Three Over-Rostered Prospects

Last week, I covered four prospects rostered in less than 10% of Ottoneu leagues who deserve more attention. This week, I want to go the other direction and look at prospects who are rostered in too many leagues. This proved far more difficult, for a couple of reasons.

First, there just aren’t that many prospects highly rostered. There are a total of 13 minor league pitchers and 30 minor league bats rostered in over 50% of leagues. There just aren’t that many candidates to be over-rostered.

Second, leaning on the wisdom of the crowd, the consensus that a player should be rostered is probably pretty good evidence that the player should be rostered. In fact, one of the first things I do when looking for at prospect free agents in my leagues is to filter the Ottoneu search to minor leaguers and free agents only, sorted by roster percentage, and looking first at bats, and then arms. If there is a prospect highly rostered in the Ottoneu universe and a free agent in my league, I probably should consider adding that player.

However, there are some players – and types of players – who are rostered more than they should be.

Marco Luciano – SS, SFG, A+, 88.83% Rostered – Young players who are as far away as Luciano aren’t necessarily great players to roster. A lot can go wrong and even if things go right, you could be waiting for years for production. I could have put Noelvi Marte or Marcelo Mayer here, but Luciano is rostered the most of the trio and is currently dealing with a back injury. It’s not supposed to be a serious injury, but backs are backs.

Luciano has a 2024 ETA on his FanGraphs player page, and that pre-dates this injury. The problem is you are probably rostering him for around $4 now (his median price), which means paying him $5 in 2023 for another year of no MLB production before maybe seeing what he can do at $6 in 2024. And if that is only part of 2024 (highly likely) you may not actually have a reliable player on your hands until 2025, when he will be $8, minimum. At that point, you have tied up three years of roster spots and $15 in him.

That’s not to say he should be at 0% rostered. If he were a free agent in a league where I was competing, I would pick him up if only to trade him. If I were in a rebuild, I could see rostering him now to see if he happens to move quickly, but now the back injury has made that less likely.

Jo Adell – OF, LAA, AAA, 88.54% Rostered – My issue with Adell is less that he shouldn’t be rostered in nearly 90% of leagues (he probably should be) but that his median salary is $9 and I think that is way too high. I get the upside with Adell, but he’s having a hard time convincing the Angels to give him regular run and he hasn’t been particularly impressive when he has gotten time. He has shown flashes, but not consistent production.

If you have a $9 Adell (and at least half of his managers have him at that price or higher), what exactly are you hoping for? Best case scenario, he gets another shot, puts it all together and is worth something like $15 next year, if he is lined up for full-time PA, which seems unlikely. Holding him at $9, let alone $12, $15 or more(his max price is $20) just doesn’t leave you much – if any – room to profit, and he isn’t helping you now.

Matt Brash – SP, SEA, AAA, 62.75% Rostered – I thought about putting Cade Cavalli here, and there are plenty of other names we could discuss, but what concerns me about Brash is that the concerns about him are known and not improving. Brash had his hypemen, but was not a universally beloved prospect, in large part because he was viewed as high variance (front-line SP? back-end bullpen guy? neither?) and lacked command, walking far too many hitters.

I was in on Brash earlier this year, and rostered him on a couple teams. But he came up and flashed nasty stuff and a complete lack of control, which is more or less what we would have expected. Then he went down to Triple-A and he is still walking everyone.

The reason to roster Brash was a bet that the stuff would carry him long enough for the control to catch up, and that we would see real progress from a guy whose development was interrupted by COVID. Well, we haven’t seen that. His walk rate was too high across two levels last year, it was too high in his brief MLB stint, and now it is too high in Triple-A. Development is hard to predict and it is not fair or accurate to say that Brash can’t or won’t improve, but I want to see it before I buy back in.

A long-time fantasy baseball veteran and one of the creators of ottoneu, Chad Young's writes for RotoGraphs and PitcherList, and can be heard on the ottobot podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

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CC AFCmember
1 month ago

I think Brash is already fixing his control. He hasn’t walked anyone in 8 out of his last 9 outings at AAA. He walked a bunch of hitters in his first outings when he went down, but he’s basically completely stopped it.

I wouldn’t roster him now, anyway, because he’s working as a reliever and I don’t think it’s ever sensible to roster a relief prospect.

1 month ago
Reply to  CC AFC

I agree. The numbers for June at AAA used strictly in one inning relief stints are 7IP, 5H, 10K, 2BB, 0ER. Looks like progress to me. We will see if he can keep it up.

Jonathan Sher
1 month ago
Reply to  CC AFC

Exactly. Since May 25th Brash has pitched in 10 games, thrown 10 innings, and has given up 2 walks along with 5 hits an 16 strikeouts. Not sure how anyone can write an article like this without looking at Brash’s game log.

The Mariners clearly need to strengthen their bullpen. Sergio Romo has been a hot mess with an ERA north of 7. Munoz has been inconsistent, giving up earned runs in six of his past 18 appearances. It’s too soon to know how Ken Giles will be when he gets back.

It’s much more likely than not that Brash will be back in Seattle before the end of the month in the bullpen. Whether that makes him roster-worthy depends the league. I play in a deep, AL-only league with 40 man rosters and daily roster moves, so it’s useful to have a deep pen of relievers who have high k-rates, low ERAs and WHIPs, and while Brash clearly isn’t ready to do the latter two as a starter, there are a lot of high velocity arms that flounder as starters but thrive as relievers. In my league, he’s worth a spot, because he has a high probability of contributing soon, and potential to contribute more next year if he can gain enough, sustainable fastball command to bump Chris Flexen from the rotation.