Where Talent Meets Opportunity
Recently, I’ve been looking for a couple of prospects to scoop in the Ottoneu Experts League. Right now, managers are scrambling to stay in the money mix, so it’s a perfect time to swoop in and snag a couple of prospects for $1. One player I’m considering is Houston Astros shortstop prospect Jonathan Villar.
At 22, Villar appears close to receiving a shot at Houston’s shortstop. His .294/.343/.456 triple slash line is inflated by a .386 BABIP, but his posting back-to-back 10+ HR, 30+ SB seasons in 2011-2012 helps fuel dreams of a speed/power profile.
But even more enticing than his talent level is the fact the Astros current shortstop position is a black hole. When it comes to prospects, we tend to focus on the best players regardless of opportunity. This is a losing strategy — especially in leagues where one wants to win now. It’s difficult enough to find rookie help off the waiver wire to begin with. Ignore opportunity and you might as well stick to grizzled vets with grit and forgo the kids altogether.
Owning Jurickson Profar is nifty. He has a great name which rolls off the tip of the tongue. Plus, he’s the top prospect in baseball. However, he only plays if an infielder is hurt. If you ask me today, “Who receives more plate appearances this season? Villar or Profar.” I’m leaning Villar given Astros shortstops have combined for 0.2 WAR in 181 plate appearances.
At the last minute, Lindy’s Fantasy Baseball asked that I formulate my top-30 fantasy prospects for the 2013 season. Doing something like this prior to spring training will always result in a list full of big misses, but I wanted to share the process more than anything.
As you know, I like to keep things simple. For this list, I might have gone too simple, but it was a project which needed to be turned around in a couple of days at a time when I hadn’t begun prepping for leagues. For this list, I weighed opportunity and talent equally. If you need to win now, you need guys who will play now.
If you asked me about Villar for the rest of the season, I’d give him a 6 for talent and a 8/9 for opportunity. This would rank him as high, or higher than any shortstop prospect in baseball through the 2013 season.
In dynasty leagues, I wouldn’t mind having him around either as contacts I’ve spoken to love the tools, but always dinged him for playing so out of control. One might say Carlos Correa is the future shortstop in Houston and I’d agree. However, he’s a couple of years behind Villar meaning he’ll hold the job into 2015 at the earliest.
25 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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