The Minor Leaguers Fantasy Baseball Owners Should Watch
By Eric Radom (@ericfansfantasy)
Every year, several rookies make their debuts after Opening Day and end up having an impact on your fantasy league. It is important to know what is going on down in the minor leagues, so that you are ready to pounce on those prospects.
At any point during the season, you may be struggling to find a lot of upside on the waiver wire, especially if you are in a deeper league. If you find yourself with an open bench spot and you do not like any of the available major league players, consider stashing one of these guys.
So far this year, we have highlighted Nolan Arenado, Trevor Bauer, Mike Trout, Brad Peacock, Jarrod Parker, Dylan Bundy, Will Middlebrooks, Anthony Rizzo, Garrett Richards, Bryce Harper and Billy Hamilton. Trout, Harper, Parker, and Middlebrooks have already played for their respective major league clubs.
Below are a few more players that have the talent and opportunity to make a fantasy impact this year.
1. Johnny Giavotella, Second Baseman, Royals
Giavotella established himself as the Royals' second baseman of the future last year by hitting .338, with nine home runs and nine stolen bases in Triple A during 110 games. He was then promoted for the final 46 games of the season, and although he struggled the last month of the season, he held his own, hitting .247, with two home runs and five stolen bases. The Royals cited defense as the reason they decided to start Giavotella back at Triple A this year, but if the Royals continue to struggle and Giavotella continues to produce at Triple A, it is only a matter of time before they give him another chance to provide a spark for them. During 31 games, Giavotella is hitting .331, with 28 runs, five home runs, 25 RBIs, one stolen base, 11 strikeouts and 18 walks. Veteran utility man Yuniesky Betancourt is already injured, and the current starter, Chris Getz, has never shown the ability to hold a major league job. Giavotella is not a future star by any means, but in a deeper league, he can contribute moderately in all categories once he returns to the Royals.
2. Jake Odorizzi, Starting Pitcher, Royals
It is always good to pay attention to a struggling team's minor league system, because losing teams are more likely to shake things up. This is why we have another Kansas City Royal farmhand on the list. The Royals pitching staff is at the bottom of the league in most categories. Any one of their starting pitcher spots could go to Odorizzi at some point, but specifically Jonathan Sanchez appears to be in trouble. Odorizzi came over to the Royals in the Zack Greinke trade, and he put up a combined 3.73 ERA and 1.21 WHIP at two levels last year. He has shown the ability to put up a high strikeout rate while keeping a low walk rate during his minor league career, and he has taken it to a new level in Double A this year, going 3-2, with a 3.48 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 40 strikeouts and only nine walks in 31 innings pitched. He has the pedigree and the pitching ability to be successful right away at the major league level. Be prepared to pick him up in deeper leagues if the Royals decide to give him a shot.
3. Lonnie Chisenhall, Third Baseman, Indians
Chisenhall is the Indians' third baseman of the future, but for now, the Indians have chosen to go with defensive-minded Jack Hannahan instead. History usually repeats itself though, and Hannahan's poor hitting has always forced teams to go a different direction. Meanwhile, Chisenhall is proving himself at the Triple A level, which he skipped over last year before struggling with the big club. He is batting .326 and slugging .562, with four home runs so far this year during 22 games. Chisenhall was a first-round pick in 2008, and he has been a top prospect now for several years. The Indians have a stacked lineup, and Chisenhall could put up some nice numbers in that lineup when he gets the call.
For a bonus:
Billy Hamilton, Shortstop, Reds
I know I wrote about Hamilton in my last piece, but he is so exciting, I wanted to provide an update. He is up to 31 stolen bases now and he has cut down his strikeout rate significantly since last year, despite moving up a level. I cannot wait until 2013 or 2014, when this guy arrives in the big leagues.
Dylan Bundy, Starting Pitcher, Orioles
Bundy continues to amaze at the Single A level at the age of 19. He is one of the most exciting pitching prospects in baseball. The bad news is that he has given up two hits since I last wrote about him, but the good news is that he has yet to give up an earned run, and he has a ridiculous 33 strikeouts and two walks in 20 innings. For the hitters in the South Atlantic League, Bundy's promotion to the next level cannot come soon enough.
Posted May 9, 2012