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Fantasy prospects I like less than the consensus

Just like there’ll always be prospects I like more than others, here’s a small group I can’t get myself to like.

MLB: Spring Training-Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Yankees Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

An appearance in this post doesn’t mean I think the prospect is bad or is a bust. It just means that the industry is a little bit higher on them than I. A lot of my thought process has to do with the current landscape of baseball; Home runs are literally at an all-time high so if you can’t cut it there, you better make it up elsewhere.

If you own these players, read through my reasoning and decide for yourself if they’re worth holding onto or if you should ship them off. With the exception of one guy here though, I can’t promise you’ll get too much in return.

Gleyber Torres, 2B/3B/SS/ (NYY)

Age: 20 (21 six days after this publishes)

Highest Level: AAA

Torres really made a name for himself in the 2016 AFL when he was just a High-A prospect recently traded from the Chicago Cubs. One year later, he’s a triple-A phenom that hit .287/.383/.480 in 55 games before going down with a UCL tear in his non-throwing elbow. My gripe with Torres is he doesn’t have any one standout tool. He has a future 60-hit tool, but I’d say only optimists see the same for power. I’d settle in for average power, 55 at best. In addition, his stocky frame leads me to believe he’s not stealing more than 10 bases in a season.

He can’t play up the middle in New York thanks to Didi Gregorius (two more years of arbitration) and Starlin Castro (signed through 2019 with a ‘20 team option), so 3B would be his likely position when he makes his debut. So a guy that should have good counting stats and 20 HR, 8 SB with about a .280 AVG? Isn’t that late-career Asdrubal Cabrera?

Torres is a fine prospect, but I don’t think he’s top 10. In our midseason list, I personally ranked him 22nd overall and that’s roughly where I’d still have him.

Franklin Barreto, SS (OAK)


Highest Level: MLB

All right, so what about a guy that is going to remain a SS? Thanks to his glove Barreto isn’t moving off the six anytime soon. But because of the influx of shortstop talent recently, we’ve raised our bar for talent at the position and Barreto doesn’t cross it for me.

He struggled mightily in the majors in 25 games (.259 wOBA) but I’m not going to hold that against him. However I’m a little concerned that his .290/.339/.456 line in Triple-A this season is masking the .384 BABIP necessary to get that slash along with his 5 BB% and 27 K%. He’s yet to really master Triple-A, I think. His 17 HR and 17 SB across AAA/MLB were nice, but I think his routine production might be something akin to 80/15/75/15 with a .275 AVG and a league-average OBP.

Is it useful? Certainly, especially in deep and -only leagues where you have to fill those MI spots. Am I running to trade for him or rank him highly? Nah.

Carson Kelly, C (STL)

Age: 23

Highest Level: AAA

For being drafted as a third baseman and then switching to catching, kudos to Kelly for becoming one of the strongest defensive catchers in the minors. My issue is that’s his carrying tool and for fantasy, we really don’t care about that. Kelly projects to have an average hit tool and power. He does have a strong approach, having kept his K% below 15 percent not only in his Triple-A career, but in 89 PA in the majors, which is quite impressive.

Also in those 89 PA? Zero HR. I sincerely think there will be several single-digit home run seasons in his future buoyed by an above-average slash line and average counting stats. Kelly strikes me as someone who’ll usually hit 6th-8th in a lineup for most of his career and will only be used as a second catcher in two-catcher leagues or in -only leagues thanks to subpar counting stats. From a fantasy perspective, I don’t think he’s top five in his own system and I wouldn’t include him in a fantasy top 100.

Given Molina’s three-year extension earlier this spring, his playing time looks murky. Will they shift Molina to first base and make room for Kelly? The youngster logged all of his playing time as a backstop and that’s his bonafide position. Something will have to give but it won’t be on my minor league farms.

Chance Sisco, C (BAL)

Age: 22

Highest Level: MLB

Ever wondered what Carson Kelly’s career would look like if he were a below average defender? OK, I’m being a bit too harsh. Sisco’s approach, like Kelly’s, is also pretty good. There could be some 15 HR seasons in his bat in his prime, but he has more doubles power than the over-the-fence kind. He also has a strong walk rate, usually hovering around 11% in his trek through AA and AAA.

But here’s a guy who’s defense is shaky enough that there is a non-zero chance he moves off the position. The good news is he’s a generally athletic player and 1B is not automatic. Maybe he can pass as a left fielder? Either way, this is yet another -only league prospect in my book and one that I’d actively avoid in dynasty leagues. If I’ve learned one thing from my dynasty leagues it’s that catchers will always be hanging around the free agent pool. That surplus makes it so that any catching prospects have to be really good to be worth the roster spot.

Christian Arroyo, 3B/SS (SF)

Age: 22

Highest Level: MLB

Arroyo really forced the Giants’ hand when he hit .439/.471/.682 in 70 PA to open Triple-A last year. Once he hit the majors though, he fell flat (44 wRC+) and was demoted just before he exceeded prospect eligibility.

I think Arroyo is hands down the most boring prospect in baseball. Not only does he not hit for power (24 career HR in 368 MiLB games) but he doesn’t run either (18 SB in same span). Frankly, I don’t think I have to go much further than that. I wouldn’t rank him inside a top 200 list.

Willy Adames, SS (TB)

Age: 22

Highest Level: AAA

Adames has been impressively consistent the last two years which gets a thumbs up from me because he replicated his Double-A season in Triple-A in 2017. This past season he hit 10 HR, stole 11 bases and slashed .277/.360/.415 in 130 games. There are those who believe we haven’t seen his plus raw power translate into games, but much like Gleyber Torres, he’s one of those guys that doesn’t have a standout tool. In fact, he’s a lesser version of Torres, really. And while Adames is a top three or four prospect in his system, I’m betting that his minor league production the last two seasons are close to what we’ll see in the majors.

The new offensive environment can take him from a 12-13 HR guy to 17-18, but I’m pretty unenthused by his numbers and I’d rank him between 75th and 100th overall if I had to re-rank again. His strong on-base numbers boost him in OBP leagues, give him a nice floor and should make him a slightly above-average SS relative to the league-average SS. But it’s a generally boring profile that won’t wow in any season. Think 2017 Xander Bogaerts (10/15 with .273/.343/.403) with just a bit more pop. He should debut some time this season.

What do you think? Am I really missing the boat on any of these prospects? Are there others you think get more credit than they deserve? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.