MLB Offseason Primer (2017-18)

by Jason Martinez

The 2017-18 MLB Offseason has arrived! This is my 11th offseason of organizing and updating rosters/depth charts at Roster Resource (formerly known as MLBDepthCharts).

Our MLB Depth Charts are now in offseason mode, meaning that all free agents have been removed and a projected 25-man roster is displayed at the top of each team page. As roster moves occur and news is reported, these projections are updated almost immediately. Since offseason moves do not become official right away, I use my best judgement to decide when a free agent signing or trade will be reflected on the site. There have been a few occasions over the years when I had to “undo”  a reported move (i.e. Dexter Fowler signs with Orioles on Feburary 23, 2016 and Dexter Fowler re-signs with Cubs on February 25, 2016 ). For the most part, a roster move is a done deal once enough credible reporters confirm it.

Below the 25-man roster projection is the “Minor Leaguers You Should Know” section. The purpose of this section is to identify players who are moving up the ladder to the Major Leagues. Once I determine that a player is no longer making progress, I remove them from the list.

Since the end of the regular season, I have added approximately 750 minor leaguers who have met my criteria and removed a few hundred others. Here is an overview of that criteria.

  • Players are automatically included if they meet any of the following criteria
    • On the 40-man roster
    • Non-Roster Invitee (not on 40-man roster; invited to MLB Camp during 2017 Spring Training)
    • Invited to 2016 Arizona Fall League (while AFL participants are not always top prospects, players chosen by their organization are typically in the upper minors and expected to reach the majors within a year or two).
    • Top 10 Prospect (most recent rankings from Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus or MLB Pipeline)
    • Drafted in the first five rounds of 2016 Amateur Draft
  • Players are included if they’ve met some combination of the following criteria
    • Productive 2017 season
      • Typically a .700+ OPS or better for position players; could be lower for C, 2B, SS and CF if speed, on-base ability and/or defense are strong attributes
      • Typically a sub-4.00 ERA with average BB/9 rate (4.0 and under) and above-average K/9 rate (8.0 and over); Relievers in the low minors must do significantly better to be recognized.
  • If a player did not meet the criteria based on statistical production, other factors such as ceiling, position, age and level are taken into account.

To keep up with all of the latest changes, follow me on Twitter and feel free to ask any roster-related questions or argue against any of my projections. Enjoy the offseason!