Fantasy Baseball 2012: 5 Young Hitters Who Will Become Big-Time Sluggers
A new fantasy baseball season means a new crop of prospects to analyze and evaluate. Today, we take a look at five young studs who haven't made a name for themselves on the major league scene quite yet, but can still help you immensely in fantasy should you choose to take a chance on them come draft day.
With that, let's examine the five prospects who will become big-time sluggers in 2012...
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Trout is currently ranked as Baseball America's third-best prospect, but a strong case could be made for him being the top overall prospect in the league.
Trout possesses all the tools of a fantasy superstar and he will undoubtedly make a profound impact in multiple statistical categories upon his call-up to the MLB.
The Angel's prospect has the experienced approach of a veteran at the plate and he projects as a top-level contact hitter at the major league level.
Trout can also hit for power, but his best gift may be his speed which will help him immensely on the base paths and in the outfield.
The only thing preventing Trout from becoming a bona fide fantasy star this season is the fact that the Angels have a very crowded (and highly paid) outfield.
With Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter, Peter Bourjos and Bobby Abreu set to receive most of the outfield reps, it may be tough for the young slugger to break into the rotation.
However, Trout's talent alone is enough to keep him safely on this list. It would behoove the Angels to find a spot in the lineup for the budding star and if they do, look for him to put up high fantasy numbers early and often.
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There's still a lot to like about Montero, despite his recent move from hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium to pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.
Montero, Baseball America's sixth-ranked prospect, will be a force in Major League Baseball for years to come with his lightning quick bat speed coupled with his ability to drive the ball to all sides of the field.
However, Montero's greatest asset is his plus, plus power, a trait that should have fantasy owners drooling on draft day.
One of the main things hindering Montero is his lack of fielding prowess behind the dish. Because of this deficiency, the Mariners will be inclined to keep him as a designated hitter, limiting his fantasy versatility.
Still, Montero's special hitting talent is one that comes around very infrequently, and not even spacious Safeco Field can stop him from putting up monster numbers in his first year in the Pacific Northwest.
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Unlike Montero who will be hindered by his home stadium, Mesoraco's home, the Great American Ball Park, will do wonders for the young catcher's fantasy production.
Mesoraco, the 16th-ranked prospect in baseball according to Baseball America, is well-rounded at the plate. His advanced approach should yield solid contact numbers and even better power numbers.
Also unlike Montero, Mesoraco possesses good enough fielding ability behind the plate to be the Reds' Opening Day catcher.
His bat may not be quite as good as Montero's, but playing in a bandbox of a stadium in Cincinnati should certainly boost his overall production.
Catcher's aren't normally thought of as big-time offensive producers in fantasy baseball, but Mesoraco has all the talent to be an exception to that rule in 2012.
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Alonso found a new home this offseason after the Reds dealt him to San Diego in a trade to acquire pitcher Mat Latos.
Alonso, now the Padres' top ranked prospect and 33rd overall prospect according to Baseball America, finally has a defined position in San Diego after being stuck behind former MVP Joey Votto at first base in Cincinnati.
Because of the fact that he will likely receive upwards of 500 at bats, Alonso will have ample opportunities to show off his talents, making him a hot commodity in the world of fantasy baseball despite the fact that he plays in spacious PETCO Park.
Alonso plays a position where power numbers are expected, but the 24-year-old could easily end up being a 20-plus homer guy with his driving hip rotation and balance at the plate.
Don't let Alonso's new home ballpark scare you, he is a star in the making and should be a force to be reckoned with in fantasy baseball for years to come.
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Belt is another guy whose home ballpark (AT&T Park) works against him offensively. But like others on this list, the Giants' young slugger has all the tools to overcome this minor obstacle and become a fantasy hero.
Belt has come a long way since being drafted by the Red Sox as a pitcher in 2006. Initially thought of as having an un-fixable approach at the plate, Belt altered his stance and fixed his hip rotation, resulting in stellar numbers during his minor league career in the Giants system.
After bouncing up and down between AAA Fresno and San Francisco in 2011, Belt will finally be able to settle in long term by the Bay, and it won't take long for big-time fantasy numbers to follow.
Belt is also appealing in fantasy leagues because he could attain dual eligibility at both first base and in the outfield. In his second year in the league, look for Belt's contact and power numbers to skyrocket now that he has comfortably adjusted to major league pitching.