This January, Mike Buttil of Razzball reached out to me about answering some questions for a fantasy baseball preview on the Phillies. The article is now out and you should go read it here.
I thought I would take this opportunity to dive into the world of fantasy baseball. I am a huge fan of deep dynasty leagues and I keep most of my writing on that to my personal site. But for now we are going to take a brief look at the Phillies farm system in terms of short and long term fantasy baseball.
5 Players For 2014:
Maikel Franco: This one is a bit obvious, if you have a deeper league with minor league spots then Franco is probably owned or should be owned. The skill set is built for standard 5×5 leagues with room for big power, average, and RBIs. If you play in an OBP league, he loses some value due to his low walk rate.
Jesse Biddle: Biddle is not a guy who should be owned in yearly leagues right now. But, he should make an appearance in 2014 and the stuff could lead to cheap strikeouts off of the waiver wire.
Cesar Hernandez: He is one Utley injury away from getting some time at second base. I don’t like Hernandez’s overall real life value, but in fantasy he could provide stolen bases and a decent average.
Ethan Martin: I know there is the shoulder injury, but if there is a guy with the stuff to close in 2014 it is Martin. I think Giles might be the better bet in the long run, but it is unlikely he gets a high leverage job this year.
Kelly Dugan: This is the biggest long shot on the list. Domonic Brown and Marlon Byrd have not been pinnacles of health in their careers and the Phillies are not very deep in the outfield corners. Dugan is on the 40 man roster and has some pop. He will likely start in AA and you might want to platoon him against LHPs if he makes the majors, but he could be an under the radar guy down the stretch.
5 Players to Avoid in Dynasty Leagues:
Deivi Grullon: I love Grullon the real life prospect, but the combination of lack of offensive upside and distance from the majors makes for a bad risk/reward scenario, despite his lofty ranking.
Severino Gonzalez: Putting aside my opinions on Severino, the industry as a whole doesn’t see much more than #4 starter upside. Unless you are in an insanely deep league, it is better to target players with more upside, and if someone things Sev is a #2/#3 starter you should sell high if you have him.
David Buchanan: Another player with more real life value than fantasy. There has been some buzz about Buchanan getting a starters job at some point. He is likely more of a back end starter, and for a team like the Phillies with aspirations on contending, that is a tenuous position. Overall don’t buy into the buzz on #5 starters unless there is untapped upside lurking.
Reading First Baseman: Even with Darin Ruf‘s relative success, this is a position to avoid as a whole. The Reading park tends overly inflate hitting statistics leading to marginal prospects looking like stars. All of this, along with the high bar for first base prospects, and the presence of Ryan Howard and Maikel Franco make then a clear keep away.
Cameron Rupp: This is less about Rupp as a player, and more his circumstances. Ruiz is signed for three more years, and by the time his contract is done Rupp, Tommy Joseph, and Andrew Knapp could all be ready. If Ruiz is hurt and Rupp has the job, Rupp is certainly worth a look because of the power potential.
5 Guys to Target In Dynasty Leagues:
Roman Quinn: Depending on league depth, there is a chance someone has either dropped Quinn or is looking to move him. Now is the time to buy. Elite speed is incredibly valuable, and it really doesn’t matter where Quinn does it on the field. All indications are that he is getting healthy quickly and the speed is still there.
Cord Sandberg: A fantasy player’s dream. There is power and speed here, and possibly some room for batting average. He is miles away, but there a few guys with his upside that could be available where he is in drafts and auctions.
Yoel Mecias: Another buy-low candidate. This all upside here, if he was healthy he would be close to the Top 5 in the system. There is a ton of risk here, but he boasts #3 upside and is flying under the radar right now. He is currently back to throwing so he should get some amount of work in 2014, that could send his stock rocketing.
J.P. Crawford: Crawford is a consensus Top 3 prospect in the Phillies system, and yet I think he is being continuously underrated. The current batch of top shortstop prospects (Baez, Profar, Russell, Correa, Bogaerts, Mondesi, etc.) have made it appear that shortstop prospects aren’t rare. The truth is that a player that can play the position and hit at a respectable manner is a mythical unicorn. Crawford is a sure thing to stick at the position and while provide all around production on offense, he may be even better in OBP leagues.
Jose Pujols: Dylan Cozens and Zach Green get a lot of the press among low level Phillies sluggers. But given the choice in fantasy, Pujols may be the best choice. He is only 18 years old, with plus plus raw power, and is a twig right now. His likely outcome is to not reach AA, but if the power is there, he is the kind of monster player that thrives in the fantasy setting.