By Adam McGill
A vast knowledge of minor league players is a pivotal skill to ensure a successful dynasty fantasy baseball team. In a couple of years, these young kids in the minors are the players who will turn into the next generation’s Albert Pujols or C. C. Sabathia. Below are my top five fantasy baseball prospects to watch at the mound this year:
5. SP Tom Milone, OAK – Milone has already earned the fourth spot in the A’s rotation, after an amazing 2011 campaign. He had a strikeout to walk ratio of 9:1 through 24 starts in Triple-A Syracuse last year and posted a respectable 12-6 record. Milone is an outstanding ground-ball pitcher, something that transitions extremely well into the MLB. Milone may not have won the fifth and final spot in the O’s rotation this April, but he will be first in line if either, Brian Matusz or Jason Hammel, struggle at all early in the year.
4. RP Addison Reed , CHW – The 23-year old earned a spot in the White Sox bullpen at the end of last season following two years in the minors. During that span Reed posted a stellar 1.41 ERA along with 12.9 strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio. He is a natural closer with his amazing strikeout ability, but may have to fight for the role this year. Head coach Robin Ventura has not officially said who the closer will be yet, but it appears that Reed will start the year as a middle reliever. However, Reed is the long-term closing option in the Windy City and the position uncertainty may cause him to come cheaper.
3. SP Julio Teheran, ATL – Teheran is the better of the three prospects ahead of him on this list, but the 21-year old will likely not have much of an impact in 2012. He will be stuck behind a loaded Braves rotation and has not as polished as expected with a horrific 17 earned runs allowed in just over 16 inning pitched. However, Teheran has an amazingl fastball that touches the upper 90’s. He generates phenomenal power despite only weighing 175 pounds soaking wet and is the best long-term pitching prospect in the majors. The youngster is too electric to have striking out minor leaguers, so he will be in Hot-lanta coincidently for the summer.
2. SP Trevor Bauer, ARI – Bauer has a very unnatural throwing motion, but his amazing ability to mow down hitters has drawn vast comparisons to San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum. Bauer was almost called up last year during the team’s playoff run, but the team decided to be cautious with their 2011 third overall selection. Bauer has an amazing fastball that can top out above 96 MPH and the former UCLA star can really launch himself off the rubber. Bauer is a front of the rotation pitcher and will be racking up K’s in the majors before too long.
1. SP Matt Moore , TB – The 22-year old impressed the world last season, as he defeated the Rangers 9-0 with 7 innings pitched, 6 strikeouts, and no earned runs. Moore followed it up with an 11-strikeout, no earned run performance in five innings of work against the Yankees in the ALDS. Tampa Bay always knew that they had a strikeout artist waiting in the wings with an ungodly 210 in 150 inning pitched in the MILB, but they had no idea that the kid was this special. Moore can eventually lead the rotation with this kind of heat on his fastball and is a must-have long-term keeper.