*The following list is based solely on future fantasy value projected for each player during the prime years of their career. Defense is not taken into account whatsoever in this list. Comps are based on who a player will profile most comparable to during the prime years of their career in terms of fantasy value. Prospect value is based on a mix of future fantasy value and how soon they will be contributing to fantasy teams.
1) Miguel Sano – The Minnesota Twins signed this young slugger as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2009. In 2013, Sano hit for a .280 BA, 35 HR’s, 103 RBI’s, 86 R’s, and 11 SB’s. A very impressive follow-up to a 2012 season that saw the Twin’s 3B prospect hit 28 HR’s with 100 RBI’s. Sano has the skill set to become one of the top homerun hitters in the majors. There has been talk of moving this slugger to 1B in the future, but the Twins are going to have him concentrate on 3B for the time being. Sano is one of the best hitters in all of the minor leagues, but his defense still needs work. Even with the defensive concerns, you will find Sano among the top ranked players on just about every prospect list. And his defense isn’t a concern for us fantasy managers, which makes him one of the very best fantasy baseball prospects for keeper leagues.
Future Fantasy Comp: Edwin Encarnacion
2) Kris Bryant – This 3B prospect was the first position player selected in the 2013 MLB draft at #2 overall by the Chicago Cubs. Playing in 36 games after signing, Bryant raked at 3 different levels while accumulating 9 HR’s, 32 RBI’s, and a .336 BA. Although he is the newest addition to the Cub’s plethora of top shelf prospects, Bryant is actually one of the older prospects among this group and will be 22 years-old to start the 2014 season. The Cubs decided to send Bryant to the Arizona Fall League, where he has continued to mash. Bryant was recently named Co-Player of the Week in the AFL after hitting 2 HR’s with 8 RBI in 18 AB’s, an impressive feat considering he is surrounded by some of the top prospects from Double-A and Triple-A. If Javier Baez doesn’t move to 3B and Mike Olt continues to underwhelm, with a glaring hole at 3B in Chicago, we could see Kris Bryant in the near future starring for the North-Siders.
Future Fantasy Comp: Ryan Zimmerman
3) Maikel Franco – This 3B prospect from the Phillies organization shot up prospect rankings and improved his prospect stock as much as anyone this year. The 21 year-old hit for a .320 BA with 31 HR’s, 103 RBI’s, and 89 R’s in 2013 while earning a trip to the Future’s Game. Franco’s bat already looks like it belongs in the majors, but like Sano, his defense still needs to improve. Franco is said to have slow foot speed, which means a move to 1B could eventually be in the cards. The Phillies began to give their young prospect starts at 1B towards the end of the 2013 season to explore their options on defense with Franco, because this organization knows that his bat will soon be ready to help the big league club. Franco is now the top prospect in the Phillies minor league system and one of the top 3B prospects for fantasy baseball leagues.
Future Fantasy Comp: Josh Donaldson
4) Colin Moran – The Miami Marlins selected Moran with the #6 overall pick in the 2013 MLB player draft. This former Tar Heel is considered to have a polished bat that could be ready to contribute soon. Moran could hit for a nice batting average in the big leagues, but his power is still in question. After signing, Moran started slowly before picking up the pace to end the season with very respectable numbers, hitting for a .299 BA in 42 games. The Marlins sent Moran to the Arizona Fall League to gain more experience playing against some of the other top prospects in baseball. Moran’s older brother was an All-American in college for the Tar Heels and was drafted in 2009 by the Seattle Mariners, while his uncle is former major leaguer B.J. Surhoff. Baseball runs in this family’s blood, and Colin Moran has the experience and skill set to help give the Marlin’s organization another reason to be optimistic about the future.
Future Fantasy Comp: Martin Prado
5) Joey Gallo – The Texas Ranger’s 3B prospect makes this list thanks to his tremendous power tool and what he might be able to accomplish with it in Arlington. Gallo was named the Texas Rangers organization’s player of the month in August after hitting 12 HR’s with a .321 BA for the Hickory Crawdads. Gallo earned a trip to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game and the Future’s Game while combining to hit .251 with 40 HR’s and 15 SB’s between 2 levels this year. Baseball America recently ranked Gallo as the top power prospect from the South Atlantic League in 2013. This is the definition of a boom or bust prospect. Gallo could continue to develop and become a top power option for fantasy teams in the future, or he could fall short of making the necessary adjustments to succeed at the higher levels and fail to become a trustworthy option. How Gallo develops over the course of the 2014 season will give us a better indication of what this 19 year-old will be capable of contributing to fantasy teams in the future. If Gallo can follow-up his powerful showing in 2013 with another solid season in 2014, he could become one of the top power options among fantasy prospects by 2015.
Future Fantasy Comp: Pedro Alvarez
Honorable Mention: Garin Cecchini (BOS), Matt Davidson (ARI), Kaleb Cowart (LAA), Mike Olt (CHC), D.J. Peterson (SEA).