Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2013 Draft Prep: The Trout effect

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Scott White's Top 50 Fantasy Prospects for 2013

The best player in Fantasy Baseball last year didn't even have a job coming out of spring training.

Think about that for a minute.

It's not a riddle. It's not a cutesy bit of trivia that hinges on clever syntax or tricky wording. It's the plain and simple truth: Mike Trout wasn't deemed ready to start in the majors.

And because of that, he wasn't deemed ready to draft in Fantasy.

So for the first four weeks or so of last season, he was on the waiver wire in most leagues. The best player in Fantasy, right there for the taking.

It boggles the mind. For all the emphasis on player evaluation in the preseason and all the hours spent combing through depth charts, hoping to unearth some hidden gem, how could the biggest asset in the game go so overlooked, and how can we, as Fantasy owners, keep it from happening again?

Check out our Fantasy Baseball podcast!
Stay a step ahead of your competition in 2014 by checking out our popular Fantasy Baseball Today podcasts. Adam Aizer, Scott White and Al Melchior will entertain you and help you dominate all season.
Latest episode | Subscribe!

First, a dose of reality: It probably won't happen again. What Trout did last year was unprecedented in the days of Fantasy Baseball. The only 20-year-old rookie in history to produce an OPS higher than Trout's .963 mark was Ted Williams, who many regard as the best hitter ever.

And that number doesn't even account for Trout's MLB-leading 49 stolen bases. So yeah, unprecedented and unlikely to happen again.

But here's the thing: Trout wasn't the only midseason call-up to pay big dividends in Fantasy last season. The same weekend in late April that he came up, so did Bryce Harper, the eventual NL Rookie of the Year. Harper's stat line wasn't historically significant, apart from him compiling it at age 19, but it was good enough to make him more productive than Curtis Granderson on a per-game basis in Head-to-Head leagues and to elevate him to third-round status in early drafts this spring.

Likewise, Anthony Rizzo contributed 15 home runs after arriving in late June and is now a fixture in the middle rounds of all Fantasy drafts. Yasmani Grandal, who also arrived in late June, produced the fifth-highest OPS among full-time catchers and likely would have ranked among the top 12 at the position this spring if not for a failed drug test and subsequent 50-game suspension. And back in 2011, Eric Hosmer, Desmond Jennings and Brett Lawrie all arrived midseason to make an immediate impact in Fantasy.

True, sometimes you won't see it coming, like with Josh Rutledge last year, but none of those other players should have caught Fantasy owners by surprise. They were all considered top prospects, and they were all projected to arrive at about the point they did.

The only thing they lacked was immediacy. They couldn't help Fantasy owners right out of the gate, so Fantasy owners opted to seek them out later, preferring to wade through the Jose Tabatas and Ryan Raburns during those first few weeks.

Yup, both were drafted ahead of Trout last year.

Was it worth it? Even in a best-case scenario, would Tabata or Raburn have provided you with anything you couldn't live without? Might stashing Trout or Harper instead have been the difference in you winning your league?

I'm not out to scold anyone. For the most part, I've actually done my best to pooh-pooh -- at least in terms of immediate value -- every up-and-comer hyped to the hills before even suiting up in the majors, pointing to players who were once in a similar position and needed several years to find their form.

But you know what? I've gotten burned by that approach enough in recent years that I now have a different take on it: It's dumb. And shortsighted. For every Alex Gordon or Austin Jackson who creeps his way to prominence, an Andrew McCutchen, Giancarlo Stanton or Matt Kemp proves to be a world-beater right away. In recent years, I can think of more examples of the latter than the former, which probably says something in itself. With all the new metrics available and financial consequences to consider, scouts and front office types have become so adept at assessing major-league readiness that they rarely pull the trigger too soon.

And Fantasy owners are taking notice.

According to CBSSports.com Draft Averages, five players who likely won't have a job coming out of spring training are going off the board within the first 22 rounds, up from just Harper last year. Of those five, Wil Myers is probably the closest to Harper and Trout in terms of upside, hype and inevitability, and he's going off the board in Round 15, nearly 100 picks earlier than Trout did last year. The others -- Billy Hamilton, Dylan Bundy, Oscar Taveras and Travis d'Arnaud -- are all late-rounders.

Those are just the mixed-league options. In AL- and NL-only leagues, Jedd Gyorko, Mike Zunino, Kolten Wong, Zack Wheeler, Danny Hultzen and Gerrit Cole are proving to be hot commodities.

And why not? Their pedigrees suggest they'll do more in a partial season than a John Mayberry or Rick Porcello would do in a full season. Granted, that doesn't come with a money-back guarantee, but at that stage of the draft, if the proposition is even 50-50, what do you have to lose?

Of course, I know what you have to lose, particularly in mixed leagues. It's exactly why I haven't endorsed this approach in the past. Stashing players bound for the minor leagues consumes roster space at the time of year when you need it most. During those first few weeks of April, spilling into May, players nobody expected to break out will emerge off the waiver wire, threatening to become this year's R.A. Dickey or Edwin Encarnacion. To snag at least one of them, you'll want to cast a wide net, and to do that, you'll need flexibility, not 21-year-old deadweight that might have a chance of helping your team at some indefinite point in the future.

Even if he's sure to meet the hype when he comes up, what if he doesn't come up until after the All-Star break? Or what if he doesn't come up at all? For every Dickey or Encarnacion you pass up, you become all the more invested. The longer you wait, the more inclined you are to keep waiting, potentially handcuffing yourself all season for no gain whatsoever.

Last year's Myers owners know it all too well.

So perhaps the best approach isn't as simple as rounding up whatever prospects you can, hoping they become the next Mike Trout.

Or in AL- and NL-only leagues, perhaps it is. Particularly in Rotisserie formats, you can afford to sell out for the big picture. If you get nothing from your fifth outfielder or middle infielder for the first six weeks, it'll set you back a little, but not nearly as much as it'll move you ahead when Taveras and Wong arrive. In the end, you won't even miss whatever Scott Hairston and Clint Barmes would have provided you.

Then again, in shallower leagues, where the alternatives are significantly better than Hairston and Barmes, a little discernment couldn't hurt.

First of all, you'll need to have a bench to even consider drafting a prospect bound for the minors. With the exception of Myers, whose arrival is all but assured in the first six weeks, you risk forfeiting too much by starting an empty void over a Coco Crisp or Jason Kubel type.

If you do have a bench, which should be a given in Head-to-Head leagues, you wouldn't want to overload it with prospects bound for the minors. Any more than one puts you in jeopardy of missing out on the Dickey- and Encarnacion-type breakouts. And certainly, you wouldn't want to be down two spots for more than a month or so, not if you hope to sit injured players and maximize two-start pitchers.

Speaking of maximizing two-start pitchers, that strategy makes any hitter -- even a major-league one -- a less-than-ideal option for the bench in Head-to-Head leagues. You can get away with it if he's a high-upside player, which Taveras and d'Arnaud certainly are. Are they more deserving of bench spots than, say, Adam Eaton or Jesus Montero? Probably not. But if a fairer comparison in your league would be Michael Cuddyer and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, then prospects like Taveras and d'Arnaud are probably the only non-pitchers worth stashing.

Ultimately, whether or not you should draft a prospect bound for the minors comes down to what you could draft instead. A player who doesn't fill an immediate need or who lacks the upside to displace someone who does is just taking up space. Why not use that space to beat the rush to the waiver wire by stashing a prospect you know everyone will want a few weeks from now?

He may not turn out to be the next Mike Trout, but even the next Bryce Harper could ultimately win you your league.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Mariners, Kyle Seager reach agreement on $100 million extension
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:16 pm ET) The Mariners and third baseman Kyle Seager have reached an agreement on a seven-year extension worth approximately $100 million, CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reports. The deal will include an eight-year option, per the report.

Seager, 23, posted career highs in home runs (25), RBI (96), batting average (.268), slugging percentage (.454) and OPS (.788) in 2014. He has a .262/.328/.429 slash through his first four seasons in the majors.


Report: Braves among teams showing interest in David Ross
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:25 am ET) The Braves are among the teams that have expressed interest in veteran catcher David Ross, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ross played for Atlanta from 2009-2012.

Ross, who is a 13-year MLB veteran, hit .184 with seven home runs and 15 RBI in 50 games last season for Boston.


Report: Marlins have discussed Eovaldi-Miley trade
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:22 am ET) The Marlins, who are seeking a veteran starting pitcher, have discussed trading starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi or a pitching prospect to the Diamondbacks for starting pitcher Wade Miley, according The Miami Herald.

Eovaldi was 6-14 with a 4.37 ERA in 33 starts last season, while Miley went 8-12 with a 4.34 ERA in 33 starts. Both players have four years of MLB experience.


Twins, Torii Hunter have 'common interest'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:03 am ET) Veteran outfielder Torii Hunter said Saturday he favors the Twins in free agency and he could make a decision soon about which team he signs with, according to the Pioneer Press.

"(Twins general manager) Terry Ryan and I have talked several times, and there's definitely a common interest there, for sure," Hunter said.

The Twins drafted Hunter in the first round of the 1993 draft. He appeared in games for Minnesota from 1997-2007 before playing for the Angels and Tigers. 

"I would come over to win," he said of his reasons for potentially returning to Minnesota. "All that stuff everybody talks about, 'a great guy in the clubhouse,' that's extra -- that's not No. 1. The No. 1 thing is look at my numbers. They're still the same, one of the most consistent hitters in baseball over my career.

"But sometimes I guess my character and clubhouse presence and just that fire that I have, I think, overshadows a lot. But no matter what, if I didn't put up those numbers, I don't care what kind of personality or drive you have, not many people are going to want you. The only reason you're going to want me is because of my play."


Report: Melky Cabrera could be 'fallback option' for Orioles
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:51 am ET) Free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera could be a "fallback option" for the Orioles, if Baltimore doesn't re-sign outfielder Nick Markakis, multiple sources told MASNsports.com. He is on the Orioles' radar and the team has discussed signing him.

Cabrera has been previously linked to the Blue Jays, White Sox and Royals this offseason.


Report: Elvis Andrus least likely Rangers shortstop to be traded
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:46 am ET) The Rangers remain open to trading any shortstop in their organization in the right deal, but it appears starting shortstop Elvis Andrus is the least likely to be dealt, according to FOX Sports. The Rangers believe Andrus could be headed for a big season in 2015 after a bit of a down year in 2014.

Report: Rangers, Astros have inquired about Justin Upton
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:38 am ET) The Rangers have inquired about Braves outfielder Justin Upton, according to FOX Sports. The New York Post reported over the weekend the Astros have also inquired about Upton.

According to FOX Sports, the Rangers have shown interest in Upton in the past, but their current offseason focus is more on pitching.


Report: Rusney Castillo (thumb) will play in winter ball
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:26 am ET) Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo, who had his stint in the Arizona Fall League end early due to a bruised thumb, is slated to resume playing in the Puerto Rican winter league, according to WEEI.com. Rusney will head down to Puerto Rico on Friday and hopes to play in his first game Dec. 2.

The plan is for Castillo to play get close to 100 at-bats in Puerto Rico, while playing in right and center field.


Report: Giants have shown interest in Jon Lester
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:17 am ET) The Giants could be in play to sign a starting pitcher this offseason, a source told FOX Sports. San Francisco has shown interest in free agent pitcher Jon Lester.

Lester has already met with the Red Sox, Cubs and Braves.


Hanley Ramirez close to deal with Red Sox
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:08 am ET) The Red Sox are close to a deal with free agent Hanley Ramirez, sources told CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. FOX Sports reports Ramirez is traveling to Boston to finalize the deal.

With the Red Sox also agreeing to a deal with third baseman Pablo Sandoval and shortstop Xander Boagerts still on the roster, Ramirez has said he is willing to play other positions, with left field a possibility.


 
 
 
Rankings