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Top Prospects: 2014 Consensus Top 200 Fantasy Prospects, Part 1

The prospect staff at Fake Teams have put together their top consensus fantasy prospects, and start with the release of their top 50.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a long offseason, and with baseball games already being played, the prospect staff here at Fake Teams has finished up the last of their coverage plan with the completion of our consensus top 200 fantasy prospects. We've seen changes in our staff, but as always our aim is to provide the readers with as much coverage of the minor leagues as possible for your dynasty and keeper formats. The top 200 will be split into three parts: Top 50, 51-100, and 101-200.

Our Process

After participating in the discussion of each team's list over the offseason, our prospect staff submitted an initial top 200 list of prospects. We pulled those lists together, and gave each player ranked a set amount of points based on each list's ranking, starting with 200 points for the #1 prospect on each list, and so on. Once we had our initial list, we discussed players where we felt one ranker may have been out of step in either direction. The goal wasn't necessarily to change that ranker's mind about their ranking, but more to get an understanding of their concerns regarding the prospect.

For each prospect, we are providing their ranking on the individual lists of Jason Hunt, Brian Creagh, and Matt Mattingly, as well as the overall consensus ranking based on our points system. In addition, I (Jason) have gone through and estimated the start level and league for each player for the 2014 season, as well as an approximate ETA to the majors. These are all educated estimates, and we will likely find out that players are going elsewhere as the spring wears on.

The Usual Reminders

You've probably heard it before, but any time you prepare a ranked list of any kind, it bears repeating. This list is a snapshot of a moment in time, and will likely change at any given point in the future. We believe that these are the top 50 fantasy prospects right now collectively, but each writer had their own opinion on where each prospect belongs on their own list. So you'll see players that are ranked differently by each of our writers, some very substantially. This is the first time Fake Teams has ever produced a set of prospect rankings this deep, and we're very proud of the work we've done this offseason. We welcome your comments and questions, and want discussion to follow along with these lists.

While I will not be writing up every prospect in our rankings (you can see quite a few of them in our Minor League Keeper Thoughts series from this year), I will be providing some notes on a lot of them. I'm also dividing the rankings up into groups of 10. These are not tiers or specifically divided that way for a reason other than I wanted to divide them into more manageable groups, so don't read too much into the specific separations. With that, let's get into the rankings.

Consensus Rank Player Team Position Ranking Points Jason Brian Matt Exp. 2014 Start Level and League Exp. MLB ETA
1 Byron Buxton MIN OF 605 2 1 1 AA - Eastern Late 2014
2 Xander Bogaerts BOS SS 604 1 2 2 MLB 2014
3 Javier Baez CHC SS 598 3 3 5 AAA - PCL Mid 2014
4 Carlos Correa HOU SS 597 5 4 3 High-A - California 2015
5 Oscar Taveras STL OF 596 4 5 4 MLB 2014
6 Taijuan Walker SEA RHP 584 9 9 7 MLB 2014
7 Archie Bradley ARI RHP 583 7 11 8 AAA - PCL Mid-Late 2014
8 Kris Bryant CHC 3B 583 11 6 9 AA - Southern Late 2014
9 Addison Russell OAK SS 576 6 17 10 AA - Texas Late 2014
10 George Springer HOU OF 569 8 26 6 MLB 2014

  • I'm slightly out on my own with my ranking of Xander Bogaerts as the #1 overall fantasy prospect, but it's still a close call. Bogaerts can be a 30 home run hitter who can hit .300 at a premium position, and will start in the majors this year. I'm still a believer in Buxton, and think he can be a top 10 fantasy player too, but give me the one this year over the one next year.
  • I think we see both Javier Baez and Kris Bryant in Chicago by season's end, with Baez potentially up at the All-Star break. Where they both end up on the diamond remains to be seen at this point, but if I had to guess, Baez will be at third base and Bryant in right field. (Sorry Brian, that doesn't mean IO think that Darwin Barney will be starting by then, see below).
  • I'm a huge believer in Addison Russell, but I don't think that's a big shock given what I've written about him previously. I think we're looking at a potential 20 HR/20 SB shortstop who can provide a good batting average, and based on his path I think he might be in the bigs for a late-season playoff run if the A's are in it.
  • The two biggest questions surrounding George Springer right now are whether he will make the team out of spring training (or be held back on service time concerns), and whether he'll be able to continue to hit enough to overcome the potential strikeout concerns. I think he is on the roster on Opening Day, and think he can provide a .265-.270 average to go with the power/speed combination.
Consensus Rank Player Team Position Ranking Points Jason Brian Matt Exp. 2014 Start Level and League Exp. MLB ETA
11 Clint Frazier CLE OF 568 13 15 13 Low-A - Sally 2017
12 Miguel Sano MIN 3B 567 18 13 11 Injured 2015
13 Dylan Bundy BAL RHP 563 14 7 25 AAA - International Late 2014
14 Gregory Polanco PIT OF 562 10 22 15 AAA - International Late 2014
15 Jose Abreu CHW 1B 561 26 8 14 MLB 2014
16 Masahiro Tanaka NYY RHP 559 24 14 12 MLB 2014
17 Robert Stephenson CIN RHP 558 15 20 16 AA - Southern Late 2014
18 Kevin Gausman BAL RHP 557 16 12 24 AAA - International 2014
19 Noah Syndergaard NYM RHP 555 23 10 21 AA - Eastern Late 2014
20 Lucas Giolito WAS RHP 552 12 25 20 Low-A - Sally 2017

  • We moved Miguel Sano down out of the top 10 with the news that he will have Tommy John surgery and miss the 2014 season. For me, the ceiling hasn't necessarily changed, but the lost year of development moves his timeline back just a slight bit.
  • Dylan Bundy likely won't be back until at least midseason, and while I don't think he'll see a lot of starts in the majors this year, I do think he'll be up for the stretch run with the Orioles.
  • I'm easily the highest on Lucas Giolito, and I think it has everything to do with the possibility that his ceiling is extremely rare: he could be the top starting pitcher in fantasy baseball at some point in the future. Is it particularly high odds that he will be? No, but he may have the best odds of any prospect in the minors right now.
  • Noah Syndergaard will also be on an innings limit this year, anticipated to be around 145 innings, so I could see him getting a September callup potentially, but even that I wouldn't guarantee.
  • I'm the lowest on Tanaka, but I think he still ends up a very valuable pitcher. I just don't think he has true #1 upside, but slots in with a floor of mid-rotation with #2 potential.
Consensus Rank Player Team Position Ranking Points Jason Brian Matt Exp. 2014 Start Level and League Exp. MLB ETA
21 Jameson Taillon PIT RHP 549 19 24 17 AAA - International Late 2014
22 Jonathan Gray COL RHP 536 20 18 35 AA - Texas Late 2014
23 Nick Castellanos DET 3B 533 27 16 33 MLB 2014
24 Jorge Alfaro TEX C 528 30 19 32 AA - Texas 2015
25 Kyle Zimmer KC RHP 527 28 28 26 AA - Texas Late 2014
26 Albert Almora CHC OF 524 45 21 19 High-A - Florida State Late 2015
27 Mark Appel HOU RHP 523 25 34 27 AA - Texas Late 2014
28 Billy Hamilton CIN OF 521 17 40 31 MLB 2014
29 Yordano Ventura KC RHP 517 22 23 47 MLB 2014
30 Travis d'Arnaud NYM C 516 21 36 36 MLB 2014

  • Time will tell for sure, but I think we may end up too low overall and individually on Jonathan Gray. A commenter asked on Thomas Sheils' profile of the Rockies' prospect whether this is the ace they have been looking for in Colorado since their arrival in 1993, and I'm of the belief that he is the best chance of that yet.
  • I actually took Jorge Alfaro in the 14th round of the Dynasty Guru Experts League (which I'll be writing up my results next week), and while I was lower on him than our consensus ranking, I think he can be a potentially 25+ home run hitter at a premium position.
  • I also drafted Billy Hamilton in the same league, but drastically earlier as I took him in the 3rd round (It's a 20 team league, so that was pick 58). as the potential for him to win stolen bases outright in a league was just too interesting there.
  • It seems like it has been forever, but Jameson Taillon was only drafted three years ago, and is on the cusp of the major leagues. He's likely to get a call up at some point this season, as he may already be one of the Pirates' top five starting pitchers.
Consensus Rank Player Team Position Ranking Points Jason Brian Matt Exp. 2014 Start Level and League Exp. MLB ETA
31 Carlos Martinez STL RHP 509 37 29 34 MLB 2014
32 Joc Pederson LAD OF 495 31 61 22 AAA - PCL Late 2014
33 Corey Seager LAD SS 493 32 46 38 High-A - California 2016
34 Andrew Heaney MIA LHP 493 29 42 45 AAA - PCL Late 2014
35 Francisco Lindor CLE SS 490 43 37 39 AA - Eastern 2015
36 Maikel Franco PHI 3B 488 40 58 23 AAA - International Late 2014
37 Jorge Soler CHC OF 486 57 48 18 High-A - Florida State Late 2015
38 Austin Meadows PIT OF 477 59 45 28 Low-A - Sally 2017
39 Colin Moran MIA 3B 470 39 31 69 AA - Southern Late 2014
40 Marcus Stroman TOR RHP 470 42 32 65 AAA - International 2014

  • Andrew Heaney isn't going to be in the majors at the start of the season (at least he's not expected to, but it is the Marlins, so who knows), but he could be up by midseason potentially depending on how the rest of their rotation comes together. I would be targeting him in deeper redraft leagues, as he could provide excellent numbers between his pedigree and his home park.
  • There have been rumors that Marcus Stroman could start the year in the Majors, and while I don't think that's necessarily a given, I think he's another name to target like Heaney. I do believe he is a starting pitcher long term, and that the results will end up silencing the concerns about his size.
  • It remains to be seen what role Carlos Martinez will finally settle into, but in the rotation or the bullpen he has the potential to be an elite option. I am a bit concerned that he ends up in the back end of the bullpen, but not as the closer, drastically hurting his fantasy value in most leagues.
Consensus Rank Player Team Position Ranking Points Jason Brian Matt Exp. 2014 Start Level and League Exp. MLB ETA
41 Aaron Sanchez TOR RHP 468 55 27 59 AA - Eastern 2015
42 Chris Owings ARI SS 463 41 49 56 MLB 2014
43 Max Fried SD LHP 463 34 59 53 High-A - California 2016
44 Eddie Butler COL RHP 462 38 43 66 AA - Texas Late 2014
45 Gary Sanchez NYY C 452 78 50 29 AA - Eastern 2015
46 Julio Urias LAD LHP 451 33 75 50 High-A - California Late 2016
47 Arismendy Alcantara CHC 2B 450 35 81 43 AAA - PCL Late 2014
48 Raul Mondesi KC SS 450 44 69 46 High-A - Carolina 2016
49 Rougned Odor TEX 2B 450 81 41 37 AA - Texas 2015
50 Michael Choice TEX OF 449 48 72 40 AAA - PCL 2014

  • While I think Eddie Butler starts at AA this year, I don't think he's there, or even in the minors, for very long. I love the profile: heavy groundball pitcher going to Coors Field. While we've seen this before and it hasn't always worked out, I think he can give #2 upside despite playing a mile high.
  • Like our former counterpart Craig Goldstein, I'm a big believer in Arismendy Alcantara for fantasy purposes. I think he could force the Cubs to move Darwin Barney to a reserve role by midseason as well. He could provide 15 HR/15 SB from second base in a full season.
  • The trade of Michael Choice to Texas improved his opportunity overall, between his home park and the likelihood of playing time more quickly. He may not see a starting job right away, but I think he's a starter by 2015 at the latest.