Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2014 Draft Prep: Top 50 Fantasy prospects

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Fantasy owners see prospects differently. For them, the stakes just aren't the same.

Even dynasty leagues, which emphasize the long-term, can't simulate real-world conditions completely. Nobody has millions of dollars riding on every decision. Nobody risks losing his position by mishandling long-term assets. Nobody can say with any real assurance if he'll even enjoy the fruits of his labor three, four, five years from now, what with all the curveballs life brings. Sometimes, Fantasy Baseball has to take a back seat. It's just a hobby, after all.

A hobby. You know, something you do for fun. You know what isn't fun? Losing. You know what can prevent that? Players who actually contribute.

So among the factors every publication and website uses to assess prospects -- from upside to projectability to makeup to durability -- proximity trumps all in this look at the top 50 Fantasy prospects for 2014. There's no time like the present, even in leagues that consider the future.

Fantasy impact scale
1. Not a chance
2. In case of disaster
3. If he moves fast
4. September call-up
5. Second-half reinforcement
6. Mid-season hopeful
7. Sooner than later
8. Fighting this spring
9. Pencil him in
10. Opening Day lock

I'm not suggesting we all become Ruben Amaro Jr. and build something so short-sighted that only a complete purge could correct it. I'm just calling it like I see it. In a start-up dynasty league, who goes for more: Billy Hamilton or Gregory Polanco? In nine out of 10, it's Hamilton, even though Polanco is the better prospect. The 10th league probably has some clever rule, perhaps related to salary escalation or minor-league roster space, that makes it exceptional in some way. And that's OK. No Fantasy rank list is one-size-fits-all. All function better as guidelines than gospel.

Just because this one emphasizes proximity doesn't mean it's the only factor under consideration. A prospects list should include (duh) the top prospects, even if they're not in the order you're used to seeing them. To give some idea how much proximity factors into the equation, I've assigned each prospect a 2014 Fantasy impact rating that corresponds to the scale in the table to the right.

That should help narrow it down for you single-season owners as well. Basically just sixes and up for you guys.

1. Masahiro Tanaka, SP, Yankees
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 25 (11/1/88)
2013 levels: Did not play -- in Japan
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 10

The Yu Darvish comparisons are probably unrealistic, but with superior control, Tanaka may be capable of Hisashi Iwakuma-like production. Just understand he'll probably need a month or two to adjust to the American game and everything that goes with it -- the larger ball, the five-man rotation, etc.

2. Xander Bogaerts, 3B, Red Sox
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 21 (10/1/92)
2013 levels: Double-A, Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .297 BA (444 at-bats), 15 HR, .865 OPS, 63 BB, 95 K
Major-league stats: .250 BA (44 at-bats), 1 HR, 1 SB, 5 BB, 13 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 9

If Bogaerts moves back to shortstop as expected, he's a future first-rounder with Troy Tulowitzki-like potential. At age 21, the anticipated growing pains limit his value in single-season leagues, but as quickly as shortstop thins out, his eventual eligibility there probably makes him worth the reach.

Get your Custom Draft Kits!
Download your Draft Kit for Draft Day 2014 that's customized to your specific league scoring system, format and player pool!
Download your Draft Kit today!

3. Jose Abreu, 1B, White Sox
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 27 (1/29/87)
2013 levels: Did not play -- in Cuba
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 10

Having put up better numbers than both Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes in Cuba, Abreu has a chance to pay big dividends in Fantasy. Some scouting reports are less than all-in on him, questioning his bat speed, but for a middle-round pick, the risk is minimal.

4. Billy Hamilton, OF, Reds
Bats: Both | Throws: Right
Age: 23 (9/9/90)
2013 levels: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .256 BA, 6 HR, 75 SB, .343 SLG, .651 OPS, 38 BB, 102 K
Major-league stats: .368 BA (19 at-bats), 0 HR, 13 SB, .902 OPS, 2 BB, 4 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 10

Hamilton showed in a late-season trial that his record-breaking speed is just as effective in the majors, swiping a base in each of his first five pinch-running opportunities and four in his first start. Some question his bat, but the league leader in steals will matter in Fantasy whether he hits .250 or .290.

5. George Springer, OF, Astros
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 24 (9/19/89)
2013 levels: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .303 BA, 37 HR, 108 RBI, 45 SB, 1.010 OPS, 83 BB, 161 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 8

Coming off a near 40-40 season, the hype on Springer will go through the roof if he claims a job in spring training. As long as his high strikeout rate doesn't hold him back -- which certainly wasn't the case in the minors -- he has all the makings of another Matt Kemp -- the healthy version.

6. Taijuan Walker, SP, Mariners
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 21 (8/13/92)
2013 levels: Double-A, Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: 9-10, 2.93 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 160 K, 141 1/3 IP
Major-league stats: 1-0, 3.60 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 12 K, 15 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 9

With a rotation spot already locked up, Walker is a safer bet for the short-term than most pitching prospects this time of year. He'll come up against an innings limit in the second half, but with a sparkling pedigree and favorable home park, he's a sleeper in all formats to start out.

7. Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals
Bats: Left | Throws: Left
Age: 21 (6/19/92)
2013 levels: Rookie, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .310 BA (174 at-bats), 5 HR, 5 SB, .819 OPS, 10 BB, 22 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 7

A high ankle sprain impeded Taveras' rise to the majors last year, and the emergence of Matt Adams figures to delay it further. But if he keeps hitting like he has in the minors, with a staggering contact rate for a power hitter, he'll force his way into the lineup sooner than later.

2014 Fantasy Outlooks
A.L. East N.L. East
Orioles Braves
Red Sox Marlins
Yankees Mets
Rays Phillies
Blue Jays Nationals
A.L. Central N.L. Central
White Sox Cubs
Indians Reds
Tigers Brewers
Royals Pirates
Twins Cardinals
A.L. West N.L. West
Astros Diamondbacks
Angels Rockies
Athletics Dodgers
Mariners Padres
Rangers Giants

8. Byron Buxton, OF, Twins
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 20 (12/18/93)
2013 levels: low Class A, high Class A
Minor-league stats: .334 BA, 12 HR, 19 2B, 18 3B, 55 SB, .944 OPS, 76 BB, 105 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 6

The consensus top prospect in non-Fantasy circles has already proven ready for Double-A, making a midseason arrival not out of the question. But because the Twins are notoriously slow to promote their prospects and won't have any incentive to rush him, he's an iffy draft-and-stash in mixed leagues despite his incredible upside.

9. Archie Bradley, SP, Diamondbacks
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 21 (8/10/92)
2013 levels: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: 14-5, 1.84 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 162 K, 152 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 6

Given his domination of the minors so far, Bradley may have actually surpassed Taijuan Walker as the game's top pitching prospect, but the Bronson Arroyo signing assures he'll begin 2014 in the minors. The Diamondbacks want him contributing sooner than later, though, and between Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Cahill, they should have an opening midseason.

10. Travis d'Arnaud, C, Mets
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 25 (2/10/89)
2013 levels: Rookie, Double-A, Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .286 BA (105 at-bats), 3 HR, 13 2B, .934 OPS, 25 BB, 23 K
Major-league stats: .202 BA (99 at-bats), 1 HR, 3 2B, .548 OPS, 12 BB, 21 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 10

Expected to compete for the starting catcher job last spring, d'Arnaud instead didn't make his big-league debut until mid-August, after a hurried rehabilitation from a broken foot. We should see a better representation of his abilities this year, with him starting from the get-go.

11. Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 21 (8/26/92)
2013 levels: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .320 BA, 31 HR, 103 RBI, .926 OPS, 30 BB, 70 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 7

With only 70 strikeouts to go along with his 31 homers in 541 at-bats, Franco's breakthrough last year was anything but one-dimensional. He may not wrestle the job away this spring, but it's only a matter of time before he overtakes the competent but significantly less talented Cody Asche.

12. Javier Baez, SS, Cubs
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 21 (12/1/92)
2013 levels: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .282 BA, 37 HR, 111 RBI, 20 SB, .920 OPS, 40 BB, 147 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 5

Baez's fabled bat speed translated to a big home run total in 2013, bringing him close enough to a promotion that he may have to move off shortstop, to either second or third base, just to avoid getting stuck. But no matter where he plays, he'll be an impact player in Fantasy.

13. Gregory Polanco, OF, Pirates
Bats: Left | Throws: Left
Age: 22 (9/14/91)
2013 levels: high Class A, Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .285 BA, 12 HR, 30 2B, 38 SB, .791 OPS, 52 BB, 73 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 5

As long as he takes care of business at Triple-A, Polanco will probably be starting for the Pirates in the second half, especially if they're still in contention at that point. He hasn't fully developed as a power hitter, but as a legitimate five-category player, he's a stud long-term.

14. Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 22 (1/4/92)
2013 levels: Rookie, low Class A, high Class A
Minor-league stats: .336 BA (128 at-bats), 9 HR, 1.078 OPS, 11 BB, 35 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 4

Though drafted less than a year ago, Bryant has already proven to be so advanced at age 22, winning Arizona Fall League MVP with a convincing power display, that the Cubs may not be able to hold him back. He isn't beating Javier Baez to the majors, though.

15. Addison Russell, SS, Athletics
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 20 (1/23/94)
2013 levels: high Class A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .269 BA (442 at-bats), 17 HR, 21 SB, .865 OPS, 61 BB, 125 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 4

Though Russell, the 11th overall pick in the 2012 draft, isn't as hyped as Carlos Correa, the first overall pick, he's closer to reaching the big leagues, with some suggesting he could make the leap this year should a need arise midseason. At shortstop, his power-speed combo will make him an early-rounder someday.

16. Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 20 (5/11/93)
2013 levels: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .280 BA (439 at-bats), 35 HR, 103 RBI, .992 OPS, 65 BB, 142 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 1

Even at age 20, Sano was in the mix to start at third base for the historically patient Twins before Tommy John surgery cost him his 2014. That says something about the upside. He's a little too all-or-nothing to live up to the Miguel Cabrera comparisons, but Giancarlo Stanton at the hot corner is still awfully valuable.

17. Carlos Correa, SS, Astros
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 19 (9/22/94)
2013 levels: low Class A
Minor-league stats: .320 BA (450 at-bats), 9 HR, 33 2B, 86 RBI, .872 OPS
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 2

In long-term keeper leagues, you'll want to go the extra mile for Correa. He profiles as an offensive force at shortstop, making him a potential first-rounder in Fantasy someday. Of course, on a slow ascension for the rebuilding Astros, his value in single-season formats is positively zilch.

Play on CBSSports.com in 2014!
Baseball Commissioner
Get the premium experience you deserve! Create a customized league with exclusive news and tools.
Start your league!

18. Dylan Bundy, RP, Orioles
Bats: Both | Throws: Right
Age: 21 (11/15/92)
2013 levels: Did not play -- injured
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 4

At this time last year, Bundy was widely considered the game's top pitching prospect, but losing a full season to Tommy John surgery dropped his stock a bit. If he's like most everyone else who has the procedure, he'll be as good as new when he returns to the mound in June, making a September call-up possible.

19. Noah Syndergaard, SP, Mets
Bats: Left | Throws: Right
Age: 21 (8/29/92)
2013 levels: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: 9-4, 3.06 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 133 K, 117 2/3 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 6

An improved secondary arsenal helped distinguish Syndergaard among pitching prospects last year, as his incredible strikeout-to-walk ratio no longer seemed like just a product of facing lesser competition. Having already mastered Double-A, he figures to follow in Matt Harvey's and Zack Wheeler's footsteps as a midseason call-up for the Mets.

20. Jameson Taillon, SP, Pirates
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 22 (11/18/91)
2013 levels: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: 5-10, 3.73 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 143 K, 147 1/3 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 6

At long last, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft is on the verge of reaching the big leagues, having climbed to Triple-A late last season. Don't let his minor-league numbers fool you. The way the Pirates develop their pitchers, he wasn't able to use his full variety of pitches all the time.

21. Kolten Wong, 2B, Cardinals
Bats: Left | Throws: Right
Age: 23 (10/10/90)
2013 levels: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .303 BA (412 at-bats), 10 HR, 20 SB, .835 OPS, 41 BB, 60 K
Major-league stats: .153 BA (59 at-bats), 0 HR, 3 SB, 3 BB, 12 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 10

After toeing the water with him late last season, the Cardinals are all-in on Wong, having traded David Freese and shifted Matt Carpenter over to third base just to clear a spot for him. He'll be something like a poor man's Jose Altuve until his power fully develops.

22. Nick Castellanos, OF, Tigers
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 21 (3/4/92)
2013 levels: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .276 BA (533 at-bats), 18 HR, 37 2B, .793 OPS, 54 BB, 100 K
Major-league stats: .278 BA (18 at-bats), 0 HR, 0 BB, 1 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 10

Though the scouting reports make him out to be an impact offensive player, Castellanos' minor-league track record doesn't offer much insight into what kind of hitter he'll be. Sometimes he hit for average. Sometimes he hit for power. With a full-time role, he'll matter in AL-only leagues even if he endures some growing pains.

23. Kevin Gausman, SP/RP, Orioles
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 23 (1/6/91)
2013 levels: Double-A, Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: 3-6, 3.51 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 82 K, 82 IP
Major-league stats: 3-5, 5.66 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 49 K, 47 2/3 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 8

With Dylan Bundy on the mend, Gausman became the Orioles' first line of defense in the minors last season and wasn't up to the task. Still, with a high-90s fastball and excellent control, it's only a matter of time before he fronts the rotation (along with Bundy). He'll get another chance this spring.

24. Jon Singleton, 1B, Astros
Bats: Left | Throws: Left
Age: 22 (9/18/91)
2013 levels: low Class A, Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .230 BA (304 at-bats), 11 HR, .351 OBP, 59 BB, 110 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 6

Despite a lost 2013 in which he was suspended 50 games for substance abuse and clearly not right when he returned, Singleton is another step closer to claiming the Astros first base job with Brett Wallace out of the picture. Patient and powerful, his OPS potential is too great for AL-only owners to ignore.

25. Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians
Bats: Both | Throws: Right
Age: 20 (11/14/93)
2013 levels: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .303 BA (403 at-bats), 2 HR, 25 SB, .787 OPS, 49 BB, 46 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 5

With a .380 on-base percentage between two stops last year, Lindor showed he could be a Fantasy asset even though defense is a major part of his real-life prospect pedigree. The Indians have promoted him aggressively so far, so if Asdrubal Cabrera gets hurt or injured, he's probably first up.

26. Robert Stephenson, SP, Reds
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 20 (2/24/93)
2013 levels: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: 7-7, 2.99 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 136 K, 114 1/3 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 3

Stephenson has sped through the minors in two seasons since getting drafted 27th overall, quietly emerging as the future ace of an already deep Reds rotation. Because it's already deep, he's unlikely to contribute this year, but he could be top 10 on this list next year.

27. Mark Appel, SP, Astros
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 22 (7/15/91)
2013 levels: short-season Class A, low Class A
Minor-league stats: 3-1, 3.79 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 33 K, 38 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 5

Appel is already well known to Fantasy owners as a player in the mix for the first overall pick two years in a row. He underwhelmed in his introduction to the lower levels last year, but pedigree counts for more for what should be a fast riser.

28. Carlos Martinez, RP, Cardinals
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 22 (9/21/91)
2013 levels: Double-A, Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: 6-3, 2.49 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 72 K, 79 2/3 IP
Major-league stats: 2-1, 5.08 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 24 K, 28 1/3 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 9

Martinez has electric stuff and has already shown he can thrive in pressure situations as the Cardinals setup man during the postseason last year. The problem is his success in that role may prevent him from getting a real chance as a starter. We'll get a better sense of his future this spring.

29. Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers
Bats: Left | Throws: Left
Age: 21 (4/21/92)
2013 levels: Double-A
Minor-league stats: .278 BA (439 at-bats), 22 HR, 31 SB, .381 OBP, .878 OPS, 70 BB, 114 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 5

Pederson showed his 2012 breakthrough wasn't just a product of the heavy-hitting California League by putting up similar numbers at Double-A Chattanooga last year, but the Dodgers are trying to fit four pegs into three holes as it is. Still, with the group they have, an injury should open the door eventually.

30. Jorge Soler, OF, Cubs
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 21 (2/25/92)
2013 levels: high Class A
Minor-league stats: .281 BA (210 at-bats), 8 HR, 5 SB, .810 OPS, 21 BB, 38 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 5

Though considered a safer bet than Yasiel Puig at this time a year ago, Soler showed he has some maturing to do, both physically and mentally, during an injury-shortened 2013. Scouts still love his power potential, though, so NL-only owners shouldn't count him out for a midseason promotion.

31. Jonathan Gray, SP, Rockies
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 22 (11/5/91)
2013 levels: Rookie, high Class A
Minor-league stats: 4-0, 1.93 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 51 K, 37 1/3 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 3

Gray might be the most talented pitcher of the 2013 draft class and would assuredly rank higher on this list if he didn't go to the Rockies. The way the baseball moves and carries changes so much at a mile above sea level that no one knows what to expect even from the most talented pitchers.

32. Kyle Zimmer, SP, Royals
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 22 (9/13/91)
2013 levels: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: 6-9, 4.32 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 140 K, 108 1/3 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 4

Zimmer struggled to keep the ball down early last season, but he piles up strikeouts with a fastball that at times reaches 100 mph and has no major control issues. He's behind Yordano Ventura in the pipeline, but if he doesn't burn through his innings too quickly, he could get a late-season look.

33. Andrew Heaney, SP, Marlins
Bats: Left | Throws: Left
Age: 22 (6/5/91)
2013 levels: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: 9-3, 1.60 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 89 K, 95 1/3 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 6

Heaney will get some buzz this spring because of the natural tie-in with Jose Fernandez, but he isn't quite the same caliber of prospect. He's a good one in his own right, though, and coming off a dominant season in which he advanced to Double-A, he's a worthy draft-and-stash in NL-only leagues.

34. Rougned Odor, 2B, Rangers
Bats: Left | Throws: Right
Age: 20 (2/3/94)
2013 levels: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .305 BA, 11 HR, 41 2B, 32 SB, .839 OPS
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 4

Odor went from being a memorably named curiosity to a legitimate prospect with his performance in 2013, putting up numbers not unlike Jurickson Profar did at the same levels. Profiling as a five-category player at a middle infield spot, he's a priority pick in long-term keeper leagues.

35. Jackie Bradley, OF, Red Sox
Bats: Left | Throws: Right
Age: 23 (4/19/90)
2013 levels: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .275 BA (320 at-bats), 10 HR, 26 2B, 7 SB, .842 OPS, 41 BB, 75 K
Major-league stats: .189 BA (95 at-bats), 3 HR, 5 2B, 2 SB, .617 OPS, 10 BB, 31 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 9

Bradley ranks lower on this year's list than last year's even though he's all but assured a starting job this time around. That's what a stinker first impression will do for a player. He'll develop more power in time, but for right now, the most reasonable expectation is Michael Brantley-type numbers.

36. Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates
Bats: Left | Throws: Left
Age: 18 (5/3/95)
2013 levels: Rookie, short-season Class A
Minor-league stats: .316 BA (177 at-bats), 7 HR, .554 SLG, .977 OPS, 29 BB, 46 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 1

At 18, Meadows is probably two or three years from reaching the majors, but he helped shorten that timetable by tearing up the short-season leagues in the weeks after the draft last year, earning Jay Bruce comparisons along the way. Except unlike Bruce, he still has a chance to hit for average.

37. Clint Frazier, OF, Indians
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 19 (9/6/94)
2013 levels: Rookie
Minor-league stats: .297 BA (172 at-bats), 5 HR, 3 SB, .506 SLG, .868 OPS, 17 BB, 61 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 1

The first high school hitter selected in the 2013 draft, Frazier will need a few years to develop, but his power potential rates among the best in the minors. Here's your chance to get in on the ground floor in long-term keeper leagues.

38. Lucas Giolito, SP, Nationals
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 19 (7/14/94)
2013 levels: Rookie, short-season Class A
Minor-league stats: 2-1, 1.96 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 39 K, 36 2/3 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 1

Giolito showed in 11 starts after returning from Tommy John surgery last year why he would have been the top pick in the 2012 draft if not for his elbow. The 19-year-old has as much ability as any pitcher on this list and will move as quickly as the need to accumulate innings will allow him.

39. Kohl Stewart, SP, Twins
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 19 (10/7/94)
2013 levels: Rookie
Minor-league stats: 0-0, 1.35 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 24 K, 20 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 1

Stewart has all the stuff you'd expect from the first high school pitcher selected in the 2013 draft, boasting a mid-90s fastball with a well-developed secondary arsenal. The Twins can afford to take their time with him, but if you don't mind waiting in a dynasty league, here's your chance for a true ace.

40. Josmil Pinto, C, Twins
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 24 (3/31/89)
2013 levels: Double-A, Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .309 BA (456 at-bats), 15 HR, 32 2B, .882 OPS, 66 BB, 83 K
Major-league stats: .342 BA (76 at-bats), 4 HR, 5 2B, .963 OPS, 6 BB, 22 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 8

In the interest of defense, the Twins signed journeyman Kurt Suzuki to fill their catcher void rather than turn the job over to Pinto, who looked like a ready-made replacement for Joe Mauer with the way he crushed the ball in September. He'll get his chance when the Twins realize they're playing for next year.

41. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, SP, Phillies
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 27 (9/23/86)
2013 levels: Did not play -- free agent
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 8

Investing in Gonzalez on Draft Day is like buying a lottery ticket. Nobody really knows what to expect from him because he hasn't pitched since 2011 -- and that was in Cuba. At some point, he was clocked at 97 mph, so yeah, maybe. That's about as vague and tepid as endorsements get, though.

42. Erik Johnson, SP, White Sox
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 24 (12/30/89)
2013 levels: Double-A, Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: 12-3, 1.96 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 131 K, 142 IP
Major-league stats: 3-2, 3.25 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 18 K, 27 2/3 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 9

Johnson's minor-league numbers make him out to be the second coming of Greg Maddux, but the scouting reports paint a more realistic picture, noting his vulnerability to left-handed hitters. Still, a prospect of some note with the inside track on a rotation spot is at worst an AL-only option.

43. Jake Odorizzi, SP, Rays
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 23 (3/27/90)
2013 levels: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: 9-6, 3.33 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 124 K, 124 1/3 IP
Major-league stats: 0-1, 3.94 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 22 K, 29 2/3 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 9

Considering a third year at Triple-A probably won't do anything for Odorizzi, it's put-up-or-shut-up time for him as the fill-in for an injured Jeremy Hellickson. A Wally Pipp scenario won't happen unless Odorizzi delivers mixed league-caliber numbers, so owners in those formats can take a wait-and-see approach with him.

44. James Paxton, SP, Mariners
Bats: Left | Throws: Left
Age: 25 (11/6/88)
2013 levels: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: 8-11, 4.45 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 131 K, 145 2/3 IP
Major-league stats: 3-0, 1.50 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 21 K, 24 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 7

A disaster at Triple-A Tacoma of the heavy-hitting Pacific Coast for much of last season, Paxton got back to pitching like the prospect he is with his promotion to the big leagues in September. He'd be sleeper for AL-only leagues with a secure rotation spot, but the Scott Baker signing hurts his chances.

45. Eddie Butler, SP, Rockies
Bats: Both | Throws: Right
Age: 22 (3/13/91)
2013 levels: low Class A, high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: 9-5, 1.80 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 143 K, 149 2/3 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 7

The Rockies want Butler and his 99 mph fastball to start for them sooner than later, and judging by what their rotation currently offers, they're in a position to make that happen. But he wouldn't be the first big-time pitching prospect to asphyxiate in the thin air of Coors Field. Approach with caution.

46. Alex Guerrero, 2B, Dodgers
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 27 (12/20/86)
2013 levels: Did not play -- in Cuba
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 9

Guerrero's best tool is power, which is always in demand at the middle infield spots. Of course, judging by the scouting reports, it may be his only tool. At 27, he'll likely never be a game-changer in Fantasy, but as long as he wins the starting job, he'll factor in Rotisserie leagues.

47. Michael Choice, OF, Rangers
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 24 (11/10/89)
2013 levels: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .302 BA, 14 HR, 89 RBI, .390 OBP, .835 OPS, 69 BB, 115 K
Major-league stats: .278 BA (18 at-bats), 0 HR, .649 OPS, 1 BB, 6 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 8

Though his home run totals over the last two years in the minors leave much to be desired, most scouts still view Choice as a power hitter. Playing in Texas can only help. The possibility of him overtaking Mitch Moreland for full-time DH duties makes him worth a flier in AL-only leagues.

48. Matt Davidson, 3B, White Sox
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 22 (3/26/91)
2013 levels: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .280 BA (443 at-bats), 17 HR, .831 OPS, 46 BB, 134 K
Major-league stats: .237 BA (76 at-bats), 3 HR, .768 OPS, 10 BB, 24 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 8

Coming over from the Diamondbacks in the Addison Reed deal, Davidson gives the White Sox a long-term, if one-dimensional, solution at third base, profiling as a regular 25-homer guy. Since they've already said he's a long shot to win the job this spring, though, even AL-only owners should temper their enthusiasm.

49. Yordano Ventura, SP, Royals
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Age: 22 (6/3/91)
2013 levels: Double-A, Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: 8-6, 3.14 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 155 K, 134 2/3 IP
Major-league stats: 0-1, 3.52 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 11 K, 15 1/3 IP
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 7

Now decidedly in the mix for a big-league rotation spot, Ventura is inching closer to the "reward" end of the risk-reward spectrum, his 100 mph fastball to this point making up for his smallish stature and iffy control. Long-term, he's still on shaky ground, but he's a reasonable draft-and-stash given his proximity.

50. Arismendy Alcantara, SS, Cubs
Bats: Both | Throws: Right
Age: 22 (10/29/91)
2013 levels: Double-A
Minor-league stats: .271 BA, 15 HR, 36 2B, 31 SB, .804 OPS, 62 BB, 125 K
Scott's 2014 Fantasy impact: 6

Though he always had the potential, Alcantara didn't break through as a legitimate power-speed threat until last season, giving the Cubs another long-term option up the middle. He profiles best at second base and will likely beat Javier Baez to the big leagues, but he would be the one to vacate his spot if it came to that.

Honorable mentions: Albert Almora, OF, CHC; Trevor Bauer, SP, CLE; Jesse Biddle, SP, PHI; Garin Cecchini, 3B, BOS; Kyle Crick, SP, SF; C.J. Edwards, SP, CHC; Wilmer Flores, 3B, NYM; Mike Foltynewicz, SP, HOU; Tyler Glasnow, SP, PIT; Alen Hanson, SS, PIT; Andrew Lambo, OF, PIT; Tommy La Stella, 2B, ATL; Zach Lee, SP, LAD; Alex Meyer, SP, MIN; Rafael Montero, SP, NYM; Jimmy Nelson, SP, MIL; Mike Olt, 1B, CHC; Henry Owens, SP, BOS; Chris Owings, SS, ARI; Kyle Parker, OF, COL; D.J. Peterson, 3B, SEA; Stephen Piscotty, OF, STL; Gary Sanchez, C, NYY; Jonathan Schoop, 2B, BAL; Corey Seager, SS, LAD; Marcus Semien, 3B, CHW; Burch Smith, SP, SD; Max Stassi, C, HOU; Marcus Stroman, SP, TOR; Matthew Wisler, SP, SD.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott at @CBSScottWhite .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Angels, Huston Street haven't talked extension yet
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:11 am ET) The Angels and closer Huston Street have not talked about an extension yet, according to MLB.com.

Both sides are reportedly interested in a deal, but Street wanted to wait a week in order to settle in to camp. Once that happens, the two sides are expected to start negotiating a new deal. Street is entering the final year of his contract, and will make $7 million in 2015.

Street, 31, posted a 1.37 ERA over 59 1/3 innings last year.


Phillies' Ryan Howard working on his swing
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:20 am ET) Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is working on his swing, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

Howard has spent time working with Charlie Manuel during camp. Manuel was brought in as spring training hitting instructor. Manager Ryan Sandberg has noticed the change in Howard's approach already. "As far as making some adjustments there, to really zone in to something that can really be productive for him and a little bit more consistent," Sandberg said. "I think there has been a little tweaking going on there."

Howard apparently has looked different at the plate. His stance has been described as "looser" and his hands are much lower when he starts his swing. 

The 35-year-old hit .223/.310/.380 over 569 at-bats last year. 


Dodgers unsure how Grandal, Ellis will split time
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Dodgers aren't sure how they'll platoon their two catchers, according to the Orange County Register.

A.J. Ellis has been the team's primary option the past few seasons, but the club brought in Yasmani Grandal during the offseason. While Grandal has a much higher offensive upside, it's unclear how much he'll play once the regular season begins. 

"There’s nothing going to come out of this camp where we’re going to say, ‘OK, this guy is going to start 72 percent of the time’" general manager Andrew Friedman said. "It’s going to be much more about Donnie (Mattingly) writing the lineup each and every day for what gives us the best chance to win that day."

Mattingly admitted that Grandal has "tremendous upside offensively," so it's possible he could lead that way more often. While Mattingly has indicated that he doesn't want to assign any personal catchers yet, there's a sense Ellis could be used when Clayton Kershaw is on the mound. 

Grandal hit .225/.327/.401 over 377 at-bats last year. Ellis hit .191/.323/.254 over 283 at-bats. 


Giants sign Ronny Cedeno to minor-league deal
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Giants have signed infielder Ronny Cedeno to a minor-league deal, according to the PCL transactions page.

Cedeno, 32, spent most of the year in the minors. He hit .313/.368/.431 over 281 at-bats in Triple-A. Cedeno received nine at-bats with the Phillies, but failed to record a hit. 


Brewers' Scooter Gennett glad to have full-time role
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Brewers infielder Scooter Gennett is glad to have a full-time role heading into 2015, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Gennett spent last season in a platoon with Rickie Weeks, but with Weeks gone, he'll assume the full-time role. Gennett said he feels far less stressed about his position on the team this spring. "Seeing as I'm pretty much the everyday guy, that eliminated the stress, or whatever you want to call it, off my back," he said. 

"Just not having to worry about stuff out of my control. I've put myself in this position where I've earned the job, I've shown them what I can do, and now it's about consistently doing it," he added. 

Manager Ron Roenicke has already said he'll give Gennett plenty of opportunities to prove himself against left-handers. 

Gennett, 24, hit .289/.320/.434 over 440 at-bats last season. 


Cubs' Arismendy Alcantara will play all over the place
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Cubs utility man Arismendy Alcantara is going to play a lot of positions this season, according to ESPN.

Alcantara saw time in center last season, but the team's trade for Dexter Fowler will alter his role. Alcantara says he's ready for the challenge. "Mentally you have to be ready for that," Alcantara said. "They want me to play second base and the outfield." He's also expected to see some time at third base. 

Manager Joe Maddon is glad to have such a versatile player on the team. "When you get a guy like that and you want to give someone a rest, you don't feel like you're losing anything," Joe Maddon said. "And the big attraction there is also in-game. It's like having an extra guy on the bench."

The 23-year-old Alcantara hit .205/.254/.367 over 278 at-bats last year. 


Rockies ask Corey Dickerson to be more patient
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Rockies want Corey Dickerson to be a little more patient at the plate, according to MLB.com.

Dickerson had a breakout season in 2014, hitting .312/.364/.567 over 436 at-bats. He walked in 7.7 percent of his plate appearances, which was actually just above the league average. Still, the team wants Dickerson to be slightly less of a free-swinging this year.

"I talked to Corey about adding this much discipline to his game," manager Walt Weiss said. "We don't want that much, because then he wouldn't be Corey Dickerson." Weiss explained that it's difficult to deliver this type of message, as Dickerson's aggressiveness makes him effective. 

Dickerson said he would work harder to study pitchers and work on his approach during games. 

The 25-year-old is expected to open the year as the team's starter in left.


Marlins unlikely to add reliever now
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Marlins are unlikely to add a reliever now that Francisco Rodriguez is off the market, according to MLB.com.

The Marlins were involved in negotiations for K-Rod through at least Wednesday, and were reportedly willing to offer $10 million over two years. The club has been looking for a veteran reliever for some time, but may pass now that Rodriguez has signed with the Brewers.

Both Rafael Soriano and Phil Coke have been connected to Miami, but the team would likely only sign those players to minor-league contracts.


Diamondbacks' Chase Anderson a favorite for the rotation
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Diamondbacks consider Chase Anderson a favorite to break camp in the rotation, according to azcentral.com.

The club wants to create a lot of competition for the rotation, and it was initially believed Anderson would be competing for a spot. General manager Dave Stewart sort of quashed those rumors, saying he perceives Anderson as a strong favorite right now. "Chase Anderson won nine games for us last year; you have to strongly consider him as part of our rotation," Stewart said. 

Anderson is expected to pair with Josh Collmenter and Jeremy Hellickson for now. The club will determine the final two spots in the rotation during camp.

Anderson, 27, posted a 4.01 ERA over 114 1/3 innings last year.


Indians' Francona: Swisher 'swinging the bat really well'
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Indians manager Terry Francona has been satisfied with Nick Swisher's performance during batting practice, according to the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

"He's swinging the bat really well," Francona said. "He's under control and he probably has to be (because of his knees). But he's using the whole field. He really looks good." 

Swisher has been working with the team's hitting coaches on trying to go up the middle more often. Francona said that strategy has already translated to his batting practice sessions. 

Running still remains an issue for Swisher, however. He was able to do some drills on Thursday, but reportedly looked uncomfortable during the session. The club expects he'll be ready for games in mid-March.

Swisher, 34, hit .208/.278/.331 over 360 at-bats last year. 


 
 
 
Rankings