The 2015 MLB regular season has come to an end and that means it's time for the fantasy baseball off-season. Finding prospects, worth owning, is an imperative process that can drastically change the outcome of dynasty leagues for years to come. I've profiled a few young prospects that could be big difference makers in the future.
The prospects listed in this article are players that are 3 to 4 years away from reaching the show. Extreme risk/reward is an understatement; prospects below Advanced A-Ball are the most difficult to project as there is so much risk for injuries, burn out, etc. between now and several years down the road.
Wilkerman Garcia, SS - NYY (ROK): One of my favorite under the radar prospects is Yankees shortstop Wilkerman Garcia. Ranked as the #14 prospect in the international class by MLB.com he signed with the Yankees for $1,350,000 at only 16 years old. Garcia, now 17 years old, has already shown his worth and is in the conversation as the best prospect in the entire 2014 international class. He's far exceeded early expectations being named the #6 player in the Gulf Coast League by Baseball America on September 24th. Spending most of his time in the GCL, the 17 year old showed an elite plate approach from both sides of the plate (he's a switch hitter). He compiled a BB/K ratio of 25/19 and a .396OBP. Garcia did however struggle against RHP batting only .198 on the year; he fared much better against lefties hitting .450 with an OPS of 1.071 in 40AB's. Stronger from the right side of the plate, Garcia shows a remarkable ability to make contact.
From BP Bronx's Ben Diamond:
"When Garcia first signed, the switch hitter had what many considered an advanced bat, along with possibly plus speed and a plus arm at shortstop, (he should be able to stick at the position). Already, Garcia had the makings of an impressive prospect. But now reports are coming in that Garcia's tools have ticked up a notch since signing. Garcia's just starting to get broken into professional ball in the Gulf Coast League this season, but he has a very impressive all around package. As with any July 2nd signing, Garcia is light years away from the big leagues, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see his name mentioned among elite prospects in a couple of years. In fact, some scouts are already saying that Garcia has more offensive upside than top shortstop prospect Jorge Mateo."
Plus speed with a plus bat puts Garcia at the top of my wish list. Despite being years away from the majors, I found room on my 40 man MiLB roster using a 9th round pick in my 20 team MiLB draft. His speed played up nicely in 35 games between the DSL & GCL stealing 11 bags in total. Garcia will find his way on to some Yankees' top 10 prospects lists before the 2016 season. Adding players so far away from the big leagues is always risky, but hitting on a big time prospect in dynasty leagues is a complete game changer. Put Garica at the top of your watch list as he will be skyrocketing up prospect lists during the off-season as more people find out about him.
Jomar Reyes, 3B - BAL (Full-Season A): An 18 year old in High A-ball is very uncommon. An 18 year old having success at High-A ball is a rarity. Enter Jomar Reyes, a power hitting 3B in the Baltimore Orioles system. Reyes has been said to have plus to double plus power with an above average hit tool. Reyes, with an imposing 6'4 220lb frame, has the ability to grow into some huge power numbers. In 2015 he hit 5HR with 48RBI while batting .278 with a 20/78 BB/K ratio. Developing more consistent power and improving his plate approach are going to be key areas of development going forward. While you'd like to see more home runs out of a power bat, you can't put too much stock in how many home runs an 18 year old can hit. David Ortiz, for example, only hit 4 home runs in his age 19 season. Young prospects, such as Reyes, sometimes struggle hitting for power unless they completely sell out for the long ball. Once he gains more game experience, look for him to start utilizing the enormous raw power that he possesses. If the tools develop to their potential a .270 average with 30-35HR will most likely be Reyes' ceiling. Keep in mind that there are questions marks whether Reyes can stick at third; A corner outfield spot may end up better suiting him in the future.
Pedro Avila, SP - WAS (ROK): Maybe my favorite unknown prospect going into the 2016 season is Nationals starting pitcher Pedro Avila. Avila dominated the Dominican Summer League this year with a K/9 of 13.12 across 59.2IP. While his ERA was great at 2.26, his FIP was even better sitting at 1.87. The 18 year old was good enough to receive a late season promotion to the Gulf Coast League. He went 4IP allowing 1H and 1BB while striking out 5 in his only start. Avila's pitching repertoire is somewhat of an unknown at this point as he's only made one start stateside. Overall, he finished with 92K in 63.2IP between the DSL & GCL. It's too early to know what kind of pitcher Avila can become, but you should jump on the band wagon before someone else does. Avila is years away from contributing to a major league team but if you are in a league with deep MiLB rosters he's definitely worth a spot. Pitchers that miss bats like Avila do not come along often. I snagged him in the 10th round of my 20 team MiLB draft.
I try to write about players that are not on the common top 100 lists as most of them are already owned. This should give some of you an opportunity to jump on these prospects before your league mates find out about them. Finding information on non-top 100 prospects can be time consuming and hard to find, especially ones that have the potential to be fantasy relevant.
If you missed the first version of Turning Rocks here is the link to the article. Turning Rocks I