A key strategy in any Fantasy Baseball league is to find that diamond in the rough. That young stud that has a tremendous breakout season. The rookie that makes other owners in your league say, "Man, I wish I had picked him up!"
Here is a look at some of the players that could either break camp, or come up mid-season, that could make you look like a Fantasy Baseball genius.
Look to scoop these guys up later on in your draft, or take a chance that they will get overlooked and will be available in your league's free agent pool.
If there is anything that can help the New York Mets and their fans forget about the horrors of the past few seasons, some new blood and fresh faces could do the trick. This team is in serious need of a shot in the arm, and these two youngsters could bring it to them.
Mejia is a 20-year old right-hander out of Santo Domingo. He has yet to pitcher higher than Double-A, but has already drawn comparisons to Mariano Rivera and Dwight Gooden.
Manager Jerry Manuel is practically on his knees, begging for the Mets' higher-ups to allow him to bring Mejia, who has had a very impressive spring thus far, north to Queens to start 2010, but the likelihood of that seems slim.
There is also debate over whether Mejia, who has been a starter for his entire Minor League career, belongs in the Mets' rotation or bullpen.
Ike Davis is a powerhouse first baseman, whom the Mets drafted in the first round of the 2008 First Player draft. In 2009, Davis belted 20 home runs and hit .284 between Class High A and Double-A ball.
He currently sits behind incumbent Daniel Murphy and recent acquisition Mike Jacobs in the first base depth chart. But should either of the aforementioned players struggle early on, look for a possible call-up for the soon-to-be 23-year-old slugger.
Perhaps the best known name on this list, Stephen Strasburg was the Nationals' first-round draft pick (first overall) last summer. There were some questions whether or not the Nats were going to be able to sign the 21 year old, as agent Scott Boras was demanding a lot for his young phenom.
But the Nats did sign him, and while he may begin 2010 in Triple-A, look for Strasburg to make his Major League debut sometime in the middle of the season, despite not having any professional experience to date.
If you have a deep enough roster that would allow you to draft a guy that likely won't give you any stats until June, Strasburg is definitely worth the wait.
Drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 2007 draft, Jason Heyward is poised to make his Major League debut in 2010. And there is already talks of him running away with the National League Rookie of the Year award. And why not?
The 2009 Baseball America Player of the Year pretty much has right field locked up to start 2010 for the Braves, and seems to have all five tools well at hand. In 238 Minor League games, Heyward totaled 29 home runs, 125 RBI, and 26 stolen bases. He has only played three games at Triple-A, but the Braves think highly enough of him to send him right up to Atlanta for the 2010 season.
Heyward is almost certain to break camp with the big club, so feel free to spend a draft pick on this electric young man. But do not rule out the typical bumps in the road as he learns the ropes in the Big Leagues.
The big blockbuster deal this offseason that sent Roy Halladay to the Phillies and Cliff Lee to the Mariners also had some other angles to it. For instance, blue-chipper Michael Taylor went from the Phillies to the Blue Jays to the A's.
Taylor was drafted by the Phils in the fifth round of the 2007 draft. Since then, he has amassed 45 home runs and 205 runs batted in. Plus, he stole 48 bases in the the Phillies minor league system. This guy has some raw talent and could be a real offensive threat before long.
Right now, the A's outfield is rather crowded with the likes of Rajai Davis, Jack Cust, Ryan Sweeney, and newcomer Coco Crisp. But don't think that Billy Beane and the rest of the A's upper management isn't keeping three eyes on the 24-year-old Taylor. You could do a lot worse than drafting this young man in the mid-to-late rounds and holding on to him until his inevitable call up.
Alcides Escobar has a cup of coffee with the Brewers in 2008. Last season, he had about a pot of coffee. But 2010 looks to be the year of the Brewer for this young man.
Last season, Escobar played in 38 games for the big club, hit .304, and scored 20 runs. Prior to that, he stole 42 bases for Triple-A Nashville—and was caught only 10 times.
With J.J. Hardy departed for the Twin Cities, the shortstop position now belongs to Escobar, and for the first time in quite a few season, the Brewers have themselves a legitimate lead-off hitter. If you aren't able to grab the Hanleies or Tulowitzkies of Fantasy Baseball, you should definitely consider the young Brewers' shortstop.
With all of the hype surrounding David Price, Wade Davis has become rather unknown. But things are about to change in Tampa. Davis pretty much has a rotation spot in his back pocket, and with four above average pitches, he's ready to give American League hitters fits.
He got some experience with the Rays in 2009, going 2-2 with a 3.79 ERA. But prior to his call up, Davis was blowing hitters away with Triple-A Durham. He was 10-8 with a 3.40 ERA. He struck out 140 batters, and walked just 60, or a 2.33 K/BB ratio.
Granted, he plays in a very tough division in a very tough league. But he does play for a contender, and Davis should be able to get your fantasy team plenty of wins and strikeouts as you make your way to that coveted Fantasy Baseball Championship!