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MLB Fantasy Baseball Late-Round Keepers: Eight Names To Remember

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MLB Fantasy Baseball Late-Round Keepers: Eight Names To Remember
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It has become very popular for fantasy sports magazines to list their "top prospects." David Price, Max Scherzer, and Matt Wieters were the more common names from those lists over the last two years who found success and are known by most fans.

This article will list the prospects who were on most 2009 lists and fell short of their fantasy impact potential but should still not be forgotten heading into this year's fantasy drafts.

If you are in a keeper league and/or deep league, take a shot at these names before selecting veterans like Tim Wakefield, Jamie Moyer, Kevin Millwood, David DeJesus, Adam Kennedy, or Aaron Rowand.

Don't give up and forget these players, or you may miss out on the next Adam Lind, Kendry Morales, Nelson Cruz, or Jorge De La Rosa. Those players struggled in their initial major league stints similar to the names listed below.

Good luck.

 

OF - Colby Rasmus (St. Louis Cardinals)

2009 Stats: .251 BA, 72 R, 16 HR, 52 RBI, 474 AB


What They Said Last Year

He is a deadly pull hitter with aggressive baserunning skill and the potential for a 20-20 season. Rasmus may be a younger version of the guy he's replacing, Jim Edmonds.

 

What They Are Saying This Year

He couldn't do a thing against southpaws (.160 batting average), but the Cardinals aren't going to jump ship. 

 

Forecast

The Cardinals view Rasmus as a future star who has the potential to hit in the middle of the lineup. His minor league track record shows that he has hit southpaws in the past. At the age of 23, Rasmus should be considered around the 18th round, especially since there's a spot in the outfield for this '05 first rounder.

 

OF - Travis Snider (Toronto Blue Jays)

2009 Stats: .241 BA, 34 R, 9 HR, 29 RBI, 241 AB


What They Said Last Year

Snider has tremendous power and excellent bat control. He uses the whole field and should hit for a decent average, though he will likely strike out in large numbers.

 

What They Are Saying This Year

Strikeouts are a problem for the compact slugger. He did struggle against southpaws (.296 slugging percentage), so it will be interesting to see if they will let him sink or swim against lefties.

 

Forecast

Though Snider strikeouts a lot, as most sluggers do, explosive things happen when he makes contact (23 homers in 416 at-bats, including the minors). He's going to be a 30-homer guy and this year may be the first of many seasons. Look to grab this slugger around the 20th round, especially since he is forecast to be a starter to begin the season.

 

OF - Matt LaPorta (Cleveland Indians)

2009 Stats: .254 BA, 29 R, 7 HR, 21 RBI, 181 AB

 

What They Said Last Year

LaPorta's bat is ready for the majors and the Tribe is thin in the outfield. The big right-hander gets excellent extension on his swing, allowing him to generate power to all fields.

 

What They Are Saying This Year

Physical concerns loom for this highly regarded prospect, as he had toe and hip surgery during the offseason.

 

Forecast

The Indians want this 25-year-old to be a starter in 2010, either as a first baseman, outfielder, or in the DH spot. He will given a long audition this spring and, if healthy, should have no problem winning a starting gig. Grab LaPorta after the 23rd round to fill a bench spot.

 

OF - Cameron Maybin (Florida Marlins)

2009 Stats: .250 BA, 30 R, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 176 AB


What They Said Last Year

Maybin has the penchant for swinging at marginal strikes. However, he showed better strike-zone discipline and has the potential to be a five-tool contributor.

 

What They Are Saying This Year

A year older and hopefully maturer, Maybin was demoted in April to regain his confidence. He did deal with a finger, back, and shoulder issues but was impressive in his late August call-up (.293 batting average).

 

Forecast

He landed in the post-hype sleeper file and will not be on most people's draft list. His last year's step back should trigger a major discount for this future star. He has the making to be a young Mike Cameron and offer 20/20 potential with lots of runs scored batting in the lead-off spot. Grab this player after the 23rd round as a bench player and see how he begins the season.

 

SP - Trevor Cahill (Oakland A's)

2009 Stats: 10-13, 4.63, 1.44 WHIP, 90 K, 178 IP

 

What They Said Last Year

He's mature for his age and will be effective in the majors by inducing ground balls by pitching low in the strike zone with sinking movement.

 

What They Are Saying This Year

After dominating Single- and Double-A hitters, the majors were not as hospitable in his first tour. Cahill struggled with his command (3.63 BB/9), and his low K rate (4.53 K/9) didn't help.

 

Forecast

Growing pains are inevitable for most young hurlers who were rushed to through the minors. If Cahill can know a walk of his ratio and continues to gain experience, we are looking at another Joe Saunders or Jeremy Guthrie type of player who plays in a pitcher-friendly park in Oakland. 

Though the rotation has become a bit cloudy with the recent addition of Ben Sheets, keep an eye on this guy and at the very least be ready to jump on him early if he shows success.

 

SP - Brett Cecil (Toronto Blue Jays)

2009 Stats: 7-4, 5.30, 1.65 WHIP, 69 K, 93.1 IP

 

What They Said Last Year

Don't expect ace-like numbers, but double-digit wins and a good strikeout numbers are reachable.

 

What They Are Saying This Year

Given a shot at a rotation job when injuries rocked the Toronto staff early last season, Cecil responded with a typical uneven rookie performance. The left-hander worked his way through the minors pretty quickly.

 

Forecast

There are starting jobs up for grabs in Toronto, and Cecil could break out of camp in the rotation for the second straight year. The success and experience gained last year will have him on my draft list to pick in the last two rounds. At the very least, add him to your scout list and keep an eye on him. His strikeouts will help, and you may be able to play matchups with this 24-year-old kid.

 

SP - Gio Gonzalez (Oakland A's)

2009 Stats: 6-7, 5.75, 1.71 WHIP, 109 K, 98.1 IP

 

What They Said Last Year

Gonzalez has the ability to be a solid starter, but it may take another season for him to absorb the changes made to his delivery. He could be a sleeper this year. 

 

What They Are Saying This Year

He continued to struggle with his control (5.50 BB/9) and only made it through the seventh inning just once in 17 starts. He's bound to be inconsistent, and his WHIP is a fantasy killer.

 

Forecast

He has looked like Oliver Perez during the past two years, but the potential is there for him to take the step forward like Johnathan Sanchez and Wandy Rodriquez did last year. Grab this guy in the last two rounds of your draft and see how he pitches in April. You can always dump him for a John Lannan or Ian Snell if his control fails again. 

 

SP - James McDonald (Los Angeles Dodgers)

2009 Stats: 5-5, 4.00, 1.49 WHIP, 54 K, 63 IP

 

What They Said Last Year

While it's uncertain whether he'll get a chance this year, McDonald is sure to start in the near future. The slender right-hander has a plus curveball, good fastball and an effective changeup which brings images of Ramon Martinez to Dodger fans. He profiles to be a middle-of-the-rotation starter.

 

What They Are Saying This Year

McDonald has enough upside to deserve a long look in the Dodgers rotation, but he spent most of last season in the bullpen, struggling with his control and his confidence.  He'll compete for the fifth spot in the rotation this spring, and if he wins it, he's a decent sleeper in NL-only leagues. Of course, the Dodgers might just decide to keep him in the bullpen, where he posted a 2.72 ERA last year.

 

Forecast

He'll compete for the fifth spot in the rotation this spring and will be a decent sleeper if he wins the spot. I always like to grab Los Angeles pitchers because of the pitching friendly environment Dodger Stadium brings.

If he doesn't win the spot, keep your eyes open during the season. He will then be the sixth man. But don't forget this name.

 

Other Names To Remember

Homer Bailey, Jordan Zimmerman (keeper leagues only), Clayton Richard, Carlos Carrasco, Michael Bowden, Jason Motte, and Will Venable.

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