Bolick's Guide to Fantasy Baseball Prospects 2014Top 120 Rookies, 60 In Each League
By JD Bolick
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The Baseball America Prospect Handbook has been my one source on prospects for my fantasy baseball drafts in recent years, as they expend more diligence and effort than anyone in tracking down information on minor leaguers from people whose livelihoods depend on evaluating prospects.
The reasons I wanted to write my own guide are twofold.
First, evaluating prospects for real baseball and fantasy baseball are two very different things. For instance, Albert Almora rightly gets praised as a future star for the Chicago Cubs, and yet he has fairly little relevance to fantasy teams because his greatest strengths are in areas that aren't particularly relevant to our game. Meanwhile in the same system, Daniel Vogelbach's various weaknesses don't matter as much to us either. Thus, fantasy baseball really needs its own exhaustive source of evaluations.
Secondly, there are some things on which the great people at Baseball America and I will never agree. They and the scouts they talk to look at talents like Archie Bradley and Kyle Crick only to see admittedly huge potential. When I look at them, I see hugely talented players who are very unlikely to ever be above-average major league starters for reasons that are explained in their profiles.
And on the other side of the coin, when I look at Preston Tucker I see a consistently productive minor leaguer whose statistical profile suggests that he can handle the jump to the major leagues at some point, whereas he didn't even appear in Baseball America's Top 30 for the Astros organization. Or to use a different example, last year Mike Olt was listed as the No. 2 prospect in the Rangers' system and No. 22 overall. In the 2013 Fantasy Baseball Guide I questioned Mike Olt's future as a prospect given his worryingly low Z-Contact percentage. Sometimes Baseball America will be correct and sometimes I will, but there's value to be had in reading evaluations that use two very different sets of criteria.