Monday, July 21, 2014

Must Own Fantasy Prospects by Matt Lepselter

Must Own Fantasy Prospects
Recently we discussed the importance of recognizing when top major league prospects; may not necessarily be up to the task of carrying the weight of your fantasy teams. As an owner in multiple keeper and dynasty keeper leagues; I believe in only using my Minor League roster spots, to roster players with Elite ceilings. 

When seeking Elite fantasy prospect options (elite = strong potential to become a perennial 1st & 2nd rounder); we need to first understand that there are inherent risks when projecting EVERY single MLB prospect (highest bust rate of any major sport in prospects). 

Savvy owners who stashed Mike Trout several years ago, have since acted just like we'd expect Scrooge McDuck ( swimming in his golden coin vault) ever since Mike Trout's first MLB AB. However, for every Mike Trout, the numbers say that you'll get 10 Alex Ochoa's (long-suffering NY Met's fans will know the reference), a 5-tool superstar prospect, whose 8 year total career stat line looks like .279, 46 HRs, and 56 SBs.

In deep leagues, it's an absolute necessity to identify elite talent when filling out your roster in deep dynasty leagues (many dynasty rosters include 4-8+ long-term ML spots)? Who will be the next Carlos Gonzalez or Jose Fernandez?

Let's take a look at a few names that may be relative unknowns (for now) that you should immediately consider adding to your rosters. 

David DahlDahl is a 5 tool OF prospect that is finally hitting his stride as a 20 yr old in 2014. #100 on the Baseball Prospectus pre-season top prospects list; he's flown up their rankings in 2014 and now resides as the #24 on the Baseball Prospectus mid-season 2014 prospect list. 

A torn hamstring in 2013 prematurely ended his season and limited his position on pre-season top prospect lists. Dahl's fantasy ceiling is enormous; with an easy ceiling as a future Top 10 OF provided he can stay healthy going forward. A very natural hitter with power and speed; Dahl's ceiling as a fantasy prospect is very high. Especially when you consider that he'll play 1/2 of his games in the mile-high run factory known as Coors Field.

A very talented hitter who should hit for good average, easy 30+ SB potential, and 20 HRs is well within reach. Don't expect to see Dahl in the Majors before 2016; but stash him in your farm system while you can. 
Advice: MUST BUY target in long-term leagues. 

Lucas Giolito: Elite Size and Strength are the foundation upon which this future fantasy monster is built. Works comfortably in the 94-97mph range but can rear back and hit 100 on a gun when necessary. In addition to an elite  fastball, Giolito flashes a plus plus hammer of a curveball, and a change up that profiles easily as plus or better. 

TJS set back this flame-throwing starter in 2012, but this 20 year old is well on his way to becoming a name-brand pitcher. His fantasy potential is out of this world and could be the next Jose Fernandez type phenom in the major leagues. Typically, I value hitting prospects with a big curve over pitching prospects, as they tend to hit their stride much faster. 

Many top prospects profile as an SP 3 or SP4; in 12-16 team mixed leagues. This guy however, profiles as a true SP1 candidate. Ceiling is the key here, he needs to continue refining his command and change up, but this one could be special. 
Advice: Run to pick him up in long term leagues.
 -You can follow Matt on Twitter @mlepselter     

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