We all have the idea that we know when certain things are going to happen. I for instance knew Spring came on March 20th this year. That is what the calendar said anyway. I had my Scotts Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer all ready to go. It turns out that in the northeast mother nature has delayed spring this year. Now, I am two weeks behind in my yard maintenance schedule. Let it to the Houston Astros to wreck another one of my scheduled event.
They, unlike mother nature, decided to have Springer come early this year. Every year I follow the top end prospects that due to labor agreements are held out until sometime in early June. The cause is the Super Two rule, which is a way for many teams to save a year of arbitration on their top prospects. In simple terms the top 22% of players with service time between 2 and 3 years are eligible for arbitration. It is hard to roster these prospects in leagues that have a small bench (0-4 players). Now in dynasty leagues and keeper leagues, where you have 28 plus man rosters, these players should already be owned. If they are not go directly to your team and find a way to add them. But, on those smaller rosters you just can not afford to zero production from these spots for two plus months. These prospects can be a difference maker for you when they get promoted. Timing and choosing the right prospects can make a difference in your title chances. Just like my lawn care I have a plan that is mapped out on the calendar. I want to add one or two of these guys to my teams with limited bench spots by the end of May. If, I can afford to lock up a roster spot at that time. I also planned on writing an article in mid May that covered prospects and why it was time to add them. With Houston messing that all up I guess I will get ahead of the game by putting out that article today.
Springer’s was owned in just 2.1% of ESPN leagues and jumped to 77.1 in a day. This shows that people see the importance of owning prospects like Springer. The real question is, what are the other 22.9% of leagues waiting for? If you missed out on Springer, which most of you did, you should start thinking about what other prospects could make a difference this year and beyond. I am watching closely and may need to change my strategy. It seems that the atmosphere on holding back prospects until the Super Two date may be changing. I have seen several comments from player agents regarding the perception that prospects are held back only for their teams financial gain. In addition, teams are signing their young players to deals that buy out those arbitration years. This means that you may need to act sooner than later on prospects that may help you this year.
Here is my list of prospects I expect to have a fantasy impact this year and beyond.
Byron Buxton, OF: Consider the top prospect in baseball by many, it would seem only a matter of time before he is in the Show. I would say that I am a little hesitant of this due to a sprained wrist that has held him out so far this year. With the late start and type of injury, I feel it may be August or later in the season until he gets a chance. I will be watching closely when he returns to action to see if he shows any signs of lingering effects of the wrist injury. If he looks healthy, he is a must own in keeper leagues.
Oscar Taveras, OF: He has been the prize prospect in an organization that turns out prospects more often than most. I do not believe Bourjos or Jay will keep him out of the lineup if he stays healthy and performs as many believe he can. At some point in his career he should hit 30 Hr with a .300 average. He may even steal 15 bags someday. This year though think 18Hr .280 average from June on, which would help most of your teams.
Gregory Polanco, OF: If you have a need for speed get him on your roster. He has 40 SB potential. 20 HRs are possible if the power continues to develop. The Pirates have no one that should keep him out of the lineup. I think he is a lock to be promoted in that early to mid June time frame. Watch for the projected Super Two day and strike before that.
Trevor Bauer, SP: Once bitten twice shy.(great song) I am sure some of you have been bitten by him in the past. I have been a victim of his, too. Just remember that he has great stuff and sometimes that takes time to harness. He has looked great so far this year in the minors and had an excellent spot start for the Indians. If you see that the indians need a starter, he will be called on. You will want to add him then because, this may be the time he puts it all together and is up for good.
Archie Bradley, SP: He is one of the players whose agent has expressed that his player is not in the show only due to Super Two rule. Bradley had an ERA below 2.oo between High A and AA last year. He may be the top pitching prospect in baseball. I for some reason feel that he will show just enough to earn a promotion on or around the projected Super Two day. Not that the Diamondbacks are waiting for that day. I just feel he needs just that much work at AAA. The Diamondbacks also have some ocean front property they are selling near their stadium.
Javier Baez, SS: This guy has real power and speed hitting. He hit 38 HR and while stealing 20 bases between two levels last year. He followed that up with a great spring where he clubbed 5 HRs before being demoted. His biggest problem may be Starlin Castro is blocking him. If Castro hits as he did last year, that may not be a problem. However, if he find his groove again, Baez may need to find another position. They will find a way to get Baez in the lineup by the All Star Break if he continues to hit.
Hunter Morris, 1B: He is not near the top of the prospects out there, however opportunity is everything. The only players blocking him are Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay. I think we can all agree that there is a good chance both of them could play themselves out of the lineup. They have each done it before. Morris has power and if he can repeat his 2012 numbers he could find his way into the Brewers lineup.
These Pictures all have a chance to be promoted, as always with young pitchers be aware of innings limits and Tommy John. (The surgery, not the man)
Keep an eye on Addison Russell, SS. I think he is a year away, but some think he could be called to the show this year. If he is you want to own him.
As always these are fluid situations for all prospects. Keeping a watchful eye on them is important. Injuries, production, and finances all affect their timetables.