In the prospect world, we like to use the term helium for a player whose fictitious stock is rising fast, and perhaps no player in the minors had more helium this year than Dilson Herrera. His promotion to the majors serves as the culmination of an incredibly fast journey through three levels in the Mets system (and skipping over one).
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Checking in on the fantasy stocks of some intriguing minor leaguers.
When you’ve done rankings and mock drafts for two straight months, you kind of wonder… why would anyone write about anything else? Sure there are draft grades, but those aren’t nearly as applicable to fantasy.
Then it hits you like a ton of bricks. Something like a… a stock watch. No. Everyone does that. What if you just called it something else. Yes, now you’re cooking with gas. What about a Progress Report? Perfect.
We all have our own idea of what constitutes a good ERA, FIP, or xFIP, but it's important to make sure that our benchmarks keep up with the times.
While some of us have come to use plus-or-minus stats that adjust to league average to make our determinations on where a player lands within his ranks, it’s clear that many people still use the standard ERA to evaluate a pitcher or batting average to evaluate a hitter. There’s no issue with that, especially when those are the relevant categories in a fantasy league—but there’s something of a collective benchmark that we have for what determines a good, great, or elite ERA or batting average. Even more advanced stats like FIP or xFIP fall prey to this collective benchmark and to our failure to adjust for context.
Focusing on the pitching side of the equation, based on the era I grew up in a 3.00 ERA was/is my benchmark for whether someone is a good pitcher. There are shades of gray of course—a mediocre pitcher can have a fluky season—but everything revolves around that 3.00. A 3.30 was pretty good and a 3.50 was solid. A 4.00 was fit for a fifth starter/long-man type. Reality, of course, is a different story. We all know that we’re in a down offensive period in baseball, but I do wonder if enough of us have adjusted to what that means on the pitching side of the equation. This is an effort to show just how dramatically things have changed over the last few years, so that we can recalibrate what an elite or good pitcher is, and then use that as a new frame of reference.
After unveiling their prospect lists last week, Ben and Craig reveal those who just missed, plus dark horses, and surprising exclusions.
Last week, Craig and I each gave a breakdown of our top 50 dynasty prospects, doing our best Bret Sayre impressions as we looked for a cause to discuss where 2014 draftees should rank, how some recent injuries have impacted the dynasty landscape and more.
We have some of the reasoning behind our rankings in last week’s post, and we further discussed our feelings in last week’s episode of TINO, too. But there’s always more to talk about when it comes to rankings, and so Craig and I have decided to milk this subject for all it’s worth this week as well.
Craig doesn't like being wrong, but he doesn't mind owning up to it about the Pirates outfielder.
This won’t come as a surprise to most anyone, but I thoroughly enjoy being correct. My default form of conversation is argument/debate, and I’ll generally play devil’s advocate even if I agree with someone, as a means to ferret out why I agree, or why that point is worth making. Basically, if I’m talking to you or at you, it’s because I have a vested interest in making a point that I want you to agree with. I’m a terrible person.
What sucks (for me) is I’m wrong a lot. I don’t think the percentage is particularly egregious, but as with anyone who puts their opinions on record, those opinions are going to be wrong with some regularity. I’ve accepted that as a part of life, but it’s still hard to swallow. I often think my reasons at the time were justified, and that just because it didn’t break my way, doesn’t mean I was wrong, just that it turned out differently. This is hiding behind “the process.” I was wrong, and good reasoning at the time or not, that needs to be owned. I was wrong about Starling Marte.
The DD duo unveils its current prospect rankings and takes a few jabs at each other about them.
When Bret isn’t busy ruining our lives by creating the Bat Signal, he’s busy ranking things. Like, everything. I mean, look at this.
meme courtesy of @EricNeville
He actually made that ranking. It stunk.
Anyway, the Appels didn’t fall far from the tree (name humor) in this family, and sometimes we get the urge to rank things ourselves. Okay, fine, Ben gets the urge and I get a nervous breakdown. Nonetheless, what follows is at top 50 fantasy prospect ranking from each of us, and then an ensuing squabble about who did what wrong.
The Padres promote a player who has plenty of upside but could struggle early on.
The Situation: The Padres announced on Monday that they were calling up outfield prospect Rymer Liriano, who checked in at no. 5 on our offseason Padres’ Top 10. To make room for Liriano, San Diego designated folk hero and professionally handsome man Jeff Francouer for assignment.
The Rays righty is back on the mound, but is he ready to help you in fantasy leagues?
Stop getting excited about Jeremy Hellickson. All four of you. If we haven’t learned that we shouldn’t judge anything based off of four starts or 20-plus innings, we sure as hell should have. So let’s not declare him “back to the old Hellickson,” or make any other bold proclamations here. Let’s just take a look at what he’s done over 20 brief innings, and see if he’s doing anything different. If he is, perhaps you can get in on the ground floor of his value, after a rough 2013.
With his strikeout and walk rates in the same vicinity of his career totals, let’s start with his velocity, per Brooks Baseball: