by Chris Hadorn
on March 31, 2010 @ 15:00:00
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?
Jackson is slated to be the Tigers' Opening Day center fielder. The key piece in the Curtis Granderson deal hit .300 with four homers, 65 RBIs and 24 steals in 504 at-bats with the New York Yankees' Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2009. Due to his above-average defensive skills, Jackson will play regularly, but there's great debate about how much of an impact hitter he will develop into in the long term. The 23-year-old has subpar plate discipline for a leadoff hitter, and scouts are divided about how much his power will grow as he matures.
Expect Jackson to steal somewhere between 25 and 30 bases in 2009 if he hits well enough to stay in the lineup for the duration of the season. His average could hover anywhere from .240 to .280, and he could score 90 runs if he achieves the high side of that. He can be a No. 3 outfielder in AL leagues and a No. 5 in deep mixed setups this season.
Hudson, a fifth-round pick out of Old Dominion in the 2008 Entry Draft, made a surprising ascent from low Single-A ball to the majors in 2009, pitching at five different levels. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound right-hander combined to post a 14-5 record, with a 2.32 ERA and 166 strikeouts in 147 1/3 innings at his four minor league stops.
Hudson, 23, throws a low- to mid-90s fastball, a plus changeup, a curveball and a slider, but his deceptive - and often violent - delivery makes his pitches tougher for hitters to pick up. The White Sox optioned him to Triple-A Charlotte to start the season, but he could be promoted within a month or two to help the Pale Hose in the bullpen or as a backend starter. He profiles as a No. 3 or 4 starter.
After hitting a robust .379 in 2008, Revere hit .311 in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League in 2009, which was the second best mark in the circuit. Revere is a spray hitter with a quick stroke who drew more walks (40) than strikeouts (34) last season. The soon-to-be 22-year-old also swiped 45 bases in 62 attempts, surpassing the 40-steal plateau for the second straight year.
Revere registered only a .369 slugging percentage last year, and his power is not expected to grow much more. He profiles strictly as a leadoff hitter. Best-case scenario, Revere will be a star who competes for a few batting titles in the majors, but his most likely career path will be a productive .280 to .300 hitter with the wheels to swipe 35 to 40 bases a year. Revere is headed to Double-A New Britain this year.
Bell was the key prospect acquired by the Orioles in the 2009 trade deadline deal that sent reliever George Sherrill to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 448 at-bats between Double-A Bowie and Double-A Chattanooga, Bell combined to hit .295 with 20 homers, 76 RBIs and a .892 OPS.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound switch-hitter is a big kid with the power to drive the ball to all fields. Long term, he has a chance to be a .270 hitter with 20- to 25-home run power in the majors. The main issues with Bell are whether he can hit lefties and whether he will grow out of the third base position with his weight. If he stays there, Bell is in line to succeed Miguel Tejada at the hot corner after spending a big chunk or all of the 2010 campaign at Triple-A Norfolk.
Reddick is a good all-around athlete with the talent to develop into a 20-home run, 20-stolen base threat at the major league level. He also possesses the athleticism to play all three outfield spots, but he is best suited for right field because of his strong throwing arm. Reddick fared well at Double-A Portland in 2009, hitting .277 with 13 homers, 29 RBIs, five steals and a .872 OPS in 256 at-bats.
However, he failed miserably after being promoted, hitting just .127 in 72 at-bats at Triple-A Pawtucket and .169 in 59 at-bats for Boston. Even in small sample sizes, pitchers exposed Reddick for his precarious strike zone judgment. Reddick is slated to play the majority of the 2010 season at Pawtucket. His performance there could determine whether the Red Sox lean toward him as their right fielder of the future with J.D. Drew set to be a free agent after this year.
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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