With the fantasy football playoffs in their second week, fantasy baseball season is staring at us waiting for the new year to begin, and the new year brings us right into the middle of prospect season. Our prospect team here at Fake Teams are finalizing the last of their Top 10 Fantasy Prospect series this week and will release their Top 100 Fantasy Prospects for 2016 later in the week, so make sure you come back to check those out.
If you missed any of our previous Top 10 Fantasy Prospect for 2016 coverage, here is a link to each of our top 10 fantasy prospects for each team:
In addition, Brian Creagh ranked the top 20 International Prospects for 2016 below:
Below you will find some excerpts from some of the Baseball America Top 10 chats recently.
Dodgers Top 10 Chat
Frank (Chicago, IL): Willie Calhoun a top 30 prospect for you? Is his destination to be the keystone, or can he play elsewhere?
Ben Badler: Definitely a Top 30 guy. I'm a huge fan of Willie Calhoun's bat. When you watch his swingâwow. His hitting mechanics are outstanding. Short, compact swing, excellent rhythm and balance, with the barrel staying on plane with the ball for a long time. The crazy power numbers he posted as an amateur are going to come back down to earth, but for his size, he does have surprising power and could be a 15-20 HR guy. The way he raked in his brief taste of pro ball after signing this year is no fluke. Now the downsideâhe's short, stocky, doesn't have much physical projection left and his defense is poor. It doesn't seem like he's ever prioritized defense, so the hope is that with more emphasis on his fielding and the benefit of pro instruction, he can become at least a playable defender there, and I think he can do that. I love that pick by the Dodgers for where they got him.
Our prospect team ranked Calhoun as their #10 ranked fantasy prospect in the Dodgers system last week, and here is what they had to say about him:
Calhoun is one of the "lesser" known prospects that have made our top 10 lists. He's definitely worth a late round flier in dynasty leagues and could certainly sky rocket up lists with an impressive 2016. The second base profile will likely scare off some, but a strong return engagement in High-A could solidify his value for fantasy owners. You can read a more in-depth profile on Calhoun from back in September as well.
Calhoun is a bat only second baseman who will need to work on his defense to be passable on defense, but he appears to have the bat that fantasy owners should look to grab in dynasty and keeper leagues in 2016.
Lando C. (Cloud City, Bespin): Greetings! I get the feeling that The Dodgers will ultimately get a proven 1B from trades or free agency, but Cody Bellinger is an interesting prospect. Do you think Cody Bellinger ends up as more of a big power, 30-HR, .220 avg. type that could be a legit MLB starter, or a 20ish HR .250 guy that is a backup plan?
Ben Badler: I think he has a chance to be a 20-25 HR guy and be a slightly above-average hitter who amplifies his OBP by drawing a lot of walks. This season, his offensive profile got slanted more toward power than contact, but we're talking about someone who just turned 20, was in the first season with his updated hitting mechanics, and was able to make the proper adjustments to cut down on his strikeouts without sacrificing any power later in the year. To me, those signs, along with someone who just has an overall high baseball IQ and has shown natural hitting instincts from a young age, they all point to him eventually finding that right balance of contact and power within the next few years. Throw in the defense that he brings to the table, and that's a pretty exciting prospect.
Padres Top 10 Chat
Another of lesser-known Dodger prospects is 1B/OF prospect Cody Bellinger who hit 30 home runs and drove in over 100 runs in High A in 2015 as a 19 year old, skipping Low A entirely. He should start the 2016 season in Double A and could be on the fast track to the big leagues should he continue to hit for power facing more experienced pitching.
The Padres received Manuel Margot in a package of prospects that included shortstop Javier Guerra from the Red Sox in an offseason trade for closer Craig Kimbrel. Here is what Vince Lara-Cinosomo had to say about Margot in a recent chat:
Frank (Chicago, IL): Was it particularly close for the #1 spot between Guerra and Margot?
Vincent Lara-Cinisomo: Hi folks, happy to be chatting Padres today. Yes, it was very close. We went back and forth on Guerra and Margot, but ultimately Guerra's power potential and ability to play short won out. For what it's worth, Guerra would have ranked No. 5 for the Red Sox and Margot No. 7.
Margot has the profile to be a top of the lineup hitter, maybe even a leadoff hitter, due to his bat and his speed, but Alex Speier seemed to have a different take on Margot from a recent Red Sox top 10 chat that fantasy owners should consider if he is still available in dynasty and keeper league drafts this offseason:
JJ O'Connor (Mass): Where would Manuel Margot rank on this list? And is it true he wasn't as valued by Red Sox officials as most in the outside thought?
Alex Speier: He was valued plenty ... but the Sox have Betts, Bradley, Benintendi, not to mention Basabe. The industry consensus on him, both inside and outside the Sox organization, came across as very consistent: Excellent likelihood of being a roughly average everyday CF who hits in the bottom third of the order.
Maybe I was wrong, but I think I am not alone in thinking that Margot is more of a 1-3 hitter than he is a 6-8 hitter. Let's hope Speier is wrong on his take above.
Red Sox Top 10 Chat
Alex Speier on Red Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada:
Tyler (North Carolina): Yoan Moncada had a ton of errors (35 if I remember correctly) at 2B in Greenville. Could he move elsewhere in the near future or is 2B going to be his primary position for years to come?
Alex Speier: 23 errors, and most of them came in the first half. He cleaned up his fundamentals a ton in the second half and reduced the errors significantly. The Sox don't plan to move him off 2B entering 2016. Long-term? That's another matter. But I think he has the tools to stick at 2B â he can make explosive, dynamic plays there.
Speier answered a lot of questions on Moncada and it appears that the Red Sox aren't; sure where he will play long term. He had some difficulty in the field in 2015, so he eventually could wind up in the outfield. Heck, Speier even mentioned that he could play third base, but the Red Sox already have a top prospect in Rafael Devers who can play third. Then again, some think he could outgrow third base and be moved to the outfield. That said, it is a good problem to have and the Red Sox have time to figure things out, especially if Moncada does stay at second base. The presence of fan favorite and team leader Dustin Pedroia at second base could push Moncada to the outfield as Pedroia's contract runs through 2021 and is relatively cheap.
Storm (San Jose): Hi Alex! Can Benintendi be a 20/20 guy? What do you think is his ceiling and ETA?
Alex Speier: I think I mentioned his ceiling â he certainly has 20/20 potential, a player somewhat similar to what Betts showed last year, perhaps. He has a chance to fly through the minors based on an incredibly advanced approach. It's not absurd to guess he's in the majors by some point in 2017.
Here is a guy who should be at the top of many prospect drafts in 2016. Benintendi hit 11 home runs, stole 10 bases and walked more than he struck out in just over 200 plate appearances in 2015.