Past the Rankings: 3 Hitting Prospects Who Can Help This Year

David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

Three hitters who didn't show up on our positional prospect lists but could still be of service in deep mixed or AL and NL Only Leagues this season

As Jason did with hitters yesterday, I am taking a look at hitters who didn't pop up on our positional top prospect lists but should earn playing time during the course of the season. Of course, there are many players who qualify for that list, but these are a few who I think could do something with the playing time given the chance. If you all like this, Jason and I can work up some more periphery players to look at as well.

Chris McGuiness - 1B/DH - CLE

The Rule V draft pick out of the Texas Rangers organization, McGuiness has plenty of competition for the 1B/DH slots in Cleveland, but he has a few things going for him. That competition is more quantity than it is quality, if he's platooned he gets to face the RHPs, and as a Rule 5 pick he has to be on the major league roster, whereas other players in similar circumstances may well be optioned. He's a solid defender at 1B, though Mark Reynolds will likely handle those duties. McGuiness has solid power, but a good eye at the plate and could be useful in AL-Only leagues given the playing time.

Robbie Grossman - OF - HOU

Most prospect followers will know about Grossman, as he received a well overslot bonus of $1,000,000 in the sixth round of the 2008 draft and has featured on top 100 lists as well as team top 10s since then. His star has faded a bit, as he doesn't have the athleticism for center and his bat doesn't profile as quite enough for a corner. That said, he left an organization (Pittsburgh) stocked with outfielders, and landed in one in desperate need of help there. The Astros major league roster is...we'll say in flux...and that could provide the opportunity that Grossman needs. He's not a corner outfielder on a first division team, but the Astros are no first division team. His blend of mild pop and an eagle eye at the plate could help those in deep leagues where OBP and OPS matter. He won't be elite by any means, but he could still prove useful when injuries strike.

Khris Davis - OF - MIL

Generally being an older prospect is a knock against a player, but in just this situation, it might be useful. Already 25, the Brewers might be interested in seeing what they have in Davis, rather than let him get the seasoning he might require if he was a few years younger. Davis put up a combined .350/.451/.604 slash line across Double- and Triple-A in 2012, hitting for average, getting on base and showing power. The loss of Corey Hart has a lot of people regurgitating Mat Gamel's name, and bringing up Hunter Morris as well, but it could be that Davis earns some playing time as well. He's purely an outfielder, but if the Brewers decide either Norichika Aoki or Carlos Gomez are not worthy of a corner outfield spot, Davis could be the beneficiary. Davis would likely struggle to hit for average due to his long swing that would get exploited at the major league level, but he does boast some serious power.

Of these players, McGuiness has the most direct path to playing time and should be valued most. The others have obstacles in their way, but they're names to keep an eye for when injuries strike or starters fail to perform. These are not the type of players who you pick up off of waivers and carry you to a title, but they are important as band-aids to help you when you are trying to get by while a star is hurt.

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