Mike Trout of the Angels. You can clink on the links to listen to portions of all three interviews.
Garrett Cole, the top selection of the Pirates, got lit up for five runs in his first inning of work in the Rising Stars game. Still, the stuff was on full display. According to Jason Grey of ESPN, who we interviewed during the game, Cole’s stuff looked amazing including the nearly triple digit heat that was on full display. His problem on the night were two fastballs he left right over the hear of the plate.
Matt Dominguez of the Marlins’ was a bit banged up with a thumb issue. You would have never known it watching him stroke ball after ball over the fence in batting practice.
We didn’t get a chance to talk to Bryce Harper, I’ll break him down in a moment, but we were able to talk to Stu Cole of the Rockies. The manager of the East Division in the Rising Stars game told us how impressed he was with the talent of Harper and Trout who were both on the East squad. Thanks to Mr. Cole as well, a class act. It was also pretty neat to walking around with a wireless microphone interviewing people on the field as Kyle was in the booth. Now I know what it feels like to be Erin Andrews.
I was surprised by just how big some of these 20, 21, 22 year old kids were. It’s no longer ‘when he fills out he’ll be able to…” it’s “he’s already physically mature, now it’s just about how can he develop his skills.”
Speaking of skills, Bryce Harper is amazing. Watching him take batting practice was impressive. The 19 year old simply put the barrel on the ball with every cut. The short stride, the balance, the level swing with the perfect throw of the head of the bat, clearly he’s going to be a tremendous ball player. One three swing sequence in BP said it all. First pitch – line drive to left field. Second pitch – line drive to center field. Third pitch – line drive to right field. I told you, impressive.
Jeff Mans of FantasyAlarm.com – one of the funnier guys you will ever meet. It’s all about the frosted tips Jeff. Let me know when you get that text too, will ya?
Wil Myers, who we interviewed, has quite the stroke. He’s going to be a huge hitter in the majors. It’s obvious why the Royals aren’t interested in adding in the rumored deal with the Braves for Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens.
Thanks to Matt Deutsch and SirusXM for treating us well and giving us a chance to cover the Arizona Fall League. Also, thanks to Ron Shandler and Baseball HQ for their First Pitch Forums – a great way to get a jump on the competition.
Joe Panik of the Giants isn’t overly impressive physically, but the kid is a player. He’ll be a solid player for years, even if he never reaches stardom.
For those you who are wondering, yes, there are tremendously hot women all over the place in Phoenix. I so want to go back to college really badly.
Joey Terdoslavich of the Braves had the most impressive swing of the game. He took a 99 mph fastball from Cole and probably hit it 440 feet to dead centerfield. It was a total bomb.
So there it is. Now it’s time to get some sleep. You’d be amazed at how hard it is to be this cool.
By Ray Flowers
For the second time in three years I’ll be heading to the Arizona Fall League to peep out some of the future stars in the game. If I’m not mistaken, the AFL is in their 20th season of giving you ball players one last chance to impress scouts and the front office of the teams they play for before shutting things down for the season. If you want to check out the league and see who all is playing in Arizona this year, here’s a link to the AFL’s homepage.
I’ll also be treated to a chance to watch the best of the best this season at the AFL Rising Stars Game (you can see full rosters by clicking on the link). There are five of the top-50 MLB Prospects in the game, with the lead dog being Bryce Harper who I will get to see for the first time (let’s hope he plays and doesn’t pull a Stephen Strasburg who was pulled from the outing he was supposed to make the last time I was down in Arizona). In addition to Harper I’ll also get a chance to eyeball Mike Trout, Wil Myers, Nick Franklin and Matt Dominguez (I’ve already seen Trout in person as I caught a game of his in Baltimore this summer).
While some of the prospects in the league will never live up to expectations, there’s a good chance that some of the players I see play this weekend will be future stars in the big leagues. Twenty-right of the players in the Rising Stars game in 2009 appeared in the big leagues in 2010, while the 2010 Rising Stars game produced 24 players who saw time in the big leagues in 2011.
Don’t forget to tune into SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio over the weekend either (Sirius210, XM87). On Friday from 3-5 PM Arizona time, Kyle Elfrink and your truly will be broadcasting the XFL Experts Draft which will be held at the First Pitch Forums in Arizona hosted by Baseball HQ. On Saturday Kyle and I will be broadcasting from the Surprise Stadium, the site of the Rising Stars Game (our broadcast will begin at 4 PM local time). We hope to get a chance to speak to a couple of scouts, maybe a GM or two as well, and possibly even conduct some on the field interviews with some of the young guns themselves. It should be quite a weekend.
I hope you all tune in to listen to the festivities, and don’t forget to have a beer on me while listening to the weekend’s broadcasts.
By Ray Flowers