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Minor Developments: Deep targets

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Let’s dig a little deeper this week and take a look at some deep league targets for those of you who play in hardcore dynasty formats. For example, one of my leagues currently rosters 900 players. But still some players with upside are there for the taking. If you play in more shallow formats, keep these names filed away for future reference.

Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees: After not seeing the field last year, Judge debuted in 2014 with a bang (.333, 9 HR, 45 RBI). He is a monster of a man, standing 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, so the potential for power is certainly in his frame. It’s been noted, most recently by Carson Cistulli over at Fangraphs, that Judge shows great control of the strike zone. He has big time upside, and may still be flying under the radar in deeper leagues.

Gabriel Guerrero, OF, Mariners: His progress through the first few months of the season at High-A has been excellent (.317, 7 HR, 47 RBI, 12 SB). The nephew of Vladimir Guerrero certainly has the bloodlines to have success, and takes after his legendary uncle with his free swinging ways (22.5 SO%). That’s tolerable as long as he keeps making consistent hard contact, something he’ll need to prove once he makes the jump to the upper levels of the minors.

Raimel Tapia, OF, Rockies: Shows the potential for a plus hit tool due to a swing that is built for contact, evident by his strong numbers in A-ball to start the year (.308, 6 HR, 43 RBI, 12 SB). As Tapia matures physically, he should add enough strength to be able to hit 15-20 home runs in the majors. Tapia, along with fellow Rockies’ prospect David Dahl, should battle it out over the next few years for the distinction of top outfield prospect in the Colorado system.

Manny Banuelos, SP, Yankees: Once a top prospect, Banuelos saw his stock begin to fall back in 2011 when his control began to slip, and took a full tumble after needing Tommy John surgery in 2012. It’s been a long road back for Banuelos, who is pitching at Double-A Trenton and showing some of his promise in limited work thus far (32.1 IP, 3.34 ERA, 34/11 K/BB across two levels). His fastball was up to 93 MPH this spring, and if he regains the form on his above-average curveball and developing change, he could end up as a successful starter.

Josh Hader, SP, Astros: Hader came over to the Astros last season in the Bud Norris trade, and has taken another step forward this year, seeing a rise in his strikeout rate and drop in his walk rate. Hader has enough strikeout potential and stuff to be an effective fantasy asset in deeper formats. Go check out this detailed scouting report over at Baseball Prospectus by Jason Parks.

Seth Streich, SP, Athletics: Oakland has shown a real knack for developing pitchers, so it isn’t a surprise that Streich is having success after making the full time switch to pitching following the 2012 draft. His mid-90s fastball has always been lively, and he’s taken a step forward with his secondary offerings this year. If he keeps up his current pace (74 IP, 3.04 ERA, 78/17 K/BB), he could find his way to Double-A at some point during the second half.

Jake Lamb, 3B, Diamondbacks: With the trade of Matt Davidson during the offseason, Lamb moved to the top of the third base heap in Arizona. After a productive but injury plagued 2013, Lamb has punished Double-A pitching (.325, 11 HR, 56 RBI), and looks poised to take over at third base for Martin Prado down the road. How long that will take is anybody’s guess, as Prado is under contract through the 2016 season.

James Ramsey, OF, Cardinals: When Ramsey was first drafted, I noted that he reminded me a lot of Jason Kipnis, and I hoped the Cardinals would make him a full time second baseman. That wasn’t the case, but his bat has really blossomed during his second full season in the minors (.308, 12 HR). While the speed hasn’t been there this year, he should be able to contribute double digits in steals as well as a strong on-base percentage when he reaches the majors. Ramsey could hit at the top of the order due to his propensity to reach base. A lot needs to happen for playing time to present itself to Ramsey in St. Louis, so patience is required.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rsteingall

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