Boston Red Sox Top-10 Fantasy Baseball Prospects For 2015
The Red Sox have a number of upper level minor leaguers capable of creating fantasy baseball value in 2015. Plus, the organization continues to identify and sign high ceiling talents, both from inside the United States and abroad. From Manuel Margot (ROTOscouting Report) to Matt Barnes, our picks will focus on “Fantasy Baseball Fueled By Baseball Scouting”. In living up to this, any and all future prospect and player lists published here will have a fantasy baseball slant. Other sites will release lists focusing on future MLB players, but leave readers to do the dynasty league guess work. Not us. We’ll focus on what’s important to the ROTO player.
Because this list is meant for the dynasty fantasy baseball player, it’s important to have a basic system for separating fantasy value from MLB value.
1. Review scouting notes on baseball prospects from the ballpark.
2. Review prospect video for any players not seen in person.
3. Review statistics and level movement in 2014.
4. Run a basic 5×5 auction value calculator using statistics from the 2013 season
5. Compare peak projections for each player and match it actual production of a MLB player at the same position. This will yield a fantasy baseball peak dollar value.
6. Assess a $1 penalty per full season minor league level not completed (MLB = $0, Triple-A = $1, Double-A = $2, High-A = $3, Single-A = $4, Short Season = $5)
7. After final dollar values were totaled, the information was used in a 10 player mock draft. Most picks were made in order of value, but I did stray on occasion.
Boston Red Sox Top-10 Fantasy Baseball Prospects For 2015
T10. Travis Shaw, First Base
Age 24 / Triple-A
2014 Stats: 490 AB, .278/.353/.473, 52 XBH, 7/10 SB
Shaw is a sleeper in the Boston Red Sox organization and has the potential to hit his way into playing time at some point. In multiple Triple-A looks against the Gwinnett Braves, Travis Shaw barreled the baseball more consistently than any prospect on the field not named Mookie Betts (ROTOscouting Report). His pull happy approach is a concern at Fenway Park since it suppresses left-handed power, but Shaw still makes for an interesting deep dynasty league play — especially if corner infield and/or utility positions are utilized. In 2013, Justin Morneau accumulated $6 in value behind a .259 batting average with 17 home runs and zero steals. Knowing this, the bar for positive value is surprisingly low and players like Shaw receive an added boost for proximity to MLB.
T10. Matt Barnes, Right-Handed Pitcher
Age 24 / MLB
2014 Stats: 127.2 IP, 3.95 ERA, 103/46 K/BB, 119 H
In a late season look, the former 1st round pick failed to impress. With fringe command of off-speed pitches and a straight fastball, he pitched “book” and made it difficult to envision a successful MLB pitcher. However, Matt Barnes’ stuff would play better out of the bullpen and his mid-90’s fastball/power curveball combination has closer potential. Unfortunately, the Boston Red Sox recently extended incumbent closer Koji Uehara through 2016 meaning Barnes’ path to saves is muddled, but he’s worth a dynasty league stash anyway. In 2013, Ricky Nolasco pitched to a 3.65 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 165 strikeouts in 2013. Barnes has to improve command and generate more swings-and-misses to achieve this level of success, but a $5 starting pitcher/closer is in the realm of possibility.
9. Henry Ramos, Corner Outfielder
Age 22 / Double-A
2014 Stats: 181 AB, .326/.368/.431, 13 XBH, 2/6 SB
Across multiple seasons in Single-A, Ramos was a frustrating prospect to scout. Three hours before first pitch, he flashed the power and athleticism of a MLB regular in the outfielder. In game action, the tools dissipated and Henry Ramos blended in with the crowd. However, it appears the 22-year old is starting to put it together as his numbers continue to improve with each subsequent level. Plus, outfielders can accumulate considerable value without being impact players due to fantasy baseball owners starting five or six on any given day once utility players are factored in. In 2013, Nick Markakis accumulated $9 in value behind a .271 batting average with ten home runs and a stolen base. Like Shaw above, Ramos’ path to positive value isn’t as treacherous as dynasty league owners think.
8. Eduardo Rodriguez, Left-Handed Pitcher
Age 21 / Double-A
2014 Stats: 120 IP, 3.60 ERA, 108/37 K/BB, 120 H
Nothing about Rodriguez’s style of pitching is sexy. The former Orioles top prospect will develop into a reliable, innings eating starter with modest fantasy baseball upside. In 2013, Hyun-Jin Ryu accumulated $11 in value behind a 3.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 154 strikeouts. Eduardo Rodriguez’s earned run average will be a tad higher, but other peripherals are in line with with the left-hander is capable of at the MLB level. And with a frame and pitching mechanics which hint at longevity, expect a long and durable career from the top-100 prospect.
7. Sean Coyle, Second Base
Age 22 / Double-A
2014 Stats: 336 AB, .295/.371/.512, 40 XBH, 13/14 SB
Back in 2011, a trip to Greenville to scout Jurickson Profar revealed a pair of little known prospects in the Red Sox organization. Who were they? Xander Bogaerts and Sean Coyle (Scouting Report). In batting practice, the diminutive second baseman showed big pop, repeatedly driving pitches over the left-centerfield fence. And while he struggled in game action, Coyle’s surprising tools and gamer mentality left a lasting impression. The following year, the right-handed hitter struggled and became a forgotten man in a system with Bogaerts and Betts on the infield. Then in 2014, Coyle made a statement by slugging 16 home runs in under 100 minor league games with 13 steals. Admittedly, the second baseman will never hit for a high batting average, but Brian Dozier is an example of a player at the keystone whose power/speed combination overcome high strikeout totals and a .240 batting average. In 2013, his $11 in value came from 18 home runs and 14 stolen bases. If afforded an opportunity to start somewhere Coyle can provide similar production.
6. Rafael Devers, Third Base
Age 18 / Short Season
2014 Stats: 261 AB, .322/.404/.506, 29 XBH, 5/6 SB
Devers is a natural with a feel for hitting far beyond his years and professional experience. This bodes well for a MLB future. His frame is a question mark, but he’s years away from physical maturity and overall athleticism is to be determined. In 2013, Manny Machado accumulated $14 in value behind a .283 batting average with 14 home runs and six steals. 667 at bats helped the Orioles third baseman pile up the counting stats, but it’s a strong indication of the value Devers can provide a few years down the road without assuming huge production. Next to Margot, he’s the highest ceiling player on this list.
5. Wendell Rijo, Second Base
Age 19 / Single-A
2014 Stats: 409 AB, .254/.348/.416, 42 XBH, 16/22 SB
On the playing field, Rijo’s all-around game presents as wild and unrefined. From hitches in his hitting mechanics to the way balls find the palm of the second baseman’s glove, Wendell Rijo (ROTOscouting Report) is all tools. But with explosive bat speed and above average foot speed, the right-handed hitter has time to develop on both sides of the baseball. In 2013, Ian Kinsler earned $17 in value behind a .277 batting average, 13 home runs and 15 stolen bases. Rijo can develop into this type of hitter at the MLB level if he quiets the approach and remains at second base long term. For now, betting on the tools to play is an investment worth making. And with him still being a relative unknown, Rijo can still be stashed for nothing.
4. Henry Owens, Left-Handed Pitcher
Age 22 / Triple-A
2014 Stats: 159 IP, 2.94 ERA, 170/59 K/BB, 121 H
The best pitching prospect in the Boston Red Sox organization, Owens had a strong 2014 season between Double-A and Triple-A. On paper, the peripherals are dominant, but the top-100 prospect is still considered more of a number three starter than top flight guy. Knowing this, Mike Minor was worth $14 in 2013 behind a 3.21 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 181 strikeouts. In essence, Henry Owens (Scouting Report) doesn’t have to be elite to have plenty of value in dynasty fantasy baseball leagues. Plus, his fastball/changeup combination point to a player who’ll have a long and consistent MLB career. Look for him to contribute for the next decade or more.
3. Rusney Castillo, Centerfield
Age 27 / MLB
2014 Stats: 36 AB, .333/.400/.528, 3 XBH, 3/3 SB
Castillo’s debut was impressive and he’s just entering prime years. For dynasty league owners, this means the centerfielder has five years of premium production left and then some. In 2013, Starling Marte earned batted .280 with 12 home runs and 41 stolen bases, accumulating $17 in value. It’s possible for the Cuban import to produce similar numbers next season. Often times, owners are forced to inherit all the risk and stash a teenager for years just to see if he becomes the player Castillo is. The fact the Boston Red Sox centerfielder requires no investment other than a pick makes him even more valuable.
2. Blake Swihart, Catcher
Age 22 / Triple-A
2014 Stats: 416 AB, .293/.341/.469, 43 XBH, 8/9 SB
When scouting Swihart, the tools don’t stand out. Fortunately for the switch hitting catcher, the sum of the parts shine through as his strong wrists project for both batting average and power. Add his ability to steal the occasional base and stick behind home plate, Blake Swihart (ROTOscouting Report) has the potential to replicate Jonathan Lucroy’s path to MLB success. Speaking of the Brewers catcher, his .280 batting average with 18 home runs and nine steals earned $20 in 5×5 value during the 2013 season. Swihart can achieve similar production at the MLB level and become a source of consistent fantasy baseball value.
1. Manuel Margot, Centerfield
Age 20 / High-A
2014 Stats: 420 AB, .293/.356/.462, 42 XBH, 42/57 SB
With elite athleticism and fluid baseball movements, Manuel Margot projects for both speed and power at the MLB level. This, from a player whose bat lags behind the glove at the moment. In 2013, Alex Rios batted .278 with 18 home runs and 42 stolen bases, accumulating $27 in 5×5 value. This elite level of production is in range for the right-handed hitting Margot. Watch his prospect stock explode this winter as the top prospect becomes one of the hottest commodities in minor league baseball. Margot is the class of the Red Sox system.
Boston Red Sox Honorable Mentions: Edwin Escobar (LHP), Brian Johnson (LHP), Anthony Ranaudo (RHP), Deven Marrero (SS), Garin Cecchini (3B)
10 Nov 2014 / Mike Newman / 1
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