Using NFBC League Results to Find Prospects for 2020

Ian D'Andrea on Flickr [CC BY-SA]

Anyone who knows me knows that the only thing I may like more in fantasy baseball than dynasty leagues is 50-round drafts. Specifically, I am talking about NFBC-style draft and holds, where there are no transactions. You spend the spring (or winter if you like to start early) drafting your team, and then sit back and manage the roster once the season starts.

Attrition is a real thing in leagues like this. And being able to find a way to roster not only active players the entire season, but players with reasonable upside and production, is vital since you cannot reload from the waiver wire.

This makes drafting minor leaguers a bit risky since we can never guarantee who is going to get the call during the season. If you’re not confident in your own skills at identifying these mid-season (or opening day) callups, then looking to NFBC draft results can be useful to see what the field is doing. And even if you are not playing in these style leagues, knowing who to pay attention to mid-season can help you be first to grab a guy off the wire.

Here I present a table a table of all rookie-eligible players who made our October 2019 top 172 prospects list, and have also been drafted by at least one team in official NFBC Draft Champions leagues (n=40). For this, I took the most recent month of draft data (January 10 through February 9). And I’ll offer some brief commentary afterwards.

Player Name (First Last)Prospect RankTeamPosition# of DraftsNFBC Average PickNFBC Minimum PickNFBC Maximum Pick
Wander Franco1TBSS40525.58435613
Jo Adell2LAAOF40209.95166278
Luis Robert3CHWOF4079.3561124
Gavin Lux4LADSS/2B40161.25125198
MacKenzie Gore5SDLHP40298.65242358
Royce Lewis6MINSS38618.25424687
Casey Mize7DETRHP40444.18380504
Julio Rodriguez8SEAOF21705.88441749
Adley Rutschman9BALC27695.28569744
Jarred Kelenic10SEAOF40577.85377718
Jesus Luzardo11OAKLHP40124.1892151
Alex Kirilloff12MINOF40513.58347614
Carter Kieboom13WASSS40294.38200370
Nate Pearson14TORRHP40349.68271430
Forrest Whitley15HOURHP40311.05249362
Andrew Vaughn16CHW1B18722.63588739
Dylan Carlson17STLOF40309.8257383
Drew Waters18ATLOF37662.3502742
Matt Manning19DETRHP40418.45273495
Brendan McKay21TB40271.2170337
Cristian Pache22ATLOF40569.58468716
Joey Bart23SFC40485.35375588
Alec Bohm24PHI3B40445.7374544
Michael Kopech25CHWRHP40275.55195353
Vidal Brujan26TB2B39639.8498730
Sixto Sanchez28MIARHP40435.38377556
Taylor Trammell29SDOF9745.08682745
Brendan Rodgers30COLSS/2B40442344554
Luis Patino31SDRHP36673.05568742
Dustin May33LADRHP40238.95180291
A.J. Puk34OAKLHP40250.05201300
Ian Anderson36ATLRHP40531.5435643
Nolan Gorman37STL3B4746.93658743
Nick Madrigal39CHW2B/SS40252.75197328
Nolan Jones43CLE3B22710.08572746
Nico Hoerner44CHCSS40367.65312431
Trevor Larnach45MINOF4747665737
Jesus Sanchez46MIAOF24711.53475745
Ke'Bryan Hayes49PIT3B40534.18425613
Matthew Liberatore50TBLHP2746.43655664
Jazz Chisholm51MIASS26709.13536745
Mitch Keller52PITRHP40225.93193269
Logan Gilbert53SEARHP38625.95519747
Spencer Howard55PHIRHP40434.6363566
Kyle Wright58ATLRHP40502.55425579
Brusdar Graterol59MINRHP40472.28382628
Deivi Garcia61NYYRHP40588.58411713
Jonathan India62CIN3B/SS1750.28722722
Ryan Mountcastle63BAL3B40399.13305482
Oneil Cruz65PITSS3749.13710748
Keibert Ruiz68LADC26708.5552742
Jeter Downs69LAD2B/SS1750711711
Sean Murphy70OAKC40236.88204315
Brady Singer74KCRHP30702.08573744
Evan White75SEA1B40354.5277627
Daniel Lynch77KCLHP1749.35685685
Tarik Skubal78DETLHP40553.7474645
Daulton Varsho81ARIC40532.58403630
Justin Dunn82SEARHP40549.98381648
Josiah Gray83LADRHP9742.25670749
Jordan Balazovic84MINRHP3744.23641693
Tyler Freeman85CLESS1749.33684684
Yusniel Diaz88BALOF26716.6559748
Jorge Mateo91OAKSS40411.13314521
Edward Cabrera93MIARHP14734.53654749
Kyle Lewis94SEAOF40390.45327511
Monte Harrison95MIAOF39604.18397720
Triston McKenzie97CLERHP27685.98555736
Seth Beer99ARIOF30677.55565732
Andres Gimenez100NYMSS12736.2676738
Isaac Paredes102DETSS/2B23712.48590742
Shane McClanahan104TBLHP3748.75669747
Bryse Wilson106ATLRHP40580.68476693
Khalil Lee108KCOF11740.65678741
Nick Solak109TEX2B40284.98241343
Brandon Marsh112LAAOF13739.4652744
Jackson Kowar113KCRHP7745.5637748
Leody Taveras114TEXOF2748.38673724
Bobby Dalbec116BOS3B40521.6404616
Clarke Schmidt121NYYRHP13737.3647746
Tyler Stephenson122CINC38624.05504721
Justus Sheffield124SEALHP40415.75346478
Austin Hays126BALOF40275.73226375
Daniel Johnson128CLEOF20701.25524750
Elehuris Montero132STL3B1750.45729729
Pavin Smith134ARI1B2748.45698702
Logan Allen138CLELHP31688.18572749
Zack Collins140CHWC24706.93477745
Jose Urquidy142HOURHP40227.63200265
Brent Rooker143MIN1B/OF6745.75653740
Franklin Perez144DETRHP1750.4727727
Adrian Morejon146LHPSD1750.88746746
Nick Gordon147MINSS/2B2748.38654743
Jake Fraley149SEAOF40448.83385590
Taylor Widener150ARIRHP3749.83727744
Colton Welker154COL3B1749.78702702
Alex Faedo165DETRHP6744.13621739
Anthony Kay168TORLHP27712.55569749
Jon Duplantier169ARIRHP39611.68528672

1. We can absolutely expect to see these guys this year.

It’s a pretty safe bet that any player taken in all 40 leagues in this sample will see major league playing time this year (barring injury). This year, we have 47 prospects so far that hold that distinction. They range from average pick 79 (Luis Robert) to average pick 589 (Deivi Garcia)

2. Two leagues were asleep at the wheel.

I’ll plant my flag that Logan Gilbert will contribute positively this year. And if I am taking five catchers, Tyler Stephenson is the guy I’m snagging in the later rounds. Unless I get super sniped several rounds earlier than I am targeting, which is what happened in one of my current drafts at round 37, pick 543.

3. Hold my Beer!

I don’t play in the official NFBC leagues, but if i did, I would be driving ownership percentages of Beer up. I have taken him in 4 out of 5 leagues so far, and the fifth is only because someone seems to like him even more than I do.

I admit that part of me may be a bit biased towards the Clemson product. But there is a lot to like about him. Here’s what our Arizona correspondent Matthew Hammerling had to say:

Beer is a professional batsmith, and is near MLB ready. Beer’s value would improve greatly if the NL adopts the DH in the near future as he can’t play OF and 1B will be a struggle too. Potential middle of lineup hitter, he isn’t that far away, and no serious blockers in AZ.

That sounds like the college player I watched. If he gets called up, there is no reason why he cannot provide some power late in the season. Except that he has to have a position to play, and there’s always the chance his first rodeo doesn’t go quite so well. And he’s not yet on the 40-man roster; and he doesn’t have to be on there until December 2021.

So, overall it’s understandable why only 25% of leagues chose to have a Beer. But, me, I’m still going to have a few too many.

4. No first baseman for you!

Do not expect much support from the prospect front if you fail to secure first base backups. Right now, only four firstbaseman are being selected in Draft Champion leagues: Evan White (40 drafts, average pick 354), Andrew Vaughn (18 drafts; average pick 722), Pavin Smith (2 drafts, average pick 748), and Brent Rooker (6 drafts, average pick 746).

5. I have no imagination

I cannot find myself to believe that Wander Franco is getting called up this year. This is why I never have that late-season surge from a shiny new player. One person from each of the 40 DC leagues drafted Franco, presumably because they expect him to play. The cost is on average a 35th round pick. Here’s who I have taken in the 35th round so far: Ryon Healy, Jeimer Candelario, Matt Strahm, Brad Keller, Zach Eflin.

#DontJudgeMe #WanderIfDoingWrong

Note: I could have written up Adley Rutschman here. He’s only been taken in 27 leagues, but seems like someone who could possibly make an outsized impact. But I find it hard to imagine he gets the call.

6. Young guns, having some fun

Seattle (8 players drafted), Minnesota (7 players drafted), and Detroit (6 players drafted) are the places to be if you’re wanting to see some young players this year. Seattle especially should be exciting to watch. 6 players drafted in all 40 leagues (White, Lewis, Sheffield, Kelenic, Dunn, and Fraley), 1 player drafted in 38 leagues (Gilbert), and even Julio Rodriguez has been drafted in 21 leagues.

7. Old and (maybe not) boring

1 team (Brewers) has had no prospects drafted. 5 teams have only had one: Nationals (Carter Kieboom), Giants (Joey Bart),  Mets (Andres Gimenez), Cubs (Nico Hoerner), and Red Sox (Bobby Dalbec).

8. Willie May Austin Hays

Austin Hays–ranked #146 on our prospect list–is someone I currently have no shares of in drafts. And that feels like a mistake for what is on average an 18th – 19th round investment. ATC projections give him a stat line of 20 home runs, 122 runs + RBIs, 8 stolen bases, and .252 average. That’s good enough to start and more than reasonable at that point in the draft. And a young player like Hays exudes upside.

9. Dalbec or Hayes?

I seem to find myself wanting a 3B around the time these two are generally coming off the board. And so far I am not sure who is the right pick.

Dalbec 521 average pick 404  min pick 616 max pick
Hayes 534 average pick 425 min pick 623 max pick

Play NFBC Leagues? Have a strategy when it comes to drafting prospects? Leave some comments below.

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