focus today will be on the Cleveland Indians through the Kansas City Royals.
Cleveland Indians – Francisco Lindor,
have to admit, I took the easy route here. The Indians are devoid of any true impact
players ready to contribute, and Lindor is easily their No. 1 prospect. The problem
for the fantasy world? I don’t see him as being an impact fantasy player. He
has an elite fielding tool, and he may contribute some with the bat, but I
don’t see him as an offensive star. Obviously there’s a lot of projection for
Lindor, but at best I see him as a 15 home run, 15 stolen base type player, which
would put him in the Top 10 for shortstops, but not more than that. The Indians
do possibly have a great shortstop in the future here, but he appears to be one
of those players that is a better real life shortstop than a fantasy one.
Rockies – Tim Wheeler, OF.
It’s so easy to talk about Nolan Arenado, as he likely will
be the starting third baseman in Colorado by the end of the year, but I really
like Wheeler. A big, strong player, Wheeler hit 33 home runs last year in his
first taste of Double-A ball. So why haven’t you heard of him? Frankly, he
strikes out too much, and struggles against left handed pitching. His 142
strikeouts last year is a worrisome number, and the fact that he does not seem
to be able to adjust to left handed pitching has many wondering whether he’s
destined for a platoon role. Still, he possesses decent speed and could be very
beneficial to have on a fantasy roster. Wheeler will likely be around to sniff
the big club at some point this year, and if he progresses like I think he
will, he can be an impact player for the Rockies. I doubt he ever hits for
average, but the power is real.
Tigers – Drew Smyly, SP.
Smyly currently has a legit shot to win the No. 5 slot in
the starting rotation in Detroit, and that alone bears watching. If he can
throw like he has in his minor league career, Smyly could be a slick source of
wins for a savvy owner. His strikeout totals in the minor leagues were fair,
but to be honest, I don’t think they’re going to be at the same level in the
MLB. His ball moves quite a bit, and I think you’re looking at a crafty pitcher
who will help you in your rotisserie categories of
walks plus hits per inning pitched
(WHIP) and wins more than anything
else. I don’t think he’ll ever be someone who can dominate games, but I firmly
believe he’ll be a solid middle-of-the-rotation guy who is a solid contributor
to your team. He may even contribute this year.
Astros – George Springer, OF.
The Astros are a team that, well, aren’t
going to be so good in 2012. I have a hard time believing that they win 50
games. Truly. That being said, there really is not a lot on the farm to get
excited about either. Springer is an exception. Big, strong and fast, Springer
is a toolsy player who can be a steady performer in many categories for your
fantasy team. However, with only 28 professional at bats under his belt, he’s a
long way away. He possesses elite power and well above average speed. However,
similar to many others we’ve discussed, he has the tendency to be a free
swinger. If he can harness this, we’re talking about an elite fantasy player.
City Royals – Jorge Bonifacio, OF.
In a system full of impact players,
Bonifacio may be overlooked completely. He’s pretty far away from contributing,
but possesses quite a bit of power. He is the younger brother of Miami
speedster Emilio Bonifacio, but the two could not be more different players. Emilio’s
game is built around speed, while Jorge’s speed tool is no better than average.
Still, I believe there is an elite hit tool in there, and strongly believe the
Royals have a .300 hitter with 20-plus home run power here. There’s still a lot
of time for him to develop, and I think there’s a lot of reason for optimism. Very
high ceiling for this player, but also a very high chance that he never reaches