The Top 150 Dynasty League Prospects, Part 5 (#30-1)
Today is Day Five. Over the next 27 days, this site will be dedicated almost solely to the task at hand – the 2013 Dynasty League Rankings. If you’re looking for background on both the content you should expect and the dates you should expect them, check out the 2013 rankings homepage. And we’re kicking off the month-long project with the list that I’ve gotten the most questions about since the off-season started. The only difference between the original schedule and what you’ll see this week is that I’ve broken the Top 150 out into five parts, not three. Each day of the week, you’ll get thirty more guys until we culminate Friday with #1.
First, I have a couple of disclaimers specific to the prospect list before we jump in. These rankings are for fantasy purposes only, and do not directly take into account things like an outfielder’s range or a catcher’s pop time. Of course, these things do matter indirectly as they affect a player’s ability to stay at a particular position. So, while Austin Hedges may be a top-50 prospect in baseball, due in large part to his defensive value, he’ll be much lower in these rankings because his upside isn’t nearly as great for fantasy. Additionally, these rankings will take into account a player’s parent organization – so a pitcher likely to call Petco or Safeco home, will get a bump. Same with hitters who are likely to play at Coors or in Arlington. But most importantly, the intention of this list is to balance the upside, probability and proximity of these players to an active fantasy lineup. So, in a vacuum, I’d rather have the #104 player on this list than #105 on my dynasty league roster right now, based on all of those factors.
Additionally, if you want to delve any further into the list or have specific dynasty league questions, either post them in the comments section below, catch me on Twitter at @dynastyguru or send me an e-mail to dynastyguru [at] gmail [dot] com and I will answer all of them. If you just want to say hello or tell me I’ve over/under rated someone you love/hate, that’s great too. I’m a firm believer that an ongoing dialogue is always more helpful than a singular monologue, and the goal of this is to be an additional resource in guiding your team to a championship.
So without any further ado, here is the final installment of the 2013 Top 150 Dynasty League Prospect list:
#30 – Danny Hultzen, LHP, Seattle Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma, 2012 rank: #32)
Hultzen is similar to Casey Kelly in many ways. It’s not dominating stuff, but he’s athletic, knows how to pitch and will be calling a very favorable park home for the foreseeable future. With Hultzen, it’s also a similar skill set, with a low-90’s fastball and two likely above-average pitches in his change-up and slider. What sets Hultzen apart from most other pitchers on this list without elite stuff is that when he’s on, he pitches with an aggressiveness that showed in his Double-A numbers – 1.19 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 79 K in 75 1/3 IP. He lost his control as his first full-season wound down, but should not be much of a concern going forward. He should see Seattle by July and his #3 profile will play up in Safeco.
#29 – Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (Low-A South Bend, 2012 rank #33)
Bradley and Hultzen were back-to-back last year as well, but this year, the order is flipped – and it’s because Bradley showed the electric stuff that gave him all that buzz in fall instructs last year during game action in the Midwest League. It’s nearly impossible to quibble with the stuff, and Baseball America rated Bradley as having the best fastball and best off-speed pitch (curve) in the Midwest League this past year. But as you can tell by looking at his stats – 3.84 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 84 BB and 152 K in 136 IP – Bradley needs to do a better job of channeling his electricity. If he makes some real improvement to his control in High-A, Bradley could easily be a top-10 prospect next year.
#28 – Rymer Liriano, OF, San Diego Padres (Double-A San Antonio, 2012 rank: #60)
While Liriano did not take home any hardware this year (he was Midwest League MVP in 2011), he continued his progression from a package of tools into a baseball player in 2012. His regular season was not super impressive from a statistical perspective, going .280/.350/.417 with 8 HR and 32 SB between High-A and Double-A – but the reports continued to be strong. And in the Arizona Fall League, he showed why, hitting .313/.376/.505 with 4 HR, 6 SB and most importantly, only 21 K in 97 PA. There have been a number of potential five-tool players on this list, but Liriano is one of the few with 25+ HR ability. That makes for a great fantasy package when you’re talking about a player who’s stolen 152 bases in 492 minor league games (though he’s slowing down a bit as he builds strength).
#27 – Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs (Low-A Peoria, 2012 rank: NR)
Soler debuted to much fanfare in 2012, showing why he received a 9 year, $30mm contract from the Cubs this spring. There was much talk earlier in the year about how some teams preferred Soler to fellow Cuban émigré Yoenis Cespedes – but the impressive performance of Cespedes has somewhat overshadowed the 20-year old. In some ways, he’s similar to Rymer Liriano, in that he is a potential five-tool guy who should be heavier on the HR than the SB in his prime. However, while Soler hit .338/.398/.513 with 3 HR and 4 SB in 80 Midwest League AB, the most impressive thing about his stat line may be the 6 K in 86 PA, given his limited exposure to quality pitching recently. There are many unknowns here, but Soler has the tools to put up stats similar to what Jason Heyward did in 2012.
#26 – Mike Zunino, C, Seattle Mariners (Double-A Jackson, 2012 rank: NR)
There was almost certainly no more major-league ready player in the 2012 draft than Zunino, who proved it by going out and demolishing minor league pitching once he signed. The Northwest League may never be the same again after Zunino torched opposing pitchers to a .373/.474/.736 line with 10 HR in 110 AB. And once in Double-A, he barely slowed down, hitting .333/.386/.588 in 51 AB. But don’t get too googly-eyed over these stats, Zunino is much more likely to be a solid average player in the majors than a superstar. If you set your expectations around the Miguel Montero range (.280-290 AVG with 15-20 HR), you’ll be pleased, but if you’re expecting Buster Posey type production, you may be barking up the wrong tree. The value here is in Zunino’s high floor.
#25 – Christian Yelich, OF, Miami Marlins (High-A Jupiter, 2012 rank: #31)
Yelich may be the prospect most similar to an M.C. Escher print – you really can see what you want to see when you look at him. The one thing almost everyone agrees upon is that Yelich can flat out hit. A potential .300+ hitter at the major league level, he has a sweet left-handed swing and consistently barrels the ball to all fields. It’s the secondary skills where there’s much less of a consensus. I’ve seen his power projections range from 10-12 HR on the low-side to approaching 30 on the high-side. There’s also open debate about how much his speed will play once he fills out a little more, and although he quelled a lot of this in 2012, there was also talk that he’d have to move to 1B eventually due to his below-average arm. But even if he’s a .300-15-15 guy, that’s a very valuable player.
#24 – Delino DeShields Jr, 2B, Houston Astros (High-A Lancaster, 2012 rank: NR)
Everyone collectively lost their minds over Billy Hamilton in 2012 (and for good reason), but in an incredibly under-the-radar fashion, DeShields stole 101 bases in 135 games between Low-A and High-A. And while he might not have the pure speed of Hamilton (no one does) or the success at an upper level, DeShields does boast more in the power department. The most promising aspect of his game is his ability to take a walk, which will go very nicely with his plus-plus speed as he works his way up the chain – his .401 OBP at Low-A was good for 7th in the Sally League. He’s got a ways to go, but there’s no denying that DeShields is potential fantasy gold, as a lead-off hitter who could steal 60+ bases.
#23 – Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB, 2012 rank: #16)
Skaggs isn’t a flashy prospect by any means, but he’s certainly been a successful one. For his entire minor league career, Skaggs is 27-17 with a 2.98 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 429 K in 389 IP – and that success stems from the fact that he can mix and match three above-average to plus pitches with a good amount of precision. Skaggs got a cup of coffee at the end of 2012, and had a rough go of it (not to dissimilar to fellow NL West prospect Casey Kelly), but it’s a necessary bump in the road. What Skaggs won’t be able to do going forward is allow a 47.9% fly ball rate at Chase Field; however, he’s consistently put up above-average ground ball numbers in the minor leagues, so I expect him to make improvements there as he gets more comfortable.
#22 – Mike Olt, 3B, Texas Rangers (MLB, 2012 rank: #69)
With the Rangers signing Lance Berkman to DH this off-season, it’s tough to imagine Olt getting a regular job with the big league club out of spring training. Though he’s certainly done enough at the minor league level to prove he’s ready. In 2012, Olt crushed Double-A pitching to the tune of .288/.398/.579 with 28 HR and 82 RBI – and while he did strike out nearly 25% of the time, he shouldn’t be expected to hit for an average that high in the majors anyway. However, he does have the requisite power, approach and control to be a .270, 30 HR hitter at his peak – and that power will only play up in Rangers Ballpark. The only potential roadblock to his near-term value is the chance that he temporarily loses 3B eligibility by staying in Texas, due to the presence of Adrian Beltre.
#21 – Trevor Bauer, RHP, Cleveland Indians (Triple-A Reno, 2012 rank: #10)
Bauer is essentially the anti-Skaggs (which makes it unfortunate they’re no longer in the same organization). He’s a big name with flashy stuff and below average command that made a name for himself partially because of his quirky warm up techniques. But in light of his struggles at the major league level and the Diamondbacks willingness to trade him for a no-hit SS prospect, it’s easy to forget how good he was in the minors this year. Between Double-A and Triple-A, Bauer went 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 157 K in 130 1/3 IP. The frustrating thing was that his lack of control was attributable more to his pitching style (which the Diamondbacks tried to change) than command issues. If the Indians can help him realize that his stuff is good enough to attack hitters in the zone with, Bauer can be a high-K #2 SP in very short order.
#20 – Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins (Short-season Elizabethton, 2012 rank: NR)
The Buxton/Correa debate is one that will likely rage for a long time – as many scouts felt that Buxton was the best available talent in the 2012 draft. Whenever a player has five tools that project as future 50’s or higher, he’s a potential special player. With Buxton, it’s not hard to imagine all five of his tools projecting as 60’s or higher – depending on where you fall on how much power he’ll have. Viewed as a raw player due to the low level of competition in the middle of nowhere Georgia, Buxton held his own in both the GCL and Appy League, hitting .248/.344/.448 with 5 HR and 11 SB in 165 AB. His speed is elite, including the first-step quickness to be able to steal 50+ bases at the major league level if he wants to. There may not be another player in the minors with a higher fantasy upside.
#19 – Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros (Rookie-league Greeneville, 2012 rank: NR)
Anyone who’s familiar with Rany Jayazerli’s study on age relative to draft class will know why it’s so easy to get a little giddy over what Correa could become. He hit .258/.305/.400 between the Gulf Coast and Appy Leagues, but Correa did not turn 18 until the season was long over (September 22). The tools border on ridiculous, with the size, strength and bat speed to be a plus-average, plus-plus power shortstop with the speed and instincts to contribute in SB as well. There have been plenty of comparisons to Manny Machado, who was also a big bat SS drafted when he was still 17-years old, and you can certainly see why. There are great prospects and then there are game changers – Correa is a potential game changer.
#18 – Miguel Sano, 3B/OF, Minnesota Twins (Low-A Beloit, 2012 rank: #23)
There’s no question who has the biggest power potential of any prospect in the minor leagues, but we’ve known this about Sano for a while now. What we don’t know is how he’ll develop as a hitter moving forward and where he’ll end up on the diamond. In his first taste of full-season ball, Sano hit .258/.373/.521 with 28 HR, 100 RBI and 8 SB in 457 AB. That part is great, but he also struck out in 26% of his plate appearances – which is right in line with his career minor league line. If he can be a .260-.270 hitter at the major league level, his “Godfather power”, as Jason Parks wrote, could make him an annual 40 HR hitter. And if he can do this while sticking in RF (his likely position once 3B is abandoned), this is a potential first-round pick. There’s certainly risk with Sano, but no lack of reward either.
#17 – Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs (High-A Daytona, 2012 rank: #58)
Named the Most Exciting Player in the Midwest League by Baseball America, despite only playing in 57 games there, Baez is exactly that: exciting. He has incredible bat speed, possibly the best in all of the minor leagues, and he swings at pretty much everything. He worked 13 non-intentional walks in 317 plate appearances, which tells you a lot of what you need to know about his lack of an approach. But despite this, he hit .294/.346/.543 with 16 HR and 24 SB in 293 AB, which tells you a little about his potential. The tools are there for Baez to be a potential 7-7 player, meaning he could hit .300 HR with 30 HR on an annual basis – but he’s going to have to improve his plan at the plate, or else he could be the next in a long line of Cubs hitting prospects who don’t develop the requisite plate discipline to allow their tools to play at the highest level.
#16 – Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi, 2012 rank: #36)
By far the #1 first base prospect in the minors, Singleton played the 2012 season as a 20-year old in Double-A and had his most impressive offensive season to date. His .284/.396/.497 line with 21 HR and 7 SB portends what’s to come at the major league level, as Singleton can hit for both average and power – and even has enough athleticism to steal a couple of bases here and there early in his career. Likely to start 2013 in Triple-A (after his 50 game suspension for appetite enhancers is complete), Singleton’s short-term value is buoyed by the Astros move to the AL, as there will be plenty of room for him (even if, for some crazy reason, Brett Wallace starts hitting). He is very unlikely to be a Votto/Pujols type impact 1B, but he could be .280-30-100 in the bank at his peak.
#15 – Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Double-A Altoona, 2012 rank: #18)
The first of the Pirates’ two studly arms, Taillon is a potential workhorse with two plus-plus pitches in his fastball and his curve. The issue with him, however, is that the results have not quite been there yet. For his minor league career, he has a 3.72 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 213 K in 234 2/3 IP – which is very good, but not the type of results you’d expect from the 2nd overall pick in the draft (2010). It’s tough to know how much of this is from a development plan the Pirates have for him and how much is actually performance based, but scouting reports have remained glowing (especially for his three dominating end of season starts at Double-A). This could be the year he explodes into the forefront of baseball’s consciousness.
#14 – Jose Fernandez, RHP, Miami Marlins (High-A Jupiter, 2012 rank: #88)
Perhaps no one raised their prospect stock more in 2012 than Jose Fernandez. Of course, a 14-1 record with a 1.75 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 158 K in 134 IP predominantly as a teenager across both A-ball levels will do that. Fernandez relies mostly a mid-90’s fastball and sharp curveball, both of which project as serious out pitches at the highest level, along with a slider that’s not far behind. He’s a big bodied kid, and I’m pretty sure it was Kevin Goldstein who said on his former podcast that Fernandez has the big ass you want to see on a work horse. The biggest question mark with Fernandez is the development of his change-up – right now, it’s rough around the edges, but flashes average. Whether he projects as a #1 in the scouting sense is up for debate, but Fernandez is a potential #1 fantasy SP.
#13 – Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF, Detroit Tigers (Double-A Erie, 2012 rank: #48)
There’s something about a player who steps to the plate without batting gloves that makes him look more like a natural hitter. And a natural hitter, Castellanos is. He certainly showed that in the Florida State League for the first few months of 2012, hitting .405/.461/.553 over 215 AB before being promoted to Double-A. And while the stats weren’t there at that level, he was still a 20-year old in the upper minors who was holding his own while being exposed to a new position (RF). Castellanos brings a plus-plus hit tool to the plate, along with power that scouts believe can develop into 20+ HR at the major league level. With the way the Tigers like to rush their prospects, and both Andy Dirks (performance risk) and Victor Martinez (injury risk) ahead of him, don’t be surprised to see him in Detroit before the break.
#12 – Anthony Rendon, 3B, Washington Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg, 2012 rank: #9)
On last year’s list, I wrote this: “Rendon is a future .300 hitter with 25-30 HR power, and that future could be as soon as 2013 – he just needs to stay healthy.” The debate still rages on as to whether he can stay healthy in the long-term and whether his ceiling has been stifled by the injury history he’s had. Clearly, with this ranking, I still believe in Rendon long-term – and it’s fitting that he’s ranked back-to-back with Castellanos, as they can both provide similar statistical outputs from a fantasy perspective. Of course, Rendon’s plate discipline is way more advanced, which makes him more likely to allow those primary skills to play up, but his injury risk is also much higher as well. If he can stay healthy (not to sound like a broken record or anything), Rendon could see the majors in the second half of 2013.
#11 – Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners (Double-A Jackson, 2012 rank: #20)
Walker has many things going for him on the mound. He is one of the best athletes you’ll see toe the rubber. He has the potential for two plus secondary pitches (curveball and cutter) to go along with his easy mid-90’s fastball. Even from a makeup perspective, he gets rave reviews as an ultimate competitor who doesn’t back down from a challenge – and what a challenge he got in 2012. As uncommon as it is to see a teenager in Double-A, it’s even more rare to see a pitcher get there, and Walker started 2012 as the youngest pitcher in the Southern League by almost a year. He also finished it as the youngest pitcher in all of Double-A. So while, a stat line of a 4.69 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 118 K in 126 2/3 IP may not be impressive in a vacuum for a top prospect, in this case, it is. Walker remains a potential fantasy ace.
#10 – Travis d’Arnaud, C, New York Mets (Triple-A Las Vegas, 2012 rank: #14)
There’s unlikely to ever be a year that d’Arnaud is the piece that leads you to victory in your league, as his profile is more of a steady above-average offensive performer at the position, but he is a guy you’d love to be able to roster. From a fantasy perspective, d’Arnaud can be a Brian McCann type player, offering both help in batting average (potential .280-.285 hitter) and power (potential 20-25 HR at his peak). The biggest risk with d’Arnaud is health – as he’s played 100 games only twice in four full minor-league seasons. It’s tough to put too much stock in to what d’Arnaud did in Las Vegas (.333/.380/.595 with 16 HR in 279 AB) because of the extreme offensive environment, but he’s going to end up starting the season right back there. With the trade to the Mets, d’Arnaud has a path to a job whenever the front office will allow his service time to start.
#9 – Shelby Miller, RHP, St Louis Cardinals (MLB, 2012 rank: #7)
When I ranked Miller as the #15 prospect in all of baseball during my mid-season update, I knew I was either going to look pretty dumb or pretty smart (with nothing in between). Fortunately, my continued long-term faith in Miller was supported by a dominating second half, capped off by a final 10 starts at Triple-A in which he went 7-2 with a 2.88 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 70-7 K/BB rate in 59 1/3 IP. That also earned him a September call-up where he had a 1.32 ERA and 16-4 K/BB rate in 13 2/3 IP, including a dominant 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2BB, 7 K performance against the Reds on the season’s final day. Even with the Cardinals’ rotation looking full ahead of him, I like Miller’s chances to make 15+ starts in the majors this year – and think he’s ready to get results. I wrote more about Miller back in August here.
#8 – Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Double-A Altoona, 2012 rank: #13)
When it comes to pure stuff, Cole matches up favorably against any pitcher in the minor leagues. But his detractors will talk about how the stuff has never quite made the journey into his results – which is an entirely fair point. In his first pro season after being the #1 pick in the stacked 2011 draft, Cole had a 2.80 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 136 K in 132 IP mostly between the Florida State and Eastern Leagues. Scouts were looking for dominance out of Cole, and although his performance was impressive nonetheless, it never quite got there. With a fastball that touches triple-digits regularly, a plus-plus slider and a change-up that flashes plus, he has the arsenal for domination – and if he puts the entire package together, he has #1 starter upside (which can only be said for a handful of starters on this list) and huge strikeout potential for fantasy.
#7 – Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets (Triple-A Buffalo, 2012 rank: #26)
I’ve literally been going back and forth between Wheeler and Cole since I started this list back in October. And by that, I mean I’ve flipped them at least a dozen times. The final deciding factor for me is the distance from the majors, which is in Wheeler’s favor for two reasons: 1) He’s already made 6 Triple-A starts including a dominating 7 IP shutout, and 2) the Mets Triple-A affiliate in 2013 will be Las Vegas, and I’d have to think they’ll want to have him there as little as possible. Wheeler boasts an impressive four pitch mix, with the requisite easy mid-90’s fastball, two breaking pitches (curve/slider) and a change-up which should be at least average. On top of that, Wheeler has an advanced ability to change speeds on all of his pitches, which will give him an extra weapon at his disposal against major league hitters.
#6 – Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox (Double-A Portland, 2012 rank: #56)
At this point in the list, we’ve now moved into OH MY GOD THIS GUY territory. Not to sell the players from 7 through 150 short, but OH MY GOD XANDER BOGAERTS. As a 19-year old, across High-A and Double-A, Bogaerts hit .307/.373/.523 with 20 HR and 81 RBI in 476 AB. Oh yeah, and he’s still playing shortstop. How long that continues is up for debate, but he has likely put himself in a position where he should at least start there at the major league level – and because we don’t care about the level of defender he is, just about the eligibility, this is huge for his fantasy value. Even if has to move off the position, you’d be hard pressed to find a spot on the diamond where you wouldn’t take a .290-30-100 hitter. He needs to work on his plate discipline, as shown by his 21-1 K/BB rate in Double-A, but this is a potentially elite bat if he can retain his SS eligibility and a great one, even off the position.
#5 – Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (Triple-A Omaha, 2012 rank: #15)
OH MY GOD WIL MYERS. The reigning Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year, Myers’ stat line across Double-A and Triple-A spoke for itself – .314/.387/.600 with 37 HR, 109 RBI and 6 SB in 522 AB. In fact, the 37 HR that he hit in 2012 was the second most ever by a 21-year old in the minors (Arlo Engel hit 41 HR for the El Paso Sun Kings of the Texas League in 1963, and amazingly never even reached the majors). Regardless, Myers will likely toil in Durham for the first few months of 2012 while Tampa Bay plays with his service time, but he’s ready right now. Unlike the players ahead of him, and Bogaerts behind him, Myers may not have first-round upside, but he should be a top-20 OF for at least the next decade. Realistically, he will either he a power hitter (30+ HR) with a more modest average (.270-.275) or a more well-rounded hitter with a higher average (.290-.300) and above-average power (20-25 HR).
#4 – Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (MLB, 2012 rank: #12)
OH MY GOD DYLAN BUNDY. The best pitching prospect in the game, what Bundy did in 2012 borders on unthinkable. For a prep pitcher to make the major leagues in his first pro season is not something you see every year. In fact, only four pitchers in the last 10 years have made the show before their 20th birthday: Bundy, Madison Bumgarner, Felix Hernandez and Edwin Jackson. And while he’s likely to spend the first couple of months in Triple-A, as a 20-year old, Bundy should be in Baltimore to stay. Bundy has a five-pitch arsenal, and they all project as at least plus, but it’s unclear how that will materialize at the major-league level. At some point, he has thrown a four-seamer, a two-seamer, a cutter, a curveball and a change-up – and while the Orioles had him scrap the two-seamer and cutter to work on his command, it’s likely to be part of his arsenal in Baltimore. There’s no pitching prospect in baseball with either Bundy’s certainty or upside.
#3 – Billy Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds (Double-A Pensacola, 2012 rank: #24)
OH MY GOD BILLY HAMILTON. So what did you do in 2012? Hamilton only spent it breaking the minor league record for stolen bases in a single year with 155. Yes, one hundred fifty-five (I’m spelling it out to make sure you know it’s not a typo). So let’s put this in perspective. The top three major leaguers in stolen bases for 2012 were Mike Trout, Rajai Davis and Everth Cabrera – and they combined for 139 steals, just 16 shy of Hamilton. But this isn’t all about pure speed, Hamilton also hit .311 with an OBP of .410 and he improved his strength, being able to square up velocity into the gaps. He’ll likely never hit 5 HR at the major league level in a given season, but you won’t care. Hamilton is a player who can single-handedly win you a category. Expect to see him in the majors at some point in the second half once the Reds are more comfortable with his transition from SS to CF.
#2 – Oscar Taveras, OF, St Louis Cardinals (Double-A Springfield, 2012 rank: #72)
OH MY GOD OSCAR TAVERAS. As a 19-year old jumping over High-A and straight to Double-A, Taveras was expected to have a challenge on his hands in 2012. It turns out, the only challenge Taveras had was for MVP of the Texas League (with the #1 prospect on this list) – and even that turned out in his favor. It’s a long list of impressive accomplishments for Taveras, who hit .321/.380/.572 with 23 HR, 94 RBI and 10 SB in 477 AB. In addition to that line, he also led the Texas League in batting average, doubles (37) and total bases (270), all while striking out in only 10.5% of his plate appearances. If you’ve never seen Taveras swing the bat, it’s a thing of beauty in the same way that a Tarantino film can be hilarious – both riddled with over-the-top violence. With the Cardinals sporting a full outfield, Taveras may not get a full-time gig until 2014, when Beltran’s contract is up, but it won’t be for a lack of readiness.
#1 – Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas Rangers (Double-A Hickory, 2012 rank: #5)
OH MY GOD JURICKSON PROFAR. Just take a step back and think about this for a second. Right now, the perennially contending Rangers are seriously thinking about moving a 2B who has been worth roughly 24 wins above replacement over the last five seasons (and who is still only 30 years old) to either 1B or LF to make room for a prospect who will still be 19 years old when Spring Training starts. That’s how good of a prospect Jurickson Profar is. Yes, he hit .281/.368/.452 with 14 HR and 16 SB in 480 AB this year as a teenager in Double-A, but the value in Profar is his certainty rather than his upside. He will never be a 30-30 player, but his floor is a top-10 SS (or 2B for the time being) – and he can do that as soon as 2013 if the 2B job is his. I wrote more here. If you are fortunate enough to own Profar in a dynasty format, it’s very likely that his fantasy goodness will outlast your league’s existence.
It’s been a long journey from Cheslor Cuthbert to Jurickson Profar, but we made it. Over 18,000 words to be exact. In keeping with the schedule, I’m going to post a top-50 2012 draftee list on Monday with minimal commentary, and then the position rankings start on Tuesday with catchers. If you enjoyed this list, there’s a lot more to look forward to over the next few weeks here at The Dynasty Guru – well, and after that too, it just won’t be rankings.
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