Last month I wrote about the prospects I’m considering for my first pick in the farm draft of my fantasy league. If you missed it go here. As is the case in most deep fantasy baseball leagues, by the time you get to make your second and third round picks most of the projected stars are gone. So with those picks I try to determine the prospects who have a good chance of graduating to and seeing significant time in the Majors in the upcoming season and then get the most talented of that group. Predicting when a prospect will arrive and stick in the Majors is a difficult task but the composition of the Major League roster and the prospects accomplishments in the Minors provide some insight. While few meet such billing I usually put the prospects into two categories, those close to the Majors and those with talent worth reaching for in the second round. Below are the prospects I’m considering with my second round pick.
Close to the Majors Picks
Jason Castro (C – HOU) – Castro is a better catching prospect than Jonathan Lucroy (mentioned next) and even though he doesn’t have a skill that rates extremely high all aspects of his game are average to above average. Most scouts see a very solid regular who will appear in a couple of All-Star games. Talented on both sides of the ball he may reach the Majors soon, including this season, as Ed Wade announced that the starting catcher posistion is an open competition for anyone to win. He’s definitely worth a second round pick if he lasts that long.
Jonathan Lucroy (C – MLW) – Earlier this winter there were whispers that Lucroy had a shot at the starting gig in 2010 but with a poor spring he’s lost some hype. Over the winter the Brewers signed Greg Zaun and picked up George Kottaras off waivers, both are ahead of Lucroy on the Brewers’ depth chart. Lucroy had some success at AA last year and after a very strong showing in the AFL, passed Angel Salome as the Brewers top catching prospect. He’ll head to AAA to begin 2010 but with no real competition I could see him up by mid season, especially if Zaun is providing no production. He’s not the most talented prospect on the list but he may have the best chance to earn regular at bats in the Majors and for those of us trying to find two catchers he could be a real steal as your second catcher.
Hector Rondon (SP – CLE) – Rondon popped onto my radar at the end of last season as a potential call up to join the Indians rotation. He was left off Baseball America’s 2010 Top 100 Prospect List but in some way that’s almost comforting, like I’m in on a secret that I think a lot of people don’t know about. Even though he may not rate high enough to make the BA’s Top 100 he was very successful in AA last season with an ERA of 2.75, a WHIP of 1.06 and averaged just over a strikeout an inning before his midseason call up to AAA where he finished the season with not as impressive numbers. He just turned 22 so his ascent is pretty impressive. I see him in Cleveland around June or July and I think he could easily be a solid third starter.
Peter Bourjos (OF – LAA) – Known for his lightning speed, Bourjos plays great defense in center field and can change games on the base paths. He made huge strides at the plate last season showing some gap power and improved discipline. The Angels put him on the 40 man roster last year so that he wouldn’t get taken in the Rule 5 Draft so they think he is pretty close to being ready; but he might not make it to the Majors that soon as they have Torii Hunter under contract for three more years. But he has the ability to steal 35+ bases so he’s worth an immediate pick up once promoted. I think he will be the first outfielder called up when the Angels need to fill a hole but let’s hope that they treat him better than Reggie Willits.
Honorable Mention (in order of preference): Jenrry Mejia (SP – NYM), Matt Moore (SP – TB), Ike Davis (1B – NYM), Juan Francisco (3B/OF – CIN), Mike Leake (SP – CIN), Jeanmar Gomez (SP – CLE), Jose Tabata (OF – PIT), Mike McCoy (SS – TOR), Mike Trout (OF – LAA).
Julio Teheran (SP – ATL) – I am a fan of Braves’ pitching prospects and Teheran is the highest rated pitcher in their system according to Baseball America. He already has three solid pitches, a fastball, curve and changeup, so he could move quickly throw the system. At 19 he’s pretty young but Baseball America talks a lot about his poise and maturity beyond his years. The Braves will be cautious with him but I can he see up at some point in 2011 and competing with Hanson to be the ace of the Braves staff no too much later than that. Grab him now because once he figures it out on the Major League level it will probably be too late to pick him up.
Tony Sanchez (C – PIT) – What I don’t think most people know is that Ryan Doumit’s days are numbered in Pittsburgh. His attitude has created a stir and soon his contract demands will push him out the door. Therefore, I believe Tony Sanchez is the future catcher of the Pirates and the future is soon. Most people were surprised the Pirates drafted him so high but he silenced critics hitting .309/.409/.539 at three levels last season and showed solid-average power. He is considered more of a finished product because of his impressive defensive skills but he has been gaining notoriety with his bat. He’ll be at AA in 2010 and should be knocking on the door to the Majors in 2011.
Jaff Decker (OF – SD) – Decker is a beast with some serious power potential. Known for his power and his plate discipline he will be a serious fantasy contributor. The problem for me is that he is several years away as I don’t see him having a chance to make an impact in fantasy until 2012. F0r me it would be a reach to draft him this year because I would rather spend this pick on a tougher position to fill, like catcher, if I was going to commit to waiting till 2012 for production from this pick. But Decker is moving up prospect lists because people are as confident of his future production as you can be about a prospect so if he intrigues you get him this year as I don’t think he’ll last till next year.
Jared Mitchell (OF – CWS) – After the College World Series I was very excited about Mitchell. I saw him and the LSU Tigers beat up on my Longhorns and I’ve been a big fan ever since. Mitchell didn’t start playing baseball full time until recently so he needs some development but he is a tremendous athlete and shown advanced understanding of the game with little experience. He projects as a center field, lead off type but he hit in the middle of LSU’s lineup because he has flashed some power. BA blew my cover by ranking him 55th so he might not get to you in the second round so if he’s there take him and, if you’re not crazy about your first round pick, I’d consider taking Mitchell in the first round. But now with his injury you may be able to wait until the third round to pick him up.
Honorable Mention (in order of preference): Casey Crosby (SP – DET), Kyle Gibson (SP – MIN), James Darnell (3B – OF), Jose Igelsias (SS – BOS), A.J. Pollack (OF – ARZ), Wilin Rosario (C – COL).
Best of Both Worlds
Michael Brantley (OF – CLE) – I’m disappointed that the Indians demoted Brantley because I think he’s ready now and I could have gotten him at a potential discount at around $15. I think that’s a discount because he’s a legit lead-off hitter who hits for average and can draw a walk (he’s a career .300+ hitter). Throw in his potential to regularly steal 40+ bases and that’s why I think $15 is cheap. If you can draft Brantley for a farm pick price, do it. He’s going to be a legit lead-off hitter who hits .300, scores 100+ runs and steal s40+ bases. Unfortunately he is competing with Grady Sizemore to be the Indians lead-off hitter but I genuinely think Brantley is ready for the Majors now and he’ll be up by season’s end.
Chris Heisey (OF – CIN) – Heisey is not a new name so he may already be gone in your league. But if he’s not, he’s definitely worth a second round pick, if not a first round pick depending on the depth of your league. We like Heisey because, besides Jay Bruce, the Reds outfield is a bunch of question marks. Currently backing up Stubbs in center, he is also competing with Dickerson, Nix, Balentien, Josh Anderson, Johnny Gomes and maybe Todd Frazier. Jocketty commented earlier this month that left field was between Heisey, Dickerson and Balentien. Last season Heisey tore up AA hitting .347/.426/.572 before being promoted to AAA in late June and won the Reds Minor League Player of the Year Award. He is known for his approach at the plate so he should hit for average and he posts good SB numbers because he’s fast enough to play center and has great baseball instincts. He will most definitely see some time in the Majors this season, if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster, and I think he has a chance to be a solid regular.