Fantasy Baseball 2013: Young Studs You'll Look Like a Genius for Drafting
I know what happens late in the draft. Sometimes you have to scramble to fill positions you missed out on earlier. Maybe you start scouring the board for pitching depth or trying to find that sleeper that everyone else is missing.
Often, the last thing you want to do is roll the dice on a young prospect who is unproven in the big leagues or one you might have to stash on your roster until he's called up. But this year, I think there are five youngsters you should seriously consider targeting.
Look, after Mike Trout and Bryce Harper showed the sort of impact a young star can have, you should be looking to take a chance on at least one young guy late in your draft. If you do, here are the five guys you'll look like a genius for drafting.
Andrelton Simmons, SS, Atlanta Braves
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There's a lot to like about Andrelton Simmons, who will open the season as the Atlanta Braves' starting shortstop and will likely be the team's leadoff hitter.
At the World Baseball Classic, he hit .333 with three doubles, two homers and 10 runs, most in the tournament. He promptly homered twice in his return to the Braves.
Simmons has some pop, but his real contribution for owners should be his speed and the fact that Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman will spend much of the season driving him in.
"Going out on a major limb" alert: Look for Simmons to accumulate 25 stolen bases and 90 runs this season.
Seeing as his average draft position in ESPN leagues is 197.9, you can grab a backup shortstop with major upside in the 20th round. Don't be shocked if Simmons finds his way into your lineup quite often this season.
Jurickson Profar, 2B/SS, Texas Rangers
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We stick with the middle infield. Jurickson Profar may be the best prospect in baseball and would probably be on the Opening Day roster on most teams in baseball. Unfortunately, he's stuck behind Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler for the Texas Rangers.
Still, if there is any player capable of having a Bryce Harper-like impact this season—because we may never see another rookie have a Mike Trout-like impact again—it's Profar. I would be very surprised if the Rangers don't find a way to get him on the field by June. He's that good.
Maybe they'll trade Andrus. Maybe they'll try Ian Kinsler at first base. Whatever the case may be, Profar is worth a stash pick once you've filled all your other team needs at the draft. With an ADP of 217.8 in ESPN leagues and immense upside, he's worth the selection.
Julio Teheran, SP, Atlanta Braves
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This spring, Julio Teheran has only allowed seven hits, six walks and three runs in 20.0 innings while striking out 25 batters. One of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, the 22-year-old looks like he's put it all together and will be the Atlanta Braves' fifth starter.
Yes, he might be sent down once Brandon Beachy returns, but if he lights it up for Atlanta, they'll find him starts. I think he has the potential to have a rookie season similar to Michael Pineda in 2011, when the then-starter for the Seattle Mariners finished 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 173 strikeouts in 171 innings.
Teheran has that type of stuff. And with an ADP of 227.0 in ESPN drafts, you'll be getting one of the draft's best values if he comes anywhere close to that level of production.
Adam Eaton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
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Adam Eaton has already earned the gig as the Arizona Diamondbacks' starting center fielder and leadoff hitter. Now, the only question is what type of numbers he'll put up.
If his spring is any indication, Eaton is going to be a fantastic value for fantasy owners this season. In 25 games, he's hitting .375 with two home runs, 10 RBI, 11 runs and two stolen bases.
Eaton is never going to do much for owners in the power department, but he should be a steady producer of runs and stolen bases and could worm his way into your starting lineup if he keeps his batting average high. With an ADP of 217.6 in ESPN drafts, he's a low-risk, high-reward selection.
Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
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Wil Myers will be this year's Bryce Harper. Well, sort of.
Like Harper, he'll probably be a midseason call-up so the Tampa Bay Rays can push his free agency back a year. Unlike Harper, he'll never be a five-category producer, as I wouldn't expect him to steal many bases.
But Myers brings serious power to the plate. He hit .314 and smacked 37 home runs and 109 RBI in 134 games spread between AA and AAA ball last season. He's a traditional slugger, and he should be swatting monstrous home runs right out of the gate.
Frankly, the Rays will be a better team once he's called up.
It's possible that won't be until July, but if the Rays find themselves falling down the standings in the tough AL East early in the season, the Rays may bite the bullet and add Myers to the roster. With an ADP of 227.4 in ESPN leagues, he's worth a stash play.