Baseball season is fast approaching and that could mean just one thing… fantasy managers are freaking out! Whether you’re in a one-year league or a dynasty league, you’re bound to be looking for some help that is cheap yet efficient. There are plenty of young players bursting with potential and facing a break out season. We’ll take a look at them and provide a solid idea of what to expect from those players.
Austin Jackson, OF, Detroit Tigers
Jackson was a player that really turned some heads last year. Though he wasn’t exactly an everyday player, he was able to post a .293 batting average, 4 home runs and 41 RBIs. He has good strength and excellent speed; last year, Jackson was able to steal 27 bases, and as an everyday player this upcoming season, you can expect that he’ll be able to eclipse 30 SBs while maintaining his ability to hit.
In most leagues, Austin Jackson is a late-round player, He could be had for cheap in dynasty leagues and could really end up being a top notch fantasy player for years to come at only 24 years old.
Jake Arrieta, SP, Baltimore Orioles
Arrieta wasn’t exactly stellar last season, posting a 4.66 ERA and 6-6 record in 18 major-league games. However, he’s only 24 years old and still learning the game. Really much more of a long term sleeper option and dynasty prospect, he’ll be pitching in the young Orioles rotation and will more than likely maintain an everyday job.
Arrieta has been working hard to improve his arm strength and consistency. His command can be at times erratic but already offers a good array of pitches with solid velocity. He’s a prospect who has come back to college form and offers great upside when considering the price he’ll cost.
Jeremy Hellickson, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
A lot of hype has come out about Hellickson this offseason and justifiably so. The reason he’s listed here is because he is available in most drafts in the middle rounds, which is a bargain for this particular player. If you can grab him there or trade for him without too high a price, you’ll get return on your investment quickly, as I believe Hellickson will become one of the best pitchers in the league before long.
In 10 games as a Ray last year, Hellickson was able to post a 3.47 ERA and a 4-0 record. He has great location on his fastball and incredible movement on his changeup and curve pitches. Add to his repertoire the cutter that he’ll occasionally throw into the loop and you have yourself a very dangerous 23-year-old pitcher well worth your consideration.
Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves
Freeman is a top 1B prospect in a league were 1Bs are a dime a dozen. However, Freeman’s best friend, a guy named Jason Heyward, knows about success. Freeman posted great numbers in Triple-A Gwinett, batting .319 with 18 HR and 87 RBIs, a .379 OBP and .906 OPS. Freeman offers power with consistency and will really take off as one of the better young 1Bs once he gets accustomed to MLB pitching.
His numbers last season after his call up weren’t staggering or really impressive, but being a 21-year-old prospect in the NL East can do that to you. I think his potential far outweighs the risk in this particular situation.
Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Domonic Brown has been a top prospects for quite some time now and Phillies fans have been waiting for him to BOOM. With Jayson Werth gone and Raul Ibanez old enough to be out the door or injured sooner than later, Brown’s time is now!
Brown has been a consistent hitter who showcases plenty of speed and power. He has been working on the his batting stance this offseason to improve the fluidity of his swing. I expect he’ll adjust to big league pitchers better than most young players, as he didn’t do too poorly last year (.210, 2 HRs, 13 RBIs in limited action).
Kyle Drabek, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
Drabek was sent to Toronto in the Roy Halladay trade and at the time was one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. Though not the top pitching prospect these days, he is still a very solid prospect that will be a part of Toronto’s opening day rotation.
Drabek is a very intelligent pitcher with a very impressive curveball to go with his 97 mph fastball. His competitiveness and bloodline make him almost a can’t-miss pitching prospect who could one day dominate batters.
Aroldis Chapman, SP/RP, Cincinnati Reds
A lot of hype surrounded Chapman last season. His 105 MPH fastball made him very tough to hit against, and many people think that he will either end up being a top-notch RP or a very good SP once his repertoire becomes more viable.
Either which way, if you’re pitching 105 MPH, it’s hard to argue that you’re not going to be very effective.
Notable Prospects that should be considered in all prospect drafts
Jesus Montero, Grant Green, Jon Singleton, Brody Colvin, and Manny Machado
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