Fantasy Baseball: 13 Minor Leaguers Who Will Be Legit Players in 2012
With the major moves completed for the 2011 Major League Baseball season we begin to look ahead to next year.
By now you probably have a rough idea of where your fantasy team will be finishing. If you are in keeper or dynasty leagues you are already looking ahead to which young stars may be ready to make an impact in 2012.
While there are always prospects that get way too much hype in terms of their fantasy value there are always those few exceptions that can make or break seasons.
Looking at you Desmond Jennings.
Here are 13 minor leaguers who could make an impact in 2012
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We will get this one out of the way early.
Bryce Harper is easily the most followed player in the minor leagues right now. He was labeled a baseball prodigy when he was in high school and so far he has lived up to his reputation.
While he has shown instability in the mental part of his game, it is clear that he has the talent to be a contributor at the big league level.
The only question now is when Harper will get the call.
Don't be shocked to see Harper making his debut to start the season if he can put together an impressive spring. If not he will certainly be getting the call around the All-Star break as long as all goes well.
Whether Harper has catcher or outfield eligibility he is worth a look in all leagues.
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Jesus Montero is already a September call-up for the Yankees this year, but his real impact most likely won't be felt until next year.
With the horrible battle the Yankees have been going through with Jorge Posada this year it is clear that the team needs a chance of pace. The old guard continues to get older and a need for young talent is evident.
It is likely that we will see Montero as a variety of positions for the Yankees next year as they will need to keep their DH slot open for other aging bats like Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter.
Montero's fantasy value will be mostly due to his catcher eligibility and if he can find a fair share of playing time than he has huge upside.
The Yankees are going to score a ton of runs and he will have his chance to get his slice of the pie.
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The big 20-year-old right-hander highlights the Detroit Tigers minor league system.
Jacob Turner has ascended through the Tigers system quite rapidly. It appears that they are treating him similar to Rick Porcello and moving him right along.
If this is the case then we could easily see Turner making an impact in 2012.
Turner has a fantastic fastball, but has enough command over his secondary pitches to be an effective major league starter right away.
The Tigers are already a very talented team, but adding a young arm like Turner to go alongside likely Cy Young winner Justin Verlander gives Detroit fans a very bright future.
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There is a reason that Rizzo was one of the center pieces to the Adrian Gonzalez deal.
Some feel that the Padres rushed his call-up earlier this year which was the main reason for his lack of success at the big league level. Not to mention that he was dropped on to a poor offensive team and the worst hitters park in the MLB.
However, the Padres are desperate for young offensive talent and Rizzo still has tons of upside.
He will be the likely favorite to win the starting job at first base even if he may still be a few years away from truly hitting his stride.
Regardless, Anthony Rizzo has legitimate power that could mean some great late round value for fantasy owners.
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Julio Teheran isn't in the perfect situation for a young pitcher to head in to.
The Atlanta Braves have loads of young pitching already in the majors. It is a very crowded rotation.
Teheran didn't do himself any favors when he struggled in the big leagues earlier this year. However, his upside is still there and the Braves will not ignore that.
He has had absolute dominant stuff in Triple-A going 14-2 with a 2.19 ERA. Teheran is going to have to keep dazzling in the minors and next spring to find his place in the Braves rotation.
If he does, then the fantasy value is there for any owner.
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With the significant drop off in success and the potential loss of Albert Pujols this offseason, it is clear that the best move for the Cardinals may be to bring up their elite young talent.
That list will be headlined by Shelby Miller.
Miller dominated Double-A with a 9-3 record and 2.70 ERA. This was after putting up similar numbers at the Single-A level earlier this year.
The Cardinals are certainly in need of a change and Miller has the chance to bring a little bit of revival to their pitching staff.
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Matt Dominguez is already being targeted as the hopeful Opening Day starter at third for the Florida Marlins.
They are certainly not concerned with his defensive abilities as he has proven to be a more than impressive fielder. Dominguez will need his bat to develop along if he plans on surviving in the MLB.
He has shown some solid power at both the Double-A and Triple-A level. However, he is only hitting .258 in Triple-A.
That average will need to rise a little if he is going to be an everyday third basemen and a solid fantasy option.
Yet, with the lack of fantasy depth at third he is still worth a shot.
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David Cooper appears to be destined to end up on the Toronto Blue Jays starting roster next year.
He has been tearing up the minor leagues with a .299 batting average and 44 HRs over the course of four seasons in the minors.
There aren't a ton of options for the Blue Jays at the corners currently so the expectation is that Cooper will take over one of the spots in 2012.
If Cooper's average and power can translate to the major leagues he has potential to be a solid fantasy contributor.
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Kyle Gibson was pegged as one of the future elite starters for the Minnesota Twins.
Even though he has had a rough go in the minor leagues this year, he still has tons of potential. Gibson is a ground-ball pitcher that will just need to be a little more consistent.
The perils of being a ground-ball pitcher is that the balls don't always bounce your way.
Still, Gibson is bound for a Twins rotation that could desperately use some help. Francisco Liriano is never going to return to the elite form he flashed early in his career.
Gibson has the potential to take advantage of a great pitchers park and find some early success.
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Mat Gamel came very close to ending up in an Indians uniform a few seasons ago when the C.C. Sabathia trade took place.
However, it was Matt LaPorta that was shipped off instead. Gamel has struggled in the few chances he has had in the MLB thus far, but has proven to be successful in the minors.
He crushed the ball this year hitting .310 with 28 HRs and 96 RBI in Triple-A. Gamel's versatility will help him find playing time on a good Milwaukee offense.
If he earns consistent playing time next year he has the potential to put out solid production at multiple positions.
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It is hard to find a catcher that can provide you with excellent defense and a strong bat. Wilin Rosario has the chance to fit that roll for the Rockies next year.
Rosario has one of the strongest arms of all the young catching prospects. However, with that comes the ability to consistently hit for power.
Rosario isn't going to win any batting titles, but hitting in Colorado could allow for him to push 30 home runs.
The catcher position for the Rockies is anything but stable so I'd expect to see Rosario get a shot in 2012. If he does he should shoot up draft boards considering his power potential from a shallow catcher position.
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Another top catching prospect is the Reds Devin Mesoraco.
While he doesn't have as powerful of a bat as Wilin Rosario, he brings a solid combination of plate skills that will make him a more than respectable big league hitter.
He hit .289 with 15 HRs and 71 RBI in Triple-A Louisville. If he can translate those kind of numbers to the major league level he will be one of the best hitting catchers in the league.
It is only a matter of time before the Reds move on from current catcher Ramon Hernandez.
When they do, that will leave an open door for Mesoraco to come up and make his mark.
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Even though the Tampa Bay Rays already have a fantastic pitching staff, they have one of the best young pitchers in their minor league system.
Matt Moore has maybe been the best minor league pitcher for the past few years. His highlight pitch is his explosive fastball, but he also has a fantastic curveball that will translate to the major league level.
The toughest challenge for the Rays will be finding who to move to make room for Moore. However, for a kid this talented it is bound to happen.
While it will be tough for fantasy owners to trust a young pitcher throwing in the AL East, Moore's long term value makes him a great guy to grab in 2012.