by Moonlight Graham
In the Hausier’s Krowedum Fantasy Baseball League, as well as many Dynasty, or Keeper, leagues across the country, Minor Leaguers can play an important role. Drafting and holding on to prospects that are close to making contributions on the Major League level is a great way to supplement your Fantasy Baseball roster and increase your chances for a championship. If you don’t draft Minor Leaguers, it’s still worth a look, as some are good enough to warrant selection in a regular Fantasy Baseball Draft. What follows is a list of Moonlight’s Top Ten prospects for 2010; players who have yet to play in the majors ranked as much for their chances to see significant time in the big leagues this year as for their talent. Good luck. Just twenty one days ’til pitchers and catchers!
1) Stephen Strasburg RHP (Nationals-AFL) As a senior at San Diego State, Strasburg had a 13-1 record that featured a 1.95 ERA and 195 K in 109 IP. He and his 100 MPH fastball could be in Nats’ rotation without ever having played in the Minors. He was 4-1 as he made his professional debut in the Arizona Fall League.
2) Chris Carter 1B (Athletics-AAA) His OBP of .422 is enough to make GM Billy Beane swoon. He also clouted 32 HR and 115 RBI while batting .329. AL Rookie of the Year candidate will probably start the year in Oakland.
3) Carlos Santana C (Indians-AA) His power numbers are sterling enough for a backstop,(22 HR 93 RBI), but what sets him apart from the pack is the 90 runs he scored and his .413 OBP; unheard of for players at his position. The Indians traded both Victor Martinez and Kelly Shoppach to clear room for him so; he may be the Tribe’s starter on Opening Day.
4) Jason Heyward OF (Braves-AAA) In just 99 games, Heyward, Atlanta’s top prospect, hit .323 with 17 HR and 63 RBI. Throw in 25 doubles, a few of which will become dingers as he matures, and you can see why the Bravos are so hot for him.
5) Pedro Alvarez 3B (Pirates-AA) Biggest obstacle facing the top overall pick from ’08 may be the Pirates tight checkbook. Keeping his arbitration clock from starting would be the only reason to keep Alvarez in the Minors to start the season. He turned in a solid pro debut last year, (.288-27-95) and is better than any of the Bucs’ alternatives.
6) Travis Wood LHP (Reds-AAA) Tough to draft a rookie pitcher who’ll call the Great American Ballpark his home, but Wood’s got the stuff. 13-5 at AAA last year with a miniscule 1.777 ERA and 1.04 WHIP; he knows how to pitch.
7) Jeremy Hellickson RHP (Rays-AAA) This far down the list only because the Rays are, historically, patient to a fault with their young hurlers. However, it’ll be hard to keep his K Rate, (10.4/9IP), or his ungodly WHIP, (0.94) in the Minors for long. Future ace.
8 ) Michael Taylor OF (Athletics-AAA) A 20-20 prospect that Billy Beane plucked from the Jays for Brett Wallace. Another high OBP guy, (.395), Taylor might find a spot with the rebuilding A’s
9)Brett Wallace 3B (Blue Jays-AAA)Wallace was the key guy shipped from the Cardinals to the A’s in the Matt Holliday trade and was then sent to Toronto over the winter. He’s got a solid bat, (.293 BA 20 HR), and has only to beat Edwin Encarnacion and/or Lyle Overbay for AB at either corner spot.
10) Drew Locke 1B (Astros-AA) Posted a ledger of .338-20-109 in just 129 games last year. At first glance, blocked at 1B by Lance Berkman, but Houston could always move Lance back to the outfield if Locke continues to mash.