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Fantasy Roundtable

Roundtable: Prospectpalooza

by Drew Silva
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

This is the weekly Fantasy Roundtable, where the writers of Rotoworld Baseball let the readers of Rotoworld Baseball in on a quick staff discussion. It's water cooler talk ... that we've decided to publish. Look for it every Tuesday.

 

Drew Silva: Two weeks ago, we had the promotion of Rangers third base prospect Joey Gallo to discuss in the Fantasy Roundtable. The next week brought us Astros shortstop prospect Carlos Correa. Now both Francisco Lindor and Byron Buxton have arrived in the majors. I can't remember a three-week span that has elevated such young talent into the spotlight. Let's hear your thoughts on Lindor first, short term and long term ...

 

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Ryan Boyer: Lindor looks like more glove than bat at this point. The .281/.348/.399 batting line this season at Triple-A is pedestrian and he's shown modest power with only one double-digit home run season (11 last year). And, while Lindor has stolen at least 25 bases in each of his three full minor league seasons, he's done so at a pretty bad 68 percent success rate. The 21-year-old was slated to hit second for the Indians on Monday before they were rained out, and his chances of producing fantasy value are certainly better if he sticks in that spot in the lineup. Lindor does make a lot of contact, so he's probably not going to get overmatched. Still, I see merely a borderline mixed leaguer in redrafts even at a weak position. He still has some work to do with the bat to be a big threat in dynasty formats, but the shortstop looks like a high-floor guy who is still plenty young enough to develop a higher ceiling.

D.J. Short: I mostly agree with Ryan. Lindor is a guy we're used to seeing at the top of prospect lists, so we're conditioned to pick him up in fantasy leagues, but he's mostly known for his excellent defense at shortstop. My expectations are modest for him offensively this year, but he's someone who could eventually flirt with mixed league value, especially if he finds a home as a No. 2 hitter. As we said with Correa last week, it doesn't take much to be relevant as a shortstop or middle infielder. However, I think he'll ultimately be more valuable in real life than fantasy. On a related note, Lindor's arrival could be good news for the Indians' pitching staff.

Bill Baer: It's tough to add any additional insight that Ryan and D.J. haven't already covered. I agree that Lindor's value will come in avenues not conducive to fantasy success -- i.e. defense -- and it will also be contingent upon where in the lineup the Indians typically bat him. Hitting seventh or eighth limits his upside as opposed to hitting ninth, directly in front of Kipnis, or second directly in front of Michael Brantley.

Dave Shovein: It sounds as though most of us are on the same page. What I like about Lindor for this season is that he's clearly the best option that the Indians have at the shortstop position, so he should be in the lineup on a nightly basis for the remainder. He isn't going to be the type of player that will win you a fantasy league, but given the overall landscape of the shortstop position, he should definitely carve out value in deeper mixed leagues. I doubt he'll hit more than a handful of home runs, but he should be able to swipe 10-12 bases while providing a neutral average and decent enough counting stats from a middle infield position.

Drew Silva: Lindor's defense is good enough that the Indians can live with a few extended slumps -- a point we made with Correa, and Correa is not nearly as slick-fielding as Lindor. His glove is far ahead of his bat at this point, and the Indians know that. They know what they're getting into by rushing him. I do think Lindor will hit eventually, and most prospect-centric publications seem to agree. I like the on-base ability and the speed. I think he's an intriguing dynasty stash who could net some steals and some runs scored as a rookie. Let's switch gears now to new Twins center fielder Byron Buxton ...

D.J. Short: I have no idea if Buxton is ready. The 21-year skipped Triple-A completely and only played 59 games in Double-A, but you can't question the tools. I mean, did you see him run out that triple on Monday night? Absurd. I'm expecting some growing pains, so his speed will likely be his best asset for fantasy owners right now. Still, he should be owned in all formats on the chance that something clicks for him right away. Long-term, the sky is the limit for him. He has the potential to do it all and be a five-category monster.

Drew Silva: That stand-up triple Monday night in St. Louis really was incredible. I don't think I've seen anyone get to third base so quickly, and he even stumbled a couple of times on his path there. Check out the replay. And watch Buxton go first-to-third on this triple from April at Double-A Chattanooga. The guy is a blur. He can really hit, too, unlike a lot of young speedsters.

Ryan Boyer: Buxton has the potential to be a fantasy monster, with elite speed and plus raw power. How ready Buxton is for the majors is debatable, as he has just 60 games of Double-A experience and no games of Triple-A experience. He also saw his development stalled by injury last season, with wrist, head and finger ailments limiting him to 31 games. Buxton rallied after a slow start in 2015 at Double-A Chattanooga, batting .283/.351/.489 overall with six homers, 37 RBI, and 20 steals. He isn't helped by the Twins starting him off in the No. 9 spot in the lineup, and if I had to guess I'd probably say Buxton's numbers might be similar to what we saw from Gregory Polanco last season. That said, I'm also not going to bet against a guy with his level of upside and tools. As far as his dynasty prospects go, the potential is as high as anyone in baseball.

Dave Shovein: Buxton I'm really excited, provided the Twins will keep him in the lineup for the duration of the year. His speed makes him a must-add in all formats, as he should have no problem swiping 15-20 bases the rest of the way. My worry is that he may get exposed at the plate early on -- he tends to struggle with offspeed pitches -- though as an elite talent I'm optimistic that he'll be able to make the proper adjustments. My guess is that he hits for a slightly below neutral average with 8-10 homers and plus speed. His counting stats could be limited if the Twins keep him at the bottom of the lineup, though my expectation is that he'll rise quickly once he settles in.

Bill Baer: I also expect some growing pains from Buxton. Even Mike Trout put up a meager .672 OPS in his first 135 plate appearances. Major League Baseball is a different beast than Double-A and Triple-A. Pitchers have above average off-speed stuff to complement their fastballs. Some even have two or three of those off-speed pitches, which can really throw a young hitter for a loop. There are mental difficulties as well, which can't be discounted. So our reluctance to forecast prospects as immediate contributors isn't necessarily a lack of personal confidence; it's just based on what young prospects typically do when called up. Of course, no one would be surprised if Buxton went on an immediate tear and he has the potential to be an all-around contributor right away if everything goes well.

Drew Silva: While I have you guys here talking prospects, any guesses on who might be the next high-impact youngster to reach the bigs? I know Kyle Schwarber of the Cubs is on his way up, but he's just going to DH for six days in interleague play and then head to Triple-A Iowa. Let's not count him.

D.J. Short: There aren't many top prospects remaining in the minors at this point, but one I'm looking forward to seeing Steven Matz with the Mets. He's coming off a rough start, but still owns a quality 2.30 ERA and 81/30 K/BB ratio in 78 1/.3 innings over 12 starts this season with Triple-A Las Vegas. That's pretty impressive considering he's pitching in the Pacific Coast League. Speculation is that he could make a spot start in the next couple of weeks, but with Dillon Gee designated for assignment and Jon Niese on shaky ground, it might not be long before he finds a permanent home.

Bill Baer: I'll put my money on Dodgers prospect Corey Seager. Seager has performed well since earning a promotion to Triple-A at the end of April, batting .298/.355/.457 with four home runs, and 19 RBI in 166 plate appearances. Meanwhile, major league shortstop Jimmy Rollins has had a miserable year, currently the owner of a sub-.600 OPS. Andrew Friedman recently said the organization won't rush Seager no matter how poorly Rollins performs, but if they start to lose their current 3 1/2-game first place lead in the NL West, I wouldn't be shocked to see the Dodgers call up Seager and relegate Rollins to the bench.

Dave Shovein: I also believe it will be Seager. The Dodgers have been adamant that he's not getting the call anytime soon, though you have to wonder how long they'll be willing to suffer through the .201/.261/.336 that Jimmy Rollins is putting up. Seager has murdered the baseball across two minor league levels, slashing ..325/.373/.532 with nine homers and 34 RBI in 58 games between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City. It's only a matter of time before he gets his chance to shine at the big league level.

Disagree? Want to add something? Got a question? You can find each of these @Rotoworld_BB writers on Twitter: @drewsilv@ryanpboyer@djshort, @baer_bill, @daveshovein.

Drew Silva
Drew Silva is a baseball editor for Rotoworld and also contributes on NBC Sports' Hardball Talk. He can be found on Twitter.