Fantasy Baseball:'s Top 10 Prospects for 2013

by on January 18, 2013 @ 15:16:07 PDT


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6. Taijuan Walker (RHP, SEA)

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 1B Albert Pujols
Bauer power, even in AL

Comments: Walker bypassed High-A and pitched most of year at age 19 in Double-A in 2012. Few can match athleticism and upside and has potential for three above average offerings. An exceptional 92-97 mph fastball may be the best in the minors with explosive velocity and life. He can dominate with a hard curveball, but needs to find consistency. His clean, loose delivery and arm action and should lead to very high strikeout rates.

Development Path: He may not have dominated Double-A, but he may be given a shot in the Triple-A rotation to begin 2013. If not, he'll return to Jackson to add some polish.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: With front-of-the-rotation stuff, he could win a lot of games while ranking among the league leaders in strikeouts. His stuff is tough to hit and his WHIP should be low as a result.

7. Trevor Bauer (RHP, CLE)

Comments: Bauer zoomed to big leagues with deep repertoire, but has trouble commanding the plate at times. He has two plus pitches in 90-96 mph fastball and a curveball. Both pitches register significant strikeouts while his slider and changeup are average pitches, with potential to become plus. He has dynamite stuff and pitch action, though needs to be more efficient with offerings.

Development Path: The Indians will give their new acquisition ample opportunity to win a rotation slot in spring training, though it's more likely he will begin the season in Triple-A. Barring a disaster, he'll pitch meaningful innings in Cleveland in 2013.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: His walk rate could lead to an elevated WHIP, but his ERA and k/9 should be among the league leaders due to his nasty stuff.

8. Jose Fernandez (RHP, MIA)

Comments: Strong, powerful right-hander might have been the most impressive pitcher in the minors last year. Fernandez added velocity to his fastball as he gained strength, and the pitch is now a 93-97 mph sinker that tops out at 99. He also throws a late-breaking slider, a slow curveball, and an improved changeup. His formidable frame should allow him to work deep into games, though the Marlins have limited his work so far. He has a confidence and flair that rub some the wrong way, but he more than backs it up on the field.

Development Path:  The Marlins would probably like to go a bit slower with Fernandez, but he continues to force their hand as he has dominated at every level. He's set to start at Double-A, but it would not be shocking to see Fernandez in the majors by the end of 2013.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: Has the raw stuff and competitive make-up to be a true staff ace.

9. Travis d'Arnaud (C, NYM)

Comments:  An agile and athletic backstop, d'Arnaud was having a standout season before his year ended in June with a knee injury. He offers all-around tools and skills that could lead to All Star campaigns. He controls the bat with strong swing and has average-to-plus power to all fields, though can sell out for pop. Quick hands and bat speed offer BA potential as well. Defensively, he has improved his blocking and receiving and has a plus, accurate arm.

Development Path:  The trade to the Mets creates a potential opening for d'Arnaud to win the starting catching job. If he proves not ready, he'll be assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: Catchers who can hit for a high BA with plus HR potential are extremely valuable. He won't steal bases, but his defense has improved enough to warrant a full-time job behind the plate.

10. Miguel Sano (3B, MIN)

Comments: Sano is a big and powerful infielder who led the Low-A Midwest League in HR and was second in walks. Has produced consistent plus-plus power to all fields and should continue to grow. His selective and disciplined approach could eventually lead to higher BA, but his vicious swing does have holes. Runs fairly well for size, but not much of SB threat. Exhibits agility at 3B with cannon for arm, but likely to end up in OF corner.

Development Path: The logical next step is High-A where the expansive ballparks will be tested. He may only hit 20 HR in the Florida State League, but that will be massive. Sano is several years away from a big-league uniform.

Fantasy Impact at Maturity: Forty-plus HR isn't out of the question, though he'll need to make more contact to hit for a good batting average.

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