June 10, 2015
2015 U25 Rankings: National League West
Previous entries in this series:
Remember this from last year? We do. That’s why we decided to do it again.
Here’s the intro from the 2014 round of U25 rankings:
For this exercise, we're each going to rank our top 30 U25 fantasy players by division before we collaborate on a top-150 list once this portion of the project is complete. For each division, we'll give you our individual rankings and then discuss any major discrepancies in our rankings, talk about some sleepers we wanted to rank higher and take cheap shots at each other along the way. It will be like the TINO podcast, but for your eyes, complete with an imaginary Bret Sayre breaking up our fights.
You get the idea, then. Players have to be born after April 1st, 1989 to qualify. Here’s the linked to last year’s U25 NL West Rankings.
Disagreement One: Pat Corbin
Ben’s Take: This has less to do with how amazing I think Corbin is and more to do with the good-not-great quality of the middle of this list. I think Corbin is going to be a solid no. 3/4 fantasy starter for most of his career—not the very good pitcher we saw in 2013 but better than the ok pitcher we saw in 2012. He’s already rehabbing in High-A, and while that in and of itself doesn’t guarantee that he’ll be productive in the majors soon, he’ll almost certainly beat guys with slightly higher upsides like De Leon, Holmes and Beede there. If you think he should be behind some of the hitters, I get it, but a lot of those hitters have glaring flaws, too.
Craig’s Take: I can buy the argument of “everyone else isn’t that good” to a certain point, but my biggest concern with Corbin is that a) he wasn’t that good to begin with, and b) there’s a small track record of him being good at all. He threw 107 homer-prone innings in 2012, and then after a good 2013 (which was still a 3.41 ERA, 20.7 percent strikeout rate) he went under the knife. If he doesn’t return to completely full strength, I’m wondering what we’re left with. Even if he does, I’m wondering how long it takes him to get back to 200 quality innings, because without the bulk, the peripherals aren’t strong enough to make an impact.
Ben’s Take: I don’t think we have any more evidence to suggest that guys like De Leon or Holmes are going to log 200 good innings in the majors, do we? Corbin’s done it before and I’m comfortable that he can be a solid rotation piece even in 12-team leagues. It’s not special, but with swing-and-miss outfielders and starting prospects in the mid-minors grouped around him, I have trouble moving him down much further than this. I’ll say that 14-21 is all sort of one big tier to me.
Craig’s Take: Certainly we don’t have more evidence - we’re talking about guys who haven’t made the big leagues yet. That said, De Leon has a much better track record of missing bats than Corbin ever did, and at least an outside chance to beat him to the majors. Holmes has a little more upside than Corbin to me, as someone who can touch 98 and has a hammer curve. If the change can even get to average, you could squint at a no. 2 fantasy starter, and I have trouble getting Corbin beyond a SP3/4 at best. I’m with you that it’s a big tier, so I don’t think it’s crazy to have him in the teens here, he’s just not my particular cup of tea, and I think a lot of the prospects you have behind him carry more weight - thus are worth more in trade - which factors in a bit to me.
Imaginary Bret: Hello?
We... we actually agreed on pretty much everything else. Hug your children.
Ben’s One Player He Wanted to Rank Higher: Rymer Liriano, OF, SD
Last year, I picked Liriano for this slot after ranking him 21 overall. This year, I’m still wishing I could rank him higher. The outfielder is hitting .280/.388/.444 in Triple-A right now, having already smashed six homers and swiped seven bases in just 224 innings. He’s walking more than ever, which is great, but his average is largely BABIP driven, he’s playing at El Paso and I’m still worried the hit tool will limit the utility of everything else once he reaches the majors for good. Add in that he’s blocked in San Diego for the rest of the year and I can’t push him higher, though in my heart he’s no. 1.
Craig’s One Player He Wanted to Rank Higher: Michael Gettys, OF, SD
I even G-Chatted Ben and said “ugh, you were able to squeeze Gettys onto your list” at which point he took a shot at my love for Forrest Wall, but I digress. Gettys is basically the perfect flier to take, because he’s a giant bag of tools. He might never hit, but once you get passed that, he’s a plus-plus runner, with above-average power potential, which is fun! It’s an impact profile outside of the hit tool, which makes him something like exaggerated version of Lewis Brinson, which is a weird thing to say out loud/type. He did struggle to hit non-elite high school pitching, so I don’t want to undersell the concerns on his hit tool, which are quite real.
Craig, say something nice about Ben: He’s kind of cute when he’s grumpy.
Ben, say something nice about Craig: He’s kind of grumpy when I’m cute.
Ben Carsley is an author of Baseball Prospectus. Follow @bencarsley