Updated Top 25 Fantasy Prospects (Hitters)

USA TODAY Sports

The most up to date rankings 2014's top fantasy hitting prospects

Here are the most up to date prospect rankings for fantasy baseball owners to salivate over. Players are only ranked due to their offensive potential, the ability to reach that potential and what position they will play when they are up in the big leagues. I am not a big fan of player comparisons or estimating when prospects will make their big league debuts,however, I do think it helps paint an elaborate portrait of who the prospect is, what he can become and when we as fantasy owners can expect that to happen.

*Top 25 Fantasy Prospects (Hitting)

1) Javier Baez (SS) One of the most exciting fantasy prospects to come around in the last decade. Baez has a plus hit tool, plus-plus power and has enough speed to make him one of fantasies rare 5 category contributors, and he will do it all playing a premium position in the infield. The only questions surrounding him are what position he will play and how soon will the Cubs call him up? But when they do, no matter where he plays, he is an immediate contributor in all fantasy formats and should be one of the better options at whatever position he is playing.

ETA- Summer 2014. MLB Comparison- Hanley Ramirez

2) Carlos Correa (SS) Selected 1st overall by the Houston Astros in 2012, Correa provides a unique blend of hitting flair, power and a great awareness for the strike zone. He rarely swings and misses and routinely displays an elite ability to square up pitches by putting the barrel of the bat on the ball. Questions about his defensive position remain but there is no reason he can’t play short stop at the big league level for a long time. He is the rare short stop prospect who can come up to the big leagues and hit over .300 while growing into his power and eventually becoming an annual 30 home run a year type of hitter which would make him an easy top ten selection in all fantasy formats.

ETA- Fall 2015. MLB Comparison- Troy Tulowitzki

3) Kris Bryant (3B) An elite bat at a premium position, what more could a fantasy owner want? Sure, there are talks about a move to the outfield but until I see it I consider it just talk. Its not like Bryant can’t handle third base and what he can do with the bat makes him a special player. We are talking about a player who could lead the league in home runs while hitting close to .300 and chipping in a handful of steals. With third base growing even more shallow by the year Kris Bryant could be topping the third base rankings as soon as 2016.

ETA- Fall 2014. MLB Comparison- Adrian Beltre

4) Byron Buxton (OF) Most sites have him ranked first overall but for fantasy purposes his position puts him just a notch behind above players. But make no mistake this guy is going to be a super star and when he does get the call up to the big leagues baseball will be getting one of the minor leagues rare talents that will immediately impact the fantasy world in a big way. Buxton has a plus hit tool, plus power and plus-plus speed and he has it all at the age of 20. It is hard for outfielders to get a lot of notoriety in fantasy circles but when they do it is for good reason and Buxton is a great example of that. We are looking at a guy who could hit 20 home runs and steal 40 bases a year for the next decade.

ETA- Summer 2015. MLB Comparison- Mike Trout

5) Oscar Tavares (OF) Arguably the best pure bat in the minors. Tavares just flat out know how to hit the cover off of a baseball. He is a career .319 hitter in the minor leagues and that should carry over to the big leagues where he could compete for batting titles in a great lineup while approaching 30 home runs a year. The only knock on him has been his effort level at times but as we have seen with many big time prospects sometimes they just get bored with minor league pitching. Tavares is going to be a star and he may be the best player on the best team in baseball as soon as 2015. ETA- Summer 2014. MLB Comparison- Matt Holliday

6) Miguel Sano (3B) Tommy John surgery has put a red flag on Sano but it does not bother me one bit. Sure it would have been nice to see Sano get his at bats this season and continue to progress but the guy bring such an elite power tool to the game that a little time off shouldn’t even bother him. Heck, he could probably play this season and still smack 30 bombs with the injury. It’s a non-issue to me, especially when you look at what he can do and what position he will be doing it at. With Miguel Cabrera losing third base eligibility there is really only a couple guys that get fantasy owners excited. Well this guy will be joining the new wave of fantasy third basemen very soon and when he does you better snatch him up quick.

ETA- Summer 2015. MLB Comparison- Edwin Encarnacion

7) Gregory Polanco (OF) Fantasies darling as his hot start this season continues to see him rise up the rankings. What can he do? Pretty much what the other Pittsburgh Pirate outfielders can do; he can hit, he can run and he should grow into some modest power in the next few years. His swing is a bit long and he can look over matched at times but he has the natural abilities to make up for these weaknesses and be a rare 20-20 player that fantasy owners can’t get enough of.

ETA- Summer 2014. MLB Comparions- Starling Marte

8) Alex Guerrero (2B) Another player who rises in the rankings because of his position played. Lets face it, second base is a weak position for fantasy leagues. It always has been and it probably always be. Alex Guerrero is the rare second base prospect who can hit for power and should be able to make enough contact to not be another version of 2013’s Dan Uggla. Cuban hitters are showing that they can adjust to MLB pitching just fine so I would not worry about Guerreros transition to MLB one bit. He showed this spring and he is showing early in minor league ball that he can handle MLB pitching. Now will he be a .330 hitter like he was in Cuba? No, but if he hits anything near .270 his power will play and that will make him an intriguing option for all fantasy leagues.

ETA- Summer 2014. MLB Comparision- Aaron Hill

9) Joey Gallo (3B) Here is your introduction to Joey Gallo if you don’t know who he is by now. He hits home runs, he hits them far and he does it a lot. Sure, it is a questionable hit tool but not questionable enough to think he can hold his own in a MLB lineup. Sure, he strikes out a lot but that is becoming a common theme in todays game. The bottom line is Joey Gallo has the best power in the minor leagues and no one can even come close to duplicating it. Maybe no one since Giancarlo Stanton can claim to having this kinda of power and guess what, he plays third base. A guy who can hit 40 home runs and do it at third base is fantasy gold. You can stop drooling now, he is probably a couple years away but when Adrian Beltres contract runs out in a couple of seasons you better have already picked this guy up in dynasty leagues.

ETA: Opening day 2016. MLB Comparison- Pedro Alvarez

10) Addison Russell (SS) A short stop prospect with 20-20 potential is a rare find these days for fantasy owners but you wont have to wait much longer for this heralded prospect to finally get his chance to shine. A natural born hitter with a great work ethic and plus tools across the board Addison Russell will be a household name come 2015. He has an almost effortless swing the generates a ton of bat speed proving that you don’t have to be big and bulky to have power. He is not the fastest player you will ever see but his speed plays up in games due to his natural feel for base running and ability to read pitchers.

ETA- Summer 2014. MLB Comparision- Jimmy Rollins

11) Arismendy Alcantara (2B) Another Cubs prospect to the delight of Cubs fans, Alcantara brings a unique set of skills to the game. His raw power and raw speed are some of the best in the minors but how well these two skills translate to the big leagues remain a question mark. Like most young prospects Alcantara has a questionable hit tool and poor plate discipline but he has shown signs of improvement and ability to change his game. His power-speed potential at the second base position is an exciting thing for fantasy owners who should hope he figures it out and joins the list of elite Cubs prospects coming up very soon.

ETA- Summer 2014. MLB Comparison- Jason Kipnis

12) Maikel Franco (3B) Another third basemen on the rise to join the ever thinning position at the big league level. Maikel Franco is an average hitter at best but brings an incredible awareness of the strike zone combined with elite raw power that plays up in game situations. He is never going to steal any bases and he may eventually get moved over to first base but his bat will play regardless. He has legit 30 home run power and will be up sooner than you think.

ETA- Summer 2014. MLB Comparison- Will Middlebrooks

13) Jorge Alfaro (C) The first of two catchers on this list Jorge Alfaro is one of the most excited prospects in the game today. His potential is off the charts but he has to be able to come to the plate with a plan other than grip it and rip it. He could potential hit 30 home runs a year, steal 20 bases and be fantasy baseballs top catcher or he could never develop as a hitter enough to make it out of the minor leagues. But for fantasy purposes he is worth the risk because his potential is right up there with any other prospect in the game.

ETA- Opening Day 2016. MLB Comparison- Ivan Rodriguez

14) Jonathon Singleton (1B) Singleton is a very natural hitter with a great feel for the game when he is at the plate. He combines a plus hit tool with plus power with his enormous raw strength which could translate into 30 home runs a year at the big league level. If it doesn’t, Singleton will probably settle into his role as a 20-25 home run a year hitter with good enough average to make him worth drafting in 10 team leagues.

ETA- Summer 2014. MLB Comparison- Anthony Rizzo

15) Dan Vogelbach (1B) Agh the fantasy prospects dream, a guy who does not really have a position but just keeps on hitting everywhere he goes. Sure he is off to a slow start this year but chalk that up as SSS because Vogelbach has absolutely murdered baseball during his last three years in the minor leagues. He combines elite bat to ball skills with plus power that could mold him into an annual .300 hitter who approaches 30 home runs a year. Most will question his position and say he does not have one but if the guy keeps hitting they will find a way to get him into the lineup or they will trade him to a team that will.

ETA- Summer 2015. MLB Comparison- Billy Butler

16) Corey Seager (SS) The younger brother of Kyle Seager actually is the most talented baseball player in the family. He has a big frame that probably moves him off of short stop but his bat will play just as well at third base. He has a great knack for barreling up baseball which should translate to annual seasons of 25+ home runs at the big league level. Playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers you know he will be smack dab in the middle of a great lineup and will routinely approach great counting stats making him one of fantasy baseballs best young third basemen.

ETA- Opening day 2016 MLB Comparison- Ryan Zimmerman

17) Albert Almora (OF) Possibly the single best hit tool in all of the minor leagues. Almora has been way too advanced for every level he has played at and he is just turned 20 years old last week (April 16th). His incredible ability to make hard contact on all types of pitches make him someone to target in all formats of fantasy leagues. Yes he may never be a 30 home run a year type of hitter and he does not bring a lot of speed to the game but what he can do is be an annual .300 hitter at the big league level and do it batting at the top of one of baseballs best line-ups come 2016. Just imagine him hitting leadoff with Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler hitting behind him. I could easily see him winning batting titles and leading all of baseball in runs scored annually.

ETA- Summer 2015. MLB Comparison- Allen Craig

18) Joc Pederson (OF) Pederson burst onto the scene a couple of years ago hitting .353 in rookie ball for the Dodgers. He followed that up by hitting .313 the following year in high A ball and in 2012 hit 22 home runs and stole 31 bases. Joc already has plus power, a plus hit tool, enough speed to keep a pitcher honest and a great feel for the game of baseball. All of his tools play up because of his effort and his desire to win. The Los Angeles Dodgers have a log jam in the outfield right now but that can only last for so long as they look to make trades to improve their team down the stretch. Pederson could probably be a 15-20 player right now in the big leagues so be patient and enjoy the rewards when he finally gets the call.

ETA- Summer 2014. MLB Comparison- Alex Rios

19) David Dahl (OF) 2013 was a nightmare for Dahl as he tore his hamstring before his season could ever really get started. He is looking to get back into the talks for best prospects in baseball and doing a good job doing so blasting 4 home runs already this season in just 16 games. Dahl has a very short yet quick swing that generates a ton of power, he also has enough speed where he can sneak his way into 20 steals a year to go with 25+ home runs. Combine these abilities with the fact he plays for the Colorado Rockies and gets half his games every year at Coors field and you could be looking at a fantasy super star in the making.

ETA- Summer 2016. MLB Comparison- Bryce Harper

20) Gary Sanchez (C) The signing of Brian McCann is actually a good thing for Sanchez fans. The Yankees can now be patient with their prized 21 year old prospect and give him the time needed to develop in the minor leagues. Coming up and playing catching every day for any club, much less the Yankees is a tall order on anyone. Catcher is such a hard position to learn and develop the skills it takes necessary to contribute defensively to your team. But offensively this guy could be a monster, he has the potential to lead the catch position in home runs while provide a solid batting average for his owners. His raw power rivals anyone in the minor leagues not named Joey Gallo.

ETA- Fall 2015. MLB Comparison- Wilin Rosario

21) Mookie Betts (2B) 80 grade name, 70 grade potential. Mookie is blocked at the big league level by a Mr. Dustin Pedroia but that doesn’t mean we should get excited about him. Skills like his don’t come along often and he will force his way into Bostons lineup very soon. His past two seasons in the minors he has walked more than he struck out, showed above average power and great speed to go with his insane natural athletic ability. We are talking about a guy who hit 15 home runs last year, stole 38 bases and batted .314 with an OBP hovering over .400, the guy can play. Theres only a question about his position but if he somehow stays at second base you are looking at a potential All-Star who can anchor an infield.

ETA- Summer 2015. MLB Comparison- Jason Kipnis

22) Francisco Lindor (SS) A guy who would make ranked much higher if we cared about defense but we don’t. What we care about is how this guys can help you in fantasy terms. He has a great eye at the plate and combines it with a decent hit tool and average speed. However, all of his skills play up due to his insane passion for the game. This guy is just infectious and makes everyone else around him better, including himself. Confused yet? I am. Lindor could approach double digit home runs and steal a lot of bases leading off and scoring a ton of runs for the Cleveland Indians.

ETA- Opening Day 2015. MLB Comparison- Elvis Andrus

23) Rougned Odor (2B) Odor is a very intriguing prospect. He doesn’t have a lot of power and he has only average speed but he has a plus-plus hit tool and plays a premium position for fantasy owners. What he lacks in physical abilities he makes up for with a tremendous work ethic and knowledge for the game which allows his average speed to play up in game situations and should translate his below average power to possibly 10 home runs a year in the big leagues. What that gives you is a second baseman who could possibly go 10-20 while hitting over .300 consistently, that’s an elite fantasy player and deserves your attention.

ETA- Summer 2014. MLB Comparison- Kolten Wong

24) Jorge Soler (OF) Another Cubs prospect, I know, but these guys have done a great job building their minor league system and its about to explode all over the baseball world. Soler has easy plus power and a good enough approach at the plate to show it in game situations. His swing can get a little out of whack at times but he does a great job of staying back on the ball and driving it with authority. Easy 25+ home run power in his bat that could project to more if he can refine his plan at the plate. But he has quick hands and great bat speed that will make him a fantasty contributor either way.

ETA- Fall 2014. MLB Comparison- Nelson Cruz

25) Delino Deshields Jr. (OF) Delino Jr. is here for his speed and his speed alone. Any player who can approach 50 steals a year deserves your attention in fantasy leagues and this guy has averaged over 60 steals a season in his last three minor league campaigns, topping it off with 101 steals in 2012. But the other thing that is impressive with Deshields Jr. is that he has surprising power and should easily be able to get double digit home runs as a professional baseball player. A guy who can hit 10-15 home runs and steal 50 plus bases? That’s a first rounder in all fantasy formats.

ETA- Summer 2015. MLB Comparison- Jacoby Ellsbury

*Follow me on twitter @KylanJE or comment below where I will respond to all of your questions, comments and you can suggest topics for my next faketeams fanpost

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