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May 6, 2014

Dynasty Dynamics

AL East U25 Lists

by Ben Carsley and Craig Goldstein

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To read the earlier editions in this series, click below:

For this exercise, we're each going to rank our top-30 U25 fantasy players by division before we collaborate on a top-150 list once this portion of the project is complete. For each division, we'll give you our individual rankings and then discuss any major discrepancies in our rankings, talk about some sleepers we wanted to rank higher and take cheap shots at each other along the way. It will be like the TINO podcast, but for your eyes, complete with an imaginary Bret Sayre breaking up our fights.

Just like with the preseason organizational top prospect lists, players will have to be born after April 1, 1988, to qualify, and just like with the preseason lists, there is of course an element of subjectivity that comes with these rankings. But unlike the preseason lists, these rankings are all about fantasy.

Ben's Rankings

Craig's Rankings

1. Manny Machado, 3B, BAL

1. Xander Bogaerts, SS, BOS

2. Xander Bogaerts, SS, BOS

2. Manny Machado, 3B, BAL

3. Wil Myers, OF, TB

3. Wil Myers, OF, TB

4. Masahiro Tanaka, SP, NYY

4. Masahiro Tanaka, SP, NYY

5. Kevin Gausman, SP, BAL

5. Kevin Gausman, SP, BAL

6. Dylan Bundy, SP, BAL

6. Dylan Bundy, SP, BAL

7. Chris Tillman, SP, BAL

7. Chris Archer, SP, TB

8. Matt Moore, SP, TB

8. Chris Tillman, SP, BAL

9. Marcus Stroman, SP, TOR

9. Marcus Stroman, SP, TOR

10. Brett Lawrie, 3B, TOR

10. Matt Moore, SP, TB

11. Will Middlebrooks, 3B, BOS

11. Will Middlebrooks, 3B, BOS

12. Chris Archer, SP, TB

12. Jonathan Schoop, 2B/3B, BAL

13. Garin Cecchini, 3B, BOS

13. Brett Lawrie, 3B, TOR

14. Mookie Betts, 2B, BOS

14. Blake Swihart, C, BOS

15. Aaron Sanchez, SP, TOR

15. Michael Pineda, SP, NYY

16. Jonathan Schoop, 2B/3B, BAL

16. Aaron Sanchez, SP, TOR

17. Jackie Bradley Jr., OF, BOS

17. Mookie Betts, 2B, BOS

18. Michael Pineda, SP, NYY

18. Hunter Harvey, SP, BAL

19. Hunter Harvey, SP, BAL

19. Garin Cecchini, 3B, BOS

20. Henry Owens, SP, BOS

20. Henry Owens, SP, BOS

21. Blake Swihart, C, BOS

21. Jackie Bradley, Jr., OF, BOS

22. Gary Sanchez, C, NYY

22. Jake Odorizzi, SP, TB

23. Drew Hutchison, SP, TOR

23. Eduardo Rodriguez, SP, BAL

24. Matt Barnes, SP, BOS

24. Gary Sanchez, C, NYY

25. Eduardo Rodriguez, SP, BAL

25. Drew Hutchison, SP, TOR

26. Jake Odorizzi, SP, TB

26. Mason Williams, OF, NYY

27. Mason Williams, OF, NYY

27. Matt Barnes, SP, BOS

28. Rubby De La Rosa, P, BOS

28. Alberto Tirado, SP, TOR

29. Allen Webster, SP, BOS

29. Aaron Judge, OF, NYY

30. Alberto Tirado, SP, TOR

30. Enny Romero, SP, TB

Disagreement One: Chris Archer

Craig’s Take: This seems absurdly high on Archer even for me, but there’s a distinct drop-off after the first set of names in this division, and not knowing what else to do, I panicked and went with upside. Archer had a beautiful first two starts to the season, which he followed up by sucking out loud ever since. He’s also not as young as he seems to be, already at 25. Still, I think he’s somewhat raw, and he underuses his changeup to the point that if he can learn to trust it, there’s another breakout coming. He’s got the tools to be a potential number two starter, and he’s in the majors right now. That gives him a little more ceiling than Tillman with a little more now value than Stroman (who is in the bullpen/less track record), hence his placement here. It really is a toss up between those guys to me, but I do believe Archer has another jump left in him, even though I must acknowledge I’m not entirely confident he makes it.

Ben’s Take: I struggled with where to rank Archer myself, and while I think No. 7 is as high as you can feasibly rank him, I get why the temptation to put him there exists. But while Archer has no. 2 starter upside, I’m not convinced the command profile ever comes around to the point where he reaches that ceiling, or at least not to the point where he reaches the ceiling often enough to be a true no. 2. I love the swing-and-miss potential and the athleticism, but Archer can lose his delivery point at a moment’s notice, and the control issues that led many to believe he’d be a reliever still rear their ugly heads a bit too often for my taste. Archer may very well make me look silly one or two years in his prime, but overall, I think he breaks more fantasy hearts than he wins championships. That being said, I don’t have any great confidence in a few of the names I listed above him either.

Craig’s Take: Yup. This is less about Archer than it is the names behind him for me (ahead of him for you). Those just aren’t difference makers in my eyes, or even have the potential to be a difference maker with the exception of Stroman, and he carries plenty of risk for other reasons. I opt for the potential impact guy who, even if he fails, can still provide value in those cases.

Ben’s Take: That’s fair, I just don’t think Archer’s upside is so great that it outweighs Tillman’s production and I really like Stroman. You can talk me into ranking Archer ahead of Lawrie or Middlebrooks pretty easily, but I still think Lawrie is going to have a streak of successful fantasy seasons and I still think there’s a small chance that Middlebrooks becomes something like the AL’s version of Pedro Alvarez. My god that last sentence is depressing.

Craig’s Take: I think the streaks on Lawrie’s underwear will be longer than any streak of successful seasons he has.

Ben’s Take: #asspamphlet

Imaginary Bret: I’m not going to search for that hashtag at work.

Disagreement Two: Garin Cecchini

Ben’s Take: This is going to be more a diatribe against the general anti-Cecchini crowd than it is Craig’s ranking in general. With that disclaimer out of the way, people are way too focused on Cecchini’s lack of power and not focused enough on his ability to contribute modestly in the other four—yes, four—categories. Cecchini is going to reach base all the time (think .360-plus most years, .400 in his best years) and could easily become Boston’s No. 2 hitter of the future. Yes, I wish he had 20-homer pop, but if he hits .285 with 10 homers, 90 runs scored, 75 RBI, and 10 steals, are you really going to care? Maybe Cecchini won’t be a top-five third baseman in non-OBP leagues, but I think he will be a top-12 option for a long time. Plus, he’s only 23, and while his swing isn’t geared to generate a ton of loft I’m not going to rule out his ability to settle for 15-plus bombs a year during his peak.

Craig’s Take: I’m not against those potential outcomes so much, but I don’t love to factor in runs/RBI too much as part of a future valuation. Certainly they matter on some level, but there’s just as good a chance that Cecchini is traded as there is that he’s in Boston, which could absolutely impact the runs/RBI portion of your argument. If those two categories are more league-average than they are above-average for Cecchini, he just isn’t that valuable. He walks a tough line where I think he’s going to be underrated when he can accrue the context-dependent stats and overrated when he can’t. Sort of like Matt Carpenter? That being the case, I prefer the pure upside or now-value of the guys I put ahead of him, though I admit I’ll likely look dumb in some seasons and smart in others.

Ben’s Take: Without getting into a huge contextual argument, I’ll say that Cecchini is in Triple-A and raking: I don’t think there’s as good a chance as he gets traded as he’s in Boston, but that has more to do with how I read the Sox’ depth chart than it does with Cecchini himself. But unless he goes to a truly horrible offense, I don’t think the R/RBI totals will fall all that much, because I think he has a top-of-the-order profile no matter where he plays. A more valid concern has him moving to the OF or 1B, which would obviously hurt his value, and that’s the biggest reason I didn’t rank him even higher.

Craig’s Take: That’s fair re: the Red Sox’ plan with him, as you’re closer to Boston than I am, but if he does stay in Boston I think those position changes are more present than if he gets traded, so it’s basically six of one, half-dozen of the other in terms of potential damage to his value in that sense.

Ben’s Take: I would prefer to never hear or witness you use the term “position changes” in any context ever again.

Craig’s Take: I guess I won’t tell you about my weekend then.

Imaginary Bret: I’m going to be fired for hiring you two, aren’t I?

Craig’s One Player He Wanted to Rank Higher: Manuel Margot, OF, BOS
I really love Margot. I had him in my “Prospect Who Could Jump” that was in the BP Futures Guide, and think he’s got a good shot at being a top 101 fantasy prospect next year, but I just couldn’t find a spot for him here. He’s young and a long ways off in terms of both development and distance to the majors, which impacts his standing on a list like this. That said, I really like him as an asset in dynasty leagues thanks to his top-of-the-order profile, and think he takes a sizeable jump in value from where people currently have him.

Ben’s One Player He Wanted to Rank Higher: Manny Banuelos, LHP, Yankees
Remember Banuelos? During a happier time for the Yankees farm system, he was considered the best pitching prospect in the organization, performing well in Double-A in 2011 and looking primed for a late 2012/early 2013 call to the majors, where he profiled as a mid-rotation starter. Then came an arm injury, an arguably botched attempt at recovery and finally Tommy John surgery, which deprived Banuelos of the better part of two years on the mound. Still just 23, Banuelos is now making his way back through the minors, sitting at Double-A and attempting to rebound from his surgery. It’s too early to be completely optimistic, but reports suggest that Banuelos’ stuff is mostly back, even if his control suffers. This division was really tough to rank because of the huge collection of unproven talent, and so I briefly considered sneaking Banuelos in at no. 30. I couldn’t justify it in the end, but he’s a nice rebound candidate for dynasty leaguers to keep their eyes on regardless.

Craig, say something nice about Ben: He’s got a quality hashtag game. I respect his hatred of the various spellings of “Jared.” His mispronunciations are a highlight of my week.

Ben, say something nice about Craig: He’s making time for me on Friday night so that The People are not deprived of my voice. I occasionally enjoy his rants when they are not directed at me.

Ben Carsley is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ben's other articles. You can contact Ben by clicking here
Craig Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Craig's other articles. You can contact Craig by clicking here

26 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Ballparkjack22

Would you rather have Corey Seager or Garin Cecchini in a 12-team dynasty league where the stats are R, HR, OBP, and SLG?

Thanks!

May 06, 2014 06:30 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

In an OBP league, give me Cecchini.

May 06, 2014 06:48 AM
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

I'll agree with the slight caveat that if Seager somehow stays at short, that changes things. If they're both 3B, Cecchini gets a slight edge for me.

May 06, 2014 06:53 AM
 
natedogg34

Ben has Mookie higher than Schoop, and Craig vice versa. Care to comment on the differences? Thanks.

May 06, 2014 06:49 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Here's my side: Schoop is in the majors right now, and I think he'll be a 20 HR threat from 2B. The averages won't be great but shouldn't hurt you either. Mookie is on a f***ing tear right now (expletives are necessary), but he's still only had a month in Double-A under his belt. I like Mookie a ton and if they were both MLB ready, I might prefer Mookie's skill set, but that's not the case right now.

May 06, 2014 06:55 AM
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

I'm not in love with Schoop and while I think the Betts hype is getting out of hand, he can really hit and I have my doubts that Schoop can. Schoop has more power, but if Betts out-produces him in every other category by a very wide margin, I won't be surprised.

May 06, 2014 07:10 AM
 
jjackhammers

Do you think Machado will move to short in the next few years?

May 06, 2014 09:08 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

I do not. Two years away from the position plus a knee injury make it seem unlikely to me. It was not part of my valuation.

May 06, 2014 09:11 AM
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

I don't either, no.

May 06, 2014 11:28 AM
 
oldbopper

I seem to remember a Red Sox 3rd baseman, of fairly recent vintage, who only hit over 11 HR's once in his career yet made it the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. I find it unusual that all the sharp minds here do not compare Cecchini to Boggs more often.

May 06, 2014 10:02 AM
rating: -2
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Comparing prospects to Hall of Famers is a good way to be wrong, often.

May 06, 2014 10:07 AM
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

I don't throw HoF comps on prospects as a general rule.

May 06, 2014 11:28 AM
 
Sharky

Why no Hutchison for Craig? Injury history? He seems a reasonably high ceiling guy.

May 06, 2014 10:39 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

He's never thrown 150 IP in a season, his previous K% was 19% (solid but not special) and he's already blown out once. Maybe he should be in the back 5 but he looks more like a #4 starter than anything, and comes with durability concerns on top of it. Just doesn't do it for me.

May 06, 2014 10:42 AM
 
NightmareRec0n

I also think we have to slap the injury prone tag on Brett Lawrie with how he plays

May 06, 2014 12:54 PM
rating: 0
 
jfranco77

Also quite a big disagreement on Swihart. Is this just #CraigLovesCatchers or something else?

May 06, 2014 11:00 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

I don't think it's as big as it seems. Swihart tops my Red Sox prospects but they're all bunched fairly close together. Would guess Ben just has em in a different order and would think they're fairly close as well.

May 06, 2014 11:24 AM
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

I think Swihart is in a different tier than Cecchini/Betts/Owens. Swihart is more of a back-end fantasy starter than an amazing fantasy talent to me. He's a better MLB prospect.

May 06, 2014 11:30 AM
 
oldbopper

I hope I am experienced enough to not claim that Cecchini is going to be Boggs but as the old saying goes, "History doesn't necessarily repeat itself but it often rhymes." The similarities are remarkable. The approach at the plate, the very high OBP, the lack of elite power at a power position and, very interestingly, the scouts negative evaluation of both players. Boggs was held at Double-A for 2 years and, again, kept at Pawtucket for 2 years, all the while putting up OBP's never lower than .396. He was slow, he didn't hit for power, he couldn't field, as if the scouts had a vendetta against him. I still like the eye test and Cecchini passes it and, as a very long time Red Sox fan, I would like to see him at 3rd even if he is only Boggs Lite and use Middlebrooks, Betts and a pitcher to try for Stanton. Maybe wishful thinking.

May 06, 2014 11:22 AM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Scouting stats to make comps to HoFers just seems dangerous to me. Obviously you're more comfortable with it, which is fine but I'm not willing to take the same risk.

Betts/WMB/Pitcher is not going to be enough for Stanton. Any potential package for Stanton to Boston would have to include Bogaerts. They're not going to take some quantity approach. They're going to want impact talent, potential superstar talent.

May 06, 2014 11:26 AM
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

Agreed. The Red Sox aren't going to trade Bogaerts, so I don't see a matchup with the Marlins.

May 06, 2014 11:30 AM
 
NightmareRec0n

I don't understand ranking Archer behind Matt Moore at this point. Matt Moore's stuff has been declining and he has no idea where the fastball is going and is injuried. Unless you seem to think the injury has been building to cause those issues, he is seemingly on the Jonathan Sanchez career path.

I am curious about Lawrie and Middlebrooks. When you have Cecchini where you do, you seemingly admit, Middlebrooks isn't sticking at 3rd? And does a .250 25-30 home run hitter that doesn't walk have a ton of value at 1st?

Lawrie can probably stick at 3rd, but if he is a true talent .260 20/10 guy,is that that really that valuable?

May 06, 2014 12:45 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

These are dynasty rankings, and I still think Matt Moore will have a better career than Archer. Let's not pretend control is Archer's ally, either.

The WMB and Cecchini rankings are separate entities. I can't project for contextual factors this far out, but I trust the Red Sox to be smarter with their resources than to put WMB at first and Cecchini at third, which hurts the defense and gives two players poor profiles.

Yes, a third baseman who hits .260 with 20 homers and 10 steals is indeed valuable.

May 06, 2014 12:55 PM
 
oldbopper

Thank you for commenting. You guys are great and my daily dose of BP is very stimulating. After all, what is better than good debate over baseball? Middlebrooks is at the center of this discussion in many ways. Do you see something that I don't? The more I watch and I watch every game, often in person, I am seeing less and less to like in his game. Ben's comment about him becoming an AL version of Pedro Alvarez was classic. I see the all the K's, the miniscule OBP but I don't see the 36 HR's. You mention that the Sox might trade Cecchini, of course that is possible, but, as WMB looks more and more like Andy Marte, the Red Sox fan in me says that he is the one to shuffle off to anywhere and put Cecchini at 3rd.

May 06, 2014 13:23 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

I'm not sure either of us are trying to see something you're not. He's a low average potentially high source for power. There are streaks where he'll be awful and streaks where he'll be amazing (similar to Alvarez). He doesn't quite have Alvarez's power but I don't think Ben meant it as a pure comp, as opposed to that type of profile.

My comment regarding Cecchini possibly being traded was just that, a possibility. I still contend that it is one, though I would absolutely acknowledge WMB going somewhere as a possibility as well. I don't think either of us were trying to predict the future Red Sox 3B, so much as provide possibilities. That's why they both get analyzed as 3B.

May 06, 2014 13:28 PM
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

I think we see the same thing with WMB in terms of strikeouts, but I think his power is somewhat undersold. It would not shock me to see him reach 30 homers some day, and while it feels like we've been talking about him forever, he's still just 25. I'm not throwing in the towel just yet.

I agree with you that a Cecchini at 3B/WMB at 1B future for the Red Sox is unlikely. WMB's bat doesn't profile there, and I think he'd just be traded if Boston decides Cecchini is the future at the hot corner. He's also a good defensive 3B, so someone will bite even if the return isn't huge.

May 06, 2014 13:31 PM
 
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