Dynasty Dugout: Overvalued Prospects
One of the biggest keys to success in dynasty format is steering clear of overvalued prospects. Grabbing an underrated prospect on the rise is great and all, but avoiding the overvalued prospects is just as important. Nobody wants to invest heavily in a prospect only to have them not work out or provide lesser value than originally anticipated. That’s a tough concept to admit sometimes, but not all prospects work out. Some are hyped up and that’s all it is.
Let’s head back a half-dozen years, shall we? The year was 2012. I was just entering the world of fatherhood and the San Francisco Giants were in the middle of their string of winning World Series in even-numbered years. There are a million prospect lists out there, but let’s take MLB.com’s list. In 2012, the top-10 prospects in baseball according to MLB.com were:
- Jurickson Profar. SS, TEX
- Dylan Bundy, RHP, BAL
- Wil Myers, OF, TB
- Taijuan Walker, RHP, SEA
- Trevor Bauer, RHP, CLE
- Zack Wheeler, RHP, NYM
- Gerrit Cole, RHP, PIT
- Danny Hultzen, LHP, SEA
- Tyler Skaggs, LHP, ARI
- Nicholas Castellanos, 3B/OF, DET
Now, some of these guys have had decent careers like Gerrit Cole, Nicholas Castellanos, Wil Myers, and 2018 breakout arm, Trevor Bauer. But for the most part, this is an underwhelming list. We can’t always be spoiled like we have been this season with Vladdy, Soto, Acuña, and others.
The moral of the story here is that not all prospects work out like we hope. And that’s not to say that they don’t become fine ball players. It’s just maybe not quite at the level they were hyped up to be. I’ve identified three prospects who I think are good prospects, but overvalued in dynasty formats.
Overvalued Prospects in Dynasty
Luis Urias (2B – SD)
Perfect timing San Diego. Urias goes to the forefront of this article with his promotion to San Diego. Many around the industry have given Urias’ hit tool as high as a 70-grade. Now, I don’t fully endorse it being 70-grade, but if you’ve watched Urias hit, you’ll see that his hit tool is at least 60-grade with the upside of a .300 average or more in the Major Leagues. Pair that with an advanced approach at the plate and solid plate discipline, and you have a fairly safe prospect.
Across 467 minor league games, Urias has hit .306 with an 11.8% strikeout rate and 10.7% walk rate. All of those are impressive numbers and provide value in any league format. That skill set will likely slot him into the No. 1 or 2 spot in San Diego’s batting order, making him a solid source of runs scored as well.
Best pure hitter in the @MLBazFallLeague? Acuna? Robles? Mejia? Tucker? It might be this guy — @Padres No. 3 prospect Luis Urias. Dude can flat-out stick. LIVE: https://t.co/VkbE2hcKMz pic.twitter.com/Ud21pzbZvJ
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) November 12, 2017
That’s where my positive accolades end. Upside outside of his hit tool and discipline is lacking in a big way. Urias has minimal speed at best, which looks worse when you see his 48-percent success rate stealing bases in his minor league career. With that being said, there’s some additional power upside in his bat. Urias has a clean swing, currently geared for line drives. With some added loft, he could grow into a 12-15 home run threat with 20 being his likely ceiling.
Urias is one of the best pure hitters in the minors, a fine prospect overall, and will likely have a long Major League career, but those looking for a dynamic fantasy infielder will need to look elsewhere. Again, solid, but not elite.
Brendan McKay (LHP/1B – TB)
Let me start off by saying that Brendan McKay is NOT Shohei Ohtani. I repeat, he is not on Ohtani’s level. McKay is the epitome of a solid prospect. He does a lot of things well, but I consider his control on the mound and discipline at the plate to be his only plus tools.
Let’s start at the plate. McKay was a really good collegiate hitter. He even won the John Olerud award for the best two-way player in the nation in all three seasons he was at the University of Louisville and the Dick Howser award (best player in nation) during his final season. In those three seasons (662 AB), McKay slashed .328/.430/.536/.966 with 28 home runs and nearly as many walks (107) as strikeouts (114). Unfortunately, that success hasn’t carried over to the minor leagues. Yes, playing in the minor leagues is tougher than the NCAA, but outside of a strong walk rate, there hasn’t been much to write home about.
McKay is a big guy at 6’2 and 215 pounds, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he has a ton of raw power. His swing is smooth from the left side, but he doesn’t have elite bat speed or get a ton of loft from his swing. Over the course of a full season, he’d likely be in the 15-20 range for home runs as it currently stands. With his total lack of speed, McKay will need to hit for a decent batting average to go along with that 15-20 home run pop. However, since being drafted, his bat to ball skills have not developed as expected to go along with his strong on-base skills. he’s still young and has plenty of time to figure it out, but in my eyes, his future is on the mound.
Brendan McKay has a loose arm. Easy gas at 95. Falls in love with the FB. Needs to trust the off-speed and improve the sequencing. Should be MLB ready on the mound by 2020 at the latest.
— Jason Woodell (@JasonAtTheGame) August 26, 2018
The great thing about McKay is his pinpoint control. It’s not quite on Bieber’s level, but it’s pretty damn close. He’s walked only 19 batters in 98.1 career innings, good for a 1.7 BB/9. McKay sits in the low-90’s with his fastball, topping out around 95, though the pitch lacks life and becomes hittable, especially when his velocity drops later in the game. To offset the heater, McKay features a cutter, curveball, and change-up, all of which are considered average to above average with the curveball grading out as plus.
Overall, McKay has a solid arsenal with great control and command of his entire arsenal. The upside is in the SP2 range with a fairly high floor of an SP3/4. That’s great and all, but the dynasty price for McKay is much higher than that right now due to the “two-way player” label and hopes of offensive prowess. If you can acquire him for a fair price, I’m all game. That’s just likely not going to be the case.
Alec Hansen (RHP – CHW)
Location is the name of the game when it comes to pitching. You can throw 100 mph or have a nasty curveball, but it you can’t locate them, those pitches are useless. It’s unfortunate but true. Give me a pitcher throwing 91-92 with control and command of his entire arsenal any day over a flamethrower that has no clue if the next pitch is going to be a strike or in the hitter’s ear.
The latter, unfortunately, is Alec Hansen. The big right-hander has endured gargantuan struggles with his control in the Carolina (A+) and Southern Leagues (AA). For the season, Hansen’s walk rate sits at a puke-worthy 10.6 and, thanks to seven walks in just three innings last night, is at 11.7 over his last 10 starts. I’ll give you a second to go empty your barf bag.
At this stage of his career and development, it’s fair to wonder if Hansen is destined for the bullpen. He has an electric fastball and two plus breaking pitches, with his slider being the best with strong two-plane tilt. However, the control is obviously a major issue and he’s yet to really develop a consistent change-up. Add in some concerns about his delivery and the bullpen is sounding like a distinct possibility.
Due to the high upside, the White Sox are going to try like heck to make this work for Hansen in the rotation, but the risk here is insanely high. It’s best to avoid Hansen in dynasty formats at the current point in time.
Eric Cross is the lead MLB writer and prospect analyst here on FantraxHQ and has been with the site since March 2017. He is also a member of the FSWA. For more from Eric, check out his author page and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04.