TDG Top-300 Plus: Three more players who should be on your radar
Last Friday, we released a massive shot across the fantasy baseball industry’s bow in our TDG Top-300 Fantasy Prospect rankings. It was a large undertaking with many writers submitting their personal lists. After much debate, chair flinging, and calls to see reason, a final list was distilled down to the fine product you see before you. Unfortunately, many of us saw some players we were championing miss the cut. By its nature, that size list is only going to be valued by those in ludicrously deep leagues. But in an effort expend our influence even further to those in leagues that are borderline psychotic, and maybe push a couple of my own personal favorites one more time, here are three more guys to keep an eye on this season.
*Keep in mind that these guys were not ranked in our top 300. So while I may like them more than others, they are by no means players you should run out and sell the farm for right now. But add them to your watch list as they could be primed to jump onto our list next year.
OF Jason Martin, Houston Astros
Martin spent last season in Hig-A Lancaster. As a 20 years old, he was age-appropriate for the level yet showed great maturity at the plate as evidenced by his 11.9% walk rate. He also displayed some surprising pop, hitting 20 home runs and posting a .263 ISO. Add that to his 20 steals and he looks like a major breakout power/speed threat. However, he has gone unranked on most organizational lists this year due to criticisms that his favorable hitting environment in Lancaster inflated his numbers. Those charges are not without merit as his home/road splits were pretty drastic and he failed to impress in the Arizona Fall League. But he has undeniable contact ability. If he can continue to couple that with an advanced approach at the plate and speed on the base paths as he moves up through their system, Martin could be the next young Astros outfield sleeper candidate.
3B Dermis Garcia, New York Yankees
Garcia was one of the top J2 international signees in 2014 and received the biggest bonus in the class when he signed with the Yankees as part of their market coup that year. Garcia has struggled with pitch recognition, leading to contact issues in his first two professional seasons. But he already has massive raw power (some scouts grade it out as 70-80) and is fairly patient at the plate. If the likely first basemen can learn to deal with quality breaking balls, he could turn into a Joey Gallo/Miguel Sano type prospect. Regardless of the secondary tools, 80 power will always get fantasy owners hearts racing, so he’s certainly worth keeping an eye on. Of course, secondary tools at the plate matter, and we’ve seen how that ultimately can turn out in the aforementioned Gallo. Still, if Garcia shows signs of development in his approach against breaking balls, you could get in on the ground floor of a huge value spike.
SP Taylor Hearn, Pittsburgh Pirates
Hearn is a 6’5” lefty with a plus-plus mid-90’s fastball that he can push to 100+ in relief. He also has a projectable plus slider and a changeup that could develop into average or above with more reps.
Impressed? Wait, let me finish.
His control is incredibly raw thanks to an inability to repeat his delivery and he is behind in his development due to a lengthy injury history in high school and college. He was dominant out of a relief role in A-Ball last season before the Pirates decided to start developing him as a starter. If he can prove himself healthy and make strides in the development of his control and secondary offerings his year, we may be looking at an absolute monster who is in the top-100 conversation by 2018. If you are risk averse, Hearn definitely is not your guy. But the cost of investment right now is fairly low, which mitigates that risk. If you have room to stash him, now may not be a bad time to acquire him. Sure, there is a significant chance he doesn’t make it as a starter and may not even have enough control to be an effective reliever, but when you get this deep into your prospect research, you need to make note of upside wherever you find it and Hearn (along with the other two guys on this list) have it in spades.