With the regular season finally upon us, here's a look at what prospects are in my wallet.
Masahiro Tanaka, SP, Yankees: I own Tanaka stock in three leagues and paid dearly to own him in every format I'm in. The splitter is for real, as is the control, which we witnessed this spring. I drafted him as a potential ace and expect great ratios, strikeout totals and plenty of wins out of the latest Japanese import.
Billy Hamilton, OF, Reds: Today's "golden sombrero" debut is only a blip on the radar in what should be an exciting rookie season for Hamilton. I said 80 steals was the floor earlier this spring and it appears the rest of the Yahoo! staff is right around that figure with their predictions, too. Watching him adapt to the majors is going to be a real treat.
Erik Johnson, SP, White Sox: I picked up the young White Sox hurler in my AL-only home league on Sunday for a minimum bid ($.50). The minor league numbers pass the eye test, and I expect to see useful K/9 (6.5) and ERA (4.00) over the course of the season. While those numbers aren't world beating, a minimum investment should result in at least a modest profit.
Kyle Zimmer, SP, Royals: Another minimum bid pickup in my AL-only, Zimmer will serve as a keeper contract and midseason stash. His strikeout arsenal is one of the most exciting in the minors, and he's nearly major league ready. The shoulder woes he experienced at the end of last season are a bit of a concern, but the talent is too immense to ignore.
Jurickson Profar, 2B, Rangers: He'll be a DL stash for me with the news of his shoulder injury, but I'm not about to drop him. Playing in Arlington and in a very talented Rangers lineup, he should be a nice source of value for fantasy owners willing to be patient while he heals.
Jose Abreu, 1B, White Sox: I invested in the latest Cuban stud in a yearly format as well as a dynasty league. The power is legit as is his approach to hitting. Concerning is his propensity for getting plunked, as he was regularly at or near the top of that list in Cuba Serie Nacional. He has the potential to be special as long as he stays in the lineup, something his countrymen have had trouble doing the past few years.
George Springer, OF, Astros: He should be arriving in June, but that wasn't stopping me from drafting and stashing him in a few yearly mixers. The batting average could be an adventure, but the power and speed are both legit. If his contact rate improves as he continues to mature, he could be a superstar.
Yordano Ventura, SP, Royals: His spring was highly impressive, and there is tons of helium in his prospect stock. Control has always been an issue with Ventura, but the strikeout potential is enormous. That dominance is extremely tantalizing to me. I got him in early drafts on the cheap in a few leagues but refused to pay the higher price later in the spring in drafts.
Carlos Martinez, RP, Cardinals: I picked up my Martinez stock early in the spring with the hope that he'd be in the rotation. While that didn't come to fruition, I have no intention on dropping the young righty, as he could follow in the footsteps of teammate Trevor Rosenthal and be a great source of strikeouts and ratios this season. The possibility of him moving back to the rotation if a spot opens is also an added bonus.
For Dynasty Leagues Only
Devon Travis, 2B, Tigers: Picked him up in my annual dynasty draft to fill our rosters prior to the season. Love the offensive upside here, as he possess an interesting power and speed blend to go along with a keen batting eye. He could still be a few years away, but he should eventually supplant Ian Kinsler in Detroit if he continues to develop.
Colin Moran, 3B, Marlins: One of the best pure hitters in the 2014 draft, Moran should move quickly through the Marlins system as a polished college bat. He may only produce 15-20 homers, but if that comes along with a high batting average and on-base ability, he'll hold plenty of fantasy value.
Sean Manaea, SP, Royals: Was arguably the best college lefty heading into the 2013 draft and was in the discussion to be drafted first overall prior to a hip injury. Now healthy, he could establish himself once again as an impact prospect and serve as a left-handed compliment to Ventura and Zimmer in the Royals' rotation for many years to come.
You've seen what I've got, now what about you? Feel free to share what prospects you're buying for 2014 in the comments.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rsteingall
- Sports & Recreation
- White Sox