Previous entries in this series
There are some intriguing names here for 2017, led by the best dynasty prospect in all of baseball. Once you get much further out, well, maybe a shortstop or two will move over in the future, ‘cause it ain’t pretty.
Names for 2017
Yoan Moncada, White Sox
It’s not often a position player gets traded away from the friendly confines of Fenway and sees his stock improve, but that’s where we are with Moncada, who is all but guaranteed to be a second baseman in his new organization. That’s pretty exciting for our purposes, because we’re looking at a toolsy freak who could come to finish atop the position for many, many years in his prime. Expect some hiccups at first—especially in 2017—but Moncada has the upside to flirt with a .300 average, 20 homers, and 30-plus steals. I’d expect less power and more speed early on in his career, but either way he’s someone you’ll really want to own.
Ozzie Albies, Braves
God, players like this are my kryptonite. I still stare longingly at my posters of Jose Peraza and Roman Quinn. There’s a lot to like with Albies. He’s fast, he’s close to the Majors and he can hit for average. He’s not an altogether special offensive player, though, and as his performance in Triple-A last year showed, he still requires some seasoning. In time, I see Albies as a top-12 second baseman who’ll challenge for 30 steals while contributing in runs and average. He’s a zero when it comes to HR and RBI, though.
Lourdes Gurriel, Blue Jays
Gurriel isn’t a lock to stay at second base, or even to be an everyday player, really, but he’s got a relatively short lead time and the type of well-rounded fantasy game that should make him an asset if the at-bats are there. Bret Sayre ranked Gurriel at no. 8 on his list of the top-50 signees for 2016, and that makes sense when you factor in his potential supporting cast. I don’t see fantasy stardom in his future, but a fantasy starter at the six in 20-team leagues? Sure.
Willie Calhoun, Dodgers
It would be really, super great if Calhoun could actually play second base, because his bat is extremely fun. So fun, in fact, that he’s got a shot to be a top-100 prospect even though he might be a … left fielder? DH? Bench bat? I don’t know, but Calhoun earns rave reviews for his bat speed and the surprising power he generates from a compact frame. He’ll also be knocking on the doorstep with a good performance in Triple-A, so stay tuned.
Carlos Asuaje, Padres
Scouting reports don’t have much love for Asuaje, but the man did hit .321/.378/.473 in Triple-A last season and the Padres infield has less talent than whoever designed their uniforms. Asuaje doesn’t have a standout tool, but he’s not terrible at anything, either. You might want to dabble if you’re in a TDGX-sized 20-team league, though he’s certainly not a top-100 prospect.
Alen Hanson, Pirates
Ah, what might’ve been. Hanson isn’t a very good prospect anymore, but I’m listing him here so I don’t get asked about him a ton. The Pirates have begun to move him all over the field, recognizing that his future is as a utility player. If you’ve held on to Hanson over the past few years, I’m sorry, but it’s time to let go.
Names for 2018 and Beyond
Ian Happ, Cubs
I get why some people love Happ. The Cubs do a phenomenal job with players like this, he’s relatively close to the majors and he should be tolerable enough at second base to see some time there. But Happy is utterly devoid of impact potential. Sure, the hit tool might play to the .280 mark, but if that doesn’t come with a ton of power or speed, you’re looking at a guy who should be rostered, but not a starter, in standard 10- to 12-team leagues. Happ will be more valuable if OBP is a category, and this report probably makes me seem lighter on him than I really am. I just think he’s a fairly overvalued fantasy asset right now.
Forrest Wall, Rockies
I know we propped up Wall as a top-100 fantasy prospect last season, but read what Wilson Karaman had to say about him in our Rockies top-10. There’s an argument to be made for holding on to Wall and seeing if he can turn it around, but you don’t need to worry about dropping him if more enticing options come along. His ceiling was never his calling card, and now his floor is in question, too. I suppose what I’m saying is that, by now, you should’ve somehow realized what you gotta do. Yes, that is a Wonderwall joke. No, these won’t get better.
Scott Kingery, Phillies
You could argue that Kingery belongs in the 2017 group above, but he got just 37 games in Double-A a season ago. Still, the general consensus seems to be that he has a high floor and advanced hit tool. He can also run a little bit, which is why he’s listed here and not in that tiny little “Others” section below.
Travis Demeritte, Braves
There are lots of raw tools to like here, headlined by enticing power that let Demeritte hit 28 bombs in High-A last season. The problem? He just swung and missed at something as you were reading this. You might be tired of us cautioning that the utility of certain prospects’ hit tools will limit their pop, but Demeritte is the poster boy for such a predicament. Put him on your watch list and see if he makes adjustments, but don’t go crazy for him yet.
Andy Ibanez, Rangers
I know Ibanez is a bit of an internet darling, but folks, the last time I read something as foreboding as what our scouts have to say about Ibanez, Robb Stark was walking into his wedding. I know his Single-A numbers are very shiny and that he held his own in Double-A, too, but this is a good exercise in not just scouting the statline.
Shedric Long, Reds
Long has 70 speed, a strong track record of hitting in the minors and a really interesting story as a converted catcher. If he hits well in High-A there is a 100% chance I will overvalue him on this list next season.
We Hardly Knew Ye (fantasy value)