March 24, 2015
2014 Graduated Prospects, Part 2: 26-50
Last week, I brought you the first installment in this series. This installment follows it, sequentially.
The disclaimer: Let’s take a look at all of the graduated prospects from Bret’s 2014 list, examine how they performed last year and what we can expect moving forward. For each player, I’ll simply render an “overvalued,” “properly valued” or “undervalued” verdict at the end of each writeup, based on current ADP (from FantasyPros.com) and to be used for the 2015 season only.
Jonathan Singleton, 1B, HOU (28)
Singleton’s rookie campaign was, to use a technical term, not good. The 23-year-old hit just .168/.285/.335 in 362 PA, hitting 13 homers but posting a 37.0 K% and showcasing a strange platoon split that saw him hit just .142 against right-handers. The big left-handed hitter has certainly had a turbulent professional career to this point, but it looks like the fantasy world in general has given up on him a bit too soon. Singleton will be a lost cause if he can’t improve his approach, but he’s unlikely to fall victim to a .238 BABIP again, he did walk frequently last year and he put on display the type of power that should let him hit 25-plus homers over a full season. Even if the breakout doesn’t come in 2015, Singleton has too much upside to be drafted 200 spots behind Ryan Howard. He’s a classic post-hype prospect, and he requires minimal investment.
ADP: 50 among 1B, 427 overall - undervalued
Carlos Martinez, SP, STL (29)
Once Shelby Miller was traded, Martinez looked like a near-lock to make the Cardinals rotation, joining the like of Adam Wainwright, John Lackey, Lance Lynn, and Michael Wacha. But with Jaime Garcia having a nice spring, it’s looking more and more like Martinez could wind up back in the bullpen, at least to start the year. C-Mart has long been a favorite of mine, and I still think he can be an explosive No. 3 SP in the long run. That being said, Martinez posted a 4.03 ERA (albeit with a 3.21 FIP) and a 9.3 BB% last season, and in an organization as pitching rich as St. Louis, you need to be better to prove you belong in the rotation. Nearly everyone in the Cards’ rotation has an injury history, so Martinez may get a chance, but that might not come in April. I can’t go all-in on him for 2015.
ADP: 80 among SP, 269 overall - moderately overvalued
Marcus Stroman, SP, TOR (30)
The baseball gods can be real assholes sometimes, as is the case with their decision to deprive us of a full season of Stroman in 2015 due to an ACL tear. He was a strong SP4 coming before the injury, and we just need to put him in stasis until next year. Look away, Nick Shlain.
ADP: N/A - will not play in 2015 (sadface)
Chris Owings, SS, ARI (31)
Owings had a so-so rookie campaign, hitting six homers and swiping eight steals in just 332 PA, but posting a .261/300/.406 line with a poor approach while missing a significant portion of the season with shoulder trouble. Owings looks like he can be a potential 15-homer, 15-steal shortstop with a respectable average in his prime, which is quite a valuable commodity. For 2015, however, Owings faces competition from Nick Ahmed (yes, really) and may end up bouncing between shortstop, second base and Triple-A. He’s a high-risk, moderate-reward proposition for the upcoming year, even if his long-term future is fairly bright.
ADP: 26 among SS, 335 overall - properly valued
Arismendy Alcantara, INF/OF, CHC (43)
Alcantara surprised with both his power and speed in 2014, hitting for more of the former while scuffling a bit in terms of the latter. The 23-year-old hit .205/.254/.367 in 300 PA, smashing 10 homers but swiping just eight bags. Alcantara struck out way too much and at a much higher clip than at any point in the minors, lending some credence to the notion that he wasn’t quite ready for the big leagues yet. At the same time, his .266 BABIP makes his bottom line look worse than it should’ve been, and he gained 2B and OF eligibility last year. He’s not going to be a savior in 2015, but he could be a nice MI option with enticing positional flexibility to boot. There’s also a chance he’s back in Triple-A by June, so proceed with cautious optimism.
ADP: 29 among 2B, 77 among OF, 319 overall - moderately undervalued
Rougned Odor, 2B, TEX (44)
For a 20-year-old with fewer than 300 plate appearances above the High-A level, what Odor did in 2014 in the majors is pretty remarkable. The second baseman with arguably the best name in baseball hit .259/.297/.402 with nine homers and four steals, solidifying second base in the absence of Ian Kinsler and (In)Jurickson Profar. Unfortunately, you don’t get extra points in fantasy for performing well for your age, and Odor finished as just the 25th best fantasy second baseman in the game last year. We can expect modest progression from Odor, sure, especially since Texas’ lineup figures to improve. But Odor is still several years from his prime, even though this will be his second year in the league.
ADP: 20 among 2B, 251 overall - overvalued
Kolten Wong, 2B, STL (49)
Another rookie second baseman who saw mixed success in his first year, Wong hit .249/.292/.388 (bad) but hit 12 homers and stole 20 bags (good) in 433 PA last year. Early-season struggles led to a demotion, but Wong proved a competent player over the long run and has room to improve if his .275 BABIP takes a step up. That being said, he’s being valued as a top-10 second baseman right now after finishing 15th last year, and I’m not sure I see that much improvement in his immediate future. I like Wong in the long run, but you can wait and grab a safer second baseman later.
ADP: 9 among 2B, 133 overall - overvalued