Welcome to the inaugural edition of this column. I gotta warn you, it’s going to be a lot of pro-forma housekeeping and outline-laying today, and that kind of thing gets boring in a hurry. But bear with me, because I’m excited about what I think this series will offer. The goal here is going to be for this column to serve as something of a bridge between our scouting and fantasy departments, in part because that’s kind of what I’ve been for a few years now. The cool thing—one of the cool things, anyway—about writing at Baseball Prospectus, is that we have both of these departments, and they’re both robustly staffed to the gills with really smart baseball analysts.
This affords us the ability to provide a unique angle to our fantasy coverage, where we have the opportunity to infuse our dynasty-league content with real, actual, in-person accounts from our own in-house evaluators (and the professional evaluators they talk about prospects with). It’s an opportunity for us to make prospects more than just the numbers they produce and their age-to-level status, ideally in a way that is helpful for dynasty leaguers looking for a leg up on their league mates.
This column will aim to get a little deeper about what makes good fantasy prospects, well, good fantasy prospects. Each week I’ll be turning my attention to a different skill, tool, or other feat of strength and precision. And I’ll use that theme as a backdrop to talk about interesting guys who either are developing really well in that area on the one hand, or maybe showing some signs of stagnation or deficit on the other. One week we might talk about hitters with notable wrist strength, or pitchers who are really smooth and athletic-like through their early rock and kick, or Low-A hitters who show advanced ability to make in-swing adjustments. We might even dabble in how to insult Craig on Slack without him understanding that he’s being insulted. No skill will be too obscure to discuss, for we are here to serve.
But whatever the week’s theme, I’ll talk about what scouts look for in evaluating the components of that particular tool or skill. And I’ll bring in thoughts and notes and video and analysis from members of the prospect team to help me do it. Hopefully on that level this space might even hold mild-to-moderate intrigue for readers who dig on prospects but don’t play fantasy baseball.
For those of us who do, however, we’re going to have some fun. Similar to my “Ocean Floor” columns in the offseason, this series is going to be geared toward deeper dynasty leagues, where somewhere north of 150 prospects are rostered.
Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be ignoring top prospects in this space—far from it. Some Top-25 prospects are worth investing in more than others, and part of my effort here will be to parse that equation out and help you all figure out which ones to invest in. But they can’t all be stars, Jimmy, and the “why” is important to get at. But beyond the shiny headliners, I’ll also be spending plenty of time talking about guys who don’t appear on our most recent Dynasty 101—the upstart guys who catch the eye of one of our prospect team members at a complex somewhere and might, just maybe, one day, develop into a second-division regular. For those of us who play in leagues with 20-plus teams, that last word right there—“regular"— is a really, really important word.
One final disclaimer here: I reserve the right to tip the scales on a week-to-week basis as the topic or larger factors—say, a wave of promotions or injuries—dictate. There could be times when this column wobbles in the direction of a full-throated breakdown of hip-shoulder alignments and swing efficiency, while only just barely touching on one or two fantasy-relevant players. And conversely, there might be times when I get a big ol’ pile of exciting reports about short-season outfielders with tasty game-power projections, and spend a little bit more time on the players themselves.
So that’s it for now. I’m excited. I hope you’re excited. It’ll be a process, and even if some early pieces miss the mark while we find a rhythm, the important thing is that it’ll be our journey. And we’ll grow together. Tune in next week, same Bat Time and channel.