This year, instead of posting a straight top fantasy prospects list like only boring sites do (cough, me, cough), we decided to shake things up. Zig where others zag, if you know what I mean. So we put the bat signal out for others in the industry who are both knowledgeable from both a fantasy perspective and a prospect perspective. The response was, frankly, even better than I anticipated, as you'll be able to tell by the names involved.
But first, the parameters. These are the instructions for the participants of this draft, straight from the e-mail I sent out prior to kicking it off:
The premise is very simple, we're drafting a minor league roster for a brand new dynasty league team (no one has a major league roster yet). The "league" is standard 13-team 5x5 rotisserie where you keep all players indefinitely with no contracts/salaries involved. The first rule is that any player you select must still have their prospect status. The second rule is that there are no other rules. It's just about building the type of farm system you would want to start from scratch with.
Just 13 guys drafting 10 minor leaguers a piece to start a dynasty league roster with. And the most fun part about this exercise is that with all of the picks, I asked each "owner" to write a quick comment on why they were taking the player. The result of this is not a precise list by any means, but a great representation of how minor league players are valued for fantasy across the industry.
So without any further ado, here are the next three rounds of the Fake Teams Expert Mock Prospect Draft:
PIck 4.1 - Jason Hunt, Fake Teams - Gary Sanchez (C/NYY)
"This pick had a bit more to do with positional scarcity, as there is a big gap between Sanchez and the next catcher in the rankings. Sanchez rebounded in 2012, reaching High-A and hitting 18 home runs with a .290/.344/.485 slash line. The biggest positive to me was that many of the reports pointed toward his make up issues being substantially better this year. He has the upside to be a top 5 fantasy catcher who provides a high batting average and power in the Majors."
Pick 4.2 - Jason Catania, FanGraphs - Gregory Polanco (OF/PIT)
"Easily the rawest of my first four picks, Polanco is still at least two-plus years away from the majors and will need to prove his 2012 breakout is for real. The lefty-swinger hit .325/.388/.522 as a 20-year-old in A-ball and is not only super speedy (40 SBs in 2012) but also sinewy strong (16 HRs). Risky yet intriguing, given that Polanco could turn into a potential 20-30 type if he stays the course."
Pick 4.3 - Ben Carsley, Fire Brand of the AL - Rymer Liriano (OF/SD)
"After taking Olt for probability, I'm going with one of my personal favorites in Rymer Liriano, OF, SD. Not a sure thing, but his tools are dreamy and I think he has upside as a (2009-2010) Nelson Cruz-like Fantasy asset. I would've considered Brian Goodwin here too, but Bret doesn't like to share."
Pick 4.4 - Mike Newman, RotoScouting/FanGraphs - Danny Hultzen (SP/SEA)
"I don't know what happened to Hultzen's command, but I've seen enough of him to have faith regardless of the walk totals. While opposing owners reach for sexy upside in Single-A, I'll "settle" for a surefire fantasy 2/3 who's close to contributing at the MLB level."
Pick 4.5 - J.D. Sussman, Bullpen Banter - George Springer (OF/HOU)
"Don't know why George Springer doesn't get love. The University of Connecticut has been able to make major adjustments year after year - if you saw his swing in college, that would be obvious - and I believe he will continue to do so. His elite athleticism makes him a major threat on the bases (36 steals in 128 games) in addition to his notable power (24 home runs in the same period). If his batting average can stay above .250 he'll avoid the dreaded Chris Young comp and could be a 30/30 stud. Sexy upside."
Pick 4.6 - Craig Goldstein, Fake Teams - Carlos Martinez (SP/STL)
"It seems like it's time for me to take an arm... so why not go with a guy MLB-N says is going to be the next Pedro...Carlos Martinez, SP, STL. I love Martinez's pure stuff and while there are doubts as to whether he holds up as a starter, he'll be nails in relief as well. Very happy to get an arm of his quality this deep."
Pick 4.7 - Spencer Schneier, Beyond the Box Score - Bubba Starling (OF/KC)
"Much to the dismay (or joy I guess) of Mike, I'm gonna buy my lottery ticket and take Bubba Starling. I was fortunate enough to see Starling play 10 or so times this year, and am convinced that if he can iron out his swing, that he will be a big league regular at worst, with a superstar being his perfect-world projection."
Pick 4.8 - Josh Shephardson, Baseball Prospectus - Chris Archer (SP/TB)
"I'm going to venture into the danger zone and select Chris Archer, starting pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. He's had struggles with control, but his slider is dirty and he has plenty of arm strength. The stuff is good enough to pile up strikeouts, and when he's on (as he was September 8 against the Rangers) he can be downright dominant. A fall back as a dynamic high leverage reliever is comforting, and I expect him to be useful this year at some point. Not the flashiest pick, but I'm happy taking him here."
PIck 4.9 - John Sickels, Minor League Ball - Yasiel Puig (OF/LAD)
"So far I have invested in players ready for or fairly close to the majors. I need more long-term upside and few players left on the board have as much upside as Los Angeles Dodgers Cuban import outfielder Yasiel Puig. He's got some risk too but he is simply too tempting at this point in the draft to pass up."
Pick 4.10 - Ray Guilfoyle, Fake Teams - Corey Seager (3B/LAD)
"I tried to talk myself out of this pick, because he has yet to play a full season of ball, but I am going to follow John's lead and take the 2nd best Dodgers prospect, third baseman Corey Seager. He's a smooth swinging shortstop with power, and could eventually move to third base. No matter, he will hit for power and be the third baseman the Dodgers thought they had in Andy LaRoche about 5-6 years ago."
Pick 4.11 - Bret Sayre, Baseball Prospectus - Casey Kelly (SP/SD)
"I'm going to use this opportunity to grab my first pitcher, and one whose bandwagon I never tire of driving. He may not have the flashy upside of some of the pitchers who went in the first three rounds, but Casey Kelly has all the ingredients to be a very solid #3 starter (or #2 if you really squint), and he'll be with the Padres in very short order. He's athletic, shows above average stuff across the board and has a strong command profile. Plus, pitching half his games in PETCO won't hurt either."
Pick 4.12 - Derek Carty, DerekCarty.com - Mason Williams (OF/NYY)
"Mason Williams was an easy pick here, and a guy I was hoping would fall. He has excellent speed with a plus hit tool. With even moderate power, which most scouts think is fairly likely (especially in Yankee Stadium), he could be a major force. I could easily see him leading off for the Yankees and possessing tons of fantasy value."
Pick 4.13 - Nick Shlain, Rotowire - Jake Marisnick (OF/MIA)
"I was all set to take Williams and Derek pops him a pick before me. I'll settle for a pair of former Lansing Lugnuts and take Jake Marisnick and Aaron Sanchez."
Pick 5.1 - Nick Shlain, Rotowire - Aaron Sanchez (SP/TOR)
Pick 5.2 - Derek Carty, DerekCarty.com - Trevor Story (SS/COL)
"Trevor Story is a high-risk pick, as his highest exposure came at Low-A ball this year, but he has good tools and figures to stick at shortstop. His speed is merely average, but he could hit for above average power by shortstop standards, and his quick bat should help him with batting average. A player at a scarce position who can hit for average with double-digit steals and homers, playing in Coors Field, is very valuable."
Pick 5.3 - Bret Sayre, Baseball Prospectus - Max Fried (SP/SD)
"With my pick I'm going to stay in San Diego and take my favorite pitcher from the 2012 draft, left-hander Max Fried. He's got everything you look for in a prep pitcher: plus stuff, pitchability, repeatable mechanics and a strong, athletic frame. On top of that, his curveball is a sight to behold."
Pick 5.4 - Ray Guilfoyle, Fake Teams - Tyler Austin (OF/NYY)
"The Yankees have several solid hitting prospects and outfielder Tyler Austin is one of them. Austin, a former 13th round pick, hits for power, gets on base and can steal a few bases as well. I look forward to watching him at AA Trenton this summer."
PIck 5.5 - John Sickels, Minor League Ball - Kyle Crick (SP/SF)
"I need a pitcher at this point in the draft, and Kyle Crick, RHP, San Francisco Giants seems to offer tremendous upside along with a strong 2012 performance to back up the scouting reports."
Pick 5.6 - Josh Shephardson, Baseball Prospectus - Aaron Hicks (OF/MIN)
Pick 5.7 - Spencer Schneier, Beyond the Box Score - Matt Barnes (SP/BOS)
Pick 5.8 - Craig Goldstein, Fake Teams - Oswaldo Arcia (OF/MIN)
"I'm going to go with the teammate of the much beloved Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Arcia, RF, MIN. The 21-year old split the season between Hi-A and Double-A and hit for average and for power. Given Minnesota dealing away two of their starting outfielders in the offseason, I don't consider it unreasonable for Arcia to make his debut at some point this year. He's not as toolsy as Hicks, but I think he can flat out hit, and actually like him better for fantasy. I think he's a high 5 player in the majors and can get there as soon as this year."
Pick 5.9 - J.D. Sussman, Bullpen Banter - Kyle Zimmer (SP/KC)
"I'll reluctantly take my first pitcher, as I have Zimmer ranked nearly forty spots higher than where I'm getting him in this draft. He's certainly more talented and polished than many of the players taken before this spot, but maybe the Royals' track record has been a deterrent. I stay clear of pitchers because they can only contribute in four categories and park factors, defense and overall team ability have far too much influence on one's ERA, Wins and WHIP. Still, I can't pass up on this kind of talent here."
Pick 5.10 - Mike Newman, RotoScouting/FanGraphs - Julio Teheran (SP/ATL)
"After a rough 2012, the prospect world has dismissed Julio Teheran as a has been. Ask yourself this? If I offered you a 21-year old pitcher who's being handed the #5 starter role on a silver platter after multiple dominant minor league seasons, would you take him? I thought so."
Pick 5.11 - Ben Carsley, Fire Brand of the AL - Lucas Giolito (SP/WSH)
"Went out last night after seeing Spencer's pick and thought, "oh good, one of Barnes, Teheran or Arcia will definitely fall to me!" Drafting with the big boys sucks sometimes. For Plan D, I'll go with the ultimate risk/reward pitcher in Lucas Giolito, who I'll have to wait forever for but who I think has among the highest upside in the minors. The Nats have had success rehabbing high-upside guys back from TJ surgery too (the media may have covered this once or twice), so that makes me feel a little better. I'll wait to grab a closer to the majors pitcher or batter with the wraparound pick."
Pick 5.12 - Jason Catania, FanGraphs - Kolten Wong (2B/STL)
"Yikes, a whole bunch of players I was hoping would fall to me -- Story, Barnes, Arcia -- didn't. So I'm going to go with Wong, who is a rarity as a "second base prospect." The 2011 first-rounder is just 22 and has already made it through Double-A, where he continued to show a solid all-around game. He won't be a superstar, but he should debut in 2013 and be the long-term answer for a Cardinals club that hasn't had a legitimate second baseman since, uh, Fernando Vina. Wong should work his way to the top of the lineup, where he'll hit for average, steal bases and pile up runs for an offense that looks scary-good for the foreseeable future."
PIck 5.13 - Jason Hunt, Fake Teams - Taylor Guerrieri (SP/TB)
"Guerrieri fell in his draft to the late first round due to makeup concerns, but those concerns have been largely resolved after his first short season assignment. He has an excellent fastball, a very good curveball, and a working change up already. Add in excellent ground ball rates and excellent control, and excellent numbers in the NY-Penn League already, and he could be at least a #3 starter."
PIck 6.1 - Jason Hunt, Fake Teams - Robert Stephenson (SP/CIN)
"Stephenson finished the season at Low-A, but the scouting reports point to a pitcher who has already shown advanced repertoire including an excellent fastball, along with a solid curveball and change up. It sounds like he is another pitcher who, while raw, has the potential to be a #2 starter as well. He seems likely to return to Low-A to start next season, but it wouldn't surprise me if he finished up the year as high as AA depending on the Reds' desire for him to avoid Bakersfield."
Pick 6.2 - Jason Catania, FanGraphs - Kaleb Cowart (3B/LAA)
"Having just selected the Cards' future solution at second base, I'll grab the Angels' answer to their long-standing problem at third base. Cowart, 20, had a mini-breakout while reaching High-A in 2012, hitting .276 with career-bests in homers (16) and doubles (31), which suggests he has more power in him. Cowart should be ready to join Albert, Mike and Josh in the hit parade by the start of 2015."
Pick 6.3 - Ben Carsley, Fire Brand of the AL - Adam Eaton (OF/ARZ)
Pick 6.4 - Mike Newman, RotoScouting/FanGraphs - Courtney Hawkins (OF/CHW)
"High school draft picks simply don't do what Courtney Hawkins did in 2012. In rising from rookie ball to High-A in a couple of months, the outfielder displayed both in game power and speed. After taking a couple of pitchers on the cusp of big league rotations, it was time to shoot the moon."
Pick 6.5 - J.D. Sussman, Bullpen Banter - Jackie Bradley Jr (OF/BOS)
"For fantasy purposes, I would have preferred Courtney Hawkins here, but Bradley isn't a slouch. Bradley projects as a top of the order hitter who will score a lot of runs, hit for average, and steal bases. His RBI total probably won't be high, but I'd expect a future Red Sox lineup to be strong enough to keep his numbers afloat. He doesn't project for a lot of power, but his bat has developed enough that a fully healed wrist could produce average or better numbers."
Pick 6.6 - Craig Goldstein, Fake Teams - Eddie Rosario (2B/MIN)
"I'm going to dip my toe back into those chilly Minnesota waters and select Eddie Rosario, 2B, MIN. I'm a Rosario believer, in that I think he can hit well enough that Minnesota will live with his defense at 2nd. Ideally I'd like to take someone a little closer to the majors given my other picks, but Rosario has a legitimate bat at what is generally a weak position. He has legitimate power for second base, though it's less for home runs and more for slugging percentage. The biggest risk for this pick is that if Rosario isn't a second baseman, he's not worth much in fantasy. That's not what I necessarily want out of my 5th rounder, but he's the best value left on my board."
Pick 6.7 - Spencer Schneier, Beyond the Box Score - Matt Davidson (3B/ARZ)
"Buxton has a huge ceiling, but a lot of work to do. If he pans out he could be among the top fantasy performers year and in and year out while also playing a premium position."
Pick 6.8 - Josh Shephardson, Baseball Prospectus - Bruce Rondon (RP/DET)
"I'll break the ice, and I swear this isn't the alcohol talking. I love an 80 fastball, even in the pen. I drafted immediate help in the first, and more near ready help with Chris Archer. Next up is, Bruce Rondon. Give me saves and strikeouts, and give them to me now. He's got the best body in baseball in the Jermaine Wiggins has the best body in the NFL sort of way, but he pumps out triple digit heat and will be closing soon (hopefully this year). Instant gratification is the best, and I'll take help to my mythical 2013 roster."
PIck 6.9 - John Sickels, Minor League Ball - Dorssys Paulino (SS/CLE)
"He is a long way off, but his tools and high ceiling stand out as a middle infielder, therefore I'll go with Cleveland Indians shortstop prospect Dorsyss Paulino."
Pick 6.10 - Ray Guilfoyle, Fake Teams - Austin Hedges (C/SD)
"Pitching prospects be damned, I am taking another hitter. This time, I am taking a guy who plays behind the dish, and has a little pop to go along with excellent defensive skills. He has plenty of development years ahead of him, but my choice is Padres catcher Austin Hedges."
Pick 6.11 - Bret Sayre, Baseball Prospectus - Dan Vogelbach (1B/CHC)
"Some men were just put on this earth to hit and Dan Vogelbach is one of those men. As a 19-year old, Vogelbach tore up the AZL (yawn), but then ascended to the college-heavy Northwest League (a much lower offensive environment) and continued his assault, hitting .322/.423/.608 with 10 HR in 143 AB. As a fantasy owner, I don't care that he'll probably max out defensively as a below-average 1B -- he has elite upside as a power hitter who can also hit for average."
Pick 6.12 - Derek Carty, DerekCarty.com - Adalberto Mondesi (SS/KC)
"I'll take Adalberto Mondesi. He's young and years away, but he's also super atheltic and toolsy. He plays shortstop -- shocker that I'm taking another one -- and has the defensive chops to stick. More importantly, though, is that he has an easy swing that will allow him to hit for a high batting average if he develops as expected. He's also a fast runner, and some even project him to develop some power. I have a general preference for high upside guys, especially as we're getting deeper into the draft, and Mondesi fits the bill."
Pick 6.13 - Nick Shlain, Rotowire - Slade Heathcott (OF/NYY)
"I'm just going to continue to take toolsy outfielders."
Stay tuned for the final installment, Rounds 7-10, tomorrow.