More dynasty rankings

A week ago Josh, Jeffrey, and I debuted our dynasty rankings and the discussion afterwards was informative. Based on what I gathered from that discussion, I’ve updated my original 25 and added seven more players to expand the list to 32. Below is my original list and new list side-by-side.

Just a quick reminder this is a list of the top players aged 25 or younger.

+----+-------------------+-------------------+ | Rk | Old List | New List | +----+-------------------+-------------------+ | 1 | Evan Longoria | Evan Longoria | | 2 | Carlos Gonzalez | Felix Hernandez | | 3 | Jason Heyward | Jason Heyward | | 4 | Justin Upton | Stephen Strasburg | | 5 | Felix Hernandez | Carlos Gonzalez | | 6 | Mike Stanton | Andrew McCutchen | | 7 | Jay Bruce | Jay Bruce | | 8 | Andrew McCutchen | Mike Stanton | | 9 | Carlos Santana | Clayton Kershaw | | 10 | Stephen Strasburg | Mat Latos | | 11 | Mat Latos | Carlos Santana | | 12 | Buster Posey | Buster Posey | | 13 | Clayton Kershaw | Tommy Hanson | | 14 | Tommy Hanson | Justin Upton | | 15 | Pablo Sandoval | Yovani Gallardo | | 16 | Yovani Gallardo | Jeremy Hellickson | | 17 | Jeremy Hellickson | Domonic Brown | | 18 | Domonic Brown | Pedro Alvarez | | 19 | Pedro Alvarez | Desmond Jennings | | 20 | Brett Anderson | Mike Trout | | 21 | Desmond Jennings | Brett Anderson | | 22 | David Price | David Price | | 23 | Mike Trout | Matt Wieters | | 24 | Jesus Montero | Daniel Hudson | | 25 | Madison Bumgarner | Billy Butler | | 26 +-------------------+ Madison Bumgarner | | 27 | | Jesus Montero | | 28 | | Mike Moustakas | | 29 | | Freddie Freeman | | 30 | | Jhoulys Chacin | | 31 | | Eric Hosmer | | 32 | | Elvis Andrus | +----+-------------------+-------------------+

First off, why 32? Because it gets harder and harder to rank players in this format as the type of player polarizes into two general groups—less exciting MLB regulars (Gordon Beckham, Pablo Sandoval) and players farther away from the majors (Julio Teheran, Bryce Harper).

Speaking of Harper, I found it nearly impossible to rank him given his unique potential. I will say that if I do not feel so strongly about my chances to contend for the next two years, I would probably flip most of the players ranked in double-digits for him.

Going back to why I stopped at 32, relievers such as Neftali Feliz and Aroldis Chapman should be ranked soon, and reliever value is not something I wanted to make a decision on.

Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters, Jake McGee, Kenley Jansen, Chris Sale, and probably a host of relievers I’m forgetting are not far behind them.

So let’s look at what changed in my new list compared to the old. I agree with Jeffrey and a few of the commenters—Felix Hernandez is in a class of his own and deserves that ranking. Plus, there is no chance the Mariner’s offense is worse than it was last year.

I moved Strephen Strasburg up all the way to fourth. Yes, he will miss most—likely all—of 2011, but talent like his is worth waiting for. What scouts call command is usually the hardest thing for pitchers to regain after Tommy John surgery and he had unbelieveable command pre-surgery, so I think he will find his feel again.

Agreeing with commenter “PAU,” I moved the contact-challenged Justin Upton and Mike Stanton below Andrew McCutchen and Jay Bruce. McCutchen is a true five-tool star and will look very similar to Carlos Gonzalez once CarGo’s batting average regresses some this year.

image
Trust an Upton at your own risk. (Icon/SMI)

Upton I dropped all the way to 14 because his expected projection is not beyond Buster Posey‘s or Carlos Santana‘s enough to overcome their catcher value. Upton has the prospect-hype, the tools, and, at 23, a small window of youth in baseball years to improve, but like his brother, B.J., I see him as more of a tease than a turn-on with his actual production. I like Zach Sanders’ write-up of Upton on Fangraphs from a few months ago.

I agree with the masses and flip-flopped Mat Latos and Clayton Kershaw. The two are projected for similar numbers but Latos’ innings jump makes him a slightly higher risk.

Mike Trout is the only player without Double-A experience on this list, but I believe his potential justifies the ranking. He unquestionably has speed, stealing 56 bases between the Low-A and High-A levels. He also displayed solid plate discipline and projects to have decent power. His performance in Double-A this upcoming season will be telling, but if I own, for example, David Price in a league, I’d take the bet that Trout succeeds before his stock potentially rises higher come this time next year.

Three new players cracked my top 25: Matt Wieters, Daniel Hudson, and Billy Butler. Two years ago Wieters would have been near the top of this list, but after two mediocre MLB seasons his stock has taken a hit. His monstrous 2008 season in the minors should not be completely forgotten, though, and he has shown enough promise in the majors to make me cautiously optimistic about his future.

In his first year starting in the majors, Hudson delivered on his potential, particularly in Arizona. I don’t know how close he was to making Josh and Jeffrey’s lists, but I wrongly overlooked him on mine.

Especially at first base, Butler’s production won’t stand out, but dependability has its place in fantasy baseball. With Butler you can sleep easily to a .300+ average and 20 homers.

Freddie Freeman is a similar player to Billy Butler—think .290 average with mild power. He is just 21, so there is potential for improvement, but at the very least he should be a useful player. He should get plenty of MLB playing time this season as he is slotted as the Braves’ starting first baseman for 2011.

Jhoulys Chacin had a fantastic rookie season, though I am wary of him experiencing a setback in 2011. At just 23, there is time for him to sharpen his control and command.

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Comments

  1. The Baltimoron said...

    A few things I don’t understand about this list.  For starters (hehe), you have four starters in the top 10, and seven of your top 16.  Yes, Felix is special, but there’s no way I’d take any starter over the likes of Heyward, CarGo, or Posey.  Also, your #4 player is not only a starter, but a starter with little major league experience who is out next season due to TJS.  I know how good Stras was, and might be, and he deserves mention on the list, but that’s just WAY too high. 

    Conversely, Posey is way too low.  He’s a young stud catcher who will get plenty of at bats, was a standout prospect, and proved it at the major league level last year (also won the World Series, lest you forgot).  How he ranks behind a guy who plays the same position on one of the worst teams in baseball while coming back from knee surgery is beyond me.

    Finally, the omission of certain players is baffling, but the refusal to rank Chapman is inexcusable.  He’s either a lights out closer or, more than likely, an ace.  He’s a soon to be 23-year-old MLB ready lefty that throws 106!!!  That arm will have crazy value no matter where he begins 2011, and to have Strasburg in the top 5 and Aroldis not even make the list is a glaring error.

    My off-the-cuff list of the top 50 would go (players in CAPS not on your list):

    Longoria
    CarGo
    Posey
    Heyward
    Felix
    Upton
    McCutchen
    Santana
    CHAPMAN
    Bruce
    Kershaw
    Hanson
    Alvarez
    Montero
    Stanton
    S. CASTRO
    Latos
    Hudson
    Price
    Gallardo
    Wieters
    G. BECKHAM
    FELIZ
    RASMUS
    Jennings
    Brown
    J. GARCIA
    P. HUGHES
    Anderson
    MATUSZ
    Hellickson
    Bumgarner
    Moustakas
    Strasburg
    D. YOUNG
    KIMBREL
    I. DESMOND
    SANDOVAL
    Butler
    IKE DAVIS
    MORRISON
    A. JACKSON
    CAHILL
    ACKLEY
    Hosmer
    TABATA
    Freeman
    Trout
    Harper
    PINEDA

    I’m sure I’m forgetting someone, but that’s a start…

  2. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Chacin and hudson are respectively #26, 28. I’ll be making a similar post soon…I hope

    First I have some legal research and writing to finish…

  3. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Also, I think you underrate Beckham, Sandoval and Upton. But no time to make the argument here. I get the Upton hate, but Beckham i expect .290/20/10 and Sandoval a .300/25/5

  4. The Baltimoron said...

    Hmmm, the 24-year-old former top pitching prospect playing for a perennial powerhouse who’s gone 26-11 with a 3.78 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 242 Ks in 262.1 IP the past two seasons, over the guy with 12 career starts, playing on an awful team, who’s out for 2011 following TJS?  Yes, I’ll rank that guy 6 spots higher than the second and laugh my way to the league title as you yell “wait ‘til next year!”.

  5. Say What? said...

    I have to agree with Baltimoron there, Justin. I totally get that TJ Surgery today is not the same as it was in the past (although, I don’t want to hear this whole ‘they come back even stronger!’ spiel). However, we’ve yet to see if he can come back from this – if so, to what extent, and if it will happen again due to his violent arm action.

    The fact that he couldn’t stay healthy for more than 12 starts is disturbing. As Baltimoron pointed out, Hughes has been nothing short of outstanding for his age. People so quickly want to right him off because he didn’t immediately make good on his Elite Prospect status at 21 years old. So it took him until he was 23 to show his elite stuff – does that really justify knocking him so far down the totem pole? I don’t think so.

    In fantasy baseball right now there is little reason why anyone would and should opt for Strasburg over Hughes. There is just no logical rationalization for it.

  6. Bad Bill said...

    Having Billy Butler on this list, while Colby Rasmus is not, seems … odd.  The absence of Castro is also hard to understand.

  7. John said...

    Considering the author stated he was making a reliever ranking, and you hounding him about leaving RELIEVERS out is laughable.

  8. The Baltimoron said...

    Just because he’s not ready to include them doesn’t mean they don’t belong.  And I (and the Reds) consider Chapman a starter long term, not a reliever (Hellickson makes the list).  In any case, he’s too big a talent to leave off.

  9. Justin said...

    @ Baltimoron

    Skewed info…the first of the years you mentioned he was pitching relief (with starter stuff).
    As a STARTER last year his ERA was 4.20…so you’ll be riding THAT the championship? haha…right.
    So you’d rather have the slightly above average, 3 year older pitcher for a half a year longer than a guy for the REST OF HIS CAREER (this is dynasty) who could be one of the best pitchers in the league if he comes back even close to his form? Sound logic on your part…and yes, I know he had surgery. Even funnier is the fact that you put Matusz in front of him as well. He has 4.37 career ERA and plays in the hardest division in baseball.
    In the end, could Strasburg’s inverted W arm action give him problems? Who knows…but id rather roll the dice and have him than guys who have shown to be barely average so far…

    @Bad Bill

    Depending on what kind of league you are in, Castro might not be that much help. Alot of people question how much power he’ll show. Most likely his value will show much more in real life since the numbers that count in most leagues like HR and Steals, arent his forte yet. I predict 8-13 HR this year and 15 stolen bases and a .290 AVG.

  10. Paul Singman said...

    Let’s see: I would have no problem taking Heyward over Felix if you want to favor hitting slightly and even CarGo but Posey I can’t see the rationale for. I’m curious what you see him developing into beyond a .300/20hr hitter.

    Strasburg is a risky play but his talent and more importantly his production in the minors and majors I feel justify the risk. Strasburg’s potential eclipses Hughes’ but a longshot, especially considering that Hughes is trending toward a pitch-to-contact approach.

    I view Santana and Posey as very similar players… the quality of the team has little impact on their fantasy value.

    Regarding Aroldis, if you believe there is a good chance he finds his way into the rotation than I would definitely vault him in the teens on my board, but I haven’t read anything saying there are future plans to move him. As just a reliever though, he doesn’t warrant inclusion on this list.

  11. Paul Singman said...

    @Bad Bill – Butler is simply a better player than Rasmus. Butler I see as a consistent .310 hitter with 20+ home runs. Rasmus will give you something around .260/25/10 but his contact issues make me wary that he won’t maintain that.

  12. Justin said...

    I just cant see Posey putting up as many HR consistently as Santana…plus Santana being able to hit at DH on his days off might save his knees a little bit more and potentially get him more ABs.

    Werent several of those HR by Posey considered “lucky”?…I watched many of his games, several of those were line drives that cleared the fence by about a foot!

  13. The Baltimoron said...

    Hughes started and relieved in ‘09, getting in 89 innings, so it’t not like he only threw 40, and they still calculate ratios the same either way.  What he’s done so far as a 24-year-old is very impressive, and my league doesn’t factor in last year’s ERA for 2011, so I’ll ride the 3.50 ERA (and 18 wins and 180K’s) I expect this year, not the 4.20 from last season.

    And let’s not forget, Hughes was an elite prospect.  He was ranked #4 overall by BA in 2006 after compiling a minor league record of 21–7 with a 2.13 ERA while averaging 5.7 hits, 2.0 walks, and 10.2 strikeouts per 9.  He’s done nothing to diminish that profile for me and I think he only gets better.  Do I concede that Strasburg has a higher ceiling?  I do, but I’m hesitant to try and project any pitcher more than three years down the road, much less one that has little MLB experience and is set to miss next year after major surgery.  There’s a reason Mark Prior is featured in so many articles about Strasburg.

    Matusz is also an elite talent who ended 2010 by going 7-1 with a 2.17 ERA.  Yes, I’ll take the healthy stud over the injured one, again.

    Posey is another elite prospect who has shown it at the big league level.  I expect him to put up Billy Butler’s numbers, but at catcher, and do so for a long time.  That’s pretty elite in my book.  Heyward and CarGo may produce better numbers, but OFs are nowhere near as valuable as a catcher (or any IF, for that matter).

    Cleveland was in the bottom 5 in runs scored last year, and they don’t look to be much better this year as they continue to rebuild.  Posey plays in a better offense which equals more runs and RBIs.  Also, I see him getting 500+ ABs and playing 1B on occasion to keep him in the lineup, whereas Santana will likely be limited to 300 ABs this year coming off knee surgery, and maybe 400 ABs in 2012.  Yes, he could see time at DH, but the Indians have quite a few players that should see time there, as well.  The better offense and more playing time give Posey a distinct advantage, IMHO.

    A Google search yields many results that all read the same: Chapman will begin this year in the bullpen for many reasons (to limit his innings, to give Masset a break, to work on his secondary pitches, to have his arm at the major league level) but he is going to transition to starter.  He’s young, tall, fit, left-handed, and, oh yeah, threw the FASTEST PITCH EVER RECORDED!  I’m still trying to figure out why everyone isn’t going crazy over this guy.

  14. CS said...

    I’m completely new to this site – can anyone tell me where I could potentially find owners for a dynasty league?

    As per the list, Mike Trout over David Price? Odd

  15. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ Baltimoron
    Could you please explain why you think Santana is only going to get 300 AB’s this year and 400 next year?  I think those are absurdly low projections, and while they may have other options, Santana > Hafner, et al, so they won’t take his bat out of the lineup for lesser players.  I also find it highly doubtful that Posey sees much, if any time at 1B on his offdays.  For starters, playing 1B isn’t nearly as much of an offday as DH’ing.  Next, I fully expect Brandon Belt to be up early, and successful, thus between he and Aubrey Huff, most of the time at 1B will be accounted for.

  16. The Baltimoron said...

    Only one catcher topped 500 ABs last year, and only 12 topped 400, so those numbers are not extreme.  To be fair, I should have said “in the 300/400’s,” and not exactly at a cap of 300 and 400, but my point stands. 

    Santana is coming off a major, season ending knee injury and is returning to a team with no hope of making the postseason (and little hope of topping the .500 mark), so I see them taking it easy with their best prospect in 2011.  He was in a major slump before the injury, and he may need time to be effective after being off for so long, and with so little experience at the major league level.  The Tribe is paying Hafner $28.75m over this year and next, so I don’t see him getting traded, or many DH at-bats for other players.  Sizemore may need time there, as well as LaPorta, Crowe, Duncan and Kearns.  Santana and his knee will be spelled behind the plate on a regular basis, IMHO.  I think he’ll actually see time at first, not at DH, but I still see him limited.

    Posey will now catch virtually full-time (he was one of the catchers to top 400 ABs despite not joining the club until the end of May), only took seven games off (not to mention playing the entire postseason), and could see time at first and in left (two places that can also be played by Huff and Belt, if and when he makes the team).  Posey has always been an elite prospect (drafted 5th overall), projects as one of the top hitters at his position (already posting a .305/.357/.505 line in the bigs last year), the power has always been there (18 homers as a part-time rookie, 49 doubles and 25 homers in 631 minor league at bats, 26 homers in 257 at bats final year in college), and he’s a solid bet to join Mauer in the 500+ AB club starting immediately.  Like I said, he’s Butler at catcher. 

    Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Carlos (I mean, I do have him 8th on my list), but I don’t see any way he can be ranked over Posey.  Posey has always been the better prospect, is younger, is healthy, will have many more at bats, and has already proven himself at the major league level.

  17. The Baltimoron said...

    @Willis: 1) I get that, but in the spirit of the original post, there’s more of a weight on the next few years in this list.  Of course, the league you play in makes a difference (is there a large bench?  minor league rosters?) as to whether you can afford to invest long-term and stash guys.  Plus, production now has to be considered more valuable than production later.  I think if this was a straight 10-year ranking, players like Harper, Trout, Moustakas, etc. might be higher, but for fantasy purposes, I think you have to look more short term.  So Stras is ranked lower for me for all the reasons above.

    2) Garcia was always a top prospect; I thought the only questions about him going into last year was if he was healthy after TJS and if he would crack the rotation.  As the answer was “yes” to both, I’m ready to endorse.  I’m not sure why a 24-year-old dude who lost a year and already has a year in the bigs is considered old for you.  Even considering his rehab, he had 3.0 walks and 8.3 K’s per 9 in the minors, then went 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA, and 3.5 and 7.3 BB/K/9.  I think his K rate stays the same, but I see his control improving as he ages and is more than a year removed from surgery, so I see that ratio getting closer to 3 than 2.  That’s pretty impressive in my book, and I think he certainly belongs in that Hughes/Matusz/Anderson range.  Plus, Dave Duncan can turn chicken sh!t into chicken salad!

  18. Willis said...

    @Baltimoron

    All valid points, but I’d still be very concerned about Garcia. Garcia reminds me of Mike Leake. Both were top prospects. Both pitched extremely well in the first half but had WHIP’s that did not correspond with their low ERA’s. Where Leake’s fall happened at the end of 2010, I see Garcia’s happening soon. His splits are concerning: 2.17 ERA 1.25 WHIP in first half and 3.53 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in second half.

    Really it just comes down to my belief that no pitcher with a 1.41 WHIP can consistantly keep his ERA under 4.  Even his total 2010 numbers his 1.32 WHIP corresponds to an ERA in the high 3’s at best in my mind. Even if Garcia improves, I see his ceiling at 3.50 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, which while very good numbers, lack the spark players like Stras or Hughes are capable of. Think a younger version of Wandy Rodriguez.

  19. Willis said...

    @Baltimoron

    I have two major problems with your rankings.
    1. I understand you moving Strasburg back but the bottom line is these are dynasty rankings and once Stras returns, I’m confident he’ll fall right back into a top-10 if not top-5 starting pitcher. Even if Matusz or Hughes can play in 2011, I’m fairly confident Strasburg in 2 or 3 years will already have produced more than either of those guys in their 3 or 4 years.  I mean Domonic Brown might not play much this year (his swing is not MLB ready from what I’ve heard) but you feel comfortable ranking him ahead of a somewhat proven ace.

    2. Jaime Garcia being on the list at all is a mistake but his ranking is laughable. His only good statistic was his ERA last year which was likely generated entirely by luck (such as a low HR rate). His 1.32 WHIP and 2.06 K/BB are mediocre. He’ll already be 24 next year and doesn’t have the same stuff as Brett Anderson or Brian Matusz.  I’d not be surprised to see Garcia’s ERA climb to the 3.9-4.1 range, meaning at best he should be at the back of this list.

  20. Moe said...

    @baltimoron

    Just another quick question, Why is Ike Davis so far ahead of Freddie Freeman? I think that Freeman is going to hit Billy Butler-esque numbers, basically average power with 15-20 HR’s, and Ike Davis is going to have a .260ish 25ish season. When you combine that with Freeman being only 21 and Ike Davis being 23, it makes some sort of sense to have Freeman over Davis no? Also I like Freeman way more than Delmon Young and Austin Jackson (both on the same dynasty team with Freeman, I may add) because of their stats as well as being OF’s.

  21. Andre24 said...

    @ Willis

    Seeing as how Jaime Garcia missed essentially an entire season due to his TJ surgery in 2008, & after only throwing 37.0 minor league innings in ‘09, can fatigue not be considered an issue when it comes to analyzing his 2010 (163.3 IP) 2nd half “dropoff” as you alluded to (3.53/1.41)?  He may not reach a 2.70 ERA again in 2011, but with Dave Duncan behind him, command of 4 solid pitches & valuable ‘10 MLB experience as he distances himself from TJS, his / fantasy owners main concern should be the Cards IF defense potentially aiding in a possible regression.

  22. The Baltimoron said...

    @ Moe—I’d say Freeman suffers on my rankings for two reasons.  First, he’s still a very young guy, and while the Braves have shown they’re not afraid to promote player to the bigs if he’s ready (ala Heyward), I still think there’s no guarantee that Freeman sees significant time with the Braves this year, or next even.  He struggled in his cup of coffee in 2010, and I think he plays most of 2011 in AAA. 

    But even if he does make it and stick with the Braves, he just doesn’t have the power I look for in a first baseman.  I like the Butler comp, or perhaps James Loney, as the high side for Freeman right now.  He could prove me wrong as he ages, but for now, I’m tepid.

    Ike Davis, on the other hand, already has a full season in the bigs and profiles as a power bat.  He slugged .542, .542, and .742 in his three years at ASU, then .565 in AA in 2009, and .636 in AAA in 2010 before quickly getting the call.  Though he only slugged .440 last year, I don’t think that’s indicative of his power potential.  He hit about .355/.415 in college, and .288 with a .371 OBP in the minors, and as his major league averages start to rise closer to that level with another year’s experience and simply being another year older, I see his HR totals starting to surpass 30.  If Reyes, Wright, Beltran, and Bay are close to 100%, he could have some amazing numbers this year.  So, I see Davis both as a better player now, and in the future.

  23. Moe said...

    @ Baltimoron

    Thanks for the insight, your logic makes sense. Really my only counter-argument is that I’ve watched both Freeman and Davis play and it just seems to me that Freeman is better. This may prove wrong and obviously there’s no empirical evidence that Freeman is better than Davis. Also I applaud your ranking of Lomo (Logan Morrison) his OBP is phenomenal and the power will most likely come. Also Brett Anderson may be a tad low but I understand the injury and win concerns. Thanks for your insight.

  24. The Baltimoron said...

    @ Moe—Well, Tulo would be #1, right?  I mean, he’s a top-5 fantasy pick now regardless of age.  I think only Pujols, HanRam, and Cabrera can be argued to have more value.  Votto, CarGo, Longoria, Utley, Cano, Braun, Hamilton, and maybe Wright enter the conversation as comparable statwise, but Tulo puts up similar numbers at the ultra-thin shortstop position.  The others either play deep positions, are older, and/or are more injury prone.  Only the perennially undervalued Cano is a threat, but Tulo brings more speed and I like the depth at 2B much more than SS this year. 

    Also, he’s arguable the best defensive SS in the league, so the threat of him moving to, say, third base, is nonexistent at this point in his career.  He’s proven to be pretty durable, as a pulled quad, a cut hand from a broken bat, and a broken wrist from a HBP are his only major injuries.  He’s also known as a slow starter, but I’d rather have that than have him slump come the playoffs.  I think last year showed he can carry any team down the stretch, real or fantasy.

    Tulo was a guy I targeted in my keeper auction last year, and he got the franchise designation and 7-year contract over Pujols even (who I signed for four years) so I’m certainly a huge fan. That Rockies lineup is improving around him, and Coors will always mean crappy beer and offensive production.  Buy, buy, buy… 

    tl, dr: Tulo = da man!

  25. Adam said...

    @ Baltimoron

    Freeman will get every opportunity to lay permanent claim to 1B in Atlanta this year. Freeman spent almost all of 2010 (124 games,) in Gwinnett destroying AAA pitching to the tune of a .900OPS and a 2-1 BB/K ratio. The Braves have no other in house options to play 1B and Freeman would gain nothing by spending another year at AAA. I’m not huge on Freeman, but I think it’s pretty clear he will be the primary 1B in Atlanta this year.

  26. The Baltimoron said...

    I concede: the Braves do seem committed to letting Freeman play first right out of the gate, and I think I might be underselling his power upside.  That said, it doesn’t mean he’s ready for the bigs, or that he’ll post his AAA numbers any time soon. I’m also not sure that, even with playing time, he’s a better prospect for fantasy purposes than the players ahead of him. Those players already have a full season in MLB under their belt, and/or play premium positions, and/or have higher upsides.  Would you take Freeman over Rasmus?  Over Phil Hughes?  Moustakas?  Billy Butler?  Ackley?  Hosmer?  If you’d move him up, then to where in the rankings?  What do you think his numbers are this season, and at his peak?

  27. Paul Singman said...

    As you get closer towards the forties the rankings difference between an established MLBer like Sandoval and someone with more upside like Brandon Belt become less meaningful as long as they are reasonably close. I could see a dynasty team trading Sandoval for Belt given the conditions, and I could also see Belt for Sandoval.

    I like the comparison of Butler, Ike Davis, and Freeman. I admit I underrated Davis and if I updated my list again I’d slot him in between those two. I would have no problem slotting Rasmus and Sandoval ahead of Freeman as well, but I personally don’t think it matters much whether they are two slots ahead of or behind him.

    Phil Hughes is a frustrating pitcher for me because he was both so good and so bad at times last year. Over the long run I don’t believe he will ever completely figure it out, and a 15 win, 4.00 ERA, 150 K guy has value in fantasy baseball but I’d rather take on shot someone with more upside like Chacin than be stuck with an somewhat expendable guy like Hughes.

  28. Adam said...

    @ Baltimoron

    I think Freeman is ready. That said, I do not think you’re drastically underselling his power. I think Freeman projects to be a Mark Grace type player. I think his rookie campaign will be a .260ish/12-15HR kind of season and I think in his peak years he will be a .320ish/25HR type guy. Another overlooked part of Freeman’s game is his defense (obviously not a part of fantasy,) and I think this is a big part of why he will be thrown out there.

    Having seen Moustakas and Hosmer in person (watching them rake against my hometown Springfield Cardinals,) I think I take both of them over Freeman, and I take Rasmus over him too. I’d probably take Freeman over Butler (simply based on age) and Ackley though.

  29. The Baltimoron said...

    Well, Freeman had eerily similar years in A ball in 2008 and AAA last year.  Here are his AB, R, H, 2B, HR, RBI, K, BB, BA, OBP, SLG, and OBP for those two years:

    ‘08: 491, 70, 155, 33, 18, 95, 46, 84, .316, .378, .521, .899

    ‘10: 461, 73, 147, 35, 18, 87, 43, 84, .319, .378, .521, .898

    That’s amazing, right?  Considering how young he was/is, I think that that has to be a baseline of anticipated stats in the bigs, and I’m always willing to accept that some of those 35ish doubles turn into homers as he matures and approaches 550+ at bats. I fell better about his overall production if it includes an upgrade from 20 or so homers to somewhere closer to 30. 

    But why Freeman over Ackley?  He projects similar numbers offensively, has been working on stealing more bases, and looks locked in at 2B.  I think he either makes the team out of camp, or as soon as the clock deadline passes.  Not a fan?  He really tore up the AFL…

  30. The Baltimoron said...

    BTW, just wanted to say how much fun these posts have been!  This is just what I needed to get my fix with a month to go before my rookie auction and two before the MLBers.

  31. Paul Singman said...

    You’re in luck Baltimoron, cause I believe both Jeffrey and Josh are coming out with their own follow-ups in the coming days. Thanks for the intelligent discussion in the comments.

    Freeman has a lot more experience in the minors so he is a safer bet to produce in the majors. People have varying opinions of Ackley, for example John Sickels gave him an A- grade and called him a borderline B+.

  32. The Baltimoron said...

    Sickels gave both Freeman and Ackley an A-, and Ackley produced at an elite level at a top college program.  And I’d take a B+ second baseman over and A- guy at first. 

    Looking forward to the new articles!

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