Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The 2011 Fantasy Baseball All Sleeper Teams

posted by Jon Williams
The idea of sleepers is an out-dated one. However, it is a tremendous amount of fun for fantasy
owners to come up with players that seem under-rated based on a wide variety of circumstances. If you split those collectively thought as sleepers into groups based on what makes them interesting, you might come up with teams like these.

Easy Like Apple Pie

C Mike Napoli - He is finally with a team that appreciates his skills but be careful not to over estimate his playing time. He'll be the primary DH against left-handers (and he'll rock at that) but at-bats against righties could be tough to come by on a crowded Rangers roster.

C Matt Wieters - So few catchers have ever been dominate offensive players at Wieter's age that calling him a sleeper seems unfair. Like calling a teenager a potential adult, if you just wait a few years he'll probably get there.

1B Mitch Moreland - He's young but he's a fairly disciplined hitter that should hit for both average and power in the middle of a great lineup in a great park for hitters. Plus he won't cost nearly as much as the equivalent hitter with more experience. Would you rather have a $12 Moreland or a $23 Derrek Lee?

3B Pablo Sandoval - His confidence is soaring, he's in the best shape of his life and his new condition should guarantee that doesn't get benched for poor defense again.

CR Jerry Sands - He won't begin the season with the team but he's too much the powerful hitter the Dodgers need to stay in the minors the entire season. I'm betting he's up in May.

2B Sean Rodriguez - He does a little of everything, and the price is right to gamble on what he does with career high at-bats. Twenty homers and a few steals would fit nicely on my teams.

SS Jose Reyes - He's healthy again, he's playing for a new contract with a manager who values him for what he does, rather than what he might do. That is to say watch him steal 70 bases in 2011.

MI Gordon Beckham - His potential is just too high to give up on. Plus, the White Sox rushed him a bit anyway, so the slump was something not very difficult to fortell.

OF Jason Heyward - If he stays on the field (and healthy while doing so) for 550-600 at-bats, he's a potential 2011 MVP.

OF Mike Stanton - This is your next National League Homerun King. If you're worried that he won't hit for average you haven't been watching closely enough.

OF Dexter Fowler - He has all the tools and the developing skills to explode on the scene a lot like teammate Carlos Gonzalez did in 2010. Now he needs a cool nickname, De-Fowl? De-Ler? Dexter is a serial killer to me now...

OF Jay Bruce - Bruce hit .338/.418/.700 during August-October. Bruce hit 15 HR in his final 35 games. Bruce is coming around.

UTL Manny Ramirez - With Manny it is all about health and motivation. He seems motivated to keep his career going. He the opportunity, now he just needs to go do it. Are you really betting against him?

SP Shawn Marcum - He proved last season that he was fully recovered from elbow surgery. This season he gets not only the bump from moving from the American League to the National League, but a bump from the AL-East to the NL-Central. He is my pitcher to get in NL-only Leagues this season.

Or he was, until this came up:
Shaun Marcum left his start on Wednesday because of shoulder tightness, and while Marcum downplayed what he felt, his manager sounds concerned. From Andrew Gruman's story: "There is definitely concern there," said [Ron] Roenicke. "His neck bothered him the last couple of days and when he went out there today, he thought it was the neck. I don't know if he was overcompensating, I don't know. We're in a tough spot if he's down for a while." One evaluator who saw Marcum's start on Thursday clocked his fastball at 86 mph. Not a good sign. Marcum has never been a power pitcher, but what concerns evaluators who have seen him this spring, beyond the velocity, is the quality of his fastball. Hopefully for the Brewers and for Marcum, he'll get better as he goes along.
SP Matt Garza - Garza gets the same bumps as Marcum but a lot of analysts seem to feel he'll be hurt by Wrigley Field (at least the ones that don't just think he's overrated do). I think what he gains in the switch (like facing pitchers instead of David Ortiz, Adam Lind, Jorge Posada and Vladimir Guerrero) will more than make up for a few extra homers allowed due to park factors.

SP Edison Volquez - The ace the Reds are looking for isn't Homer Bailey or even Aroldis Chapman. What you're hoping is that your league mates pay too much attention his control numbers in 2010. We know his control is better than that, he had quite a bit of bad luck, the statistical kind and the regular kind. I think he's ready to step up big time with a contending team at his back.

SP Jonathan Sanchez - Slow and steady progress isn't as exciting as the big splash but you can often get it cheaper. He's definitely going to pitch better in 2011, but he may not be as fortunate with his BABIP, so be cautious in bidding.

SP Phil Hughes - All he needs is to get his confidence back with his change-up and he becomes a top 20 pitcher without a single doubt. That's the pitch he's been working on all Spring Training. It's gonna happen.

SP Daniel Hudson - He had an amazing second half, Hudson may not be an "ace" but he is damn good. He and Mr. Kennedy will put the D'backs back in contention.

RP Frank Francisco - The favorite for saves in Toronto. His only problem has been staying healthy. He does not have the platoon problems that the other candidates for the job have.

RP J.J. Putz - The new closer in Arizona. Don't let the injuries and non-closer season get you down on Putz. He's as good as they come when healthy.

RP Drew Storen - This great young pitcher surrounded by solid bullpen talent should be able to thrive as the Nationals new closer. He isn't being drafted very high so he makes a great later rounds saves grab. Forget his spring numbers, he'll be fine.


An Apple a Day

C Jarod Saltalamaccia - Yes he has had his struggles but most of them were health related. He has his confidence back and a major opportunity. He's going to smash this season if he stays on the field.

C Russell Martin - He looks healthy so far. That doesn't necessarily mean his bat will bounce back but if he can return to hitting for average even with reduced power, he'll be one of the better catchers in the American League.

1B Derrek Lee - If the back isn't cranky,and the hand problem isn't serious, Lee is going to love Camden Yards which gives a giant homer assist to right-handed batters. That boost should help minimize the effects of aging on this classy slugger.

3B Chipper Jones - Some injury prone guys you just give up on drafting. But Chipper has always been different. He wants to contribute so bad and is still quite a hitter when healthy. It makes you wish the Braves were in the American League.

CR Lance Berkman - He is in better shape but the outfield will still be a challenge for him at this point.But as long as his legs are solid, I expect to see a resurgence in his bat.

2B Brian Roberts - Back problems are scary. When I originally placed him on this list it looked like he was coming into the season strong. Now I'm a bit more worried but I'll still take him his present discount.

SS Jose Reyes - He's healthy again, he's playing for a new contract with a manager who values him for what he does, rather than what he might do. That is to say watch him steal 70 bases in 2011.

MI J.J. Hardy - Hardy is not an ideal choice in H2H leagues because he is as streaky as they come. But with health and a favorable new park come 20 homers.

OF Grady Sizemore - You cannot risk drafting him as a top 30 outfielder as some have been doing. But if you get him in the pick 100-120 area I think you'll be happy with the return even if it isn't quite the long dreamed of 30/30 season.

OF Carlos Beltran - I thought he was comingback healthy this season but he is not bouncing back quite as well as hoped. Part of it is probably the Mets and Beltran being cautious. But at some point he needs to prove he can play, then my early Beltran picks in mock drafts will be justified. (Are you watching Justified on FX? A great show.)

OF Jacoby Ellsbury - A potential 70 steal guy, before the injuries. He has looked fantastic this spring.

OF Justin Upton - He was held back by a sore shoulder for most of the 2010 season. With health and good fortune I see an explosion coming, similar to Ken Griffey, Junior, after his 1992 season. Look it up, kids.

UTL Mark DeRosa - He should play multiple positions for the Giants this season. He has a way to go before he has proven he can return to his former production levels but at his ADP, I don't think it will be a problem.

SP Brandon Webb - He won't start the season with his former Cy Young form completely intact. He is healthy, but re-gaining his mechanics will take a while. He is best drafted if you have the ability to reserve him in April and May while he gets his mojo back.

SP Jordan Zimmerman - Tommy John Surgery is not quite the problem it used to be for pitchers (and their fantasy owners). Players used to need 18-24 months to fully recover both physically and to re-gain effectiveness. That has been trending closer to 12-14 months of late.

SP Jake Peavy - He sure looks healthy to me this Spring Training. I've cautioned against high expectations with Peavy but he should remain a top American League starting pitcher.

SP Josh Beckett - Josh gives owners a lot to think about. I still have a mild fear that he remains the keeper of a secret injury. The reduction in fastball velocity followed by the reduction in use of the fastball. Could an injury be the cause? But he was also unlucky in 2010, and even if he pitches basically the same, better luck would make him a decent starter in AL-only leagues. Then there's that blow to the head...

RP Huston Street - Okay, so he's a little on the fragile side. But he does his rehab and comes back strong every time. When he stops bouncing back I'll stop drafting him.

RP Joe Nathan - Tommy John Surgery just isn't the problem it used to be. These days a guy returns in 12-14 months and he's stronger than ever.


Teach A Man to Fish...

C Derek Norris - Ivan Rodriguez, Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores are all in his way but Norris is the one who be guiding the Nationals pitching staff when they are ready to win. He'll prove that this season. He has the best bat of the bunch (by far) and though he has areas to improve defensively, throwing out 50 percent of potential basestealers will win you a ton of leeway.

C Robinson Chirinos - If nothing else he is more interesting than John Jaso and Kelly Shoppach. The Rays like him a lot, the Tampa Bay bloggers like him a lot and PECOTA likes him a lot. Here's a clip from TheProcessReport.com (one of the better Rays blogs out there):
So, imagine my delight when PECOTA projects a rather solid line for Chirinos right out of the chute: .261/.369/.455. That’s pretty good from any position, but catcher? Forget about it, consider that Prospectus has the league average catcher at .248/.321/.379 last season, leaving Chirinos with at least a .013 point advantage across the board. Impressive stuff, except some parts of this post are lies.

Prospectus does not have Chirinos projected at .261/.369/.455; Prospectus has Chirinos projected at .276/.360/.471. Even better – so why the deceit? Because the line everyone, from you to me to your mother would have taken from Chirinos belongs to someone hated in the fan base – Kelly Shoppach – and it’s not a projection, but rather how he hit left-handers last season. Folks are so quick to dismiss Shoppach from the roster for flavor of the month candidates like Jose Lobaton and Nevin Ashley that they forget Shoppach has utility to this roster and provided value last season.


1B Dan Johnson - Remember him? I'll let TPR take the lead again:
According to the research of Jason Hanselman of Dock of The Rays, Johnson’s expected BABIP (xBABIP) should have been right around the league average at .301. That equates to 13 extra hits and an expected slash line of .311/.432/.527. Even the biggest Johnson supporters would say that line is extremely optimistic, but keep in mind we’re talking about a small sample size of 40 games. The point is, even if Johnson’s 2011 BABIP is in the neighborhood of .250-.260, his batting average will improve and so will his already admirable on-base percentage.


3B Ian Stewart - It seems like he's been around forever but he is just 25 years old. He is finally feeling his job threatened and it seems to be exactly the motivation he needed. Stewart has been more vocal in the clubhouse and is putting up a fight for his job. He is working with hitting coach Carney Lansford on a slight alteration to his stance against lefties and on using the entire field rather than the pull-heavy style he has used in recent years. The potential is there and now the motivation is too.

CR Brett Wallace - A lot of teams are going to regret giving up on Brett Wallace so soon. He was a great hitter in college and a great prospect for the Cardinals, then after a year of being shuffled about we're shocked he lost his swing mechanics for a minute and struggled in an unexpected Major League debut? He's kicking ass this Spring, especially relative to the other Astros hitters.

2B Ryan Raburn - He is finally getting the playing time he'll need to make a serious impact on your fantasy team. Seriously, 30 homers (an increasingly rare feat) is a real possibility.

SS Alcides Escobar - Once the favored prospect of the Brewers, he was gonna be the base-stealing, gold glove shortstop of the next decade. Instead he is a Kansas City Royal. All that stuff he was gonna do for the Brewers? He'll just be doing it for the Royals' soon-to-be loaded and contending team.

MI Jed Lowrie - He is a better shortstop than Marcos Scutaro in almost every way, but Terry Francona is a loyal guy and he'll force Lowrie to fight for every at-bat and prove he deserves to play.

OF Logan Morrison - He has more power than early drafters seem to believe. He is only going to get better over the next few seasons. Even now he should hit for average with decent power and score a bunch of runs batting in front of Mike Stanton and Gaby Sanchez.

OF Carlos Gomez - Yeah, he's hitting .400 this spring. Sometimes it just takes time, sometimes it takes tough love, sometimes you just need people to think Lorenzo Cain is better than you.

OF Roger Bernadina - He is fighting for a starting outfield spot with the Nationals. Draft him whether he wins or loses. The Rick Ankiel and Nyjer Morgan types can't block him for much longer. He'll provide power and speed even as a bench guy.

UTL Juan Miranda - It looks like Russell Branyan will win the first base job. That is very understandable for a team that wants to win games now. I still back Miranda as a decent sleeper because the Diamondbacks have a gaping hole in left field, where Miranda can also play (if not particularly well. But he has a left field bat, which is more than you can say for most of the other candidates.

SP Craig Stammen - A strong groundball rate, a strong swinging strike rate that suggests his K-rate will rebound to levels closer to those on his minor league resume. And he'll be available so cheaply, you can't lose.

SP Carlos Carrasco - It seems like he's been around forever. He is just 24-years old. Analysts have debated for a few ears about his upside, mid-rotation or potential ace. He'll show us which this season, either way the price is right for acquiring him.

SP James McDonald - The Dodgers of the last few years give up on guys far too quickly. McDonald struggled a bit but he never got the chance to adjust. Now the Pirates will reap the benefits.

SP Phil Coke -When a guy gets moved from starting to relieving early in his career, we often forget how successful he was in his former role. Coke isn't a superstar but he's going to be a solid rotation guy.

SP Gio Gonzalez - A friend of mine has lost his mind trying to add Gio Gonzalez in every league. He's absolutely positive he is the next big breakout pitcher. He did have an amazing second half of the season. Gonzalez is also having a very nice Spring Training.

SP Brian Matusz - Matusz is a future ace. There no denying it. Do what you can to acquire him now. He's heating up this spring the way he did in the second half last season.

SP Max Scherzer - After his brief demotion, Scherzer posted a 2.46 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning over his final 23 starts. That's one of the best pitchers in baseball for almost two thirds of the season.

RP Ryan Webb - He has the stuff to close. I've always hated Leo Nunez.

RP Kenley Jansen - He's a middle reliever you want on your pitching staff. He'll help your pitching staff (especially in strikeouts) more than a lot of starters would.



RP Johnny Venters - The man who should be closing for the Braves, he has the strikeout rate plus the control the other guy struggles with.

RP Evan Meek - The man who should be closing for the Pirates, he has the strikeout rate plus the control the other guy struggles with.

Its Not Where You're From...

C Hank Conger - As the only catcher the Angels have, who knows how to use a baseball bat, Conger is bound to get playing time. He can hit but he's still a rookie so don't overbid.

C Jonathan Lecroy - He'll miss four weeks with a finger fracture but he is still the starting catcher. He can hit a little too. He'll be a great one dollar catcher in 2011.

1B Adam Dunn - One of the best sluggers in baseball is moving from an National League pitchers' park to one of the best homer parks in the American League. Fifty homers is not out of the question.

3B Edwin Encarnacion - His potential is immense. Imagine he starts taking to the same coaching Jose Bautista starting to use the last couple of years? I have a hunch this could be the year. He's been sufficiently humbled.

CR Carlos Pena - It was a big portion of bad luck for a guy who has a small margin for error. He should rebound this season with the Cubs who have a ballpark he should enjoy mashing within.

2B Chris Getz - You don't need every guy to be a hall of famer. You just need guys that will produce more than their cost to you. Getz will hit a few homers and steal some bases. He may even qualify at multiple positions.

SS Luis Cruz - It is very anti-sabremetrics of me to admit this, but I think Yuniesky Betancourt has been underrated, and even abused by the pro-Advanced Stat crowd. Sure, he isn't a great player but he gets ground into the dirt whenever his name is mentioned. It's a little much. But if the Brewers get sick of Betancourt's mediocre defense and his inconsistent bat, Luis Cruz is ready and raring to go. He tore up the winter leagues, don't take my word for it, go look it up.

MI Omar Infante - No, he doesn't really rank as an All-Star but he is a solid player about to get a career high number of at-bats. That usually equals career high stats for the talented guys and Infante is a talented guy. Plus, he's one of those guys that just looks like a Baseball Player.

OF Jay Gibbons - A once solid bat, that is probably out of place as a starter. It looks like Marcus Thames and Tony Gwynn are going to take a lot of at-bats from him. But for a buck or two, in a deep NL-only, he could be useful.

OF Rajai Davis - He hits for average, he steals a ton of bases and he'll score a mega-ton of runs. Don't get all down on him because of his on-base percentage, that probably doesn't matter in your league anyway.

OF Jordan Schafer - He's back, he's healthy and swinging the bat as he did a few years back. As soon as an opening presents itself he'll be the best fifth outfielder you've ever owned.

OF David Murphy - Because of the Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli acquisitions, Murphy will be sitting a little more than usual at the start of the season. But with Josh Hamilton fragile, Nelson Cruz fragile, and Julio Borbon inconsistent thus far - Murphy will get his at-bats.

SP Aaron Harang - Once upon a time owners actually wanted to draft Harang. He was a fairly effective pitcher with a decent strikeout rate. Then he ran into Dusty Baker and an unfavorable ballpark and everything went to hell. Now he has a manager used to coddling fragile arms and the best pitching park in the game.

SP Jeff Francis - The former ace of the Rockies has had some rough times of late, mostly due to injuries but seems healthy now, if not quite what he was once projected to be. He still has some stuff and a mind that knows how to use that stuff, and a ballpark stingy with homeruns.

SP Chris Young - See Jeff Francis, but change Rockies to Padres.

SP Kyle McClellan - They keep calling him the fifth starter for the Cardinals, but he won't be at the end of the season. Then they'll be calling him ace.

SP Mark Rzepczynski - With a new manager in place, a pitching oriented one, Rzepczynski has a chance to win a spot in the rotation again, or at least become a regular in the bullpen. Either way, I expect him to be very useful in AL-only leagues.

RP Joel Peralta - Someone has to get saves in Tampa Bay, it may as well be Peralta. If nothing else he's the cheapest of the guys projected to be part of the time-share.

RP Henry Rodriguez - I just like guys that can sling in 100mph in bullpens with closers I don't like.

RP Matt Belisle - He is not flashy but he is effective and in a bullpen with weaknesses.

RP Jordan Walden - He is the future closer of the Angels. Get him now.

RP Jesse Crain - If Thornton chokes on the big job, this guy rather than Sale just might be the answer.


Flying Pigs in a Wintery Hell

C Brayan Pena - The Royals would rather start broken down Jason Kendall.

C Jason Castro - He finally has a complete opportunity in his grasp and he gets hurt again.

1B Jason Giambi - He can still hit a ton of homeruns. If Todd Helton goes down again...

3B Jose Lopez - Everyone except the Rockies management apparently, would rather see Eric Young Jr. win the second base job this season.

CR Dallas McPherson - The White Sox may actually keep him on their bench this season. Maybe he'll put some at-bats together.

2B Luis Hernandez - He may have gotten some press as a possibility for the Mets but it will never happen.

SS Eric Farris - A toolsy possibility should the Brewers get sick of their mediocre and injury-prone middle infielders.

OF Carlos Gomez - Sure he has yet to show much potential in the majors but it's in there somewhere. Maybe the great spring is a sign.

OF Matt Joyce - The Rays traded for him and then they let him sit around for a while. But apparently he'll get serious play this season. In that case, you want him.

OF Johnny Damon - He'll keep Desmond Jennings down on the farm all season. No better reason for resentment than that.

SP Zack Duke - He depends on defense and the Pirates gave him none last season.

SP Scott Olsen - He's not even close to what he was maybe with a team like the Pirates he can accept that.

SP Paul Maholm - See Zack Duke.

SP Esmil Rogers - He gets the strikeouts and the groundballs, he just needs to have some BABIP luck, or stop allowing so many linedrives, either one. Looks like he has a spot in the rotation all sewed up.

SP Shawn Hill - He is always hurt, but when healthy he can be an effective starter.

RP Dontrelle Willis - His spring started off okay, but this is probably the last shot for Willis.

RP Fernando Rodney - He'll get saves but his ratio stats will suck.

Built-In Resentment

C Chris Ianetta - This is clearly Ianetta's last opportunity to prove himself with the Rockies. According to Denver Post columnist Troy Renck, minor-league catching prospect Jordan Pacheco has impressed veterans with his plate discipline and understanding of his swing. He says there are some in the organization that believe he can hit big-league pitching this season.

C Matt Wieters - In a lot of keeper leagues, Wieters owners have to decide before the season starts whether he deserves a contract extension or not. Prediction: Wieters will be available in a lot of drafts in 2012.

1B Kila Ka'aihue - In this case the resentment isn't ours. It comes from Royals GM Dayton Moore who hates that the power and average providing Ka'aihue has forced himself into the big league picture. He's also hated by those that need to spell his name.

3B Brandon Wood - Now that no one cares, he's absolutely positive to produce great numbers for a shortstop/third baseman.

CR Andy Marte - The Pirates are the latest team to give him a look.

2B Ben Zobrist - There is a guy in one of my leagues that could have traded his one dollar Zobrist for almost anything, but he held on to him. He thought the power was for real (so did I ) but it hasn't worked out so well so far.

SS Drew Sutton - A disciplined player in the Ben Zobrist class of hitters. He could start the season with the Red Sox. he won't get many at-bats but if an injury happens he could have use in AL-only.

MI Robert Andino - With J.J. Hardy injury-prone and Cedeno without a bat, Andino might be the best offensive option at short the Orioles have, at least at times during the season.

OF Felix Pie - The baseball gods just won't give Pie a break. When hBolde plays well he either gets hurt or is then stuck on the bench behind a more proven player. He has not played well from the bench in his career but he says he's better prepared for that role this season.

OF Nate McClouth - He's back. No one knows where he went but 20/20 is once again a possibility.

OF Jeff Francouer - He is in a very comfortable situation. A coaching staff he's familiar with and an upper management that has faith in him. He has been put into a leadership role on a very young team. I have a hunch he has a decent season. But I won't pay more than a buck or two.

OF Alex Gordon - Judging by his Spring Training numbers he really wants to play on your team this season. Will you let him?

OF Julio Borbon - Many owners were disappointed by Borbon in 2010. But giving up on him is probably a mistake. He has the talent to be a top fantasy outfielder.

UTL David Ortiz - Something his slow starts the last couple of seasons has seen his stock drop dramatically in early drafts this season. I think he has another great season in him, especially surrounded by so much talent on the Red Sox.

SP A.J. Burnett - He's had a great spring and he has all the talent in the world. However, he tends to let us down.

SP Javier Vasquez - Except for those years with the Expos (doesn't that seem like a million years ago) and that one season with the Braves, he's been disappointing. He might be a solid pitcher this season but if you pay for more than that I name you sucker.

SP Oliver Perez - Maybe he can find a team that won't trash his mechanics and then release him when he loses velocity. Harold Reynolds agrees.

SP Joel Pinero - He's never quite as good as we hope.

SP Jason Hammel - Hammel tends to struggle with men on base. Probably because he gets hammered when pitching out of the stretch. However until those base runners get on he is a pretty good pitcher.

RP Joba Chamberlain - He's got his velocity back. Makes a huge difference. The oblique injury is just annoying.

RP Wilton Lopez - He pitches for that Astros, but I like him. I like him quite a but actually.

OFF THE BENCH

C Bobby Wilson - The Angels are obsessed with defense and Bobby Wilson may be the only possibility that can provide a great defensive presence and not be a complete zero with the bat.

C Jake Fox - At the time of this writing, Fox was leading the majors in Spring Training homers and RBI. He could always hit, he just needs a position to play and the opportunity to get 400 or so at-bats. Buck Showalter might be the man to give it to him. If he gets 20-30 starts at catcher that would really rock.

1B Chris Davis - Every season he puts on a late season homer display and looks like the second coming in Spring Training.The question is always, is this the year? In 806 at-bats, Davis has 39 homers, which isn't too bad, it is the 278 strikeouts in that same period that kills him.

3B Eric Chavez - He's healthy and playing quite a bit in Spring Training. Damn, he used to be good. One of the best actually.

CR Jorge Vazquez - This big guy can hit. Only Eric Chavez is standing in his way. Chavez is bound to get hurt doing that.

2B Josh Barfield - He probably just lost a nice role to Luis Castillo.

SS Eduardo Nunez - Look him up, he's better than you think. He'll be stealing some bases for the Yankees this season.

MI Scott Sizemore - The Tigers were willing to call him the starter at second last year before Spring Training even started. They'll find a place for him this season.

OF Marcus Thames - He should play quite a bit with Gibbons considered the full time left fielder. Thames has stupid power.

OF Alejandro De Aza - He'll steal some bases, no matter what.

OF Mike Morse - He could always hit, he's just never been given the opportunity to put 500 at-bats together as a starter. He might win a starting role this spring, either way he's going to play this season, a lot.

OF Tony Gwynn Jr. - The Dodgers would be very happy if Gwynn won their center field job and pushed Kemp to left field. He's having a great spring, maybe the combination of Daddy and Donnie Baseball has got everything finally clicking. At worst you'll still collect a couple dozen steals.

UTL Mark Trumbo - He'll man first base while Kendry Morales is on the disabled list.

Rookie of the Year Candidates

C Carlos Santana - He does everything and he's a catcher. Bold Statement: Forget Buster Posey, this is your man. You're gonna love him.

C Jesus Montero - There is some doubt out there bout whether Montero can remain at the catcher position but it isn't coming from the higher ups in the Yankees organization. Mark Newman admitted to John Sickels that there was a point when Montero was indeed a bad catcher. However, he has worked very hard to learn the position and Newman believes he can be average at the position. With this guy's bat that is more than good enough, and fantastic news for Montero owners. And yes, he can play from the bench.

1B Brandon Belt - His excellent bat control and great coaching has helped him shoot through the Giants system. He may never return to the minors.

3B Lonnie Chisenhall - The cheapskate Indians just sent him back to the minors to save a few bucks but he'll be back really soon. He isn't Mike Schmidt but he should hit for average and power.

CR Mike Moustakas - Okay, he might be Mike Schmidt.

2B Jason Kipnis - The Indians are loaded with great talent again. Kipnis is another that could be playing for the tribe right now. Hopefully the Indians don't screw it up again.

SS Danny Espinosa - A potential 20/20 shortstop is definitely somthing we fantasy guys like to see. His batting average may not impress but it shouldn't kill you unless you have other BA-less players keeping you down.

MI Brett Lawrie - He has a solid chance to skip Triple-A ans start the season with the Toronto Blue Jays.

OF Domonic Brown - The broken hand may end up being the best thing to happen to Domonic Brown. Rather than face the pressure of winning a spot he can relax, rehab and then get a call-up after tearing up the minors for a few weeks more. It's all good.

OF Eric Thames - A toolsy outfield prospect for the Blue Jays. If Travis Snider fails to make it happen you could see him mid-season.

OF Brett Jackson - Blocked in the Cubs outfield for now. I love his bat and feel he's slightly underrated. Probably because he's a Cub.

OF Trayvon Robinson - He's a bit raw but has potential superstar written all over him. A faster Matt Kemp is my comparison.

OF Will Myers - If he was remaining a catcher for reals, he might be the number one prospect in baseball. Hell have to settle for top ten.

UTL Eric Hosmer - The 2011 Baseball Prospectus called him Batman. What else do you need to know?

SP Zach Britton - My favorite pitching prospect, an extreme groundball guy with a knack for striking guys out. It looks like he'll make the team out of spring training.

SP Michael Pineda - Pineda has the strikeouts and control to be on a bunch of sleeper lists. But the topper for me is the ability to also induce groundballs. No, I can't say it enough.

SP Jeremy Hellickson - Everyone loves him, he'll probably be over priced.

SP Kyle Drabek - Son of Doug and a future ace on his own merits.

SP Mike Minor - Picked because he would move quickly through the system, he turned out to be better than even the Braves expected.

SP Ivan Nova - Ivan Nova was 12-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 23 Triple-A starts in 2010. He is one of many young Yankees having a great Spring Training.

SP Mark Rogers - He has the stuff when healthy. It used to be better stuff but it's still plenty good. He won't begin the season with the big league team because he's been slow stretching out, but he'll be up soon if all goes well.

RP Jake McGee - He's begging to close, so far Joe Maddon is ignoring him.

RP Chris Sale - He won't get the first shot at the closer role but he should still have great stats. Just don't pay too much.

RP Craig Kimbrel - The new close for the Braves. You can't ignore the strikeout rate, he should be an exciting pitcher to own.

RP Aroldis Chapman - He won't close this year and he isn't likely to start either but he has the stuff for either job. The starting would take some time, the closing he's ready to do now.

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