Some have asked for some Non-Top 100 sleeper prospects, and for being a deeper league site we have to be able to denote some of these players. They won’t be any of the Honorable Mentions either. Now, I’m going to try to cover some of the “closer” guys (aka guys with at least 50 AB or 15 IP in AA) as well as some guys who are farther away than that (less than those totals). This should give a good balance of players for the short term and long term.
Here’s the thing: I’m only going to post on guys who I haven’t mentioned in previous 2013 posts. Yes, that means that I won’t be counting any players who are listed under the “Missed Players” article for the Top 100, nor will I have any of the Top 20 First Year prospects on the list. I’ve already talked about them and mentioned them. If you have a question about any name, feel free to ask it in the comments. Here I’m touching on guys who I think can make an impact above their current rank or common value. They are my “sleepers” for 2013 and beyond.
I’m going to start by doing five writeups per article, and see how many players I can post on. I think there will likely be FOUR parts to this series, but we’ll see what other material I come up with. Currently, I have 20 guys who I think I can write about, or at least try to, so we’ll see how that goes. The blurbs won’t be super long, but they’ll be enough to get the gist of why I like the player. I have 11 “FAR” guys and 9 “CLOSE” guys, so I’m aiming for a pretty even split. Also, evenly divided 10 pitchers and hitters, so you’ll get 2 or 3 of each in each section. Well, enough rambling, let’s go!
HITTERS (level is highest level with 50+ AB)
Trayce Thompson (OF, CHW, AA) – Trayce is a blend of power and speed. In 2012, he hit 25 HR and swiped 21 bases between A+ (the majority), AA, and AAA. The biggest concern is his massive strikeout rate. But in fantasy, he’s one that I think is a great target for potential power/speed, if you can handle the low average. I’m looking at him like a Curtis Granderson lite player. He has to prove that he can make consistent contact, but outside of that he has a ton of potential. He could be a 18-15 player. He’s a worthwhile gamble. The best Comp I can think of would be Michael Saunders of the Mariners.
Cameron Gallagher (C, KC, Rk) – Gallagher has always been a personal favorite of mine, ever since the 2011 draft. His upside, before the draft, was considered to be Devin Mesoraco. I never bought into that he’d be that good, but he could still be a good catcher without being elite. In very limited time in Rookie Ball (Appy League), Gallagher hit for a .756 OPS, good for a wRC+ of 110 (10% above league average). Although he only received 127 PA, he only struck out at an 11.5% rate and walked at a 7.2% clip. Gallagher could bust out in a big way if he can perform throughout 2013. He’s distant from the majors (a high-school catcher), but he should be up in 2016 or so. He’s got a lot of time, but I’m a fan of him right now.
Jorge Alfaro (C, TEX, Low-A) – An international signee of the Rangers, Alfaro is one of the better backstops in the minor leagues. Had he not been buried under the Rangers wealth of young prospects this season, I think he’d likely nab a spot in a lot more Top 100 lists. He played 300 ABs in the South Atlantic League this past year (Low-A), and the results were mixed. He struck out at a 28% clip, and only walked 5.3% of the time. That’s really bad. But, the promising part was that he had an ISO of .169, a good showing for a catcher. His wRC+ was 103, not great but he was young for the level as a catcher (most catchers are a year or two behind position players). If he can work on his plate discipline and batting eye, he may very well find himself shooting up lists.
PITCHERS (level is highest level with 15+ IP)
Nick Maronde (LHP, LAA, AA) – Maronde was one of the first 2011 draftees to make it to pro ball, coming up in September to try for the Angels’ playoff race. Maronde had a great 2012 season, that leaped him into the discussion for my Top 100 prospects. He’s not an elite arm, and projects as a mid rotation guy, but he could get some time if any rotation injuries happen in the majors (I’m staring at you, Hanson). He makes for a good quick-turnaround candidate. He struck out 8.1 guys and walked a mere 1.7 in mostly A+ and AA. His FIP was phenomenal, at 2.70. I see a good future and a good buy candidate for fantasy owners wanting an under the radar guy for 2013.
Matt Wisler (RHP, SD, Low-A) – Wisler somewhat broke out in 2012 and grabbed a lot of attention. In Low-A, he dominated with a 8.9 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 and only giving up one homerun in 114 IP. That’s very very good. He had a phenomenal ERA of 2.53, only bested by his FIP of 2.20. Wisler looks like he could have the future of a #2 starter, but he’s still young and there’s a ways to go. I’m not sold enough to put him in my Top 100 players, but he could easily slot into the HM section without attracting any attention. I’m a fan of his, although I was late on the bandwagon relative to other analysts. I’d keep a good eye on him for 2013, he could be Top 50 by the end.
I consider all of these players good sleepers and potential breakout guys that don’t get enough attention. I tried to do my best to mix younger guys (Wisler, Gallagher, Alfaro) with more of a 2013 impact group (Maronde, Thompson). I’ll try to keep that up throughout the rest of the articles. I hope you enjoyed edition 1 of 4 of the sleepers. I have the other three sets lined up, but they are still moving parts. If you throw a name or two out that you want to read about, I might be able to incorporate them into a later list!