10. Mike Zunino
Team: Seattle Mariners
Positive: Has plus power from a premium position; could hit 20+ HR’s/year while providing decent averages; nearly big league ready; should get plenty of playing time in 2013
Negative: Lacks a real standout tool other than power; average runner; don’t expect many steals
What To Expect: The 3rd overall pick in last year’s draft and former Golden Spikes award winner did nothing but rake in his first taste of professional ball. He did so well in fact, that after starting out in low-A the M’s promoted him two levels to AA–which, according to my notes, is really good. So, all signs point to a swift call up. He will probably compete for a job in spring training, but he will likely begin the season in AAA. His time there will be short however, as there is little standing in his way at the major league level. With the team recently trading Jon Jaso, and Jesus Montero’s inabilities behind the plate, the path to the Show for Zunino is quite clear. He projects as a middle of the order bat that can drive in runs, and could deliver 20+ bombs a year. Young catchers often struggle so some growing pains should be expected, but it shouldn’t be too long before he’s considered one of the better fantasy catchers.
9. Jonathan Singleton
Team: Houston Astros
Positive: Huge raw power; could be a 30+ HR/year player; very good approach and plate discipline will help in OBP leagues; close to being major league ready
Negative: 1st base/DH only profile puts pressure on the bat; needs to improve on facing arm side pitching; 3rd positive test for Marijuana gives him a 50 game suspension and is a slight concern about his makeup going forward
What To Expect: Singleton is by far the best 1B fantasy prospect in baseball. His ability to wait for quality pitches to hit and natural raw power should make him a mainstay in your fantasy lineup once he’s called up. And with little blocking him at the major league level, it would appear is time being a minor leaguer will not last much longer. However, with his latest positive test for Marijuana, a call up may not happen as quickly as it might have before. He may now have to wait until August or September before he sees a major league lineup, unless Houston were to add him to their 40-man. Either way, when he arrives his power could warrant him a spot in your lineup. And looking down the line, he should be amongst the top fantasy 1st baseman every year.
8. Shelby Miller
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Positive: Electric fastball that works in the low to mid 90’s and can touch higher; curveball is also a plus pitch; change up flashes above average potential; should always miss plenty of bats; already has big league experience
Negative: Needs to improve secondary offerings; fastball command is a slight concern; a little prone to giving up the long ball
What To Expect: After a mostly disappointing 2012, Miller really turned it around toward the end of the season and was rewarded with a call up to help the Cards down the stretch and in the playoffs. That major league experience should prove invaluable as he now looks to win a spot in the rotation out of camp. The Cards do however have a fairly deep rotation and it’s entirely possible Miller may start the year in AAA. If that’s the case, he shouldn’t be down there for long. His ability to miss bats could make him a nice streaming option, but be cautious about giving him a spot in your rotation right away. Down the line, he profiles as a high end #2 starter that should always have good strikeout rates to go along with decent ERA’s and WHIP’s.
7. Mike Olt
Team: Texas Rangers
Positive: Big raw power; could hit 25+ HR/year at maturity; good on base ability will help in OBP leagues; could supply decent averages(.265+); has some major league experience
Negative: Swing can get a little long; will strikeout some; where will he play this year?; blocked at 3B and 1B
What To Expect: Olt spent most of last season dominating opposing pitchers, so much so that the Rangers decided to call him up for the stretch run. But he did little with the playing time he got when he got there. He struggled against the superior pitching, especially off-speed pitches. So, he will now spend the first few months in AAA to refine his approach and shorten up his swing. That’s good, because there is also currently nowhere for him to play. With Adrian Beltre locking down the hot corner, and Mitch Moreland likely seeing the majority of the 1st base reps, Olt would get little playing time even if he did start the year with the big club. However, he will likely force the team’s hand at some point and should be up by mid season. Don’t expect much production right away tough. He will still likely need some time to adjust once again to the better pitching, and as a result he may not be the wisest of choices to put in your lineup unless you’re desperate for power. His career outlook is still bright tough. He could be a great power source that provides some on base help as well from a relatively thin position.
6. Gerrit Cole
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Positive: Ace-level upside. Has potential for 3 plus pitches; has elite fastball that works in the mid to high 90’s; can touch triple digits with ease; slider is a plus pitch; can throw it anywhere from 88-93; change up is coming along; has power pitcher frame; will eat innings; is nearly major league ready
Negative: Struggles some with fastball command; can be too fastball dependent; needs to trust his off speed stuff
What To Expect: In a few years we could looking at Cole being one of the finest pitchers in the game. His combination of size and arsenal could make him a perennial All-Star and put in contention for multiple CY Young’s. He does need improve his command some, and trust in his secondary offerings a little more, but there is little concern about his ability to make those adjustments. He will begin the year in AAA and he should be up with the big club sometime before the All-Star break. In my opinion he’s worth spot starting because of the arsenal, but you probably shouldn’t hand him a full time rotation spot right away. Assuming he’s made the adjustments he needs to make, we should see him dominating hitters full time come 2014. 200+ innings and 200+ K’s every year cold be the norm for this young fireballer.
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