Prospect ranking season is finally here! We start in reverse, reverse order this year. Most people would start from 100, and count down to 1. But not here at Imaginary Brick Wall, where we turn traditional logic on its head … and then flip it back around again.
It should be noted that these rankings are for dynasty leagues, not for just 2016. Proximity to the majors is favored, but upside is still highly valued.
41) Jesse Winker CIN, OF – Possibly the most advanced plate approach of any player in the minors. Power should continue to develop as he gets older. Prime projection: 94/20/100/.292/4
42) Raimel Tapia COL, OF – Elite contact skills. Above average speed. Average power. Gets the Coors Field bump. Prime projection: 92/13/70/.301/21
44) Jose Peraza CIN, 2B – Elite contact and speed. Prime projection: 96/6/51/.285/37
45) Sean Manaea OAK, LHP – Struck out 236 batters in 196 career minor league IP. Comes with injury and bullpen risk. Prime projection: 3.49/1.21/195 in 185 IP.
46) Dillon Tate TEX, RHP – 1st pitcher selected in the 2015 draft. Last season was his first as a starter, so there are a lot of unknowns here. Prime projection: 3.50/1.19/189 in 200 IP.
47) David Dahl COL, OF – Tooled up, with 5-category upside. Had some injury issues the past few seasons. Prime projection: 89/17/73/.280/16
48) Grant Holmes LAD, RHP – The strikeout potential fantasy owners love, but still very raw. Prime projection: 3.44/1.27/199 in 188 IP
49) Ryan McMahon COL, 3B – Sweet swinging lefty, with power and strikeouts. Coors Field bump. Prime projection: 80/23/96/.272/6
50) Ian Happ CHC, 2B/OF – Advanced college bat. Power/speed combo. Played OF in college, but Cubs will try him at 2B. Prime projection: 85/19/76/.269/14
52) Willson Contreras CHC, C – Triple-slashed, .333/.413/.478, in a huge offensive breakout at Double-A last season. Hit only 8 homers, but power should come around. Prime projection: 64/16/81/.293/3
53) Austin Meadows PIT, OF – Power hasn’t developed as hoped quite yet, but everything else is there. If power comes, watch out. Prime projection: 94/15/83/.309/12
54) Sean Newcomb ATL, LHP – Tantalizing stuff, but major control issues. High risk, high reward. Prime projection: 3.40/1.28/195 in 180 IP
55) Robert Stephenson CIN, RHP – Look up one inch. Prime projection: 3.51/1.25/187 in 187 IP
56) Raul Mondesi Jr. KC, SS – Pure upside pick. The offense hasn’t come around yet, but he has been far younger than his competition at every level. Baseball bloodline. Prime projection: 79/15/71/.267/28
57) Franklin Barreto OAK, SS – Centerpiece of the Josh Donaldson trade. 5-category potential. Oakland is stacked at SS, so a move to CF is possible. Prime projection: 86/14/77/.287/22
58) Clint Frazier CLE, OF – A breakout waiting to happen. #5 overall pick in the 2013 draft. Game power just started to blossom last season. Prime projection: 79/24/90/.271/8
59) Nick Williams PHI, OF – Has the tools to be higher on this list, but scouts still question his plate approach. Prime projection: 85/18/78/.276/10
60) Josh Bell PIT, 1B – Elite contact skills, but plus raw power has not shown up in games yet. Prime projection: 78/19/90/.299/7
61) Hunter Renfroe SD, OF – Power and strikeouts. Likely to break into the majors this year. Prime projection: 74/24/86/.266/6
62) Forrest Wall COL, 2B – By now, you know I love me some Coors Field hitters. 5-category potential at 2B. Prime projection: 87/14/73/.284/21
63) Rafael Devers BOS, 3B – Another pure upside pick. Triple-slashed, .288/.329/.443, as an 18-year-old in Single-A. Prime projection: 80/21/96/.287/5
64) Manuel Margot SD, OF – More valuable in real life, due to his plus CF defense. There is plenty of time for the bat to come around, though. Prime projection: 85/11/60/.278/29
65) Cody Reed CIN, LHP – Big, strong lefty. Struck out 144 batters in 145.2 IP last season, splitting time between High-A and Double-A. Prime projection: 3.44/1.19/192 in 200 IP
66) Francis Martes HOU, RHP – Came out of nowhere in 2015. Climbed all the way to Double-A, as a 19-year-old. Reminiscent of Luis Severino’s rise a few years ago. Prime projection: 3.39/1.10/176 in 185 IP
67) Kyle Zimmer KC, RHP – You feeling lucky? Elite strikeout potential, but major injury concerns. Prime projection: 3.30/1.17/180 in 160 IP
68) Jacob Faria TB, RHP – Sleeper alert! Put up a pitching line of 2.51/1.09/96 in 75.1 IP, pitching in Double-A last season. Doesn’t have the big fastball, but his delivery creates a lot of deception. Gets a bump due to Tampa Bay’s success with developing pitchers like him. Prime projection: 3.50/1.15/185 in 190 IP
69) Jack Flaherty STL, RHP – We can “own” prospects in fantasy, but we still need to rely on actual baseball teams to develop them. And there isn’t a better team at player development than the St. Louis Cardinals. Flaherty struck out 97 batters in 95 IP last season, in his first full season of pro ball at Single-A. Fastball currently sits in the low 90’s, but still time to gain a few MPH as he ages. Prime projection: 3.35/1.18/175 in 200 IP
70) Justus Sheffield CLE, LHP – Cleveland has been on fire of late developing starting pitching. Time to jump on the bandwagon. He is also Gary Sheffield’s nephew. Prime projection: 3.48/1.22/200 in 188 IP
2016 Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings: 71-100
By Michael Halpern