Daily Archives: November 7, 2011

2012 MLB Hitting Prospects to Target in Fantasy Baseball

Monday November 7, 2011

Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports):  Looking ahead to 2012, there are several potential rookies and young players that have the ability to provide value in your fantasy league, particularly as keepers.

A name to keep on your radar is Michael Taylor, an outfielder in the Oakland Athletics system. Not only do I like Taylor’s potential 5-category skill set, but with Coco Crisp, Hideki Matsui, Josh Willingham, and David DeJesus all entering free agency, he will likely be given the opportunity to play in 2012. Listed at 6’5” and 255 pounds, Taylor has displayed good, but not great, power in the minor leagues. However, he jumped from 6 home runs in 464 at bat during his 2010 AAA season to 16 home runs in 349 at bats in 2011. The 2011 season was cut short due to injury, but Taylor displayed the run producing ability he will need to be successful in the major leagues. Furthermore, he is a good base runner and has the potential to be a 20/20 player. With that said, the .816 OPS he posted in last year in AAA is a little worrisome, as he will face much more challenging pitching in the major leagues. All in all, he is an intriguing prospect due to the fact that he should have the opportunity to play in Oakland and has potential to perform in all five fantasy categories.

Taylor’s AAA teammate, Chris Carter, is another name to keep your eye on. Carter has potential to be an elite home run hitter. He has hit a total of 170 home runs in 754 minor league games. However, he will need to improve shorten his strike zone and make more contact to succeed in the major leagues. Despite mashing the home runs, he has not shown much progress in improving his plate discipline during his long minor league career. But in 2012, Carter will most likely be given a shot and could therefore be a cheap source of power in fantasy leagues. However, Carter’s high strike out totals and minor league track record likens him to the “Quadruple-A” type of players, a la Kila Ka’aihue.

A young player that excites me for 2012 is Dayan Viciedo, who garnered a little buzz after being called up in 2011. Although only 22 years old and still very raw, Viciedo has hit over 20 home runs in each of has past two years at AAA. He is also improved his plate discipline and is likely to be given the opportunity to play in 2012 with Juan Pierre unlikely to return.

Across town in Chicago, Brett Jackson is an intriguing player for the Chicago Cubs organization. Splitting time between AA and AA, he hit 20 home runs and stole 21 bases in 2012. Furthermore, he improved after his call up to AAA, where he his .297 in 67 games. He also showed improved plate discipline at the higher level with a 15.2% walk percentage, although he will need to cut down on his strikeout rate. He is still young and still has power to develop, but he is already skilled enough to join a weak Cubs outfield rotation.

The last name that I will discuss is one that you should already be familiar with, Mike Trout. There has been a lot of hype around Trout, who hit 11 home runs and stole bases in just 91 games for the Angels AA team in 2011. Trout was named the Minor League Players of the Year and even had success in limited time with the Angles in 2011. Although the Angels outfield is crowded, he is guaranteed to find his way into the rotation and should eventually play everyday. He has the potential to be elite in all five categories, starting in 2012. He is surely to be drafted in your league, and with all of the existing hype, he could perhaps be overvalued.  Just remember that the hype is warranted and he is a future fantasy monster, although it remains to be seen how much of his potential he taps into in 2012.

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Fantasy Baseball Analyst, Peter Stein.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Peter on Twitter (@peterWstein).***

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