Is Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The #1 Fantasy Prospect?

Nearly the entire prospecting community has Vlad as the top prospect in Baseball, and with good reason he's a special hitter. You can't watch him hit a baseball and not be blown away by how great his hands are. Not too many hitters at any level can be fooled but keep there hands back and drive a ball 380' to right center. He's a tremendous hitter, so I get the love. Having said all of that. This is fantasy baseball and in recent years speed has taken on an increased importance because it's getting harder and harder to find players who run that won't kill you everywhere else.

The first round in redrafts has been dominated by 5 tool talents: Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Jose Ramirez, Jose Altuve, Francisco Lindor and Trea Turner, have all consistently gone top 10 in recent years. And in 2018, Manny Machado started running again, Christian Yelich went 30-20 and Ronald Acuña is getting first round love in the early 2019 mocks. There's just not much room for station to station players anymore. The only players with little or no speed going consistently in the first round in recent years are: Nolan Arenado, A very good young hitter in his own right, it's not just the 300 (370) and 40 bombs, it's also the 240 R and RBI that make him valuable. For Bryce Harper, it’s elite power, OBP, and occasionally double digit SB. Joey Votto (who's a pretty good Vlad comp) elite OBP and 30+ bombs. Among those, only Harper is routinely in consideration for top 3. So I would bet against Vlad as a top 3 player in fantasy. The game has changed a lot since the days of the slugging 1B dominating the top 5: Pujols, Miggy, and AGon 10 years ago.

So who could be the next Betts or Acuña and with enough now value to be a better choice than Vlad in dynasty? The answer is Victor Robles. The projected starting CF in Washington on opening day. He's a burner and potentially an annual 40 SB threat. He also handles the bat very well, routinely getting potential 6's and 7's dropped on the hit tool. And he's patient enough to have a solid OBP (290-360 IMO). The only real question is the power. Every report I've read has 15-20 bombs annually as the expectation and that aligns very well with what I saw. When it comes to the virtual game 15 to 20 homers, 40 steals with 290-360 is a superstar, even if the HR is on the low end (that's Trea Turner territory). But there's also a non-zero chance he outperforms his power projection like Mookie Betts. Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez. He has fast hands and the ball jumps off of his barrel. So maybe he's 25+ with the HR in a few years and a true roto monster.

So even if Vlad grows into the 320 (420) 40 player that we all expect. He may find himself outside of top 5 in re-drafts. Meanwhile Robles could enjoy an an extended run in the top five and maybe reaches #1 overall.