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.
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.
|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.
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.