We've all been there before. Gushing over your favorite teams top prospects. Writing down future lineup cards where Brandon Wood is the cleanup hitter on the next World Champion Angels team. Imagining how many Cy Youngs Rick Ankiel will win. Wondering when Lastings Milledge will put up his first 30-30 season. A young Rays team with Elijah Dukes and Rocco Baldelli or Felix Pie being a gold glove centfielder for the Cubbies for years to come. Can you begin to even imagine how many nights I spent thinking about an Indians heart of the order with Andy Marte, Matt LaPorta and Josh Barfield in it? And it sucks that the Marlins sell every other year but at least they get young talent like Andrew Miller to join the Jeremy Hermida's and Scott Olsens of the world. How many more titles would the Yanks of had with Ruben Rivera playing up to his potential instead of stealing Derek Jeter's batting gloves to sell on eBay? For every Mike Trout and Bryce Harper there are a dozen Matt Anderson, Dewon Brazelton, Ben Grieve, Billy Beane, Joe Borchard and Todd Van Poppel's. Can't miss prospects that somehow do just that - miss. Well it's time to make these guys matter!
Pick a team. Draft 24 of the biggest can't miss top prospect busts your team has to offer over the last 20 years. To define "top prospect" we are going to use players that were on your teams Baseball America's top 20 prospect list when they were in your teams minor league system. To define "bust" we are going to use players that have a career OPS+ of under 100 and a career ERA+ of under 100. If a player was on multiple teams top prospect list, i.e. Andy Marte with the Braves in 2005 and the Indians in 2006, both teams are elgible to use him. Players just had to be a top prospect of your teams future at one point. With everyone having a roster full of busts, some of these guys are going to pan out and become the future all-stars we all though they would be. You might notice I said 24 of the biggest busts of all-time and that we use 25 man rosters. Since I am an Indians fan, we are all going to be Indian givers and I am going to give every team one "mulligan" to use. You can pick one player, hitter or pitcher, with a less than $7 million dollar salary to be your 25th man, but he has to of been traded or released from the team you picked. Example - if the Rays want to use Josh Hamilton in the outfield, Marlins or Rangers wish they could undue the Adrian Gonzalez trades, or the M's want Brandon Morrow or Cliff Lee back in their rotation - you can fulfill this fantasy as well. Every team gets 1 player - under 7 million - that was traded or released by your franchise.
Playing under these rules ALL teams are going to be competitive, which is the way it should be. We are going to go with $120 million cap even though none of us will come even close to that (really its no salary cap.) 24 teams, 12 NL and 12 AL aligned as closely as possible. DH in the American League only. No Wavier Wire, Yes to trades (and trades are actually going to be encouraged, adds to the fun and realism.) Use a ballpark your team called home at some point in the past 20 years. We'll go with 8/4 AAA, U-pick below average since this is a bust league and I don't want AAA making too much of an impact. AAA is mainly going to be to add depth and give us all enough PA and IP. It is also going to be fun to re-name our prospects to even BIGGER busts, such as Brien Taylor or Matt Bush - guys who suck so bad they don't even have seasons in the WIS database. We can also re-name to guys in our teams current farm system who have yet to reach the MLB level. While I can't really "enforce" anything it would be good to have all our prospects re-named something that makes sense to our team. I don't really want to see "Bugs Bunny" playing short stop for the Rays but would be cool to see Tim Beckham or Hak-Ju Lee. Reds can go with Billy Hamilton as a speedster in AAA, Paul Wilson as a pitching prospect. You get the drift.
I have been thinking about this theme league for awhile. It is new and should be very fun and competitive for all 24 owners!