In the leagues I play in, the typical prospect has become worth much more as trade bait than their future playing value after considering the draft slots you give up to protect them and the protection slot you give up, while they are trying to establish themselves.
I don`t know any Scoresheet players who have been more astute than I at picking prospects over the years. Sure I`ve had plenty of busts, and I know a few managers who probably know more about more prospects than I. However, for the number of prospects I`ve drafted, I`d say a higher percentage have turned out worthwhile than any manager`s I`ve played with. Yet, I`ve had more success in recent years by drafting or trading for the 25-30 year-olds with major league jobs, than the 20-25 year olds still in the minors. Mark Buehrle, Jorge Posada, Jason Giambi, Jose Valentin, Torii Hunter, AJ Pierzynski, Jacques Jones, Randy Winn, and a slew of fine relievers were all non-rookie easy pickings until they turned it up a notch after I drafted them. (Well, Posada & Giambi I traded for when they were borderline protectable.) The only stars I`ve developed from scratch recently are Troy Glaus (after a trade) and Carlos Beltran. Darren Erstad has been up and down. I`m still waiting for Hank Blalock and Carlos Pena to show their worth.
With unlimited rookie protectees, the market has been sponged. You have to look harder for someone worth drafting. Yet, despite the overvaluation for playing value, prospects do have considerable speculative value. When cruel August tolls for the non-contenders, struggling 28 year-olds don`t offer as much promise - or buying power - as the rookie protectable 23 year-old talk of the minors.