Fantasy Baseball Round Table: Prospects and crossover trades

by Todd Zola, on May 14, 2014 @ 12:31:36 PDT


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In recent seasons there seems to be more talent coming into the league after the Super 2 cutoff as there is traded across leagues for AL and NL only formats. What farm players are you tracking (assuming they're available) for the next couple of weeks and are you more likely to make a play for one of the more highly regarded prospects or hang onto your FAAB in the hopes of a crossover deal?

Tim Heaney

3B Maikel Franco, Philadelphia Phillies
Philly's latest toy almost ready

Does the AL- or NL-only game allow for the stashing of prospects ahead of time? 

Do you even have a shot at the bigger names, like everyone's favorites, Gregory Polanco or Oscar Taveras? Jon Singleton could make a bigger impact than George Springer, at this rate. Maikel Franco has turned things around, so Cody Asche better get his act together. Noah Syndergaard's shakiness might delay his arrival until deeper into the summer. It's unlikely an opening is created naturally for Joc Pederson, but if he comes up, he could match any of the others' production this year. Some other dark horses are the Padres' Matt Wisler, the Marlins' Justin Nicolino, Milwaukee's Jimmy Nelson, and the Cardinals' Stephen Piscotty.

And when the heck is Trevor Bauer returning? Come on, already

At least Kevin Gausman is back.

The odds of a big prospect coming up seem to be more predictable than the league-changing arrival of a big name, because there's generally set ways they can arrive, and they're merely at the disposal of managerial decisions, and they only cost an expendable commodity that they don't have to trade. The market for NL-to-AL/AL-to-NL assets is typically more inflated than a prospect's.

While not every youngster will make a big dent, I'd hope not to be spending half of my FAAB money on a Bronson Arroyo type in a skewed market value, just because he's suddenly an option. I would rather have had stashed any youngster possible ahead of time. I try not to spend much money in a mono league early on unless a catastrophic need arises, though, so I guess that late in the year, the risk of failed commitments of that size wanes.

Perry Van Hook

Obviously rostering a prospect -- even a super prospect means you are in a league where you have the extra roster slot OR think you can afford it -- for now. Frankly, in the NFBC, the management of the roster slots is so valuable that I very rarely use one for a minor leaguer and when I do it during the season it would most likely be for a player I expect to be up very soon.

But let's assume you are willing to use a spot for someone you think will be up this month or early June. When this was sent out my short list would have been Gregory Polanco, Javier Baez, and Jon Singleton.

With the news about Jose Fernandez I might try and add Andrew Heaney this week unless Miami calls up someone else before then. 

I don't believe in holding FAAB in AL or NL leagues to try and be able to land the best crossover player unless I have a very good and very lucky team. This year I would use FAAB in those leagues IF it was a top prospect called up rather than wait.

Wrapping up....

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About Todd Zola,

Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.

Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at and, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums. Fantasy Baseball

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