Let's kick off this year's Minor Developments with 10 prospects I really like that are a bit off the radar, at least as far as the current crop of Top 100 lists goes. These guys are not expected to make an impact in the major leagues this year, but make excellent dynasty league targets for those in deeper formats. With strong seasons, these players could leap into top prospect discussions.
Alex Meyer, SP, Nationals: He has two things working against him: inconsistency as an amateur and a lot of moving parts due to a huge frame. So what? The guy throws gas (he can touch 100 mph) and has a workhorse build (6-foot-9, 220), and should only add more bulk as he matures. He was the 23rd pick in last year's ridiculously deep draft, so the talent is surely there. His slider is dirty, and if he ever masters his change-up, he could fulfill his top-of-the-rotation potential.
Robbie Grossman, OF, Pirates: Starling Marte gets a lot of the praise in the Pirates system, but I think Grossman is at least on par with him, in terms of upside. He has plenty of tools, and shows good pop and speed. He could be a future 20/20 guy for the Pirates, and can be had for a fraction of the cost that you'll pay for similar players, such as Marte and Cubs OF Brett Jackson.
Jose Campos, SP, Yankees: One of the main reasons I love Campos is because he is originally from the Mariners organization. They have had great success in identifying and developing top-flight pitching talent recently, and that isn't by mistake or dumb luck. Campos has a live arm, featuring a mid-90s fastball, although his secondary offerings (curveball, change-up) lag behind. His upside is as high as any pitcher in the Yankees organization, and that's saying something considering who's already there (Banuelos, Betances).
Mikie Mahtook, OF, Rays: He's one of the more underappreciated players from the 2011 draft, and has above average tools across the board that could make him a very valuable commodity. Mahtook is another guy who could go 20/20 with a strong batting average in the majors, and should move quickly through the minors as a polished college product.
Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets: If Bubba Starling was the most raw talent in last year's first round, then Nimmo came in a close second. He comes from Wyoming, so we have no high school track record for him since there is no high school baseball in that state. He showed good tools on the showcase circuit though, with speed and power being the most obvious. With proper coaching, his ceiling is very high.
Matt Purke, SP, Nationals: He was being discussed as a No. 1 overall pick prior to last season before shoulder woes popped up, and those issues not only dropped his draft stock but have also hindered his prospect stock. He's a three pitch guy, featuring a mid-90s fastball, nasty slider and usable change-up. If the shoulder proves healthy, he'll be a steal for the Nationals and for your dynasty league team.
Eddie Rosario, 2B/OF, Twins: He crushed it last season in only 67 games (270 AB), posting a .337 average, while slamming 21 home runs and stealing 17 bases. Skill sets like this don't grow on trees, and with a transition to second base looming, he could end up being a major fantasy asset within three years.
C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels: He's a bat only guy, but that's all that really matters in fantasy baseball. A shoulder issue last year limited him to DH duties in his pro debut, but that didn't stop him from slugging 13 homers in his first 37 professional games. If that injury is behind him, he could move quickly through the minors. He'll need to improve his plate discipline, but he's a legitimate power bat capable of monster home run totals.
Derek Norris, C, Athletics: I love his power (20 HR in '11) and defense, but what happened to the batting average (.210)? I've been high on him for a few years, but he just can't seem to figure out how to hit for average. If things click for the young backstop in the next year or two, watch out. Even if they don't, he could certainly carve out a John Buck-type of career.
John Lamb, SP, Royals: He's on the mend from Tommy John surgery, but before that, was one of the Royals top pitching prospects. Prior to surgery, he worked in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball, mixing in an above-average/plus change-up, as well as an improving curveball. He's another lottery ticket that could pay big dividends, provided he comes back healthy and strong (as about three quarters of TJ Surgery patients do).
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Rob Steingall is a syndicated fantasy analyst whose work also can be found at SNYWhyGuys.com.