By Lawrence Barreca.
Every year, a group of young stars is introduced to the world of Fantasy Baseball at its finest. Last season, we saw the likes of Matt Wieters, Gordon Beckham, Chris Coghlan, Andrew Bailey, Tommy Hanson and Rick Porcello.
This year, we have 10 new names that could potentially impact the way the 2010 campaign plays out. Here, we will take an in-depth look at each, and we will see exactly if and where you should draft these newly introduced rookies.
10. Alcides Escobar (SS) (MIL)
What better way to start our countdown than with a guy that made our list last year, Alcides Escobar? Escobar, who I predicted would be starting in Milwaukee before season’s end, did get his share of at-bats in 2009, hitting .304 with one HR, 11 RBI and four SB. The young middle infielder barely qualifies as a rookie this coming season, as he was just five at-bats away from losing his newbie status.
With this, though, Escobar only puts himself in the position to attempt to win the NL Rookie of the Year crown. It also helps that former Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy has been moved to the Twins this offseason, so Escobar now officially has the starting job going into the 2010 campaign. Be on the lookout during your upcoming fantasy draft for this young stud, as Escobar could easily be grabbed as a late sleeper in any fantasy format.
The youngster brings unparalleled speed to any person’s roster, as stolen bases should very well factor in to his potential greatness on the field.
To conclude, we are looking at a guy who compares well to Elvis Andrus of the Rangers last season: solid glove, little power (for now), great speed and the potential to hit for a decent average. Not too bad considering the lack of solid shortstops nowadays.
9. Jesus Montero (CA) (NYY)
It must be hard being a Yankee prospect these days. Just when you think you have the opportunity to be brought up to the big leagues and make an impact, WHAM!, veteran Jorge Posada has one of his better years to date. To add onto this, the Yankees have nowhere to move Posada if you were to be brought up, as they have the big bat Mark Teixeira at first base and newly signed Nick Johnson at DH.
This is what it must be like for young catcher Jesus Montero, who at this point has done all he can to prove his worth in the minors.
The 20-year-old backstop had a stellar year in 2009, hitting .337 with 17 HR and 70 RBI, and now he is hoping to follow this performance with another in 2010. The main question for Montero is simple: How long will it be before he finally reaches the pros? We can look at this in one sense and say this year. I mean really, how much more does Posada have left in the tank? Now, I am going on record and saying that Posada still has a good bit left, as he proved last year. At some point, though, the Yankees front office will have to evaluate their options.
When it comes to fantasy, I highly (and I mean highly) doubt that Montero is taken on Draft Day. I’m not saying that anyone should go out and get him, though. For Montero, just simply keep an eye on his productivity as the season progresses, as he could very well be in the bigs sooner rather than later. If he does get the opportunity to play in the Bronx, take a shot and pick him up as a free agent...