|Fantasy Baseball: AL Rookies to Watch: Now and Down the Road||| Print |||Send|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on March 28, 2005
SP Danny Bautista, Kansas City Royals – Bautista was dealt to the Orioles from Florida for Jeff Conine. The Birds dealt him to the Royals for an even cheaper price. Bautista has great potential, but he lacks command. If he is given a starting job, he should strike out a few hitters, but expect your ratios to be hurting.
SP Joe Blanton, Oakland Athletics – Blanton was a dominator in the minors, striking out a tremendous amount of hitters with pinpoint control. He won’t be Tim Hudson next year, but you can expect 10 wins and a 4.30 ERA from him with some nice K numbers. In other words, draft him.
RP Jesse Crain, Minnesota Twins – I know, I know, Crain is only a relief pitcher, but hear me out! He has dominated every single minor league level and can step into a major league job right now. I think he’ll pitch enough innings, strike out enough hitters, with low enough ratios to earn a spot on your team. Plus, if Joe Nathan proves last year a fluke or gets injured, Crain is number one in line to get saves.
OF Joey Gathright, Tampa Bay Devil Rays – This kid can steal bases. He is literally one of the fastest hitters in the Major Leagues, no doubt. He is still working on learning the strike zone, but if he is given a chance to play everyday, he could steal 35-40 bases. That’s if he’s given a chance and you’re willing to take the low batting average he’ll produce.
1B Adrian Gonzalez, Texas Rangers – Getting a place to play would be very unlikely for him, but he could probably hit .300 this year with a large number of doubles. The only problem is that the Rangers are loaded on talent in the infield, so Gonzalez would have to DH or learn an outfield position.
SP Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners – It is doubtful he’ll get an everyday job out of spring, but he should pitch sometime this season at the Major League level. This kid’s stuff is probably the nastiest in the minor leagues and he warrants comparisons to Mark Prior. He is a name to know and a name to keep in mind.
SP Scott Kazmir, Tampa Bay Devil Rays – How could the Mets trade this guy? Victor Zambrano better win a Cy Young very soon because Kazmir will. This season, Kazmir can pitch 180 innings with a low four ERA with amazing strikeout numbers. He is definitely worth a pick in deep leagues or AL only leagues. This guy is a dominator and will win at least one Cy Young award.
1B Casey Kotchman, Los Angeles Angels – This kid can rake, and do so greatly. The only problem, however, is getting him to the plate. Kotchman is beginning to earn the label of injury prone, but if he can get healthy, he could hit upwards of .290 and 15 homers this season, with 25 homer potential in his prime. He just needs health, just like many other great prospects.
OF Jason Kubel, Minnesota Twins – I’ve written about Kubel again and I’m putting him on this list even though he will miss a lot of time this year because of his knee injury. This is a kid that hit .347 between Double A and Triple A! If he comes back by August, which is entirely possible, Kubel could hit 15 homers with a .300 batting average. In other words, he could push you over the top towards the end of the year if he gets the chance to place.
3B Dallas McPherson, Los Angeles Angels – Last year McPherson hit 43 homers between Double A, Triple A, and the Major Leagues. This season he will produce more homers than anyone on this list, if healthy, and should hit with around .290. McPherson is definitely a good pick for deep leagues and a must in AL only leagues; he is also worth a gamble in mixed leagues.
SP Dan Meyer, Oakland Athletics – Dan Meyer came over from the Atlanta Braves system, which means he has a great changeup. He is not as polished as the other pitchers in Oakland and probably will need a little more time in Triple A. Look to pick him up around midseason, should he be in the Majors.
CF Jeremy Reed, Seattle Mariners – Fans in Chicago are finally going to get to see just how great Jeremy Reed is. Problem is Reed plays in Seattle and should produce tremendously for them in the number two spot. Ichiro will be on base for him very often, while Beltre, Sexson, and Boone will protect him beautifully. Reed will produce enough to be on your fantasy baseball team.
RP Huston Street, Oakland Athletics – Street has been getting so much hype, and he deserves it. He has dominated in the minor leagues in the closer’s role, but Octavio Dotel stands in his way for the time being. The A’s might use Street to setup, which should tremendously help your ratios, plus he could steal a few saves. If Dotel gets injured or blows a few saves, look for Street to close.
3B Mark Teahan, Kansas City Royals – Teahan is quietly producing well in Spring Training and should win the starting job. He has the ability to hit to the gaps, something ever so important. Even better is his talent to hit line drives, something also important. He should hit a few, maybe 15, homers with a .270 average. In deep leagues or AL only leagues, Teahan is worth a pick.