Fantasy Baseball Tumbling Dice: Hitting Prospects, Ultra Style

by Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com on February 26, 2013 @ 10:49:22 PDT

 

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Last week we used our virtual space here at KFFL to review some pitching prospects that were probably below the radar of the bulk of fantasy players.

These names were culled from the Mastersball Top 250 Prospect List (see details below on how to purchase) where we try to go deep, looking at algorithms based upon age, experience, and "relative skill," which basically means command of the strike zone. Hitters who have a solid OBP, just as pitchers who display good strikeout-to-walk numbers as well as a good WHIP, in my view have that skill.

Baltimore Orioles INF Jonathan Schoop
Inside scoop: Watch Schoop

The results, to recap, are the usual suspects, but it is also possible for a 19-year-old just out of the Midwest League to compare with a player who is 22 and primed for promotion from Triple-A on fairly equal feet.

And, that can lead to discovering players a little ahead of the curve (which is almost as fun as winning, right?).

So, while last time we looked at arms, this time it is the sticks (rank on our Top 250 in parentheses):

Francisco Lindor (#22): Lindor is a 19-year-old who also played in the Midwest League last year. Over 122 games and 490 at-bats, Lindor posted .257-6-42 numbers, with 24 doubles and 27 swipes. Lindor also walked 61 times to 78 strikeouts (.358 OBP). With Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis already in tow, it'll be interesting to see how the Indians find room for Lindor.

Alen Hanson (#23): A 20-year-old middle infielder out of the Dominican Republic, Hanson was signed in 2010, meaning he has three years of duty logged in the Pirates chain. Hanson spent 2012 at the Sally League going .309-16-62 over 489 at-bats, clubbing 33 doubles, 13 triples, while swiping 35 bags. He also bagged 55 walks to 105 strikeouts, again a fine ratio for a full-timer of just 19 at the time.

Jose Ramirez (#50): A just 20-year-old middle infielder with the Tribe's system, Ramirez excelled in the Midwest League last year, posting .354-3-27 totals over 277 at-bats. Just 15 doubles and three triples, but he is only 5-foot-9, 165 pounds right now. Ramirez also swiped 15 bags, walked 24 times to 26 whiffs (.403 OBP) and scored 54 runs. A teammate of Lindor, he might give the Tribe the baseball equivalent of QB controversy. It must be tough.

Tyler Austin (#87): The Yankees selected Austin out of Heritage High School in Conyers, Georgia, as an 18-year-old. In 2012, the right fielder shot through four levels of play, though primarily at Charleston to start where he was .320-14-54, then to High-A Tampa for a .321-2-23 stat line. Overall Austin was .322-17-80 over 413 at-bats. Austin doubled 35 times, tripled six, and swiped 23 bases. His 51 walks to 98 strikeouts helped account for a .400 OBP and .960 OPS.

Nolan Fontana (#105): Drafted last year by the Astros out of the University of Miami in the second round, Fontana went straight to the SALLY League as well as straight to work with .225-2-25 numbers including nine doubles and a dozen swipes. But, Fontana walked a fabulous 65 times to 44 walks, good for a .464 OBP despite the low average. It is true sometimes the great walk-to-whiff totals mean a passive hitter, but most of the time it is a great indicator of knowing that aforementioned strike zone and as a result, future success.

Jackie Bradley (#120): Drafted by the Red Sox in the first round of 2011, out of the University of South Carolina, Bradley went .359-3-34 at Salem before advancing to the AA Eastern League. There he went .271-6-29, and over 463 total 2012 at-bats went .315-9-63 with 42 doubles, four triples, and 24 swipes. Bradley also showed what a solid eye he has with 87 walks to 89 strikeouts, posting a .430 OBP and .933 OPS.

Jonathan Schoop (#163): Like Andruw Jones and Henley Meulins, Schoop hails from Curacao, where he was signed as a 17-year-old in 2009. Now 21, and a veteran of four minor league campaigns, Schoop held his own in the tough Double-A Eastern League last season, going .245-14-56 with 24 doubles, and 68 runs scored over 485 at-bats. He walked 50 times to 113 walks, not a bad ratio for a youngster at that level. Schoop will probably start 2013 at Delmarva in the Orioles chain, but second base at Camden Yards could be up for grabs as soon as later this year.

Garin Cecchini (#234): Another Red Sox, Cecchini was signed out of Lake Charles High School in Louisiana in the fourth round of 2010. The third sacker spent 2012 at Greenville, hitting .305-4-62, with 38 doubles, four triples, and a great 51 swipes. He walked 61 times to 90 strikeouts over 455 at-bats, notching a .394 OBP while scoring 84 runs.

You can get the Mastersball Top 250 Prospects as part of our Platinum package, with more information at 2013 Mastersball Platinum Package. Masterball Platinum is the edge that supported four of the top five finishers in the NFBC in 2012. You can get the same insights and analysis that helped Dave Potts with the $100,000 grand prize last year by subscribing to Mastersball at 2013 Mastersball Platinum Package.

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About Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com

Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.

Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for MLB.com as a statistician.

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