h2h Corner ~ The David Wooderson All-Stars (IV)

Regardless of your league’s format, knowing the hot up-and-coming prospects is super important to fantasy success. In keeper leagues, these players, often taken in the later rounds, typically form the foundation of fantasy dynasties. In single season leagues, smartly grabbing young players in the draft or shortly after their call-up is essential to success. Any way you look at it, it pays to know something about these general unknowns while they are still unknown. If you wait too long, you’ll be watching as they contribute meaningfully to your buddy’s team as he wins the league.

The David Wooderson All-Stars, because “that’s what I love about these [prospects], man. I get older, they stay the same age.” Part I is available here, part II, here, and part III, here.

Long-term Plays

Many people believe Carl Crawford is not long for the Rays. The biggest reason (besides money) is Desmond Jennings. Jennings compares favorably to Crawford, though scouts expect him to hit for more power. Based on projections, he should hit 20 – 25 HRs a year, with upside to 30. Add that to his plus speed and you have a very valuable fantasy commodity. In the minors last year, Jennings put up solid numbers (.318 AVE/401 OBP/.487 SLG). While the power was lacking (just 11 HRs), he did swipe 52 bases and hit 31 doubles. If an organization is willing to let their franchise player walk in free agency, you know they have something special. Jennings is someone I am snagging late in drafts who might contribute like Andrew McCutchen last year.

It’s been awhile since the Yankees have had a blue chip prospect really live up to the hype. Well, the public might not have to wait too long to hear about Jesus Montero. Montero has great power potential, coupled with superb plate discipline. In 979 minor league ABs, Montero has put up solid numbers (.325 AVE/.379 OBP/.509 SLG). In addition, he has only struck out 148 times. The biggest question mark surrounding Montero is where he will ultimately play in the majors. Right now he is a catcher, though there is skepticism as to whether he can remain behind the plate. With Teixeira, AROD and Jeter only getting older, it seems that first base and DH will be blocked for years. Montero, therefore, could find himself an outfielder in the not-so-distant future. If he keeps catching, however, he could be one of the best keepers around for the long-term. While he might not contribute much this year, he is definitely someone you have to know about in keeper/dynasty leagues.

Let’s do the Florida two step, the Marlins have a pair of promising young studs in Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison. Let’s tackle Stanton first. Stanton, who won’t be 21 until November, has destroyed minor league pitching throughout his career (68 HRs in just 1,003 ABs). While his batting average (.267) and Ks (318) are a concern, the power clearly profiles to major league success. Stanton has yet to play above AA ball, so his ascension to the MLB club isn’t necessarily imminent. It’s also a bit unclear where he’ll play in the bigs, as he has served as a DH and right fielder in the minors. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up at first base. For now, Stanton isn’t draft worthy, except in the deepest of dynasty/keeper leagues. However, every owner should know his name if he gets called up this summer.

Morrison, who will be 23 August, is quite similar to Stanton. Morrison is very strong, with plus power potential, and seems to be a natural at first base. Unlike Stanton, Morrison appears to employ a more measure approach at the plate. Over nearly 1,400 minor league ABs, Morrison has hit .289 and only struck out 253 times. Morrison is likely closer to contributing for the Marlins, so he should be tabbed above Stanton if you are looking for production this year.

Short-term Plays

Moving on to the other Florida team, the Rays have built a good young rotation. In the 36.1 innings he pitched after being called up, Wade Davis pitched phenomenally (3.72 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 36 strikeouts). Given his minor league track record (3.28 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 8.7 K/9), these results weren’t altogether surprising. There is one caveat, however: his best performances came against the Orioles, Tigers and Mariners. Meanwhile, he struggled mightily against the Red Sox and Yankees. So let’s not pronounce the 24-year-old to be a giant killer just yet. Still, it’s hard not to get excited about his promise. In addition, Davis seems assured of a rotation spot. According to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, “you get the feeling something nutty would have to happen for Davis to not make” the starting rotation. When you think about prospect pitchers, Davis should be drafted ahead of Neftali Feliz and Stephen Strasburg (unless you are in a crazy dynasty league).

Much like Elvis Andrus for the Rangers last year, Alcides Escobar is being handed the Brewers’ starting shortstop job. Escobar, who is only 23, has some serious speed: he stole 176 bases in 647 minor league games. In addition, he has hit well in his brief major league experience (in 129 ABs he posted a .310 AVE and a .338 OBP). While his OBP might never be special (.333 throughout his minor league career), there are signs it could be decent (.353 in AAA in 2009 and .363 in AA in 2008). While there is room for improvement, a low OBP should not tank Escobar’s value – he can still steal 30+ bases while posting a .330 OBP. Heck, Andrus did that just last year. Those looking for cheap steals in the middle infield should be ready to pounce on Escobar in the late teens.

As I mentioned above, if you want other prospects analyzed, please let me know. Also, feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner)/Facebook pages.

One response to this post.

  1. […] end of 2010, I thought the Marlins could do some nice things in 2011, especially with the likes of Michael Stanton, LoMo, Josh Johnson, Nolasco, Gaby Sanchez, etc. I didn’t like the Uggla trade, but hasn’t […]

    Reply

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