Top 107 Redraft Prospects

Prospects are usually the sole dominion of keeper and dynasty league owners. In a redraft league, there is usually hype around a few players. Jose Abreu, Masahiro Tanaka, Billy Hamilton, and Gregory Polanco were among the most popular last year. There were also plenty of useful, under-the-radar types like Jacob deGrom, Kolten Wong, Danny Santana, and Collin McHugh.

What follows is a list of 107 prospects, gathered for their proximity to the big leagues and potential for valuable contributions. There will be names missing, if only because my methodology for hunting down candidates was imperfect. I used FanGraphs’ depth charts, 40-man rosters, and top prospect lists to gather everybody I believed could be a positive contributor in 2015.

I can’t shake the feeling that I missed a big name, and there will certainly be plenty of pitchers who missed the cut – it’s just not practical to find them all. As such, today’s post is a first draft of the list. Please feel free to suggest additions in the comments.

I wanted players like Jurickson Profar to be included. Rather than use rookie eligibility, I used the fuzzy criteria of “does he feel like a prospect.” That said, very few players aren’t rookie eligible. Similarly, I avoided “prospects” in their late-20’s.

At present, there are 54 position players and 53 pitchers. As I mentioned, pitcher is a particularly difficult position to evaluate in this sort of exercise. I am certain I’m missing deGrom’s and McHugh’s, so your help would be greatly appreciated. As for ranking pitchers, I’ve yet to settle on a methodology. At times, it feels as though any pitcher can do anything. Almost none of the names have a job on lock down, so they’re basically all an injury or two away from the majors.

As for hitters, I used the twin categories of proximity and expected production. This results in a prospect list substantially different from those of Baseball America, MLB.com, or Kiley McDaniel. Byron Buxton is the 48th ranked prospect because nothing short of a heroic season would result in significant time in the majors. Without further ado, here are the position players. If you prefer the raw spreadsheet (the iframe is a bit scrunched…), do visit this page.

I’ll end with a few notes about specific players:

  • Proximity and plate appearance estimates are extremely influential. Is Odubel Herrera a top prospect? No, but he does have a decent chance to reach over 500 plate appearances with the Phillies. The Rule 5 pick hasn’t hit for power in the minors, but he did pop six home runs in the Venezuelan winter league. He also offers some speed and the potential for a decent batting average. Watch his swinging strike rate, that will be a leading indicator of his ability to stick in the majors.
  • It’s come to my attention that I’m among the most pessimistic regarding Kris Bryant’s 2015 value. That’s fine with me. If you want to see him ranked higher, feel free to edit that into your own personal list. It’s uncertain as to when Bryant will be promoted, and it’s equally unclear if he’ll hit the ground running or require time to adjust. Some scouts worry about his contact rate.
  • Ryan Rua is an under-the-radar type who could win an everyday job with the Rangers. And while he’ll probably struggle in the majors, he has 30 home run upside and a hitter friendly home park.
  • Rob Refsnyder’s standing was hurt by the signing of Stephen Drew. If Refsnyder is ready, I doubt Drew is sufficient to hold him back from taking the job. We hear the phrase “the job is his to lose,” but I think it’s “his to win” this spring.
  • Profar at 17th is very conservative. I assume the club will take it slow with his shoulder, but I could be completely wrong. If he’s legitimately competing for a major league roster spot with Rougned Odor, then it throws a wrench in both their values. Rua could also be caught in the crunch if Profar is demoed in the outfield.
  • Wilmer Difo is a guy the Nationals protected from the Rule 5 draft. His chances of making the club are extremely slim, but Danny Espinosa isn’t a huge roadblock. His mix of contact, power, and speed in the low minors is intriguing if the opportunity does arise.
  • I thought we might see Daniel Robertson for a month or two with the re-tooling Athletics. The Rays are extremely methodical with their prospects, so I don’t expect to see him at all now.
  • Maikel Franco could have the most growth potential on the list. I expect him to start in the minors, but a big spring or a Ryan Howard trade could earn him an every day role in the majors.

 





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Trey Baughn
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Pitching prospects are tough to rank, but if the formula here is impact + ETA, the Top 5 might include T. Walker, A. Heaney, D. Norris, C. Rodon, and A. Sanchez