This series will look at prospects and show whether they are worth an investment on your fantasy team. Every owner knows that the secret to a strong minors system is knowing who to throw away and knowing who to keep. Each player featured in this series will be given one of the following recommendations:
- Hold ’em : If you own this prospect, hang tight. While times may seem rough, the talent is worth holding onto.
- Fold ’em : If you own this prospect, now is the time to sell while they may still have some name value.
- Walk Away: This prospect is not worth paying attention to in your league.
- Run: Get to the waiver wire immediately and put a claim in for this prospect.
Archie Bradley and Noah Syndergaard are two of the best pitching prospects in baseball, ranked #11 and #15 overall in my Top 100 prospect list. With these two future top of the rotation arms being sent to the minors, the two questions become:
- Are they worth holding with a bench spot in yearly leagues?
- If you can only hold one, which one should you choose?
Both Syndergaard (2010) and Bradley (2011) were first round selections out of high school and were born just 19 days apart. The similarities don’t stop there, as both arms competed for their team’s rotations this spring having pitched in A ball exclusively in 2012 and then both starting 2013 in high A and finishing in AA.
Heading into 2013, Bradley was ranked the #31 prospect by Baseball Prospectus while Syndergaard came in at #28.
Heading into this season, Bradley is ranked the #9 prospect by Baseball Prospectus and Syndergaard is #11.
The numbers show two excellent pitchers; Syndergaard with much better control, Bradley allowing much fewer hits and both arms striking out batters at an excellent clip.
As far as their arsenals go, Noah Syndergaard is an imposing figure on the mound; the right handed pitcher stands at 6’6″ and weighs 240 lbs. He throws a mid to high 90s fastball with late life, but that he commands it so well makes it completely overpowering. His curve ball has plus potential, having manager Terry Collins call it this spring a “hook from hell”. His change up could use some work but it also has plus potential.
Archie Bradley is also a big right-hander, standing 6’4″ and coming in at 225 lbs. He throws a mid to upper 90s fastball with good movement, and a 12-6 curve ball. Both are excellent offerings that induce a lot of swings and misses. His change up needs work with the command as well but it too flashes plus.
Both pitchers have been told they haven’t made the big league roster to start the 2014 season. While both showed glimpses of dominance in spring training, their final lines were somewhat less than spectacular.
Both Syndergaard and Bradley will pitch in AAA in the unfriendly pitching environment of the Pacific Coast League.
While both pitchers have to work on the change ups and Bradley on his command, some time at AAA will be beneficial for both arms. I’d feel comfortable saying that along with Lucas Giolito, these are the three best RHPs in the minor leagues at this time. I would think that the PCL isn’t a place that either team would want their young ace-in-waiting to pitch in for too long.
The New York Mets will go with a rotation of
- Dillon Gee
- Bartolo Colon
- Zack Wheeler
- Jon Niese (open on DL)
- Jenry Mejia
Plenty of health issues in the group above with Colon and Niese in particular. Daisuke Matsuzaka has been sent to AAA and should be up with the team if Niese has any setbacks. Matsuzaka has a June 1st opt out date and will likely leave if he hasn’t been brought up by then. 23-year-old Rafael Montero would follow if another starting pitcher is needed.
With the Mets not having any playoff aspirations in 2014, it makes little to no sense for Syndergaard to see time before June. When he comes up he should have immediate success with his excellent fastball command and curve ball. This is a strikeout per inning, top of the rotation arm in a very good ballpark.
The point is the Mets have no need to rush him; they have a couple of arms ahead of him they can use and they are not winning in 2014. The best plan of action is to bring him up as the did with Harvey and Wheeler, in late June or July.
Recommendation: HOLD ‘EM. While there’s no incentive for the Mets to bring up Syndergaard immediately, he’ll be a difference maker for you down the stretch. He can chip in 15 starts for your team and bring great ratios to go with a strike out per inning.
The Arizona Diamondbacks will go with a rotation of:
- Brandon McCarthy
- Wade Miley
- Trevor Cahill
- Bronson Arroyo
- Randall Delgado
Daniel Hudson is trying to come back from his second Tommy John surgery, but July is the best case for him. With the losses of Corbin and Skaggs (trade), the Diamondbacks have very little starting pitching depth. I think Delgado will be just fine as the 5th starter, but I worry about Arroyo’s back, as well as consistency from Cahill and McCarthy.
With Goldschmidt, Hill, Prado, Trumbo and an excellent bullpen (even with the D.Hernandez loss) the Diamondbacks are built to contend in 2014. Their rotation took a major hit with the Patrick Corbin loss and the next five will not be able to hold down the fort. This is a team in desperate need of an ace, and they have one almost ready in the likes of Archie Bradley.
Recommendation: HOLD’EM. I don’t think Bradley is ready, but the Diamondbacks will have a real need to make this move sooner rather than later. I think Noah Syndergaard will put up better numbers in 2014, but Bradley should have an extra 5-10 starts to show his fantasy worthiness.
Final Note: In my one redraft league both pitchers were free agents at the time I started writing this. I’ve since picked up Bradley. There’s no rush to grab Syndergaard yet unless you have plenty of bench spots.
Other Prospect Notes:
Jackie Bradley Jr, OF, BOS: Bradley lost the center field position battle to Grady Sizemore, after batting .158 in 57 spring at bats. He also struck out 17 times and walked just 3 times. With Victorino and Sizemore in the outfield, Bradley should still see plenty of big league at bats this year. What he does with them is the question. Prospect Ranking in 2014: #89. Recommendation: Fold ‘Em
Travis d’Arnaud, C, NYM: After a very slow start to spring, d’Arnaud has really turned it on of late with 3 home runs in the last 10 days.
Prospect Ranking in 2014: #23. Recommendation: Run
Rymer Liriano, OF, SD: Making his way back from Tommy John surgery, Liriano will find himself owned in more and more leagues this year. Just 22, Liriano has been sent to AA to open 2014. With his speed and power, what he needs most this year is to get full time at bats. He left his mark in spring training with 2 doubles and a home run in just 18 at bats. Prospect Ranking in 2014: #86. Recommendation: Hold ‘Em.
If you’re gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.