CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

There will be a very short planned maintenance outage of the site tonight (7/22) at 11 PM ET

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Contractual Matters: T... (03/06)
Next Article >>
In A Pickle: The Worst... (03/07)

March 7, 2013

Top 100 Dynasty League Prospects

Part One: 1-50

by Bret Sayre and Josh Shepardson

Before we begin, let’s make one thing clear right up front: This is not Jason Parks’ list.

At Baseball Prospectus, we are fortunate to have an amazing prospect team that truly keeps its collective nose to the grindstone both on the diamond and within major-league organizations. We used the research and knowledge of our prospect team judiciously while putting together this feature. However, from there, we used our collective fantasy experience to formulate a list that requires no interpretation for the fantasy player. There’s no work necessary in setting a player’s defense aside in order to figure out his true fantasy value, since we don’t care about the distinction between the defensive skills of Francisco Lindor and Xander Bogaerts. We just care about the “SS” next to their names.

First, there are a few disclaimers specific to the prospect list to go over before we jump in. Again, these rankings are for fantasy purposes only and do not directly take into account things like an outfielder’s ability to stick in center or a catcher’s pop time. Of course, these things do matter indirectly, as they affect a player’s ability to either stay in the lineup or maintain eligibility. So, while Austin Hedges may be a top-20 prospect on BP’s Top 101, this is due in large part to his defensive value, and you’ll see that he’s not on this list because his upside isn’t nearly as great for fantasy.

Additionally, home parks need to be factored in, just as they are when we discuss the fantasy merits of major-league players. Since A.J. Burnett’s fantasy potential increased greatly when he went from New York to Pittsburgh, we can’t pretend that these prospects operate in a vacuum, unaffected by park factors. Of course, there’s no guarantee that they will reach the majors with their current organizations, so although present teams are reflected in the rankings, they are not a heavy consideration. Most importantly, the intention of this list is to balance the upside, probability, and proximity of these players to an active fantasy lineup.

Within the list below, in addition to the write-ups, you’ll find important information about each prospect, including his potential fantasy value (in dollars) at his peak and the risk factor associated with his reaching that peak. Also, you will find a fantasy overview, which summarizes how many categories each player will be useful in, along with any fantasy that carry impact potential. For this exercise, we defined “impact” as having the potential to be in the top 15 to 20 players in a given category. For instance, hitters with 30-homer potential are considered “impact” performers in that department, while pitchers can earn the strikeout distinction by flashing the stuff necessary to whiff 200 batters in a season.

Finally, you’ll also notice that we have provided a spreadsheet (titled BPTop100) detailing useful information on each prospect, including both everything mentioned in the list and specific ratings for every player in each of the five major fantasy categories. Those category ratings are broken down, from highest to lowest, into Elite, Impact, Above Average, Average, Below Average and No Impact. Most of the categories are self-explanatory, but obviously some are context-dependent. With pitcher wins, it’s more about the ability of the pitcher to log quality innings. For runs scored, it’s more about on-base ability and the potential to hit toward the top of a lineup. More specific interpretation of what each rating means from a quantitative perspective can be found within the “Definitions” tab in the spreadsheet. (Please note that in order to access the spreadsheet, which is made available through our subscriber-only server, you will need to reenter your username and password.)

So without any further ado, here are your top 50 fantasy prospects, with those ranked 51-100 to follow early next week.

1) Jurickson Profar, SS/2B, Texas Rangers (Age: 20, ETA: Mid-2013)

Potential Earnings: $35+              
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor; Impact potential in AVG, R

The reason Profar sits atop this list is that he offers the strongest marriage of upside and floor. At first glance, a .281/.368/.452 triple-slash line wit 14 homers and 16 steals in 480 Double-A at-bats may not seem like fantasy gold—but don’t forget that Profar amassed those statistics at the age of 19. There may not be a job for him out of spring training this year, but he’s ready to step in and be fantasy relevant as soon as the Rangers make the call. If you have the fortune of owning Profar in a dynasty league format, there’s a good chance his fantasy value will outlast your league’s existence.

2) Oscar Taveras, OF, St Louis Cardinals (Age: 20, ETA: Mid-2013)

Potential Earnings: $35+              
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in AVG, HR, RBI

Here are the categories in which Oscar Taveras led the Texas League during his 2012 MVP season: batting average, doubles and total bases. That doesn’t even touch on his 23 homers, 94 RBI, 10 steals, and miniscule 10.5 percent strikeout rate, or the fact that he skipped High-A entirely as a 19-year-old. He’s likely to get a shot at some point in 2013, whether the opportunity is created by an injury to one of St. Louis’ starters or a prolonged slump. This is a future batting-title contender, who combines that elite hitting skill with plus power and a hint of speed.

3) Billy Hamilton, OF/SS, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 22, ETA: Late 2013)

Potential Earnings: $35+              
Risk Factor: Medium
Fantasy Overview: Three-category contributor; Impact potential in R, SB

During 2012, Mike Trout, Rajai Davis, and Everth Cabrera were the top three base-stealers in baseball, combining for 139 stolen bases. Billy Hamilton bested the three of them put together by 16 steals. There are still questions about how much Hamilton will hit at the major-league level long-term, but the upside is just too great for him to be any further down this list. He is the type of player who can almost single-handedly win you a category, and he’ll likely debut at some point in 2013, with a full-time role awaiting him next season.

4) Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 22, ETA: Mid 2013)

Potential Earnings: $30-35         
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor: Impact potential in HR, RBI, R

The reigning Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year is ready for a shot in the big leagues, but due to his being on a team that pays close attention to service-time clocks, he’s very likely to start the season in Triple-A Durham. Myers’ 37 homers in 2012 were the second-most of all-time by a 21-year-old in the minors (trailing only Arlo Engel, who hit 41 in 1963, but never reached the majors). It remains to be seen whether Myers is going to be a good hitter with power (think .290 with 20-25 homers) or a good power hitter (think .270 with 30+ homers). If he can do both, though, watch out.

5) Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox (Age: 20, ETA: 2014)

Potential Earnings: $35+              
Risk Factor: Medium
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in HR, RBI

At this point last year, Bogaerts was a power bat who was going to have to move off of shortstop. Now, he’s a more complete power hitter with a real chance to stick at the position for the first act of his career. And let’s be honest, you’d take a hitter who had a chance to hit .280-.290 with 30+ home runs in his prime at just about any position on the diamond.

6) Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 22, ETA: Mid-2013)

Potential Earnings: $30-35         
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in W, K, ERA, WHIP

In his pro debut, Cole pitched across three levels, starting in High-A and finishing the year in Triple-A. He totaled 26 starts, spanning 132 innings, with a solid 3.1 BB/9 and an excellent 9.1 K/9 that helped him tally a 2.80 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. How does the man not get more love? His stuff is outstanding, and little stands between him and a big-league debut this summer. If his stuff and results weren't reason enough to get excited, pitching in a home ballpark that suppresses run scoring and facing National League number-eight hitters and pitchers should whip dynasty leaguers into a frenzy. Not many can claim fantasy ace potential; Cole can.

7) Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 20, ETA: Mid 2013)

Potential Earnings: $30-35         
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in W, K, ERA, WHIP

Pitchers that are drafted out of high school aren't supposed to make their major-league debuts in the same season that they first set foot on a professional mound. But Bundy wasn't your typical prep arm. He toyed with Low-A hitters, allowing just seven base runners in 30 innings. He continued his dominance in High-A, sporting a 10.4 K/9 in 57 innings of work. His stay in Double-A was short, and he closed the year with two appearances out of the bullpen for the Orioles in September. He'll probably open the season in the upper minors this year, but he should return to the bigs sometime this summer. Like Cole, Bundy has the stuff to post ace-level fantasy numbers.

8) Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets (Age: 22, ETA: Mid 2013)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in W, K, ERA, WHIP

After winning their second title in the last three years, the Giants have little to be upset about. That said, they're going to regret dealing Wheeler for a half-season of Carlos Beltran. He reached the Triple-A level for a few starts last season, and he's likely to add a few more starts to his Triple-A résumé to start this season. Fantasy gamers could be treated to a debut from Wheeler that is similar in terms of fantasy impact to that delivered by his teammate, Matt Harvey, in 2012.

9) Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 22, ETA: Now)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in W, K, ERA, WHIP

Miller made his major-league debut last season, working out of the Cardinals bullpen and sprinkling in one start for good measure. Teammate Trevor Rosenthal stole the show during the postseason, but Miller is the better starting pitching prospect long-term. He had a rough start to last season, but the light went back on in the second half, and Miller posted a staggering 10.0 K:BB in 59 1/3 innings for Triple-A Memphis after the All-Star break. He's competing for the fifth starter job in St. Louis and could break camp in the rotation.

10) Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals (Age: 22, ETA: Late 2013)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: Medium
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in AVG, R, RBI

There are not many people in the baseball world who doubt Rendon’s ability to be a productive major leaguer at the plate. Unfortunately, there are many more who doubt his ability to stay on the field and produce at his peak skill level. When healthy, he can hit for average, get on base at a high clip, and hit for above-average power. Of course, he’s only managed 210 at-bats as a professional—so we’re still at the point where Rendon discussions need to be prefaced with “when healthy.”

11) Miguel Sano, 3B/OF, Minnesota Twins (Age: 19, ETA: 2015)

Potential Earnings: $30-35         
Risk Factor: High
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in HR, RBI

Tales of Sano’s power have been commonplace among scouts for a few years now, and they continued as he took on the Midwest League. His prodigious power will carry him to the big leagues, but how valuable he is for fantasy purposes will depend on the progress of his hit tool over the next few seasons. After all, there’s a huge difference in value between Adam Dunn and Giancarlo Stanton

12) Travis d’Arnaud, C, New York Mets (Age: 24, ETA: Mid 2013)

Potential Earnings: $20-25         
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor

He may not be able to put up the raw stats of some of the names in front of him (or behind him, for that matter), but it won’t matter for this future catcher. The biggest risk at this point for d’Arnaud is his medical history; he has failed to reach the 100-game mark in two of his first four full professional seasons. If he can stay on the field, the offensive production will come.

13) Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Age: 20, ETA: 2014)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: Medium
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in W, K, ERA, WHIP

Walker’s ceiling rivals that of the starting pitchers ranked ahead of him, but he has a bigger gap between what he is and what he can become, which increases the risk involved. The Mariners opted to jump Walker from Low-A, where he pitched in 2011, to Double-A in 2012, and he rewarded them with a solid season. As a 19-year-old, he struck out nearly a batter per inning while facing many hitters that were at least two or three years older. With a handful of other top-notch pitching prospects in the upper minors, the Mariners are under no pressure to rush Walker to the majors.

14) Jose Fernandez, RHP, Miami Marlins (Age 20, ETA: 2014)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: Medium
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in W, K, ERA, WHIP

Fernandez would have been hard pressed to make a splashier professional debut. He posted a sub-2.00 ERA in stops at Low-A and High-A, went 14-1, pounded the strike zone, limited hits, and racked up strikeouts. He's not a finished product by any means, but as his ETA suggests, he's also not that far from reaching the Show. His workhorse build makes him a candidate to pile up innings, and his stuff will help make those innings extremely useful to fantasy teams.

15) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age 21, ETA: 2014)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: Medium
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in W, K, ERA, WHIP

For those that are suckers for ceiling, Taillon can provide the same type of intoxicating jubilation as the whiskey that shares his first name. Don't be fooled by his 7.1 K/9 in High-A last year, he has a power repertoire and will rack up healthy strikeout totals. In just his second professional season the tall Texan got his first taste of Double-A. Taillon is, in all likelihood, a full year in the upper minors away from being ready to reach the majors and stick. However, a strong showing early could entice the Pirates to give him a look this summer.  

16) Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs (Age: 20, ETA: 2015)

Potential Earnings: $35+              
Risk Factor: Extreme
Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor; Impact potential in AVG, HR, RBI

Many things about Baez are intense: the way he plays the game, the loftiness of his upside, his approach at the plate, and the speed of his bat. In fact, during the 2012 season, he had both more home runs and more steals than unintentional walks. The tools are there for Baez to be a very special player—the type of player who is a top-five overall pick in fantasy leagues for years. To reach that ceiling, though, he must hone his plate approach and stick at a premium fantasy position.

17) Carlos Correa, SS/3B, Houston Astros (Age: 18, ETA: 2016)

Potential Earnings: $35+              
Risk Factor: Extreme
Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor; Impact potential in HR, RBI

The highest ranked player on this list from the 2012 draft, Correa just oozes fantasy upside. Not only does he have the size and strength to hit for plus-plus power, but he can also be a real contributor in batting average and steals. His .258/.305/.400 triple-slash line between the GCL and Appalachian League doesn’t jump off the page, but he played all of this summer at the age of 17. And for those who have read Rany Jayazerli’s study on age relative to draft class, this distinction is very important.

18) Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins (Age: 19, ETA: 2016)

Potential Earnings: $35+              
Risk Factor: Extreme
Fantasy Potential: Five-category contributor; Impact potential in AVG, R, SB

Although there were a number of high-impact talents available in the 2012 draft, none of them boasted the fantasy upside of Buxton. His profile starts with elite speed, but it doesn’t end there. Buxton has the potential to hit for average and power on top of that. He has a long, long way to go (and many development hurdles to clear) before knocking down the door, but Buxton has the elite tools to be one of the best fantasy players in the game.

19) Nick Castellanos, OF/3B, Detroit Tigers (Age: 21, ETA: 2014)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: Medium
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in AVG

There is something about a player who steps to the plate without batting gloves that makes him look more like a natural hitter. And that’s exactly what Castellanos is. Add to that the potential for above-average power down the line, and you get a player who is very valuable regardless of whether he’s able to stick at third base. He’s likely to spend all of 2013 in the minors, but should be ready for some kind of role in Detroit during the 2014 season.

20) Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics (Age: 19, ETA: 2015)

Potential Earnings: $30-35         
Risk Factor: High
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in HR, RBI

This year’s post-draft riser, Russell tore the AZL to shreds before getting time in both the New York-Penn and Midwest Leagues. A potential shortstop with plu -power, Russell is truly a rare breed. And he’s gotten plenty of prospect enthusiasts very, well, enthused. His combination of upside and advanced feel for the game could enabled him to reach the major leagues much sooner than anyone anticipated—potentially even in 2014.

21) Mike Zunino, C, Seattle Mariners (Age: 22, ETA: Mid 2013)

Potential Earnings: $20-25         
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor

On the other end of the spectrum from Correa and Buxton, Zunino was arguably the most advanced top prospect available in the 2012 draft. Unfortunately, although he put up numbers not suitable for small children in the Northwest and Southern Leagues, Zunino doesn’t possess the type of upside you’d expect from his stat page. The good news is that he comes with relatively little risk. Zunino should at least get his feet wet in the big leagues in 2013, and he could start putting up solid fantasy numbers by next year.

22) Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros (Age: 21, ETA: Late 2013)

Potential Earnings: $20-25         
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in HR, RBI

No should, especially fantasy owners, should really care that Singleton likes to get high. His 50-game suspension will likely push his ETA back to August or September, but this is still a strong fantasy bat that has the floor of being a very solid corner infielder. First base is not a deep position right now for fantasy, and it’s especially shallow when it comes to players who can make contributions both in average and power.

23) Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins (Age: 21, ETA: 2014)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: Medium
Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor; Impact potential in AVG

If Taveras is to win National League batting titles in the future, he may have to fight off Yelich in order to do it. The sweet-swinging lefty can be a great fantasy asset as a batting-average stud who can contribute in all five categories. The biggest question remaining with Yelich is how much he’ll be able to provide in the power department, but even as a 10-15 home run threat (which is his floor), he will return plenty of overall value.

24) Trevor Bauer, RHP, Cleveland Indians (Age 22, ETA: Now)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: Medium
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in W, K, ERA

The Diamondbacks somewhat surprisingly did an about face and traded the number-three overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft to the Indians. There is no doubt that they value the players they got back, but it is still an uncommon occurrence seeing a top-five pick traded so quickly. Bauer remains an intriguing pitching prospect in fantasy due to his ability to strike batters out in bunches (11.5 K/9 in his minor-league career). However, his control needs work, and his minor-league walk rate of 4.2 BB/9 speaks to that. If he can find the strike zone more frequently while continuing to miss bats, he'll have a chance to be one of the top strikeout pitchers in baseball. A more likely scenario is that his control becomes merely passable, but ultimately prevents him from completing enough innings to rank among the truly elite hurlers in the game.

25) Mike Olt, 3B/1B, Texas Rangers (Age: 24, ETA: Mid 2013)

Potential Earnings: $20-25         
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor

Olt built off his strong AFL campaign in 2011 by crushing Texas League pitching to the tune of a .288/.398/.579 line with 28 homers and 82 RBI in only 95 games. However, in the short term, there are two potential roadblocks to his fantasy value. First, while he’s always had some swing-and-miss to his game, he’s going to need to make more contact to not be a moderate batting-average anchor. Second, with Adrian Beltre in front of him, he could temporarily lose his third-base eligibility while seeing most of his playing time across the diamond.

26) Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Age 21, ETA: Now)

Potential Earnings: $20-25         
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in WHIP

While a crazy high ceiling is great, a very high floor has value as well. Skaggs is a safe bet to have major-league success thanks to his outstanding control and above-average stuff. Don't confuse his high floor as being an indictment of his upside, however; he's not lacking there, either. Skaggs’ curveball gives him an out pitch that will allow him to put hitters away, and his control, which has helped him tally a career minor-league walk rate of 2.6 BB/9, should lead to an outstanding WHIP. He's competing for the fifth starter spot in Arizona, and he'll have a chance to help fantasy teams this season.

27) Delino DeShields Jr, 2B, Houston Astros (Age: 20, ETA: 2015)

Potential Earnings: $30-35         
Risk Factor: High
Fantasy Overview: Three-category contributor; Impact potential in R, SB

DeShields really picked the wrong year to steal 100 bases. Firmly entrenched in Hamilton’s shadow, DeShields bounced back across the board in 2012, hitting .287/.389/.428 with 12 homers to go along the triple-digit thefts. There’s no shortage of risk with DeShields, but unlike Hamilton, he’s actually got some juice in his bat, with the potential to hit double-digit homers at the major-league level, and the ability to stick at a very scarce position.

28) Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs (Age: 21, ETA: 2014)

Potential Earnings: $30-35         
Risk Factor: High
Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor; Impact potential in HR, RBI

With Baez and Soler, Theo Epstein and company have two of the highest-upside bats in the minor leagues—the combined potential of which could send ripples through the space-time continuum. But with only 134 professional at-bats under his belt, Soler will need to prove that he’s a future fantasy stud for a full season. With more exposure to higher-level pitching, Soler could either become a top-five fantasy prospect in 2014 or drop out of the top 50 entirely.

29) Kevin Gausman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (Age 22, ETA: 2014)

Potential Earnings: $20-25         
Risk Factor: Medium
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in W, K

The Orioles selected Gausman with the fourth-overall pick in last June's draft, and they hope that he'll join Bundy atop their rotation in the near future. Gausman pitched in just five games last year as a pro after signing with the Orioles, but he's expected to move quickly through the minors. The combination of stuff and proximity to the bigs makes Gausman a tantalizing dynasty prospect.     

30) Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Age 20, ETA: 2015)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: High 
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in W, K, ERA

Bradley used his high-octane stuff to mow down hitters and finished second in the Low-A Midwest League in strikeouts with 152. Batters struggled to record hits against him, batting a paltry .181. In order for Bradley to fulfill his immense potential, though, he'll need to refine his control, which failed him to the tune of an ugly 5.6 BB/9 last year.

31) Chris Archer, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Age 24, ETA: Mid 2013)

Potential Earnings: $15-20         
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Three-category contributor; Impact potential in K

Archer demonstrated why he's considered one of the better pitching prospects in baseball in his limited time in the majors. He primarily used his fastball and slider to amass 11.0 K/9 in six big-league appearances (four starts). His most impressive start came against the Rangers in September, when he pitched seven brilliant innings, allowing just six base runners and two earned runs while striking out 11. Archer’s control remains below average, but in the second half of the minor-league season, he walked just 12 batters in 45 1/3 innings for Triple-A Durham. He probably won't break camp in the Rays' rotation, but he'll compete with Jake Odorizzi to fill the first opening that presents itself this year. Should he struggle to improve his control, he has a nice fallback of possibly becoming a high-leverage, late-inning reliever.

32) Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies (Age: 21, ETA: Late 2013)

Potential Earnings: $20-25         
Risk Factor: Medium
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Potential impact in AVG

There’s no question that Arenado’s prospect stock took a hit during the 2012 season. He didn’t perform up to lofty expectations and negative reports about his makeup surfaced. However, this is still the Rockies’ third baseman of the future, and to ignore the fact that he’ll soon call Coors Field home is foolish. His contact-oriented approach should lead to high batting averages and sneaky power at the major-league level.

33) Carlos Martinez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (Age 21, ETA: Late 2013)

Potential Earnings: $20-25         
Risk Factor: Medium
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in K, ERA

The biggest knocks on Martinez are his slight build and violent delivery. That said, he's succeeded as a starter thus far and is still being developed in that role. He has the stuff to stay in the rotation, and his staggering ground-ball rate of 63 percent for Double-A Springfield bodes well for him keeping the ball in the yard. Should he prove incapable of holding up under a starter's workload, he'll take his high-90s heater to the back of the bullpen and be an asset to fantasy teams as a dynamic closer.

34) Brian Goodwin, OF, Washington Nationals (Age: 22, ETA: 2014)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: High
Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor; Potential impact in R

Playing the entire season at age-21, Goodwin dominated the Sally League (.324/.438/.542 with nine homers and 15 steals in 216 at-bats), and then held his own after a two-level jump to Double-A. He even threw in 11 extra-base hits and an 815 OPS in the Arizona Fall League, just for good measure. Goodwin has the tool box to be a true five-category contributor in the majors, but with Denard Span now in Washington, the Nationals are likely to take it slow with him.

35) George Springer, OF, Houston Astros (Age: 23, ETA: 2014)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: High
Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor

It’s hard to separate Springer’s .316/.398/.557 line with 22 homers and 28 steals from the intense offensive environment in which it was authored. However, hitting .286/.412/.600 in the Arizona Fall League certainly helped paint his development in a more positive light. Double-A will be a big test for Springer, but with a wide-open Houston outfield in front of him, he has a chance to move quickly if his approach continues to improve.

36) Casey Kelly, RHP, San Diego Padres (Age 23, ETA: Now)

Potential Earnings: $15-20         
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Four category contributor

Elbow inflammation limited Kelly to fewer than 70 innings last season, but it didn't prevent him from reaching the majors. Kelly lacks star-level potential, but he does a good job of throwing strikes and keeping the ball on the ground, and he's able to whiff enough batters to make the overall package work. He's big-league ready, and he'll soon call PETCO Park home.   

37) Danny Hultzen, LHP, Seattle Mariners (Age 23, ETA: Mid 2013)

Potential Earnings: $15-20         
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor

Hultzen was drafted by the Mariners with the second pick in the 2011 amateur draft and was expected to move quickly. He did just that, pitching in 12 games for Triple-A Tacoma last year. The southpaw came with a strike-throwing reputation, having walked just 75 batters in three seasons at the University of Virginia. His control wavered a bit last season, most notably with Tacoma (8.0 BB/9), and he walked 75 batters in 124 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A. His track record suggests that the walk rate will tick down, and his pitch mix gives him a chance to strike out more batters than the average hurler, though you shouldn’t expect the batter-per-inning rate to continue. Despite the fences coming in at Safeco Field, Hultzen should benefit from calling Seattle home.

38) Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets (Age 20, ETA: 2015)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: High
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in W, K, ERA, WHIP

Syndergaard was acquired by the Mets as part of the package for R.A. Dickey. He spent the entire 2012 season in Low-A and his 110 strikeouts ranked 10th in the Low-A Midwest League. The strikeouts didn't come with the usual high walk totals associated with many flame throwers that miss bats, as Syndergaard's walk rate was a solid 2.7 BB/9. He'll need to successfully navigate the upper minors, but he has a chance to become an excellent fantasy pitcher.

39) Alen Hanson, SS/2B, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 20, ETA: 2015)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: High
Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor

Hanson came almost out of nowhere in 2012 to lead the Sally League in total bases (258). It’s only natural that he’s compared to fellow pop-up Pirates prospect Gregory Polanco, but Hanson is more than a year younger than Polanco, and he’ll stick at one of the two shallowest fantasy positions. He may never be elite in any one category, but he could contribute across the board—which is rare for a middle infielder.

40) Matt Barnes, RHP, Boston Red Sox (Age 22, ETA: 2014)

Potential Earnings: $20-25         
Risk Factor: Medium
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in W, K

Barnes put prospect enthusiasts on notice early last season by dominating Low-A hitters. He pitched well in High-A, but tired down the stretch, and the fatigue showed in his results. Barnes is built to pitch deep into ballgames, which will help his case in earning wins, and he has the stuff to strike batters out at a high rate. He'll open the year in Double-A, and a late-season look in Boston is a possibility. 

41) Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (Age 20, ETA: 2015)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: High
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in K, ERA

Sanchez is a strikeout pitcher, but he needs to work on throwing more strikes. He struck out better than a batter per inning last year (9.7 K/9), but struggled with walks (5.1 BB/9). In order to reach his full potential, Sanchez will need to refine his secondary pitches and improve his command and control.. He's years away from helping fantasy teams and comes with significant risk, but the upside is considerable.

42) Max Fried, LHP, San Diego Padres (Age 19, ETA: 2016)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: High
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in W, K, ERA, WHIP

Fried was selected seventh overall in last June's amateur draft. He tallied just 17 2/3 innings at the complex level in his pro debut, and his stock could soar as he gets more innings under his belt. He won't help fantasy teams anytime soon, but owners hoping to latch onto Fried's upside would be wise to do so now.

43) Jedd Gyorko, 2B/3B, San Diego Padres (Age: 24, ETA: Now)

Potential Earnings: $15-20         
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor

One of this year’s spring training stars, Gyorko is trying to win the second-base job for the Padres. However, with fewer than 50 games at the position as a professional, he’ll have to prove himself defensively just as much as offensively. And despite hitting 30 homers between Double-A and Triple-A, Gyorko is more of a solid-average fantasy player, whose value will play up greatly if he can stick at the keystone.

44) Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees (Age: 20, ETA: 2015)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: High
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in HR, RBI

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Sanchez’s 2012 season was not the step forward defensively or the supposed improvement in his makeup, but his 15 stolen bases in 19 attempts. As an offensive Yankee backstop, Sanchez will be measured against Jesus Montero, whether the comparison is fair or not. Fortunately for Sanchez, while he doesn’t have that type of offensive upside, he’s got a better chance to stick behind the plate than Montero ever did.

45) David Dahl, OF, Colorado Rockies (Age: 19, ETA: 2016)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: High
Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor; Impact potential in AVG, R

Dahl’s tenure as the post-draft, small-sample hype prospect was short-lived, as that space is currently inhabited by Russell, but there’s no denying how impressive the Pioneer League MVP was. Yes, it was a loud offensive environment, but so are Asheville, Modesto, Colorado Springs, and Denver. In the end, Dahl has a chance to be a batting-average stud with solid production in home runs and steals—sort of like Carlos Gonzalez, but with less power.

46) Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 21, ETA: 2015)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: High
Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor

Hitting .325/.388/.522 with 16 homers and 40 steals in 437 at-bats in one’s full-season debut is a really good way to get people to stand up and notice you. Polanco started the season as the guy playing next to Josh Bell, but by early summer, he was a main attraction for scouts (along with Hanson). A five-category hitter, he’s not a burner like his 40 steals would suggest, but has 20-20 potential if the breakout was real (though projections on his power potential vary).

47) Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Kansas City Royals (Age 21, ETA: Late 2013)

Potential Earnings: $20-25         
Risk Factor: Medium
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in K, ERA, WHIP

Zimmer didn't start his college career as a pitcher. He didn't begin pitching for the University of San Francisco until his sophomore season, and that has its pros and cons. He doesn't have much wear and tear on his arm as a result, but he's also still learning the nuances of pitching. Because he signed quickly after the Royals nabbed him with the fifth pick in last year's amateur draft, Zimmer was able to spend time at the complex level last year, as well as in Low-A. He had a minor elbow surgery last September to clear out bone chips, but he'll be ready to face the challenges of a full-season assignment this year. 

48) Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Minnesota Twins (Age: 21, ETA: Mid 2013)

Potential Earnings: $15-20         
Risk Factor: Low
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor

With both Span and Ben Revere leaving Minnesota, the outfield is wide open for Arcia to claim a spot during the 2013 season. A career .314/.371/.535 hitter in the minor leagues, Arcia has little left to prove at the plate in the minors—though he’ll likely see the sights of Rochester for a couple of months to start the season. Unfortunately, Target Field hampers left-handed power, which will be a factor for Arcia.

49) Aaron Hicks, OF, Minnesota Twins (Age: 23, ETA: Mid 2013)

Potential Earnings: $20-25         
Risk Factor: Medium
Fantasy Overview: Four-category contributor; Impact potential in R

Hicks is another beneficiary of the Revere/Span trades, but he has a much spottier track record in the minor leagues. His performance has been very good in even years and disappointing in odd years, as is evidenced by his OPS by season: 900, 735, 829, 722, 844. If he can break that trend in 2013, Hicks brings on-base ability (.379 career OBP) and speed to the table, with the potential for power down the road.

50) Trevor Story, SS, Colorado Rockies (Age: 20, ETA: 2015)

Potential Earnings: $25-30         
Risk Factor: High
Fantasy Overview: Five-category contributor

It’s very hard not to get excited about a potential five-category contributor at shortstop, especially one that will play half of his games at Coors Field. The question is how much projection is there for Story, as he’s not the toolsiest player on this list. However, even if he’s a .260 hitter capable of hitting 15 homers and stealing 15 bases in a neutral park, those numbers (and his counting stats) will all play up in the thin air.

Bret Sayre is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Bret's other articles. You can contact Bret by clicking here

43 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Contractual Matters: T... (03/06)
Next Article >>
In A Pickle: The Worst... (03/07)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Daily League Strategy: Two Servings of Fland...
Fantasy Article My Model Portfolio: Three-and-a-Half Months ...
Notes About Baseball, 7/22
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Boston Gives 'Em A Li...
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Monday, July 2...
Premium Article Moonshot: Accounting for Count
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: What Did I ...

MORE FROM MARCH 7, 2013
Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Atlanta Bra...
Overthinking It: The All-Rookie Roster
On the Beat: Fighting for BĂ©isbol Prominenc...
Skewed Left: PECOTA vs. Vegas
Rumor Roundup: Cardinals' Rotation Prepping ...
In A Pickle: The Worst All-Around Teams in H...

MORE BY BRET SAYRE
2013-03-19 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Tier Rankings: Catchers
2013-03-13 - Fantasy Article Five to Watch: Drawing Blanks
2013-03-11 - Fantasy Article Top 100 Dynasty League Prospects
2013-03-07 - Top 100 Dynasty League Prospects
2013-02-25 - Fantasy Article Pre-Season Positional Rankings: Top 15 Fanta...
2013-02-22 - Fantasy Article Five to Watch: National League Hitters
2013-02-21 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Getting the Platoon Advan...
More...


INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2013-03-11 - Fantasy Article Top 100 Dynasty League Prospects