We’ve started a two-part series to look at prospects who are likely to be promoted to the Major Leagues in 2013 and their potential projections for your fantasy league. While evaluating prospects is by no means a perfect science, projecting when a prospect will be promoted, particularly in early February is even less so.
There are three basic factors that drive when a prospect will be promoted:
1. Is the prospect ready? While this seems like an obvious statement, there’s no standardized checklist that you can use to assist in that decision. Sometimes a team sees things that external evaluators or fans do not. Of course, there are additional factors such as avoiding Super Two status that teams simply tell the public, “The player needs more seasoning”.
2. Avoiding Super Two status. For teams not in contention for the current year and/or where having an additional year of team control is critical (see Tampa Bay), holding a player back until they are assured that their Super Two status will be avoided is critical. While the Super Two rules are complicated, in general, teams wait until mid-June to promote these affected players.
3. Playing time opportunities. While the Rays could use Wil Myers to start the year, where would Jurickson Profar or Oscar Taveras play if they broke camp with the team? The reality for prospects is that there needs to be an event that triggers the call-up. Mike Trout got his chance last year when the Angels struggled out the gate and Bryce Harper had his when Jason Werth went down with a broken wrist.
A word about the rankings
We did our best to provide reasonable projections based on both when the player will be called up and the initial level of success they may have. The rankings take both of these assertions into consideration as well as how confident we are in those assertions in order to create the ranking order. For instance, while we firmly believe that Trevor Bauer will break camp with the team, we are equally concerned about the success he will have. That calculus puts Bauer at #13 and Profar at #16. We believe that Profar will hit the ground running, but the lack of obvious playing time pushes his ranking down.
Is it a perfect science? By no means; and we know that makes drafting these prospects for your fantasy team a challenge. To that end, we will frequently update this list as factors change throughout Spring Training and the early part of the year. Those rankings can be found here.
|Expected Call-up Date: April 10
With only 16.1 major league innings under his belt, the Arizona Diamondbacks determined that Trevor Bauer, the third pick in the 2011 draft was not their man. They sent him packing to the Indians and a new lease on his pitching life. Bauer has great stuff and fantasy owners should benefit from elite strikeout totals as early as 2013. However, his unconventional pitching mechanics are not working for me and therefore I believe he’ll struggle with his command and limit his ultimate upside. That said, I would take a late round flyer on Bauer as I believe he’ll have a chance to pitch considerable innings for the Tribe in 2013.
|Expected Call-up Date: June 15||Position: 2B|
Jedd Gyorko looks ready for a promotion to San Diego after an impressive year in 2012 where he hit .311 and belted 30 home runs. Best suited at third base, it appears he will break-in at the keystone and that could prove difficult as I don’t believe he has the athleticism to play the position at an above average level. However, he should be a better solution than Logan Forsythe and I expect to see him after the Padres are assured that he will not trigger Super Two status.
|Expected Call-up Date: April 1||Position: SP|
Wily Peralta started five September games in Milwaukee and pitched very well posting a 2.48 ERA with a 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In fact, Peralta pitched better than he did in 146.2 innings in Nashville. I expect Peralta to break camp with the Brewers and be at-best, a league average pitcher. While that might seem like a bit of negative, he should be a guy you can get very late in a deep league and should provide value at that draft position. As he matures and improves his command, I see Peralta having a ceiling of a number three starter.
|Expected Call-up Date: July 15||Position: SS/2B|
Jurickson Profar is my number one overall fantasy prospect but given the lack of playing opportunities in Texas, I just don’t see him breaking camp with the big club. The best case scenario for Profar owners is an injury to Ian Kinsler or Elvis Andrus. You might be thinking…what happens if Mitch Moreland under performs? While possible, I think this bodes well for Mike Olt and not Jurickson Profar. Additionally, if Ian Kinsler doesn’t move to first base or the outfield in Spring Training, I don’t see that happening mid-season.
With wishful thinking, I have put Profar’s arrival date at mid-July. While I have low confidence in this date, Profar is a unique prospect that is nearly ready for the show and can make Texas better. Sometimes, things just work out.
|Expected Call-up Date: June 15||Position:CF|
God help me, but I still think Aaron Hicks will be a solid major league player. With a depleted center field position, the stars are aligning for the toolsy outfielder to make his major league debut in 2013. While he could break camp with the Twins, there is no motivation for them to start his clock, so I am anticipating a mid-June call-up. He’ll likely struggle making contact, but his speed and power should translate well. Hicks is one of the players I am watching very carefully in Spring Training as I have a feeling the Twins might accelerate his arrival.
|Expected Call-up Date: April 1||Position: SP|
After only pitching a handful of innings in 2012 due to recovering from Tommy John Surgery (TJS), the Twins will likely keep 25-year-old Kyle Gibson on a strict innings limit. However, with the lack of pitching depth on the Twins staff, I expect Gibson to break camp with the team and be a league average pitcher. Expect some early season control problems as command is the last thing to return after TJS.
|Expected Call-up Date: May 15||Position: 1B/3B|
Similar to Profar, Mike Olt is falling between the cracks in Texas as there is just no room for the young slugger. While Adrian Beltre turns 34-years-old in April, he’s spent very little time on the DL during his career and it’s hard to suggest Olt will see more than a handful of games at the hot corner. He’s more likely to see time at first base or DH.
I’m suggesting that Olt will somehow find 360 at-bats and slug 14 home runs with a below average batting average. Don’t be surprised if Olt struggles to make contact early in his career as he adjust to major league pitching. However, the power is for real and the amount of home runs will increase accordingly with his playing time.
|Expected Call-up Date: August 1||Position: C|
There is a chance that Mike Zunino could break camp with the Mariners, however, as with many players on this list, it just doesn’t make sense to start his clock for a team who is still a couple of years away from competing. However, the Mariners did not treat the 2012-13 off season like they were far away, so Zunino is definitely an interesting player to monitor. He’s got power with the ability to hit in the middle of the lineup. I don’t trust the hit-tool yet and have capped his batting average as league-average.
|Expected Call-up Date: August 15||Position: CF|
I would love to see Billy Hamilton break camp with the Reds as I’m sure just about every other baseball fan would, but I just don’t see it in the cards. Hamilton’s ultimate position will be in the outfield, particularly center field, but with only a handful of games under his belt from the Arizona Fall League, he needs more grooming. The good news for Hamilton is that Choo is not a centerfielder and this might accelerate a promotion. Of course the other problem is Dusty Baker’s reluctance to play rookies, particularly when his team is in contention.
I’ve put Hamilton’s projection at 125 at-bats with 15 stolen bases. While he’ll be tough to draft, a smart owner should consider a preemptive pickup shortly after the all-star break in order to take advantage of some late-season stolen base contribution.
|Expected Call-up Date: April 1
Who will be the left fielder in Philadelphia? As of early February, that could be 26-year-old rookie Darin Ruf. He’s got legitimate over-the-fence power but that will come with a lot of swing-and-miss in his bat. He does punish left-handed pitching but I’m hopeful that the Phillies will use him against some right-handed pitching as well and have therefore projected him to 375 at-bats. The power will be there but the average may lag behind.
|Expected Call-up Date: June 15||Position: SP|
Danny Hultzen will be a good major league pitcher and that in fact might come as early as 2013. He will not be stud fantasy pitcher and projects as a fourth or fifth pitcher on a fantasy team. For 2013, he’ll be a classic “pitch-and-ditch” guy that you’ll start at home after he makes his major league appearance in mid-June.
|Expected Call-up Date: April 15||Position: SP|
I honestly don’t know what to think about Teheran. If he struggles like he did during 2012, then my projection of 17 games started looks silly. If he figured something out over the winter, then my projections looks silly. So, I’m riding the fence. I think Teheran will show enough during Spring Training to emerge as the fifth starter but will struggle and eventually loose his job by July when young J.R. Graham takes his spot. Remember, you heard it here first. To cover myself, switch out Graham and insert Beachy.
|Expected Call-up Date: June 30||Position: SP/RP|
Jake Odorizzi has two negatives going against him. First, he plays for the Rays and therefore he’ll get called up once they are sure he will not achieve Super Two status. Secondly, he plays for a pretty good Rays team that have deep starting pitching. That said, Odorizzi is nearly big league ready and I believe he will contribute as a swing pitcher in 2013, making both relief appearance while starting games as a fill-in for injured players (see Jeff Niemann).