In Dynasty Leagues these are left side prospects, meaning we’re talking about third basemen and short stops who are worth giving a long look (just don’t be creepy and stare). Surprisingly, a couple made the Majors in 2012, so we’ll take a quick look back, but then focus on what their potential could be for our 2013 fantasy baseball teams.
Quickly, here’s what we said about these young prospects:
Hak-Ju Lee – SS, Rays Defensive ability alone will get Hak-Ju Lee a starting job in the Major Leagues. … He might get a few major league ABs as early as this September.
Manny Machado – SS, Orioles Manny Machado was picked #3 overall in 2010. Some have compared him to A-Rod, but let’s not get carried away by comparing an 18-year-old to a past 40-40 player. … At one point he was being promoted faster than Bryce Harper, but he won’t be with the Orioles until 2013, at the earliest.
Jurickson Profar – SS, Rangers Obviously, the Rangers are all set at shortstop with Elvis Andrus. But as early as the 2013 season Jurickson Profar will be making it interesting… “Elite”, “All-Star”, and “Gold Glove” or words that frequently appear in his scouting reports.
Nolan Arenado – 3B, Rockies Hello Mr. MVP of the Arizona Fall League. Nolan Arenado has struck out just 123 times in 1,093 professional at bats. So, yeah, that’s good. That kind of plate discipline is a good indicator of future success… he might be a mid-season call-up in 2012 and would be worth a fantasy baseball waiver claim.
Nick Castellanos – 3B, Tigers C’mon, Miguel Cabrera will not play 3B regularly… Castellanos is the Tiger third baseman of the future, potentially as early as September 2012, although 2013 was more likely, even before the Prince Fielder signing.
Let’s look ahead to 2013 and take these guys alphabetically in honor of my high school Literature teacher. Thank you Mrs. Crotty. You made a difference.
I’ve profiled Nolan Arenado extensively before, so I’ll let you click through if you want a full scouting report, and we’ll just sum up his season in the minors before we talk about his 2012 fantasy baseball value. In short, he took a step sideways in 2012.
While he hit a respectable .285, he added only 12 homers, but his keen eye is still there. Still filled with promise, he never hit well enough to force the hands of the Rockies, which is saying something considering the weak Colorado lineup in 2012. He’s just 21 so don’t look for him to have any 2013 fantasy baseball value, although he’s still one to watch in the future.
Before we talk about Nick Castellanos, I owe Miguel Cabrera an apology. I – like many others – thought he’d butcher third base. In Miggy’s defense (See what I did there?) he played an adequate 3B. Not stellar defense, mind you, but he took the move like a pro, all while putting together a Triple Crown season. Kudos.
This is significant because the Tigers have shifted Castellanos to the outfield, clearly working an angle to get his bat to the Major Leagues. The problem is that Castellanos took a step back after his promotion to Double A. I think this is an outlier and that he’ll be a solid .290 doubles hitter who eventually powers up to take them over the wall. It just doesn’t look like he’ll have a lot of fantasy baseball value in 2013, at least in the beginning of the season.
Hak-Ju Lee got off to a slow start in Double A before he flipped a switch in June and July. Unfortunately, an oblique injury ended his season. With Ben Zobrist making more and more starts at SS it appears that the Rays know that Hak-Ju Lee isn’t ready. I think the vaunted Rays player development system will get him ready, but he has no fantasy baseball value in 2013, even in dynasty leagues.
Manny Machado got the call before anyone expected and not as a SS, but as a third baseman. It’s too early to speculate on on the makeup of the 2013 Orioles, but the takeaway is that Machado’s flexibility is further confirmation that he’ll get 500+ PA next season. Hitting .262 with 7 home runs in just over 20 PA is a good sign of things to come. Remember, he is only 19 and his ceiling was seen by many as high as Mike Trout or Bryce Harper’s. Rookie-mania in MLB will probably have him drafted too high, but the best is absolutely ahead of him.
Finally, we come to Jurickson Profar, my favorite of this bunch. I’ve written a full profile on him already here, but the comparison I’ve always seen on him is a young Hanley Ramirez. The ceiling is as high with Profar as it is with Machado, but his path to playing time is less certain and this docks his 2013 fantasy baseball value significantly.
Although he surprisingly got the call up in 2012 he sat on the bench with Mike Olt, another great Rangers prospect. It’s pure speculation, but the free agency of Josh Hamilton could open a position for Profar as it might create a shift to left field for Ian Kinsler. Until Profar’s path to at bats becomes more clear, he’s not someone to draft in 2013, unless you are in a dynasty or deep keeper league.
It’s fun to speculate about the SS and 3B positions. The next 3-5 years should see a rise of great young talent there. For now, although all these guys are farm fresh, you likely won’t be much fantasy baseball relevance from them in 2013, outside of Manny Machado.