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San Diego Padres 2015 Top Fantasy Prospects

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The prospect staff at Fake Teams continues their fantasy prospect rankings and system reviews with an in-depth look at the San Diego Padres,

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

Just like last year, the prospect staff here at Fake Teams will be taking an in-depth look at each major league organization, including our top 10 fantasy prospects, an overview of the organization's minor league system as a whole and potential opportunities for playing time in 2015. Our goal is to provide you with more information as you prepare for minor league drafts for dynasty and keeper leagues, as well as look at players that could potentially be worth watching during the spring, as they could be in line to potentially help your fantasy team. We will be reviewing two teams per week until we are through all 30 teams, and you can see the schedule of when your favorite team will be reviewed below. if we have already reviewed the team, a link to the post, along with the team's top prospect is noted.

System Schedule

AL East

AL Central

AL West

NL East

NL Central

NL West

Baltimore
(3/11)

Chicago
(2/11)

Houston
(1/14)

Atlanta
(12/10)

Chicago
(11/12)

Arizona
(Bradley)

Boston
(3/14)

Cleveland
(2/14)

Los Angeles
(1/17)

Miami
(12/13)

Cincinnati
(11/15)

Colorado
(Gray)

New York
(3/18)

Detroit
(2/18)

Oakland
(1/21)

New York
(12/17)

Milwaukee
(11/19)

Los Angeles
(Pederson)

Tampa Bay
(3/21)

Kansas City
(2/21)

Seattle
(1/24)

Philadelphia
(12/20)

Pittsburgh
(11/22)

San Diego
(Today)

Toronto
(3/25)

Minnesota
(2/25)

Texas
(1/28)

Washington
(12/24)

St. Louis
(11/26)

San Francisco
(11/1)

Organizational Overview
by Jason Hunt

To say that the season did not go in the direction the Padres anticipated might be an understatement. While there weren't necessarily expectations that a playoff run was in the offing, they were coming off a 76-86 campaign in 2013 and improvement was anticipated.

Even with the knowledge that Petco Park will depress offense, the Padres struggled on a level almost unheard of. They scored just 535 runs (3.3/game), hit just .226 as a team, and posted an OPS+ of 85, all at the bottom of the league. The team was led on offense by Seth Smith, who posted a 135 OPS+ with 12 homeruns, and Yasmani Grandal, who hit 15 home runs, but with a .225/.327/.401 slash line. They saw injuries to second-year second baseman Jedd Gyorko, third baseman Chase Headley, and first baseman Yonder Alonso. Everth Cabrera finished the season on a suspension related to a DUI arrest after missing time with injuries of his own. Will Venable turned back into a pumpkin after a strong 2013 season that saw him reach the 20 HR/20 SB plateau, hitting just .224 with eight home runs and 11 steals in 146 games.

The pitching performances were solid, albeit somewhat unexpected. The team acquired Ian Kennedy late in 2013, and he paired with Tyson Ross to give the Padres a solid top of the rotation with nearly 400 innings between them. Free agent signee Josh Johnson did not end up pitching in a single game for the team, but could still return on a very friendly team option for 2015 if the team believes he can stay healthy. We saw glimpses of what made the Padres acquire Andrew Cashner, but he did miss significant time this year with injuries as well. The signing of Odisramer Despaigne, and acquisition last offseason of Jesse Hahn gave the Padres two more back-end options for a rotation that was the strength of the team this year.

This overall performance ended up costing general manager Josh Byrnes his job in late June, and interim general manager Omar Minaya was busy right before the trade deadline. Minaya sent closer Huston Street to the Angels, third baseman (and free agent-to-be) Chase Headley to the Yankees, and outfielder Chris Denorfia to the Mariners, while bringing back a number of interesting prospects to go along with a farm system that was already considered deep at the start of the year.

Unfortunately, the farm system generally took a step backward in 2014. Our top prospect from a year ago, Max Fried, threw just 10 innings over the year due to injuries before needing Tommy John surgery in August, and will have lost two full years of development by the time he returns to the mound in 2016. Casey Kelly was expected to be in the rotation at some point in 2014, but instead ended up throwing just 20 innings himself, and none in the majors. Even while his defense is expected to carry him to the majors, top real-life prospect Austin Hedges struggled at the plate at AA to the point where he isn't even a top 10 fantasy prospect for us, even with guaranteed playing time once he is ready.

There were some bright spots in amongst the prospects though. Rymer Liriano debuted after a strong season between AA and AAA, and could be in line for a shot at playing time in 2015. Top draftee Trea Turner hit .369 with 14 stolen bases in 46 games at Low-A, and could move quickly toward the majors. The deadline trades also brought in a number of interesting prospects, with Taylor Lindsey and Jose Rondon potentially lining up as the middle infield of the future and pitching prospects Jose De Paula and R.J. Alvarez being interesting arms as well.

The most exciting part of the whole season may be the hiring of the new general manager, former Rangers' Assistant General Manager A.J. Preller. So far this offseason, he has been assembling an excellent staff behind him, including Logan White (from the Dodgers), Sam Geaney as the new director of player development, and Don Welke as the head of scouting operations. Early reviews point to Preller building an extremely strong staff that should help him to move the organization down a path of sustained success in both the short and long-term.


2014 Graduates

The following players have surpassed their rookie maximums of 130 AB, 50 IP, or 45 days of service time.

Abraham Almonte (AB), Tommy Medica (AB), Yangervis Solarte (AB), Jake Goebbert (ST), Jesse Hahn (IP), Odrisamer Despaigne (IP), Kevin Quackenbush (IP), Donn Roach (IP)

Major League Opportunities in 2015
by Jason Hunt

Realistically, with as many players struggling as there were in 2014, you would think that there would be a number of places where the team could clearly upgrade. Unfortunately, it's not necessarily that simple. The team will look for improved performances from existing infielders Jedd Gyorko, Everth Cabrera, and Yonder Alonso, and it's possible we see a position shift for Gyorko again. Third base may be the easiest point to upgrade, although with Gyorko on the team they could move him back to his original position, and install either Taylor Lindsey or Cory Spangenberg as the second baseman in his place. In the outfield, they'll look for Cameron Maybin and Will Venable to return to form, and while Rymer Liriano could see playing time, it's not likely to be early with both Seth Smith and Carlos Quentin under contract as well for the 2015 season.

The pitching staff is locked in with their top three starters as Kennedy, Ross and Cashner in some order, with the back end of the rotation stocked with some combination of veteran Eric Stults, Cuban signee Odisramer Despaigne, the potentially returning Josh Johnson, and a mixture of young arms in Jesse Hahn, Casey Kelly, Joe Wieland, and potentially Cory Luebke. Who exactly comes out of that mixture at this point remains to be seen, but most of them should be at least somewhat fantasy relevant as streaming options depending on their opponent and location. The back end of the bullpen is led by Joaquin Benoit, who could be a trade candidate at midseason if the team is floundering. Kevin Quackenbush saw time as the closer as well, and overall the bullpen is relatively well set with a number of potentially interchangeable arms available should one or two struggle during the season.

Top 10 Fantasy Prospects
by Brian Creagh


Our top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are based upon standard 5x5 fantasy baseball leagues, with a balancing of ceiling and present value. While we are having discussions regarding these lists as a collective group, the top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are finalized by the writer listed above. Players are no longer considered prospects once they exceed either 130 at bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days of service time in the Majors

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1. Hunter Renfroe (OF)

Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.267 63 21 75 11
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
567 0.342 0.470 9.35% 23.63%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
22 R R A+-AA
Roster Status: Protect After 2016 Season
ETA to Majors: Late 2015
In a system loaded with pitching talent, it's a slugging OF who tops the list of this year's fantasy prospects. Hunter Renfroe was selected 13th overall in the 2013 draft out of Mississippi State, and despite some initial concerns about his athleticism, he's fit the mold of a slugging right-field prospect to a tee. His 2014 season was split evenly between High-A and AA, and Renfroe struggled a bit with the jump to the Texas League. He feasted on High-A pitching with a .295/.370/.565 triple slash line, but AA pitching proved to be a bit too advanced as he hit only .232/.307/.353.

At the plate, Renfroe looks capable of putting up the big power numbers that can be tough to identify early in fantasy prospects. He has big raw power and easily translates it into the game with a short, easy swing. However, he has had some issues with strikeouts as evidenced by his 134 K's in only 129 games this year. On a positive note, the strikeout rate did decrease in his jump to AA, so he seems to be making adjustments.

Renfroe's future is likely in RF thanks to his big arm and surprising athleticism. He should be able to cover enough ground and keep runners honest in RF. 2015 should see Renfroe repeat AA to begin with a promotion to AAA possible if he starts well. I think we could see Renfroe up in San Diego at the end of 2016, or early 2017. There's a sneaky chance Renfroe continues to develop his approach and turns into more than just a power hitter. He's the type of guy I would target in dynasty leagues who could come cheaper than other prolific power prospects.

2. Matt Wisler (RHP)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
10 0 4.42 1.36 136
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
146.2 1.30 1.10 6.62% 21.45%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 R R AAA-AA
Roster Status: Protect After 2015 Season
ETA to Majors: Late 2015

Wisler emerged as the clear #1 pitching prospect in the system after last year I had rated Max Fried slightly ahead of Wisler due to perceived upside. Not much has changed in the last year in terms of Wisler's ceiling, he's still a great #3 starter, it speaks more to Fried's injury and the uncertainty it brings. Matt Wisler spent almost all of 2014 in AAA and did not put up the numbers I would've expected. Part of this is explained by the offensive-friendly PCL, but the HR/9 (1.47) and the FIP (5.14) give a few reasons to be worried.

Wisler was just 21 years old while in AAA, which is very very young for the league. He still looks to be well on his way to becoming a mid-rotation starter and a usable fantasy asset in San Diego, but he may need another full year before breaking into the big leagues. Wisler doesn't project to put up many strikeouts, and his strikeout numbers have decreased as he has moved through the system. Last year he finished with a 7.8 K/9 and a 2.8 BB/9 and that might be his upside at the MLB level unless he is able to develop a put-away pitch.

Wisler's mix of pitches is what will drive any success he has in the big leagues, because he does not have a single plus-plus pitch at his disposal. He's a smart pitcher who can sequence appropriately and keep hitters off balance, but he won't get away with mistakes as often as others might. His fastball sits 93-95 and he features a four-seam and two-seam variety. The changeup is still developing, but could become an average pitch. His curveball and slider are not nasty, but he commands each of them well. The underwhelming stuff limits his upside to a #3 starter with a more likely scenario being that of a #4 or #5 guy. For fantasy purposes, there is still value there so long as he pitches half of his games in Petco. I'm not reaching for Wisler anywhere, but he's very close to the MLB and should be usable in most formats.

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3. Max Fried (LHP)

Photo Credit: Denis Poroy
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
0 0 5.06 1.875 10
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
10.2 0.80 2.33 10.00% 20.00%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
20 L L A-Rk
Roster Status: Protect After 2015 Season
ETA to Majors: Late 2017

In what amounted to a lost year for Max Fried, the left-handed pitcher managed only 10 innings before ultimately being shut down and opting for Tommy John surgery. Heading into the season, Fried was a high-upside pitching prospect and the surgery doesn't change that, but it does make what was likely to be a long developmental path even longer. Fried was taken 7th overall in the 2012 draft out of high school and due to spotty fastball command, he seemed destined for a slow ascent through the minors.

Fried is a big kid at 6'4", but he controls his body well and has a smooth, repeatable delivery. He doesn't have the explosive fastball you typically see in the elite prep arms - his fastball sits in the low 90's and he doesn't have much command on it. What sets Fried apart is the monster potential of both his curveball and changeup. Both are legit out pitches and advanced beyond his years for a 20 year old.

With the success we have been seeing out of Tommy John patients, I'm finding it difficult to knock Fried too far down the rankings. His ETA is anyone's guess, but for those in established dynasty leagues, this could be your chance to buy low on this guy. It's a long-term investment to be sure, but 6'4" lefties with two plus-plus off-speed offerings don't come around very often. The ceiling hasn't dropped at all, but the floor is non-existent at this point.

4. Franchy Cordero (SS)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.255 45 9 44 16
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
353 0.305 0.400 5.10% 31.44%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
19 L R A--A
Roster Status: Protect After 2015 Season
ETA to Majors: 2017

An aggressive assignment to Low-A to start the season backfired for the Padres as Franchy Cordero struggled mightily in his full season debut. After 22 games, he was moved back to Rookie ball where Cordero showed off the tools that put him on many fantasy radars after 2013. A 6'3" 175 lb rail thin shortstop prospect, Franchy Cordero hit .279/.329/.458 with 9 HRs and 13 SBs in 61 rookie league games last year. He's an electric talent and a potential stud for fantasy owners. The combination of size, present skill, and youth is drool-inducing and Cordero could easily develop into a Top 50 prospect in a year or two.

Some scouts think Cordero will outgrow the position, but if he does, the power projection likely grows with it and his bat can handle a move to 3B or elsewhere on the diamond. Don't give up on Cordero after a poor season, there is likely a human element involved as it was also Cordero's stateside debut, and his first time playing in a cold weather environment. He appears to have handled the adversity well and regrouped in extended spring training, which is a positive sign for his overall development. He could be a sneaky buy-low candidate for those in deep dynasty league.

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5. Trea Turner (SS)

Photo Credit: Bruce Thorson - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.323 45 5 24 23
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
321 0.406 0.448 10.90% 20.87%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 R R A-A-
Roster Status: Protect After 2017 Season
ETA to Majors: 2016

The Padres #1 pick this year in the MLB draft, Turner is a shortstop prospect from North Carolina State University. He's a dynamic, leadoff hitter who has the range and glove to stick at SS, but he's a bit of a question mark at the plate and that's why he falls down to 5th on this list despite the high pedigree. Turner tore up the Midwest League in his professional debut, to the tune of .369/.447/.529 with 4 HRs and 14 SBs. Two caveats to that line that are worth pointing out: a college bat in the Midwest League is commonly going to find success, and scouts did note some serious contact issues despite the gaudy numbers. He's playing mostly with teenagers who haven't faced nearly the same quality pitching as he has at the collegiate level, so while his numbers are still impressive for a college player, they should be taken with a grain salt.

What we can count on from Turner is a bonafide SS prospect with some serious wheels. That should buoy his fantasy value for a long time, and there's a chance for even more if he can resolve the contact issues. Power doesn't ever figure to be much of a factor in Turner's game, but at SS that shouldn't matter too much. Turner has the feel of a guy who I'll always be skeptical of until I see him succeed for an extended period at the AA level. I'd be much more willing to invest in the younger, more power-centric profile of Franchy Cordero.

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6. Rymer Liriano (OF)

Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.277 82 15 72 24
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
607 0.348 0.432 8.57% 25.54%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
23 R R AA-AAA-MLB
Roster Status: On 40 Man Roster (Out of Options)
ETA to Majors: 2015

We saw flashes of what Liriano could be at the major league level this year, which is always enticing for fantasy owners, but he continues to put it all together in a package that produces on a consistent basis. In a 121 PA call-up, Liriano struggled with a .220/.289/.266 line with 1 HR and 4 steals. In the minors, however; he dominated both AA and AAA putting up crazy numbers. It could just be a matter of confidence and Liriano requiring the time at the highest level to figure pitchers out, because the tools and the talent are all there for him to be an impact player.

He's more power than AVG for fantasy purposes, and he still looks raw at times on the plate, but the 20-20 potential is still there for Rymer Liriano. The hit tool will likely limit the power upside and he could even turn into an AVG anchor for roto owners if he gets enough PA's, but there's still that chance that everything goes right and Liriano is an impact guy in any format.

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7. Jace Peterson (2B-3B-SS)

Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.280 57 3 46 18
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
440 0.370 0.400 12.05% 17.50%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
24 L R AA-AAA-MLB
Roster Status: On 40 Man Roster (3 Options Left)
ETA to Majors: 2015

Jace Peterson is intriguing prospect, and his value will be tightly tied to the position he ultimately ends up playing for San Diego. A shortstop coming up through the minors, Peterson moved around a bit last year and saw time at SS, 3B, and 2B between the majors and minor leagues. Where he settles in for San Diego long term is still up in the air as Jedd Gyorko, Yangervis Solarte, and Everth Cabrera are all under contract next year and are the incumbents at the infield positions. Peterson will likely end up playing a utility role until an injury or trade opens up an opportunity.

The power projection for Peterson is lackluster, but he still profiles as a top-of-the-order guy thanks to excellent on-base skills and a plus hit tool. The profile looks great at a middle infield position, but he's probably just a fringe starter in standard formats if he plays strictly 3B. While he has the ability to play SS making the Padres more likely to keep him there, Solarte, in my opinion, is the weakest of the three options and will probably be the first guy removed to make room for Peterson. There is also some speed in his game, but his success rate dropped considerably once hitting AA, so I'd temper the expectations a bit after his 132 SBs in 3 seasons in the lower minors.

8. Dustin Peterson (3B)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.233 64 10 79 1
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
563 0.274 0.361 4.44% 24.33%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
19 R R A
Roster Status: Protect After 2017 Season
ETA to Majors: 2017

Dustin Peterson is my "guy" in this system. I was high on him last year, putting him at #4 in the system and despite putting up rough numbers in Low-A this year, my faith in him as a future fantasy weapon has only grown. The younger brother of Seattle Mariners first round pick D.J. Peterson, Dustin is an offensive-minded player without a definitive position. 3B looks to be the short-term answer, but some think a shift to 1B is likely and that will certainly put a lot of pressure on the bat. Personally, I think Peterson can stick at 3B as I've seen enough reports from scouts this season that think he has just enough arm and agility to make it work.

Peterson's offensive game isn't as polished as many thought when coming out of high school but that doesn't mean his upside has changed much. He has shown a propensity for squaring up pitches but he is having some strike zone issues as evidenced by the 137 K's in 126 games. He is willing to use the whole field, and his short, compact swing doesn't sell out for power. What intrigues me most about Peterson is the power potential his frame hints at. At 6'2" 185 lbs, he should fill out his frame and add some muscle and when combined with his solid hit tool, there's potential for a dynamic offensive weapon. I wouldn't be surprised if Peterson repeats Low-A due to his age, but hopefully we can see some big adjustments from him.

9. Joe Ross (RHP)

2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
W SV ERA WHIP K
10 0 3.92 1.26 106
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
IP HR/9 GO/AO BB% K%
121.2 0.60 1.59 5.58% 20.38%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
21 R R A+-AA
Roster Status: Protect After 2015 Season
ETA to Majors: 2016

A solid, but unspectacular year for Joe Ross in 2014 as he found his way to the AA level after succeeding in Hi-A. Ross threw 101.2 innings with a 3.98 ERA, 7.7 K/9, and 2.8 BB/9 in Hi-A and then received a brief 20 IP appearance in AA to conclude the season, before hitting the disabled list. Ross projects to be a #4/#5 type of guy, but there's still a chance for more after the step forward he took this year.

Ross features a plus fastball in the low 90's with heavy life, a slider that projects as above average, and a changeup that is still mostly a show-me pitch. The big knock on Ross was that his stuff wasn't electric enough to miss bats at the higher levels. He's done well to calm some of those fears this season, but a larger sample at AA in 2015 will be very telling. Of similar players with back-end of the rotation projections, Ross is the guy worth taking the chance on because his build, and big fastball hint at something more.

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10. Taylor Lindsey (2B)

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.238 69 10 48 7
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
501 0.306 0.372 8.18% 11.78%
OTHER INFORMATION
AGE Bats Throws 2014 Levels
22 L R AAA-Rk
Roster Status: Must Protect This Offseason
ETA to Majors: 2015

Traded to San Diego from Los Angeles in the Huston Street deal, Taylor Lindsey went from the #1 prospect in the Angels system to #10 here on our list. It speaks more to the varying qualities of each team's farm system, but I also think Lindsey's future fantasy value took a tumble with the trade. He went to being one of the next guys to be called up to fill an infield need, to a guy with a few options ahead of him in both the short term (Jace Peterson) and long term (Franchy Cordero). Not to mention the incumbent, Jedd Gyorko doesn't figure to be going anywhere soon, except maybe back to 3B.

Lindsey doesn't have a standout tool, and his scouting report is full of 50 grades, which means he's going to be a starter in the MLB, but you aren't drafting him for any particular skillset. Lindsey did struggle this year at AAA in both the LAA and SD systems, and he will likely repeat the level to start off 2015. As mentioned before, Jace Peterson is probably the first one to get a call up, but Lindsey should be next on the list if he can make adjustments and find some footing next year. I don't know that Lindsey is ever rosterable in a standard format, but the floor is higher than the names below him, and he should stick up the middle.

Other Interesting Prospects
by Brian Creagh
Austin Hedges - The analysis on Hedges is simple. The glove will get him to the big leagues and continue to garner him PA's, but he's shown very little ability to do much with those appearances, and from a fantasy perspective that's the stuff we care about. I don't know if the certainty of a lineup spot is enough to mask the holes in his offensive game and make me care about Austin Hedges as a fantasy prospect. If you own him, sell him for what his brand name can return.

Casey Kelly - We are now two years removed from Kelly's 29 inning cup of coffee in San Diego. Casey Kelly has sort of been a forgotten man in fantasy circles. He started a brief recovery from Tommy John but after feeling soreness in his elbow he's been put on the shelf again. His upside is still that of a mid-rotation piece, but given the Padres SP depth and his battle with injuries, they will make Kelly earn his way back up the ladder. He's a name to keep an eye on at this point, but probably not worth a roster spot.

Jose Rondon - The second piece of the Huston Street deal was Jose Rondon, a shortstop prospect with the tools to be a serviceable player at the highest level. He grades out at average to above-average in every tool except for power, which means he's likely to stick at SS and is a good bet to make it to the MLB despite playing only one season beyond rookie ball to this point. Rondon has a knack for hard contact, and runs well enough to swipe a few bags. There is a lot of talent in front of him in the San Diego organization, and while he can't match the upside of Jace Peterson, Franchy Cordero , and Dustin Peterson, he has one of the highest floors of the group. Don't be surprised if Rondon ends up being a utility type player with multiple positions of eligibility and some decent fantasy value if he can find himself hitting on top of a big league lineup.

About the Authors

Jason Hunt is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in the minor leagues and prospects
Follow him on Twitter 

Brian Creagh is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter 

David Spracale is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter