2012 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Each Team's Rookie You Have to Know

Eric MatulaContributor IIMarch 1, 2012

2012 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Each Team's Rookie You Have to Know

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    Every fantasy manager gets excited thinking about the upcoming rookie class. Everyone wants to cash in on an up-and-coming star—especially if you're in a keeper league.

    Guys like Jeremy Hellickson and Craig Kimbrel rewarded fantasy owners last year, and Buster Posey and Jason Heyward were big boosts in 2010.

    So who's the crop of the class for 2012?

    Keep reading to see each team's rookie that you have to know.

    To be considered a rookie, a player must not have exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched or accumulated more than 45 days on the active 25-man roster.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Trevor Bauer, SP

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    Trevor Bauer was the third overall pick in in 2011.

    Bauer spent three seasons at UCLA, so there won't be as many restrictions on him going into 2012. He threw 100-plus innings every year for the Bruins.

    While Bauer struggled with the ERA at Double-A last year (7.56), he was striking out a ton of batters. He collected a 17.00 K/9 ratio at Single-A and then a 14.04 at Double-A.

    Expect Bauer to get 110 innings this year for the D-backs. He can boost your K numbers late in the season.

Atlanta Braves: Julio Teheran, SP

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    Julio Teheran was signed in 2007 as an international free agent.

    The 21-year-old has three pitches that are above-average or better, and throws all three (fastball, curve, changeup) with command.

    Durability and strength have not been a problem with the youngster. Teheran was 15-3 with a 2.55 ERA at Triple-A last year.

    With Tim Hudson out for the first month of the season, Teheran will have a good shot at making the rotation.

Baltimore Orioles: Wei-Ying Chen, SP

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    The Orioles signed Wei-Ying Chen in January.

    The Taiwanese lefty pitched for the Chunichi Dragons of the Japan Central League for the last four seasons. During his time there, he compiled a 36-30 record with a 2.48 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.

    Chen might not be Yu Darvish, but he throws in the low 90s and his strikeout-to-walk ratio was better than three-to-one.

    Chen is currently slated as No. 3 in the rotation. He's not that valuable unless you're in AL-only or deep mixed leagues. He could become a decent streaming option though.

Boston Red Sox: Will Middlebrooks, 3B

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    Will Middlebrooks was drafted in the fifth round (174 overall) in 2007.

    Middlebrooks has the potential to be a power-hitting third basemen. His walk rate is very low, so his average might never be high, but he has plenty of raw power.

    In Double-A last year, Middlebrooks hit .302 with 18 home runs and a .520 slugging percentage in 96 games.

    The 23-year-old is most likely another year away from cracking the starting lineup, but Kevin Youkilis hasn't played more than 140 games since 2008.

Chicago White Sox: Addison Reed, RP

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    Addison Reed was drafted in the third round (95 overall) in 2010.

    Reed has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues. He pitched in five different levels in 2011 (starting in High-A and finishing in the MLB). Throughout every level, Reed had a K/9 ratio of 12.92 (123 Ks in 85.3 IP) with an ERA of 1.47.

    What's even more staggering: Reed walked just 15 batters the entire year last season. He carried an amazing 8.2 K:BB ratio.

    Reed will give Matt Thornton competition for the closer role. He'll be a ROY candidate for 2012.

Chicago Cubs: Brett Jackson, OF

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    Brett Jackson was drafted 31st overall in 2009.

    Jackson played in Double-A and Triple-A in 2011 and he combined for a 20/20 season. While his strikeout rate did increase from 2010, so did his OBP.

    Jackson can also play each of the three outfield positions and has a strong enough arm for right field.

    The Cubs have a pretty weak outfield crew in David DeJesus, Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano. Jackson can be an everyday outfielder with 20/20 potential.

Cincinnati Reds: Devin Mesoraco, C

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    Devin Mesoraco was drafted 15th overall in 2007.

    After his pro career started off very slowly, Mesoraco turned it up the last two seasons in the minors. Last year at Triple-A, Mesoraco hit .289 with 15 homers in 120 games.

    Another good sign is that Mesoraco's walk rate has gone up each of the last two years.

    Right now MLB depth charts list Ryan Hanigan as the starter, but Mesoraco has too much upside to not get at-bats. He can be an everyday catcher who hits close to .300 with 20 home runs annually.

Cleveland Indians: Nick Hagadone, RP

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    Nick Hagadone was drafted in the supplemental round (55th overall) in 2007.

    Hagadone went 6-4 with a 2.79 ERA in Double-A and Triple-A in 2011. During his stay in the minors last year, he struck out 9.76 batters per nine innings.

    Hagadone got a taste of the Big Leagues late last season when he pitched in nine games. He picked up 11 strikeouts in 11 innings.

    Hagadone averaged 94.1 mph with his fastball last year, so he has a chance to make the Indians bullpen out of spring training.

Colorado Rockies: Drew Pomeranz, SP

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    Drew Pomeranz was drafted fifth overall in 2010.

    In his first year of pro ball, Pomeranz was very tough to hit in 2011. He held minor league hitters to a .189 average and lefties to a .120 average.

    Pomeranz made four starts for the Rockies last year and won two of those starts.

    Pomeranz might not be an ace, but he has the capability of being a No. 2 guy very soon.

Detroit Tigers: Jacob Turner, SP

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    Jacob Turner was drafted ninth overall in 2009.

    With his 6'5" stature and a 90-plus mph fastball, Turner draws a lot of comparisons to teammate Justin Verlander.

    Turner's 10.38 K/9 in Triple-A last year is impressive, but what's even more impressive is the fact that he only walked 1.56 per nine innings.

    He struggled in his call-up last year, but expect the 20-year-old to make the rotation out of spring training. He could get eight wins in 140 innings.

Houston Astros: Juan Abreu, RP

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    Juan Abreu was signed as an international free agent in 2001.

    In Triple-A last year, Abreu struck out 77 batters in 57.2 innings. When he was called up, he struck out 12 batters in 6.2 innings for the Astros.

    Abreu throws in the mid-to-high 90s and will certainly continue to pick up strikeouts.

    Abreu was in contention to close for the 'Stros until Brett Myers got the surprising nod. If the convert back to the bullpen doesn't work, Abreu could be the guy.

Kansas City Royals: Mike Montgomery, SP

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    Mike Montgomery was drafted in the supplemental round (32nd overall) in 2008.

    Montgomery hit a speed bump in 2011 when his ERA skyrocketed to 5.32 in Triple-A.

    Even with the slump, Montgomery should still excite fantasy owners for the future. He has a plus-fastball that can reach 95 mph and has a plus-changeup as well.

    He was scheduled to make it to the Bigs before Danny Duffy, but his struggles didn't allow that to happen. Consider last year a blip on the radar. Montgomery could be a front-line starter.

Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout OF

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    Mike Trout was drafted 25th overall in 2009.

    Everybody knows Trout's name by now. At 20 years old, Trout will be ready to stay in the MLB in 2012.

    Trout will most likely start the year at Triple-A with a crowded outfield in LA. Trout struggled with the Angels last year, but dominated Double-A. He hit .326 with 11 homers and 33 steals in 91 games.

    Trout is a five-tool player who could impact your fantasy team immediately. If Trout can get 400 at-bats, he could easily get 15 homers with 15 stolen bases.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Nathan Eovaldi, SP

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    Nathan Eovaldi was drafted in the 11th round (337 overall) in 2008.

    Eovaldi's numbers drastically improved in the minors last year. He saw his K/9 rate jump from 6.14 to 8.65 and lowered his WHIP from 1.55 to 1.18.

    Eovaldi got his feet wet last year with the Dodgers, going 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA in 34.2 innings.

    Eovaldi will be 22 years old for all of 2012. He has the ability to become a very good starter soon.

Miami Marlins: Christian Yelich, OF

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    Christian Yelich was drafted 23rd overall in 2010.

    Yelich is a year away from making it to the MLB, but since the Marlins are already very young, he's the guy to look out for.

    In Single-A last season, Yelich hit .312 with 15 homers, 77 RBI and 32 steals.

    Yelich has a sweet stroke from the left side. His pop could generate 20-25 homers in the Bigs. He won't be ready until at least 2013.

Milwaukee Brewers: Wily Peralta, SP

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    Wily Peralta was signed as an international free agent in 2005.

    Peralta is a big, workhorse-type starter—reminds me of Bartolo Colon.

    Since 2009, Peralta hasn't had an ERA over 3.65 in the minors. He enjoyed his best season last year, splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A. Peralta was 11-7 with a 3.17 ERA and 157 Ks in 150.2 innings over the two levels.

    The end of the Brewers staff is pretty weak, so Peralta could be called up later in the year.

Minnesota Twins: Chris Parmelee, 1B

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    Chris Parmelee was drafted 20th overall in 2006.

    Parmelee finally made it to the MLB last year, and he made his mark. The former first-round pick hit .355 with four homers in 21 games in 2011.

    Those numbers aren't to be expected in 2012, but Parmelee has pretty good discipline.

    The oft-injured Justin Morneau is always a risk, so you should keep Parmelee in the back of your mind if you need an emergency option.

New York Mets: Matt Harvey, SP

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    Matt Harvey was drafted seventh overall in 2010.

    Harvey has a hard fastball that sits at 92-96 mph. He dominated at High-A last year, going 8-2 with a 2.37 ERA and a 10.89 K/9 rate.

    He struggled when he was first promoted to Double-A. Harvey gave up 20 hits and 13 runs in his first three starts, but he turned it around. Over his next 47 innings, Harvey allowed just 17 earned runs and held hitters to a .218 average.

    Harvey will start the year in the minors to work on some other pitches. He could find himself in the Mets rotation come summer time.

New York Yankees: Manny Banuelos, SP

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    Manny Banuelos was signed as an international free agent in 2008.

    Banuelos has flown through the Yankees farm system. The hard-throwing lefty is just 20 years old and he's already at Triple-A.

    To go along with his mid-90s fastball, Banuelos has a plus curve and a plus changeup. The only concern here is the control. He averaged nearly five walks per nine innings at Triple-A in 2011.

    Banuelos has the makings to be a star and a potential No. 2 guy in the rotation. He'll see some time in the Bronx this year.

Oakland A's: Jarrod Parker, SP

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    Jarrod Parker was drafted ninth overall in 2007.

    Parker's first year back from Tommy John surgery was a successful one. At Double-A in 2011, Parker went 11-8 with a 3.79 ERA.

    While those numbers are good in itself, they're even better when you take away his April numbers. In four April starts, Parker had an ERA of 9.00.

    With TJ fully behind him, Parker has developed into a better pitcher. Expect Parker to make the rotation out of spring.

Philadelphia Phillies: Trevor May, SP

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    Trevor May was drafted in the fourth round (136th overall) in 2008.

    May has a great fastball. He can hit 95 mph and it has plenty of sink.

    He had the third-most strikeouts in the minor leagues a year ago with 208. That number was good enough for a 12.10 K/9 ratio. May is developing other pitches as well. His curve and changeup are both above-average.

    The Phillies are loaded with pitching, but May has electric stuff. He'll start the year in Double-A, but he's not far from contributing to the Phils.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Starling Marte, OF

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    Starling Marte was signed as an international free agent in 2007.

    Since playing pro ball in 2009, Marte has never hit below .310 at any level. He won the Double-A Eastern League batting title in 2011 with a .332 average. He added 12 homers and 24 steals for the year.

    Marte has the speed and he's growing into his power; he's still only 23 years old. His average is already very good, but it will get better with better discipline (only 3.8 percent BB rate last year).

    It's scary to think that Marte and Andrew McCutchen could be teaming up in the outfield for the Pirates soon. If there are any injuries, Marte could make an appearance sooner than later.

San Diego Padres: Yonder Alonso, 1B

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    Yonder Alonso was drafted seventh overall in 2008.

    Alonso can hit for both power and average. He proved that in his brief stint with the Reds in 2011. In 88 at-bats, Alonso hit .330 with five home runs and four doubles.

    PETCO Park will turn some of those home runs into doubles, but Alonso is still a good hitter. He also has a great OBP. Since 2009, Alonso never posted a clip under .350 in the minors.

    Alonso will be hitting in the middle of the Padres lineup. He has the potential to hit .285 with 20 home runs.

San Francisco Giants: Francisco Peguero, OF

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    Francisco Peguero was signed as an international free agent in 2005.

    Peguero looks to be fully recovered after having arthroscopic knee surgery at the beginning of last year. He was still able to hit .309 after missing the first two months in Double-A.

    Peguero doesn't walk much, but he doesn't strike out much either. He's a free swinger that makes a lot of contact. Peguero always plays hard. He swiped 40 bags in 2010 at High-A.

    The Giants have a bunch of outfield options, but Peguero is an exciting player. He might see time with Giants this year.

Seattle Mariners: Jesus Montero, C/DH

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    Jesus Montero was signed as an international free agent in 2006.

    Montero has arguably the most MLB-ready bat out of anybody on this list. He has the ability to hit for both power and average.

    The move to Safeco will hurt his homer totals slightly, but Montero has a lot of power. Montero has had an ISO (isolated power number) above .200 in three of the last four years in the Minors. The MLB average last year was .145.

    Montero is going to put up monster numbers. His only negative is his eligibility. Since he's going to be the primary DH, he's not going to have C eligibility for a couple weeks into the season.

St. Louis Cardinals: Shelby Miller, SP

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    Shelby Miller was drafted 19th overall in 2009.

    Miller is one of the highest-rated right-handed prospects in baseball. And there's a reason why.

    Once Miller was called up to Double-A last year, he went 9-3 with a 2.70 ERA and had a 9.24 K/9. There's a lot to love about Miller. He's a 21-year-old that has evolved into a complete pitcher.

    Miller will make an appearance with the Cardinals some time in 2012. The rotation is set, but Jake Westbrook isn't very good. Miller has the repertoire to be an MLB ace.

Tampa Bay Rays: Matt Moore, SP

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    Matt Moore was drafted in the eighth round (245 overall) in 2007.

    Moore dominated both Double-A and Triple-A in 2011. He went 8-3 with a 2.20 ERA in Double-A and then was 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA in Triple-A.

    And if that wasn't enough, Moore continued to impress once the Rays called him up. He piled up 15 strikeouts in 9.1 innings during the regular season and then shut the Rangers down in Game 1 of the ALDS.

    The Rays locked up Moore for a while and he's going to be a stud. He'll be the favorite to win AL Rookie of the Year.

Texas Rangers: Yu Darvish, SP

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    The Texas Rangers signed Yu Darvish in January.

    Darvish absolutely dominated over in Japan. In his five seasons pitching for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, Darvish never had an ERA higher than 1.88.

    Not only can Darvish overpower hitters, but he has impeccable control as well. In his Japan career, Darvish has a 9.50 K/9 rate and a 4.90 K:BB ratio

    Darvish won't be a bust like some of the other big-name Japanese pitchers. He could put up Michael Pineda-like numbers this season.

Toronto Blue Jays: Anthony Gose, OF

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    Anthony Gose was drafted in the second round (51st overall) in 2008.

    Gose is one of the fastest players in the game. He has reached the 70-steal plateau twice in the minors: he had 76 with the Phillies' Single-A team in 2009 and then 70 last year with the Blue Jays' Double-A squad.

    To go along with the speed, Gose finally showed power at the plate. He ended up belting 16 home runs in 509 at-bats.

    Gose is going to be a very exciting player to watch because of his speed. He needs to cut down on his strikeouts, though. If he gets that under control, he can be an All-Star outfielder.

Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper, OF

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    Bryce Harper was drafted as the first overall pick in 2010.

    Harper is one of the most under-the-radar players—uh, yeah, just kidding. Seriously though, Harper is delivering on all the hype that has surrounded him.

    He plays every game his hardest. Although he might seem a little reckless at times, remember that he's just 19 years old.

    From a fantasy standpoint, it's hard to know what to expect. If he gets 300 at-bats, there's no reason to think that he can't get 10-plus home runs and 15-plus steals. He'll be blowing kisses all the way to the Bigs in 2012.