2018 Top 70 Dynasty Baseball Hitter Rankings: Inexperienced Players and Prospects: 16-34

All-inclusive Dynasty Baseball rankings are inherently flawed because player valuations change drastically based on whether your team is contending, rebuilding, or somewhere in between. Older players are also usually far more expensive and/or on shorter contracts than younger players, which complicates things even further. I love reading Dynasty Rankings, and of course they have value, but for those reasons I decided to stick with inexperienced players and prospects. I defined “inexperienced players” as players who graduated to the Majors in 2016 or 2017. I wanted to rank players whose true talent levels were still at least a bit of a mystery. Here are the 2018 Top 70 Dynasty Baseball Hitter Rankings: Inexperienced Players and Prospects: 16-34:

Click here for 1-15

16) Ozzie Albies ATL, 2B – Only 5’9’’, 160 pounds, but the 20-year-old Albies is already hitting the ball as hard as the average Major Leaguer with an average exit velocity of 87.29 MPH. He had a 40.3% flyball rate, a 14.8% strikeout rate, and was 8 for 9 in stolen base attempts. Simply put, Albies is an elite dynasty asset. Prime Projection: 102/18/73/.290/.366/.457/26

17) Kyle Tucker HOU, OF – Tucker is so good, he can hit doubles without even stepping up to the plate. Due to the new Arizona Fall League experimental rule of starting with a runner on 2nd base during extra innings, Tucker was the first ever “placement runner.” Welcome to the future of baseball, where they just place runners where they want them if the game is taking too long. Prime Projection: 93/28/97/.274/.359/.490/14 ETA: August/September 2018

18) Fernando Tatis Jr. SD, SS – Drafted #1 overall by Estrellas Orientales in Liga de Beisbol Dominicano, Tatis is slashing .400/.571/.650 with 1 homer and a 3/7 K/BB in 20 at-bats. In that same league, other players of note include Vlad Jr. (.276/.382/.448), Eloy Jimenez (.400/.405/.714), Jorge Mateo (.320/.320/.440), Teoscar Hernandez (.231/.259/.346), and Jung Ho Kang (.107/.161/.214). Prime Projection: 97/30/104/.283/.372/.505/15 ETA: 2019

19) Trevor Story COL, SS – The sophomore slump consistently creates great buying opportunities in dynasty leagues. I remember trading Matt Kemp for Anthony Rizzo back in 2013, and Rizzo has been carrying my squad ever since. Not to say Story will be quite as good as Rizzo, but he already showed signs of coming out of it in the 2nd half of the season, slashing .254/.314/.520 with 13 homers and 4 steals in 70 games. Prime Projection: 82/32/91/.248/.325/.492/12

20) Ian Happ CHC, 2B/OF – The logjam for playing time on the North Side of Chicago is about to clear up. Theo Epstein acknowledged in a press conference a few days ago that, “Sooner or later you reach a point where you have to strongly consider sacrificing some of that depth to address needs elsewhere on the club. We’re entering a phase where we have to be really open-minded to that if it makes the overall outlook of the team and organization better.” I guess that means Theo is willing to take 75 cents on the dollar if it lands them some much needed pitching this off-season. Prime Projection:86/28/87/.262/.338/.481/10

21) Nick Senzel CIN, 3B – Solid 5-category contributor, and power should play up at Great American Ball Park. Boring write-up for a boring but valuable hitting profile. Prime Projection: 92/22/89/.286/.374/.477/14 ETA: July 2018

22) Brad Zimmer CLE, OF – The head first slide into first base struck again, as Zimmer’s Kamikaze slide on September 10th cost him a broken hand which required a plate and nine screws to fix. The injury is just one more red flag added to an already risky profile due to a 29.8% strikeout rate, but the 8 homers and 18 steals he produced in his 101 game MLB debut is just a small taste of what he is capable of. Prime Projection: 85/21/79/.253/.334/.450/27

23) Willie Calhoun TEX, OF/2B – If you have any doubts about how much power the 5’8’’ Calhoun really has, just check out this mammoth walk-off grand slam he hit to dead center field. The homer was so impressive, it was nominated for MiLBY’s most exciting home run of 2017, with the winner to be revealed November 1st. Am I the only one who didn’t realize these awards existed? Prime Projection: 83/34/97/.282/.339/.509/2 ETA: Should compete for a job in Spring Training

24) Gleyber Torres NYY, SS/3B – Torres got back in the cage for the first time after undergoing Tommy John surgery. All systems go for him to take over for Chase Headley at 3B at some point next season. That is unless Cashman is able to pull another rip-off trade involving Starlin Castro, then Torres will play 2nd. Prime Projection: 95/26/92/.287/.369/.488/9 ETA: June/July 2018

25) Brendan Rodgers COL, SS/2B – Miniscule walk rate is an easy reason to ding Rodgers, but he still makes the type of contact that foreshadows some monster seasons on the horizon in Coors Field. Prime Projection: 88/31/105/.287/.340/.508/5 ETA: September 2018

26) Willson Contreras CHC, C – Does Contreras’ 53.3% groundball rate limit his upside, or does it mean there is even more untapped power potential to be unleashed? These are the important questions in life I spend 53.3% of my day thinking about. Prime Projection: 71/26/87/.281/.362/.482/4

27) Nomar Mazara TEX, OF – Mazara was traded straight up for Amed Rosario in my hometown dynasty league between two very smart owners. Team needs came into play, but I think it is a good indicator of Mazara’s objective value. He is only 22 years old and has already displayed a strong plate approach with loads of hard contact. A major power breakthrough is only a matter of time. Prime Projection: 80/30/100/.281/.355/.506/3

28) Amed Rosario NYM, SS – Speaking of Rosario, he didn’t exactly impress in his Major League debut, but he still managed 4 homers and 7 steals in 46 games. He’s raw, but there is easy 20/20 potential here. Prime Projection: 92/16/71/.281/.342/.440/21

29) Lewis Brinson MIL, OF – Brinson went 5 for 41 in his MLB debut, but two of those hits were home runs and one was a triple. He finished with an average exit velocity of 90.86 MPH. It’s a stupid small sample, but it sums up Brinson perfectly — elite talent with a still raw hit tool. Prime Projection: 86/27/83/.260/.327/.472/17 ETA: May 2018

30) David Dahl COL, OF – If you own Dahl, hold on for dear life, because I’m sure the vultures are out circling. The constant injuries are starting to become a concern, but the potential upside he brings in Coors Field will be near impossible to recover by dealing him right now. Prime Projection: 86/25/83/.277/.341/.470/16 ETA: Should compete for a job in Spring Training

31) Scott Kingery PHI, 2B – There aren’t many prospects with 20/30 potential and the ability to hit for a high average too, let alone one knocking on the door of the majors. At 5’10”, 180 pounds, Kingery’s physical tools don’t jump out at you, but little dude can pack a punch. Prime Projection: 91/21/76/.279/.336/.460/24 ETA: June/July 2018

32) Royce Lewis MIN, SS/OF – As much love as Lewis has received, I’m not sure it is enough. He combines plus speed and a plus hit tool with the kind of big hacks and bat speed that indicate considerably more power is coming. I would be surprised if he isn’t a top 5 fantasy prospect by this time next year. Prime Projection: 98/20/78/.293/.375/.472/26 ETA: 2020

33) Matt Olson OAK, 1B/OF – Elite 92.13 average exit velocity and a 46% flyball rate puts Olson in rarified air when it comes to power hitters. I’m sure some of that exit velocity was the result of his ridiculously hot finish to the season (20 homers in 139 at-bats), and his 27.8% strikeout rate makes him a batting average risk, but I’m betting that he is mostly for real. Prime Projection: 79/34/91/.244/.339/.482/2

34) Matt Chapman OAK, 3B – Chapman is one of my favorite sleepers for redraft leagues, and is obviously a great dynasty asset too. He put up a 90.04 average exit velocity with a 50.5% flyball rate and 28.2% strikeout rate. He’s basically the right hand hitting version of Olson. With Khris Davis, Olson, and Chapman in the middle of the order, Oakland is going to absolutely mash next season. Prime Projection: 77/33/90/.239/.331/.476/3

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

2018 Top 70 Dynasty Baseball Hitter Rankings: Inexperienced Players and Prospects: 1-15

All-inclusive Dynasty Baseball rankings are inherently flawed because player valuations change drastically based on whether your team is contending, rebuilding, or somewhere in between. Older players are also usually far more expensive and/or on shorter contracts than younger players, which complicates things even further. I love reading Dynasty Rankings, and of course they have value, but for those reasons I decided to stick with inexperienced players and prospects. I defined “inexperienced players” as players who graduated to the Majors in 2016 or 2017. I wanted to rank players whose true talent levels were still at least a bit of a mystery. Here are the 2018 Top 70 Dynasty Baseball Hitter Rankings: Inexperienced Players and Prospects:

1) Trea Turner WASH, SS – In the age of power hitting Avatars, the 185-pound speedster takes the top spot on this list. Don’t let his size fool you, though, as he still crushed the ball with a well above average exit velocity of 89.06 MPH this season, which goes nicely with his .304 batting average and 81 steals in 759 career at-bats. Prime Projection: 115/20/83/.294/.357/.475/53

2) Cody Bellinger LAD, 1B/OF – Judge vs. Bellinger is the impossible to avoid debate that is sure to rage all off-season. The winner is a bit easier to decide in dynasty leagues than redraft, mostly because Bellinger is three years younger, but he also beats Judge in K% (26.6% vs. 30.7%) and it all seems just a little more effortless for Bellinger. Prime Projection: 112/46/116/.277/.376/.599/9

3) Aaron Judge NYY, OF – About those Avatars I was talking about earlier, I think Judge might actually be one. It really does feel like a paralyzed from the waist down military hero’s consciousness was plugged into this body and he is just learning how to harness his superhuman strength and athleticism for the first time. Right down to that look he gets on his face after big plays, like even he can’t believe how dominant he is. Judge still has the underdog feel to him, but he is actually the big bully, demolishing baseballs with a league leading average exit velocity of 94.85 MPH, and he also holds the mark for the longest homerun of the season at 495 feet. Prime Projection: 113/49/111/.263/.392/.604/7

4) Ronald Acuna ATL, OF – The current top prospect in the game, Acuna has a safer floor than former #1 overall prospects Yoan Moncada and Byron Buxton, and a higher ceiling than Alex Bregman, Andrew Benintendi, and Corey Seager, all former #1 overall prospects as well. The combination of Atlanta’s organizational philosophy of aggressively promoting their top prospects and Acuna’s elite talent made for a truly unique and fun season to follow for us prospect hounds. Prime Projection: 109/30/106/.302/.370/.530/25 ETA: 2018 Opening Day if decision is based on merit. June/July if based on $$$

5) Alex Bregman HOU, 3B/SS – Ever since Bregman blew up at a fan on Twitter on July 9th, calling the fan “a flea on the nutsack of society,” he has completely turned his season around, slashing .314/.370/.535 with 11 homers and 10 steals in 72 games. He had been slashing .256/.335/.418 prior to that. Apparently, the incident stemmed from the fan tweeting out that Bregman was a “dick and asshole” after running into him at a party, and it boiled over when that same fan tweeted that Houston should have traded Bregman for Sale in the off-season. I’m willing to give Bregman the benefit of the doubt here that he just has a misunderstood sense of humor. I know he is a fan of the prank show Impractical Jokers, as am I, and if you watch that show enough, your sense of how you can and can’t act in public gets majorly skewed. This segment has been brought to you by TMZ Prospects. Prime Projection: 98/25/94/.294/.367/.482/15

6) Andrew Benintendi BOS, OF – I would be lying if I said Benintendi’s .221/.319/.264 triple-slash with 1 homer in 140 career at-bats vs. lefties wasn’t the slightest bit concerning. I do think he will eventually figure it out to at least be respectable against them, but it was the deciding factor in choosing between him or Bregman. Neither of these guys will win you any one category, but true 5-category producers allow you the flexibility to find value in whatever form it takes during the off-season draft/auction and in trades. Prime Projection: 96/24/91/.288/.363/.472/16

7) Corey Seager LAD, SS – Although it didn’t show up in his homerun total, Seager posted a career high flyball rate of 33.1% and a career low groundball rate of 42.1%. He consistently hits the ball very hard (89.74 MPH average exit velocity), and it all leads me to believe there are eventually going to be a couple 30+ homer seasons in here when he hits his mid to late 20’s. Prime Projection: 101/29/92/.292/.378/.510/3

8) Gary Sanchez NYY, C – It’s about time there was a catcher who can actually mash, and not just relative to other catchers. It harkens back to the days of yore, when Mike Piazza and Pudge Rodriguez were putting up insane numbers. Except these days they are only juicing the balls, and not the humans. Prime Projection: 88/36/104/.280/.350/.535/2

9) Rhys Hoskins PHI, 1B/OF – A victim of the institutional discrimination against right-handed first base prospects, and first base prospects in general on mainstream prospect lists, Hoskins proved the naysayers wrong by treating Major League pitching the same way he treated Double-A and Triple-A pitching. And that is with tons of flyballs (45.2% flyball rate) and tons of walks (17.5% walk rate). Prime Projection: 96/39/107/.268/.385/.558/5

10) Yoan Moncada CHW, 2B – Slashed .264/.354/.453 with 7 homers, 3 steals, and a 57/21 K/BB in final 41 games of the season. Elite power/speed combo makes it easy to overlook his 32% strikeout rate. Prime Projection: 98/27/89/.258/.366/.474/30

11) Rafael Devers BOS, 3B – Current hitting profile is closer to Seager than Bellinger/Judge, but Devers is doing this as a 20-year-old in the Majors. He is already smacking the ball harder than most MLB hitters (89.89 MPH), so I can only imagine the rockets he is going to hit when he reaches his physical prime. Prime Projection: 91/33/111/.302/.367/.539/5

12) Vlad Guerrero Jr. TOR, 3B – I’m sick of comparing Vlad to his father, so I’m going with a different ceiling comp this time, and probably a more accurate one – Albert Pujols. Prime Projection: 115/37/115/.310/.410/.585/6 ETA: August/September 2018

13) Byron Buxton MIN, OF – Stop me if you heard this one before, but Buxton dominated towards the end of the season, slashing .314/.359/.553 with 12 homers, 15 steals and a 68/14 K/BB in final 62 games. I’m not buying the batting average due to his still raw plate approach, but the power and speed are very real. Prime Projection: 93/22/76/.259/.327/.451/32

14) Eloy Jimenez CHW, OF – If anyone is going to come close to matching the excitement of Judge and Bellinger’s war on baseballs in 2018’s rookie class, it will be Jimenez. He’s already made waves for hitting a monster homerun in last season’s Futures game, and the power comes with a strikeout rate that hovers around 20%. Prime Projection: 93/34/110/.289/.368/.555/4 ETA: August 2018

15) Victor Robles WASH, OF – When Bryce Harper inks his inevitable $400+ million deal with the Yanks next off-season, all eyes will be on Victor Robles to fill those massive shoes. He won’t come close to matching Harper’s power, but his plus hit tool and plus speed should help make up some of the difference. Prime Projection: 103/18/78/.307/.374/.469/28 ETA: July 2018

Click here for 16-34

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

Razzball Prospect Podcast: 2017 End-of-Season Prospect Rankings: Top 20 Overall

Willie Calhoun vs. Gleyber Torres. Nick Senzel vs. Willie Calhoun. Willie Calhoun vs. Michael Kopech. These are just a few of the Willie Calhoun centric conversations Ralph Lifshitz and I engaged in during this week’s prospect podcast. We also got to a few of the other guys in our 2017 end-of-season top 20 prospect rankings, debating how high Scott Kingery’s upside is, is Ryan McMahon worthy of a top 20 ranking, and if Royce Lewis could be the next Victor Robles. We discuss everybody from Ronald Acuna, Vlad Guerrero Jr., and Eloy Jimenez, to Taylor Trammell, Juan Soto, and Alex Reyes. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 15% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:

Click here for the Razzball Prospect Podcast: 2017 End-of-Season Prospect Rankings: Top 20 Overall

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast: 2018 Mock Draft

Depending on how you want to think about it, this week’s podcast is either the 2017 season finale, or the 2018 season premiere. I guess it’s a glass half full/empty kind of thing. Grey Albright, Ralph Lifshitz, and I run a three man 2018 mock draft, going 27 players deep. We debate if Clayton Kershaw should still be the first pitcher taken, is Trea Turner a top three pick, and if 23rd overall is too high for Josh Donaldson. We discuss everyone from Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, Mookie Betts, Giancarlo Stanton, and Bryce Harper, to Jose Ramirez, Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger, Gary Sanchez, and everyone in between. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 15% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast:

Click here for the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast: 2018 Mock Draft

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

Razzball Prospect Podcast: 2017 End-of-Season Prospect Positional Rankings: Catcher

It wouldn’t be a Ralph and Halp catcher prospect podcast without Tom Murphy, and unfortunately for Murphy and his fantasy owners, this week’s podcast is no exception. We talk Murphy and Carson Kelly to start the show, along with a little MLB Playoffs discussion. We then get into our top 10 catcher prospect rankings, and while there is no disagreement that Francisco Mejia is the top prospect at the position, our opinion differs greatly on Jorge Alfaro. We discuss if Zack Collins can improve his hit tool, is Keibert Ruiz the next Mejia, and how much shine is back on Alex Jackson’s prospect status. We dive deep into everybody from Danny Jansen, Jake Rogers, Andy Yerzy, and Chase Vallot, to William Contreras, Ronaldo Hernandez, Tyler Stephenson, Austin Allen, and many more. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 15% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:

Click here for the Razzball Prospect Podcast: 2017 End-of-Season Prospect Positional Rankings: Catcher

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)

Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast: 2017 Season Review

“The waiting is the hardest part”

-Tom Petty

Tom Petty might not have been a fantasy baseball fan, but I think the above quote can accurately sum up the feelings of a majority us with the 2017 fantasy baseball season officially over. I’m already strategizing for my hometown dynasty auction draft that is six months away. I was going to open this write-up with another one of Petty’s famous lyrics, “It’s time to move on, time to get going,” but Razzball isn’t going anywhere over the off-season, starting with today’s podcast which recaps the 2017 fantasy baseball season. Grey Albright, Ralph Lifshitz, and myself discuss our fantasy MVP’s, LVP’s, and Cy Young’s. And of course, we talk about our love for Tom Petty. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 15% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast:

Click here for the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast: 2017 Season Review

By Michael Halpern (@MichaelCHalpern)
Email: michaelhalpern@imaginarybrickwall.com
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)