Let’s take a look at those cases where a player was only ranked on one list. Most of these guys never made the top 100 combined list, but they all could be excellent grabs for your minor league rosters. To me this is the real value of looking at more than one list. It’s easy to disregard these players when looking at multiple sources, but herein is where the treasures can be found. Thanks again to David and Matt for providing their insight into some of their treasures.
Lone Inclusions: Those players that were only ranked on one list:
Fantasy Assembly: Amed Rosario, Roberto Osuna, Luis Sardinas, Jose Peraza, Tyler Lindsay
Fantasy Squads: Erik Johnson, Michael Olt, J.R.Graham, Zach Lee, Devon Travis, Mason Williams, Joey Gallo, Dorsyss Paulino
RotoAnalysis: Delino Deshields, Rosell Herrera, Justin Nicolino, Jimmy Nelson, Jose Berrios, Lewis Thorpe, Hunter Renfroe, Anthony Ranaudo, Casey Kelly
Top Prospect Alert: Nick Kingham, Eduardo Rodriguez, Christian Bethancourt, Pierce Johnson, Miguel Gonzalez, Michael Choice, Billy McKinley, Vincent Velasquez, Marco Gonzalez, Luiz Gohara, D.J. Davis
Amed Rosario: Ranked at 74 on my list, I was very aggressive with this 18 year old shortstop from the Dominican Republic. He has the size (6’2″, 180) and strength and bat speed to provide plus power at a premium position. He played all of 2013 as a 17 year old against much older competition. While there are no results to substantiate such a high ranking yet, there are few players in the 50-100 range that have the ceiling that Rosario does. He carries substantial risk, but if it comes together you’re looking at a future top 10 prospect. For dynasty league owners you need to strike early to acquire this kind of talent. If he breaks out in 2014, you’ll have missed the opportunity.
Luis Sardinas: Coming in at #87, Sardinas is a glove-first shortstop, yet with very good speed and good contact skills. Just 20 years old, this switch-hitting Venezuelan shortstop is one of the premiere defensive shortstops in the minors. He has no power at all, but runs and gets on base like another familiar Texas Ranger shortstop. I admit to being a sucker for athletic shortstops and Sardinas’ fantasy game will hinge on his speed and his solid hit tool. What we know is that middle infielders that can do these things are extremely valuable.
Roberto Osuna: I didn’t expect this to be a popular pick at #75 after Osuna had Tommy John surgery in 2013. The 18 year old is definitely a significant risk going forward, but returning to the mound at 19 years old still leaves plenty of developmental time for this right hander. Before elbow problems, Osuna started 2013 with 5 starts, 22 IP, 4 BB and 31K. He has a low-mid 90s fastball and a good changeup and curve. This is a risky pick as he has no chance to improve his stock or develop in 2014, but he has excellent control to go with a very high strikeout rate. Don’t dismiss this prospect in 2014 but rather look to acquire while his price is so low. His ceiling is a #2.
Erik Johnson- While age and his mediocre numbers over five starts for the White Sox are not ideal, Erik Johnson has a minor league track record to back up being included on the FantasySquads.com Top 100 Prospect list. It is conceivable that Johnson will head north with the White Sox out of Spring Training. If that is the case, he will have a rotation spot and be given the chance to sink or swim. His minor league numbers warrant him a chance to shine. Over two minor league seasons, Johnson owns a career K/9 of 8.4, a BB/9 of 2.7, and an ERA of 2.21. Johnson is known to be a late bloomer as a starting pitcher but he can run his fastball into the mid-90s and has above-average secondary pitches. While he is not projected to be a frontline starter, he does have the pedigree to become a solid, middle of the rotation piece that Chicago can rely on every fifth day.
Joey Gallo- Power is the sexiest trait of a professional baseball player and Joey Gallo has plenty of it. After posting an Isolated Power (ISO) number of .365 at Class-A Hickory last year, Gallo has certainly solidified a spot as one of the most prolific power bats in the minor leagues. There are flaws with Gallo’s game, though. Glaring flaws.
Over the span of plate appearances last year where Gallo launched 38 home runs, he also struck out 37 percent of the time, an astronomical number that will have to decrease if Gallo has any shot of becoming an everyday starter at the major league level. Regardless, power is provocative and that alone warrants Joey Gallo sneaking into the 98th spot on our Top 100 prospect list.
Dorssys Paulino- Luckily, age is on the side of Dorssys Paulino. He certainly did not clock in at the very last spot on our Top 100 based on his poor 2013 season, but rather the potential that he possesses. Paulino is only eighteen years old and has a lot of time to mature as a baseball player, but there is no denying that he struggled mightily last season. For as poor as his overall numbers were (.246/.297/.349), a positive caveat is that Paulino fared much better in the latter part of the season, going .281/.330/.385 in August. There is plenty of time for Paulino to right the ship, but repeating his horrific 2013 would likely spell doom for his future. Raw talent alone is granting Paulino a mulligan of what will probably go down as his worst season in the minor leagues. It is imperative to get off to a strong start in 2014 and, if he does, his pure potential could skyrocket him up our list as early as midseason.
In my top 125, I aimed to combine the ceiling and risk of each prospect to create a list that could best portray their true value. In doing so, I certainly disagreed with some other prospect writers as I took into account all of the scouting reports, statistics, and comments I was able to find.
Rymer Liriano, Padres OF – Tommy John surgery kept Liriano off the field for all of 2013, taking him off the radar from most scouts and prospect writers. Despite the layoff, I am still a fan of his tools across the board. All five his tools grade as average to above-average, which could make him a very valuable corner outfielder.
Lewis Thorpe, Twins SP – Thorpe is one of my favorite upside picks in the entire minors, and a player with a chance to rocket up prospect lists this season. He is an Australian-born 17 year old lefty who dominated in short season ball last season. His body has yet to full out, but his fastball, curveball, and change have all received rave reports from scouts. Thorpe is definitely a player to watch, and one to pick up in dynasty leagues.
Delino Deshields Jr., Astros 2B – Deshields has received scathing reviews from many scouts due to his makeup. With prospects, however, I’m going to take the chance on high-level talent every single time. His risk is definitely high, but his production has been fantastic for a player believed to be “coasting,” and if he can keep on producing the attitude can change, or simply be a side note to his success.
Now let’s look at players that were not included on only one list. While it’s easy to sit back and question an entire list’s integrity based on its omission of a certain player, it is not wise to do so. For example, I did not forget Jake Odorizzi. I made a conscious decision when I reviewed him that he did not fall into my Top 100. The reasons why you may not agree with, but there is value in understanding that decision making process. Again, thanks Matt and David for agreeing to share some of that thought process with us.
Lone Exclusions: Those players that were only excluded on one list:
Fantasy Assembly: Jake Odorizzi
Fantasy Squads: Mookie Betts, Stephen Piscotty, Blake Swihart
RotoAnalysis: Billy Hamilton, Miguel Almonte, James Paxton, Reese Mcguire
Top Prospect Alert: David Dahl, Brian Goodwin, Arismendy Alcantara, Chris Owings
Jake Odorizzi: Odorizzi made a strong debut with the Rays last season with 7 appearances including 4 starts. He produced good numbers, but he really doesn’t have any plus offerings. While he has very good control, none of his pitches are above average. He has a low 90s fastball, a pretty good slider and more of a show me curve and change. Not one of those pitches produced even average whiff rates in his brief 2014 Rays appearances. Odorizzi has the floor to be a successful #4 starter in the big leagues, however his ceiling is not much higher. I’m not targeting him in my fantasy leagues because my minors spots are too valuable. I’m using them to hopefully house the next big stars in the game.
Joc Pederson: While Joc wasn’t an omission on my list, he was the player I ranked furthest away from the other experts. My problem with Pederson, though I still value him, is his inability to hit LHPs. Last year in 160 plate appearances, Pederson batted .206/.307/.277 vs LHPs. In A ball the previous year he did not have this issue (albeit in the California League), but in 2011 he also showed absolutely no power against left handed pitching. I like Pederson to be a solid OF regular with a good speed/power combination. The risk to me is that he ends up a platoon guy. His BB rate is good, but his K rate is also pretty high at 22%. He can be a solid contributor, perhaps hitting 20/20 in the bigs one day, but his ceiling isn’t a lot higher than that, and there’s enough risk in my view to think he may be a 15/15 guy with a lower floor if he is in platoon.
Blake Swihart- A player that I never really considered for the FantasySquads.com Top 100 Prospects was Blake Swihart. While certainly talented, Swihart did not have the type of season in 2013 that warranted a spot on this list, only managing two home runs in 422 plate appearances and got caught stealing more times than he stole actual bases–a borderline embarrassing number. He is known as more of a defensive player and dramatically decreasing his value as the focus of these rankings is solely on offense. Swihart will start the season in Double-A, but will need to show improvement across the board in his counting statistics. A strong average can only take a player so far from a fantasy perspective.
Miguel Almonte, Royals SP – Almonte has a very similar profile to players in the back-end of my list, but some reports I read were a bit disconcerting. The main issue with Almonte has been his curveball. You can get by without more than one off-speed pitch in Low-A, but I want to see a little more consistency before placing him in.
James Paxton, Mariners SP – Paxton’s four MLB starts were a great impression, but I try not to put too much faith into small samples. A 88.5% left on base rate and .203 BABIP made those 24 innings in the bigs a little bit easier than they will be in the long run. To me, his profile has a hard-throwing lefty without strong command makes him most likely to end up a reliever, which definitely slots him outside of my list.
Reese McGuire, Pirates C – McGuire was one of my honorable mentions outside the list, so I wouldn’t consider myself a huge skeptic of his ability. The 14th overall pick is a raw 18 year old with room to grow in all five tools (he is a rare catcher with speed). Despite that potential, I think his bat is not quite as good as advertised. An ISO of .62 in the Gulf Coast League was a poor start for his power, but we’ll see if he can show some more pop in 2014.
Great stuff guys! Information is king when it comes to prospects and I have more great information now than I did when this process began. There are a lot of great Top 100 Lists that you can find at Fantasy Rundown. These were my 3 favorite, to go along with my own. By taking time with each list and investigating those players you may not agree with, you can learn a great deal.