Preseason Fantasy Prospect Rankings: 15-11

15. Xander Bogaerts

File Photo: Kevin Pataky/

File Photo: Kevin Pataky/

Team: Boston Red Sox

Position: SS

Positive: Excellent raw power; could hit 30+ HR/year; elite bat speed gives him the ability to drive ball to all fields; should hit around .300 every year; made it to AA last year as a 19 year old; room to grow

Negative: Needs to work on plate discipline; average runner now and will likely lose more speed as the body fills out; should not be counted on for steals; verdict is still out on his defense; some feel he’ll end up at 3rd

What To Expect: Bogaerts is quite simply one of the best prospects in baseball, and could find himself atop this list come next year. His power is legit and will play no matter what position he ends up at. Scouts seem to be somewhat split on whether he can stick at short stop or not. He has made improvements, and if he can stick there then his upside is the most valuable player in fantasy. And other than the steals department, he figures to be a force in all categories. He will likely spend most–if not all–of 2013 at AA. There, as a 20 year old, he must work on his approach at the plate and continue to improve on defense, but because of his bat speed and raw power, he will probably still be able to handle the better pitching. He may get a cup of coffee near the end of this season, but don’t expect much more than that from him in 2013. Come 2014 he should be hitting in the middle of that Boston lineup full time. Whether he stays at short or not, he will always be a major power source for your team, with an aid in batting average as well.

14. Danny Hultzen

File Photo: Associated Press

File Photo: Associated Press

Team: Seattle Mariners

Position: SP

Positive: Outstanding command/control; should help in ERA and WHIP categories; fastball works in the low 90’s and can touch higher; change up is a plus pitch; keeps hitters off balance; should log a lot of innings while keeping his ERA and WHIP low; should see plenty of time in the major’s this year

Negative: Lacks high-end upside; profiles has a #3 starter; won’t blow hitters away; will have decent strikeout #’s but won’t be crazy

What To Expect: The #2 overall pick in 2011’s draft sparkled in his professional debut as he dominated the AA level, but struggled in AAA as the long season wore on. Most scouts attributed his struggles to him being tired, and aren’t very concerned going forward. Some fine tuning in AAA to begin the 2013 should be just what the doctor ordered to get back on track. But don’t expect him to be down there for long. He is nearly major league-ready and that also means he close to being ready to pitch in your rotation too. Expect a pitcher who probably won’t rack up the K’s, but probably won’t burn you either. His pitchability is a major asset and will come in handy if you need help in the ERA and WHIP categories. His career outlook may lack the flash that some of the other top pitching prospects posses, but he may end up being more of sure thing–a guy who can settle in to the middle of your rotation and give you solid production for many years.

13. Trevor Bauer

Tony Farlow/

Tony Farlow/

Team: Cleveland Indians

Position: SP

Positive: Deep arsenal; will always have high strikeout rates; loose, easy delivery and outstanding work ethic should keep him healthy; can be an innings eater; move to Cleveland brings a better home ballpark and more playing time

Negative: Struggles with command/control; move to the AL brings tougher lineups

What To Expect: 18 months after taking Bauer with the 3rd overall pick in the 2011 draft the Diamondbacks were quick to ship him out of town. His brief time with Arizona showed both his ability to dominate and ability to frustrate. And frustrate he did, enough so that the team appeared eager to part ways with him. But with a new team comes more paying time. In fact, he will likely break camp with a spot in that rotation. His ability to miss bats will keep his upside high and keep in him in your lineup, but, at least to start, he’s probably a better streaming option due to the lineups he’ll face. If he can harness his control problem, he has the upside of a high end #2 starter and can be one of the best pitchers in fantasy baseball every year.

12. Taijuan Walker

File Photo: John Shadrick/Jackson Generals

File Photo: John Shadrick/Jackson Generals

Team: Seattle Mariners

Position: SP

Positive: Has ace-level upside; very athletic; fastball works in the mid to high 90’s; curveball is already considered a plus pitch as is his cutter; all three pitches should be highly affective at getting major league hitters out; should always have high strikeout numbers; ideal size(6’4″/210) built to log innings

Negative: Needs to improve his fastball command and be more consistent with his secondary pitches; high end ceiling brings more risk

What To Expect: The prize of the Seattle farm system is close to being major league ready. As a 20 year old he more than held his own at AA, which is perhaps the toughest level of the minor leagues. He will likely return there to begin 2013 and will probably see some time in AAA as the Mariners have no reason to rush they’re hopeful future ace. Other than maybe a late season cup of coffee or an injury to the big league staff, he probably won’t see much of the major’s and shouldn’t be counted on in 2013. Expect him to be a full time member of the M’s rotation come 2014. There we should see signs of his dominance. He has legit bat-missing stuff and and the size to be a workhorse. 200+ K’s should be a yearly occurrence as should 200+ innings.

11. Rymer Liriano

File Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

File Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Team: San Diego

Position: OF

Positive: Has potential to contribute in all categories; good raw power; could hit 20-25 HR/year; good runner; could also steal 20-30 bags/year; can sting the ball all over the lot; will have lots of XBH’s

Negative: Swing can get a little long; has some swing and miss; posses good raw power but it has yet to manifest in game

What To Expect: Liriano flashes the ability to be a 5 category stud, but has yet to put the complete package together. Upon his promotion to AA last year, his flaws were exposed and he struggled to make consistent, solid contact. He will return to the Texas League in 2013 and if he can make the necessary adjustments his natural talent should take over, and we should see his raw power take physical form. From there he shouldn’t be too far from making his major league debut. He has the classic power right fielder profile. He should hit for some average, hit for power, and can be an impact player on the base paths.

Luke Taylor
Dynasty Sports Empire

About This Empire Soldier: Lawrence Marino, President and Founder of Dynasty Sports Empire LLC, Dynasty Sports Empire Podcast Netowrk and a host of other fantasy related ventures is a New Jersey native with ties to just about everything in and around Boston sports. A die hard Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics fan, Lawrence has learned what it’s like to live through the toughest of sports times. He loves to spend time with his wife and family, father of 2 beautiful girls and spends most of his summer on the beach in Belmar, NJ.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Roger January 26, 2013, 11:41 pm

    Whats with Hultzen and his #3 upside ahead of Walker. Hultzen isn’t even top 30 IMO. Mark Buerhle-esk

    • LukeTaylor January 27, 2013, 12:04 am

      First of all, thank you for taking the time to comment on the rankings. It’s greatly appreciated. Hultzen, if you notice is ranked #14, whereas Walker is ranked is ranked #12. Hultzen only appears first on the page because its supposed to be counting down.

      These rankings were supposed to be a combination of what they could potentially do at the major league level in 2013, with what they’re long term value might be. I would say Hultzen has a greater chance of contributing for fantasy teams this next season than Walker does.

      If you go back to the first set of rankings I did(50-46), I lay out what my thinking was I approached the assignment.

      Once again, thanks for your feedback. I hope you’ll continue to read in the future.


  • Roger January 27, 2013, 11:20 pm

    Don’t know why I wrote Walker, meant Taillon. Own em both in a dynasty so that’s probly why.

    • LukeTaylor January 27, 2013, 11:32 pm

      Ahhhh. No problem, man. I would agree with you that Taillon definately has higher upside than Hultzen, but at this point Hultzen is closer to helping fantasy rosters. And, I would also contend that Hultzen has a higher floor than Taillon–at least at this point–due to his command/control and overall pitchability.

      And again, thanks for the feedback. I hope you’ll continue to read in the future. Also, congrats on having Walker and Taillon on your dynasty team. That could be beastly in a year or so.