#AskProspectsLive Mailbag: Mailbag ESKEETIT!!!!

My ultimate question is:  How do you guys prioritize your lists?  Meaning what do you mostly consider when ranking?  I know that reading the writeups and not being a rankings slave is imperative but rankings drive a lot of the fantasy community and I'm just trying to figure out how to take advantage of the information that is out there.  - Aaron M.

Aaron, great question. If you listen to the accompanying podcasts we delve into the process a little bit. However, there is no “formula” that we stick to. This is multi-factorial. We consider ceiling vs floor, proximity to the majors, tools, projection, athleticism, and scouting grades. While we may not list all of these out, we are looking for separation. Speaking for myself, I wrote the Rays, Braves, and Yankees. Three deep systems with high-end talent. In compiling those rankings, I factored heavily into projection vs risk. If I think Touki Toussaint and Ian Anderson have the athleticism and stuff to become a number 1 starter, what is the risk attached to each? Toussaint has less risk than Anderson due to age and experience. Both still risky. I don’t think Soroka has the ceiling of those two but there is much less risk involved with him. His floor is so high. So I slotted him in between them.

Another factor for me, is hitters vs. pitchers. The Braves hitters outside of Riley are a few years away while the pitchers are really close to Atlanta. However, pitchers carry much more risk due to injury and the adjustments needed to reach their ceiling. Hitters, especially those with premium defense and 5 tools are much safer when it comes to risk, so if I think two guys are comparable…say, a CF and a SP1, then I ALWAYS choose the hitter. Wait…did I just talk myself into making Pache the top player in the system? I’ll stop now - Jason Woodell

I think it depends on the ranker to a certain extent. I’m always focusing on upside, but balancing that ceiling with the floor. If I feel a player has a really high ceiling but a really low floor his rank might be similar to a player with a high floor and a lower ceiling. It’s the ying and yang of rankings, there has to be some balance for all the factors (upside, tools, production, proximity, positional rank). I never want to overvalue minor league stats over skills. Skills are apparent from viewing, which is why it’s important we view players in person or at least on video. These looks give us context, and allow us to project future skills based on observation. So it’s a blend of many factors.

That said, my word of advice is to define your style of prospect (lefty pitchers with mid-90’s fastballs and a swing and miss breaker or a power hitter with plus on base ability), and target those types. It will allow you to wade through the different styles of players and key in on those that fit your construct. My goal with rankings is to give you a template for your drafts, with the hope that you’ll read the blurbs for context and then attack your draft to fit your team or strategy. We often forget fantasy is a game of strategy as much as a game of knowledge. Now go get’em! - Ralph Lifshitz

Hey guys, huge fan of prospects live and I love the work you’re pumping out. I recently discovered Nate Lowe through your Rays top 30. He sounds like a future top 5 Mlb 1b from what I’m reading?  I’m wondering if I should drop Tyler O’Neil for him or even if I should add him over guys like Nolan Jones, Antonio Cabello? What do you see out of Nate Lowe in H2H points fantasy? Thanks so much! - Marco

Marco, I wouldn’t say that Nate Lowe will be a top 5 MLB first baseman but the guy can flat out rake. The hit tool and natural power are exciting. He is worth a pick up because he could impact your team as soon as 2019. It remains to be seen how the Rays utilize him though and his adjustment to MLB LHP is one of the boxes he’ll need to check. However, based on that proximity, and the guys you listed, I would drop Cabello in favor of Lowe. Actually, I would trade Cabello to free up the spot and then snag Lowe if you can. Cabello is years away and there is extreme risk that he reaches his 60 hit tool. - Jason Woodell

I think Jason hit the nail on the head, I’m not sure he’s a Top 5 first baseman, but he’s certainly capable of getting into that rarefied air if he hits his ceiling. Lowe combines plus plus power, with elite plate discipline. That’s a combination of skills I go out of my way to obtain in fantasy. The best part is you can likely get Lowe at a discount. He’s not the highest helium name though he does have his fans. I’d drop Cabello easy. Stick with Tyler O’Neill elite power hitters with value in the field and on the bases don’t grow on trees. - Ralph Lifshitz

16 team H2H Dynasty Points League - league favors pitching over bats bigtime. 

I give Matt Olson, Taylor Trammell

I get Eduardo Rodriguez, Shane Baz

I'm hungup on Trammell. 

I've got Soto, Trammell, Haniger, Buxton, Larnach, J.Adams, Verdugo, Frazier, Isbel, Kelenic, Jeisson Rosario, Baddoo, Armenteros in my OF. 

Give me the push I need to deal Trammell here... - Steve, B

Steve, telling you to move Trammell would be considered abuse and we could lose our license. DO NOT TAKE THIS TRADE. Moreover, the bigger question on our end is why you feel the need to move Trammell? Behind Soto and Haniger, he is your 3rd best OF and a much safer prospect than Baz. Trammell loves you….how can we halp you to love him back? - Jason Woodell

This is a bad trade, don’t do it. Find cheaper arms on the upswing. I’d target someone like Josh James, Trevor Williams, Andrew Heaney, Jhoulys Chacin, Shane Bieber, Kenta Maeda, Ryu. Go after undervalued arms that return value. I’m in a head to head points league where the owners consistently overpay for pitching. I started targeting elite bats and value arms and I made the Finals this year with that philosophy. - Ralph Lifshitz

No. - Eddy Almaguer

Will you be creating a "top 100" list of fantasy prospects for the 2019 season?  Not just first year players but all prospects. - Steven J

Yes we will. In fact, the rumor is a Top 500 prospects list is coming after the new year.

Fantasy baseball question on a few trades-head to head ten team dynasty with 300-320 players rostered and a 80 player milb owned.

Trade one: 
My Corbin for Robbie Ray, McCullers, and a mid-round spec pick.

Trade two:
My grienke and Yates  for Tyler ONeil, Seth Lugo, and Duplantier. 

I would still have SP berrios, John Gray, Bieber, cmart, Alex Wood, maeda, and the guys I’d bring in.  Young OF with tucker, Soto, Calhoun, Brinson, and ONeil.   - Matthew B.

I’d only consider trade one if I was in rebuild mode for dynasty (which you seem to not be in), but even then you can probably get more for Corbin after his career year he had in 2018. You’ve correctly identified him as a player to move and now is exactly the time to do that. I just think that return is a little light for me. Bump that pick up into the first two rounds or add a bat in there somewhere and I think you’re good.

As for the second deal, you have to look at your team as a whole. Your OF has nice, young controllable pieces, but would it shock you if any of those guys besides Soto spent a portion of 2019 in the minors? O’Neill has significant upside though, but I think you need to swap him out for a more stable young player in this Greinke deal. - Matt Thompson

Trade 1: If you told me Lance McCullers would spend the majority of his future career in a bullpen, I wouldn’t be surprised. And Robbie Ray is somehow, three full years into his career, an enigma that can finish with unstable SP4 numbers or dominant SP2. I still like the Corbin side only because he’s a strong commodity. Don’t be afraid to ask for just one pitcher in return if it means getting a younger pitcher back with more value like Jack Flaherty, Mike Clevinger or Walker Buehler.

Trade 2: Got to be someone else you can get for Greinke, who is looking like a top 75 overall player based on early ADP. Win-now players are worth a ton for win-now teams and I don’t think you’re getting the most for Greinke there. -Eddy Almaguer

I wouldn’t trade Corbin right now. He’s one of the top arms in dynasty regardless of where he lands. His ability to draw swings and misses is elite. A 38% O-Swing, 15.6% SwStr%, and a low contact% at just 66.8%. He has three pitches (Curveball, Changeup, Slider) with 20% or better whiff rates. What’s tough is he won’t return value because he’s not the sexiest name. So he’s a hold for me.

Deal #2 I’d do. - Ralph Lifshitz

#AskProspectsLive realistically how far/fast do you see Pache moving through the Braves farm system and does it change the way they’ll handle possible OF acquisitions in the off season? - Clay B

I think they are in no rush to move him. Pache will need to check all the boxes before he is ready. A few of those boxes are recognizing sliders, hitting to opposite field with authority, improved at bats, consistent swings. At times, offensively, he looks like Acuna. Other times, he looks lost. 2019 should see him at AA. Meanwhile, I don’t see the Braves signing any OF to a long term deal. - Jason Woodell

Jason covered the bat side of things, let’s look at the Braves roster. Ender Inciarte is under contract for three more years with a club option for a fourth. He’s a very, very good defensive centerfielder under a cheap contract. The team has no incentive to rush Pache, even as they enter their contention window. While right field is an obvious hole, it’s not big enough to warrant them losing control years on what should be the eventual best defensive outfielder in baseball. - Eddy Almaguer

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