The key to an effective dynasty strategy is targeting under the radar prospects that miss the cut on the numerous top 100 lists. Prospects that are drafted in the first few rounds generally receive a lot of well deserved praise and hype and are often slotted in Top 100 or Top 10 organizational lists based on their projected tools/scouting grades. Stats, especially in the lower levels of Minor League Baseball, do not always reflect a young man’s tool set or projected growth. However, there are a couple of advanced stats that can give fanstasy GM’s the edge in deep dynasty leagues.
Two advanced stats that we will be looking at are ISO and WRC+. According to Fangraphs, ISO or Isolated Power “is a measure of a hitter’s raw power and tells you how often a player hits for extra bases.” A .140 ISO is league average with .250+ considered excellent. WRC+ measures a player’s ability to create runs against the league average while also factoring in the ball park and league a player plays in. Fangraphs notes “League average wRC+ is 100 and every point above (or below) 100 is a percentage point above (or below) the league average. For example, a 150 wRC+ means a player created 50 percent more runs than the league average.” I wont get into the formulas for each stat as that can be found on Fangraphs or other sabremetric websites.
The Florida State League is full of highly rated prospects and 1st round draft picks. Guys like Nick Senzel, Will Craig, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Jorge Mateo, and Cornelius Randolph are the biggest names in the league. The five players detailed below are not listed in MLB.com’s Top 100 and if they are available in your league, should be added immediately.
Lowe was a 3rd round pick in 2015 out of Maryland and has a pojected hit tool of 50. After debuting in the Midwest League in 2016 with a .343 SLG%, Lowe has busted out in the FSL. He currently leads the FSL in ISO at a whopping .291 and WRC+of 205. Scouts praised his pitch recognition skills as an amateur and those skills have carried over into pro ball with a 14% BB rate and 15% K rate.
Long is a guy that burst onto the fantasy scene in 2016 after hitting .293 with 15 HR. The 12th round pick in 2013 has been even better in his first full season of the FSL posting a .233 ISO and 166 WRC+, placing him 4th and 2nd in the league. Standing at 5’8″, Long utilizes strong, quick wrists to generate bat speed and uses the entire field. Scouts rated him a 50 power tool and Prospects1500.com rated him as the Red’s 25th best prospect entering the season.
Lavalley, the 2017 FSL All Star MVP, is in the midst of a breakout season and should see a promotion to AA before the season ends. The former 2014 4th round pick has already set a career high in homeruns and hit 2 more in the All Star game. He boasts a .255 ISO good for 3rd in the league and a 151 WRC+, trying him for 6th overall. Scouts rate his power at 50 and Prospects1500 ranked him 39th of 50 in the Reds organization while MLB.com ranked him 25th. Like Long, expect him to shoot way up the organizational rankings by the end of the year.
Hill was a 25th round selection in 2015 out of Troy and has flashed decent power at each stop in the minors. The major difference this year is a slight improvement to his BB rate and decreasing his K rate. Hill has been able to channel better pitch selection into a .263 ISO, ranking 2nd behind Lowe and .153 WRC+, ranking 5th. He is tied with Lavalley for the league lead in HR with 15, also a career high. Neither Prospects1500 nor MLB.com ranked Hill in their preseason organizational rankings.
Gittens was a 12th round pick in 2014 and was ranked 39th out of 50 by Prospects1500 in the pre-season. Standing at 6’4″ and weighing 250 pounds, Gittens has hit at every level. A patient hitter that goes deep in the count, Gittens has posted a .193 ISO and 157 WRC+, good for 7th and 5th in the league.
Jason Woodell has written about prospects for numerous sites. He got his start with Prospects1500 and has provided reports on prospects for Baseball Prospectus, 2080 Baseball, and Pinstriped Prospects. Jason is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant and former model in Jordan. He lives in Tampa, likes dogs, craft beer, and his wife…not necessarily in that order.
Follow him on Twitter @JasonAtTheGame.