Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
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 .

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Hector Santiago lasts only five frames in loss to A's
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2:00 am ET) Angels pitcher Hector Santiago lasted five innings Friday against the Athletics.

Santiago allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits over five innings. He struck out five and walked two during the outing. Santiago gave up his first run against the first batter he faced. Coco Crisp hit a leadoff home run out to left center off Santiago in the first inning. He was able to get through the next three innings unscathed, but ran into trouble again in the fifth. On a fielder’s choice, a run wound up coming around on a throwing error by shortstop Erick Aybar. Santiago was able to get out of the inning, but was replaced to start the sixth. Santiago threw 98 pitches.

With the loss, Santiago dropped to 3-8. He’ll take on the Marlins in his next start.

Sonny Gray nearly goes the distance for win No. 13
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2:00 am ET) Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray nearly went the distance and still picked up his 13th win of the season Friday night against the Angels. The right-hander permitted three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five over 8 1/3 innings of a 5-3 victory.

Over his last three starts covering 20 2/3 innings, Gray has allowed nine earned runs. He owns a 3.00 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP over 26 starts (171 innings). He will make his next start Wednesday at Houston.

Sean Doolittle picks up two-out save Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:59 am ET) Athletics closer Sean Doolittle allowed three runners on base but still managed to pick up a rare two-out save Friday night against the Angels. Doolittle struck out two, allowed two hits and a walk in two-thirds of a scoreless inning. He has converted 19 of 22 save chances, with a 2.32 ERA and a 0.70 WHIP over 54 1/3 innings of relief.

Hector Santiago goes five innings Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:06 am ET) Angels pitcher Hector Santiago lasted five innings Friday against the Athletics.

Santiago allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits over five innings. He struck out five and walked two during the outing. Santiago gave up his first run against the first batter he faced. Coco Crisp hit a leadoff home run out to left center off Santiago in the first inning. He was able to get through the next three innings unscathed, but ran into trouble again in the fifth. On a fielder’s choice, a run wound up coming around on a throwing error by shortstop Erick Aybar. Santiago was able to get out of the inning, but was replaced to start the sixth. Santiago threw 98 pitches. 

With the loss, Santiago dropped to 3-8. He’ll take on the Marlins in his next start. 


Jonathon Niese sunk by an error Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:54 am ET) Mets pitcher Jonathon Niese was hurt by an error Friday against the Dodgers.

Niese allowed five runs, two earned, on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked three during the outing. Niese gave up his earned runs in the third and fifth innings. The seventh inning proved to be problematic. Niese recorded the first two out quickly via the strikeout. With two outs in the inning, Niese gave up a triple to Dee Gordon. After a Yasiel Puig walk, Adrian Gonzalez reached on a throwing error. Niese was pulled at that point. The two runs he left on base managed to score on a double. Both runs were charged to Niese, though they were unearned runs. 

With the loss, Niese dropped to 7-9. He’ll take on the Braves in his next start.


Dan Haren turns in solid start Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:53 am ET) Dodgers pitcher Dan Haren turned in a solid start Friday against the Mets.

Haren allowed one run on three hits over seven innings. He struck out six and did not issue any walks. Haren’s only mistake came way back in the first inning. Haren allowed a solo home run against the lead off hitter. Despite the early struggles, Haren settled in. He erased a second inning single with a double-play, and did the same in the fourth after a runner reached on an error. 

With the win, Haren improved to 11-10. He’ll take on the Padres in his next start. 


Greg Holland saves No. 40
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:52 am ET) Royals closer Greg Holland saved his 40th game Friday against the Rangers.

Holland entered with a three-run lead in the ninth. He immediately recorded two outs before issuing a walk. The Rangers threat ended there. Against the fourth batter in the inning, Holland got Elvis Andrus to pop out to end the game. 


Fernando Rodney picks up save No. 37
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:50 am ET) Mariners closer Fernando Rodney picked up his 37th save Friday against the Red Sox.

Rodney entered the game with a two-run lead. He immediately recorded the first two outs on a groudout and flyout. Rodney issued a walk with two outs, but was able to work out of it. Against the next hitter, Rodney inducing a game-ending flyout to right. 


Craig Kimbrel nails down a save Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:47 am ET) Braves closer Craig Kimbrel picked up a save Friday against the Reds.

Kimbrel entered with a two-run lead in the 12th inning. He struck out Jay Bruce to open the frame, and quickly got his second out on a lineout. With two outs, Kimbrel put one man on with a walk. He managed to shut the door against the fourth batter of the inning, striking out Skip Schumaker to end the game. It was Kimbrel's 38th save.


Jonathan Papelbon picks up 31st save Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:45 am ET) Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon picked up his 31st save Friday against the Cardinals.

Papelbon entered with a one-run lead in the ninth inning. He was perfect during his only inning of work, inducing a lineout, groundout and flyout. Papelbon threw 12 pitches, six of which were strikes. He's lowered his ERA to 1.52 following the outing. 


 
 
 
Rankings