2015 was quite a year for prospects across the major leagues. Not only did they affect their team's performance, they tremendously affected the landscape of fantasy baseball leagues. Picking up these prospects, before the hype train started, created a huge advantage for the few teams that did so; players such as: Kyle Schwarber C/LF - CHC, Carlos Correa SS - HOU, Noah Syndergaard SP - NYM, Kris Bryant 3B - CHC, Michael Conforto OF -NYM, Francisco Lindor SS - CLE, just to name a few. In my leagues, teams that jumped on the prospects early were usually the ones competing for the title at the end of the year. 2016 has some intriguing prospects that have a good chance to start for their big league teams once spring training is over.
Trevor Story, SS - COL - The Rockies finally made a decision to move Troy Tulowitzki. The Rockies replenished the farm system and received Jose Reyes for the 2015 season.. With Reyes being extremely injury prone, Trevor Story has a great opportunity to see starts at shortstop going forward for the Rockies In addition to playing SS Story has the ability to spell Arenado @ 3B and DJ Lemahieu @ 2B. Story saw 24 starts at 2B as well as 19 starts at 3B across AA/AAA in '15, giving him a chance to pick up some extra AB's along the way. Story provides average defense but has a power/speed combo not usually seen in shortstops; he finished the year with 20HR and 22SB between AA & AAA. A big plus for Trevor is playing in Coors field 81 games a year. A power/speed combination is rarely found in shortstops, which gives Story the potential to become a top 10 shortstop as soon as he reaches the bigs.
Story may be one of the better roster additions in all of 2016 in deeper formats.
What kind of production can you expect? 60R, .245avg, 15HR, 50RBI, 13SB
Trae Turner, SS - WAS - Turner's road through the minors was quite unusual. He was drafted 13th overall by the San Diego Padres out of North Carolina State. Turner was then "named" in a trade, with the Nationals, 6 months after he was drafted. Due to a rule preventing Turner from being traded until 1 year after he officially signed, he was required to play for the Padres organization although it was known he would no longer be a Padre. After playing 55 games with the Padres AA affiliate (San Antonio Missons) he was officially traded to the Nationals on June 14, 2014. He has since made his way through the Nationals organization for a late season call up to the majors.
Nationals starting SS Ian Desmond is in the final year of his contract, clearing the way for Turner to take over in '16. Turner projects as a scrappy shortstop that can provide a solid batting average and legitimate speed. He will most likely never hit for power, maxing out at around 10-12HR per year. Turner has a career batting average of .322 in the minors with 52SB's over 155 games. In future years a .300+ average and 30+ SB is not out of the question.
What kind of production can you expect? 70R, .270avg, 8HR, 40RBI, 28SB
Max Kepler, 1B/OF - Tori Hunter is 40 years old and will be a free agent after the 2015 season ends. Enter Max Kepler, the smooth hitting European-born outfielder. Kepler has been touted to have a plus to plus-plus hit tool and has really showed it off this year. Kepler hit .322 in 112 games in AA- Chattanooga with a remarkable 67/63 BB/K ratio. An elite plate approach paired with at least a plus hit tool should have fantasy owners drooling. He's been said to have the athleticism to play any of the outfield positons. He's seen starts at all 3 OF positions and some at 1B as well. Kepler received a late season call-up although he's only seen one plate appearance since. It's possible he takes over the #2 spot in the Twins batting order and becomes a good fantasy contributor for years to come.
What kind of production can you expect? I'm going conservative here, 65R, .280avg, 12HR, 55RBI, 7SB, and an OBP over .370
The likelihood that the 2016 class has the same impact as the 2015 rookie class is slim to none. The 2015 rookie class was one of the best ever and definitely the best I've seen. Out of the 3 prospects listed above, I'm confident in Kepler having the most success in his first year. Kepler can flat out hit the ball and has an elite plate approach not commonly seen in younger guys. Being that opening day is so far away, numerous things could happen changing the outlook of the players listed above. Keep in mind injuries, free agent signings and trades could all affect each player's status within their respective organizations.