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Prospect Roundup

Reality Over Fantasy Prospects

by Christopher Crawford
Updated On: February 27, 2020, 5:41 pm ET

Last week, we took a look at prospects who offer more fantasy value than their prospect ranking on lists might suggest.

This week, we take a look at the opposite end of the spectrum. It's worth noting that these prospects still offer fantasy value; all are featured on my Top 100 prospect list featured in the Rotoworld MLB Draft Guide, but these prospects may rank higher on a "real-life" list for reasons that don't necessarily translate over in fantasy.


Cristian Pache, OF, Atlanta Braves -- Pache is one of the best outfield prospects in all of baseball, and for good reason. He has a chance to hit for a solid average with above-average power, and he seems to be getting better with the bat each year. The reason he's considered a potential Top 10 overall prospect, however, is his defense. While that defense will help Pache continue his quick advance through the Atlanta system, it's not something that is going to help you on your fantasy team. The one caveat here is that the 21-year-old has plus-plus speed, but he just hasn't run enough to suggest steals are likely (58-of-86 through 428 games in the minors). There's a lot to like, but he's more high-floor than high-ceiling in terms of fantasy.

Joey Bart, C, San Francisco Giants -- Bart was the second pick of the 2018 draft, and he's flashed brilliance in his first two years in the San Francisco system. The power is palpable, and you also have to add in the fact that the former Georgia Tech star will be able to stay behind the plate. That being said, he's not likely to hit for a high average, and a good deal of his lofty prospect standings on lists is simply due to his positional value. Again, a prospect that you will want to target because of the value of a catcher who can hit 30 homers, but there's some injury risk and there's a chance he's only helpful in one category. 

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Nolan Jones, 3B, Cleveland Indians -- Jones has more real-life value than fantasy in most formats, but this would not be the case if you're playing in an OBP league. Jones draws walks with the best of them, but his willingness to draw walks also comes with strikeouts, and he's unlikely to ever hit for a high average. He also doesn't have atypical power from the third base position, and his solid defense won't have any fantasy impact. Jones is still a Top 50 prospect, but there are things that will contribute to Cleveland that may not contribute to your roster. Just keep in mind that if you do play in a league that value on-base percentage, his value is significantly higher.   

Others to consider: Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates; Sean Murphy, C, Oakland Athletics; Evan White, 1B, Seattle Mariners


Brendan McKay, LHP/DH, Tampa Bay Rays -- It's worth pointing out that McKay has seen his fantasy prospectus improve quite a bit in the last year, and for good reason. He throws strikes with all of his arsenal, and he's missed more bats than originally anticipated. That being said, there's no real "out-pitch" for the southpaw, and it's not likely he'll put up the strikeout totals you want to see from a fantasy ace. There's also the value he adds to the Rays as a potential bench bat, but you likely know how much value there is in that. McKay is certainly an add; one who will very likely be on the initial Top 10 prospects for 2020, but the real-life value is considerably higher. 

Brusdar Graterol, RHP, Minnesota Twins -- Graterol has been very impressed in his time in the Twins system, and he held his own when he was called up by Minnesota at the end of the year. The reason the talented right-hander ranks on this list has nothing to do with talent, and everything to do with situation. It appears Minnesota is going to use the 21-year-old as a reliever, and it's unlikely he sees the save situations to make him fantasy relevance. If Minnesota does decide to make Graterol a starter or closer long-term than he'll placement on this will look foolish. If he's used as a multi-inning reliever, however, it's impossible to say his fantasy value doesn't take a hit. 

Nick Lodolo, LHP, Cincinnati Reds -- Lodolo was the seventh pick of the 2019 draft out of TCU, and the southpaw showed the command and ability to initiate weak contact that gives him an obvious high floor. The issue here -- at least in terms of fantasy -- is that Lodolo isn't going to pile up the Ks, in large part to there being no out-pitch. He'll be able to put up a solid WHIP and should be able to stick in a rotation, but because he's more pitch-to-contact than a hurler who is going to miss a good deal of bats, he's not likely to be a fantasy superstar. A solid -- but far from spectacular -- option. 

Others to consider: Mitch Keller, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates; Matthew Liberatore, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals; Daniel Lynch, LHP, Kansas City Royals 

Christopher Crawford

Christopher Crawford is a baseball and college football writer for NBC Sports EDGE and also appears on the Circling the Bases Podcast.