by Chris Hadorn
on March 31, 2010 @ 14:00:00
Prospecting for fantasy baseball players has become vital. Many minor leaguers have promising futures, but only a fraction of them have the skills to make an immediate impact in the majors and on your fantasy baseball team. Which minor league players should you target in your 2010 fantasy baseball draft? Who'll make an impact during the season?
Castro dazzled the Padres with his electric arm during a short stint with the big league club this spring. The 6-foot-5, 211-pound Dominican right-hander hurls a low- to mid-90s fastball with good movement, a swing-and-miss slider and a developing change.
Last season with low Single-A Fort Wayne, Castro went 10-6, with a 3.33 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and struck out 157 batters in 140 1/3 innings. He showed few weaknesses, but he will need to improve his changeup and command as he moves up the ladder. The soon-to-be 22-year-old projects as a No. 2 starter and is on track to make his big league debut sometime in 2011.
Vitters is a gifted ballplayer who possesses the necessary athleticism, exceptional bat speed and power to be a superstar. While Vitters has all the tools, he still is an inconsistent performer on the field. After hitting .316 in the Midwest League, Vitters slumped to .238 during a 50-game stint (189 at-bats) with high Single-A Daytona. Tendonitis in his left hand, suffered in '08, has stunted his development a bit. He also was probably overmatched in high Single-A at age 19.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder makes consistent contact and doesn't strike out much, but he offsets that strength by rarely walking and swinging at practically every pitch near the zone. Only 20, Vitters has plenty of time to hone his skills into a .290-30-100-type, but he's far from a sure bet to succeed. He's a dynasty commodity for fantasy players.
Mejia is likely to win a spot in the Mets bullpen this spring. Mejia is an athletic hurler who generates a hoard of groundballs using a low- to mid-90s fastball with outstanding sinking and cutting action. Last season Mejia pitched well as a 19-year-old starter in high Single-A, but he struggled in Double-A due to shaky command and a lack of a consistent third pitch.
Mejia has been characterized as a thrower rather than a pitcher, so a move to the bullpen might be a good fit for him in the time being. Given his healthy strikeout rates and high groundball percentages, Mejia could be worth holding in the deepest formats this season as a poor man's Neftali Feliz.
Armed with a nasty sinkerball, Chacin is a groundball pitcher who is well-suited to succeed one day at Coors Field. The 6-foot-4, 218-pound right-hander profiles as an innings-eating, middle-of-the-rotation starter with an arsenal of four solid offerings with which he pounds the strike zone.
In 2009, Chacin went 8-6 and posted a 3.14 ERA at Double-A Tulsa; however, he struggled with his command during short stints with Triple-A Colorado Springs and the Rockies (mainly in the 'pen), walking as many batters as he struck out. Since the Rockies have a deep rotation of five established arms, Chacin, 22, will probably get a full year of development at Triple-A this season. Given his taste of the bigs last year, though, Chacin might be considered for a promotion if one of Colorado's arms opens up a spot through injury or otherwise.
For five years, Martinez has been publicized as a top prospect but was given that status more so on his array of tools rather than performance. In 2009, Martinez started to live up to those press clippings, hitting .290 with eight homers, 28 RBIs and a .877 OPS in 45 games as a 20-year-old at Triple-A Buffalo. Martinez struggled in a brief MLB stint, though, before suffering a season-ending knee injury in July, stalling his development.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound outfielder made a strong bid to make the big-league club by hitting .383 with three home runs this spring, but it didn't stop the Mets from optioning him to Buffalo. Martinez has yet to play a full professional season at any level, so he definitely could use some more seasoning before being thrown back into the fire. If he hits like he is capable of, Martinez could earn a promotion sometime this year and see ample time, depending on how long Carlos Beltran remains sidelined. F-Mart profiles as a .280-25-100-type in his prime.
About Chris Hadorn
Chris Hadorn has covered minor league and amateur prospects for more than a decade. He writes for San Diego's North County Times and has been a KFFL fantasy baseball contributor since 2006.
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