On the DraftBuddy.com 2011 Consensus Top Prospects List there are thirteen prospects that stand out from the crowd. These thirteen are all players expected to spend some time with their big league club this season and five are likely to make a significant fantasy impact. Let’s take a closer examination at this baker’s dozen and their anticipated role in the Majors.
Bryce Harper, OF, WAS
This guy has superstar written all over him. He’s so good, Washington sent him to the Arizona Fall League as his first taste of professional baseball. He will start 2011 in Single-A, but he’ll make all the stops on his way to Washington next summer. Now the team has to figure out where to move Jayson Werth, because right field belongs to Harper from the day he lands. If you are in a keeper league, this is an “all-in” situation.
Mike Trout, OF, LAA
Here is another guy who looks like a future superstar. He has all of the tools needed to become a special player, and eventual fantasy stud. Trout just needs experience under his belt. He’s another “all-in” guy for keeper leagues.
Jesus Montero, C, NYY
There’s a good chance the New York Yankees keep Montero as the backup catcher to start the season with extra at-bats as the designated hitter here and there. Think Mike Piazza with this kid both in ability with a bat and behind the plate. That being said, Montero might find himself at a different position than catcher unless his defense improves and improves consistently.
Domonic Brown, OF, PHI
Brown had a path cleared for him by the departure of Werth and was poised to roam right field in Philadelphia for the next dozen years starting Opening Day 2011 until a broken hamate derailed the start of his season. He’ll eventually be a 30-homer guy with good speed.
Jeremy Hellickson, P, TB
Hellickson won Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2010 and even made 10 appearances for Tampa Bay last season, going 4-0 with a 3.47 ERA. He’ll start the season in the Rays’ rotation but will likely find himself at the front end of the rotation in a year or two.
Julio Teheran, P, ATL
Long and lean (6’2″, 150 lbs), Teheran is just as good as Hellickson, but four years younger. The Braves have no reason to bring him up until mid-season, but he’ll likely be the go-to guy if a starting pitcher is needed after Super Two concerns have passed. He has a higher ceiling than Hellickson, but not the experience.
Aroldis Chapman, P, CIN
The Cuban fireballer who throws 105 MPH looks to be headed for a gig in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen, but Chapman is legit. He’ll do well wherever the Reds put him this year, but it looks like his innings are being limited due to his young age and lack of consistent control. His future is in the rotation. His fastball has been compared to Nolan Ryan’s and his slider to Randy Johnson’s – Yowza!
Eric Hosmer, 1B, KC
Hosmer can do it all with the bat, hitting for power and average while showing a strong grasp of the strikezone. He is being tried in left field as the Royals have a backlog at first base, but his bat will be elite anywhere he ends up.
Mike Moustakas, 3B, KC
He grew out of the shortstop position, but his bat is still the real thing. He has very little range, but he will probably stick at third base. He can hit for power and doesn’t strike out a lot, but he isn’t very patient. He’ll be up in June as soon as he clears the Super Two date.
Dustin Ackley, 2B, SEA
There is no question that Ackley will man Seattle’s keystone position for the next decade, but his bat will play in a very Dustin Pedroia-like way. Ackley is an outfielder who was converted to first base in college because of an elbow injury that resulted in Tommy John surgery, and now he is being moved to second base for similar concerns about his arm. He is the best pure hitter to come out of college in quite some time and he dominated the AFL in 2010. If the position change doesn’t work out, a move to centerfield could result, but his bat will be fine wherever his glove settles.
Desmond Jennings, OF, TB
Jennings is a five-tool athlete who will be Tampa’s centerfielder of the future. The only question is when that time will be. With the signing of Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez each to one-year contracts, it is likely that B.J. Upton will be moved over to left field to make room for Jennings in 2012. He has speed, power, and a contact bat.
Wil Myers, OF, KC
The third Royals player on our list is a converted catcher, who will get more at-bats if he isn’t getting beaten up behind the plate, similar to Harper who started out as a catcher. He has dominated each of the two levels he’s played at, both as one of the youngest in the league. His arm and speed should translate to right field well, and his bat is definitely the kind of thing you see from a star in the corner outfield.
Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL
Freeman will get the most playing time of this group in the Majors in 2011. The Braves have handed him the starting job and there is no pressure on him to perform with the bat early on. Freeman will likely struggle early, but he tore up the International League last season as one of its’ youngest players, so long-term success looks good. He’s not a typical first base power hitter. Freeman is more in the Mark Grace mold sporting a high average and doubles power.