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May 13, 2014

Dynasty Dynamics

The U25 Top 150, Part One

by Ben Carsley and Craig Goldstein

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We’ve done it, Internet. We’ve compiled a Big List of Players just for you.

Craig and I have spent the past six weeks breaking down each division, forming individual top-30 U25 dynasty rankings and comparing those lists with some witty (read: tired) commentary in each installment. We’ve also been debating each list on TINO, with the help of Dear Leader Bret Sayre and Mauricio Rubio, and have fielded many questions and concerns on Twitter and via the comments section, too.

Now, Craig and I have combined forces to form a collaborative top-150 list meant to give dynasty leaguers a concrete view of where we think each player’s value lies at this point in time. This is a great exercise because it forced Craig and I to defend players we love and form cogent arguments (a new experience, to be sure) against players we dislike, and I know I’ve personally changed my evaluations of a few prospects and post-prospects through this process.

That being said, we’re still going to provide you with a few tidbits of our own personal feelings about these rankings, and we strongly encourage you to ask us questions in the comments below. We still disagree on some of these players, but overall I think we’ve come to a happy, reasonable consensus.

As always, 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.

Dynasty U25 Top 150 Rankings, No. 101-150

Also Considered: Miguel Almonte (SP, KC), Henderson Alvarez (SP, MIA), Tyler Austin (OF, NYY), Jesse Biddle (SP, PHI), Jorge Bonifacio (OF, KC), Lewis Brinson (OF, TEX), Tyler Chatwood (SP, COL), J.P. Crawford (SS, PHI), D.J. Davis (OF, TOR), Avisail Garcia (OF, CHW), Alen Hanson (INF, PIT), Zack Lee (SP, LAD), Ryan McMahon (3B, COL), Rafael Montero (SP, NYM), Jake Odorizzi (SP, TB), Jarrod Parker (SP, OAK), D.J. Peterson (3B, SEA), Rick Porcello (SP, DET), Eduardo Rodriguez (SP, BAL), Luis Sardinas (SS, TEX), Dan Straily (SP, OAK), Vincent Velasquez (SP, HOU), Allen Webster (SP, BOS), Mason Williams (OF, NYY), Nick Williams (OF, TEX)

Ranking Ben Feels Best About: Brad Miller
I don’t think Brad MIller is a very good baseballer and I am happy we ranked him as such. I still think Nick Franklin has the better fantasy career. Craig, to his credit, did not fight me on this.

Ranking Craig Feels Best About: Danny Duffy
I love this ranking because Ben didn’t want him on the list and I made it happen anyway. He’s got his flaws—WHIP is going to be an issue—but the strikeouts will matter, and while he might only be a no. 4 fantasy starter, he’s that right now, with a little room to grow (if not the probability that he will).

Ranking Ben Feels Worst About: Michael Pineda
If he stays healthy, he’s going to make us look really dumb for this ranking. If he doesn’t—which is where the safe money lies—we might be dumb for even putting him this high. Guys like Pineda are among the toughest to rank from a fantasy POV, so all we can really do is hedge our bets. I also loathe putting Danny Duffy on this list, but you can’t win ‘em all.

Ranking Craig Feels Worst About: Kolten Wong
I’ve never been a believer, and while I know he can hit, I think it’s ultimately an empty average with a few stolen bases thrown in. I think his best-case scenario is a back-end top-10 second-sacker, and while that’s useful, I don’t value it much in a list like this.

Ben’s Toughest Omission: Nick Williams
Williams was on this list, but then we were all like, “zomg, we totally forgot Billy Hamilton.” Sure, Williams may lack some degree of baseball awareness (or any awareness in general) but I’m a true believe in his easy plus hit tool, and I think there’s more power here than people realize. He could be a very fast riser up lists like this next year.

Craig’s Toughest Omission: Nomar Mazara
The case just isn’t there to be made, considering he’s a level below Williams and not producing a ton at the moment, but I do believe Mazara has the best blend of power and hit tools of the Hickory/Myrtle outfielders. It was tough to leave him off this list but distance from the majors and a lack of overwhelming production made it unavoidable.

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

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

BP Comment Quick Links

Silverback38

Derek Norris has convinced you both that he has figured out both side pitching and will push Jaso off the platoon to be ranked that high in dynast league?

May 13, 2014 03:35 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

Craig is higher on Norris than I am, but I can buy the argument for his upside.

May 13, 2014 06:09 AM
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Yes, he's convinced me, a man who needed little convincing. I don't think his success in a small sample size is the argument so much as I've always believed in his true talent. He's not going to hit this well against same-side pitching all year, but I don't think he needs to to be a productive catcher.

Additionally, I don't think grouping him with Mesoraco or Ozuna is overly high praise.

May 13, 2014 06:17 AM
 
cordially
(917)

I'm guessing Eovaldi at 141 is a typo, no?

May 13, 2014 06:00 AM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

Nope!

May 13, 2014 06:09 AM
 
toanstrom

Curious when this list was put together. Maybe it's just small sample size but it seems like both Porcello and Eovaldi have turned a corner this year and could rank much higher than they do here.

May 13, 2014 06:01 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

The list was finalized yesterday. Keep in mind this is just the opinion of two men, but I think the general feeling is that six weeks of solid performance doesn't completely change our eval or Porcello or Eovaldi. I still think they're both No. 4 MLB starters in the long run, though I acknowledge Eovaldi has a tick more upside than that.

May 13, 2014 06:11 AM
 
NightmareRec0n

The problem with having Eovaldi there is having Foltynewicz right behind him. Foltynewicz reminds me of Eovaldi, plus-plus fastball and medicore breaking ball. But Eovaldi is doing it this season and has taken a huge step forward in command, getting first pitch strikes and pounding the zone with exceptional mechanics, that keep his starting job safe. If Eovaldi develops his change-up a tad more, we are talking borderline 2-3 stuff.

I'd also put Wisler ahead of Fried. I agree that Fried has a higher ceiling, but Wisler is sailing through the minors and should be contributing to the Padres very soon, but Fried is dealing with injury and is still at least a year away.

May 13, 2014 10:13 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Yes placing a prospect who profiles extremely similarly to a player right behind him (when said prospect is at Triple-A) is certainly problematic.

The question remains as to whether Eovaldi's command, nee, success (at this level) is sustainable. If Eovaldi develops his changeup is an open question and one that we have no real inroads to. So too, if he develops a changeup would Folty's ceiling improve.

You say "a tad more" when it comes to the changeup, a pitch he's using 3% of the time. He's going to need it to be better, and to actually use it to be a 2/3 for any extended period. I'm hopeful that he continues his run of success, but this ranking wasn't based on 8 starts in 2014. It includes his prior history.

May 13, 2014 10:22 AM
 
NightmareRec0n

I mean your points are valid. But, the major concern is that Folty ends up in the bullpen because his control still isn't there.

Eovaldi's sample size may be small, but he is throwing 65.4% First strikes and is throwing 60.3% of his pitches in the strikezone, the highest in baseball. These things stabilize quite quickly. So, the control is better and the command has looked good so far. I heard he was working on the change-up in spring training, but I agree, we need to see it more. I mean you have Wily Peralta up at 111, and how is he different than Eovaldi? A slightly better GB-rate in a hitters park?

May 13, 2014 11:32 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

If Folty winds up in the pen he's likely a very valuable closer, which is part of his valuation as well. I actually like him more as a closer than I do as a starter.

As for Peralta, his GB% is far more "real" to me than Eovaldi's which is 11% higher than his previous career high. Understanding that some stats stabilize quickly, unless there is something that has changed in his repertoire or otherwise, I'm not assuming that Eovaldi is just magically striking out two more batters per nine innings.

Peralta's breakout I can justify because he started using the slider more often last year, and increased his strikeout rate in the second half of last season, and has thus far kept it up.

There's also the chance that difference between those two rankings is overstated based on the numbers. 111 and 141 just aren't that far apart.

May 13, 2014 11:37 AM
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Porcello is striking out 5.8 batters per nine innings and is back to throwing his slider which has hurt him routinely over the years. If he had stuck with his changeup as he started to do last year, I might be willing to buy, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

As for Eovaldi - I've been high on him ever since he was an 11th round pick for the Dodgers, but he is currently fastball/slider and the slider is above-average but not quite plus. His strikeouts per nine are up about two over last season, and I don't think that's sustainable without the presence of a third pitch or the sharpening of command on his slider. If he does do either of those things though, the improvement should be for real. Added consideration: he was an 11th round pick because he underwent Tommy John in high school. TJ generally has a 5-year honeymoon period, but after that the risk returns. That being the case, if Eovaldi has to undergo another surgery, it would be his second and thus more risky. It's not high level concern, but it's not getting ignored either.

May 13, 2014 06:26 AM
 
ihatethehokies

No Kris Bryant?

May 13, 2014 06:07 AM
rating: -3
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

There are 100 players left to rank.

May 13, 2014 06:10 AM
 
Sharky

How do you go about comparing (for ranking purposes) guys like Tim Anderson, Raimel Tapia, etc to guys in the majors or in high minors? What are the key criteria in evaluating long-term upside vs present or near-term "actual" value?

May 13, 2014 06:25 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

This is a really good question. There's no real one answer, but I can tell you that at several points during our collaboration, Craig and I would ask each other, "really, you would trade player x for player y straight up?" whenever we had trouble with a ranking.

As a very generalized pecking order, I tend to look at it this way:

Star MLB player
Good MLB player
Star prospect
Average MLB player
Good prospect
Average prospect w/ upside
Fringe MLB player
Average prospect w/high floor

May 13, 2014 06:29 AM
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

I would add to this: replacement level. This comes into play with pitchers a lot, because there are (or were) so many of them. If we're talking about a Rafael Montero - a guy I like to be somewhat valuable in fantasy formats - the issue with assessing his value comes down to "how many other guys also have this value?" I think this plays into the Eovaldi/Porcello mix too. It's not that their production isn't worthwhile, but it's also generally out there and attainable.

May 13, 2014 06:31 AM
 
ChicagoOriole

Is Hunter Harvey behind Schoop only because he won't be in the majors for some time, while Schoop is now? I know that Harvey's ceiling is considered higher than Schoop's by just about everyone.

May 13, 2014 06:34 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

Yep. Decent MI in the majors gonna get the nod over a power arm in the low minors almost every time.

May 13, 2014 06:35 AM
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Yes, that's a large percentage of it. Ceiling is important but so is probability and long term value. We have a better sense of what Schoop's is now that he's in the majors and playing a position of relative scarcity, in second base.

Harvey has two phenomenal pitches and is developing a third. How far that changeup comes will play a large role in him reaching his real life and fantasy ceiling, but he already suffers in terms of value in fantasy in that he's a pitcher, which in general are more replaceable.

So yes, timevalue matters right now. Harvey could have any number of things happen in his development but we're likely looking at 3 years away at least. While his ceiling rightfully makes him part of the discussion, 3 years of non-production is a lot, and Schoop should provide above-average power at a position without much.

May 13, 2014 06:37 AM
 
Silverback38

How does the 150 list get built? Is it the average of two respective lists followed by debating the results of particular players? Or did you discuss every single player and their ranking from top to bottom?

May 13, 2014 08:13 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

We thought there would be too many ties if we went with two respective lists averaged, so we went straight down the line. It took a while. We argued about Danny Duffy for 40 minutes.

May 13, 2014 08:14 AM
 
Nojsztat

Thanks, guys. Which minor leaguers are moving, either up or down, in your minds and your lists as the season is progressing?

May 13, 2014 08:16 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

We will likely handle this type of thing closer to mid-season, as that allows for a little more time before making judgments. Most movement at this point is likely based on opportunity (i.e. Wilmer Flores receiving playing time).

May 13, 2014 08:36 AM
 
Silverback38

What are the rankings of the following players based on in regards to their movements up/down the preseason rankings? In Sayre's Top 101 article it was ranked…Raimel Tapia…..Tim Anderson…..Joey Gallo. Did you not agree with those rankings at the time or has the players performed better/worse already to change your prospective outlook of them?

May 13, 2014 10:21 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

Craig and I are responsible for this list, and while we respect Bret we don't agree with every one of his evaluations. Bret's pre-season evals weren't used at all for this series.

Personally, I was never as high on Tapia or Anderson and have always been high on Gallo. I'll let Craig speak for himself.

May 13, 2014 10:23 AM
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Ben got most of it. I actually argued for Anderson lower than this, and while I like Tapia I'm not sure he moves quickly, which might matter to me more than it does Bret. I don't know that I'm lower on Gallo than others so much as I am more concerned about the level of risk involved. That said, after viewing him recently, the strides he's made are very real. I'm still not sold that there's not an abnormal amount of risk involved, but it's lower than I thought heading into the season.

Also, the difference between Anderson and Tapia at this stage - just numbers wise - is very small. You're talking about a difference of 11 spots, and that far down, 11 spots is just a marginal preference.

May 13, 2014 10:28 AM
 
Michael Bodell
(89)

I'm a little surprised Anthony Gose didn't make the list or even the also considered. He's 23, and his speed is likely to play even bigger in fantasy than in real life. He's in the majors now (although could be headed back to AAA), but he essentially has a short timeline. I guess he'd be more valuable if your fantasy league has CF instead of just OF as a position.

May 28, 2014 01:58 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

I am as big a supporter of Gose as there is, but he has to actually show he can hit or get on base enough to use his speed. That bar is extremely low, but he's yet to clear it. He was also not in the majors when this list was formulated.

May 28, 2014 05:26 AM
 
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