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Farm Futures: Rookie Tiers

James Anderson

James Anderson is RotoWire's Lead Prospect Analyst, Assistant Baseball Editor, and co-host of Farm Fridays on Sirius/XM radio and the RotoWire Prospect Podcast.

If you're looking for a prospect list for deep keeper leagues, keep going. The Top 400 Prospect Rankings are for dynasty leagues. The resource below, on the other hand, is for owners who play in single-season leagues, or in keeper leagues where prospects are rarely among the keepers. The following tiers serve as a way to rank 100 prospects based strictly on their fantasy potential for the 2017 season. The rankings are not perfect, as there are certain players who I would take over a player or two in the tier(s) above them, but the tiered system is a nice way to get a feel for the type of prospect you are investing in.

The list below has been updated from the version that appeared in RotoWire's 2017 Fantasy Baseball magazine.

HITTERS FOR STANDARD MIXED LEAGUES

Benintendi and Margot are two near-finished products with high ceilings and high floors to match. Both should spend the entire season in the big leagues serving as everyday players. Swanson can’t quite match their upside. Renfroe’s ability to make adjustments against big league pitching has not yet been tested, and it is possible that major contact issues will pop up. Moncada should spend a couple months at Triple-A, but his five-category potential makes him worth stashing in most formats. Defensive woes and platoon splits make everyday at-bats seem unlikely for Bell and Vogelbach this year. Murphy has major contact issues and should start the year on the short side of a platoon, but given how barren catcher is for fantasy purposes, his 65-grade power and home park makes him worth owning in all two-catcher leagues.

1. Andrew Benintendi OF • Red Sox
2. Manuel Margot OF • Padres
3. Dansby Swanson SS • Braves
4. Hunter Renfroe OF • Padres
5. Yoan Moncada 2B • White Sox
6. Josh Bell 1B/OF • Pirates
7. Dan Vogelbach 1B/DH • Mariners
8. Tom Murphy C • Rockies

STARTING PITCHERS FOR STANDARD MIXED LEAGUES

This is an odd mix of arms. Gsellman and Cotton are the best bets for 30 starts. Giolito and Glasnow have the most upside/pedigree, but Glasnow is unrefined and questions abound regarding Giolito’s velocity dip, command issues, and the utility of his changeup.

9. Robert Gsellman RHP • Mets
10. Jharel Cotton RHP • A’s
11. Tyler Glasnow RHP • Pirates
12. Lucas Giolito RHP • White Sox

HITTERS FOR DEEP LEAGUES, PART I

Toles needs to prove last year was not a fluke. Tilson could lead off and steal 25 bases if he is capable of hitting big league pitching. Judge has big power and major contact issues. Haniger could play every day to start the season, but could be exposed as a Quadruple-A bat.

13. Andrew Toles OF • Dodgers
14. Charlie Tilson OF • White Sox
15. Aaron Judge OF • Yankees
16. Mitch Haniger OF • Mariners

HITTERS TO STASH

These hitters should all start the year at Triple-A, but they have the talent to earn a promotion to the big leagues in short order. Meadows obviously needs a trade or an injury ahead of him to get the call.

17. Roman Quinn OF • Phillies
18. Jesse Winker OF • Reds
19. J.P. Crawford SS • Phillies
20. Austin Meadows OF • Pirates

STARTING PITCHERS FOR DEEP LEAGUES

The best pitchers in this tier are expected to open the year in the minors or on the Rockies. The Alex Reyes injury could expedite Weaver’s ETA this year. Lopez could be Edwin Diaz out of the bullpen or Yordano Ventura in the rotation. Green, Brault and Blach could start the year in the big league rotation, but are best reserved for very deep leagues. Strahm could spend most of the year dominating out of the bullpen and then join the rotation late in the year.

21. Josh Hader LHP • Brewers
22. Jose De Leon RHP • Rays
23. Luke Weaver RHP • Cardinals
24. Matthew Strahm LHP • Royals
25. Brock Stewart RHP • Dodgers
26. Reynaldo Lopez RHP • White Sox
27. Adalberto Mejia LHP • Twins
28. Jeff Hoffman RHP • Rockies
29. German Marquez RHP • Rockies
30. Tyler Beede RHP • Giants
31. Brent Honeywell RHP • Rays
32. Chad Green RHP • Yankees
33. Steven Brault LHP • Pirates
34. Ty Blach RHP • Giants

HITTERS FOR WATCH LISTS, PART I

In the majority of formats, it is not worth rostering any of these hitters, but at least a few of them will make an impact in the majors this season. For a first half call-up, look for the alignment of two factors: Success against Triple-A pitching with a manageable strikeout rate, and a need arising on a competitive big league roster.

35. Raimel Tapia OF • Rockies
36. Ozzie Albies 2B • Braves
37. Clint Frazier OF • Yankees
38. Lewis Brinson OF • Brewers
39. Bradley Zimmer OF • Indians
40. Franklin Barreto 2B/SS • A’s
41. Cody Bellinger 1B/OF • Dodgers
42. Trey Mancini 1B/DH • Orioles
43. Jorge Alfaro C • Phillies
44. Chance Sisco C • Orioles

HITTERS FOR DEEP LEAGUES, PART II

These are fringe prospects who are essentially big league ready, but playing time may be hard to come by.

45. Teoscar Hernandez OF • Astros
46. Austin Barnes C • Dodgers
47. Carson Kelly C • Cardinals
48. Yandy Diaz OF/3B • Indians
49. Bruce Maxwell C • A’s
50. Matt Olson OF • A’s
51. Rio Ruiz 3B • Braves
52. Hunter Dozier OF/3B • Royals
53. Renato Nunez 3B/DH • A’s
54. Carlos Asuaje 2B • Padres
55. Chad Pinder 2B • A’s
56. Andrew Knapp C • Phillies

HITTERS FOR WATCH LISTS, PART II

These are legitimate prospects who could get a look at some point this summer, although to see significant playing time, many of them would need an injury ahead of them on the organizational depth chart.

57. Casey Gillaspie 1B • Rays
58. Sam Travis 1B • Red Sox
59. Willy Adames SS • Rays
60. Amed Rosario SS • Mets
61. Derek Fisher OF • Astros
62. Greg Allen OF • Indians
63. Nick Williams OF • Phillies
64. Jeimer Candelario 3B • Cubs
65. Harrison Bader OF • Cardinals
66. Matt Chapman 3B • A’s
67. Lourdes Gurriel OF • Blue Jays
68. Jake Bauers 1B/OF • Rays
69. Kevin Newman SS • Pirates
70. Dominic Smith 1B • Mets
71. Christian Arroyo SS/2B/3B • Giants
72. Dustin Fowler OF • Yankees
73. Rhys Hoskins 1B • Phillies
74. Ian Happ 2B/OF • Cubs
75. Willie Calhoun 2B • Dodgers
76. Rowdy Tellez 1B • Blue Jays
77. Tyler O'Neill OF • Mariners
78. Ronald Guzman 1B • Rangers

THE LONGSHOTS

Last year Alex Bregman, David Dahl, Andrew Benintendi and Dansby Swanson checked in here. This year’s crop is not as deep and the probability of these guys making it to the majors is lower than in previous years, but still be sure to keep tabs on how they are performing, taking note of promotions to the upper levels.

79. Gleyber Torres SS • Yankees
80. Zack Collins C • White Sox
81. Rafael Devers 3B • Red Sox
82. Victor Robles OF • Nationals
83. Kyle Tucker OF • Astros

STARTING PITCHERS FOR WATCH LISTS

These pitchers will all start the year in the minors. The best pitchers in this tier are typically the furthest away from the majors.

84. Francis Martes RHP • Astros
85. Yohander Mendez LHP • Rangers
86. Carson Fulmer RHP • White Sox
87. Anthony Banda LHP • Diamondbacks
88. Jordan Montgomery LHP • Yankees
89. A.J. Cole RHP • Nationals
90. Nick Kingham RHP • Pirates
91. Brandon Woodruff RHP • Brewers
92. Chance Adams RHP • Yankees
93. Jorge Lopez RHP • Brewers
94. Chih-Wei Hu RHP • Rays

STARTING PITCHERS WHO ARE PROBABLY RELIEVERS

These pitchers will continue to be developed as starting pitchers, and could even make some big league starts this season. However, they all profile as future relievers, and volatility should be expected if they are used as starters in 2017.

95. David Paulino RHP • Astros
96. Frankie Montas RHP • A’s
97. Amir Garrett LHP • Reds
98. Alex Meyer RHP • Angels
99. Robert Stephenson RHP • Reds
100. Rob Zastryzny LHP • Cubs