Fantasy Baseball Keeper League: 2013 MLB Hitter Prospects To Target

CraveOnline’s fantasy staff takes a good look at up and coming prospects for dynasty leagues.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

I’m a big believer that the key to winning a dynasty league is finding success with quality prospects. Drafting and trades of established players will only get you so far. Drafting a few prospects give you a dual threat of cheap ownership down the line and trade bait when you’re in the hunt.

Below are the guys that I feel deserve a draft pick this year. While they may take a roster spot at draft time, you can move them to your bench and find a decent stop-gap in the free agent pool. Note: These don’t include guys we project as starting in April, so no Adam Eaton or Leonys Martin.

Ranked by value, not when they will make an impact.

Wil Myers – OF – TB
Chance of 2013 impact – 85%
Myers’ path to instant impact is the only reason he tops the list. Myers comes to the Rays from the Royals in the James Shields trade. He brings with him a .304/.378/.554 slash line with 24 homers. He translates well to the majors and brings a reputational attitude that Rays’ skipper, Joe Madden, will love: patience and opportunity. It is just a matter of time before the Rays tire of Sam Fuld and close the window on Matt Joyce.

Jurickson Profar – SS – TEX
Chance of 2013 impact – 75%
Profar is ready now and can succeed right away. His only downside is the crowded Texas infield. Shortstop is such a shallow position, and Profar can be top five for many years. Profar brings a little bit of everything to the table: great glove, high on-base percentage (.368 OBP), above average speed (16 SB), and some pop (14 HR). Don’t rule out a trade with either him, Elvis Andrus or Ian Kinsler.

Jedd Gyorko – 2B/3B – SD
Chance of 2013 impact – 85%
How is this for a slash line – .328/.380/.921 in AAA last year. I like his 24 doubles (to go with 24 HR). As he matures, those doubles will translate to more homers. The big question is whether the Padres will find him a starting spot. No matter where he goes, he’ll bring value.

Billy Hamilton – OF – CIN
Chance of 2013 impact – 60%
Hamilton is the human version of the Roadrunner. He had 155 stolen bases last year… not ‘career'; the year. Before you think he is the reincarnation of Willie Mays Hayes, take a look at his on-base percentage. A staggering .406 OBP is flat out amazing.
He does have a few cons; first and last is Dusty Baker. Baker is notorious against rookies and isn’t known for stealing a lot. Hamilton has the bonus of being a shortstop by nature and could gain eligibility.

Travis d’Arnaud – C – NYM
Chance of 2013 impact – 85%
Every one tears up the Pacific Coast League… especially when they are in Las Vegas. With that in mind, d’Arnaud’s stats could be a bit skewed. However, he is legit. Beyond the numbers is the fact that he was traded for two aces: Roy Halladay and R.A. Dickey. That means big league clubs believe in him. I’m not a big fan of catcher prospects or otherwise he would be ranked higher… and he ended last year with a leg injury.

Miguel Sano – 3B/OF – MIN
Chance of 2013 impact – 10%
Mash. Crush. Destroy. Sano is power and more power. He led all the minors in home runs. The good news is the Twins have no one blocking his path. The bad news is that the Twins are in no rush to bring him up this year. He may come up for a taste in August. Someday, he’ll be the new Harmon Killebrew. Until then, he is still 19 years old.

Oscar Taveras – OF – STL
Chance of 2013 impact – 30%
Taveras is only twenty years old but he has an already impressive resume. In 2011, he hit a 1.028 OPS in A. In 2012, he hit .953 OPS in AA. He’ll start 2013 in the minors as the Cardinals are filled with veterans in the outfield. However, the Redbirds are an injury threat and Taveras could get an opportunity to make a name for himself in the fall. Like Sano, he has a bright future and a chance to compete for Rookie of the Year in 2014.

Mike Olt – 3B – TEX
Chance of 2013 impact – 25%
Like a fine wine, the Rangers are leaving Olt to mature on the vine. With Adrian Beltre blocking his path, there isn’t much chance for Olt to come up. There is talk of moving him to first to replace the disappointing Mitch Moreland. However, as long as the Rangers are competing for another World Series title there is little need to take a chance on Olt. He’ll ride the pine and rotate but sooner or later, his power (28 HR, .977 OPS in ’12) will be seen.

Mike Zunino – C – SEA
Chance of 2013 impact – 40%
There’s been a lot of talk of Zunino being the next Buster Posery. I want to believe the talk of him being a great hitter with great projections. However, he’s only played 44 games. I want to believe the Mariners traded John-best-hitter-last-year-Jaso because they are bringing Zunino to the majors in 2013. He may get a chance, but they’ll want him to get more at bats in AA or AAA first.

Xander Bogaerts – SS – BOS
Chance of 2013 impact – 5%
He powered his way into Double-A at the age of 19. He’ll have a chance to prove this year that his 15 homers in single-A wasn’t a fluke. He’s another guy with tremendous upside at a skill position. With the glut of mediocre shortstops already in the majors, it isn’t a bad idea to draft Bogaerts and bench him.

Nick Castellanos – 3B/OF – DET
Chance of 2013 impact – 20%
I really like Castellanos, but I drop him down my personal list because he’ll lose 3B eligibility. The reigning MVP, Miguel Cabrera, is in his way. Of course, Castellanos was an MVP in his own right at last year’s Futures Game. His transition from league to league has come with some required time so I don’t expect the Tigers to rush him up this year. That is fine, he’ll have some extra time to smooth out his swing.

Honorable Mentions:
Brett Jackson – when he lowers his strikeout percentage below 25%, we’ll talk.
Jonathan Singleton – his agent is saying he’ll come up this year, but the 50 game suspension for pot use will hold him back.
Francisco Lindor – I left him off not because he is not good, but so much of his hype is his defense. If defense was fantasy gold, then Darwin Barney would be King Midas.

Brian Reddoch is a CraveOnline reporter and rabid fan of all teams Seattle. You can follow him on Twitter @ReddReddoch and at www.facebookcom/ P

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