Over the past few weeks, Craig and I have looked at some of the more relevant prospects in each of the 30 MLB organizations. We won't be looking at each prospect in every organization, but rather to provide brief profiles of players that are either expected to make an impact as soon as next season, or are worth watching in dynasty and keeper formats. In general, they will be sorted in the order of when they are anticipated to be in the Majors, even though it is no guarantee that they will get there.
Our goal is to speak more to each prospect's fantasy value, so while we do look at a player's defense, it is really only in the context of where they will end up when they get to the Majors, and how that may affect their long term outlook.
NL West: Arizona, Colorado, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco
NL Central: Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis
NL East: Atlanta, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Washington
AL East: Baltimore, Boston, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay, Toronto
AL Central: Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Minnesota
AL West: Houston, Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, Texas
This offseason has seen more than a few of the top prospects in the minors traded, but we have been lucky to this point in that the trades have occurred in such a way that we still ended up reviewing them with their new teams. We reviewed key prospects like Trevor Bauer, Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi with their original teams, but two key prospects remain that were moved before we could review them.
d'Arnaud was viewed as the catcher of the future for the Blue Jays, so it was definitely a bit shocking that they were willing to include him in the trade. That said, his path to the Majors does not really change with the Mets, and with both Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas being sent to Toronto with R.A. Dickey, only John Buck and Anthony Recker really stand in the way of d'Arnaud and the starting job.
Interestingly enough, d'Arnaud will likely be sent back to AAA to start the season, which means he will return to Las Vegas for a second season despite the affiliates changing. He missed most of the second half of the season in 2012 due to a knee injury, but is expected to be ready to go for the start of the 2013 season. While we won't necessarily learn a ton from his performance last year or this year in Las Vegas due to the offensive environment, he profiles as a top tier offensive threat behind the plate, and is expected to stay there defensively. We ranked d'Arnaud as our #1 fantasy prospect behind the plate, and our #21 overall catcher for the 2013 season, providing a solid batting average and above average power for the position.
Noah Syndergaard (BBRef Statistics)
Syndergaard was even more of a surprise to be included in the trade, simply because both he and d'Arnaud are considered top 50 prospects at worst, but that appears to be the going rate for the reigning Cy Young winner. Syndergaard spent the 2012 season with the Blue Jays' Low-A affiliate in the Midwest League, striking out 122 and walking 31 in 103 plus innings pitched.
Syndergaard is considered to have the upside of a #2 starting pitcher, but there's still a lot of work to be done to get him there. His fastball has already shown signs of being plus-plus, with both movement and elite velocity. However, his secondary offerings (a curveball and a changeup) remain raw at this point, and will need to continue to improve for him to reach that ceiling. If he does, he could provide excellent ratios and high strikeout totals for fantasy owners.