PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 10: U.S. Futures All-Star Nolan Arenado #12 of the Colorado Rockies stands on base during the 2011 XM All-Star Futures Game at Chase Field on July 10, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Blake Tekotte - MLB / CF / 05-24-87
Tekotte's 2010 season intrigued me because he showed some power and speed potential with 18 HR and 28 SB. He spent 67 games at AA and had a 6/9 SB/CS rate so I was worried the speed would vanish at the higher levels. He has put those worries to rest, somewhat. In 88 games at AA this year he has 32 stolen bases and has been caught 11 times. He has an excellent walk rate that is usually around 10% which keeps his OBP high and provides plenty of base stealing opportunities. The biggest blemish has been his increasing strikeout rate which went from 15.9% at Class A in 2009 to 21.2% in AA this year and 51.3% in the majors. He has struck out 20 times in 39 MLB plate appearances. A lot of that can be due to the fact that he is getting inconsistent playing time with the Padres and is getting most of his plate appearances in a pinch hitting role. Will Venable and Cameron Maybin have fairly strong holds on their jobs and Chris Denorfia seems to be a favorite of the organization and fans. Tekotte has the tools to be an above average hitter in the majors and help out fantasy teams but it will probably take some time before he settles into a full time role and gets into his groove. In 106 games this year he is batting .288 with 17 HR and 34 SB. He was sent back to San Antonio today to work on some flaws and wait until there is more playing time available.
Joseph Panik - A- / SS / 10-30-90
The Padres wasted little time signing their first pick in this year's draft and sent him directly to the Class A short season Northwest League. His bat has flourished in the rainy northwest and after 52 games he is leading the Giants organization with a .360 AVG. He has 7 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR , 21/20 BB/K and 11/3 SB/CS. His awesome stats will ensure he is rated high on Giants prospect lists this off-season and with a lack of shortstop prospects in the system he could move quickly toward the big leagues. Ehire Adrianza and his slick fielding are the biggest obstacle in Panik's way. Panik isn't on the same level as Adrianza with the glove but he's no slouch either and if his bat keeps going the way it has I see now reason why he won't pass Adrianza on the depth chart.
Nolan Arenado - A+ / 3B / 04-16-91
Arenado is one of the better bets in the minors for future offensive production. He has been a highly touted prospect for some time and for good reason. He rarely strikes out (46 Ks in 113 games) and has power that continues to develop. He already has 45 extra base hits this year and could grow into a 25 HR hitter in the majors. He should hit 100 RBI before the week is done. He sits at 97.
Justin Sellers - MLB / SS / 02-01-86
Sellers may not be the answer for the Dodgers long term since they have Dee Gordon at shortstop, but the tattooed youngster will be filling the role in the meantime. The formers Athletics farmhand has seen a power surge the past 2 seasons and in 558 career at bats at AAA he has 34 doubles, 28 home runs and 105 RBI. He hit his first MLB home run tonight and could be a surprising source of power at shortstop for the rest of the season. I don't know what the Dodgers plans with Sellers are but if he plays everyday the rest of the way I could see him hitting 4 or 5 home runs which would put him among the leaders at SS for the rest of the season. His OPS at AAA is nearly .200 points higher than the rest of his career so the numbers could be deceiving but there is also a chance that he has finally put it all together and really is one of the better power hitting shortstops around.
Angel Sanchez - A / SP / 11-28-89
Sanchez has been very impressive in his pro debut, limiting opposing hitters to a mere .190 AVG. In 75.1 innings he has struck out 66 and walked 30 with a 2.75 ERA. He has a strong fastball and large frame that could add a few more mph as he fills out. The Dodgers have a lot of good pitching prospects but Sanchez's ceiling is one of the highest.
Trio of Third Basemen
The D-Backs have surely found their 3B of the future somewhere in the 2009 draft. Matthew Davidson, Ryan Wheeler and Bobby Borchering were all taken that year and are all potential third basemen of the future. Wheeler is the most advanced of the three, playing in AA and has the best shot at winning the job. His defense is a notch above the other two and he doesn't have the same contact issues the other two have. Wheeler has struck out just 84 times this year compared to 124 and 135 for Davidson and Borchering. Borchering and Davidson have been splitting time at first and third which won't help either one improve defensively. All 3 have above average power with Borchering being the best but not by much. Wheeler hits for the best average and should top .270 most seasons in the majors. Wheeler is 2 years older than the other two so there is a chance one of them could pass him on the depth chart. If I had to choose one to bank on for future fantasy production I would choose Davidson solely because he has the best chance at being an all around producer. I worry about his ability to stick at third though.