THT’s top 100 prospects, part 3

51: Brad Peacock/SP/Washington Nationals/2-2-88/ETA: Arrived
Forecast Notes: Breakout 2011 and two years of 8+ K/9.
Current Level: MLB
Scouting Notes: He was one of John Sickels’ breakout prospects coming into the year, and boy, oh boy, was he right. Peacock put together a monster season and now is on top-50 prospect lists left and right. His fastball is a plus pitch and sometimes is described as a plus-plus pitch. He also throws a curveball that some, such as Baseball America, describe as a knuckle curve. It is a swing-and-miss pitch that is a nice pairing with his fastball.

What will determine how successful he can be in the big leagues is how good his change-up becomes. Some still question its ability to develop into an average third offering and think Peacock will end up in the bullpen. I’m willing to gamble it becomes good enough to work through lineups multiple times and pile up strikeouts.

52: Danny Hultzen/SP/Seattle Mariners/11-28-89/ETA: 2013
Forecast Notes: League average strikeout rate with great control.
Current Level: Unassigned 2011 draftee
Scouting Notes: Most scouting reports describe him as having a No. 2 starter’s ceiling. While that’s solid, some of the other pichers drafted around him are viewed as having more upside. That said, Hultzen is considered polished and has a seemingly higher floor than those same higher upside starters. He’s a southpaw who throws a fastball in the 92-94 mph range, but can touch 96. He also throws a slider that Kevin Goldstein calls a plus pitch, Baseball America calls an average pitch that shows plus potential, John Sickels refers to as improved, and Lincoln Hamilton of Project Prospect says has shown plus break but occasionally flattens out. All those scouting gurus rave about his change-up and call it a plus pitch, with most declaring it his best offering.

His command and control are above average, which along with three quality offerings helps support his high floor. His fantasy value is boosted with Safeco being his home ballpark.

53: Jacob Marisnick/OF/Toronto Blue Jays/3-30-91/ETA: 2014
Forecast Notes: Projected to offer a bit of power, speed and some average. No one standout fantasy asset, but a contributor in all facets of the fantasy game.
Current Level: Single-A
Scouting Notes: Scouting reports loved Marisnick’s tools coming into the season, but they didn’t translate onto the field in 2010. This season saw him turn the corner and put them into good use on the field, and turn many of his detractors into believers. All his tools project to be average or better. If he develops a bit more home run power, he can leapfrog most of the outfielders in front of him.

54: Bryce Brentz/OF/Boston Red Sox/12-30-88/ETA: 2014
Forecast Notes: Solid pop, low, but rosterable batting average.
Current Level: Hi-A
Scouting Notes: His power is his best fantasy asset. Not everyone is sold that it will play as he moves up the ladder, but he took a huge step forward after a poor debut, so he gets the nod over other outfield prospects with plus power potential in the future, but lesser results now. He’s going to have to cut back on the strikeouts, or advanced pitchers will pick him apart.

55: Randall Delgado/SP/Atlanta Braves/2-9-90/ETA: Arrived
Forecast Notes: 2010 only year with MLE ERA under 6 (4.21)
Current Level: MLB
Scouting Notes: The Braves have a glut of young talented pitchers, but not everyone views Delgado as being in the same class as the rest. He throws a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s, a plus curveball and a developing change-up that is described as average with plus potential.

His command is lacking, and is his biggest problem at this point in his young career. His strikeout rates have been solid, but have slipped a bit at each level he’s moved up (with the exception being 21.2 innings in Triple-A this year). His walk rate has fluctuated between passable in the mid-3s BB/9, to mildly concerning in the lower-to-mid-4s BB/9.

There is no reason to rush the youngster with all of the rotation under contract (or team control) next season, and other more polished arms like Teheran, Mike Minor and Vizcaino to turn to, so expect to see Delgado spending a significant chunk of next year in Triple-A (barring a trade).

56: Zack Wheeler/SP/New York Mets/5-30-90/ETA: 2014
Forecast Notes: Numbers not as good as the scouting reports and he needs to lower his walk rate.
Current Level: High-A
Scouting Notes: The Mets strengthened their farm system at the trade deadline by shipping Carlos Beltran to the Giants in return for Wheeler. Since joining the Mets system his walk rate has taken a giant step forward, dropping from 4.81 BB/9 to 1.67 BB/9. His strikeout rate has remained elite, and is supported by plus fastball and developing curveball and change-up. Both of his secondary offerings lag behind his fastball, and while neither is a plus pitch at this moment, they both have flashed that type of potential.

Adam Foster of Project Prospect offered a scouting report in May on Wheeler, and while the write-up is solid, the most interesting part is the embedded video of each of his pitches. He still has to tackle the upper minors, but his first two seasons have gone well and shown promise.

57: Matt Harvey/SP/New York Mets/3-27-89/ETA: 2013
Forecast Notes: Yet to have a major league quality season; 2011 is best with 4.2 BB/9, 8.4 K/9.
Current Level: Double-A
Scouting Notes: Harvey follows Wheeler on this list, but it is debatable which is the better prospect. That’s good news for the Mets assuming both reach their ceiling. Harvey throws a plus fastball in the low-to-mid-90s and can touch the 95-97 mph range. He also throws a hard slider, a plus curveball that could develop into a plus-plus pitch according to Goldstein, and a developing change-up. The development of his change-up is going to determine whether he just lives up to his high floor, or reaches his front-of-the-rotation ceiling.

58: Archie Bradley/SP/Arizona Diamondbacks/8-10-92/ETA: 2016
Forecast Notes: Has thrown only two innings in Rookie Level ball, so he doesn’t have a forecast yet.
Current Level: Rookie
Scouting Notes: He throws a fastball that has hit 101 mph. If that’s not enough to get the juices flowing, he also throws a hammer curveball that’s praised by all outlets. He also throws a change-up that gets mixed reviews. His control lacks consistency, so expect him to be brought along slowly by the Diamondbacks. His ceiling is extremely high, high enough that Sickels suggests he may have been a steal at pick seven.

59: Mike Montgomery/SP/Kansas City Royals/7-1-89/ETA: 2012
Forecast Notes: Poor 2011 after good 2009-10 with too many walks (3.9, 3.6, 5.2 BB/9).
Current Level: Triple-A
Scouting Notes: He’s still left-handed, and he still has electric stuff. The results have been lackluster, though, as his control is less than I’d like to see, and his strikeout rate isn’t high enough to offset it. He’s just 22, so he has time to iron out his issues. The scouting industry remains high on him, but Sickels hints he may downgrade him from a B+ grade to a B and Keith Law suggesting a potential drop of 30- plus spots on his list. He doesn’t look like a slam dunk to reach his high ceiling, but if he puts it together this ranking will look foolishly low.

60: Tyrell Jenkins/SP/St. Louis Cardinals/7-20-92/ETA: 2015
Forecast Notes: Too small a sample for useful MLE forecast.
Current Level: Rookie
Scouting Notes: He didn’t make either Baseball America‘s or Kevin Goldstein’s Midseason Top-50 Prospect lists, but he did crack Keith Law’s. He was drafted in last year’s supplemental first round out of high school. He played multiple sports in high school, and is described as a tremendous athlete. Because he didn’t play baseball in high school, he’s a bit of a project, but one with the upside of three plus pitches (fastball, change-up and curve). He already throws hard, and throws strikes. His strikeout-to-walk rate is better than four-to-one. He gives up a lot of hits, which suggests he’ll need to work on throwing more quality strikes. He’s a high risk/high reward type prospect.

61: Billy Hamilton/SS/Cincinnati Reds/9-9-90/ETA: 2014
Forecast Notes: Great steals, good glove, no bat, lots of strikeouts.
Current Level: Single-A
Scouting Notes: Baseball Prospectus’ Jason Parks has described his speed as a 90 on the 20-to-80 scale—quite high praise. He’s raw and developing, and he’ll need to continue to improve making contact, but his plus-plus speed tool and insane stolen base upside at shortstop make him worth a gamble. He’s unlikely to bring any power, but young Jose Reyes-type steal numbers would look quite nice if he’s able to hit enough to reach the majors.

62: Javier Baez/SS/Chicago Cubs/12-1-91/ETA: 2015
Forecast Notes: Too small a sample as a 2011 draftee
Current Level: Short-season-A
Scouting Notes: Baez is a high offensive ceiling 2011 draftee who currently plays shortstop. Some think he’ll need to move to third base, which is why he slots here instead of a dozen or more spots higher. Another knock against Baez is that his makeup has been questioned by a number of scouts. As far as positives, he has plus bat speed that should allow him to hit for power, but Steve Carter“>Project Prospects’ Steve Carter questions if the way he generates plus bat speed will allow him to reach his ceiling as a hitter. Whether he plays shortstop or third base, the potential for both a plus power and hitting makes him an exciting prospect.

63: Oswaldo Arcia/OF/Minnesota Twins/5-9-91/ETA: 2014
Forecast Notes: Regressed in 2011 but projected for 25-30 homers with few walks.
Current Level: High-A
Scouting Notes: He’s young with plus power projection and a solid average. He’s a ways away, but has shown enough for Keith Law to rank him in the middle of his Midseason Top-50 Prospect List. He’ll need to tighten his command of the strike zone to really flourish (9:53 walk-to-strikeout in 213 High-A at bats).

64: Michael Olt/3B/Texas Rangers/8-27-88/ETA: 2014
Forecast Notes: Breakout 2011, but too many strikeouts and not enough pop to offset them.
Current Level: High-A
Scouting Notes: Olt suffered a broken collarbone which shortened a season that was off to a solid start. He projects to hit for power, but he’ll need to cut back on his strikeout rate to hit for average. His defense is quite good at the position, but a move to the outfield may be necessitated by Adrian Beltre‘s long-term deal in Texas. If he moves to the outfield, he drops entirely off this list. Plus power at third base with the potential for a passable average is too much to pass up at this point on the list.

65: Nick Castellanos/3B/Detroit Tigers/3-4-92/ETA: 2014
Forecast Notes: Peak .279/.332/.425.
Current Level: Single-A
Scouting Notes: His bat gets good grades from most, and most scouting reports expect him to develop his power as he matures and eclipse 20 home runs annually. He has what some describe as a sweet swing with good bat speed that allowed him to hit over .300 in Single-A this year. He may have to sacrifice some average to generate power, but most would sign up for a .280 average if it comes with 20 plus home runs from their fantasy third baseman. Toss in his respectable 8 percent walk rate as a 19 year old in full season minor league baseball and the seeds of a middle-of-the-order hitter are in place to bloom in Detroit.

66: Robbie Erlin/SP/San Diego Padres/10-8-90/ETA: 2012
Forecast Notes: Great walk rate with above league average strikeout rate.
Current Level: Double-A
Scouting Notes: Erlin is a left-handed pitcher whose fastball operates in the upper-80s to low-90s. He throws an above- average curveball and change-up, but neither pitch is described as being exceptional. Most scouting reports peg his ceiling as a solid No. 3 starter.

How is a pitcher with this description ranked among the top prospects in baseball? It’s a perfect storm of positives for Erlin that land him here. Every scouting report I’ve read lauds his control and high pitching IQ, which he uses to sequence his pitches in ways that maximize their effectiveness. His results have been great in Double-A, where he’s struck out more than eight times as many hitters as he’s walked (92 strikeouts to 11 walks in 92.2 innings). The final factor is his new organization. He was dealt from the unfavorable home confines in Texas to San Diego, where he can now call PETCO home.

67: Jake Odorizzi/SP/Kansas City/3-27-90/ETA: 2013
Forecast Notes: His MLE walk and strikeout rates took a step forward while his ERA and WHIP took a step back.
Current Level: Double-A
Scouting Notes: Odorizzi’s were tremendous in High-A, but took a huge step back against advanced competition in Double-A, where his strikeout rate plummeted from 11.83 K/9 to 7.08 K/9. His walk rate remained very good, below 3.0 BB/9, but his extreme flyball profile has the potential to be crippling to his fantasy value. Goldstein noted improvement this year at the midway mark, but Law suggested otherwise at the same point. Baseball America described his fastball as his lone plus pitch coming into the season. It has good, but not elite, velocity.

I haven’t read any scouting reports discussing how he’s using his fastball, but given his batted ball tendency and high strikeout rate in High-A that dipped in Double-A, I’m guessing he’s throwing it up in the zone. That approach would leave less advanced hitters swinging through it and more talented competition catching up to it and punishing it. Perhaps the vibe I’m getting is unwarranted, but Odorizzi has a Chris Tillman feel to me. Most prospect rankings have him higher, but his present stuff and projection don’t offer a high enough ceiling to ignore his struggles in Double-A.

68: Dellin Betances/SP/New York Yankees/3-23-88/ETA: Arrived
Forecast Notes: Huge slip in walk rate from 2010 to 2011. His poor walk rate this year falls in line with his career, with 2010 looking like the outlier.
Current Level: MLB
Scouting Notes: Betances offers the combination of electric stuff and a big physical build that allows scouts to dream of a workhorse fronting a major league rotation. Unfortunately, Betances has enough warts on his game that a shift to the bullpen may be necessary. One obstacle is his lack of a consistent change-up to use with his plus fastball and plus-plus curveball. (He also throws a slider which he’ll use to strike hitters out.)

The other, larger, obstacle for Betances is his lack of control. In short, he walks too many hitters. One possible reason is his large frame. Often times, bigger pitchers struggle to repeat their delivery. Betances isn’t overly athletic, further aiding the difficulties of repeating a delivery. Lst year showed what Betances is capable of when he can keep the walks in line, and his relatively high floor as a high leverage reliever, and potential heir to Mariano Rivera‘s closing job, makes this a fair rating.

69: A.J. Cole/SP/Washington Nationals/1-5-92/ETA: 2014
Forecast Notes: Awesome strikeout rate and walk rate in the low minors this year project to translate to the majors by about 2016.
Current Level: Single-A
Scouting Notes: Cole throws a plus fastball with good velocity and projection for even more as he matures. His curveball and change-up lag behind the heater, but the curveball has plus potential and his change-up is in the development stages. His control is very impressive for a tall (6-foot-4) 19-year-old who pitched in full season ball. That solid control hasn’t come at the expense of strikeouts— his 10.92 K/9 is superb. He was a 2010 draft selection out of high school, but may move fast for a prep pitcher; he took well to Single-A this year. Even if he spends a full season in both Double-A and Triple-A, he’d reach the majors as a 22-year-old.

70: Jeurys Familia/SP/New York Mets/10-10-89/ETA: 2013
Forecast Notes: This year’s 4.1 BB/9 career best. Peak projected ERA is 4.87.
Current Level: Double-A
Scouting Notes: Familia’s money pitch is his premium fastball, which has plus-plus velocity in the mid-to-upper-90s. His command took a huge step forward this year without sacrificing a great deal in strikeouts. He also throws a power slider and is working on his change-up. It sounds as if he’s made strides with both secondary offerings this year. He’ll need to continue to develop both, or he’ll be relegated to the bullpen. Even that wouldn’t necessarily cripple his value if the Mets choose to groom him as a closer. For now, though, expect to see the Mets continue to develop him as a starter after a bounce-back 2011 campaign.

71: George Springer/OF/Houston Astros/9-19-89/ETA: 2015
Forecast Notes: Some home runs, some walks, lots of strikeouts.
Current Level: Short season-A
Scouting Notes: The words “upside,” “tools” and “raw” are thrown around in just about every notable scouting report on Astros first-round pick George Springer. He has plus speed and plus power potential, but his swing mechanics have come into question and he isn’t as developed as your typical high first-round college hitter. He’s a high risk/high reward prospect, but because he’s older than prep boom-or-bust prospects Bubba Starling and Josh Bell, he’s finds himself rated lower.

72: Leonys Martin/OF/Texas Rangers/3-6-88/ETA: Arrived
Forecast Notes: Peak .266/.320/.377.
Current Level: MLB
Scouting Notes: Martin is a Cuban defector the Rangers paid top dollar for in May. He flew through the system, and is expected to be the future in center field for the organization. His speed is above average, but not otherworldly. He is described by most as having gap power, but isn’t a sure thing to develop into the type of hitter capable of hitting double-digit home runs.

His hitting skills get mixed reviews, ranging from plus to questionable. Such a wide variance, modest power potential, and above-average but not elite stolen base upside leave me a bit perplexed as to why he’s well regarded in the fantasy prospect community. Is it a matter of folks not being able to distinguish between real life and fantasy value, or am I missing something? He doesn’t strike out often, so maybe his hitting isn’t quite as questionable as some reports make it out to be. That said, playing the deep position of outfield sets the bar relatively high to be an impact fantasy player.

73: Trevor May/SP/Philadelphia Phillies/ETA: 2014
Forecast Notes: MLE of 6.1 BB/9 in 2011 is career best, as is 10.5 K/9.
Current Level: High-A
Scouting Notes: May’s stock is rising after he cut his walk rate from a ghastly 7.84 BB/9 last year to a palatable 4.05 BB/9. His strikeout rate is elite, as the Forecast MLE suggests. He repeated High-A as a 21-year-old this year, so he’ll need to prove himself against Double-A hitters next year before moving up this list. He’s a tall pitcher 6-foot-5 and has a body that is projectable to add on to. In addition to a fastball that is a plus pitch and can hit the mid-90s, he throws curveballs and change-ups plus potential. If he can develop his secondary stuff and refine his control, his ability to miss bats could put him on the fast track through the upper minors, making the mild age concerns due to repeating a level a moot point.

74: Zach Lee/SP/Los Angeles Dodgers/ETA: 2015
Forecast Notes: Underwhelming MLE on his pro debut.
Current Level: Single-A
Scouting Notes: Lee was a two-sport prep superstar with a scholarship offer to play football for LSU. The Dodgers surprised most by selecting him last year and meeting his bonus requirement, spreading it over five years. His strikeout rate of 7.51 K/9 and walk rate of 2.64 BB/9 are impressive for a 19-year-old (he turned 20 on Sept. 13) debuting in Single-A, and even more impressive when realizing he didn’t concentrate on baseball exclusively in high school. As you’d expect of a player recruited to play football at an elite college program, he’s a great athlete and has a ton of projection. Scouting reports are better than his solid results.

75: Jarred Cosart/SP/Houston Astros/ETA: 2012
Forecast Notes: Strikeout rate and walk rate both took steps in the wrong direction, but had average MLEs in 2010 and better than average in 2009.
Current Level: Double-A
Scouting Notes: Cosart impressed on the big stage in his Futures Game performance where his stuff played up in a small dose. He throws a plus fastball and curveball and induces a ton of ground balls. To take the next step, he’ll need to start missing bats. He’s not striking out nearly enough batters to be fantasy relevant. Further hurting his ranking are concerns Keith Law voiced about his delivery across his body in his Midseason Top-50 Prospect list.

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Comments

  1. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ Don G

    That is correct.  He does crack the top-100 though.  Reports are that his stuff is back, which is good.  He’s regained most of his control which is also a positive.  The reason he appears in the bottom quarter of the list is that I’ve read his slider usage has been down since returning from Tommy John.  The strikeout numbers have expectedly dropped with him using his putaway pitch less often.  If it is a matter of him just needing to regain confidence in throwing it, he’ll move up quickly.  If he’s throwing it less as a conscious effort to stay healthy, or at the direction of coaches and the front office that becomes bothersome.  His fastball is for inducing groundballs and would allow him to pile up innings, but not using his best offering to generate strikeouts would hurt his fantasy value greatly.  Monitor the situation.

  2. Sepheron said...

    Just wondering where Drew Hutchison, Nestor Molina and Justin Nicolino would each rank respectively if you had a total list. Just a wild guess would suffice, something like top 100, 150, 200?

  3. Josh Shepardson said...

    @Sepheron

    I’ll respond in full to your first question as soon as I get home from work.  Unfortunately I only moonlight as a writer and it doesn’t pay the bills haha.  In regards to Marisnick he nearly found himself in the cluster of OF’s that rounded out the top-50.  He’s certainly in that discussion.

  4. Mark said...

    With the good fastball and two good breaking balls, the name that Matt Harvey has been reminding me of lately is Tommy Hanson.  Power pitchers who feature two distinctly different breaking balls are pretty unusual, Hanson’s the only one I can think of who came up recently.  How fair is that comp for Harvey’s ceiling?

  5. dan said...

    Mesoraco is 6th and Hamilton 61st but Alonso and Cozart aren’t anywhere in the top 75??

    Whether he’s at 1st or left Alonso is gonna play somewhere for someone. He’s got the bat. And, while his ceiling is limited, the power/speed combo (with a decent average) of Cozart is valuable considering the options at shortstop.

  6. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ dan

    If you were looking to highlight Reds prospects you missed Grandal at 41.  Alonso makes the top-100, but not top-75.  In short, his bat plays better in reality baseball where his doubles hold more value, than in fantasy.  There is more to it than that, but I won’t spoil the write-up that you’ll get to see tomorrow. 

    As for Cozart, he’s not a top-100 prospect even with positional scarcity taken into account.  I do think he has value in NL-only leagues and deep mixed leagues that use a MI position, but not much beyond that.  His 30 stolen bases in 2010 look like an anomaly, and his batting average in both Triple-A and the majors this year are largely driven by unsustainable BABIP’s.  At best I think you’re looking at a J.J. Hardy-lite. 

    I would guess you are a Reds fan by your post, and will say that there is a prospect of the organization’s that cracked the top-100 that may surprise you a bit.

  7. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ Mark

    That’s a decent comp for Harvey’s ceiling.  Most scouting services reports suggest him having a front line starter’s ceiling, and Hanson would fit the bill of a front line starter.  Keep in mind Hanson dominated the Arizona Fall League and Triple-A before his promotion, so Harvey has a ways to go to get there, but in the world of comps I can live with that one having read the reports I have.

  8. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ Sepheron

    Hutchinson and Nicolino have a case to be in the top-100 over a few of the arms I include to conclude the list.  In fact, in retrospect, I probably should have included them in the 90-100 range.  It’s really a coin flip between which I’d prefer as well, with Nicolino getting consideration for the leg up due to being a southpaw, and Hutchinson getting consideration for ranking higher because of current level.  If I had to go gut, I’d say I’d lean a little toward Nicolino of the two.  With the minor league season over, updated scouting reports are starting to surface, such as the individual league Top-20 scouting reports at Baseball America.  As that info becomes more prevalent, I’ll be able to better assess where they stand, as some of the information I’m finding currently is a bit dated. 

    As for Molina, he may push for the top-150, but tough for me to say I’d go any higher.  The stats are great, but between two Baseball America chat answers (one from Jim Callis and one from J.J. Cooper) and a blurb from Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus, I’m gathering he’s more of a guy with a limited ceiling making the most of a variety of average offerings and solid control/command.  All seem to point to him getting to the big leagues and being useful, but 3/4 type starter is the suggestion, and with no plus offerings it’s hard for me to believe he’ll be good enough to be a major fantasy asset.

    Sorry for the large gap in time between responses to your posts, but wanted to be thorough.

  9. dan said...

    Josh
    I’ll wait for your write up on Alonso.

    On Cozart, I agree that we shouldn’t expect 30 sb out of him. But around 15 for homers and steals with a decent average is reasonable. He’s got a pretty good floor, plays a shalloow position, and can be pretty much penciled into the starting shortstop spot for next year. That should be enough to make him a top 75 or even top 100 prospect.

  10. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ Dan

    15 homers seems reasonable, perhaps he could even exceed that by a couple, but I’m not sure I’d pencil him in for 15 stolen bases.  He stole 9 in 388 PA between Triple-A and the majors, with none coming in the majors.  He may get there, but 10-12 feels like a safer projection, even if I’m nitpicking a bit.  I also don’t believe he’ll hit for much average.  Prior to this year, his best average in the minors was .280 and it came in Single-A in 2008.  I think a .250-.260 average is probably more likely in his rookie season than one that is useful in fantasy formats.  The Reds lineup is really good, so he’ll almost certainly hit in the bottom third of it, limiting his run and RBI opportunities.  The fact he’ll have an opportunity to show what he’s got is good, but I believe his ultimate role with the Reds longterm will be as a useful utility player.

  11. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ Behemoth

    I definitely agree that sometimes the value of a high floor is underrated.  I may still be underestimating it, but in fairness, I did put Hultzen in front of a number of pitchers who are considered to have higher ceilings.  Also in complete agreement about the value of pitching in Seattle, that without question played a role with his ranking.

  12. dan said...

    Josh

    9 sb in 388 plate appearances means he couldn’t get around 15 sb? Yes, you are definitely nitpicking. Also, what kind of leagues are you talking about where he wouldn’t be useful? A shallow leage maybe where most of these prospects wouldn’t matter? When Danny Espinosa is owned in half of fbb leagues it would make sense that Cozart would also be owned in AT LEAST as many leagues when the biggest difference between the two is the better expected average by Cozart.

    You said at the start of part 1: “A lot of factors went into deciding who should rank where, including a player’s ceiling and floor, age, organization, position, and a many others.”

    That doesn’t sound right. But, this does:

    “I tended to lean in favor of players with high ceilings than those with high floors.”

    Now, that sounds about right. Kudos to you for owning up to having a bias against high floor players. But, only trying to hit home runs with high upside/low floor prospects doesn’t work that well. Floor and eta do matter. Case in point, Billy Hamilton. Hamilton has alot of upside, more than Cozart, and I’ve touted Hamilton myself. But, Hamilton is also a lot less of a sure thing. Much farther away from the majors, no power, and then there’s his defense. Again, your words: “the only relevance of a player’s defense is whether it is going to remain good enough for him stick at his current defensive home”. So, is it a lock that Hamilton stays at short, or even in the infield? You failed to address the concern about his defense. It’s mostly fixable throwing errors but what if he’s one of those players that isn’t able to fix it? Edwin Encarnación couldn’t and he’s become an utility player. If Hamilton can’t fix his defensive problems he’ll likely end up in the outfield where his speed would be more of a defensive asset. That would hurt his fantasy value though now wouldn’t it?

    It’s easy to fall in love with prospects with alot of potential. But, it’s a mistake to ignore medium ceiling/higher floor prospects, especially if they’re much closer to the majors. An all-star usually isn’t required at every position to win a fbb league. Sometimes those good, but not great, players can be enough of a difference between getting production from a position and not having enough to win a fbb league.

    Considering that Cozart will have his share of homers and steals with a decent average (.260-.280) and is expected to be a starting shortstop on opening day 2012 in a pretty good lineup I think he should be fantasy relevant enough to be ranked in the top 100. But, if you want to value high upside players exclusively over safer players that’s up to you.

  13. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ dan

    You must have only glossed over my last post, because clearly you have a much higher floor for Cozart than I do.  I’m not sure how one season with an average above .280 in the last three safely allows for penciling him in for a .260-.280 average.  You reference a good lineup, which is true, but when it results in Cozart hitting nowhere near the heart of it, I’m wondering how he’ll benefit?  Danny Espinosa hit 21 HR’s and stole 17 bases, I’d take the under on both totals for Cozart, and think 15 and 12 is a reasonable projection with upside for a couple more of each, and downside for less as well.  Even at his best, I don’t see him totaling 38 HR’s plus SB’s, and I don’t expect him to hit better than .255-.265 range.  I’d say 15 HR’s, 12 SB’s and a .260 average with underwhelming run and RBI totals that result from hitting in the bottom third of the order don’t amount to useful in all leagues, and I still think there is downside from that projection.

  14. Josh Shepardson said...

    @Dan

    Thank you for commenting, and clearly our opinions of Mozart’s floor are where we’re butting heads.  I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but I believe at best we’re talking about a top 18 shortstop in fantasy.  That’s not worth bypassing on 100 other prospects for when attached to the risk of failure or replacement.  As the weakest player in a good lineup I find it hard to believe the Reds don’t recognize shortstop as the position that can be most upgraded in their starting lineup through trade or free agency.  That adds yet another pitfall to gambling on Mozart in my opinion.

  15. dan said...

    Josh

    You said: “You must have only glossed over my last post, because clearly you have a much higher floor for Cozart than I do.”

    No I didn’t and no I don’t think I do. The differences that we’re talking about aren’t that big. At least they don’t seem that way to me. You think his stats will be a little lower than I do. And that’s fine. But, I don’t see my expectations as a clearly much higher floor.

  16. dan said...

    “That’s not worth bypassing on 100 other prospects for when attached to the risk of failure or replacement.”

    While Cozart has a lower ceiling than some of these players he’s also a safer prospect to do anything in the majors. So, your comment doesn’t make much sense to me.

    Anyway, we’re beating a dead horse. On to part 4…

  17. Behemoth said...

    A quick thought on Hultzen – he’s probably the closest to the majors of any of the 2011 pitchers (maybe except Bauer), and I think people are underestimating the value of his high floor. I saw Goldstein (I think) say that he thought Hultzen was the most likely pitcher in the 2011 draft to reach 100 wins. That, plus pitching in Seattle, has considerable fantasy value, even if he isn’t likely to be an ace.

  18. Josh Shepardson said...

    @ Gus

    James Paxton did miss the list.  He had an awesome season, especially once he was promoted to Double-A.  His walk rate in Single-A worried me a little bit, and even after his lights out season Jason Parks described him as a mid-rotation starter.  He is a lefty though, and throws with plus velocity for a southpaw, so he could make a jump.  If he retains the control advances he showed in Double-A, and his changeup continues to develop, he can crack the list.  As it stands, he’s not far off, and I wouldn’t be up in arms if someone suggested they’d prefer him to some of the players I listed in the last quarter of the list.

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