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Jo Adell
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Prospect Roundup

Fantasy Over Reality Prospects

by Christopher Crawford
Updated On: January 27, 2020, 1:14 am ET

It's a wonderful time of year for prospect fans. Everyone is dropping lists -- and that includes yours truly, the Top 100 prospect list is now available for anyone who orders the Rotoworld MLB Draft Guide -- and those rankings can be particularly helpful for those who are looking to acquire prospects to help them in 2020 and beyond.

That being said, these lists are often not written from a fantasy angle, and because of that, the specific rankings can be a bit misleading. For instance, a player's defensive value obviously is more important to a player's ranking without fantasy implications, while the ability to provide stolen bases gets more consideration from the other angle.

Here's a look at six prospects -- three hitters, three pitchers -- who offers more fantasy potential than their "real-life" ranking might suggest. There are certainly more prospects than this who have this sort of profile, but consider these types of profiles when deciding if and when they deserve consideration for your roster. 

Hitters

Jo Adell, OF, Los Angeles Angels -- It says something that Adell makes this list since he's widely considered one of the very best prospects in baseball, but that just speaks to how much fantasy value the 20-year-old has. On top of having power that gets plus-plus grades from the right side, Adell can also make hard contact to all parts of the field, giving him a good chance to hit for average, as well. There's also well above-average speed, so he's the type of player who could hit 40 homers and steal 20 bases in his best years. He has a real chance of becoming a fantasy superstar; maybe as high as any prospect who plays in the outfield.

Brendan Rodgers, INF, Colorado Rockies -- Rodgers really struggled in his time with the Rockies last year with a .224 average in 25 games, and then he was shut down with a torn labrum that required surgery in July. That puts the 23-year-old's stock at a "low" point, but the upside here is still quite palpable. He's a middle-infielder who is likely to hit for average and power, and it's worth pointing out that he's going to be hitting in the ever-so-friendly confines of Coors Field. It may not come in 2020, but Rodgers still has star potential that can help several fantasy categories in the coming seasons. 

Oneil Cruz, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates -- Cruz came over to the Pirates in the deal that sent Tony Watson to Los Angeles, and it's one of the few deals that the current Dodger front-office would likely want a redo on. He's a 6-foot-7 shortstop who has easy plus power from the left side, and he also has solid speed that should allow him to steal 20 bases at the next level. He's not considered a consensus Top 25 prospect at this point because of some defensive concerns, but while it'd be nice if Cruz sticks at shortstop for obvious reasons, that kind of offensive profile plays anywhere. Dynasty league players should look to invest in the 21-year-old now, if it's not too late.

Others to consider: Alex Kirilloff, OF/1B, Minnesota Twins; Heliot Ramos, OF, San Francisco Giants; Xavier Edwards, INF, Tampa Bay Rays

Pitchers

Matt Manning, RHP, Detroit Tigers -- Manning doesn't get the hype of Casey Mize -- and he shouldn't, Mize is the better prospect -- but he gives the Tigers one of the best pair of pitching prospects in the game. The son of former NBA center Rich Manning has one of the more athletic deliveries you'll see, and it helps him miss bats with a 97 mph fastball and plus curve. There are concerns about the 21-year-old's third pitch and his control is ahead of his command, but the swing-and-miss potential of Manning makes him one of the best fantasy pitching prospects in baseball, without question.

Hunter Greene, RHP, Cincinnati Reds -- Greene missed all of the 2019 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last spring. That missed time and some so-so results when healthy have seen his stock drop some, but it'd be foolish to give up on him in fantasy leagues. Like Manning, the 20-year-old is a terrific athlete -- Greene would have been a first-round pick as a shortstop -- and that along with elite arm strength allow him to get his fastball into the triple digits. His slider is also a plus pitch, and he's making progress with his change. There's risk because of the missed time, but Greene has the kind of swing-and-miss arsenal you're looking for in a fantasy ace. 

Deivi Garcia, RHP, New York Yankees -- One of the reasons Garcia isn't considered by some in the industry is a Top 50 prospect in the real world is that there are questions as to whether he'll be a reliever or starter at the highest level. While that certainly is something to monitor, there actually could be fantasy benefits for the 20-year-old pitching out of the bullpen. In either role, he has an electric fastball that gets into the high 90s with ridiculous spin rates, and his curveball is as good as you'll see from a right-handed prospect. Be it as a member of a rotation or as a potential closer, Garcia is going to miss a lot of bats, and that gives him plenty of fantasy relevancy. 

Others to consider: A.J. Puk, LHP, Oakland Athletics; Jordan Balazovic, RHP, Minnesota Twins; Brent Honeywell, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays

 

Christopher Crawford
Christopher Crawford is a baseball and college football writer for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter @Crawford_MILB.