It’s Prospect Week. And it’s Valentine’s Day. So I’m here with five underhyped prospects who could provide sexy fantasy stats. ADPs are from FantasyPros. There’s no further need for introduction. CHARGE!
Victor F**king Robles
So you think a player with minimal major league experience and a 99 ADP can’t possibly be underrated. Wrong. You think the expletive was unnecessary? Wrong again!
Although Victor Robles lost a considerable chunk of his 2018 season, he made meaningful changes to his approach and mechanics. The potential is in place for a high contact rate with a near optimized launch angle. Robles may only possess 50 grade power, but that’s pretty exciting when paired with a double-plus hit tool. The projections are conservative in my opinion. THE BAT calls for around a .280/.350/.450 line with 17 home runs and 24 steals. It’s the highest projection listed on his player page.
I see reason to bet the over on at least three fantasy categories. Robles attempted 31 steals in 292 plate appearances last season split across four levels. No projection system has him attempting more than 40 steals per 600 PA. That seems pessimistic for a guy with legit 70 grade speed and good instincts. The launch angle adjustment may prevent him from posting a .300 batting average, but it also puts 20 home runs well within reach.
Depending on his lineup role, he should easily eclipse either his 84 run or 68 RBI projection. Perhaps both. Let’s consider the Nationals offense. Juan Soto, Trea Turner, and Anthony Rendon will bat in the top four. Other candidates for the fourth premium spot include Brian Dozier, Adam Eaton, and Ryan Zimmerman. Robles isn’t guaranteed a premium lineup slot, but the path is pretty easy to discern.
THE BAT projection is basically a poor man’s Starling Marte. He has a 41 ADP. My expectations for Robles are comparable to uber-hyped Raul Mondesi except with a better batting average and OBP. Mondesi has a 42 ADP. Robles median outcome isn’t too far off Whit Merrifield. His ADP is 31.
With an ADP of 297, Urias is straight up unowned in most 12-team formats. That’s a mistake. While Urias’ debut left something to be desired, he demonstrated his carrying skill – plate discipline – while also making decent contact. He’s a ground ball hitter whose best categories are likely to be batting average and OBP. It’s a skill set that should land atop the batting order before long. That means bushels of runs. For the 300th pick, getting roughly 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases is good enough.
The profile is comparable to Joey Wendle. He has a 232 ADP. While Wendle will have to constantly prove he deserves to be on the field every day, Urias is nearly guaranteed to play.
The top pitching prospects in the 2019 class are Forrest Whitley and Jesus Luzardo. They’re going at pick 203 and pick 216 respectively. Nearly 200 picks later, you can find Paddack. Unlike the other pair, his path to the majors is nearly unrestricted. Of the trio, he’ll probably throw the most innings. He possesses nearly as much potential for instant gratification in the strikeout and rate stat categories. Even his projections call for a strikeout per inning, a mid-3s ERA, and 1.15 WHIP. The projections for Whitley and Luzardo are comparatively worse.
There’s a strong case to made that Paddack should be selected before Whitley and Luzardo. That he’s available so much later makes this a slam dunk.
Hey! This guy is some kind of starting infielder on a major league team. His ADP is 477 (*cough* Adam Frazier is 475 which is roughly 225 picks late). I’m not Martin’s biggest hype guy. I actually think fellow Rule 5 draftee Drew Jackson (916 ADP) is more likely to supply fantasy value. However, within Martin’s skill set is modest pop, a chance for a playable, BABIP-fueled batting average, and 20 stolen bases. Toss the power-helium parks of the AL East into the equation, and it’s possible to squint and see 10 home runs, 20 steals, 75 runs, and a .265 average as a miscast leadoff man.
Before you scoff at Martin the Leadoff Hitter, consider this: the best hitters by projected wOBA on the Orioles are Trey Mancini and Mark Trumbo. They’re… terrible. Jonathan Villar is the only guy who must play. He’s a classic eighth hitter, but he’ll probably bat something like third for Baltimore.
Well yea. I think Jackson is a better player right now than Martin. If Martin’s probably a starting second baseman for the Orioles, I see no reason to exclude that potentiality for Jackson. He has inexperience in the middle infield although he’s currently viewed as an outfielder. Scouting reports suggest he’s at best a fourth outfielder. The Orioles will trot out Mancini, Cedric Mullins, and some combination of D.J. Stewart, Joey Rickard, and Austin Hays. Mullins will play because he’s also a fourth outfielder with some upside. The others, with the possible exception of a rebound from Hays, aren’t major leaguers*.
*Before you get on me about Mancini, I can’t emphasize enough how incapable he is at playing outfield. And he’s basically a crappier Maikel Franco as a hitter. Why is he on a roster? Right, the Orioles are a joke.
What’s important to remember here is the fantasy skill set. Jackson has plate discipline, power, and speed. Holes in his approach could slaughter his batting average. Over a full season of work 15 to 25 home runs with 15 to 25 steals and a .225 average seem feasible. That’s 20 points of average worse than Kevin Kiermaier (298 ADP). You might as well stash him in uber-deep formats.
Honorable Mention: Brent Honeywell
A healthy Honeywell possesses a deep repertoire with sufficient command to keep hitters off balance. He’s not a power pitcher like Whitley or Luzardo which in today’s game could spell a quicker transition to major league success. Working against him is the Rays pitching philosophy. Expect a modest innings total. He’s available around pick 400 – just ahead of Paddack. I’d still nab Paddack first.
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