Last year we saw Mike Trout and Bryce Harper get early season call-ups and have historic rookie seasons. If you managed to get either late in your draft or off the waiver wire, well, you were happy with that. I'm not saying we'll see another Trout this year, or even another Harper. I don't think anyone is. But there are prospects in every system that could get called up and have a fantasy impact. I'll identify some of the more likely contributors here.
Steve Johnson, RHP - Johnson threw 38 innings with a 2.11 ERA for the Orioles last season, so he sneaks in under the rookie limit. The twenty five year-old's fantasy upside is fairly limited, but he's the rookie most likely to make the team and contribute somewhat. That 2.11 ERA is a bit of a mirage, as 20 of his 38 innings came in September against expanded rosters and he had a .232 BABIP. That being said, he's always posted solid K-rates in the minors and he's quite durable. Even if he doesn't dazzle with his stuff, he can still be an effective 4/5 starter or a swingman who could throw 100 innings between spot starts and relief. There's not a ton of fantasy value there, but he could get a few holds here and there if you're in a deeper league.
Others to keep an eye on - Dylan Bundy could keep using cheat codes and be up with the O's in the summer. Kept on a short leash last year, if the O's are winning and need help down the stretch, they could do what they did with Manny Machado last summer.
Brock Holt, 2B/SS - Holt, 24, was acquired by the Red Sox from Pittsburgh in the Joel Hanrahan trade last December. While he's not particularly toolsy, he's always hit for high averages and gotten on base at an above average clip. He barely has doubles power and seemingly loves getting thrown out on the basepaths, but the .344/.406/.453 line he posted between AA and AAA is impressive enough. If (when?) Stephen Drew gets hurt this year, Holt could see time at shortstop. While Jose Iglesias has a decidedly better glove, his bat isn't close to MLB ready and I think the Red Sox want him to get consistent at bats in the minors. I think it's feasible Holt could break camp with the Sox and get 300-400 ABs, while posting a solid average, OBP and stealing a few bases.
Others to keep an eye on - Allen Webster could help out of the bullpen this year and make some spot starts if injuries plague the rotation again this year. Technically not a prospect, Rubby de la Rosa could do exactly what I just said about Webster.
Corban Joseph, 2B - Joseph is on this list not because he's a highly touted prospect (he isn't) but because Alex Rodriguez isn't going to be playing for a while, and Derek Jeter and Kevin Youkilis both have injury concerns. At 23 he posted a .276/.375/.465 line between AA and AAA. He's got a great eye, as he walked 68 times last year and only struck out 70. With 15 HR and 29 doubles, he's got solid power as well. Eduardo Nunez probably has the inside track at the utility infielder's job with the Yankees, but Brian Cashman hasn't guaranteed him that job, and wants to see what happens in Spring Training. The odds aren't great for Joseph to get many at bats, but with the decrepit state of the left side of the Yankees' infield, it wouldn't surprise me at all if he had some opportunities to stick with the MLB club this summer.
Others to keep an eye on - Brett Marshall was solid in AA and healthy - things you can't say about most of the other Yankees pitching prospects. His peripherals are unremarkable, but he's a starting pitcher and those players get hurt frequently. Tyler Austin could be a September call up. He hits for average, power, gets on base and even stole 23 bags last year, while only being caught twice. It's more likely you'll see him in 2014, but his broad base of skills could make him a fantasy star if he can keep progressing.
Wil Myers, RF - The key piece in the James Shields deal, Myers will probably be the starting RF in Tampa around May 1, barring any sort of injury. One of the top prospects in baseball, Myers is just 22 and should be a fantasy star for years to come. He's got easy power, evidenced by the 37 HR he hit last year between AA and AAA, as well as a great on base skills. Myers is definitely a player to target later in your draft, as he's one of the very few prospects who has a clear path to get regular at bats and has a massive ceiling.
Others to keep an eye on - Chris Archer is ready for a shot in an MLB rotation and has excellent stuff, it's just a matter of finding room for him. He could pitch out of the bullpen this year and rack up K's and holds. Jake Odorizzi came to Tampa with Myers in the Shields trade, and is ready for an MLB shot as well, and is almost the exact same situation as Archer. Both have the talent to start in the majors now.
Marcus Stroman, RP - Stroman's the easy choice here, as his stuff is electric and he can dominate out of the bullpen now. Stroman was suspended last year for testing positive for stimulants and won't be able to pitch until May, but given the fickle nature of relief pitchers, it wouldn't be a surprise if he was closing for the Blue Jays in July.
Others to keep an eye on - Sean Nolin's biggest issue has been staying healthy, but the big lefty has always gotten guys out when he's been on the mound. John Stilson could possibly help out of the bullpen, but that's a stretch. I do appreciate his metronomic K-rates.
Again, these aren't necessarily the best prospects on these teams, but they're the most likely to make the bigs and have some fantasy impact. Up next will be the NL East.