It is graduation day here at Imaginary Brick Wall, and not a moment too soon, as 2017 Top 100 season is right around the corner. I thought about getting a celebrity to give the inaugural commencement speech, but then I remembered I didn’t know any. Sorry guys, and six girl readers (yes, I have one more girl reader than Razzball). 30 prospects graduated from my off-season 2016 Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings, and before I let go of them for good, let’s celebrate by ranking them one last time for Dynasty Leagues:
*Off-Season top 100 rank in parenthesis
1) Corey Seager (#1) LAD, SS – Nailed it.
2) Trea Turner (#23) WASH, SS/OF – Or maybe not. Turner has a legitimate case to be #1 on this list as his unexpected power surge in the majors puts his upside firmly ahead of Seager’s. Seager proved it over the course of the entire season, though, and his upside is nothing to sneeze at. Because I don’t know about you, but when I’m unimpressed by something, I sneeze at it, and I wouldn’t dare sneeze at Seager’s upside.
3) Trevor Story (#30) COL, SS – Story wasn’t even on almost any other Top 100 list, but ranking him 30th still ended up being too low. Everyone remembers his blazing start to the season, but he might have actually been better in his final two months before a thumb injury ended his year, slashing .286/.368/.571 with 13 homers, 5 steals, and a 54/18 K/BB in 48 games.
4) Gary Sanchez (#31) NYY, C – Wrote about Sanchez last week in my 2017 Top 10 New York Yankees Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rankings.
5) Alex Bregman (#26) HOU, 3B/SS – Packed on 20 pounds of muscle last off-season and immediately put it to good use by smashing through his supposed “power ceiling.” He lost some speed along the way, and his elite minor league contact numbers took a dive in the majors, but I don’t think anyone is complaining. He also happens to be a fan of one of my favorite television shows, Impractical Jokers, and here is the twitter photo with “Murr” to prove it.
6) David Dahl (#47) COL, OF – An injury riddled 2015 led me to underrate Dahl coming into the season. He not only stayed healthy this year, but he fully tapped into his raw power too. He still has some contact issues, so I would expect some regression to the .315 batting average he put up in the majors (.404 BABIP), but Coors Field mixed with his power/speed combo puts his upside in the elite category.
7) Byron Buxton (#2) MIN, OF – I actually still like Buxton a lot, but it is hard to justify ranking him ahead of the very talented prospects who have done nothing but destroy Major League pitching. Buxton did manage to give everyone a taste of what could be in store for next year, slashing .287/.357/.653 with 9 homers in 29 games during his September call-up.
8) Julio Urias (#7) LAD, LHP – I just don’t think I could part with any of those elite young bats in fantasy for a still unproven pitcher, even one as good as Urias. It isn’t an easy decision, because he is about as good as they come, flashing his upside as a 19/20-year-old in the majors by putting up a pitching line of 3.39/1.45/84 in 77 IP.
9) Nomar Mazara (#19) TEX, OF – After generating a lot of buzz with his awesome first two months of the season, Mazara dropped off considerably in the final four, OPS’ing .681, .701, .701, .706, respectively. It’s a solid debut for a 21-year-old no matter how you slice it, but I’m just not sure I’m ready to bet on his superstar ceiling. I’d be more comfortable banking on very good and consistent, which is not too shabby.
10) Jameson Taillon (#86) PIT, RHP – Two full years on the sidelines following Tommy John surgery had Taillon ranked with a group of other high upside, injury risk pitchers like Hunter Harvey, Dylan Bundy, and Erick Fedde. Three of the four took major steps forward this year (Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery), with Taillon being the best of the bunch. His strikeout numbers were modest at 7.4 K/9 in the majors, but he showed an advanced feel for the art of pitching, developing his two-seam fastball into a legitimate weapon mid-season, and displayed excellent control with a 1.5 BB/9. His mid-90’s 4-seamer also leaves plenty of strikeout upside.