Top Ten Rookies and Prospects for 2014 Fantasy Baseball
The season has started and there are a ton of young ball players making their first MLB opening day roster and even more waiting on the doorstep. Which of these rookies will make an impact on the field and more importantly for you, on your fantasy team? If you missed, the first 10 players on my Top 20 fantasy rookies, check it out here.
10. Archie Bradley SP, ARI
Bradley just missed out on making the opening day roster. He will start the year in AAA Reno after posting a 2-1 record with a 4.32 ERA in spring training. The former #7 overall pick and current MLB 9th best prospect is one injury away from making his debut. Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson had this to say about Bradley, "He's close. He's someone who can help us this year,". With that said, don’t wait for his call up, if he is available, get him now and stash him away. You will be happier having him on your roster than watching another team reap the rewards.
9. Oscar Taveras OF, STL
Tavares is still battling back from a nasty ankle injury last year. As he works to become 100%, he will start the season in AAA Memphis. One of the best outfield prospects in baseball and arguably the best hitting prospect in the game, Tavares needs to get healed and produce in Memphis. Part of his promotion depends on the success of others as Kolten Wong (2B), Peter Bourjos(CF) and John Jay (OF) are no sure things. If one of these players struggles or gets injured, look for the Cardinals to turn to Tavares if 100% healthy. Again, he is one of best hitting prospects in game (MLB #2 Prospect), he just needs to get healthy and have a chance.
8. George Springer OF, HOU
Springer split time between AA and AAA in 2013 and put together a very impressive line of 37 HR, 108 RBI, 45 SB and .303 AVG. Power and speed, what every fantasy owner could use! He struggled in spring with a .161 AVG, but turned it on towards the end hitting 2 HR while playing a full 9 inning game this past week. He is part of young core (Mark Appel, Carlos Correa) that have the Astros fans excited. Expect Springer up in June and to make an impact in the batter’s box as well as the base paths, but don't expect a high BA.
7. Taijuan Walker SP, SEA
MLB.com’s highest ranked pitching prospect and #4 overall prospect looked poised to make the rotation out of Spring Training. He will unfortunately start the season on the DL with shoulder inflammation but has returned to the mound and is expected back by end of April. Walker is a strikeout producing right handed pitcher who mixes his plus fastball with a decent curve and change-up. With a sneak peak last year, Walker finished 1-0 in 3 major league starts, striking out 12 in 15 innings. Once he works himself back into the mix by getting his arm ready, the Mariners will waste no time in getting him to Seattle.
6. Yordano Ventura SP, KC
With a fastball that tops out at 102 MPH, the 6 foot right handed pitcher can bring the heat. He won the 5th spot in the rotation with a good spring, 23 K’s in 23 Innings as well as a 2.70 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. The Royals time is now and they fully entrust Ventura to be one of the pieces in the puzzle. He is only 22 years old, so struggles will come but with an overpowering fastball like this, Ventura can have a big impact in 2014.
5. Masahiro Tanaka SP, NYY
I know what you’re saying, how can a player with 7 professional seasons and over 1300 inning pitched be a rookie? MLB rules state that a player must have not exceeded 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues to be considered a rookie. So the 25 year old, $155 million dollar stud pitcher is a rookie and will look to dominate hitters like he did last year in Japan. Tanaka finished his 2013 season with a 24-0 record with a 1.27 ERA. Seriously? Wow! Don’t expect those kinds of numbers, but his career ERA of 2.30 has to mean something. Look for Tanaka to be one of the best rookie pitchers in 2014.
4. Xander Bogaerts SS, BOS
Bogaerts showed that he belongs in the big leagues with an impressive postseason, helping the Red Sox win a World Series at the age of 21. Moving to shortstop this year, Bogaerts looks to add to his stellar late season call up and produce in his first full year. Bogaerts can hit to all fields with power, has above average speed and has shown that he can play at the highest level. I expect him to become one of the best young SS in the game, in fact I even expect him to make the All-Star team this year!
3. Nick Castellanos 3B, OF, DET
After having converted to an outfielder last year because Miguel Cabrera was the 3B, he is back to his original position after the Tigers traded away Prince Fielder. After a great Spring Training, where he hit .333 with 9 doubles and 16 RBI, Castellanos will be a key piece to the Tigers run at the World Series. He uses his 6’4” 210 frame to his advantage, hitting the ball hard to all fields. Look for him to hit 15-20 HR, hit around .270 and drive in 70 runs.
2. Jose Abreu 1B, CWS
Another “rookie” that comes to MLB with plenty of experience. Abreu has been called the best pure hitter from Cuba in the last 10 years by Cuban baseball expert and author Peter Bjarkman. Abreu flirted with winning the triple-crown in Cuba the last two years. He gets to play half his games in hitter friendly US Cellular field which can only be beneficial to a power hitter. If he is supposed to be better than Cespedes and Puig, imagine what he can do for your fantasy team this year! Expect Abreu to finish close to 30 HR and 90 RBI in his first MLB season.
1. Billy Hamilton OF, CIN
Nobody in baseball has been such a question mark, yet so valuable at the same time. He is fast, what more can be said? If he can manage to get on base enough (>.300 OBP), Hamilton will have the most impact of all the rookies in 2014. He stole 13 bases in 13 games last year and even hit (.378 AVG) more than people expected. His first ML stolen base came against Yadier Molina, who is considered the best defensive catcher in baseball. He can single handedly win you the SB category or he can flame out. I expect him to produce enough to play close to everyday and finish with more than 75 SB. Whether you like him or not, he is fun to watch!
There you have it, the top 10 fantasy rookies of 2014. If any of these players are still available in your leagues, get them now and have them be the final piece to your fantasy baseball championship. As the season goes on, we will continue to bring you updates on not only the top 20, but all of the rookies who make it to the show.