Here Come the Prospects: Phillies and Marlins

When it comes to fantasy baseball, not all prospects are created equally. In keeper leagues and dynasty leagues it’s important to have strategies around your prospects; you don’t want to just randomly grab a Top 10 or 20 prospect and hope for the best.

Along with skill, knowing a player’s ETA is key. Is the player advanced enough to help in 2016… or is he headed for a 2019 debut? Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a talented dude but he’s not likely to visit the Great White North until 2020. Chicago (AL) drafted Carson Fulmer in 2015 with the eighth overall pick but he’s considered advanced enough to perhaps help the club in ’17. And then there’s Colorado’s Trevor Story, who has turned the Jose Reyes soap opera and strong spring into a ’16 starting gig.

As a result, your strategy around acquiring prospects should vary. If you’re grabbing a guy earmarked to help in 2017 or later, you should look at them like a stock — an investment that you hope to see increase in value before you cash out (either by adding to your active roster or by trading for an opportunity to win sooner). You also have to consider if you’re truly committed to a long-range prospect and willing to commit a roster spot to someone who may not help for three or four years — if at all. Prospects with a ’16 or ’17 should be viewed as players that can be valuable (albeit potentially inconsistent) contributors to the current makeup of your roster at a reasonable cost.

Over the course of the next few weeks we’ll have a look at the expect time frames for key prospects in each organization. So far we’ve looked at:

Pirates/White Sox
Indians and Tigers

Philadelphia Phillies

2016 Sleeper: Nick Williams, OF: The corner outfield spots have been a nightmare for Philly so far in 2016 but Williams could provide some help later in the year. The outfield prospect is an aggressive hitter who doesn’t walk very much but he also has a lot of raw power to tap into — if he can learn to wait for “his pitch” on a more consistent basis and stop expanding the zone. He could eventually be a middle-of-the-order threat for the Phillies.

2017 Stud: J.P. Crawford, SS: Freddy Galvis and Andres Blanco have done a respectable job of holding down the fort at the big league level but Crawford is without a doubt the short-of-the-future in Philly. Drafted out of high school back in 2013, he was known as more of a glove-first guy and his bat developed much quicker than expected. He doesn’t hit for a ton of power but he has a great eye at the plate and walks more than he strikes out. Crawford also has enough speed to nab 15-20 bases in a full year.

Long-term Investment: Jorge Alfaro, C: Acquired from Texas in the same deal as Nick Williams (for Cole Hamels), Alfaro has a canon for an arm and power to spare. Unfortunately his hit tool continues to be quite raw and a significant amount of missed time in 2015 (due to injury) did his development no favors. He’s battling through injuries again in 2016 but if he can find a way to stay healthy then he could eventually be a special player behind the plate.

Miami Marlins

2016 Sleeper: Jarlin Garcia, LHP: The Marlins don’t have a lot of near-MLB-ready talent but Garcia has a shot at helping later in 2016. The southpaw has good control and doesn’t walk a ton of guys. He can also fire his heater into the mid-90s on occasion. The command of his secondary stuff though still has a ways to go. Garcia, 23, might benefit from breaking into the Majors as a reliever.

2017 Stud: Brian Anderson, 3B: One of my favorite sleepers from the 2014 draft, Anderson is currently hitting well in high-A ball — although he’s repeating the level. He doesn’t have a ton of power right now but some adjustments could help him tap into more pop. Anderson has become more patient in ’16. He has the ability to play multiple positions, including third base and second base — and possibly the outfield.

Long-term Investment: Josh Naylor, 1B: A Canadian slugger and just 17 when he was drafted, Naylor is understandably raw but that didn’t stop the Marlins from assigning him to full-season ball in 2016. He’s holding his own at the level but he’s also swinging and missing a lot. Despite that, 10 of his 25 hits have gone for extra bases. With modest options at first base at the big league level the Marlins re no doubt hoping that Naylor will be a quick learner.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Been reading about Tommy Joseph and his resurgence at AAA this year. Chances he gets a call-up and makes an impact?


Would love for them to move on from Ruf and give Joseph a chance. He’s gotta be better than Ruf, right??