Fantasy Baseball 2012: 9 Prospects Who Will Help You Win This Season

Scott RussellContributor IIFebruary 6, 2012

Fantasy Baseball 2012: 9 Prospects Who Will Help You Win This Season

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    The Washington Nationals are building a team from the ground up. That task becomes much easier when you have the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, Bryce Harper.

    Prospects are the players who help a team grow. They help a weak team improve by exceeding expectations or bringing the solutions to a teams problems.

    In fantasy baseball, we can break down a teams success to offensive production. Home runs are the most important offensive statistic as a home run scores your team a hit, run, RBI, and points on the average.  

    A number of the prospects I have mentioned may no longer be considered prospects due to having time in the majors, however, in the fantasy realm these players remain relatively unknown.

    In this list, you will find a group of players who can be obtained at a good draft position and will produce in ways similar to overrated, well-known players.

Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals

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    Harper comes with all of the hype and for good reason. He hits the ball with ease and the ball flies off of his bat.

    It is likely that one person in your league will reach for Harper so unless you have vested interest, I suggest staying out of this auction.

    When will Bryce make his debut this season and how will he perform once he does?

    The upside if he starts in the outfield for the Nationals is enormous. He has speed and power, two things that make for elite fantasy outfielders.  

Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays

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    Matt Moore signed a five-year contract this past December and looks primed for a solid 2012.

    Moore struck out six while pitching even scoreless innings against the Texas Rangers in the playoffs, a feat that should not be overlooked.

    He will be pitching in the competitive AL East, which should both help his maturation process and prove challenging simultaneously.

    Moore is an attractive mid-round pick with huge upside potential.

Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Aneheim

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    If you haven't heard about Mike Trout by now, then you are behind the curve.

    Trout is a five-tool player who can contribute more to a major league team than to your lineup. His defense is a strength that does not show up on the scoreboard of fantasy baseball.

    However, Mike is still an excellent option in the outfield this year. 

Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Goldshcmidt is no longer considered a prospect by many after his late-season call-up, but in the fantasy world he still remains widely unknown. 

    A late-season call-up paid dividends immediately for the Diamondbacks as the 24-year-old first baseman hit eight homers in 48 games. Goldschmidt also knocked in 26, scored 28 runs and drew 22 walks.

    Goldschmidt shows all signs of becoming a fantasy stud this year. He is ready to contribute to your fantasy team this year in a variety of ways.

Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs

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    San Diego gave Rizzo a chance in the bigs in 2011 and things didn't pan out for the main piece in the Adrian Gonzalez trade.

    Rizzo was traded to the Cubs this offseason and will get to play a large number of day games at Wrigley. That bodes well for the power-hitting first baseman.

    Many owners will stay away from Rizzo as his value remains unclear at this point. Anthony Rizzo has the ability to hit well this year and could do so for your team. Rizzo's potential to be a game-changing hitter make his fantasy value high.

    Remember, first base is a deep position which should keep Rizzo on the board deep into drafts.

Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals

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    The Kansas City Royals are building a winner and they have another piece in third baseman Mike Moustakas.

    Moustakas hit a minor-league leading 36 home runs in 2010.

    Mike Moustakas will be a 30+ home run hitter in the very near future and his value as a fantasy player is only going to rise.

    This is a great time to draft Moustakas, before he becomes much more well known as a fantasy power hitter.

Zack Cozart, Cincinati Reds

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    Cozart was hitting the ball well during his July call-up with the Reds at the end of last season.

    The consensus on Cozart is that he has enough power to hit 10+ home runs and enough speed to steal 15+ bases. His batting average is the main concern of scouts but his glove should keep him at the big league level.

    The value in Cozart truly is the lack of offensive production at his position, shortstop. If he can hit 12 dingers and steal 20 bases, then he will have made a contribution to his fantasy owners. 

    Think about Zack Cozart if shortstop becomes shallow in your league.

Tyler Pastornicky, Atlanta Braves

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    Pastornicky was Atlanta's fifth-round pick in 2009. Tyler has had success over the past two years in the minors.

    He looks to be the leading candidate for the Braves starting shortstop position and eighth spot in the batting order.

    Pastornicky hit .365 in 117 at-bats with Gwinnett, the Braves Triple-A affiliate. The Braves think he is ready.

    Going after Tyler is not a bad move in keeper leagues. His lack of experience make him a risky pick.

Devin Mesoraco, Cincinati Reds

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    Mesoraco has displayed the ability to hit the long ball in the minors.

    If Devin is given the opportunity this season with the Reds, he could prove to be a highly-undervalued catching option. 

    The Reds have been developing young players extremely well (Votto, Stubbs, Bruce) and Mesoraco appears to be another example.

    Mesoraco's power potential make him a solid option at catcher this year.