We’ve made our way into mid-June and it’s time for the rookies to come out of hiding. They’ve been holed up in Double and Triple-A, just waiting to make an impact on your fantasy roster. You may wonder why I spend so much time talking about rookies and why every week I talk about Minor Leaguers during the podcast, it’s because they’re the future of fantasy (and real) baseball. I’ve said it before, there’s a reason Yahoo! leagues added an “NA” spot on the roster, giving owners the ability to stash a minor league player without him taking up one of the precious 20+ spaces.
At first we saw guys like Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez and Brewers infielder Jean Segura. They’ve made big impacts for their teams and will continue to do so for years to come. These guys are gold for owners in keeper leagues, late-round draft picks or mid-season free agents that become way more valuable than originally anticipated.
As 2013 wore on, the Diamondbacks called up Didi Gregorius, who has been a frontrunner for NL ROY along with the above mentioned players and the Marlins continued to pump youth into the ballclub, calling up Marcell Ozuna and Derek Dietrich. All but Dietrich have been worthy fantasy players.
The AL got going with Aaron Hicks and Jackie Bradley, Jr., two studs in Spring Training who earned their way onto rosters but underperformed. Though they have both had their struggles, they’ll likely show up on your roster at some point in the next year or two. Then came Jurickson Profar, the most talked about rookie of the season, somebody likely drafted and stashed him in your league or maybe he was kept from 2012 by a hardcore manager. The same could be said for Gerrit Cole, the Pirates starting pitcher who was the first overall pick in 2011.
This month is when they’ll really start to emerge from Triple-A. Mariners catching prospect Mike Zunino became the first position player from the 2012 draft to suit up and highly touted outfielder Wil Myers will get his first look at the majors on Tuesday for the Rays. More are on their way, like Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson, Pirates pitcher Jamison Taillon, Astros outfielder George Springer and yet another Miami Marlin, Christian Yelich.
To be successful year in and year out in fantasy baseball, you need to pay attention to these guys. They’re the foundation with which you build a team. I remember a few years ago the Pirates had a hard-hitting speedster in Indianapolis that everybody was raving about. Two weeks into his debut season everybody knew Andrew McCutchen because of his improbable three-homer game. These guys can come from anywhere at any time, so utilize your “watch list” and check up on the progress of these prospects, they’ll more often than not help your team or at least help fill some holes if your top guys are out with injuries. And if all works out, they make for a great keeper.
I love you all, except Hawk Harrelson.