Prospects More Valuable in Roto Than Points Leauges
Prospects are a significant part of playing in dynasty Fantasy Baseball leagues. We at FantraxHQ have one the best prospect writers in the Fantasy industry in Eric Cross. If you are looking for a great prospect list for Fantasy Baseball, look no further than Eric’s “Top-250 Fantasy Prospects.” Having a general idea of how value prospects is a great idea. Knowing your leagues scoring setup is also extremely important when valuing prospects. Stolen bases are naturally more valuable in roto leagues than points based on the Fantrax points scoring system. Be sure to check your scoring settings, though, as your league may not use the standard scoring system.
Points leagues create a different challenge than playing in standard roto leagues. Roto leagues are pretty straight forward in the sense that you want to compile as many stats as possible in each category. In a roto league, one home run counts the same as one stolen base. But in a Fantrax standard points league, a home run is awarded four points, while a stolen base is worth two. Understanding the scoring settings sounds simple, but it will also help you tremendously.
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Standard Roto Scoring
Most Fantasy Baseball leagues use the standard 5×5 scoring system. That means the five hitting categories are AVG, HR, R, RBI, and SB. For pitching, those categories are W, ERA, WHIP, K, and SV. Knowing the scoring system of your league is helpful when evaluating prospects for your dynasty league.
Points Leagues Scoring For Fantrax
|Home Run||4||Inning Pitched||1|
|Hit By Pitch||1|
You will find the default points league scoring for Fantrax leagues above. Many commissioners will add things to this or change point values. Sometimes, strikeouts will be a negative point value. If this is the case, you will likely want to avoid hitters with high strikeout rates.
It is also essential to understand that prospects who are steals specialists lose value in standard Fantrax points leagues. A stolen base counts half of what a home run does in points.
With the understanding of league scoring, let’s look at prospects who are more valuable in roto leagues than points.
Prospects Who Lose Value In Points Leagues
Vidal Bruján, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays
Vidal Bruján flew under the radar for most teams when the Rays signed him in 2014. I am sure more organizations wish they noticed him after his first full-season breakout in 2018. That year, he led the Minors in runs scored (112) and finished second in steals (55). Bruján followed that performance up with 48 steals in 2019. A switch hitter with advanced feel from both sides of the plate, Bruján makes excellent contact and hits the ball well to all parts of the field. His splits did become more prominent in 2019, though, as he hit .202 against lefties and .301 against right-handed pitching.
From a Fantasy standpoint, Bruján stands out among prospects because of his stolen base potential. The power is below-average, and he hit just four home runs last season. Bruján hits the ball on the ground at a high rate, so if he begins to lift the ball more, he could grow into home run power.
At his peak, Bruján is likely a ten home run hitter over a full season. For points leagues, this hurts him. He also has a low rate of extra-base hits, which affects his points league value. But in roto, Bruján will steal enough bases to counteract the low power. He has a potential plus hit tool and should hit for a high average and steal a large chunk of bases. Over the last two seasons, Bruján has 103 stolen bases in 977 plate appearances. Averaging a stolen base every other game is quite impressive. Given Bruján’s hit tool and steals potential, he is a must-own prospect in roto dynasty leagues.
Nick Madrigal, 2B, Chicago White Sox
Among prospects and Major League players, very few have the plate discipline of Nick Madrigal. Possibly the best pure hitter among prospects, Madrigal makes excellent line-drive contact to all fields. He also possesses extraordinary hand-eye coordination that led to just 37 strikeouts in 707 college plate appearances. Last season, Madrigal struck out 16 times and walked 44. Debuting with the White Sox this season, Madrigal has continued to show those elite skills, batting .355 with a 7.8 percent strikeout rate (career-high).
Madrigal will likely hit for a high average consistently and contend for batting titles, but his power is slim to none. Last season, Madrigal hit just four home runs, and nearly 76 percent of his hits were singles. The good news is, if Madrigal finds himself on first often, he should be a great source of stolen bases. He stole 35 bases in 2019 and should be a reliable source of steals for Fantasy owners.
Nick Madrigal will likely be a better real-life player than Fantasy, though. He has an elite glove and should contend for gold gloves at second base. His power hurts his Fantasy value, and his lack of extra-base hits hurts him in points leagues. For roto, however, Madrigal should be elite in batting average and stolen bases and could add runs to that if he works his way to the top of the White Sox order long term. The biggest concern is the White Sox’s lack of stealing bases. Plenty of prospects in their organization have been significant sources of steals in the Minors but fail to run as much in the Majors. The hope is Madrigal will have the chance to run.
Xavier Edwards, 2B/SS, Tampa Bay Rays
If you have never heard of the term “slapdick prospect,” now you have. Xavier Edwards was traded from the Padres to the Tampa Bay Rays this offseason in a deal that sent Tommy Pham and Jake Cronenworth to the Padres. Blake Snell was streaming on Twitch at the time the trade broke and was quoted saying, “We gave up Pham for Renfroe and a slapdick prospect?” Xavier Edwards is that prospect.
Edwards fits the mold of a typical leadoff hitter. He has plus-plus speed and has excellent feel from both sides of the plate as a switch hitter. Edwards has a chance to be plus from both sides of the plate, which is a rare feature. He makes consistent quality contact and goes to the opposite field more than he pulls the ball. Edwards also walks at a solid rate and rarely swings and misses. The approach at the plate is excellent.
Last season, Edwards posted a .322 batting average with 34 stolen bases and one home run. He will likely never be much of a power threat but should be a nice source of stolen bases. If I placed a projection on Edwards, it would be a .290-.300 hitter with ten home runs and 30+ stolen bases in a peak season. Most hitters on this list lack extra-base hits, but Edwards takes it to the extreme. Last season over 83 percent of his 162 hits were singles. For this reason, in a standard Fantrax points league, Edwards will lose value. Thanks to the stolen bases and high average, he is a prospect that will be valuable in roto leagues, though.
Tyler Freeman, SS, Cleveland Indians
Tyler Freeman is an interesting prospect for analysts to try and rank. Depending on the list, Freeman ranks inside the top 50 or outside the top 100. While he has an above-average hit tool and speed, Freeman’s power is slim to none. Despite the lack of game power to this point, reports out of the Indians alternate training site rave about Freeman’s growth in power. Last season, in 547 plate appearances between two single-A levels, Freeman hit .306 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases.
Freeman makes elite contact rates and hits the ball to all parts of the field well. He does not have a high groundball rate and makes great line-drive contact. Given the ability to put the ball in the air, as Freeman continues to develop, he could grow into more power.
Freeman owns an impressive strikeout rate that is under nine percent for his career. On the flip side, his walk rate comes in as one of the worst in MILB, right around four percent. Part of the reason for fewer walks is his elite contact rate. Freeman never works deep into counts because when he gets a pitch to hit, he puts it in play.
The batting average should hover around .290-.300 as Freeman continues to develop. The batting average will play great for roto leagues, as well as his stolen bases. Unfortunately, he does lose value in points leagues because of the lack of extra-base hits. I will make the disclaimer that if anyone on this list can grow into more power and extra-base hits, it is Tyler Freeman. Regardless, Freeman is a prospect that should be owned in your dynasty league.
Geraldo Perdomo, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks
Being a standout athlete and fielder led the Diamondbacks to sign Geraldo Perdomo out of the Dominican Republic in July 2016. Perdomo is the best fielder among Diamondback prospects and has all the tools to stick at shortstop long term. But this is a Fantasy Baseball article, so let’s talk about his bat.
Perdomo is a natural switch hitter with excellent bat control and speed from both sides of the plate. Despite being one of the youngest prospects in each level he has played, Perdomo has shown excellent plate discipline, leading to more walks (169) than strikeouts (148) in his first three professional seasons. He also has plus speed that has led to him stealing more than 20 bases in each of the last two seasons. The steals are a big reason he should be more valuable in roto leagues.
Currently, Perdomo has below-average power, but scouts believe that he can grow into more with time. Last season, he hit just three home runs in 499 plate appearances. While batting .275, his slugging percentage was just .364 during his 2019 season. The main reason for this was that 76 percent of his hits were singles. Due to the lack of extra-base hits, Perdomo takes a hit in points leagues.
Overall, there is a lot to like in Geraldo Perdomo’s game that could make him a valuable Fantasy prospect. He projects as a future .280 hitter with a high OBP floor. Perdomo should grow into ten-to-15 home run power and have around 20 stolen bases annually. He is a prospect that should continue to raise his value but will be more valuable in roto than points leagues.
Saves could end up winning you a league or two over the final week. Jorge Montanez writes an excellent weekly piece, “Closer Rankings and Bullpen Depth Charts.” Be sure to give it a read.
Media Credit: Prospects Live (Minor Graphs)
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