Top 10 fantasy prospects: Futures edition
Every week, the MLBPipeline.com crew will rank the top 10 fantasy baseball prospects in the Minor Leagues. These rankings are based solely on expected 2015 fantasy production in the Major Leagues, in contrast to the MLBPipeline Top 100 Prospects list, which reflects long-term value in all phases of the game.
We're mixing things up a little in this week's version of the Pipeline Fantasy Top 10. The SiriusXM Futures Game rosters were just released on Thursday, and, as always, they are jam-packed with talent.
In honor of that and the impending Futures Game (Sunday, July 12, 3 p.m. ET), this week's Fantasy Top 10 will be the top 10 fantasy prospects on the United States and World rosters. While proximity to the big leagues and potential 2015 impact will obviously be taken into account, there will be some more long-range guys on this week's list.
1. Lucas Giolito, RHP, Nationals: It's not often that pitchers go No. 1 in a fantasy draft, but it's hard to argue that the big right-hander doesn't belong at the top. I don't like throwing the future-ace label around, but Giolito can wear it. He's the type of pitcher who'll give you fantasy help in every category imaginable for starters. Giolito is only in the Carolina League, so be patient.
2. J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies: Getting five categories from a hitter is always good. Getting it from a shortstop is even better. Crawford, just 20, is already in Double-A. He's going to hit for a high average, get on base so he can steal bases and he has enough pop for double-digit home runs. And there's no question about Crawford's ability to stay at short long-term.
3. Trea Turner, SS, Nationals: Back-to-back shortstops here as the new Nat (with that trade with the Padres and Rays finally being completed) is the type who could help you win the stolen-base category on his own. Turner can also stay at short while hitting for average and wreaking havoc atop a big league lineup.
4. Aaron Nola, RHP, Phillies: This might be viewed as more of a "safe" pick, but so be it. Nola can flat-out pitch, as evidenced by his 1.91 ERA, 1.1 BB/9 ratio and his .219 batting average against in 2015, his first pro season. He also was bumped up to Triple-A two starts ago and might be the most likely one to hit the big leagues first from this list.
5. Bradley Zimmer, OF, Indians: I always like to look for multi-category outfielders when possible, and Zimmer has perhaps the best power-speed combination of the Futures Gamers. In his first full season, he is tied for first in the Carolina League in stolen bases and tied for second in home runs. Oh, Zimmer is also hitting .300.
6. Kyle Schwarber, C/OF, Cubs: Everyone knows all about Schwarber's bat by now. Based on his ability to hit for average and power, he might belong higher on this list. I'm hedging just a bit because of positional uncertainty. If Schwarber can stick behind the plate, he might belong at No. 1. As an outfielder, he's still pretty darn good.
7. Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees: Another player close to the big leagues, Judge just hit his first Triple-A home run. For a guy his size and raw power, he's shown an ability to draw walks and hit for average, too. Plus, Judge is that proverbial phone call away.
8. Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals: Want to take a flier in a keeper league? Reyes is still raw, but he can hit triple digits and maintains his velocity to go along with a nasty breaking ball. His changeup and command are improving and must continue to do so to remain a starter, but he misses a ton of bats (13.4 K's per nine this year; 11.6 in his career).
9. Ozhaino Albies, SS, Braves: I had a hard time deciding between the two teenagers on the left side of the World Team infield here. Albies will stick at short, hit for a high average and steal a ton of bases.
10. Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox: Devers might eventually need to move to first, but no matter, because he'll hit for more than enough average and power to profile at the position.