By R.J. Anderson //
Last week, I looked at the Top 10 Pitching Prospects according to Front Office. This week, let’s focus on the Top 10 Hitting Prospects.
1. J.P. Arencibia
2. Freddie Freeman
3. Domonic Brown
4. Desmond Jennings
5. Yonder Alonso
6. Devin Mesoraco
7. Jesus Montero
8. Wil Myers
9. Wilin Rosario
10. Gary Sanchez
Freeman is the healthiest and most assured of a starting gig out of the rest of the options, as he figures to be the Braves’ Opening Day starter at first base. Brown suffered a broken hamate bone earlier in the spring and will miss a few weeks into the regular season. Brown was in line to become at least a part time player in the Phillies’ outfield, so look for him to be an intriguing in-season addition.
A similar thing can be written for Jennings, although his situation depends on his own health as well as his major league counterparts (namely Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon). An injury to an outfielder or infielder could leave Jennings on his way up thanks to the Rays’ flexibility with players like Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez. Alonso has been described as pure trade bait despite working out in the outfield during the exhibition season. The Reds have a pretty good first baseman already who isn’t going anywhere else anytime soon, leaving Alonso’s value as minimal.
The list is loaded with backstops. Arencibia, Mesoraco, Montero, Myers, Rosario, and Sanchez all don the tools of ignorance. Of those, only Arencibia and Montero are likely to see time in the big leagues early on, although Mesoraco could very well reach the show by season’s end. Sanchez is probably the only one that you should remove from your draft boards, as he only turned 18 in December and isn’t a viable option outside of deep keeper leagues.
As is the case with all prospects, don’t build your team expecting them to live up to your wildest dreams. Instead, use them in complementary roles until they’ve proven otherwise. After all, not every season brings a Jason Heyward to the table.
The Biggest Fantasy Surprises
Jose Bautista, 3B/OF, Blue Jays
2009: 54 R, 13 HR, 40 RBI, .235 AVG
2010: 109 R, 54 HR, 124 RBI, .260 AVG
Can’t saw we saw this coming. Although Bautista had a big final month to the 2009 season, no one could have predicted him to the top power bat in the Majors last season.
Ben Zobrist, INF, Rays
2008: 32 R, 12 HR, 30 RBI, 3 SB, .253 AVG
2009: 91 R, 27 HR, 91 RBI, 17 SB, .297 AVG
A solid all-around talent, Zobrist may have peaked in 2009, as his numbers declined quite a bit in 2010.
Ryan Ludwick, OF, Cardinals
2007: 42 R, 14 HR, 52 RBI, .267 AVG
2008: 104 R, 37 HR, 113 RBI, .299 AVG
It’s nice to hit next to Albert Pujols, but the good times did not last. Ludwick is now bound to long singles and pop outs at Petco Park.
Fausto Carmona, SP, Indians
2006: 1-10, 58 K, 5.42 ERA, 1.59 WHIP
2007: 19-8, 137 K, 3.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
Quite a turnaround for the failed closer, Carmona ranks as the ace for Cleveland and one of the better pitchers in the game.
2005: 62 R, 13 HR, 89 RBI, .287 AVG
2006: 117 R, 29 HR, 120 RBI, .329 AVG
Atkins enjoyed Rocky-High Colorado, but when placed in Baltimore he wasn’t even a starter.
Who will it be this season?
Pedro Alvarez: A big-time slugger who can lead the Pirates back to respectability.
Adam Jones: Has the talent, but so far not the results.
JP Arencibia: The Blue Jays quickly traded Mike Napoli because they don’t want anyone to get in his way.
Kila Ka’aihue: A star in the Minors, can the power translate at the Big League level.
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