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Prospect Roundup

Reality Over Fantasy Prospects

by Christopher Crawford
Updated On: January 26, 2021, 10:07 am ET

Last week, we took a look at prospects who offer more fantasy value than their prospect ranking on a “traditional” list might suggest.

This week, we take a look at the opposite end of the spectrum. It's worth noting that these prospects still offer fantasy value; all but one are featured on my Top 100 prospect list featured in our Draft Guide, but these prospects may rank higher on a "real-life" list for reasons that don't necessarily translate over in fantasy formats.

Here’s a look at prospects who have more value in “reality” than they do in fantasy.

Hitters

Adley Rutschman, C, Baltimore Orioles -- Rutschman is considered one of the very best prospects in baseball, and for good reason. There are several lists that have him as a top five prospect, and for good reason. Having said that, it’s a mistake to consider him that highly in fantasy formats, at least in this writer’s opinion. So much of his value comes from being a catcher -- and catching prospects are valuable, don’t get it twisted -- and his strong defense behind the plate. That’s not going to help in fantasy formats. He ranks as a top 10 prospect on our list because he is a switch-hitter who has a chance to hit for average and power, but this is not a future .350 hitter or a 40-homer player. Rutschman is a must-have prospect because he can help in two categories, but he’s “merely” a very good fantasy prospect compared to the elite one he is on a regular list. 

Cristian Pache, OF, Atlanta Braves -- Pache is on this list for the second straight year, and it’s more of a compliment than an insult. It’s probably a little bit of both, honestly. Sorry Cristian. Pache’s calling-card is his defense, and as we mentioned with Rutschman, that only helps him stay on the field. Important, to be sure, but it only does so much. Offensively he has the speed to steal bases, but he is just 58-of-96 on steal attempts in the minors, and at this point it’d be a mistake to assume it will translate over. Pache has enough power and ability to hit for average to be a significant fantasy helper, but there are better outfield fantasy prospects. 

Gerald Perdomo, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks -- Perdomo is the one prospect who didn’t make the Top 100 in this article, but you better believe he’ll be featured in another article discussing it. This is another case of -- you guessed  it -- defense over offense. That’s not to say that Perdomo can’t hit; he’s a switch-hitter who sprays line drives and he has the speed to help in the theft category. There’s not a ton of power here, however, and the hit tool is closer to solid-average than it is to plus. If the power comes or he becomes more of a 40-steal type player instead of the 20-to-25 type player the value changes considerably, but the reason he’s a Top 100 player on most lists is because of his terrific defense. 

Pitchers

Nick Lodolo, LHP, Cincinnati Reds -- The seventh pick of the 2019 draft, Lodolo is the definition of a high-floor pitcher. He pounds the strike zone with all of his offerings, and all three of his pitches flash above-average to plus. Unfortunately from a fantasy perspective, there’s no legit swing-and-miss pitch, and it’s doubtful that he’s going to pile up the strikeouts unless either the velocity (low 90s) or a secondary pitch improves significantly. Lodolo is a strong dynasty prospect who should be ready to help the Reds before the end of the 2022 season -- possibly 2021 if things go right -- but it’s very doubtful this is a fantasy ace.

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Spencer Howard, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies -- Howard’s six starts with the Phillies in 2020 didn’t go particularly well with a 5.92 ERA in 24 1/3 innings. That sample is far too small to take significantly, but there are some reasons to be concerned -- depending on your level of expectations for the 24-year-old. Howard does have a strong fastball that gets a lot of spin and his change is another pitch that can miss bats, but he does have some command issues, and he doesn’t always do a good job of locating his curve or slider. Howard projects as a mid-rotation starter, and while there are certainly arms that pitch in the middle of a rotation with fantasy appeal, his ranking on a “normal” list might create unrealistic fantasy expectations. 

Reid Detmers, LHP, Los Angeles Angels -- Detmers was the 10th pick of the 2020 draft, and he might just be the first player from the class to make his MLB debut. Like Lodolo, he throws everything for strikes, and he has a better breaking-ball that he can either bury down in the zone or locate on the corners. However, he doesn’t have a strong change just yet, and he works 90-93 mph while relying on deception over an elite heater. Detmers has the type of pitching profile that suggests he’ll be a rotation member for a good number of years, but it’s tough to see him being more than a secondary fantasy option during those seasons. 

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