Betting on rookies in fantasy baseball is a gamble that is likely to leave you scratching your head. Even though we can read all of the scouting reports and look at performance, you never know how they will react upon getting their first extended look in the big leagues.
As nice as it would be to see every rookie turn into Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, that just isn't realistic or practical for those of us that walk the earth as humans, which those two clearly aren't.
So in an effort to provide you with the best information leading up to your fantasy draft, here is a closer look at the top rookies to target and what realistic expectations are for them this season.
Adam Eaton, CF, Arizona Diamondbacks
One of the reasons the Diamondbacks felt like they could deal Justin Upton without suffering a significant drop in run production is because of the outfield depth they have.
Even though the options at the big-league level don't strike me as having the upside of Upton, Eaton should step in right away and be better than all of them.
While not the most toolsy player in the world, Eaton does a terrific job of working the count, controlling the strike zone and spraying the ball all over the field. He doesn't have a ton of power, but Arizona is a very good park for hitting home runs and could enhance his power numbers.
The Diamondbacks are going to give him a chance to play everyday, which is all you can ask for when you are betting on a prospect. Playing time gives him a chance to put up numbers. He has to prove he is ready to handle the job.
Wil Myers, RF, Tampa Bay Rays
Which player will have the most productive 2013 season?
Myers has been on the prospect radar for years, finally showcasing all the power that everyone predicted for him last season. It was a shock when Kansas City traded him to Tampa Bay, but the Rays will be smiling for the next six years.
It remains to be seen if the Rays will give Myers the right field job out of spring training, which could hurt his draft stock some, but when he is brought up, he is a solid backup option to keep an eye on.
His development will take time, especially in the American League East, so don't be surprised if he struggles out of the gate. Given his natural hitting ability and athleticism, he could end up hitting between 15 and 20 home runs with a solid average if he plays 120 games.
Considering where the Rays' pitching is at, and lack of depth in the lineup right now, having Myers in the lineup soon will make them an even more formidable championship contender.
Trevor Bauer, SP, Cleveland Indians
Despite what the Diamondbacks and Miguel Montero would have you believe, Bauer is not the worst thing to happen to pitching since Colorado got an expansion team 20 years ago.
In fact, Bauer is still quite good and should have a good big-league career with the Cleveland Indians. He should start to show what he can do in the big leagues sooner rather than later, because the Indians believe they are contenders and their glaring weakness is starting pitching.
Even when Bauer was struggling with his command in Arizona last season, his stuff was still as dominant as ever and he was missing bats with 17 strikeouts in 16.1 innings.
As long as the Indians are able to get Bauer to start throwing his curveball so it doesn't bounce a foot in front of home plate, he should at least be a league average starter. This team needs innings, and Bauer will be given first crack at them if he doesn't make the roster out of spring training.
He could have a high walk total early, but as he gets acclimated to the big leagues he will be exactly what everyone thought he could be when he was drafted No. 3 overall in the 2011 draft.
|Top 10 Fantasy Rookies for 2013|
|1. Adam Eaton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks|
|2. Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays|
|3. Kyuji Fujikawa, RP, Chicago Cubs|
|4. Jurickson Profar, SS, Texas Rangers|
|5. Bruce Rondon, RP, Detroit Tigers|
|6. Oscar Taveras, OF St. Louis Cardinals|
|7. Trevor Bauer, SP, Cleveland Indians|
|8. Dylan Bundy, SP, Baltimore Orioles|
|9. Aaron Hicks, OF, Minnesota Twins|
|10. Billy Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds|