For previous editions, follow the links below:
- Get to Know: Catcher Prospects
- Get to Know: First Base Prospects
- Get to Know: Second Base Prospects
- Get to Know: Third Base Prospects
- Get to Know: Shortstop Prospects
- Get to Know: Outfield Prospects for 2015
Yesterday, Craig Goldstein broke down outfield prospects who will probably be relevant in 2015. Today, I’ll write less about a bunch of guys who probably won’t matter at all for a while. Have I made the sale? I’ll stop selling, then.
David Dahl, Rockies
Can I interest you in a potential five-category fantasy force who calls Coors Field home? I thought so. Dahl conquered Low-A last season and should spend the majority of 2015 in High-A as a 21-year-old. The BP Prospect Team gave him potential 6+ hit and 6 run tools in the Rockies Top 10, and he’s got a chance for modestly above average pop, too. Add it up and you get someone who could feature as an OF1 in his best years, and who’s a good bet to be at least a high-end OF3 for the majority of his career. There’s still risk here, but Dahl possesses among the most fantasy upside on this list. Gonna be a lotttt of “Salvador Dahl-i” team names in a few years.
Jesse Winker, Reds
Another well-rounded threat who figures to call a favorable home ballpark home, Winker destroyed the Cal League (surprise!) and was off to a slow start in Double-A before a car accident led to a partially torn tendon in his wrist. That’s not ideal, but there’s no reason to think Winker won’t be ready for the start of the season, and it’s easy to envision a scenario in which he puts himself in position to see substantial time in 2016. Winker won’t win you any one category, but he can hit for a good average, nab you around 20 homers a year and collect plenty of R and RBI as he should bat in the upper-half of the lineup. He could settle in to be something like the modern-day Marlon Byrd, which is somehow not at all an insult.
Nomar Mazara, Rangers
Mazara is a potential 6/6 power/hit guy who looks to call the Ballpark in Arlington home. That’s the stuff OF2 dreams are made of, and it’s hard not to be attracted to his combination of bat speed and a solid understanding of what he wants to do at the plate. There’s the potential for some platoon issues here, and Mazara isn’t going to run much, but if he mashes righties and holds his own enough against southpaws to stay in the lineup it’s a very attractive package. I feel dirty for talking about Craig’s guy like this.
Nick Williams, Rangers
From Craig’s guy to my guy! This is higher than you’re going to see Williams rank most places, and I get the knocks. He’s probably not going to be a player who makes adjustments quickly, his plus speed may not translate into as many steals as you’d think and his defensive … er, spasms? … may keep him out of the lineup on occasion. I don’t care. I fell in love with the swing, his athleticism, his bat speed and his upside: this isn’t some potential .270 hitter, this is someone who could live in the .300s with 20-plus homers for a long time. He’s a better fantasy prospect than an MLB prospect because of his uselessness in the field and the way he throws away some at-bats, but if you like to gamble, Williams is the player for you.
Hunter Renfroe, Padres
The first four guys and the next two guys on this list all benefit from really strong contextual factors. Renfroe most certainly does not, but he’s got big enough raw power that Petco shouldn’t serve as too much of a deterrent. He’s a better bet to produce value in OBP leagues than standard 5×5 formats because of his good approach and average hit tool, but he could mash 25-plus boms and steal 10-plus bases annually. As Bret Sayre said in BP’s Padres writeup, Renfroe “has many paths to value.” That’s the perfect way to put it, and Renfroe should be in the majors at some point in 2016, assuming A.J. Preller ever stops trading for outfielders.
Aaron Judge, Yankees
Judge displayed a more impressive approach than many assumed he was capable of in his first professional season, walking in over 15 percent of his PA. Before you accuse us of being too Judgemental, the 22-year-old also brought plenty of swing-and-miss to the table, and his solid averages in Low- and High-A belie what’s probably more of an average hit tool. Still, Judge has easy 6+ power and could call Yankee Stadium home. He’s put himself on the fast track, and while the upper minors might exploit his weaknesses a 2016 debut isn’t out of the question. Gonna be a lottt of “Judge and Juri-ckson” fantasy team names in a few years.
Raimel Tapia, Rockies
- From the Rockies Top 10: “The Tools: 6+ potential hit; 5 potential power; 5+ run; 5+ potential glove; 6 arm.”
- From Tapia last year in Low-A: .326/.382/.453, nine homers, 33 steals
- From Mau: “Actually, it’s pronounc …”
Shut up, Mau. Tapia is going to the Cal League in 2015 where he might just hit .500. This is your last chance to buy him.
Clint Frazier, Indians
Not since Michael Keaton’s ill-fated guest appearance as Lillith’s wheelchair-bound brother Blaine has an episode of Frazier disappointed like the first half of Clint’s 2014. He was significantly better in the second half, though, hitting .294/.386/.469 from July 1st onward in a span of 247 plate appearances, showing off the OF1 upside he ultimately possesses. Minor league careers rarely feature linear success, and I think the fantasy community as a whole is a bit too low on Frazier now after what was basically a bump in the road. You still can’t teach that bat speed, and he’s still got massive potential.
Alex Jackson, Mariners
Every catcher who moves from behind the plate to the outfield is linked to Wil Myers now. That’s usually unfair, but from a fantasy POV it does provide an appropriate ceiling for Jackson, who’s ages away but who has 30-homer upside and could make strong contributions in AVG, R, and RBI, too. Jackson doesn’t profile as a guy who’s going to move through the minors quickly and Safeco could ultimately have a limiting effect on his bottom line, but Jackson is still an easy top-100 fantasy prospect and a strong candidate to be drafted ahead of Kyle Schwarber in leagues in which Bret Sayre isn’t the commissioner.
Albert Almora, Cubs
Almora hit .283/.306/.406 in High-A before stumbling to a .234/.250/.355 line in a smaller sample in Double-A in 2014. That’s respectable, but if this is truly representative of Almora’s skill set his low OBP could have a limiting effect on the overall package, directly leading to fewer runs and perhaps shifting Almora to a down-the-order spot in the lineup. That’s a whole lot of projecting and could seem nitpicky, but while .280 hitters with 15-plus homers and a handful of steals are nice, those stats aren’t altogether special from an outfielder. Almora still has an OF3 fantasy profile, but it’s hard not to be a bit disappointed given that his upside once seemed more tantalizing.
Austin Meadows, Pirates
Meadows and Frazier seem forever linked thanks to when and where they were drafted and our weekly TINO debates. The general BP consensus has generally been and still is that Frazier is better, but Meadows impressed by hitting .322/.388/.486 in Low-A, albeit in a very small sample. Assuming the hamstring issues that hamstrung him for much of 2014 aren’t chronic, the real problem here is that Meadows lacks a carrying tool. It won’t be an issue if everything clicks and Meadows chips in with, say, 15 homers and steals each, a respectable average, and decent R/RBI totals. But if the hit tool doesn’t blossom or the power doesn’t play or he fills out and doesn’t run, the package is less inspiring.
Michael Conforto, Mets
A better fantasy asset than prospect IRL, Conforto could move quickly through the minors and has a very solid power/hit tool combo. It’ll be a bummer if he ends up spending half of his time in Citi Field and not in a more forgiving offensive environment, but even as a Met he’s got OF3 upside. I made this a boring, straightforward write-up in an effort to subtly draw a parallel to Conforto’s profile. Yeah, that’s it.
Manuel Margot, Red Sox
A better prospect IRL than fantasy asset, Margot has shot up many rankings over the past year thanks to his impressive performances in Low- and High-A in 2014. He should start back at Salem in 2015 as a 20-year-old, and while his value is first and foremost defined by his ability in centerfield, his speed, hit tool and underrated power make him interesting for our purposes, too. The ceiling here is probably OF3, but he could be a damn good one who bats near the top of a lineup and contributes meaningfully in every category. He’s starting to look like the player Jackie Bradley Jr. was supposed to be.
Bradley Zimmer, Indians
The younger, less handsome brother of Royals prospect Kyle, Bradley Zimmer is already nearly as valuable a fantasy asset thanks to his well-rounded skill set, college experience and high floor. He’s probably got an OF3 ceiling, but Zimmer should have little trouble with the low minors and is a solid candidate to gain some prospect helium over the next season. If you miss out on the most prominent 2015 Signees, Zimmer is a nice consolation prize and is already a top-100 name in my book (well, not my book), albeit one who should appear near the bottom of said list.
Lewis Brinson, Rangers
Oh look a toolsy outfielder in the Rangers system. If you wanna dream, Brinson has 25-homer/25-steal upside. There’s that whole “hit tool” thing, though. He dramatically improved his approach last season and held his own as a raw 20-year-old in a limited sample in High-A, so it’s easy to be encouraged. He’ll need an even better plan at the plate moving forward, though, and he’s as good a candidate to be devoured by upper-minors pitching as he is to break out into an OF2 and fantasy star.
Others: Tyrone Taylor, Brewers; Gabriel Guerrero, Mariners; Billy McKinney, Cubs; Brett Phillips, Astros; Derek Fisher, Astros; Derek Hill, Tigers; Harold Ramirez, Pirates; Teoscar Hernandez, Astros; Carlos Tocci, Phillies; Charlie Tilson, Cardinals; Monte Harrison, Brewers; Elier Hernandez, Royals; Marcus Wilson, Diamondbacks; Leonardo Molina, Yankees; Clint Coulter, Brewers; Michael Gettys, Padres; Phil Ervin, Reds; Josh Hart, Orioles; Jordan Paroubeck, Padres; Rafael Bautista, Nationals; Austin Wilson, Mariners; Nick Longhi, Red Sox; Alex Verdugo, Dodgers; Victor Reyes, Braves; Justin Williams, Rays; Dylan Cozens, Phillies; Magneuris Sierra, Key and Peele Video; Courtney Hawkins, Mort; Bubba Starling still I guess, Royals; A lot of other guys
Thank you for reading
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From the Reds Top 10:
"The Tools: 6 potential hit; 5+ potential power; 5 run; 5 potential glove"
This sentence is the tits.
T Taylor isn't too far away, has upside with power/speed, surprised he ismt higher.
Reds: is prospects in order of value - Winker, Ervin, then Y Rodriguez?