2020 Top 101 Prospects for Roto Leagues (Early) by Trey Baughn December 4, 2019 Prospect season is around the corner, and while various rankings, reports, and even trades will continue to influence the ebb and flow of prospect opinions, it’s helpful to lay the groundwork for establishing this year’s fantasy prospect values as early as possible. The list below represents a very early look at the top 101 prospects in the game for fantasy leagues tailored specifically towards traditional rotisserie scoring (where AVG, ERA, and SB are better indicators than OPS, FIP, and wOBA.). For example, this list could be a resource for evaluating the value of prospects in Ottoneu Old School 5 x 5 leagues. The top 101 prospects for sabermetrics leagues is here. Years ago I introduced the Scorecard system, my custom prospect ranking process, and I’ve continued to use this method for scoring and ranking this crop of 2020 prospects. In ranking these prospects I take into account the following factors: Scouting “Scouting” is everything that goes into evaluating the true talent of an MLB prospect. Age, ability, stats, rankings, “makeup”, and scouting reports all play a role here. It’s the input of information that causes you to ask about the player’s ceiling, their floor, and what might be realistic in between. What are the risks, and how serious are they? Is this prospect regarded more for their defensive talents than offensive? What MLB players might they compare to? What is their future value expectation and how likely are they to reach it? Taylor Trammell scouts like a tremendously athletic player, but scouting alone hasn’t yet materialized into an elite on-field player, so there are other elements to consider when ranking him among the other top prospects in the game in this context. Scoring “Scoring” is honestly assessing whether the prospect’s skills and talents effectively translate to the specific scoring format of your fantasy league. It seems obvious, but I continually see fantasy owners fail to make this connection in the way they draft and value their prospects each season. While Andrew Vaughn might be a top pick in sabermetic leagues, his value needs to be reassessed in the context of 5 x 5 leagues, for example. In order to be more successful in building our dynasty rosters, we need to always project value within the context of our specific league, which is what this rating is designed to consider. Impact “Impact” is more than just estimating a reasonable MLB ETA for your prospect. While isolating a realistic debut is helpful, it is far more important to give some thought as to when your prospect may actually contribute (in a significant way) to your team within the context of your fantasy format. Is it realistic to expect this prospect to need a significant MLB adjustment period? Will they play full time? Do you expect this prospect to be an above-replacement level contributor during the season in which your roster is built to compete? If not, you might be better served trading them away for MLB players that are already near peak performance. “Will this prospect truly improve my team when I need them most?” That’s what we’re getting at when rating “impact”, and players with a skill set that should allow them to succeed or adapt to MLB more quickly get a boost here. Due to at least some level of MLB success and a clear rotation opportunity, Jesus Luzardo and Michael Kopech get a small boost here. Due to his recent long-term contract, Evan White also receives a bump, since it’s expected he will get a longer leash to make adjustments that many other prospects during their debut. Hype “Hype” is a measure of perceived prospect value within the industry (usually in the form of rankings or press) and especially within your own league. It has to do with the trend of a prospect’s value over time. Is it growing, like Julio Rodriguez, or is it waning after injury or a “disappointing” debut like Mitch Keller? The careers of these young players could go in any direction at this point, but perceived value is just as important as real fantasy contribution value. “Hype” is an attempt to measure the demand for this prospect within your league, which usually takes the form of constant trade interest, particularly in dynasty leagues. Being part of a large, live online baseball community like Ottoneu (where we have a dedicated Slack channel just to talk prospects, for example) gives me the advantage of “reading the crowd” more than most leagues. Brendan Rodgers is an example of another prospect the crowds seem to be backing away from this year, at least in terms of fantasy expectations. Cost “Cost” is the price at which a player is owned, both in the present and the future, and it can never be overlooked. Cost is always a variable in fantasy prospect valuation. Always. In keeper leagues, cost is usually a function of the draft round required to keep a player, or in auction leagues like Ottoneu, the salary at which you own the player for future seasons given a salary budget. Again, perception is reality within your league, as there may be a substantially different reaction (demand) to an $8 Adley Rutschman compared to a $3 Adley Rutschman. For these specific rankings below, I’ve assumed cost is neutral across all prospects, but would encourage you to always consider cost when calculating your own values. Again, these rankings below are early, and they are specific to fantasy leagues that lean towards sabermetric scoring systems. Fantasy prospect rankings are fluid, so some of these rankings will shift over the next few months as more information and analysis becomes available. Special thanks to the FanGraphs prospect team for all their hard work producing exceptional prospect content, including The Board, which now makes some of this research a lot easier. 2020 Top 101 Prospects (Roto) Rank Player Team POS Age FV 1 Luis Robert CHW CF 22.2 55 2 Wander Franco TBR SS 18.7 70 3 Jo Adell LAA RF 20.6 65 4 Gavin Lux LAD 2B 21.9 60 5 Jesus Luzardo OAK LHP 22.1 55 6 Michael Kopech CHW RHP 23.5 55 7 MacKenzie Gore SDP LHP 20.7 60 8 Julio Rodriguez SEA RF 18.8 50 9 Cristian Pache ATL CF 21.0 60 10 Kristian Robinson ARI CF 18.9 55 11 Carter Kieboom WSN SS 22.2 60 12 Matt Manning DET RHP 21.8 55 13 Forrest Whitley HOU RHP 22.1 60 14 Royce Lewis MIN SS 20.4 65 15 Dylan Carlson STL LF 21.0 50 16 Casey Mize DET RHP 22.5 60 17 Alex Kirilloff MIN RF 22.0 50 18 Andrew Vaughn CHW 1B 21.6 50 19 Jarred Kelenic SEA CF 20.3 55 20 Marco Luciano SFG SS 18.1 55 21 CJ Abrams SDP CF 19.1 50 22 Adley Rutschman BAL C 21.7 60 23 A.J. Puk OAK LHP 24.5 55 24 Nate Pearson TOR RHP 23.2 55 25 Dustin May LAD RHP 22.2 60 26 Bobby Witt Jr. KCR SS 19.4 55 27 Alec Bohm PHI 3B 23.2 50 28 Jordan Groshans TOR 3B 20.0 50 29 Nick Solak TEX 2B 24.8 50 30 Taylor Trammell SDP LF 22.1 55 31 Heliot Ramos SFG RF 20.2 50 32 Brennen Davis CHC CF 20.0 45 33 Daulton Varsho ARI C 23.3 50 34 Alek Thomas ARI CF 19.5 50 35 Evan White SEA 1B 23.5 50 36 Corbin Carroll ARI CF 18.8 50 37 Drew Waters ATL CF 20.8 55 38 Riley Greene DET RF 19.1 50 39 Trevor Larnach MIN RF 22.7 50 40 Vidal Brujan TBR 2B 21.7 55 41 Brendan Rodgers COL SS 23.2 55 42 Ian Anderson ATL RHP 21.5 55 43 Brusdar Graterol MIN RHP 21.2 50 44 Spencer Howard PHI RHP 23.3 50 45 JJ Bleday MIA RF 22.0 50 46 Jordyn Adams LAA CF 20.0 45 47 Tarik Skubal DET LHP 22.9 45 48 Luis Patino SDP RHP 20.0 55 49 Brendan McKay TBR LHP 23.9 60 50 Nick Madrigal CHW 2B 22.6 55 51 Sixto Sanchez MIA RHP 21.3 55 52 Logan Gilbert SEA RHP 22.5 50 53 Jazz Chisholm MIA SS 21.8 55 54 Hunter Bishop SFG CF 21.4 45 55 Nolan Gorman STL 3B 19.5 55 56 Jasson Dominguez NYY CF 16.4 50 57 Joey Bart SFG C 22.9 55 58 Jeter Downs LAD 2B 21.3 50 59 Daniel Lynch KCR LHP 23.0 45 60 Sean Murphy OAK C 25.1 55 61 Isaac Paredes DET 3B 20.7 50 62 Jorge Mateo OAK CF 24.4 45 63 Brady Singer KCR RHP 23.2 45 64 Travis Swaggerty PIT CF 22.2 50 65 Hunter Greene CIN RHP 20.2 50 66 Yusniel Diaz BAL RF 23.1 50 67 Oneil Cruz PIT CF 21.1 55 68 Jonathan India CIN 3B 22.9 50 69 Ke’Bryan Hayes PIT 3B 22.8 60 70 Josiah Gray LAD RHP 21.9 50 71 George Valera CLE CF 19.0 50 72 Nico Hoerner CHC 2B 22.5 50 73 Xavier Edwards SDP 2B 20.2 50 74 Deivi Garcia NYY RHP 20.5 50 75 James Karinchak CLE RHP 24.1 40 76 Daniel Johnson CLE CF 24.3 45 77 Jordan Balazovic MIN RHP 21.1 45 78 Liover Peguero ARI SS 18.8 45 79 Tyler Freeman CLE SS 20.4 45 80 Jackson Kowar KCR RHP 23.1 45 81 Geraldo Perdomo ARI SS 20.0 50 82 Noelvi Marte SEA SS 18.0 40 83 Ronny Mauricio NYM SS 18.6 55 84 George Kirby SEA RHP 21.7 45 85 Matthew Liberatore TBR LHP 20.0 50 86 Keibert Ruiz LAD C 21.3 60 87 Gilberto Jimenez BOS CF 19.3 40 88 Edward Cabrera MIA RHP 21.6 50 89 Brandon Marsh LAA CF 21.9 50 90 Luis Garcia WSN SS 19.5 50 91 Greg Jones TBR SS 21.7 45 92 Luis Campusano SDP C 21.1 50 93 Jeremiah Jackson LAA 3B 19.6 45 94 Nolan Jones CLE 3B 21.5 50 95 Jose Garcia CIN SS 21.6 45 96 Brice Turang MIL SS 19.9 50 97 Leody Taveras TEX CF 21.1 45 98 Aaron Bracho CLE LF 18.5 40 99 Grayson Rodriguez BAL RHP 20.0 50 100 Triston Casas BOS 1B 19.8 50 101 Kyle Wright ATL RHP 24.1 50 An early ranking of the top 101 fantasy prospects for 2020 in traditional rotisserie leagues. If you have questions about specific prospects, feel free to discuss in the comments. The top 101 prospects for sabermetrics leagues is here.