High Floor Prospects to Target in Fantasy Baseball

Matt details dynasty prospects with a high floors and less variance.

Every good fantasy baseball team has a good balance of safe and risky players. The same can be said about prospects. Shooting only for upside can lead to a lot of wasted roster spaces on talent that never develops. My last article focused on chasing prospects with high upside. Kahlil Watson, Orelvis Martinez, and Miguel Bleis were just a few of the prospects highlighted in that article. Each profile mentioned carries significant risk to go along with their high ceiling. Now, it is time to shift our focus to prospects that are a little bit safer. These might not be the flashiest prospects, but they have a higher chance of developing into future assets. In the article below, I outline one prospect for each position that profiles to have a high floor.


How to Evaluate Prospect Floor:


In the previous article, I detailed what targeting a high fantasy ceiling means. I will keep this section a little bit shorter, but I encourage you to check out the last article if you would like to read more about it. I used the illustration of two bell curve graphs with different axis labels to compare these prospect groups.  These graphs are also available for reference below. The high-upside high-risk players have a larger spread of potential outcomes. When looking at prospects that are deemed “safe”, they do not have the same upside, but we have a much better understanding of how their game will translate to the Major Leagues.

High Upside:

High Floor:

One good comparison of recent prospects is Steven Kwan and Oneil Cruz. Both prospects were coming through the Minor Leagues at the same time. Thanks to his projectable ceiling, Cruz generated much more buzz in the fantasy world. Meanwhile, Kwan was the one with a more productive 2022 season. Looking back at Kwan’s profile he was always the better bet to find quick success at the Major League level. His contact skills and speed presented a safe and reliable floor that dynasty managers often ignore. He does not have the raw power to lift his ceiling as Cruz does, but while Cruz struggled to hit Major League pitching, Kwan excelled.

All prospects carry some level of risk. However, when identifying prospects that carry a high floor it is important to look for characteristics that translate well to Major League success. Some things that I tend to look for are good walk numbers, good contact skills, and contributions to one of either power or speed. Too often we get caught up in trying to find the perfect package of speed and power that we fail to prioritize a prospect’s contact skills and plate discipline. Keep reading to find out one guy at each position that will help provide a stable fantasy floor to your prospect group.


Prospects with Safe Floors to Target


Edgar Quero: Catcher, Los Angeles Angels

The Floor:

2022 felt like a breakout year for the catching position as a whole. Oftentimes viewed as the weakest fantasy position, optimism seems to be at an all-time high for the future of the position. Big names like Adley Rutschman, Francisco Álvarez, and Endy Rodriguez headline the group, but there are plenty of other exciting names out there like Edgar Quero. Quero signed with the Angels in 2021 without much fanfare but has quickly made a name for himself. At Low-A, he hit .312/.435/.530 with 17 home runs. He is more comfortable batting from the left side but still hit .275/.426/.468 as a righty.

Coming out of Cuba, Quero was known for his hit tool and after an adjustment period in 2021, that skill was on full display. He pairs a plus understanding of the strike zone with elite contact skills to keep his strikeout rate in check while working plenty of walks. Quero was able to post a walk rate over 14% with his swinging strike rate below nine percent. Ignoring everything else in Quero’s profile, these two traits provide Quero with a stable floor.

Last season Quero hit .312, but that came with a .360 BABIP that is unlikely to continue. The contact skills mentioned help his average, but he likely profiles around .270 long-term. My colleague LaMar Gibson posted an article a couple of weeks ago calling Edgar Quero one of the top 20 prospects in baseball under the age of 20. In a position of volatility, Quero presents himself as a safe option to fantasy managers and is a good bet to be a solid Major League player.

The Ceiling Cap:

Despite hitting 17 home runs last year, it is difficult to project Quero being a power hitter in the Major Leagues. His power profiles closer to average and still shows signs of inconsistency. In April and May he hit just two home runs before exploding for six in the month of June alone (Kyle Schwarber anybody?). Without power, Quero would need to rely on speed to be referred to as a high-ceiling player. He stole 12 bases last year, but FanGraphs has a future grade of 20 on his speed. He is not the fastest and by the time he makes it to the Major Leagues, he does not figure to be much of a threat to steal. There is little doubt Quero will be fantasy relevant, but he has a relatively low ceiling.


Jordan Díaz: First Base, Oakland A’s

The Safety:

Jordan Díaz is the first player on either list to have already made their Major League debut. A breakout 2021 season followed by domination in both Double-A and Triple-A gave Oakland no choice but to call him up. Díaz has seen his average climb from .281 in High-A to .319 in Double-A all the way up to .348 in Triple-A. He played mostly second base with Oakland last year, but primarily played first and third base in the Minor Leagues.

Aggression and contact are the names of the game when it comes to Diaz. While in the Minor Leagues, Diaz posted a swinging strike rate below 11% while also striking out under 14.5% of the time. During his brief big-league stint, Díaz continued this trend by making zone contact over 84% of the time and whiffing on just 20.4% of pitches. Díaz is a free swinger but has demonstrated a solid ability to make contact regardless of the level. He might never be the flashiest, but he profiles as one of the safer options at first base.

The Ceiling Cap:

The lack of speed and plus power hurt Díaz regardless of what position he ends up playing. His skills are best suited for fantasy relevance at second base whereas a shift to first base could expose his lack of home runs. He has average power and hit 19 home runs last year but posted an average launch angle of -4.8 degrees in the Major Leagues. It is impossible to hit home runs while pounding the ball into the ground which is exactly what Diaz did. He also did not attempt a steal at any level last season.

Diaz profiles much like Luis Arraez. He is aggressive at the plate, and has above-average contact skills, but not a very high ceiling. There is a good chance Díaz becomes a better Major League player than a fantasy asset.

Late addition: A Twitter thread from @Upper_Beck points to a swing change made by Díaz in Winter Ball this year. Díaz has added a leg kick to generate more pop and increase his launch angle. Any addition of power would provide an even safer floor to Díaz’s profile. Across 145 at-bats, Díaz hit .359/.442/.559 in the Columbian Winter League.


Brice Turang: Second Base, Milwaukee Brewers

The Safety:

The Brewers’ first-round pick had a breakout season in 2022. Playing the entire year at Triple-A, Brice Turang hit .286 with 13 home runs and 34 stolen bases. He swings from the left side featuring a high leg kick that helps to generate more power. He holds his hands high and tends to swing down on the ball, but he showed improvements during the second half of 2022. After slugging .391 through July, Turang finally tapped into some of his raw power. The rest of the way he slugged .457 en route to a career-high 13 home runs.

The safety in Turang’s profile comes from his excellent contact skills. Coming out of high school, Turang was praised for his hit tool and understanding of the strike zone. He can be a little bit too patient at the plate which is why his strikeout numbers aren’t as dazzling as you would expect from somebody with a swinging strike rate under nine percent. Turang’s profile carries additional value in OBP leagues where his plate discipline and walk rate provide a nice boost. Good plate discipline tends to translate well to the Major Leagues, and we should expect continued success in this area for Turang.

Turang will not just be a one or two-category contributor. He also has plus speed which seemed to kick into another gear with the new stolen base rules. Turang stole 34 bases last season while only being caught twice. The only Triple-A player to steal more than 30 bases with a success rate anywhere near as high as Turang was Brewer Hicklen who is 26 years old. The speed is plus, but the instincts are special which should help him continue to have stolen-base success in the Major Leagues.

Heading into 2023, the Brewers have a hole at the second base position, and it seems likely they are going to give Turang a chance to earn the job. He might not be the flashiest prospect, but he provides a stable floor and profiles as a solid Major League contributor. This is a prospect that should make an impact as soon as 2023 and is somebody worth acquiring.

The Ceiling Cap:

The speed and contact skills are nice, but Turang lacks the true power to ever be an elite fantasy option. He has never slugged over .412 in a season and before 2022 had never slugged above .385 at any level. He sprays the ball preventing his game power from ever playing up.

One way around a lack of power is elite average and speed. Turang hits the ball on the ground too often to ever post a batting average close to .300 in the Major Leagues. He profiles to hit around .260 with 20 steals which is useful, but not spectacular. Somewhere between 2022 Thairo Estrada and Tommy Edman is a good comp for Turang’s future. Turang will be a useful fantasy asset, but not a difference-maker for your team.


Adael Amador: Shortstop, Colorado Rockies

The Safety:

Of all players on this list, Amador is the most notable prospect. The 19-year-old switch-hitting shortstop was excellent in 2022 batting .292 with 15 home runs and 26 stolen bases. The swing has many moving parts from both sides of the plate, but that has not caused any concerns regarding his contact skills. Amador’s contact skills are superb for his age. He was one of only five hitters ages 19 or under to post a swinging strike rate under eight percent. The hit tool is graded as a 50 on FanGraphs, but that is underselling it. There were only six batters (21 or younger) in all Minor League Baseball to post an average of .270 with a swinging strike rate that low. Despite his loud swing, Amador’s hit tool is mature and refined and profiles as a plus tool.

Not only does Amador have a plus hit tool, but his plate discipline is years beyond his age. As mentioned in the Rockies’ Top 15 breakdown, Amador walked more than he struck out in 2022. He does not just swing at anything that is thrown but patiently waits for pitches that he can do damage on. Statistics like batting average and slugging percentage have little correlation to the Major Leagues, but enough plate discipline to walk more than you strike out is something that every dynasty player should be looking for. In 2021, Steven Kwan walked more than he struck out, so it is no surprise Amador found his way onto the safe prospect list.

The laundry list of positivity does not stop there. He also has plus speed which was good enough for 26 stolen bases in 2022. This speed does not profile to go anywhere and only adds another plus category to Amador’s profile. He is your prototypical leadoff hitter. He hits for average, sees plenty of pitches, works walks, and can steal once on. The floor is extremely safe with Amador; his ceiling is the highest of all prospects mentioned on this list. Go get Amador now before his stock rises even higher.

The Ceiling Cap:

The biggest question for Amador to answer is how his power will translate to the Major Leagues. During his breakout 2022 campaign, Amador only hit 15 home runs in a hitter-friendly environment. Where it stands right now, his swing tends to get choppy. With a lot of moving parts, Amador swings down on the baseball sometimes leading to high ground ball rates and periods of weak contact limiting his power output. There is a high chance Amador never becomes a power hitter and struggles to hit more than 10-15 home runs in a season.

One way to view Amador’s ceiling is by comparing him to Nico Hoerner. Hoerner has excellent contact skills with plus speed but lacks big-time power in part to high ground ball rates. Amador’s bat skills profile the same way although he has much better plate discipline than Hoerner inflating his value in OBP leagues. Amador is a safe prospect to target but without power, his ceiling can only be so high.


Will Wagner: Third Base, Houston Astros

The Floor:

Will Wagner is definitely prospects the least-known prospect on this list. Taken in the 18th round of the 2021 draft, Wagner has been unspectacularly consistent since making his professional debut. Last season he split time between High-A and Double-A where he hit .261/.374/.394 with 10 home runs and eight stolen bases. Nothing in that slash line gets you overly excited, but there is plenty of reason to believe that Wagner is going to be a solid Major League player.

I had not heard of Wagner until I was listening to an episode of the Toolshed podcast with Eric Cross and Chris Clegg. Clegg mentioned Wagner as a deep-league prospect that he thinks could begin to break out. According to Chris, despite his mediocre power output, Wagner posts good-quality-of-contact numbers between barrel rate and exit velocity. If Chris is paying attention to him, then I want to have him on my radar.

Wagner’s hit tool deserves more credit than it is given. He posted a swinging strike rate of just 8.6% last year and walked 13.5% of the time. He knows how to take pitches while also making solid contact on pitches in the zone. His swing path is smooth, consistent, and designed to hit the ball to all fields. There is plenty of reason to believe that Wagner can carry an average close to .270 with good walk rates and sneaky power.

Additional faith in Wagner comes from the organization in which he plays. The Astros have an excellent player development team and there should be confidence that they can develop the most out of a polished hitter like Wagner. He might never post stat lines that will jump off the page, but he has the tools to become a consistent Major League player.

The Ceiling Cap:

Players that are average in multiple categories rarely reach the top of ranking lists. In order to be at the top, you have to set yourself apart in multiple fantasy categories. Wagner is not likely to ever do that. He is never going to hit 30 home runs, bat .300, or steal 30 bases. What he will provide is consistency. There is nothing wrong with a player like that, but his ceiling is not as high as other prospects. Ian Happ’s 2022 season could be a good reference point when projecting Wagner’s ceiling. 15-20 home runs, an average of around .270, and a handful of stolen bases. He should be useful, but never a major fantasy asset.


Sal Frelick: Outfield, Milwaukee Brewers

The Safety:

The Brewers’ first-round pick from 2021 has moved quickly through the Minor Leagues making it all the way to Triple-A last season. Between three different levels, Frelick posted an impressive .331 average, good enough for fifth in all of Minor League Baseball. The increased competition did not phase Frelick as he posted an on-base streak of 40 games after his promotion to Triple-A. Frelick has quickly caught the eye of many in the industry and is moving up rankings everywhere.

Frelick’s hit tool is impressive. He maintains high batting averages by making consistent contact to all parts of the field. He is one of only two Minor League players to post a strikeout rate under 11.5% with a batting average above .300 in 2022. These are skills that should translate well to the Major Leagues and his 6.3% swinging strike rate gives him some of the best pure contact skills of any prospect.

On top of the plus hit tool, Frelick also has plus speed. He stole 24 bases last season and profiles to be a threat for 20 steals in the Major Leagues. Frelick is one of the safest prospects in baseball. His Minor Leagues success should carry over into the Major Leagues. He might not be a superstar, but profiles to have a lengthy Major League career.

The Ceiling Cap:

Frelick hit 11 home runs in 2022 and does not profile to be a 20-home-run player at any point in the Major Leagues. He has a swing designed for gap-to-gap power rather than driving the ball out of the park. This is useful for a player with Frelick’s skill set but lowers his fantasy ceiling. There is also a chance his high-ground-ball rate catches up with him in the Major Leagues. He is unlikely to post .300 averages with a ground ball rate north of 49%. He profiles to hit around .280 with 10 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Alex Verdugo with more speed is a good way to view Frelick moving forward.



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