Mike’s Top-50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects Scouted: #10-6
Today’s installment of Mike’s top-50 fantasy baseball prospects finds us in the top-10 overall. Players six-through-10 feature a trio of outfielders ranging from Single-A to MLB, a left-handed starter and catcher capable of developing into an offensive force at the position. At ROTOscouting, our motto is, “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.
In a first attempt at perfecting the process, I sat down with my scouting notes in the hope of creating a top-20 prospect list of players scouted in 2014. The result? 54 names and the need to expand the list to 50 players.
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 statistics and level movement in 2014.
3. Run a basic 5×5 auction value calculator using statistics from the 2013 season
4. 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.
5. 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)
6. After final dollar values were totaled, the information was used in a 50-man mock draft. Most picks were made in order of value, but I did stray on occasion.
Mike’s Top-50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects Scouted: #10-6
10. Bradley Zimmer, OF, Cleveland Indians
Age 21 / MLB ETA = 2017
2014 Stats: 179 AB, .302/.400/.492, 20 XBH, 12/16 SB
After a multi-game look at Zimmer, the center fielder presented as a player who should have been drafted in the top-10. His slipping to 21 is tantamount to a coup for the Indians organization. With 70 speed, gap power and a long, lean frame, the left-handed hitter projects for both speed and power at the MLB level. In 2013, Shane Victorino batted .294 with 15 home runs and 21 stolen bases, totaling $18 in performance value. Bradley Zimmer projects for similar production at the MLB level and will develop into an undervalued third outfielder in 5×5 leagues, if not more.
9. Nomar Mazara, OF, Texas Rangers
Age 19 / MLB ETA = 2016
2014 Stats: 483 AB, .271/.362/.478, 53 XBH, 4/7 SB
A breakout performer in 2014, Mazara graduated from organizational question mark to fast mover behind a second half power surge. A hot finish in Double-A means he’ll return to the level in 2015 with a chance at reaching MLB by 21 — a rare occurrence among baseball prospects. Nomar Mazara (ROTOscouting Report) has above average power and it plays up due to a strong feel for the strike zone. Justin Upton was worth $19 in actual value behind a .263 batting average with 27 home runs and eight stolen bases. Mazara won’t steal as many bases, but has the potential for a higher batting average at the MLB level.
8. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Age 22 / Currently in MLB
2014 Stats: 248 PA, .239/.278/.312, 11 XBH, 0/1 SB
After a disappointing debut with St. Louis, Oscar Taveras (ROTOscouting Report) has work to do if he’s to become an everyday player in St. Louis. The left-handed hitter has impressive bat-to-ball ability capable of consistent barrel contact. However, he expands the strike zone and becomes an easy out when swinging at poor pitches. Taveras will never accumulate high walk totals, but this can be advantageous in 5×5 formats where players like Adam Jones are much more valuable than in OBP leagues. In 2013, Marlon Byrd accumulated $19 in value behind a .291 batting average, 24 home runs and two steals. With patience, Taveras can produce similar numbers at the MLB level.
7. Daniel Norris, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays
Age 21 / Currently in MLB
2014 Stats: 124.1 IP, 2.53 ERA, 96 H, 163/43 K/BB
To date, Norris is the best left-handed pitcher scouted since 2008. With a four pitch mix and the potential for all of them to be average or better offerings, only sharpened command is keeping the 21-year old from cracking the Blue Jays rotation for good. Having scouted Mike Minor at the MILB level, Daniel Norris (ROTOscouting Report) has better pure stuff at the same age. And with the Braves left-hander chipping in $14 in value behind a 3.21 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 181 strikeouts in 2013, Norris has an even higher ceiling.
6. Blake Swihart, C, Boston Red Sox
Age 22 / MLB ETA = 2015
2014 Stats: 416 AB, .293/.341/.469, 43 XBH, 8/9 SB
In person, Blake Swihart is not a physically imposing prospect. He’s lean for a catcher and much of the switch hitter’s power comes from quick wrists and strong bat control. Compared to prospects at less premium positions, he doesn’t stand out, but years of experience have forced a closer look at players who profile with solid, but unspectacular tools across the board. Swihart ranks this high because he’s close-to-ready and it’s easy to see offensive comparisons to Jonathan LuCroy. In 2013, the Brewers catcher accumulated $20 in value fueled by a .280 batting average, 18 home runs and nine steals. Swihart has a similar offensive upside. And when catcher and shortstop are the most valuable defensive positions for baseball prospects, the former first round pick deserves the high ranking given the safety in his scouting profile.
29 Sep 2014 / Mike Newman /
Categories: Fantasy Baseball Prospect Lists
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