Fantasy Baseball: Top 10 Prospects That Will Break Out in 2013
Fantasy Baseball: Top 10 Prospects That Will Break Out in 2013
Rookies are tricky business in fantasy baseball. We love to get excited about rookies, but in most cases, their potential isn’t fully realized in their rookie seasons, and in fantasy baseball, it’s not about what you may become, but what you are right now.
But rookies are contributing earlier and earlier in their career these days, and they can now become an integral part of your fantasy team.
Depending on the makeup of your league, this list will look differently. For instance, if you have a keeper league, you can begin to factor in potential into your rookie drafting along with the immediate returns of their play. But for the sake of our list here, I’ve based my rankings solely on what they could do in 2013.
Ranking rookies is a matter of factoring in potential and opportunity. Jurickson Profar, for example, is among the most talented rookies in all of baseball, but at this point, we simply don’t know where his at-bats are going to come from next season. The same goes for Dylan Bundy. At this point, we don’t know if he’ll be in the majors.
These rankings factor in everything we know right now – the potential of a player combined with the opportunity he’s going to have to play in 2013.
10 - Kyle Gibson, MIN
Kyle Gibson would have been had a solid shot at making the Minnesota Twins starting rotation this season had it not been for the Tommy John surgery he needed at the end of the 2011 season. The former first round pick in 2009, he had a strong 2010 season, primarily in Double-A, but struggled trying to battle through injury in 2011 before succumbing to surgery. Gibson returned to throw 28 1/3 innings at the end of 2012, striking out batters at a rate not seen out of him before the surgery, and has continued to do the same in the Arizona Fall League. There are cases where pitchers return from Tommy John surgery stronger than they were before, and it appears Gibson could be one of those cases. Barring setback, he will compete for a spot in the Twins rotation this spring, and given their lack of options, it’s hard to believe he won’t win one.
9 - Grant Green, OAK
Grant Green may not be the most highly touted prospect in baseball, but he does offer potentially fantasy owners two things that not too many prospects can offer – a chance to play and positional flexibility. Green isn’t in the same prospect class that Bryce Harper and Mike Trout were in last season, but he did spend all of 2012 in Triple-A and does offer some power potential. Given the Oakland A’s offensive struggles this season, it appears they will try to find a spot for his bat in their 2013 lineup. The question is where. Green played three infield positions and two outfield positions in Triple-A in 2012, and his position next season will likely be determined by the needs of the A’s. With little offensive production at both second and third base this season, Green could spend time at both positions. Don’t be surprised if he plays over 100 games in 2013 and does so while gaining fantasy positional eligibility at multiple positions, something that’s always valuable to a fantasy team.
8 - Mike Olt, TEX
We don’t have any idea what the Texas Rangers roster will look like next season, which is the reason for Mike Olt’s ranking this low on this list. Olt is a true power hitter, and his bat in the Texas summer could lead to a lot of home runs for your fantasy team. A natural third baseman, he won’t be taking over for Adrian Beltre anytime soon, but the Rangers will try him out in left field, and he can play first base as well. Don’t be surprised to see him stealing at-bats from Mitch Moreland at first base, but at the very least, if you’re in to scheduling your lineup on a daily basis, Olt should get plenty of at-bats against left-handers.
7 - Dylan Bundy, BAL
If Dylan Bundy makes the Baltimore Orioles rotation out of spring training, he automatically has more value than we can guarantee that he’ll have now, but remember that as good as he’s going to become, he’ll still be just a 20-year-old pitcher in the American League East next season. Bundy likely has Cy Young Awards in his future, but even if he makes 30 starts in Baltimore next season, he won’t be that kind of pitcher right away. If you have a keeper league, grab him up, but if it’s just for 2013 he likely won’t be much better than an average fantasy starter.
6 - Adam Eaton - ARI
Adam Eaton is the exact opposite of Dylan Bundy, from a 2013 fantasy standpoint. While he doesn’t have a starting spot in the Arizona Diamondbacks outfield at the moment, the team is expected to move current center fielder Chris Young this off-season, creating room for Eaton. If that happens, Eaton should be the Diamondbacks starting center fielder and leadoff hitter, meaning a lot of runs scored. He should also offer a good amount of stolen bases, and while he won’t be a great power hitter, if you’re in a league that uses OPS rather than batting average, he’ll be a vastly underrated player.
5 - Zack Wheeler, NYM
For Zack Wheeler, his fantasy value is directly tied to when the New York Mets call him up. There is little doubt that Wheeler will contribute soon in the majors, and should offer solid strike out numbers, and while pitching in spacious Citi Field, a decent ERA. The Mets have not announced their plans for Wheeler, but he will be in the majors in 2013 at some point, and it could be as soon as Memorial Day.
4 - Trevor Bauer, ARI
Trevor Bauer comes with some inherent risk due to his struggles in the majors this season and his tendency for high walk rates, but there are few pitchers in the minors as prepared to dominate major league hitters as Bauer. The Diamondbacks should have a spot in their rotation for Bauer out of spring training, but you’ll have to be prepared to deal with one dominant start followed by a stinker. Bauer isn’t the kind of pitcher to go out and give you a consistent performance start after start, but when he’s on, he could carry your team in a given week.
3 - Shelby Miller, STL
Shelby Miller’s presence on the St. Louis Cardinals post-season roster, even though it’s in a bullpen role, shows their confidence in the young right-hander. If they have a spot in their rotation for next year, it’s going to Miller, who should put up strong strikeout numbers regardless of his ERA. Even while struggling a bit in Triple-A this season, he struck out 10.5 batters per nine innings despite an ERA of 4.74. In a full season of major league starts, both numbers should come down slightly, but that still makes for a mid-level fantasy starter.
2 - Jurickson Profar, TEX
Jurickson Profar faces the same battle for at-bats as does Mike Olt, but Profar is such a dynamic player that it’s hard to envision the Rangers not finding a place for him in their lineup. Depending on how their off-season plays out, Profar could play shortstop, second base, or center field. He will obviously have more value as an infielder, but his bat should be plenty no matter where he is. As an outfielder, however, he won’t be an upper-echelon at such a young age. As a second baseman, or a shortstop, however, he could easily be one of the better options as early as this year.
1 - Wil Myers, KC
Wil Myers is the only true impact bat ready to make a difference in the 2013 fantasy season. He may not begin the season with the Kansas City Royals, but he should be up by June, something that worked out just fine for Mike Trout’s owners this season. Myers won’t put up that kind of insane production, but if you’re looking for power out of next year’s rookie class, Myers is your guy.
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