While a ton of talent has matriculated to the majors over the past three years, 2016’s crop of young players holds a lot of promise. I’ve broken the list down into players that will likely start the season off in the majors, players who will be called up mid-season, and then players that will see playing time at some point but I just can’t tell you when.
I hope the list helps you in drafting your re-draft leagues and as always, I look forward to your feedback.
Significant playing time
Byron Buxton (Min, OF) – 500 AB, .265 BA, 7 HR, 28 SB, and 68 runs
All the tools are there for Byron Buxton to win the AL ROY and become a perennial first round draft pick. Will it happen this year? I’m tapping the brakes on Buxton as I still believe the hit tool needs work. I think he’ll be good, just not at the level he will be in 2018.
Jose Berrios (Min, RHP) – 150 IP, 12 wins, 130K, 3.75 ERA
Jose Berrios should have been up last year but fantasy owners will have to settle for 2016. I like Berrios a lot, but I’m not on the “ace” bandwagon as many of my readers seem to be. It’s still pitching over stuff but the ballpark will help and the Twins offense is better than you think. Expect him to be up by the end of April and if not…I just give up…
Byung Ho-Park (Min, 1B) – 550 AB, .255 BA, 19 HR, and 75 RBI
Byung Ho-Park hit bushels of home runs in his career in Korea and while fantasy owners are hoping for a repeat, I just don’t see it. Quite frankly, neither did the market. While a $4 million annual salary is nothing to sneeze at, it’s not what you pay for in a 25 home run bat. I have him for 19 and recognize that I am likely low-man on that estimate.
Hyun-Soo Kim (Bal, OF) – 525 AB, .285 BA, 11 HR, and 95 runs
Hyun-Soo Kim was an on-base machine in Korea and should continue with that in the majors this year. What I’m not convinced of his secondary skills. He doesn’t have much speed and I question how much power he will ultimately have. However, for on-base leagues that value runs scored, owners might want to pay a little extra.
A.J. Reed (Hou, 1B) – 375 AB, .280 BA, 14 HR, and 55 RBI
I’ve seen A.J. Reed play several times and while he physically looks like Matt Adams, the bat is much stronger. He can hit and has at each level and while he could have 30 home run power one-day, I’m downshifting this year as the swing is still more line-drive oriented. While I have him in the significant playing time category, I honestly don’t feel good about it. I would not be surprised if Tyler White gets the first shot and for Reed owners, White can really hit.
Mid season call-ups
Blake Snell (TB, RHP) – 90 IP, 7 wins, 85K, and a 3.85 ERA
Unless Blake Snell signs a team-favorable deal with the Rays, he’ll be up in mid-June. When he arrives, the strikeouts will be there but the control will likely be inconsistent. However, he’ll get better as the season progresses and if he can keep his ERA respectable, he could receive some votes for rookie of the year.
Kyle Zimmer (KC, RHP) – 75 IP, 5 wins, 77Ks, and a 3.10 ERA
Assuming he stays healthy, and I recognize that is a big if, Kyle Zimmer has one of the highest upsides of any pitcher in the minor leagues. I have him at only 75 innings as the Royals will continue to manage his innings, but when he pitches, he’s going to be very good.
Michael Fulmer (Det, RHP) – 110 IP, 9 wins, 100Ks, and a 3.40 ERA
The Mets might not have made the playoffs without Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Fulmer could end up being a painful price to pay. There is talk of him breaking camp with the Tigers and that indeed might happen. I do think he could benefit from an additional 10 outings in the minor leagues and believe that is the direction the Tigers will go.
Dylan Bundy (Bal, RHP)
I’m still all-in on Dylan Bundy. I’ve seen him pre-surgery and post-surgery and the arm is special. He’s out of options and should start the year in the bullpen for the Orioles. Once they build up the arm, I expect to see him starting games by the second half. Furthermore, I believe today, he’s the best starter on that team…yes above Kevin Gausman.
Tyler White (Hou, 1B)
I do not believe Jonathan Singleton is the answer at first and believe that Tyler White will be the first responder called up to play. He can really hit and while he doesn’t have double-plus raw power, has the capacity to hit 20 home runs annually. If this plays out the way it could, 2016 could end poorly for A.J. Reed.
Max Kepler (Min, OF)
Max Kepler has absolutely no where to play in Minnesota but injuries and poor performances always open up opportunity for players. I think it will for Kepler and if it does, you need to own this guy. He controls the strike zone very well and is just starting to come into his power. There’s a lot to like here and the Twins agree.
Sean Manaea (Oak, LHP)
There’s a chance Sean Manaea gets the call in June but given how little he’s pitched in the minor leagues, I’m not sure that is the best thing for his development. He’s another one to keep an eye on as the park will help him and he could be an interesting fantasy contributor if and when he gets the call.
Gary Sanchez (NYY, C)
There are rumors that Gary Sanchez will make the 25-man roster out of Spring Training. The problem is, At-Bats. There’s just no room for him unless there is an injury; which candidly is likely. If he gets the playing time, he could be a significant fantasy contributor with the chance for 20 to 25 home runs annually. While I don’t have a crystal ball, I think he sees the playing time and could be an impact fantasy contributor.
Tim Anderson (CHW, SS)
Who’s playing shortstop for the White Sox again? I think it’s Tim Anderson job by mid-season. I just don’t know how good he will be. I think he’ll struggle at the plate with his primary contribution coming from stolen bases. Long-term, I’m bullish…just not in 2016.
Lewis Brinson (Tex, OF)
Nomar Mazzara is blocked. Joey Gallo is blocked. I don’t believe Lewis Brinson is. I know Delino DeShields is there and played well last year but I’m not buying in and Brinson is really good. If he comes up, watch out…it could be a lot of fun.
Frances Martes (Hou, RHP)
There was talk of the Astros promoting Frances Martes last year but it didn’t happen. It will this year and he could be very good. I haven’t a clue when that will be but it will be based on need and NOT Super-2 status. He’s a player to keep a very close eye on as the season begins.