MLB Draft 2011 Prospects: Fantasy Implications for the Top 1st-Round Picks

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MLB Draft 2011 Prospects: Fantasy Implications for the Top 1st-Round Picks
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Gerrit Cole

Round 1 of the 2011 MLB draft is in the books, but if your interest comes from a fantasy baseball perspective, the order of the picks isn't likely to do you too many favors in determining which players will be fantasy-relevant the soonest.

Some of it's easy. Gerrit Cole, who went first overall to the Pittsburgh Pirates, is a no-brainer. But No. 4 overall pick Dylan Bundy (Orioles) and No. 7 choice Archie Bradley (Indians), for example, are each less valuable in most dynasty leagues because of their youth/inexperience as high school pitchers.

With those guys, basically your best-case scenario is Jordan Lyles—a shiny prospect with a live arm and good control...who takes three years to reach the majors and hits some bumps in his initial tour through The Show due to inexperience. Lyles will likely be a stud, but do you want to wait that long without being guaranteed of your best-case scenario?

Bubba Starling, a high school outfielder who went fifth overall to the Royals, is even less appealing (despite his delightful name). Sure, he has tools, but look no further than Donovan Tate for evidence of why a minors spot on your fantasy team is better spent on a more reliable player at a more valuable/scarce position who is also likely more developmentally able to bounce back from an injury. Plus signability is a concern, and aside from the relatively quick promotion and success of an exceptionally more polished bat in Eric Hosmer, the Royals tend to be pretty slow with their position prospects.

You sense the theme by now. Basically, let's weed out most of the high schoolers and figure out which remaining players are both (1) likely to reach the majors soon and (2) pay dividends by having a shot to be among the best at their respective positions from a fantasy perspective.

We'll keep this simple and especially focus on the five players most worthy of being owned in fantasy baseball as soon as possible in your league(s)...

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