By Matty C
Keep in mind, these are not the 10 best prospects in the minors, rather just my opinion on 10 guys you should keep in mind on during your fantasy draft day who will be considered rookies in 2008:
1)Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay.
No, he’s not related to Eva, but he’s a slugging third baseman for an up and coming D-Rays lineup (predicting them to finish 3rd in the AL East this year). Great swing and put up great #’s in the minors last year, topping out at AAA Durham. He’s 22 and has 4-5 tool potential. Similar skill set to David Wright. Should be available in the later rounds.
2)Clay Buchholz, RHP, Boston Red Sox.
This kid is the real deal. 3 plus pitches, threw a no-hitter, and his minor league numbers are identical to Josh Becketts while they were both in AA Portland. Only concern, fantasy wise anyways, is the limit on his innings. Might start in AAA but he’s worth a 10th round or later investment.
3)Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinatti Reds.
Slugging 1st baseman should break camp as the starter in Cincy this year. Has a career 290/385/480 line in the minors, and hit at a nice 321/360/520 clip in his 1st cup of coffee in the majors last year. Nice little bonus here, 20 SBs in his last two minor league seasons.
4)Daric Barton, 1B, Oakland A’s.
Billy Beane’s pet, he walked more than he struck out in the minors. Although his power potential isn’t that highly thought of, he did ht 8hr’s in 72 at bats during his scortching hot Sept call-up. Good late round pick as a back up utility/1b man.
5)Jay Bruce, CF, Cincinatti Reds.
Um, he’s 20, and rose from single-A to AAA in one minor league season, smashing 26 home runs and turning in a staggering 320/380/590 line. CF for the Reds is his job to lose, now that Josh Hamilton is in Arlington. Only concern here is he has never seen a major league pitch, but the pure talent is there.
6)Geovany Soto, C, Chicago Cubs
Soto arrived last year, winning the Pacific Coast League MVP with a 353/430/620 line. He got called up in Sept. and hit .388 with 3 home runs in 52 ABs. He’s penciled in to be the Cubs starting catcher, and if you miss on a Tier 1 guy, he’s worth taking a long look at in a later round.
7)Cameron Maybin, OF, Florida Marlins.
Maybin’s the reason the Miguel Cabrera trade wasn’t a complete fleecing. Legitmate 5 tooler who will start the year in CF for the young Marlins, he’s got 300/20/80/80/20 potential.
8)Andy LaRoche, 3B, LA Dodgers
Younger brother of Adam LaRoche, the kid hit 18 home runs in just 265 AAA AB’s last season. Should be the starting 3B for LA this year, and is hitting in a nice lineup featuing James Loney, Matt Kemp, Andruw Jones, Nomar, Jeff Kent, and Russell Martin. He drew 200 walks in just 3 minor league seasons, to the tune of a 380 OBP. Good backup corner guy.
9)Homer Bailey, RHP, Cincinatti Reds
I’m not a huge Bailey guy, but he’s got the pure stuff to be a good major league pitcher this year. Mid 90’s fastball and a hammer curve, his command in the minors is the hold up for me (4 walks per 9 innings). In his callup last year, he walked and struck out 28 guys in 40 innings. Look for him to be better this time around.
10)Joba Chamberlin, RHP, NYY
He’d be ranked higher if he had a definitive role on the squad. Electric stuff, high 90s fastball and a slider that falls off the table. Will start the year in the bullpen and transition into a starter. This year’s breakout if his stuff translates for 6-7innings at a time.