21. Carlos Rodon, SP, Chicago White Sox
Rodon has an almost perfect combination of upside and polish. He combines a front of the rotation frame at 6’3” and 235 lbs., with two plus to plus-plus pitches. He should have been the first overall pick in Fantasy amateur drafts this year. Based on his raw ability and stuff, Rodon profiles as a Top 10 prospect, but as a 2014 draftee with only 24.2 professional innings, I need to see more before he is anointed. Rodon has a higher ceiling than Diamondbacks top prospect Archie Bradley, but a lower one than Julio Urias. Rodon fell to third in the MLB Amateur draft because of a dip in velocity early in 2014, but returned to throwing mid 90’s late in the year. With a plus fastball and one of the nastiest sliders in baseball, he has a SP2 ceiling with 200-strikeout ability.
2015 Projections: 50 minor league innings, 130 MLB innings, 120Ks
Projected Career Fantasy Stats: SP2/190Ks per year
Floor: Jose Quintana
Ceiling: Chris Sale
22. Corey Seager, SS/3B, Los Angeles Dodgers
As I discussed in my recent article, Seager is on the rise. Analysts always thought the power was there (16 HRs in 2013 and 20 HRs in 2014) but the way he dominated High-A and Double-A with a plus hit tool has analysts salivating. In 2013, Seager batted .309 in A-Ball. In 2014, he batted .352 in High-A and .345 in Double-A with OBP’s of .411 and .381 respectively.
Combine that kind of hit tool with developing power and by July, Seager should be in the discussion as one of the ten best prospects in baseball. For Fantasy owners, the big questions for 2015 are whether Seager picks up where he left off in Double-A and what position (SS or 3B) does he play in the majors? His ideal defensive position is third base, but the Dodgers roster is full of bat-first infielders, which could result in Seager staying at shortstop.
2015 Projections: September call-up to the majors.
Projected Career Stats: 25-30 HRs/ .300 BA/.370 OBP
Projected Fantasy Position: Third Base (1-2 years at SS)
Floor: Anthony Rendon (without SBs)
Ceiling: Adrian Beltre
23. Tyler Glasnow, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Glasnow has a front-of-the-rotation frame at 6’7” and 195 lbs, with room to add weight and possibly even more velocity. He pops 97 mph when he needs it and consistently throws 93-95 mph. His minor league numbers are staggering: 365 strikeouts in 274 innings, with a career ERA of 1.94 and WHIP of 1.04. There isn’t a current prospect or major leaguer that did that for a career in the minor leagues.
Glasnow has dominated minor league competition with his plus-plus velocity, but as he moves up to Double-A and eventually the majors, he will need more than just a world-class fastball to be a SP1/2. The key to being a Fantasy ace is a swing and miss breaking ball or changeup, and pitchers don’t normally develop them at this stage. Glasnow profiles as a consistent SP2/3 with impressive strikeout totals that tease Fantasy owners into believing he will be an ace.
2015 Projections: 100 minor league innings/30-40 MLB innings
Projected Career Fantasy Stats: SP2-3/190Ks per year
Floor: Nathan Eovaldi/Lance Lynn
Ceiling: Gerrit Cole
24. D.J. Peterson, 3B/1B, Seattle Mariners
I love Peterson’s tools and hate that he is likely to be a career first baseman. He combines 30 home run power and a .290 batting average hit tool, a rare thing these days. He strikes out and walks slightly less than some of the bigger sluggers, but makes more contact.
In previous articles I encouraged Fantasy owners to target Peterson because of the tools and a lack of buzz. I would be negligent if I didn’t emphasize that he has almost zero chance of playing anywhere other than first base. But, 30 home runs and .290 batting averages with .350-.370 on-base percentages is Anthony Rizzo/Freddie Freeman territory, a nice neighborhood to own property for Fantasy owners. We could see Peterson in the majors in 2015, which is why Fantasy owners are encouraged to target him this winter.
2015 Projections: 35-40 MLB games/100 ABs/ 8-10HRs/.270 BA/.310 OBP
Projected Career Stats: 25-30 HRs/.280 BA/.360 OBP
Floor: Billy Butler (with more power)
Ceiling: Anthony Rizzo
25. Blake Swihart, CA, Boston Red Sox
Five of the prospects ranked 21-30 are players I recommended Fantasy owners target in trades this off-season because they are the next group of Top 10 prospects and are all currently ranked in the low to mid 20’s. Blake Swihart is one of them.
Swihart batted .293 with 13 homers in 2014, and he’s a switch-hitter. He doesn’t have “difference-maker” power but he will consistently provide .275-.280 batting averages to go along with double-digit homers. There were four full time major league catchers to bat over .275; nine hit 15 homers or more and only two did both – Buster Posey and Yan Gomes. Swihart should do both consistently while playing in hitter-friendly Fenway Park, where he should see some at bats at DH in his peak years. We could see him in the majors as early as April, but it’s more likely that the Red Sox avoid the dreaded “Super-Two” designation and promote him in July.
2015 Projections: 250 ABs/7 HRs/.270 BA/.310 OBP
Projected Career Stats: 15HRs/.280 BA/.330 OBP
Floor: Tyler Flowers
Ceiling: Yan Gomes/Buster Posey (a reach, but not impossible)
26. Alex Guerrero, 2B/3B/SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
In 2014, Guerrero struggled early and had his ear chewed off in the middle, but he mashed to end his minor league season before struggling in limited major league at bats. An eventful first professional season to say the least, but he did manage to hit 17 homers and bat .333 with a .373 OBP. The pluses are that for an infielder he has good power and a plus hit tool that should provide .290 batting averages. The minuses are that he can’t run a lick and his defense is poor enough that it could become an obstacle to full time at bats.
Guerrero doesn’t have anything left to prove in Triple-A, and if he had not required plastic surgery on his ear lobe, then he would have been a July/early August promotion in 2014. We should see Guerrero start 2015 in the majors. Watch where Hanley Ramirez signs this winter; it will have a significant impact on Guerrero and will be a sign of what the Dodgers think about his future with the organization.
2015 Projections: 500 MLB ABs/ 12 HRs/.275 BA/.325 OBP
Projected Career Stats: 15-20 HRs/.290 BA/340 OBP
Floor: Scooter Gennett
Ceiling: Anthony Rendon/Ian Kinsler (without the SBs)
27. Jon Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros
Singleton is a career .279 hitter with a .388 on-base percentage in the minors. He walked more than once every two games and has averaged 22 homers per year in 4.5 minor league seasons. He struggled to make consistent contact in Houston but he maintained similar walk and HR rates. I chalk that up to rookie struggles and not a signal of things to come.
Freddie Freeman hit 18 home runs while batting .288 with an ADP of 23.15 in 2014. Adrian Gonzalez hit 27 home runs while batting .275 with an ADP of 56.85, both top 10 first baseman in drafts in 2014, so Singleton projects to be a Top 10 first baseman.
2015 Projections: 25 HRs/.260 BA/.340 OBP
Projected Career Stats: 25-30 HR’s/.270 BA/350 OBP
Floor: Adam LaRoche (2014)
Ceiling: Adrian Gonzalez/Anthony Rizzo (2014)
28. Arismendy Alcantara, 2B/OF, Chicago Cubs
Arismendy Alcantara has a lot of A’s in his name and a lot of Fantasy relevant potential in his bat and legs. He can hit double-digit homers, steal 15-20 bases, and bat .275 while qualifying at second base and in the outfield. The Cubs roster is filled with power bats, station to station base runners and weak gloves. Alcantara’s athleticism and defensive versatility will be essential for the makeup of their 25-man roster, especially for a National league team, and should insure near full time at bats in 2015.
Predicting consistent at bats on a week-to-week basis could be a challenge in head-to-head leagues, but rotisserie owners can feel confident that Alcantara will get at least 500 at bats. He is someone to watch in spring training to get a glimpse at the Cubs plans in 2015.
2015 Projections: 500 MLB ABs/ 12 HRs/15 SBs/.265 BA/.310 OBP
Projected Career Stats: 15-20 HRs/15 SBs/.290 BA/.340 OBP
Projected Position: Utility – 2B and OF.
Floor: Kolten Wong
Ceiling: Ian Kinsler/Anthony Rendon
29. David Dahl, OF, Colorado Rockies
Dahl has a nice mix of power and speed to go with a plus-plus hit tool that should produce consistent .300 batting averages. This kind of profile is becoming more and more prevalent in the top crop of prospects and will play especially well in the spacious confines of Coors Field, as we saw with Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon in 2014.
Dahl hasn’t received a lot of hype, but he should establish himself as a top tier prospect in 2015, likely starting in High-A Modesto followed by a mid-season promotion to Double-A New Britain.
2015 Projections: Split 2015 between High-A and Double-A
Projected Career Stats: 15-20 HRs/15 SBs/.300 BA/.335 OBP
Floor: A.J. Pollock
Ceiling: Alex Gordon/Hunter Pence (with higher batting averages)
30. Noah Syndergaard, SP, Mets
Syndergaard’s plus velocity and above average command produced minor league numbers nothing short of incredible coming in to 2014. A 3.11 ERA and 1.21 WHIP were the worst numbers he had ever posted at any level in any season, while totaling 329 strikeouts in 293 minor league innings.
In 2014, his performance illustrated why there are concerns about Syndergaard being more than a SP3. Triple-A batters drew more walks, got more hits and subsequently scored significantly more earned runs than Syndergaard had allowed in any previous season. Syndergaard lacks a swing and miss secondary pitch, which will limit his ceiling and could result in inconsistent performance. Syndergaard is unlikely to ever be a must-start SP, but he should be more than a double start or situational starter. At the very least he’ll produce above average strikeouts and consistent 200 inning seasons. In 2015, you can expect similar innings with fewer strikeouts and a higher ERA and WHIP than Jacob deGrom had in 2014.
2015 Projections: 140 innings/130Ks/3.70 ERA/1.30 WHIP
Projected Career Stats: SP3/175Ks per year
Floor: Nathan Eovaldi
Ceiling: Lance Lynn