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Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting: Jackie Bradley, Jose Fernandez, Tanner Scheppers, MLB draft picks 11-15
KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting series highlights the exploits of minor league baseball players, including top MLB prospects. Find out who'll make an impact, whether it's in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball game next week or in your fantasy baseball keeper league two years from now.
In 2011, University of South Carolina outfielder Jackie Bradley was projected to be a surefire first-round pick, but a rough year in which he batted .247 dropped him to the supplemental round. He was selected by the Boston Red Sox with the 40th overall pick, and thus far it looks like a steal.
In 193 at-bats with high Single-A Salem, Bradley is hitting a league-best .383 with three homers, 25 doubles, 31 RBIs, 45 runs scored, 13 steals, and a 1.076 OPS.
In addition to batting average, Bradley also leads the Carolina League in hits (74), walks (43), on-base percentage (.496), runs, doubles and OPS.
Like he did throughout college, the 22-year-old has shown outstanding plate discipline as he has drawn 11 more walks than total strikeouts (32) this season.
So far, Bradley has shown that he can be a complete player that can do a little bit of everything.
From a fantasy standpoint, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound center fielder needs to become more efficient at base stealing (68.4 percent success rate). While Bradley doesn't have the power of a cleanup hitter, his doubles total is a positive sign for progression in the slugging department.
A center fielder by trade, Bradley is at least a calendar year away from pushing for a big league promotion. Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston's regular center fielder who's represented by Scott Boras, has yet to sign a multi-year extension and is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2013 season.
If Bradley continues to impress, he could factor into Boston's decision on whether to keep Ellsbury over the long term or let him walk.
Now that Baltimore Orioles phenom Dylan Bundy has moved on to bigger and better things in the Carolina League, Miami Marlins RHP prospect Jose Fernandez has emerged as the baddest pitcher in the low Class-A South Atlantic League.
In 67 innings with Greensboro, Fernandez has compiled a 6-0 record, a league-best 1.34 ERA, and an 85:16 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound righty also leads in the circuit in WHIP (0.87) and whiffs. In addition, Fernandez has only allowed an average of 5.6 hits per nine innings and 0.1 homers per nine frames. Simply put, he has dominated his competition in the Sally League.
Drafted with the 14th overall pick of the 2011 Draft, Fernandez features a mid-90s fastball and a wicked curveball with sharp break. He also throws a hard slider and a changeup. Some critics feel his changeup is still not a reliable offering, but that's a minor qualm when one considers that Fernandez is only 19 and still three levels away from the majors.
The Cuban native has the makings of developing into a major league frontline starter. In deep dynasty formats, Fernandez is one of the prized commodities to own in the low minors.
With starting pitcher Derek Holland headed to the 15-day disabled list and reliever Alexi Ogando moving back to the rotation, at least for now, the Texas Rangers called up Tanner Scheppers from Triple-A Round Rock to fill the open spot on their 25-man roster.
Armed with a mid- to high-90s fastball, Scheppers has looked like a potential elite reliever at times. However, injuries, inconsistent mechanics and shaky command have prevented the former Fresno State star from maximizing his high-end talent. The 25-year-old is bringing a career 4.19 ERA and 1.39 WHIP to the majors, both mediocre marks.
In 29 innings with Round Rock, however, Scheppers went 1-2, with a 3.72 ERA, nine saves and a 27:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Lowering his arm slot and eliminating his curveball seem to have aided his command.
Scheppers still has the talent to progress into a dynamic back-end bullpen arm, but AL-only owners are advised to take a wait-and-see approach. He's no imminent threat to the closer's role.
Russell was drafted primarily for his power upside and his impressive bat. The critics wonder if he will hit for sufficient batting average and whether he has enough range to stick at shortstop.
Best-case, prime-season output: .275 BA, 20 HR, 80 RBI, 85 R, 10 SB
Cecchini is the younger brother of Red Sox 3B prospect Garin Cecchini. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound shortstop was drafted in large part due to his glove. Offensively, Cecchini earns praise for his ability to make contact and wreak havoc on the bases. Scouts question his overall upside as an offensive weapon, though.
Best-case, prime-season output: .290 BA, 10 HR, 75 RBI, 90 R, 30 SB
Hawkins is a toolsy outfielder with big time power to all fields. The right-handed slugger has a swing-from-his-heels approach which leaves him susceptible to high strikeout totals.
Best-case, prime-season output: .265 BA, 30 HR, 95 RBI, 90 R, 15 SB
Not the most polished arm in the draft, Travieso is a raw talent with a mid-90s fastball that can touch 99. He also throws a hard slider. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound righty was labeled by some teams as a reliever, but his progress on the mound this year should help him earn a chance to start.
Best-case, prime-season role: No. 3 starter
Maybe the purest hitter of the draft, Naquin hit a blistering .380 in 242 at-bats for Texas A&M this season after winning the Big XII batting title (.381) in 2011. Naquin shows outstanding bat control and has a knack for spraying the ball to all fields. While a good athlete, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound outfielder has shown marginal power, and many scouts wonder if he has enough pop to profile at a corner spot.
Best-case, prime-season output: .310 BA, 10 HR, 65 RBI, 85 R, 20 SB
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