Last week I recapped the first round of two dynasty league drafts that I am currently participating. As promised, here is the recap of the first round of the minor league portion of these drafts.
FakeTeamsDL - Xander Bogaerts
Fantasy Elite - Xander Bogaerts
I was very surprised to see Bogaerts go 1.1 in both drafts. Not to say he isn't worthy of the pick, but that both drafters would turn down the monster upside of Byron Buxton. Bogaerts debuted in Boston at 20 years old and was uber impressive; particularly in the playoffs where he demonstrated an approach mature beyond his years. Unless the Red Sox add a free agent SS, Bogaerts is the starter heading into 2014, which gives him the positional scarcity edge over Buxton. For those looking to win now Bogaerts is also a more attractive pick because he will produce this season despite being selected in the rookie draft.
FakeTeamsDL - Byron Buxton
Fantasy Elite - Byron Buxton
The #1 pick in all minor league fantasy drafts, in my opinion, Buxton slid to number two in both instances. There is no other player poised to make an impact in all 5 categories the way Buxton is. Barring a bump in development, Buxton should make an impact in 2015, with an outside shot of seeing some time in Minnesota at the end of this season. Buxton has the chance to be a true 5-category star compared to Bogaerts deficiency in the SB department. In every case, I would take the one-year waiting period to get Buxton then the immediate return of Bogaerts.
FakeTeamsDL - Oscar Taveras
Fantasy Elite - George Springer
Love the Taveras pick here. He is such a pure hitter and will make a lot of noise in fantasy leagues in the next few years. His value might be a little depressed given the roadblocks put in front of him at St. Louis, but his ceiling hasn't changed a bit and those who are patient will get paid off big time. Springer is another guy whose value is greater in fantasy circles than to other prospect writers. He's a power/speed guy on the cusp of breaking into the Houston lineup. Springer always seemed to be of a funky mold that I couldn't get my head around: a toolsy, raw college bat - not something you often see. He's already 24 years old, but he is a late bloomer that has taken tremendous strides to decrease his strikeout rate. I still have some fears that he has too much swing-and-miss to max out his other tools, but if it all clicks he and Buxton are the only 30/30 ceiling guys on this list.
FakeTeamsDL - Miguel Sano
Fantasy Elite - Miguel Sano
Providing the most raw power of any bat in the minors (Joey Gallo is close), Miguel Sano could be a roto league monster. Even at the major league level you can count on two hands the number of players who have the HR upside of Miguel Sano. Mix that in with a competent approach at the plate and you're looking at one of the best slugging prospects in the minors. He's another year away from Minnesota and will have to prove he can cut down on the 29.3% strikeout rate in AA, but the potential is worth the wait.
FakeTeamsDL - Javier Baez
Fantasy Elite - Oscar Taveras
Mentioned above at 1.2, Taveras is a steal at the 5th pick in the draft. Baez is another excellent slugging prospect who has the added potential of playing an up-the-middle position. 3B is the more likely landing spot, but either way his ceiling is out of the building. He lacks the raw power upside of Sano, but makes up for it with a few more steals and a higher AVG. Questions on the strikeout numbers leave the ultimate power utility up in the air, but he has the bat-to-ball abilities that make me confident he can cut them down. 6 months older than Sano, Baez has a shot at cracking the Cubs roster sometime in 2014, but he will be on re-drafters radar by 2015.
FakeTeamsDL - Carlos Correa
Fantasy Elite - Taijuan Walker
In 5 years, Correa might end up being the best SS prospect of the Baez, Bogaerts trio. I have little doubt he moves off the position in the long term, and I think he develops plus power. He will be a 5-category contributor with more power than speed with an outstanding AVG and elite counting stats. Walker is the best pitching prospect in the minors and is also the closest to breaking camp in the big league rotation. Big strikeout numbers, low ratios and a body built to withstand the rigors of 30+ starts a season. His only short-term downside is the same that plagues King Felix in that the offense is not good enough to consistently support him every 5th day. In QS leagues he has no weaknesses.
FakeTeamsDL - George Springer
Fantasy Elite - Billy Hamilton
I like Springer in this spot. Nice balance of risk/reward and the bonus of immediate returns make the 7th spot a great place to pull the trigger on him. Personally, I'm not sold on Hamilton's long-term chances as a starter in the MLB. As long as he maintains his 80 grade speed there will be a role for him in some capacity, but I have my doubts that he can hit enough to justify playing an everyday CF. He held his own in a brief stint at the end of 2013 and if he can keep that up, he might be the most valuable fantasy asset ever. Not bad upside at the 7th pick in the draft.
FakeTeamsDL - Billy Hamilton
Fantasy Elite - Javier Baez
Covered both these guys above. Baez is a steal at this spot.
FakeTeamsDL - Kris Bryant
Fantasy Elite - Nick Castellanos
Kris Bryant has absolutely mashed since becoming a professional. His power/high-AVG potential is mouth-watering. It will be interesting to see where the Cubs ultimately make room for him as Mike Olt and Javier Baez will likely make it to Wrigley before Bryant and occupy the hot corner. If he slides to a corner his value hit is minimal. Castellanos has less power in his swing, but a higher upside in AVG. He also is making an unexpected move back to 3B where he is projected to start the season for the Detroit Tigers. His fantasy numbers play a lot better at 3B where his power should play more comparable to his positional counterparts.
FakeTeamsDL - Addison Russell
Fantasy Elite - Archie Bradley
Addison Russell is another ultra-exciting SS prospect and makes the 4th such type in the first 10 picks. Some still question his ability to stick at the position, but he should be able to hold his own there for a few more years. He's another power/speed guy whose power numbers took a big step forward in 2013. He turns 20 this month and should see some time in Oakland in 2014. A nice pick at #10. Archie Bradley has top of the rotation stuff and will be an excellent pitcher for fantasy owners going forward. The fastball command still needs a bit of refining to let the rest of his arsenal play up, but he's still only 21 years old and should make the adjustments. He could also see some time in the big leagues this season.
FakeTeamsDL - Nick Castellanos
Fantasy Elite - Masahiro Tanaka
Castellanos was covered above and I like him at this spot for an owner looking to compete in 2014 and in need of immediate returns. Tanaka was only available in one draft so this is the only data point I'll be able to offer on him. He could be a steal at the 11th overall, as many believe he will quickly establish himself as a top of the rotation starter right away. I like the pick a lot.
FakeTeamsDL - Taijuan Walker
Fantasy Elite - Mark Appel
A great value pick with Walker all the way at 12. Strange to see 11 straight hitters taken in the draft, and it would've been sacrilegious to let Walker slide any further. Appel is an interesting fantasy play. Touted more as a "fast-riser" and less of a high-upside project, it would lead many to believe Appel is not worth consideration for a high fantasy pick. I don't believe that's the case since Appel still has a number 2 ceiling with room for more if his changeup improves and he can add some polish to the rest of his repertoire. He should be in the Houston rotation no later than 2015.
FakeTeamsDL - Archie Bradley
Fantasy Elite - Kris Bryant
Both of these guys are covered above and I think each of these selections is a home run. To get either player this late in the draft (a 2nd Round Pick in 12 team leagues) is a steal.
FakeTeamsDL - Gregory Polanco
Fantasy Elite - Carlos Correa
I was surprised to see Correa fall this far in the draft. I like him at #6 and love him here at #14. Polanco is a very intriguing fantasy prospect given his power/speed combo. He hit only 12 last years, but given his 6'4" frame I think there's more coming with the high probability of a 20/20 season for the Buccos. Only thing I can't pin down is where the average will ultimately sit. He doesn't strike out a lot, which is a good sign, but his minor league BABIP and AVG numbers have been all over the place.
FakeTeamsDL - Jameson Taillon
Fantasy Elite - Jameson Taillon
I'm a big Taillon fan and think he and Cole will form an excellent 1-2 punch for the Pirates down the road. He's a monster on the mound at 6'6" and should handle 200+ innings with ease. He gets plenty of swing and misses with his curveball and should be above average in strikeout rates throughout his career. With the Pirates organization in good health, Taillon should be supported by a solid offense allowing him to contribute positively in all fantasy categories.
FakeTeamsDL - Jorge Soler
Fantasy Elite - Addison Russell
This is a more appropriate place for Russell given the future positional uncertainty. I like the pick at #16. Jorge Soler has huge power and is a great pick this late in the first round. There's some risk with Soler as he gets challenged in the upper levels to make contact against more advanced pitchers. He's the future RF for the Cubs and should hit 20-25 HRs annually with a chance for more if he can adjust.
FakeTeamsDL - Francisco Lindor
Fantasy Elite - Jose Abreu
I wrote in our Cleveland Minor League Keeper Thoughts Series that Lindor deserves more love in fantasy circles and #17 overall is a great start. Of all SS taken ahead of him, he's the only 100% guaranteed to stick at the position so by default he could end up being the best SS taken to this point. There won't be much power, but an above-average AVG and SB totals to go with solid R totals atop the Cleveland lineup should make him a starter in all formats once he finally reaches the big leagues. Abreu is still a huge question mark and I'm anxious to see him in Spring Training to get a better idea of what his future stat line might look like. There isn't a ton of risk here at this spot since most of the best hitting prospects are off the board.
FakeTeamsDL - Noah Syndergaard
Fantasy Elite - Noah Syndergaard
Syndergaard is my third ranked pitching prospect behind Walker and Bradley, and Bundy might ultimately jump him but the health concerns me for now. Built like an ace, Syndergaard demonstrates elite K/BB ratios. He managed to improve his numbers in a jump to AA last year as a 20 year old and he should break find his way into the Mets rotation at some point in 2014.
FakeTeamsDL - Albert Almora
Fantasy Elite - Dylan Bundy
Almora has really started to grow on me. Initially he was an average across-the-board contributor who didn't stand out in any particular area but now I think he can be outstanding in AVG and league leading in R's hitting in front of Baez, Bryant, Soler, and Rizzo. A great pick at 19. Bundy is another savvy pick if you're willing to absorb the risk that comes with his recent surgery. Most pitchers are making a full recovery from Tommy John and if Bundy follows suit he is right back to being the best pitching prospect in baseball and well on his way to establishing himself as an ace.
FakeTeamsDL - Dylan Bundy
Fantasy Elite - Corey Seager
Love the Bundy pick again and was hoping either he or Almora would fall to me at 2.3 on the return. Seager is another interesting borderline SS prospect. He likely grows out of the position due to his 6'4" 215 lb. frame, but even at 3B his numbers should carry their own. Seager can provide above-average power, a handful of steals and solid AVG. He's a few years away from contributing, but if the power continues to develop he could be a steal at this spot.
If you are looking for fantasy MLB or MiLB rankings, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, the one stop shop for all of your fantasy ranking needs.
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