Building a Dynasty (Part 3): Prospecting for Gold

In Part 3 of Building a Dynasty (B.A.D.), we contemplate the efficacy of a "tank" team and strap on our HD glasses as an aspiring Minor League scout. Prospect evaluations include catchers and corner infielders.

When we last spoke in Part 2, my selections of Yoan Moncada and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had pushed me toward a youth movement. After wavering about whether or not to bite the bullet and go all-in on the future, I decided to ride the wave rather than fight the tide. Willie Calhoun. Brendan Rodgers. Kyle Tucker. Scott Kingery. Those were the first of many more pups to follow. I was headed to the SPCA and taking home alllll the puppies. No, I need a better analogy. I was headed to the nursery and stealing all the babies. Ahh, much better.

I will submit to you now, reader, the blunt truth about what this dynasty team became, and what it remains as today. It is a tank team, plain and simple. From the moment the 60th round of the draft concluded, my team had absolutely zero chance of competing for a 2018 title. The current Cincinnati Reds have a much, much better chance of winning a ring this season, than my dynasty team the Missoula Osprey. (Note: the league strongly encourages each team to be named after a real Minor League affiliate, and Ospreys are my favorite bird, so it was an easy call.)

“What’s…. what’s your favorite bird?” (*asks abashedly).

I’ll be frank – and hopefully, this doesn’t dissuade you from continuing on with me on this voyage of prospecting and discovery and Randy Arozarena – there is part of me, a strong part of me, that wishes I’d stuck to a win-now strategy. I’ve poured over the 60-round draft recap the way a soldier pours over a love letter – and the truth of what could have been if I’d played for 2018 eats at my soul. (do we have souls or are we just bags of flesh trying to survive until we die?) However, I’m also grateful for how things turned out. By devoting myself to a future powerhouse, rather than a present contender, I dove deeper into the Minor Leagues than I could have ever imagined.

If you aren’t a prospect hound, consider for a moment how much you enjoy Major League baseball – analyzing statistics, evaluating players, and forming an understanding of how the array of different players, and their strengths and weaknesses, play out for different teams, culminating in the product we refer to as MLB. Then imagine a scenario where suddenly, four more leagues appeared. Sure, it’s not the best-of-the-best. There are a lot more chubby 28-year olds with decent command and 89mph fastballs. But it’s still four leagues flush with many of the best baseball players in the world. It’s not unlike when Pokemon Gold and Silver were released, and suddenly there were hundreds of new Pokemon to learn about, capture, and roster. (if you scoff condescendingly at my liberal use of Pokemon references, I have three words for you: “pearls before Tepig”).

Unfortunately, this focus on prospects came with the ice-cold realization that in dynasty leagues, prospects are overrated due to their glossy new-car finish, and the fact that they haven’t let us down yet. Inversely, solid veterans are criminally underrated. This, in itself, does not bode well for my team. I also quickly learned – thanks to the gravitational value decrease of Ryan McMahon – how instantaneously a prospect can drop off from a desired hot commodity to a relative afterthought. One minute, McMahon was a future Coors Field slugger coming off a monstrous 2017 season, the future bash brother to Nolan Arenado – and within a matter of weeks, he was an impotent bench player on the verge of being demoted. I look back now on the fields of offers that came in for him – one which packaged McMahon + another prospect for Bo Bichette – and wallow in my foolishness.

As with any major decision, there is that cynical voice whispering in your ear, “if only you’d done this…” and “if only you’d done that…” But there is also the voice – the rationale – that led you in the direction you chose. In the case of this prospect tank team, the thinking was as follows:

In a league with 20 teams, if all managers are created equal, each team has a 5% chance of winning the title. There are 100 names in a hat, and only five of them are yours. So how do you make your team stand out from the pack? By buying Apple stock before it becomes Apple stock. In a league this deep, even the teams that drafted purely to win-now are lucky to have three star players. However, if you draft a team flush with talented prospects, it creates the somewhat-plausible scenario that in a few years you will have significantly more talent than any other team. For what it’s worth, in this league (The Faux Show), if you win the title one time, it earns you the equivalent of nine years of entry fees. I’m not sure if that figure helps or hurts my case, but if my team ultimately becomes a team of stars, and I win a title in year three or four or five, it will earn back the cost of the ‘tank’ years – and then some.

But to reach this future plateau – this golden tower of glory off in the distant horizon – I needed to first study and become acquainted with the hoards of Minor League prospects. Which of them are infantry, and which of them will become legends and heroes.

So, without further ado, I present to you my first attempt at scouting Minor League baseball players.

These scouting reports were written in November and December and are based on a combination of video highlights, statistics, and the praises and criticisms of respected talent evaluators like Ralph Lifshitz.

And while I lend great respect to the opinions/perspectives of these evaluators, at the end of the day, I trust my own discerning baseball eye more than anyone. Like I’ve said before, if I possess one unique skill in life, it’s an ability to watch a person play baseball and see the sum of their parts at once: their floor, their ceiling, their limitations, their mechanical similarities to others, and overall, their true value as a baseball player.

Having said that, I’ve bitten my tongue and not changed these evaluations a smidgeon since I wrote them, however much my opinion has changed. Naturally, you are spread a bit thin while taking on such an ambitious scouting project, and on some players, I flat out whiffed. In the limited footage I saw, I failed to see what made them so appealing to others. Some prospects are a leggy blonde in a black mini skirt who catches your eye at first glance. Some prospects are a slow-burning love that creeps up on you slowly – but when that love reaches its crescendo, it’s all the more powerful.

Disclaimer: There are hoards and hoards of interesting prospects whom I never got around to scouting – for example, I only scouted roughly ten catchers. Additionally, not every prospect has a player comparison or a grade. It felt unbefitting to force grades upon players for whom I didn’t acquire a great feel.

Each prospect has been analyzed with some form of the following template:

Player Name

General Impressions

Player Comparison

Prospect Grade

Future Round (redraft)


The analysis below each player is not a fleshed-out, Longenhagen-style analysis. Rather, it’s a microwaved attempt to capture the main traits of each player. For example, “Explosive. Good athlete. Compact swing.” rather than “refuses to change approach with two strikes; .219 batting average with RISP.” 

It should also be noted that these reports do not include every major prospect at each position. Far from it. The players mentioned, quite simply, are the players I was drawn to via word-of-mouth, prospect lists, and general prospect chatter. It’s a solid representation of intriguing prospects, but it omits a vast number of talented Minor Leaguers – guys like Esteury Ruiz, Seby Zavala, Cavan Biggio, and Sam McWilliams.

But enough foreplay. Here are the scouting reports for catchers and corner infielders. The players listed at each position are not in any particular order.

First, the unheralded heroes of the trade – catchers.

Scouting Reports


Francisco Mejia (Indians) – age 22

Looks solid but not quite warranting the hype


Good OBP potential

Player Comparison: Blake Swihart | Carlos Santana | Jose Altuve

Prospect Grade: B+

Future Round: 12

Outlook: The most overhyped prospect at the moment. Not sure he will stick at catcher. Pretty good hit tool, but he isn’t a big guy and the power may be middling. I think in a few years folks will be asking themselves “why were we so hyped on this guy?”. But I’ve been wrong before. Here is a bold prediction: the Braves’ Alex Jackson becomes a higher end fantasy catcher than Francisco Mejia.


Chance Sisco (Orioles) – age 23

Strong minors numbers

Serviceable floor but unclear power makes ceiling muddled

In redraft, my #1 minor league catcher

Long-term, #3 behind Mejia and Ruiz

Very strong hit tool… has potential to be consensus #4 behind Gary/Willson/Buster

Player Comparison: Greg Zaun

Prospect Grade: B-

Future Round: 12

Outlook: Poor man’s Jesse Winker at catcher?


Zack Collins (White Sox) – age 22

OBP with pop – will not provide batting average

Limited upside but could be a .350 OBP /20 homer / 70 RBI kind of catcher

His value rises in OBP format. Collins has a chance to be a top-10 catcher (but then again, so does Kurt Suzuki).


Carson Kelly (Cardinals) – age 23

A lick overrated for fantasy purposes

Draft for consistency and playing time (post-Yadier)

Player Comparison: Mike Matheny | Dan Wilson

Prospect Grade: C-

Future Round: 18


Keibert Ruiz (Dodgers) – age 19


Heady player

Bat speed is solid but not game-changing; approach could be

.813 OPS as a 19-year-old catcher in low minors

Player Comparison: Alex Avila | Victor Martinez

Prospect Grade: B-

Future Round: 13

Outlook: Alas, the hype is coming. Just in time for me to snag Ruiz’ teammate Will Smith. I see a poor man’s Victor Martinez, but nothing groundbreaking. I predict the hype will swell to Mejia’an proportions before we collectively realize, “Sure, he is pretty solid.”


Will Smith (Dodgers) – age 23

One of my favorite prospects

Hugely overlooked

Really nice bat – it could potentially play at 3B

Explosive. Good athlete. Compact swing.

IIRC defensive reports are glowing, so he should find playing time.

Player Comparison:

Prospect Grade: B+

Future Round: 9

Outlook: Smith looks the part physically and developmentally, and in my eyes jumps off the screen like a top-75 prospect. His physique and approach is mildly reminiscent of Alex Bregman, and his swing is balanced, compact, and quick. Smith will quickly ascend the charts in 2018. Snag him up before everyone else catches on.


Victor Caratini (Cubs) – age 24

.951 OPS in the PCL, then awful in 31 games with the Cubs


.275-16-70 kind of upside

Possible he taps into 20-homer power, but highly unlikely

Player Comparison: Tony Wolters | Stephen Vogt

Prospect Grade: C-

Future Round: 18


Andy Yerzy (Diamondbacks) – age 19

Nice power

Fairly controlled swing and approach

Smaller frame

Player Comparison: Miguel Montero

Prospect Grade: C

Future Round: 15


Jorge Alfaro (Phillies) – age 24

Heavy, lumbering kind of strength (think Wilson Ramos)

Bat speed is limited but power is true

Candidate for < .300 OBP

Unlikely to become a top-5 catcher unless discipline issues are remedied

Peak season could look like: .245-68-23-70-1

Player Comparison: Mike Zunino | Kelley Stinnett

Prospect Grade: C-

Future Round: 13


Antonio Cabello (Yankees) – age 17

Beautiful swing: controlled but with oomph

star potential (if he sticks at catcher)

arm strength has a long way to go

Player Comparison: Ivan Rodriguez | Paul Lo Duca

Prospect Grade: A

Future Round: 4

Outlook: Despite Cabello being a 17-year-old relatively unknown quantity, I ranked him 136th overall in my prospect rankings. There is considerable projection going on here, but frankly, I’m more intrigued by a youngster that could evolve into a perennial all-star type, than a more polished big-league-ready prospect with the makings of a serviceable SP4.

We all saw the grainy footage of Giannis Antetokounmpo before he became, for lack of a better phrase, Giannis Antetokounmpo. A similar thing is at play with these young international signees. And as a GM, or a couch GM like myself, if you see flashes of greatness… why not take a chance? So that you can target a college arm that might become the next Lance Lynn?

With a guy like Antonio Cabello, he may be young and inexperienced, but his tools and potential are substantial. And surprisingly polished for a player so young. As seen here, his swing is compact, powerful, and quick. It’s unclear how he grades out defensively, but offensively he is the closest prospect to Ivan Rodriguez since… Ivan Rodriguez. I see an above-average hit tool with 20+ home run potential. If he sticks at catcher, his dynasty value will skyrocket.


First Base

Yordan Alvarez (Astros) – age 20


Solid OPS at age 20

Good power

I really like him. There is some David Ortiz in his game.

Good hitter, not just a power guy.

Player Comparison: Chili Davis | David Ortiz | Jon Singleton | Fred McGriff

Prospect Grade: B+

Future Round: 6

Outlook: Has a chance to be the evolutionary Chili Davis!

Note from the future: Yordan has been excellent, abusing Double-A pitchers to the tune of a .916 OPS and 6 home runs through 27 games. As if the Astros need more offensive help, he is coming down the factory conveyer belt, along with Kyle Tucker and the rapidly-rising Myles Straw


Nick Pratto (Royals) – age 19

Incredibly advanced

Polished swing and approach

Potential perennial all-star and #3 hitter

Power will come along – 25+

Player Comparison: Joey Votto | Mark Grace | John Olerud | James Loney

Prospect Grade: A-

Future Round: 3

Outlook: Absurdly polished hit tool in addition to defensive prowess and excellent makeup (he should be a stylist!). The Joey Votto comparisons – however blasphemous – are instantaneous. One of my favorite prospects because his swing is like butter, like waxed skis slicing through fresh powder. Like the perfectly refined edge of a glistening gold bar… in its impeccable rectangular perfection.  Nick Pratto is all these things. I just wish he were a tiiiny bit bigger. He only misses my top-40 overall due to being further away from the Majors, but the skills are elite.

Note from the future: Pratto has been solid but unspectacular, and while he certainly flashes big-league skills on film, I think my Votto comparisons were a bit hyperbolic. With experience and physical maturity, I now liken him more to a future Eric Hosmer type, rather than a transcendent Votto type of bat. That said, he is talented with the stick, and in a best-case-scenario, he has the raw ability to become a poor man’s Freeman – an excellent hitter with solid pop who is an extremely tough out. 


Brent Rooker (Twins) – age 23

Absolutely mashed in college and in a brief taste of the Minors

A bit old for a prospect

Controlled, balanced, powerful

Upon further review, his hit tool isn’t quite as great as I thought

Player Comparison: Stephen Piscotty | Mark McGwire

Prospect Grade: B+

Future Round: 4

Outlook: Am I crazy for being nearly all-in on Brent Rooker? He obliterated college competition and hit 18 home runs and 52 RBI in only 62 Minor League games. I’ve watched extensive footage of his college tape and gotten a feel for his personality during interviews (spoiler alert: he’s a conspiracy theorist).

There is a non-zero chance that the next Mark McGwire is staring us right in the face, and we can’t see him. Open your eyes and check out Twins prospect Brent Rooker. In time, he will be a household name.

Here he is in action. 

Note from the future: There is time yet, but Rooker has struggled mightily so far this season. Perhaps my top pick to rapidly ascend the prospect rankings and burst onto the big league scene,  I scoured through Rooker’s college footage from Mississippi State and believed him to be the sneaky superstar that no one saw coming – an unheralded Mark McGwire/Kris Bryant kind of 45-homer monster –  the rare breed of power hitter with 70 grade power and solid contact skills. Unfortunately, Rooker is currently sporting a .738 OPS at AA with 55 strikeouts in 46 games.  


Jhailyn Ortiz (Phillies) – age 19

Strong, bulky frame

Runs well for someone so large

Balanced swing (verrrrrry faint shade of Miggy)

Crouch brings to mind Gary Sanchez

Don’t love the stance – arms and legs not quite in line

.290-30-100 upside with maturity and polish

Player Comparison: Jose Abreu | Tommy Joseph

Prospect Grade: B-

Future Round: 8

Outlook: The tape reminds me a lot of Jose Abreu. Second-tier star potential with a low floor. Take notice: while I see Jose Abreu, some scouts have grander visions: of a perennial MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera type. And the reports about his raw power have been glowing. Keep a close eye on him, he could shoot up rankings lists very quickly.


Brendan McKay (Rays) – age 21 

Skilled lefty with pop – not totally unlike Kyle Tucker

Player Comparison: Tino Martinez | Anthony Rizzo | Justin Bour

Prospect Grade: B+

Future Round: 7

Outlook: If given a choice would you rather be Adam Laroche or Joe Blanton? That’s the dilemma McKay is faced with, after being labeled “American Ohtani”.

He does possess a nice bender, as seen here. That said, I like his easy left-handed power, and hope he focuses on offense.

Note from the future: While McKay hasn’t flashed much power (4 XBH in 87 at-bats), he has shown strong plate discipline with a sterling 28:20 walk-to-strikeout ratio. On the mound he has been unbelievable, striking out 50 hitters in 35.2 innings, with a ridiculous 0.39 WHIP and 0.76 ERA (and only two walks!). He is making Minor League hitters look like that 7-year-old brother who tries to play you in The ShowClick here to get a feel for his stuff on the mound. 


Peter Alonso (Mets) – age 23

On a bit of a Hoskins path, but with more K’s

At plate reminds me a lick of Posey, with some Hoskins

Potential dynasty steal. Could become a cleanup hitter type.

From perspective camera, hits like a catcher

Oh God I’m so confused

Player Comparison: Evan Gattis | Rhys Hoskins

Prospect Grade: C+

Future Round: 14

Note from the future: Alonso has been one of the breakout prospects of 2018. He is currently hitting a robust .337 with 14 home runs and a gaudy 1.103 OPS. Here is his 8th home run of the year – part of a torrid stretch in which he hit five home runs in six games. 


Christian Walker (Diamondbacks) – age 26

Major power (but in PCL)

I don’t get why he isn’t more heralded

A bit older than typical prospects

Not a great BB:K guy

There’s a scenario where he becomes a poor man’s Donaldson

Where does he fit with Goldy?

Could be a QuadA guy… or Mark Reynolds

Player Comparison: Wil Middlebrooks | Mark Reynolds

Prospect Grade: B-

Future Round: 19


Bobby Bradley (Indians) – age 

Meh – the kind of guy you can find on waivers

Raw power

Sliiiiight flashes of Rizzo, but mostly I see a windmill factory

Player Comparison: Juan Francisco | Scott Schebler

Prospect Grade: D++

Future Round: 18

Note from the future: Bradley, whom I consider an overrated power-only prospect in the mold of Christin Stewart, has not performed well in 2018. He is striking out at a prolific rate, and his .182 batting average and .400 Slugging Percentage aren’t pushing him toward a promotion.


Pavin Smith (Diamondbacks) – age 22

Decent size (6’2 – 210) but not quite the classic 1B power build – which makes me skeptical about the power

Some flashes of Freddie Freeman, Corey Seager – but less powerful

Ultimately can be pretty good – borderline top-10 first baseman

Player Comparison: Casey Kotchman | John Olerud

Outlook: Someone had to be this year’s Casey Kotchman. Why not Pavin?


Josh Naylor (Padres) – age 20

nice lefty swing

big body (slow)

solid bat but nothing too exciting (don’t reach)

Player Comparison: Dominic Smith | Kendrys Morales

Prospect Grade: C-

Future Round: 16

Note from the future: Naylor is crushing AA to the tune of a .528 SLG and .929 OPS. He has nine home runs and only two more strikeouts than walks. Apologies, Josh.   


Edwin Rios (Dodgers) – age 24

Future .850 OPS bat (.500 SLG)

Long swing

Strong but not elite upside – #6 hitter, if things pan out

Bit of a walk allergist

Hope for a trade

Player Comparison: Carlos Pena | Oswaldo Arcia

Prospect Grade: B-

Future Round: 14


Mike Ford (Yankees) – age 25

“Old”, but killed it in 2017

94:72 ratio – .404 OBP – 20 homers in 126 games


Ryan Noda (Blue Jays) – age 21

Tore apart rookie ball with a 1.082 OPS in 66 games

Long, strong legs with decent power potential

Player Comparison: Ryan Wheeler | Jake Lamb | Freddie Freeman

Grade: C++

Future Round: 19


Lewin Diaz (Twins) – age 21

Reminds me a bit of Edwin Rios

.290-25-100 potential

For amusement, just based on raw video, I’m going to guess his numbers from last season:

Guess: .274/.349/.488

Actual: .292/.329/.444


Third Base

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays) – age 19

MVP potential

Bulkier than his dad, but very similar movements

.310-35-120 kind of bat

Almost feels like a guaranteed fantasy first-rounder (uhh… no pressure, kid)

Player Comparison: Miguel Cabrera

Prospect Grade: A+

Future Round: 1

Outlook: It’s been a long time since a true hitting genius has come along from the right side. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has a chance to be truly special.

There is a perfect sweet spot that every hitter strives for: a fusion of excellent vision/eyesight, recise bat control, elite coordination, and wicked bat speed. A-Rod had it. Manny had it. Vladdy Sr. had it (to a slightly lesser extent). Miguel Tejada wasn’t too far from it. Miguel Cabrera has (had?) it. Frank Thomas had it. Albert Pujols had it. Trout probably has it… though he almost feels more like a video game Create-a-Player than a “pure” hitter, in the traditional sense. But he is close.

As for Vladdy Jr., I can’t recall a prospect that was this gifted with the bat. You might have to go all the way back to young A-Rod (to be fair, I wasn’t as keen on prospect-Bryce-Harper as most, and that was clearly a misfire). I don’t want to get too hyped up on Vladdy, because that sets us up for disappointment, but man… I think he’d be a .780+ OPS bat right now. If you plopped him into a big league lineup today, at age 19. Ronald Acuna is an incredible talent and I can see a prime of something like .295/.365/.550 (with speed), whereas Vladdy won’t offer speed, but could hit something in the realm of .330/.415/.600.

This generational talent is no true #2 overall prospect; more of a 1b to Acuna’s 1a.

In fantasy, and on prospect lists, Acuna’s 30+ steal speed – and proximity to the bigs – gives him a slight edge over Vladdy, and I can understand why a real club would prefer Acuna due to his more well-rounded game. But if I were a GM I’d be tempted to lean toward the player with a chance to be a transcendent middle-of-the-order who puts genuine fear into the hearts of opponents. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is going to justify all the hype and lofty expectations – and then some.


Nick Senzel (Reds) – age 22

Balanced skill set – jack of all trades – master of none

.290-18-18 kind of profile – and soon

If power plays in bigs, could be looking at low-to-mid 20’s (@GAB)

Very similar future fantasy value to Gleyber Torres

Hitting style reminds me of A.J. Pollock, but Nick has less speed

A bit overhyped, but his floor is nutty high (think rich man’s David Freese)

Player Comparison: David Wright | Eric HosmerAlex Bregman

Prospect Grade: B++

Future Round: 5

Outlook: Solid across the board. No elite tool, but above-average everywhere. I think he is a lick overhyped but he should settle into at least prime-Hunter-Pence numbers. His ultimate ceiling is a top-5 third baseman and a dynasty cornerstone. If he develops 25-homer power at GAB he’ll be a top-40 fantasy player. 


Colton Welker (Rockies) – age 20

Mugshot reminds me of Springer

Good power

Middle of the order bat – contact + pop + approach

Terrific upside. holy underrated!

Player Comparison: Matt Holliday | Frank Thomas | Hunter Renfroe with contact skills

Grade: B+

Future Round: 3

Outlook: His hit tool+power combo could be special. At Coors? I love it. Not a ton of film on him, and the sample sizes are small, but in the clips I’ve seen he looks like a potent middle-of-the-order bat, a guy who can be a major run producer, with good power, and enough contact skills to be a strong overall hitter – rather than a sell-out-for-pop type. I loooooooove Colton Welker. Excited to see what he can do this season.

Note from the future: Welker has been solid through 46 games at Advanced-A. He is hitting .294 with a .805 OPS, along with four home runs and 24 walks (though he has only one XBH since May 10th). He is a rising prospect and could soon find himself as a consensus top-40 prospect.


Michael Chavis (Red Sox) – age 22

A more controlled, higher floor Christian Walker

Pop will play great with Green Monster

35-homer power

Won’t be an OBP guy, but will be okay

May be exploited by big league pitching

Player Comparison: Todd Frazier | Dan Uggla | Evan Longoria

Prospect Grade: C+

Future Round: 9

Outlook: Looks like a .250, 30-home run guy. Similarities to Dan Uggla, but with a smoother, more controlled approach and swing. Numbers wise I can see him being similar to what Longoria turn out to be – though visually they’d get there in a different way. I liken him to the modern Greg Vaughn, minus those few monster Vaughn years.

Note from the future: Chavis is suspended 80 games for using a banned substance. Don’t do Dehydrochlomethyltestosterone, kids. 


Austin Riley (Braves) – age 20

Flashed big time for me at first look

Could by 5-hitter behind Acuna/Freddie

25+ homer | .850+ OPS bat

Player Comparison: Erik Karros | Ryon Healy | Troy Glaus

Prospect Grade: B

Future Round: 7

Outlook: Riley has moments where he looks like a 1st division, .900+ OPS bat… then he has moments where he gives off more of a Ryon Healy vibe. I have a tough time with him. If he ultimately breaks out into a top-8 corner infielder, I won’t be shocked. The power is for real, but time will tell if he is more of a .280 hitter or a .260 hitter. If I squint I can see Riley going all Rhys Hoskins on everyone, but if I let my eyes relax I just see Ryon Healy.

Note from the future: Riley has torched the minors and looked incredible. I’m comfortable boosting my 25+ home run projection to 35+. He may be susceptible to low and outside breaking stuff, but Riley is going to mash in the Majors. I am aggressively stashing him in deeper mixed leagues because if he comes up soon and is in a lineup surrounded by Albies/Acuna/Freddie and company, he could be one of the waiver wire adds of the year. In dynasty, I’d feel comfortable floating out trade offers for him of more touted players like Miguel Andujar. Last year I was reluctant to stash Bellinger when he was destroying the Minors, and I still feel the regret of that indecisiveness today. I don’t want to make the same mistake with Austin Riley. And as someone with Riley stashed, I’m wholly rooting against Jose Bautista and Johan Camargo, and stabbing the back of my Bautista effigy with toothpicks as we speak. 


Brian Anderson (Marlins) – age 23

At first glimpse… just a glimmer of Ryan Braun

Not nearly as explosive as Braun

Strong bat-to-ball skills, uses the whole field

future 18+ homer pop, but unlikely to eclipse 25

Player Comparison: David Freese | Ryan Braun

Prospect Grade: C

Future Round: 14

Outlook: Brian Anderson is to Ryan Braun as Lego™ is to Mega Blok™

Note from the future: Anderson started the year with the lowly Marlins and all he’s done is prove that he is already a big-league caliber hitter. While he has flexed his home run muscles only twice, he has nine doubles and is getting on base roughly 36% of the time. As of now, the above David Freese comparison is looking apt – though Anderson has more upside.


Nolan Jones (Indians) – age 19

Not much video

Great OPS and BB:K ratio at age 19

Very quick bat for his size; quick wrists

Solid defender. I like him. Low-tier star potential.

Righty fielder, bats left.

Hitting mechanics need work, but if things click…

Player Comparison: Seth Smith | Christian Yelich

Prospect Grade: C++

Future Round: 11

Outlook: You can see the rough outline of a nice player here, which is just beginning to fill in. Long, coordinated, good bat speed. The 1% chance best-case-scenario is that he is Chipper Jones. The more realistic scenario is that he is Lonnie Chisenhall or Neil Walker.


Jake Burger (White Sox) – Age

Interesting build – sort of built like a burger

Comfortable at the plate

Limited upside, but could be a Major League regular

Don’t overlook just because he lacks standout tools.

Player Comparison: Kevin Youkilis | Nick Castellanos

Prospect Grade: C+

Future Round: 14

Note from the future: Ah rats! Burger re-tore his left Achilles tendon while rehabbing, and likely won’t return until mid-2019. 


Christian Santana (Dodgers) – age 20

Dominican Republic

Razzball likes as sleeper

Athletic but unrefined – I can see him being a .260-18-24 kind of player

Player Comparison: Albert Almora Jr. (offensively)

Prospect Grade: C-

Future Round: 17


Dermis Garcia (Yankees) – age 19

Ehhhhhhh, there’s a little bit of potential here

Pretty raw

22-25 homer upside

If everything breaks right, maybe a line of .267-78-24-83-4

Player Comparison: Adonis Garcia | Aramis Ramirez

Prospect Grade: C-

Future Round: 22


Anderson Franco (Nationals) – age 19

Young but I like his swing

Late to the ball (Cinderella)

6’3, has 20+ homer potential

could flame out big time… but young


Jake Gatewood (Brewers) – age 22

Think we found a diamond in the rough

6’5, good athlete with big pop

Ability to go oppo

Possible 2nd division all-star

Pitch recognition / plate discipline is biggest obstacle

Player Comparison: Carlos Quentin | Alex Rios | Jake Marisnick

Prospect Grade: B+

Future Round: 11

Outlook: Gatewood recently had a vision correction and can read (or was it “see”) the outfield scoreboard for the first time. He is 6’5, 190 and athletic with good pop. He has some swing and miss to his game, but when you watch the footage, his bat is pretty loud. His .775 OPS last year isn’t turning any heads, but I think he has projectable power and 2nd-tier star potential. Maybe a Carlos Quentin-before-the-dropoff kind of skillset, or possibly Alex Rios with less speed.

-Here he is again, lifting off. (as you can see, he also has a signature bat flip)

-and another blast, for posterity

Beautiful swing here, although his stance has changed considerably since (more open)

Note from the future: Ouch, there’s a lure in my mouth. I think I got duped on this one. Hook, line, sinker. Gatewood is a classic example of a guy who looks like a star in highlights – but in reality his strikeout woes and contact issues make him borderline rosterable in dynasty leagues. Gatewood is currently sporting a .302 OBP at AA, although to be fair he has come on a bit recently. 


Sheldon Nuese (Athletics) – age 23

Konerko-like stance

Solid power stroke with 18+ home run pop


Joe Rizzo (Mariners) – age 20

Advanced hitter with modest stature

Future .290+ hitter with 15+ home run pop

Solid player without star potential

Player Comparison: Kole Calhoun | Dustin Ackley | Joe Panik

Prospect Grade: C-

Future Round: 22

Note from the future: Rizzo lacks big-time power or speed, so his calling card is hit raw hitting ability. His current .299 Slugging Percentage is lower than his .328 OBP, and he has 9 XBH in 47 games, none of which have left the yard. At this point, I am fully ready to cut ties in dynasty. 


Colin Moran (Pirates) – age 25

Swing/stance/approach has faint shades of Daniel Murphy

There can only be one Daniel Murphy?

The more I watch, the less he reminds me of Daniel Murphy

Player Comparison: Mark Kotsay | Chase Headley

Prospect Grade: C+

Future Round: 14

Note from the future: After being shipped off to Pittsburgh in a deal that brought Tom Seaver to Houston, Moran has performed well. His .354 OBP shows that he is not overmatched and his 32 hits are 5th most on the club.


Wladimir Galindo (Cubs) – age 21

Decent athlete with solid frame

20+ homer pop

Limited bat speed, but nice launch angle and natural pop

Best case scenario: homeless man’s Edwin Encarnacion

Worst case scenario: Wladimir Galindo

Player Comparison: Giovany Urshela | Mitch Garver | C.J. Cron

Prospect Grade: C-

Future Round:  23

Note from the future: Like his spiritual brethren Jake Gatewood, Galindo looks awesome in highlights – as seen here. However, in 25 games this season he is slashing .243/.297/.375 with two home runs and an 11:46 walk-to-strikeout ratio. I still have faith in the raw talent, and believe there is a (small) chance he figures things out, starts mashing, and ultimately climbs to the Major Leagues. But as of now, he isn’t a coveted asset in dynasty leagues. 

Parting thoughts:

In Part 4, I’ll reveal the scouting reports for middle infielders – a list which includes the likes of Carter Kieboom, Isan Diaz, and Willy Adames.

We will also dissect my draft picks in the first 30 rounds, as well as which player(s) I should have drafted – if any – who were taken later in each round. For example, drafting Tyler Glasnow six picks before Keston Hiura (I will now proceed to pour hydrochloric acid on my scalp).

We will also chronicle my (somewhat comical) mission to trade veteran star Brian Dozier – which of course will include some stellar Photoshop work in the mold of legendary MS Paint artist Fernando Tatis. And then we will talk about his son Fernando Jr., who is already incredibly good. (Just… err… pay no mind to his current numbers. He is still learning. Once upon a time, Pablo Picasso must have drawn stick figures. And surely, William Shakespeare was a pupil in someone’s third-grade classroom.)

Lastly, I understand if you think this prospect-oriented strategy is fantasy fools gold. I’ve already received vicious hate email and envelopes of glitter on my doorstep from rapid win-now enthusiasts who are outraged by my dynasty strategy. How could I attempt something so… egregious!?

If you are one of the seven people who sent glitter – I am not mad. In fact, I respect your passion. And perhaps, even through your boiling resentment, you can find the heart to come along with me on this journey to build a dynasty If Brendan Rodgers becomes the modern Brandon Wood, Jo Adell becomes the modern Lastings Milledge, and Keibert Ruiz becomes Carlos Ruiz – perhaps I’ll look back with great regret. But we’re in deep waters now, and the only way is forward. For better or for worse, the deities of dynasty destiny have sent us on this road. They have sent us spiraling on the path of prospects – where the future is an open book, and where our destiny is draped in dreams of dominance. We are planting a forest of seeds, and hoping it will grow into something magnificent. I hope you will join me.

Tim Acree

A former Little League all-star, Tim Acree peaked at age 9. Now in the twilight of his life at 28, Tim enjoys laying low with his two cats while listening to podcasts. Sometimes he holds his laptop up to the mirror to see what players would look like from the opposite side. Tim worries that his obsession with baseball prevents him from doing other meaningful things, but the heart wants what it wants. When Tim is not professing his adoration for Trea Turner he teaches at an elementary school near Yosemite. He also wrote this in the third person and it's making him uncomfortable.

9 responses to “Building a Dynasty (Part 3): Prospecting for Gold”

  1. theKraken says:

    Pratto is garbage in my book… one of my best pieces of prospect advice is be wary of the guys with the HOF-caliber comps… either that or don’t get excited about 1B specs. I wouldn’t roster him in a league that rosters 300 prospects and I certainly wouldn’t value him as an A-. If he has an elite hit tool, he would hit more than he has. Yordan Alvarez, on the other hand is the man!
    Nitpicky comments aside, I have made a living in dynasty from trading for specs or young MLB players whose shine has worn off – Devers would be a good target right now. I think we passed a tipping point a few years ago where specs are worth more as specs than the real players that they become. I think the myth of building through draft is more of a dream than a reality – its a fun dream though. I have seen people try it many times. The problem is that this draft (or any draft in particular) isn’t full of HOFers, like we think it will be. It is worth noting the crude, ceiling-oriented scouting reports from low A and the amateur ranks. Trades are the way to go for discounted players with accurate scouting reports which aren’t so glowing or exciting. McMahon is an excellent example of all of this – he was really shiny, then his price dropped close to free, then his value peaked again and now the prince looks a lot more like a frog than a prince. Acquiring him on the cheap was easy at one point and selling high would have been pretty easy – just have to avoid the trap of thinking that MLB success is eminent.

    • Tim Acree says:

      did you read the “Note from the future” about Pratto?

    • Tim Acree says:

      I agree with everything you are saying. It’s easy to dream on all these guys becoming solid big leaguers (or better), but in reality most of them will be lucky to become 5th outfielders. Another aspect of the player comps is it’s much easier to remember high-level players from the past, opposed to guys like, say, Jeffrey Hammonds or Marvin Benard. I remember scouts comparing both Jason Heyward and Christian Yelich to Barry Bonds. Not once did I think that scout literally thought they’d be the next Barry Bonds – rather, it was a way of saying “well-rounded lefty with legitimate 5-tool potential, and if everything breaks right: a superstar”. As noted to the reader below, I’m not saying X player is literally going to be like Y player – it’s more like, “there is a slight resemblance in skillset; a vague cookie cutter outline.”

      I also agree with your sentiment that prospects are overvalued, and selling high is generally wise. It’s a bit like stock trading in that sense, trying to gauge the time to buy and the time to sell. Not that I’ve ever actually traded stocks. But I saw a Leonardo Dicaprio movie one time about coyotes or something.

      I will say, there is a well-respected fantasy columnist (whose name I am forgetting) who implemented a ‘prospect-only’ strategy in a competitive, high-stakes dynasty league. He sucked for a few years, but now his team consists of like Machado, Correa, Mookie, Syndergaard, Giancarlo, and basically every in-prime monster you can think of, and he completely dismantles the league every season, almost effortlessly. His patience paid off. But it required good taste in prospects. There’s no telling if Brendan Rodgers or Kyle Tucker or Juan Soto will ever be top-30 kind of players, but if they do, I could find myself basking in a similar kind of wealth.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. M says:


    Please delete all this rubbish from the internet.

    Colton Welker player comp FRANK THOMAS. In no universe.

    • Tim Acree says:

      most the comps are pretty tame (Mark Kotsay, Adonis Garcia). Okay fine, I compared Brent Rooker to Mark McGwire. I had prospect fever. Sue me.

      In no way am I saying “Colton Welker is the next Frank Thomas!” Rather, it’s an attempt to say “I think he has the upside to be a 1st division 3-hitter with a tasty blend of contact, approach, and power.”

      There is only one Frank Thomas.

      For what it’s worth, if Welker pans out, I can see a prime of something like .295/.360/.520 with 25 homers and 100 RBI. Does that seem reasonable to you? I’m certainly higher on him than most.

      • M says:

        Projecting ANY prospect to hit .300 at the major league level and drive in 100 RBI is unreasonable.

      • M says:

        25 total players are hitting an .880 OPS this year. Let alone a guy who is barely a top100 prospect hitting in the friendliest ballpark in the minors with a 55/50 hit tool……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

        My point is almost every single scouting report here is blown way out of proportion and you CANT compare ANY prospect to a Hall of Famer. I don’t care if it’s the way they hold the bat in the on deck circle or if they have the same favorite color.

      • m says:

        May 29, 2018

        25 total players are hitting an .880 OPS this year. Let alone a guy who is barely a top100 prospect hitting in the friendliest ballpark in the minors with a 55/50 hit tool……

        My point is almost every single scouting report here is blown way out of proportion and you CANT compare ANY prospect to a Hall of Famer. I don’t care if it’s the way they hold the bat in the on deck circle or if they have the same favorite color.

  3. Mark says:

    Hey Tim, I took over a bad team in a 14 team dynasty and I am going with a big prospect push as well. O have Sean Newcomb and put him on the trade block because I don’t like his peripherals. Offers I got back seemed a little underwhelming but wanted to get your thoughts on the 2 best and see if they are even worth it. Offer 1 is Keston Hiura and Derek Fisher. Offer 2 is Willie Calhoun and a first round pick in 2019 for our 4 round new prospect (MLB draft and July 2 guys) draft. I’m leaning Calhoun and the prospect draft first rounder because of upside, or should I just hold onto Newcomb? We count OBP and SLG in this league.

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