Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fantasy Funkhouser: George Springer - The First Big Prospect Callup of 2014 is Here


George Springer has been called up already. (cnn.si.com)
Fantasy Funkhouser will review all things Fantasy Baseball. After all, life is a small sample size.

Probably the most impossible question to ask during fantasy baseball prep is when a top prospect will get called up. It's impossible to answer simply because the team who owns a top prospects right have no idea when that is going to happen. The popular go-to line is the Super Two deadline, which allows a team to call up a prospect without losing an arbitration year. This random date happens sometime in late May or early June. I recently wondered why teams even care about the Super Two deadline anymore with nearly all teams signing their young talents to long-term deals which knock out all the arbitration years anyway. Someone was kind enough to reply, and said something about how it still matters ... yeah, but still. So long as their progress isn't impeded, get your young players up and playing for you in his early 20's and just buy out his arbitration years. Win - win.

Well, the Astros moved forward with one of their many top prospects, George Springer.
Springer had a shot to break camp with the club, but that didn't happen. He then considered suing the Astros for not writing his name in the Opening Day lineup, but that never really gained any steam. With the Astros playing terrible as usual, they've brought up Springer to liven things up a bit. Presumably after a month or so of surviving in the majors, he'll get that big contract extension.

The long and short of it is, yes, if you have a player that is worthy of a drop, then go add Springer immediately. I've dropped the likes of Brad Miller, Brett Gardner, and and assortment of random pitchers like Ivan Nova, Jonathan Broxton, and Marco Estrada. So no one I was heavily invested in draft pick or dollar wise. This is true for any top prospect that gets called up, but don't go dropping highly ranked players for prospects, especially in redraft leagues. As much as it pains you to still hold onto Billy Butler, even he isn't worth cutting loose for many a prospect.

Springer isn't the jewel of many scouts' eyes. Many publications rank him near the bottom of the Top 20, which of course isn't terrible, but it does show some concern for a guy that otherwise hit 37 HR and swiped 45 bags in the minors last year. The big concern for Springer is his ability to make regular contact. He strikes out a lot, and he can certainly be exposed by big league pitching.

When it comes to evaluating Springer, I'm looking at the skills he has. He is going to hit for power and steal bases. If I need that or the person I'm dropping for him has similar or even lesser skills in those areas, sign me up. The big allure of prospects like this is that there is always great potential. Springer could go 20/20 at some point in his career or he could do it by August. It's that hype that tends to make people overreact. As tough as it may be, one must react without emotion to making an addition like this. Springer could fall on his face.

From a value standpoint, again, I'm buying the power and the speed. Average be damned. He should be inserted in the middle of the Houston lineup, so counting stats should be there. I would say his ceiling for this year is probably along the lines of Desmond Jennings. Again, that's a ceiling, if things go great projection. Last year Jennings was ranked 148 in the Yahoo game so again, this isn't likely Yasiel Puig.

Also, for those with a FAAB system in place, the value in Springer is that he is being called up so early. You're getting virtually a full year out of him. There are other prospects out there I would prefer to have over Springer, but if they're not called up until June or July, then that's a lot of lost value. It's an unexpected surprise this early in the year which makes it all the more exciting.

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