The Bench

Fantasy Baseball Buy-Low/Sell-High, 6/6/14: The Prospect Edition

Jun 06 2:45pm

Amidst the 2014 MLB Draft taking place in New York City, fantasy baseball owners are waiting for some big-name prospects to make landfall in the majors. We already watched Jon Singleton land with the Houston Astros, and Pittsburgh Pirates top prospect Gregory Polanco can be promoted at any time. They’re unproven at the big league level, but are they still worth an add on your fantasy roster?

The answer is a resounding yes.

For those who added or drafted George Springer before making his debut on April 16 and hung on despite the .182/.262/.218 line he posted in his first 55 at-bats, you were rewarded handsomely. The outfielder has made his slow start a distant memory, now hitting 250/.340/.477 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI in 172 at-bats. He was also named AL Rookie of the Month for May.

Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to top prospects getting adjusted to life in the big leagues.

Houston made history by committing $10 million to Singleton over the next five years (not including options) before stepping foot in a big league batter’s box. Bold move? Yes, but he immediately showed his potential with his first career home run:

He’s hitting .182 through his first 11 at-bats, but that swing shows the kind of power this kid has. In 54 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City, the first baseman mashed 14 home runs and drove in 43 more while posting a .267/.397/.544 triple slash.

His slow start has allowed him to remain very available in season-long leagues. Only 66 percent of ESPN owners have him on a roster, while that number drops to 51 percent in Yahoo! leagues. Given the state of the Astros (26-35 record, last place in AL West), Singleton will be getting virtually all of the playing time at first base.

If you have room on your bench or want to see what he can do, he’s worth an add. We all saw how quickly Springer went from being a fantasy bust to a fantasy star. He could do the same at the drop of a hat. But by then, you won’t be able to add him via free agency.

As for Polanco, all know is what he’s done at the minor league level. A promotion and potential debut tonight at PNC Park against the Milwaukee Brewers was rumored to be in the works, but unnamed team officials have said the outfielder will stay in Triple-A Indianapolis for now. We can all thank the Super-2 cutoff date for that.


However, Pittsburgh’s top-prospect will likely be promoted within the next two or three weeks, meaning now is the time to add him. His speed will be his most attractive attribute, but there’s power potential, as well. Through 236 at-bats this season in Triple-A, he’s hitting .356/.412/.547 with six home runs, 48 RBI, 46 runs scored and 15 stolen bases.

This week’s promotion rumor has shot his level of ownership to 64 percent in ESPN leagues and 50 percent in Yahoo! leagues. His skills make him more dynamic than Singleton, who’s best asset is hitting homers and driving in runs. Polanco can give you some of that, but will score some runs and steal bases, as well. He has two 30-steal seasons during his minor league career.

Picking up position-player prospects in advance of or around their MLB debut can be risky. But, as Springer has shown, taking that risk and being patient with a slow start can reap huge dividends. Then you’d have your choice of keeping them on your squad, or making an opposing team overpay to pry them from your grip.

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