May 18, 2013
And here's the full roster.
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Thursday, December 30, 2010
Chicago Cubs: Top 10 Prospects
1. Brett Jackson / OF / Jackson had a terrific first full season, but I stand firm with my cautiousness toward his future. His power and speed are playing in the minors, but he will have to show more before I start to believe that he can be an impact major leaguer.
2. Chris Archer / SP / From a command standpoint, Archer has good games and bad games, but he possesses tenacity and an above-average three-pitch mix that has Cub fans excited.
3. Trey McNutt / SP / Where did McNutt come from? He burst onto the scene this year with his mid-90s fastball and terrific breaking ball. His command looks merely average, however. We're all waiting to see how he handles Double-A and if his change-up develops.
4. Hak-Ju Lee / SS / Lee had a fine full-season debut, posting a stellar batting average and proving to be a peskier out than most thought possible. His defense isn't as advertised yet and he hasn't shown any power upside, which are two problems holding back his stock.
5. Jay Jackson / SP/RP / Jackson started to use his full repertoire more this season, which had negative effects on his numbers. He has solid control of his fastball and curveball, but no out pitch to speak of. It's hard to tell if he will start or relieve full-time.
6. Brandon Guyer / OF / Guyer posted a breakout campaign in 2010, and was even able to showoff the power potential that some thought was fading. His power and speed are playing now, but like Brett Jackson, I have doubts about it translating.
7. Hayden Simpson / SP / The selection of Simpson in the middle of the first round raised eyebrows, as he wasn't on a lot of radar screens. He has polish across the board and four useful pitches but doesn't seem to possess much upside. Still, let's give him a chance.
8. Josh Vitters / 3B / Having youth on his side will only get Vitters so far; he needs to improve. As it stands now, his plate approach is terrible and won't get the job done where he's hoping to go.
9. Chris Carpenter / RP/SP / Carpenter's command has improved since his college days, but is no better than average on a good day. He seems to project better as a reliever, where his exciting fastball and slider can stand out.
10. DJ LeMahieu / 2B / If nothing else, LeMahieu proved to be a tough out in 2010, contributing to his .314 batting average. He has a solid line-drive swing and some are projecting a bit of power, but he hasn't shown any evidence yet.
Chicago Cubs: Top 10 Players Under Age 26 (as of 4/1/11)
1. Starlin Castro / SS
2. Brett Jackson / OF
3. Chris Archer / SP
4. Trey McNutt / SP
5. Andrew Cashner / RP/SP
6. Tyler Colvin / OF
7. Hak-Ju Lee / SS
8. Blake DeWitt / 2B
9. Jay Jackson / SP/RP
10. Brandon Guyer / OF
St. Louis Cardinals: Top 10 Prospects
1. Shelby Miller / SP / Miller's command sharpened throughout 2010 and his curveball took a step forward, becoming his definitive out pitch. There is little holding him back from completely breaking through in 2011.
2. Zack Cox / 3B/2B / Cox embodies the phrase "professional hitter." His power may not develop, but he is a safe-bet, offensive-minded infielder.
3. Carlos Matias / SP / Matias might have the most impressive fastball ever seen from a Hispanic teenager. Velocity is one thing, but it's his impeccable command of the pitch that separates him. He has plenty of development in front of him, but a tremendous foundation is in place.
4. Oscar Taveras / OF / Taveras is a rare sort of five-tool talent in that his tools have actually translated to big numbers right out of the gate. Some may argue with this ranking, but I see no reason not to be excited.
5. Tyrell Jenkins / SP / Jenkins has raw mechanics and has shown inconsistencies, but is an extremely athletic high school pitcher with the passion and tools necessary to excel.
6. Eduardo Sanchez / RP / Sanchez is a young closer in training who continues to excel wherever he goes. He came in at No. 10 on last year's version of this list and gets another boost this year.
7. Lance Lynn / SP / Lynn's numbers went the wrong way in 2010, yet there was nothing particularly off regarding the way he performed. He has average command of average stuff, found it difficult to work out of the stretch, and left too many hittable pitches over the plate. He has the ability to correct most of that in time to be a back-end mainstay.
8. Matt Carpenter / 3B / Carpenter looks like he could follow in the footsteps of David Freese and Allen Craig, meaning he, too, has a shot to be a solid-but-unspectacular regular. His skills don't jump out at you, but so far his production has.
9. Deryk Hooker / SP/RP / Hooker is getting his share of strikeouts, but his fastball hovers around 90 for the most part. He is putting up his numbers due to above-average command and a plus curveball. His mechanics look like they could cause future problems, leaving many to peg him as a future reliever.
10. Seth Blair / SP/RP / Bryan Anderson and Joe Kelly received consideration, but Blair deserves a chance to be firmly on radar screens. He isn't particularly exciting, though he has stellar command of an above average fastball; however, his secondary offerings aren't where you want them to be for a college pitcher.
St. Louis Cardinals: Top 10 Players Under Age 26 (as of 4/1/11)
1. Colby Rasmus / OF
2. Jaime Garcia / SP
3. Shelby Miller / SP
4. Zack Cox / 3B/2B
5. Carlos Matias / SP
6. Oscar Taveras / OF
7. Tyrell Jenkins / SP
8. Eduardo Sanchez / RP
9. Lance Lynn / SP
10. Matt Carpenter / 3B
Posted by Matt Hagen at 5:01am (14) Comments
Friday, December 31, 2010
Other 2011 fantasy rankings by position: Catcher || First Base || Second Base || Shortstop || Third Base
To remind everyone: These rankings are based on position eligibility. Players who are eligible at multiple positions will be ranked in comparison with others at each relevant position. You will also note asterisks next to the names of certain players. These indicate health risks. Health concerns have been taken into consideration, as have expected talent and expected playing time to yield expected production.
Position eligibility and evaluation criteria for these rankings are explained here.
For both the middle infielder (MI) and corner infielder (CI) rankings, I omitted the top 12 players at first base, second base, shortstop and third base. I assume that the top 12 players by position will likely be drafted in most leagues for their primary position. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, the Japanese batting champion signed this month by the Twins, also has been omitted from my middle infielders ranking (like my second base ranking) because I know nothing about him or projecting Japanese league players. Rank him as you feel appropriate.
Rank Name Team Oliver Slash (2011)** 1 Brian Roberts* Orioles .274/.349/.408 2 Dustin Ackley Mariners .287/.378/.435 3 Neil Walker Pirates .251/.301/.422 4 Chone Figgins Mariners .263/.353/.320 5 Mike Aviles* Royals .276/.307/.398 6 Ryan Raburn Tigers .270/.333/.465 7 Danny Espinosa Nationals .241/.312/.403 8 Ian Desmond Nationals .261/.312/.399 9 Howie Kendrick Angels .280/.318/.414 10 Eric Young Jr. Rockies .238/.316/.313 11 Erick Aybar* Angels .267/.314/.358 12 Cliff Pennington Athletics .237/.322/.328 13 Miguel Tejada Giants .268/.302/.378 14 Alcides Escobar Royals .267/.310/.357 15 J.J. Hardy* Orioles .251/.313/.395 16 Jhonny Peralta Tigers .256/.315/.408 17 Yunel Escobar Blue Jays .273/.245/.374 18 Sean Rodriguez Rays .250/.324/.459 19 Juan Uribe Dodgers .258/.308/.432 20 Marco Scutaro Red Sox .256/.315/.408*Assuming health (which means assuming the amount of health I expect from them).
**Oliver's 2011 projections have been updated. Most of the projections are essentially similar, but for the most up to date projections, subscribe to THT Forecasts by clicking here. If you are unsure of whether to subscribe to THT Forecasts, you can read about why I love THT Forecasts by clicking here
Noting that 16 of the 20 names on this list are repeats from the bottom 40 percent of the second base and shortstop rankings, the shallowness of the middle infield becomes apparent. As with his second base ranking, I love Dustin Ackley but doubt he will get called up to the majors before May. His ranking here is solely based on total value due to playing time; I view Ackley as a top 10 second basemen once he gets called up to the majors.
Brian Roberts, Neil Walker and Chone Figgins are solid MI plays with upside, while Howie Kendrick and Mike Aviles are "safe" plays with minimal up or downside, offering all-around light contributions to every category sans RBI.
Given their heavy diet of strikeouts, Ryan Raburn and Danny Espinosa are high upside, moderate downside risks on this list. Both are capable of 20 home runs and double-digit stolen bases. Raburn's proven more in the majors and is likely less of a batting average risk, but Espinosa is undoubtedly more balanced. Espinosa might also get better lineup slotting, though the Tigers seemed to like Raburn's bat down the stretch last season. Both are quality $1 fliers in auction leagues and solid end-of-draft picks in snake drafts.
This list also includes four new names: Yunel Escobar, Reid Brignac, Juan Uribe and Marco Scutaro. Outside an AL or NL only league, there is no reason any of these guys should even be on anyone's bench in 2011. They, along with Miguel Tejada and J.J. Hardy, are either on the wrong side of 30, the wrong side of being talented, or, in the case of Scutaro, both.
Considering that defensive ability is not a fantasy category, the retro movement toward athleticism has bled the middle infield dry of fantasy assets.
Rank Name Team Oliver Slash (2011)** 1 Billy Butler Royals .297/.365/.467 2 Lance Berkman* Cardinals .262/.374/.443 3 Paul Konerko White Sox .266/.345/.455 4 Pedro Alvarez Pirates .245/.330/.460 5 Michael Young Rangers .277/.328/.419 6 Ian Stewart Rockies .234/.321/.441 7 David Freese Cardinals .262/.322/.413 8 Casey McGehee Brewers .273/.325/.426 9 Buster Posey Giants .300/.376/.480 10 Mike Napoli Rangers .257/.338/.507 11 Ike Davis Mets .260/.335/.441 12 Aubrey Huff Giants .265/.339/.448 13 Gaby Sanchez Marlins .271/.336/.437 14 Derrek Lee Cubs .257/.339/.421 15 Chipper Jones* Braves .263/.373/.415 16 Scott Rolen* Reds .271/.343/.413 17 Chase Headly Padres .264/.333/.403 18 Michael Cuddyer Twins .270/.340/.449 19 Russell Branyan* FA .248/.330/.484 20 Chris Carter Athletics .250/.339/.489*Assuming health (which means assuming the amount of health I expect from them), being tendered a contract.
**Again, Oliver's 2011 projections have been updated from these figures.
Unlike the middle infield, there is plenty of fantasy value to be found in the corners.
As I noted in my first base rankings and in the 2010 preseason, first base is as deep as it gets in fantasy baseball. Accordingly, even most of the residual first basemen are better than even the best of the not-top-12 third basemen. Outside of David Ortiz, Vladimir Guerrero and Hideki Matsui, I imagine that most utility players will come from first base (with some coming from the outfield corners).
I love Chris Carter as a cheap Adam Dunn-type, but the A's have given no indication of how they plan on using him next season. Given Daric Barton's slick glove at first, the recent signing of Matsui and the trend towards athleticism with the A's, Carter is currently blocked and jobless for 2011. If the A's give him regular playing time, however, Carter instantly jumps ahead of Michael Young in my corner infield rankings.
I really like Ike Davis and I've swapped him for Derek Lee on my top 20 first basemen rankings, but I still have not been able to convince myself to rank him higher. Davis does not seem likely to hit more than 25 home runs. I view him most akin to a cheap version of Morales.
As I noted in my third base rankings, Chase Headley offers 15/15 upside and could make a solid $1 CI buy for deeper leagues, but, at 26, he's not done much so far and he is now three years removed from being a "top prospect."
Headly is not worth a starting third base job outside of NL-only fantasy rosters, but he might make a solid late-game gamble.
On a final note, I have updated my first base, second base, shortstop and third base rankings since their initial posting. Feel free to review them. As always, leave the love/hate in the comments.
Posted by Jeffrey Gross at 2:02am (21) Comments
In the ever expanding world of fantasy baseball, one thing seems to permeate all levels of managerial experience, and that is an insatiable desire to read player rankings. For some novice owners, a writer's rankings can serve as a guideline of who to target in drafts or trades. For more skilled owners, rankings may serve as an opportunity to debate with the writer and readers as to the merits of a player they feel is under- or over-valued. Finally, for the snarky, rankings serve as an opportunity to denounce the writers' baseball acumen and poke fun at their inability to put together the perfect set of rankings (which undoubtedly they themselves could do).
Regardless of level of skill, or snark, rankings hold value and interest for seemingly all fantasy baseball managers.
With that in mind, Jeffrey Gross and Paul Singman and I set out to put together our own top 25 rankings of players age 25 or under as of Jan. 1, 2010 (i.e. anyone born in 1985 or later). The league scoring we used as a guideline was a 5x5 roto league that includes two catchers, one corner infielder, one middle infielder, one utility player, five outfielders, nine pitchers of any type (with a 1,250 innings pitched cap) and the other standard positions. No other guidelines or parameters were set.
Each writer put together His list; as expected, the lists varied substantially. As an avid yearly reader, and fan, of The Baseball America Prospect Handbook, I thought it would be fun to post each writer's top 25 list as opposed to a composite list. The idea is that each writer, like each scout in The Baseball America Prospect Handbook, would be held accountable for his list. In the coming days we'll each address our rationale behind our rankings as well as defend our three most questionable or outrageous rankings.
We welcome, actually we encourage, questions and comments about our rankings either below in the comments section, or by e-mail.
My e-mail: JoshShep50 AT Yahoo DOT com
Jeffrey's: gameofinchesblog AT gmail DOT com
Paul's: cowchow4you AT gmail DOT com