2015 Fantasy Impact Prospects – By Dave Bergman
The key to being successful in Fantasy Baseball is to find that hidden gem, the diamond in the rough, you know, all those cheesy clichés that people use to describe the player that puts them over the top. Last year, George Springer, Yordano Ventura, and Jacob deGrom were those guys. These are just a few examples of players that have an immediate fantasy impact when they come up from the minors. On the other hand, sometimes it can be an international player that signs a mega deal and quickly becomes a known commodity in the fantasy world. Does Jose Abreu ring a bell? So, who will be the next Springer, de Grom, or Abreu? Prospect Junkies is here to help you draft the next star in Fantasy Baseball. Unfortunately, you’re not going to find the likes of Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa, or even Lucas Giolito on this list. Those players will definitely be in a later article when Prospect Junkies counts down the Top 50 Prospects for Dynasty Leagues. Instead, we have created a list of 20 prospects (projected ETA’s of 2015) that you might want to keep an eye on for the upcoming season. Some of these prospects will have an immediate impact on your roster, while others might be mid-to-late season call-ups. If you’re in a league with deep rosters and can afford to stash players away, then some of these guys are definitely worth the gamble.
- Kris Bryant 3B (Chicago Cubs) – the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft is raking at every level, not to mention leading the league in long balls in Spring Training. The only thing left is for the Cubs to find him a permanent location in their everyday lineup and the most likely scenario would be in May.
- Jorge Soler OF (Chicago Cubs) – displayed his skills as a September call-up last season. Look for him to make an immediate fantasy impact in RF for the Cubs.
- Rusney Castillo OF (Boston Red Sox) – slowed by an early injury in Spring Training, but is making strides on being in the starting lineup on Opening Day.
- Joc Pederson OF (Los Angeles Dodgers) – finally lands a spot in the everyday lineup after the trade of Matt Kemp in the off-season. Pederson has all the tools to be a 20-20 player in his rookie year.
- Yasmany Tomas 3B (Arizona Diamondbacks) – big international signing with the Diamondbacks, projected to bat in the middle of the lineup and play 3B.
- Steven Souza OF (Tampa Bay Rays) – takes the place of Will Myers in RF for the Rays.
- Aaron Sanchez SP (Toronto Blue Jays) – the next man in line with the season ending injury to M. Stroman.
- Micah Johnson 2B (Chicago White Sox) – the next Dee Gordon.
- Dalton Pompey OF (Toronto Blue Jays) – projected starter and leadoff hitter in a very potent Blue Jay’s lineup. Reminds me of a young Coco Crisp.
- Hector Olivera 2B (Los Angeles Dodgers) – just got paid handsome by the richest team in baseball. Many scouts believe he can hit 20 homers as middle infielder, and they believe he can do it this year. If healthy and passes his physical, he could be a very nice addition on anybody’s fantasy team. However, reports are circulating that he has a slight tear in his UCL which could mean Tommy John surgery. If he opts for the surgery then you can cross him off this list. However, if it’s just a rumor or he does play with a slight tear, then this signing would delay the promotion of the Dodger’s top prospect, Corey Seager. If not for the injury concern, Olivera would be ranked much higher.
- Michael Taylor OF (Washington Nationals) – with Denard Span being sidelined, Taylor is finding his way into a projected starting role with the Nationals.
- Jon Gray SP (Colorado Rockies) – Gray is having a remarkable spring and showing the Rockies that he is a legit No. 1 starter. When do the Rockies decide that now is the time?
- Carlos Rodon SP (Chicago White Sox) – the best power lefty prospect since Clayton Kershaw. Rodon and Sale will form a dominant 1-2 punch in the American League Central for years to come. Ventura is toying with the idea of starting him in the bullpen, which is very similar to what they did with Sale during his rookie campaign.
- Daniel Norris SP (Toronto Blue Jays) – Not far from being in the big leagues. Norris has decent stuff and easily projects as a future ace.
- Andrew Heaney SP (Los Angeles of Anaheim Angels) – Heaney was traded twice this past off-season finally landing with the Angels. A nice prospect with above average stuff that projects as a future number three.
- Noah Syndergaard SP (NY Mets) – with Z. Wheeler going on the shelf with Tommy John, can the Mets afford to keep him in the minors?
- Maikel Franco 3B (Philadelphia Phillies) – Can Cody Asche keep his job all season at 3B? We are very skeptical of that happening.
- Francisco Lindor SS (Cleveland Indians) – Lindor is more known for his glove at this point in his career, but is really making strides on the offensive side. He should be a mid-to-late season call-up and provide an immediate impact with his stolen base potential.
- Addison Russell SS (Chicago Cubs) – acquired from Oakland in the Jeff Samardzija trade, very few shortstops can match his upside. The Cubs don’t have a spot for him now but a mid-season trade could land him in a starting role.
- Marco Gonzalez SP (St. Louis Cardinals) – might find a spot in the rotation at some point, but it looks like the Cardinals are going to bring him along slowly like they did with Carlos Martinez.
Others receiving consideration: Archie Bradley (ARI), Eddie Butler (COL),
Jose Peraza (ATL), Blake Swihart (BOS), Dylan Bundy (BAL), Henry Owens (BOS), Corey Seager (LAD), Alex Meyer (MIN), Mark Appel (HOU)