Young players have become more prominent in Major League Baseball. Properly valuing farm players' talents, timetables and opportunities will help rotisserie and head-to-head managers win their fantasy baseball leagues.
1. Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Waiting for an opportunity
Taveras was signed by the Red Birds as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in November of 2008. He has hit over .300 in every minor league season except his rookie voyage in 2009. Taveras posted a triple slash line of .321/.380/.572 with 23 home runs, 94 RBIs and 10 stolen bags in 531 plate appearances at Double-A Springfield last season.
For as aggressive a hitter as he is, Taveras surprisingly has great plate discipline and strike zone judgment. He attacks pitches ferociously within the zone and is very tough to strike out (just 56 K's in 477 at-bats in 2012). He makes a ton of contact from the left side, thanks to excellent hand-eye coordination and quick, strong hands. He can hit for both power and average and has solid enough wheels to become a 20-stolen base threat.
St. Louis knows they have something special in this 20-year-old, and they're treating him accordingly in spring camp. He's perhaps the most major league-ready hitting prospect in the National League. The Cardinals will probably play it cautious and start him at Class AAA since their outfield is set with Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Carlos Beltran. However, Holliday and Beltran have had their fair share of injury problems, so Taveras could be up as soon as somebody goes down. He can play all three outfield positions, too, making him even more valuable. Taveras should be playing consistently in the majors by the end of the year, and there aren't many players that have the power and BA upside that he possesses.
On to No. 2
Top fantasy baseball prospects - AL 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25
Top fantasy baseball prospects - NL 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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