AFL Preview: Peoria Sagauros

saguarosTeams: Cincinnati, San Diego, Houston, Cleveland, Atlanta

Overview: If there was any team worth following this year it’s the Peoria Sagauros.  This is by far the most interesting team and it’s surprising Peoria is yet to win a game, especially considering this team has at least seven players expected to become solid Major Leaguers.  The line up is stacked with many highly touted prospects who will soon break into the Majors.

Top Prospect: Jason Heyward. Heyward is arguably the best offense prospect in the Minor Leagues, often drawing comparisons to a young Daryl Strawberry.  He is a five tool prospect that many expect to be a regular All-Star in the Majors.  He could be contributing as early as 2010 and should be a fantasy impact player by no later than 2011.

Other Prospects: The team features two of the best college pitching prospects in this year’s draft in Arizona State’s Mike Leake and Vanderbilt’s Mike Minor.  Both players should be fast-tracked to the Major Leagues by next season.  Houston catcher Jason Castro has been impressive since the Astros drafted him out of Stanford last season and the ‘stros need a catcher, bad.  The team has two elite first base prospects in Freddie Freeman and Yonder Alonso.  Both have a bat worth following and could be competing for the starting 1B spot as early as 2011 but they could be contributing before that.  Chris Heisey posted extremely solid Minor League numbers for yet-another season this year, and is finally getting recognized as a top prospect.  Heisey is another five tool prospect who I suggest you grab now before everyone starts talking about him.

Honorable Mention: Zach Cozart may be a couple of years away from making an impact on fantasy rosters but defensively he can already handle the shortstop position in the Majors.  His bat has been slow to come around but it is improving.  With no one in front of him in Cincinnati he may be able to turn a good AFL into a good Spring Training and who knows.  Nick Weglarz had a tough season last year in AA but he’s still just 21 years old.  So far he has shown the potential to draw 100 walks in a season and scouts believe he as plus-plus power.  He probably won’t crack the Majors till 2011 but he’s definitely a player worth following.