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Fantasy Baseball 2013: Rookies You Can't Afford to Pass Up on Draft Day

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Fantasy Baseball 2013: Rookies You Can't Afford to Pass Up on Draft Day
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I have one rule in every fantasy baseball draft in which I take part: Always draft at least one rookie.

They may fly under the radar and not have much press entering the season, but youngsters sometimes prove to be the players who make an incredible impact in fantasy and, in some cases, push one team over the top.

How many fantasy players last year do you think ended up kicking themselves for not drafting Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout?

The fact of the matter is that, though some rookies may not be locks to make Opening Day rosters, they are still good to take with late-round picks and keep on the bench until called up. It may be frustrating playing the waiting game with them, but the ultimate payoff is worth it.

With this year's rookie class, there are definitely some men who should be on your radar if you have not done your draft yet. If you have, definitely hit the waiver wire.

These young men are going to make an impact this season and should be on your roster if you want to give yourself an extra edge.

 

Trevor Bauer, SP, Cleveland Indians

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
After faltering in Arizona in 2012, Bauer has a chance for a fresh start in Cleveland

Bauer got four starts with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012 and was less than impressive. He went 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA and 1.65 WHIP, giving up 11 earned runs and walking 13 in 16 innings pitched.

Despite going 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 130 innings between Double and Triple-A ball the same year, Arizona chose to deal him to the Cleveland Indians in the same trade that saw outfielder Shin-Soo Choo go to the Cincinnati Reds.

Since the deal, Bauer has gone 1-0 in three spring appearances for the Tribe and posted a 2.57 ERA over seven innings of work, thus making him a favorite to land the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation.

Bauer definitely has talent, and while he may take some time to adjust to the major league level, he's a good man to have at the back end of your fantasy rotation. His ERA and WHIP will be luck of the draw, but it's going to be hard to say no to his ability to strike hitters out.

 

Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As of now, it's unclear as to whether or not Wil Myers will be on Tampa Bay's Opening Day roster. He is hitting .276 in 14 games this spring but only has two extra-base hits and one RBI.

However, his overall potential is incredibly high.

The 22-year-old hit .314 with 37 homers and 109 RBI while splitting 2012 between Double and Triple-A. This young man can hit, and the Rays were definitely happy when they managed to land him in the trade that sent James Shields to the Kansas City Royals.

The only problem with Myers is, like most power hitters, he strikes out way too much. He did so 140 times last season, and chances are, he'll open the regular season in the minors so he can work on that as well as his defense in the outfield.

He'll be in the majors at some point next season, but just when remains to be seen. Either way, if you want some solid power that could yield big dividends, draft Myers in the later rounds.

 

Adam Eaton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Unless you're a diehard Diamondbacks fan, chances are you've heard little of Adam Eaton. Currently, in spring training, he's showing just how special a player he is.

Eaton does not look like much at just 5'8", 185 pounds, but he is hitting .370 with two homers and nine RBI in 14 games this spring. In 22 MLB games in 2012, he hit .259 with two home runs, five RBI and two steals with an incredible OBP of .382.

His numbers in the minors were even better. In 130 games split between Double and Triple-A, the man hit an incredible .375 with with seven long balls, 48 RBI and 44 steals. His OBP was an eye-popping .456.

That said, it's clear why this lefty bat is an absolute must on draft day. He is a near-lock to make Arizona's Opening Day roster and can provide fine work in most offensive categories.

He isn't a household name yet, but just watch. Barring a major step back or injury, Eaton is almost definitely going to be the NL Rookie of the Year in 2013.

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