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March 4, 2014

The Top 101 Fantasy Prospects of 2014

Part Two: 51-101

by Bret Sayre

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The following is an excerpt from the upcoming Baseball Prospectus Futures Guide 2014, our second-annual prospect book, which will collect all of BP's offseason prospect content (plus exclusive prospect and fantasy offerings) in book and e-book form. Here's a look at last year's book; expect an even more meaty offering this time around.

To read part one of this list, published yesterday, click here.

In an age where there’s more statistical information available on players than ever before, you’ve come to the right place to differentiate yourself from your league-mates. Even if you don’t play in a keeper or dynasty league where you can own minor leaguers without wasting roster spots, the importance of reading scouting reports and knowing who these players are becomes obvious when a few years later you are faced with the dilemma of choosing them for your roster.

If you are in a dynasty league, you can take advantage of the box-score scouts by knowing more tangible details about a player. How can his power tool progress as he develops? How much of his speed at the minor-league level is sustainable for major-league stolen-base success? Does he lack high-end bat speed and can he potentially be exposed as the pitching he’s facing improves?

The more you know, the more you’ll win. And the more you win, the happier you’ll feel. So let’s start your journey toward nirvana.

Within this list, you’ll find some fantasy-specific information about each player—namely where his impact lies and how much you can expect to one day pay for his services if he reaches the heights he is capable of reaching. Also included this year are “Realistic Ceiling” and “Realistic Floor” designations, which are meant to give a more tangible idea of who these players can become from a statistical standpoint or compared to their peers. So when I say that Rougned Odor could be Martin Prado, I do not mean it in any scouting sense—but strictly in the type of value he can have for a fantasy team.

I also won’t go too in depth with the commentary here, as you’ve just combed through hundreds of pages of scouting reports, and I’m not going to add anything earth shattering. Plus, more detailed fantasy takes are already sprinkled throughout the top 10 lists.

Finally, like any list, there are some disclaimers to go over before we get started. These rankings are for fantasy purposes only and do not directly take into account things like an outfielder’s ability to stick in center or a catcher’s pop time.

Of course, these things often matter indirectly, as they affect a player’s ability to either stay in the lineup or maintain eligibility. So, while Austin Hedges is a top-20 prospect on Jason ParksTop 101 list, this is largely because of his defensive value. Hedges doesn’t make the Fantasy 101 list because underneath that glossy defense is a bat that doesn’t profile so well in our world.

Additionally, home environments and league differences need to be factored in, just as they are when we are when talking about a major-league player. If Josh Johnson’s fantasy potential skyrockets from moving both from the American League to the National League and from a hitters’ park in Toronto to a pitchers’ paradise in San Diego, we can’t pretend that these prospects operate in a vacuum, unaffected by such factors. Of course, there’s no guarantee that they will reach the majors with their current organizations, so while it is not a heavy consideration, it is reflected.

In the end, the intention of this list is to balance the upside, probability, and proximity of these players to an active fantasy lineup. These rankings should be viewed in the context of a medium-sized mixed dynasty league where you have a separate minor-league farm team. That means if you’re in a deep league, you can bump up some of the names that have higher probability and lower ceiling, like Matt Davidson and Rafael Montero. The opposite also applies with shallower leagues, where the focus should be upside, upside, and more upside—in those leagues, players like Tim Anderson and Joey Gallo will have increased value due to the elevated replacement level and likely shallowness of the minor-league systems.

51. Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 41)

  • Potential Earnings: $25-30
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Three-category contributor; impact potential in K, ERA
  • Realistic Ceiling: The good version of Francisco Liriano
  • Realistic Floor: The bad version of Francisco Liriano

If Sanchez could consistently figure out where the ball is going, he’d likely be a top-25 prospect—his raw stuff would certainly support it. Even if he “makes it” and misses bats at the major-league level, he still might be a drag on your WHIP.

52. Garin Cecchini, 3B, Boston Red Sox (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: A slightly better Martin Prado
  • Realistic Floor: A slightly worse Nick Markakis

Cecchini will be one of those guys who get underrated in fantasy because he doesn’t do the sexy things all that well. He has the curse of being a strong play in batting average and runs scored.

53. Kyle Crick, RHP, San Francisco Giants (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 83)

  • Potential Earnings: $25-30
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Three-category contributor; Impact potential in K, ERA
  • Realistic Ceiling: A top-20 starter, despite his WHIP
  • Realistic Floor: The good version of Carlos Marmol

See: Sanchez, Aaron. As you can tell by my dropping of the M word above, Crick is also in serious need of stuff-harnessing. If he can put the whole package together, he’s a pitcher you build a fantasy staff around.

54. Raimel Tapia, OF, Colorado Rockies (Age: 20, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $30-35
  • Risk Factor: Extreme
  • Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor; Impact potential in R, RBI
  • Realistic Ceiling: Carlos Gonzalez
  • Realistic Floor: A bottomless pit

The first real high-payout lottery ticket here, Tapia has all of the requisite tools to be a future fantasy stud, including the most optimal home park known to man.

55. Henry Owens, LHP, Boston Red Sox (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in W
  • Realistic Ceiling: The non-elite version of Jon Lester
  • Realistic Floor: A good back-end fantasy starter

It seems strange that a Red Sox prospect may actually be underrated, but I guess the shadow of Xander Bogaerts extends to somewhere south of Hartford. Which is amusing because that’s only a slightly smaller shadow than Owens has himself.

56. Miguel Almonte, RHP, Kansas City Royals (Age: 20, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in ERA, WHIP
  • Realistic Ceiling: A solid no. 3 fantasy starter
  • Realistic Floor: Dillon Gee

The changeup is awe-inspiring, and Kauffman Stadium will be a nice place to call home. But unless the breaking ball maxes out its projection, he’s probably never going to be a huge strikeout guy.

57. Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs (Age: 19, Previous Rank: 81)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: Andre Ethier
  • Realistic Floor: Lorenzo Cain, complete with injuries

The big question with Almora is how much power he’ll have, but don’t assume that because he projects to be a very good defensive center fielder, he will be able to help you on the basepaths. He’s not that type of runner.

58. Dominic Smith, 1B, New York Mets (Age: 18, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in AVG
  • Realistic Ceiling: Billy Butler with first-base eligibility
  • Realistic Floor: James Loney, after we all accepted who James Loney was

Smith is a much more interesting fantasy proposition than a real-life one. Most evaluators agree that he will hit for average wherever he is, but whether he has 15 or 25 homers with it will go a long way toward determining his future value.

59. James Paxton, LHP, Seattle Mariners (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 70)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Low
  • Fantasy Overview: Three-category contributor; impact potential in K
  • Realistic Ceiling: Matt Moore if he never breaks out
  • Realistic Floor: Rex Brothers

Paxton was more or less a forgotten man before he put an exclamation point on his season in September with the big club. He’ll have an uphill battle to post a helpful WHIP but has upside everywhere else.

60. Mookie Betts, 2B, Boston Red Sox (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Three-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: A borderline top-five second baseman
  • Realistic Floor: A part-time player who is still pretty valuable in deeper leagues

Despite the impressive numbers in 2013, the jury is still out on just how valuable Betts will be in the batting average and power categories. Plus, he’s blocked for the foreseeable future in Boston—which possibly pushes back his ETA.

61. Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox (Age: 20, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $25-30
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Five-category contribution; impact potential in SB
  • Realistic Ceiling: Ian Desmond with more speed
  • Realistic Floor: A fourth outfielder

The range of outcomes is very wide with Anderson, but the toolset is enticing and U.S. Cellular would be a great place to draw some extra power out of his bat. He becomes even more delectable in shallower leagues, where upside is king.

62. Lucas Sims, RHP, Atlanta Braves (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in K
  • Realistic Ceiling: A pre-Tommy John Brandon Beachy
  • Realistic Floor: A valuable middle reliever

There’s plenty to like about Sims, from the athleticism to the development of the changeup. However, he’s got a ways to go to prove that he can pitch a lot of innings in a rotation.

63. Alen Hanson, 2B, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 39)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: A slightly better Howie Kendrick
  • Realistic Floor: A low-end middle-infield option

It was difficult not to mention Hanson and Gregory Polanco in the same sentence last year after they both broke out in Low-A, but if you took Hanson first between the two in your 2013 draft, you’re probably regretting that right about now.

64. Sean Manaea, LHP, Kansas City Royals (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $25-30
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in W, K, ERA, WHIP
  • Realistic Ceiling: A top-20 starting pitcher
  • Realistic Floor: A Kyle Gibson-esque journey

The hip injury clouds his potential value, but all signs point to him being strong and healthy heading into 2014. If that is the case, the owners who took a shot on him in their dynasty drafts will be well rewarded.

65. Hunter Harvey, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $25-30
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in W, K, WHIP
  • Realistic Ceiling: A top-20 fantasy starter
  • Realistic Floor: Chris Tillman before he turned his career around

One of the big risers after the 2013 draft was in the books, Harvey has gained enough steam that he should be taken in the first round of most dynasty drafts.

66. Jake Marisnick, OF, Miami Marlins (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 61)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: Alex Gordon with fewer runs scored
  • Realistic Floor: A poor man’s Will Venable

While he may not be as revered as he was a year or two ago, forget about Marisnick at your own risk. He still carries enough talent to turn himself into an everyday outfielder in all leagues.

67. D.J. Peterson, 3B, Seattle Mariners (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: Ryan Zimmerman in Safeco
  • Realistic Floor: A fringy fantasy first baseman

It may not be as tough to be a right-handed hitting prospect in Seattle as it used to be, but it’s still not the friendliest assignment. Peterson could have a long career of strong park-adjusted stats ahead of him (which doesn’t help for fantasy).

68. Braden Shipley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $25-30
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in W, K
  • Realistic Ceiling: Solid no. 2 fantasy starter
  • Realistic Floor: An inconsistent swingman with flashes

Even if he doesn’t live up to his lofty potential, the odds are still pretty good that Shipley will end his career with the highest WARP of any pitcher named Braden—this distinction currently belongs to Braden Looper at 5.3 WARP.

69. Brian Goodwin, OF, Washington Nationals (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 34)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: Shin-Soo Choo with less average/OBP
  • Realistic Floor: 80 percent of Denard Span

Hidden within the not overly impressive statistics is a near 20/20 player waiting to come out. Of course, if that were more certain to come out of Goodwin, he wouldn’t have taken a 35-spot tumble from last year’s list.

70. Michael Choice, OF, Texas Rangers (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 89)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Low
  • Fantasy Overview: Three-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: A good-enough no. 3 outfielder
  • Realistic Floor: A not-good-enough no. 4 outfielder

Choice was likely bumped from a starting spot to begin the 2014 season once Shin-Soo Choo and his glorious hair came to town. However, he can overtake Mitch Moreland for the DH spot during the season if he shows some of that power.

71. Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Houston Astros (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in ERA
  • Realistic Ceiling: A good no. 4 fantasy starter
  • Realistic Floor: A very valuable middle reliever

The fastball is great, but if the breaking ball doesn’t come around a little more, this is looking more and more like an eventual bullpen future. He could be great in that role, but that’s not what you want in fantasy.

72. Mason Williams, OF, New York Yankees (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 53)

  • Potential Earnings: $25-30
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor; impact potential in SB
  • Realistic Ceiling: Brett Gardner with 15-homer power
  • Realistic Floor: A victim of his own makeup

The problem with Williams has never been his tools, it’s been his ability to develop them as he moves up the developmental ladder. If Williams had Joc Pederson’s #want, he’d be a top-25 prospect on this list.

73. Delino DeShields Jr., OF, Houston Astros (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 27)

  • Potential Earnings: $25-30
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Three-category contributor; Impact potential in R, SB
  • Realistic Ceiling: A 60-plus-steal monster
  • Realistic Floor: A player who gets way too many second chances in dynasty leagues

It’s either coincidence or fate that Williams and DeShields are back-to-back here. The bigger issues with the embattled Astro are that he is moving down the defensive spectrum and that he plays like he reads too many of his own press clippings.

74. Hunter Renfroe, OF, San Diego Padres (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $25-30
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in HR, RBI
  • Realistic Ceiling: A healthy Carlos Quentin with speed
  • Realistic Floor: The bad version of Colby Rasmus

It’s not as tough to be a power hitter in Petco as it used to be, but it’s still not an ideal venue for the skill set. Fortunately, Renfroe can also contribute on the basepaths, leaving him with a second way to add value.

75. Matt Davidson, 3B, Chicago White Sox (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 66)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Low
  • Fantasy Overview: Three-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: A back-end top-10 third baseman
  • Realistic Floor: Joe Crede without the outlier 2006 season

It’s tough to pull off an upgrade in home park when you’re already staring Chase Field in the face, but Davidson did it. And if U.S. Cellular can’t draw out his power, no park can.

76. Jackie Bradley Jr., OF, Boston Red Sox (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 80)

  • Potential Earnings: $10-15
  • Risk Factor: Low
  • Fantasy Overview: Two-category contributor; impact potential in R
  • Realistic Ceiling: Daniel Nava with a few more steals
  • Realistic Floor: Daniel Nava with a few more steals

Bradley is as safe a prospect as there is on this list, but that doesn’t make him all that interesting long term. He’ll get on base and score a lot of runs if he is at the top of the Boston lineup, but don’t expect much firepower in the glory stats.

77. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 20, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $10-15
  • Risk Factor: Low
  • Fantasy Overview: Three-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: A solid no. 5 fantasy starter
  • Realistic Floor: A solid no. 6 fantasy starter

Rodriguez is kind of like the pitching equivalent of Jackie Bradley—he doesn’t offer much upside anywhere, but he should be good enough to stick on your roster for a long time.

78. C.J. Edwards, RHP, Chicago Cubs (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in ERA
  • Realistic Ceiling: A top-25 starting pitcher
  • Realistic Floor: A high-strikeout reliever

Edwards is going to look slighted here, especially when compared with some of his other small-statured brethren, but I have a lot less confidence in his ability to stick in the rotation than in guys like Ventura, Martinez, and Stroman.

79. Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF, Minnesota Twins (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 54)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: The current version of Brandon Phillips
  • Realistic Floor: Dexter Fowler without Coors

The suspension hurts in the short term, as he could have gotten to the major-league level in 2014 with another strong showing in the upper minors, but Rosario can hit. Someone has to stop him from (or teach him the art of) running, though, as he’s 21-for-42 over the last two years.

80. Rymer Liriano, OF, San Diego Padres (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 56)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: The player we thought Cameron Maybin would be
  • Realistic Floor: The player Cameron Maybin is

The lost season hurt Liriano more than it would have hurt a more polished prospect, as he really needed the reps. However, the power/speed combo is still there in spades, and his injury should not have any lingering effect on either tool.

81. J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: Not Jimmy Rollins
  • Realistic Floor: Yunel Escobar with more speed and fewer bad life decisions

Crawford may show up as high risk here, but he’s on the shallower end of that pool because of his advanced approach and good probability to stick at shortstop. He may end up even better in OBP leagues.

82. Josh Bell, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 98)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: Domonic Brown, if you’re a believer
  • Realistic Floor: Matt Joyce

Coming off a lost season, Bell looks to reclaim the trajectory that was taking him toward the middle of the Pirates’ lineup. The $5 million man makes for a nice trade target before the real games start.

83. Joey Gallo, 3B, Texas Rangers (Age: 20, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $25-30
  • Risk Factor: Extreme
  • Fantasy Overview: Three-category contributor; impact potential in HR, RBI, R
  • Realistic Ceiling: Adam Dunn at third base with less OBP
  • Realistic Floor: Not a major leaguer

There’s so much swing-and-miss in Gallo’s game right now that it could provide enough wind power for the eastern half of the United States while he toils and hammers in Hickory and Myrtle Beach. Texas, you’re up next.

84. Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 18, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: Alex Gordon
  • Realistic Floor: The disappointing version of Austin Jackson

Everyone was happy and children were smiling until someone decided to drop a casual Mike Trout reference in regard to Meadows. Then a storm circled the village as the elders shouted, “There are no casual Mike Trout references!”

85. Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez, RHP, Texas Rangers (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in W
  • Realistic Ceiling: Our dream version of Ricky Nolasco
  • Realistic Floor: Kyle Lohse

The advanced right-hander should be on the fast track to making an impact in Texas, where his ability to keep the ball on the ground will help limit the damage of his surroundings.

86. Stephen Piscotty, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in AVG
  • Realistic Ceiling: A slightly lesser Allen Craig
  • Realistic Floor: Michael Brantley without the speed

Piscotty is exactly what you expect out of a Cardinals prospect these days. Somewhere deep in St. Louis, there is a tree that grows .300 hitters, but it’s too close to the shade for defensive value to sprout.

87. Jonathan Schoop, 2B/3B, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 73)

  • Potential Earnings: $10-15
  • Risk Factor: Low
  • Fantasy Overview: Three-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: The best of Neil Walker
  • Realistic Floor: A waiver-wire-dwelling third baseman

The Orioles have a Schoop-sized hole in their lineup at second base, which is awfully convenient for the honkbal enthusiast. Average pop should be there at the major-league level, but how much average and speed flank it will determine his value.

88. Raul A. Mondesi, SS, Kansas City Royals (Age: 18, Previous Rank: 76)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: A top-five fantasy shortstop
  • Realistic Floor: A good defender

We’re still a while away from finding out what the #SORBOR (Son of Raul, Brother of Raul) is from a fantasy perspective, but there are multiple roads to very good value embedded in his skill set.

89. A.J. Cole, RHP, Washington Nationals (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in K
  • Realistic Ceiling: A top-25 starting pitcher
  • Realistic Floor: The not-so-good Jeremy Hellickson

Cole took a nice step forward in 2013, as he finally made it through High-A without self-immolating and even saw success in Double-A. But if the breaking ball doesn’t improve, he’s just another guy.

90. Rafael Montero, RHP, New York Mets (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $10-15
  • Risk Factor: Low
  • Fantasy Overview: Two-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: Ricky Nolasco
  • Realistic Floor: A decent add for holds

The Mets continue to pump out pitcher after pitcher, and while Montero doesn’t have the upside of the better-known names in their system, he’ll likely be the first man up this season in case of injury.

91. Tyler Austin, OF, New York Yankees (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 58)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: A good no. 4 fantasy outfielder
  • Realistic Floor: A replacement-level outfielder in mixed leagues

The sheen certainly wore off of Austin’s prospect star this year, but he was banged up all season. Although the Yankees may be allergic to promoting from within, Austin will do his best to force their hand.

92. Lance McCullers, RHP, Houston Astros (Age: 20, Previous Rank: 100)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in K
  • Realistic Ceiling: A top-30 fantasy starter
  • Realistic Floor: A high-strikeout reliever

Every year McCullers goes without imploding, he gets closer and closer to being a starter long term, but at some point he’s going to have to show an average changeup or he’ll just be another big-armed reliever.

93. Justin Nicolino, LHP, Miami Marlins (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 85)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Three-category contributor; impact potential in WHIP
  • Realistic Ceiling: Cliff Lee (kidding!)
  • Realistic Floor: An up-and-down fifth starter

The margin for error with Nicolino is smaller than for almost anyone else on this list because he gets by on command and guile. Even with that said, his innate ability to locate could get him there.

94. Nick Williams, OF, Texas Rangers (Age: 20, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $25-30
  • Risk Factor: Extreme
  • Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: Not quite Adam Jones, but not far off
  • Realistic Floor: Tyler Colvin

Usually when a hitter strikes out 110 times against only 15 walks, it’s a sign that things are going terribly wrong—and while Williams did that, he also flashed tools that could make those numbers not matter much in fantasy.

95. Jorge Bonifacio, OF, Kansas City Royals (Age: 20, Previous Rank: 92)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: A top-25 fantasy outfielder
  • Realistic Floor: Delmon Young, the baseball player

The power hasn’t shown up in games yet, but this is still a player who could hit 25 homers at the major-league level. Injuries haven’t helped with that either, as his hamate bone injury in 2013 (combined with Wilmington’s power-suppressing ways) led to a depressed stat line.

96. Lewis Thorpe, LHP, Minnesota Twins (Age: 18, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $25-30
  • Risk Factor: Extreme
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in W, K, ERA, WHIP
  • Realistic Ceiling: The best Aussie pitcher ever
  • Realistic Floor: Josh Edgin

There are few propositions in baseball riskier than a short-season teenage arm, but Thorpe’s combination of advanced pitchability and very strong raw stuff gives him as much upside as anyone in the group.

97. Adalberto Mejia, LHP, San Francisco Giants (Age: 20, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Three-category contributor; impact potential in ERA
  • Realistic Ceiling: A top-40 fantasy starter
  • Realistic Floor: A decent streamer at AT&T Park

It’s unwise to overlook a left-handed starter who will be pitching half of his games in San Francisco, where right-handed hitters go to cry. He lacks top-shelf stuff, but the pitch menu is adequate.

98. Colin Moran, 3B, Miami Marlins (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: Dave Magadan with a little more pop
  • Realistic Floor: The guy we’re afraid Dustin Ackley is

History has given us reasons to be leery of projecting big batting averages out of excellent contact hitters from the college ranks, but Moran has enough pop to make it matter in the pros.

99. Blake Swihart, C, Boston Red Sox (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 96)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: Jonathan Lucroy
  • Realistic Floor: Welington Castillo without another step forward

The “Blake Swihart Line” is named that for a reason. Swihart doesn’t have the highest upside in the world, but still boasts enough to warrant owning—and his defense/makeup will go a long way toward his reaching a relatively high floor.

100. Alexander Reyes, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $25-30
  • Risk Factor: Extreme
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in W, K, ERA
  • Realistic Ceiling: The next Shelby Miller
  • Realistic Floor: A pre-international draft fun fact

Let’s be honest, what Reyes will be is still a mystery. But if he lives up to the quality of his raw stuff, he will return value—and that’s really all you can ask for.

101. Bubba Starling, OF, Kansas City Royals (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 51)

  • Potential Earnings: $25-30
  • Risk Factor: Extreme
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in HR, RBI, R, SB
  • Realistic Ceiling: A 25/25 outfielder, or better
  • Realistic Floor: Manager of a Kansas City McDonald’s

No, I am not trolling you. Starling still possesses intense fantasy upside and is not worth giving up on for that next new shiny thing at this point (unless said shiny thing ranks higher on this list).

Just Missed (in alphabetical order)

Matt Barnes, RHP, Boston Red Sox (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 40)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in W
  • Realistic Ceiling: A decent no. 3 fantasy starter
  • Realistic Floor: A name you don’t bring up in Boston

Jose Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: What the Twins hope Phil Hughes is
  • Realistic Floor: A fringy closer option

Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Los Angeles Angels (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 52)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: A 25-homer third baseman
  • Realistic Floor: Matt Dominguez lite

C.J. Cron, 1B, Los Angeles Angels (Age: 24, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: Mark Trumbo with less power
  • Realistic Floor: A Quadruple-A slugger

Hunter Dozier, 3B, Kansas City Royals (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: A poor man’s Ryan Zimmerman
  • Realistic Floor: A poor man’s Chris Johnson

Edwin Escobar, LHP, San Francisco Giants (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $10-15
  • Risk Factor: Low
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: Matt Harrison in AT&T park
  • Realistic Floor: Matt Harrison in Coors Field

Wilmer Flores, 3B/2B, New York Mets (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in AVG, HR, RBI
  • Realistic Ceiling: Brandon Phillips without the steals
  • Realistic Floor: A man without a defensive home

Rosell Herrera, SS/3B, Colorado Rockies (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: The guy we thought Trevor Story could be
  • Realistic Floor: Another Josh Rutledge

Pierce Johnson, RHP, Chicago Cubs (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: A strong no. 4 fantasy starter
  • Realistic Floor: A strong no. 6 fantasy starter

Casey Kelly, RHP, San Diego Padres (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 36)

  • Potential Earnings: $10-15
  • Risk Factor: Low
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: A good no. 4 fantasy starter
  • Realistic Floor: A streaming option when at home

Zach Lee, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: A good no. 4 fantasy starter
  • Realistic Floor: A fringe shallow-league starter

Jose Martinez, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: Extreme
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in K
  • Realistic Ceiling: A no. 2 fantasy starter
  • Realistic Floor: An erratic reliever with poor ratios

Kyle Parker, 1B/OF, Colorado Rockies (Age: 24, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in RBI
  • Realistic Ceiling: A 25-plus-home-run-hitting outfielder
  • Realistic Floor: Lucas Duda, complete with defensive hilarity

Joe Ross, RHP, San Diego Padres (Age: 20, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $20-25
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; impact potential in ERA
  • Realistic Ceiling: A strong no. 3 fantasy starter
  • Realistic Floor: A strong holds guy

Vincent Velasquez, RHP, Houston Astros (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: High
  • Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: A top-25 fantasy starter
  • Realistic Floor: The pitcher who’s never the best option on the waiver wire

Allen Webster, RHP, Boston Red Sox (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 78)

  • Potential Earnings: $15-20
  • Risk Factor: Medium
  • Fantasy Overview: Three-category contributor
  • Realistic Ceiling: A high-WHIP no. 4 starter
  • Realistic Floor: A strong strikeout reliever

Bret Sayre is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Bret's other articles. You can contact Bret by clicking here

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