A new Ottoneu league has recently formed with a twist – despite the deep, dynasty-like structure of the platform, our league has decided on a single rule change this year: players without MLB experience (“rookies”) are ineligible for the annual spring player auction. Instead, rookies may only be added to rosters through an in-season free agent player auction once they have accumulated their first MLB PA or IP. Yes, this means Luis Robert cannot be owned (48 hour auction waiting period) until he completes his first PA, most likely to come on Opening Day (3/26) against the Royals.
This one simple rule change impacts a tremendous amount of Ottoneu strategy, a discussion for which I’ll reserve a future post. For now, the purpose of this article is to list the rookies that have at least some opportunity to debut in 2020, and estimate which of these prospects might actually have some relevant fantasy impact this season.
The table below lists 130+ prospects that could potentially make their initial MLB rookie debut in 2020. All players with existing MLB experience (Gavin Lux, Jesus Luzardo, Dustin May) have been removed. The three columns to the far right should be the most useful:
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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” 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” 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.
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 sabermetric scoring (where OPS, FIP, and wOBA are better indicators than AVG, ERA, and SB). For example, this list could be a resource for evaluating the value of prospects in Ottoneu points leagues (a separate post will follow ranking the top 101 prospects for traditional rotisserie leagues).
Royce Lewis scouts like a dream player (and #1 draft selection), 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” 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 Drew Waters might be an exciting buy in a 5 x 5 auction, his value needs to be reassessed in the context of OPS 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.
Last season I kicked off April with some early trade reviews from the Ottoneu community, and today I’ll do the same, hoping to peek under the hood of some early player perceptions as transactions start to take shape across the fantasy baseball world.
As a quick reminder, Ottoneu is a keeper system by design that shifts the balance just short of traditional dynasty leagues, and offers a variety of scoring systems (including H2H).
Few aspects of fantasy baseball deviate more from the reality of major league baseball more than the speculation of prospects. Like most aspects of market-based economics, you often have to buy early on limited information if you want to get the best return on investment before the rest of the industry influences supply and demand. Perception is reality until prospects actually get the chance to contribute (or fail) on a major league field, and the outcome of those small but important samples can swing values wildly in short cycles.
The goal today is to identify up and coming talent well before the masses of most leagues, so here are five prospects primed to see a big increase in value in 2019. You won’t find these prospects sitting on many Top 100 lists (yet), but you’ll want to at least keep them on your radar as they rise in the future.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the best baseball prospect in the world. He’s better than most recent #1 overall prospects. He’s the best offensive prospect since at least Kris Bryant (ROY + MVP), and many would say you’d have to go back much further to Miggy or even Pujols to get a true comparison. For some scouts he possesses the seemingly impossible combination of both an 80 grade hit tool and an 80 grade power profile. His batter’s box skills have HOF lineage and yet somehow he has done nothing but exceed expectations (batting .402 in AA at age 19 helps). He already has the look and potential of an all-time great. Best of all, Vlad, Jr. will debut in 2019.
It’s prospect season (thank goodness, as nothing else is happening). Nearly one year ago I borrowed from the great work by Eric and Kiley here and applied some fantasy context to their overall Top 100 prospect rankings from 2018. We’ll do something similar for 2019, but before the full frenzy of this season’s prospect rankings reaches it’s peak, I thought it prudent to review prospect perceptions from this time last year to see if we can learn anything.
From last year’s post, the same purpose applies:
The goal here is simply to each prospect’s grades and scouting reports and then translate those skills into “what could be” for fantasy context (for example where “upside” might represent an 80%+ outcome on a prospect’s potential).
For comparison, last year’s comments are at the top, followed by a value trend and general update on where things appear to be for each prospect heading into 2019.
Contrary to popular belief, the secret to rebuilding (and winning) your fantasy league is not hoarding prospects. This season, you could be waiting patiently for the arrivals of Michael Kopech, Willie Calhoun, and Luis Urias to save your team, or you could have jumped on pop-up producers like Max Muncy, Jesus Aguilar, and Ross Stripling. Last year, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, and Charlie Morton were universally available if your timing was right.
The thing about prospects is that sometimes they pan out, and sometimes they don’t. Even a “successful” one like Ronald Acuña has just a 114 wRC+, with a rest-of-season projection slightly below that. In real life, that’s fantastic for a 20-year-old and Acuña is a likely future star. But in the meantime his production is nothing special.
And again: Acuña is a success story. Owners might wait years for the likes of Byron Buxton, Dansby Swanson, and Alex Reyes to carry their teams to relevancy. All the while, players like the following four who are owned in less than 40 percent (well, actually, 43 percent) of Ottoneu leagues have been quietly carrying contenders: Read the rest of this entry »
In November I used the Prospect Scorecard to take an early look at the top 100 fantasy prospects for both Roto leagues and Ottoneu’s wOBA-heavy FanGraphs Points leagues. In February I also added a quick fantasy spin on Eric and Kiley’s great preseason work ranking the top 100 prospects in baseball. Later this summer (July) I’ll update the top 100 for fantasy purposes, but today I want to briefly check in on a number of prospects that I think are rising (⬆) or falling (⬇) in value for various reasons in 2018.
This means we’re actually getting close to official baseball, right? It’s bold prediction season and you know the drill (with an Ottoneu context), so let’s get started.
1. Freddie Freeman achieves 8.0 WAR