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
2015 Draft Prep Guide
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
Report: Athletics OF Coco Crisp expected to need elbow surgery
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:35 am ET) Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp is expected to require surgery to remove a bone spur and chips from his right elbow, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The outfielder would be out for six-to-eight weeks after undergoing the procedure.

Crisp has dealt with elbow issues for much of the spring. Without his presence in the lineup, the A's will need to replace the outfielder in the leadoff spot at least until mid-May. With Crisp set to open the season on the disabled list, the A's will likely carry outfielder Billy Burns on the team's initial 25-man roster.


Mets' Collins: Daniel Murphy looks 'tremendous' Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:22 am ET) Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy (hamstring) played five innings, took five at-bats and ran the bases in a minor-league game Wednesday, and while the team will leave him behind to see minor-league work this weekend, there's still a chance he could join the team to play on Opening Day, the New York Daily News reports.

"Dan looked tremendous. He looks great at the plate, but it’s the daily grind (we worry about)," manager Terry Collins said about Murphy's action Wednesday. "We certainly have to be monitoring his workload, but we’re hoping that the next couple of days he gets a little extra work in, then we’ll look up this weekend and he joins us after."

Murphy said he has yet to push the hamstring by trying to run at 100 percent.

"I like the way I am progressing," Murphy said Wednesday, "but we’ll see how I feel tomorrow."


Astros option OF L.J. Hoes to Triple-A Fresno
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4/1/2015) The Astros have optioned outfielder L.J. Hoes to Triple-A Fresno.

Hoes was competing for a bench spot but dealt with a wrist issue recently after being hit by a pitch over the weekend. He went 7 for 25 this spring before being sent down.


Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen leaves game, says he's fine
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4/1/2015) Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen didn't run out a ground ball in the eighth inning of Wednesday's game and left the field slowly before being officially replaced in the game, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

McCutchen, who dealt with a lower-body injury earlier this spring, said he was fine after coming out of the game. He indicated that he slipped on the plate and throttled things back just to be safe. The outfielder finished the game 1 for 4 at the plate.


Orioles' Chris Tillman strikes out eight in spring finale vs. Pirates
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4/1/2015) Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman allowed two earned runs on three hits in five innings while racking up eight strikeouts and issuing zero walks in Wednesday's spring finale against the Pirates.

Tillman gave up both runs on a home run in the second inning by Pirates first baseman Pedro Alvarez but was excellent aside from the one mistake. He closes the spring with a 2.76 ERA and 18:2 K:BB ratio in 16 1/3 innings. Tillman will square off with the Rays Monday on Opening Day.


Pirates' Gerrit Cole tosses three scoreless innings vs. Orioles
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4/1/2015) Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole allowed just one hit and one walk in three scoreless innings while striking out three in Wednesday's spring finale against the Orioles.

Cole closes the spring with a 3.24 ERA and 12:4 K:BB ratio in 16 2/3 innings. He's slated to pitch the taem's second game of the season, leaving him to face the Reds next Wednesday.


Pirates' Francisco Liriano allows one run in spring finale
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4/1/2015) Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano surrendered one earned run on three hits in three innings while striking out two in Wednesday's spring finale against the Orioles.

Liriano hadn't surrendered a run in nine spring innings heading into Wednesday's game and finishes the spring with a 0.75 ERA and 14:4 K:BB ratio in 12 innings. His next start will come on Opening Day against the Reds Monday.


Rangers' Colby Lewis serves up three homers in spring finale
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4/1/2015) Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis allowed four earned runs on seven hits and one walk in three innings while walking two and giving up three home runs in his team's 10-4 loss to the Rockies Wednesday.

Lewis also served up three home runs in one inning in his spring debut but kept the ball in the park while surrendering three runs in eight innings over his previous two appearances. He closes out the spring with a 9.75 ERA and 5:4 K:BB ratio in 12 innings. Lewis is slated to make his regular-season debut Tuesday against the A's.


Indians first baseman Nick Swisher goes 2 for 3 in spring debut
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4/1/2015) Indians first baseman Nick Swisher went 2-for-3 Wednesday in his first action since undergoing surgery on both knees this offseason, reports MLB.com.

"All I really wanted to do was go out there and have some fun again, man," Swisher said. "I feel like it's been Groundhog's Day for me. It's like the same thing every day. So, to be able to come out here and actually be able to compete at this level was great. It raised my spirits a little bit, for sure."

Manager Terry Francona was happy to get Swisher back in the lineup.

"I think it was really good to get him in a game," Francona said. "I think it was really good for him -- whether he got hits or not. It was nice to see him get on base a couple times. I think it's helpful to him. I think it probably gave him another little push in the right direction. I think he had fun and it makes it feel a little bit closer to the finish line."

He remains without a timetable to return for the regular season.

"I wish I could give you a timetable. I wish I could give you a day," Swisher said. "I'm just going to come back when I feel healthy. Do I feel like I could go and DH for this team and contribute right now? Sure, but that's not all I want to do. I want to make sure I'm able to go to the outfield. I want to make sure I'm able to go to first base and make sure all my movements are fluid and smooth."


Rangers' Elvis Andrus goes hitless in return Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4/1/2015) Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus went 0 for 3 and struck out twice in his return to the lineup Wednesday as the Rangers fell to the Rockies, 10-4.

Andrus was scratched from Monday's lineup due to stiffness in his lower back but missed little time due to the injury. He has hit .359/.381/.590 in 39 spring at-bats.


 
 
 
Rankings