Last week, we looked at prospects who have more real-life value than fantasy.
This week, we'll take a look at the opposite end of the spectrum. Prospects that rank higher on fantasy lists than they would/should be on a traditional top 100.
All of these players are in my top 100, which will be featured in the Rotoworld Draft Guide that's available for pre-order now and hit newsstands on February 6.
Without further ado, here's a look at six prospects that have more fantasy value than reality.
Francisco Mejia, C, San Diego Padres-- Most catching prospects have more real life value than fantasy. We have two exceptions to the rule -- more later -- in this list. Mejia is considered one of the best backstop prospects in baseball, but he has even more value in fantasy. He has a chance to hit for average from both sides of the plate, and his power is developing, as well. There are some defensive issues that will push Mejia down some lists, but as long as he's good enough to stick behind the plate, that's good enough for us. Mejia should remain one of the top offensive prospects on your list for both 2019 and beyond.
Garrett Hampson, 2B/SS, Colorado Rockies-- Hampson's value for 2019 is up in the air; even with DJ LeMahieu off to the Bronx, there's still a bit of a logjam at second base and former star prospect Ryan McMahon might have the best chance of winning the job. Long-term, however, Hampson has tremendous fantasy value because of his ability to hit for average, get on base, and -- most importantly -- steal bases. Hampson is a potential category winner as either a second baseman or shortstop, and while his "tweener" label may hurt him on prospect lists that don't consider fantasy, it isn't a big issue here.
Daulton Varsho, C, Arizona Diamondbacks-- Varsho is a combination of Mejia and Hampson. First, there's the added value of being a backstop who can hit, and Varsho controls the strike zone and uses the whole field like a hitter who can hit in the high .280s, maybe even .300. He also draws walks, and what is special here is that Varsho has plus speed that could give him the opportunity to steal 20-25 bases or more. Varsho has questions defensively like Mejia, but again, there's just enough here to suggest that he can stay behind the plate long-term. He's a couple of years away, but Varsho has a chance to be among the best fantasy backstops in baseball.
Touki Toussaint, RHP, Atlanta Braves -- Toussaint is a highly ranked pitcher -- and for good reason -- but I think there's even more to like about Toussaint as a fantasy hurler. He can miss bats with the best of them, and while he will add some walks (worth pointing out that the command has gotten much better) he's really gotten better at pitching from the stretch and keeping those runners at bay. The command is going to scare some from making Toussaint a top 20 prospect and put him behind some other hurlers, but I think his profile is going to make him an excellent fantasy option. It's also worth mentioning that Toussaint might end up a closer someday, and we all know how valuable saves are.
Hunter Greene, RHP, Cincinnati Reds -- Greene assuredly will rank near the top of many prospect lists, but like Toussaint, I think there's even more fantasy value. He can miss bats with the best of them with his 80-grade fastball, and while his slider isn't always consistent, it flashes plus enough for me to think it gives him a second swing-and-miss pitch. The command is behind the control and Greene is at least two years away, but in terms of long-term value, the only pitcher that I would put above Greene is Forrest Whitley. Long story short: I'm a fan, and you should be, too.
Michel Baez, RHP, San Diego Padres -- The Padres are loaded with starting pitching prospects, and Baez seems to have become a bit of a forgotten man. One of the reasons some scouts have moved the right-hander below some similar hurlers is that he's already 23, and just reached Double-A without much success (7.36 ERA). While I understand the age concern to an extent, I think the stuff matters more, and this is a right-hander who touches 98 mph with a plus-plus fastball and also shows a plus slider and a solid change, for good measure. There are some who believe Baez profiles best in relief, and if he does move to relief, he has a chance to be a closer (see Toussaint write-up). I think he sticks as a starter, and he should be a very solid fantasy option when he's ready to go in 2020.