1. Stephen Strasburg (P—Nationals)—super-prospect Stephen Strasburg enters the season as my favorite for National League Rookie of the Year. He possesses a 100+ mph fastball along with several great secondary pitches. Even without minor league experience, many project he’ll begin next season in the majors.
2. Buster Posey (C—Giants)—Posey is the 2010 version of Matt Wieters, an elite catching prospect from the Atlantic Coast Conference who arrived quickly in the majors after breezing through the minor leagues.
3. Eric Young, Jr. (2B/OF—Rockies)—Young is a great sleeper candidate for rookie of the year, and look for him to be the league’s most valuable fantasy baseball rookie if he gains a starting position. Young is ridiculously fast, and could steal 65-70 bases if he hits enough to remain in the lineup.
4. Chris Heisey (OF—Reds)—the 25 year-old Heisey is a solid player. He plays several outfield positions and it’s hard to imagine him not beginning the season in the majors. If he lands a starting role, he could win rookie of the year by posting numbers similar to last year’s winner, Chris Caughlin.
5. Jaime Garcia (P, Cardinals)—while Garcia perhaps is not the most talented pitching prospect in baseball, he does have an excellent shot of making the Cardinals rotation, which gives him a possible shot at the Rookie of the Year.
Others to watch: Aaron Poreda (P–Padres), Yonder Alonso (1B—Reds), Drew Stubbs (CF—Reds), Todd Frazier (SS—Reds), Jhoulys Chacin (P—Rockies), Brandon Allen (1B—Diamondbacks), Jose Tabata (OF—Pittsburgh), Logan Morrison (1B—Marlins), Gaby Sanchez (1B—Marlins).
“Top 5” if called up before June 1st: Jason Heyward (OF—ATL), Pedro Alvarez (3B—PIT), Mike Stanton (OF—FLA), Christian Frederich (P—COL), Starlin Castro (SS—CHI), Madison Bumgarner (P—SF).
Does not qualify: Alcides Escobar (SS—Brewers)