Every season fantasy baseball league owners are excited to pick up the most promising rookies in their drafts and auctions. For those that play fantasy baseball, rarely does the performance of those rookies match the initial excitement. However, each season inevitably brings a glimpse at the future stars of major league baseball. As the 2013 MLB season wraps and our anticipation grows for a brand new playoff format, we take a look some of the young players who had an impact this season and briefly think about their MLB futures. This can help you if you play fantasy baseball.
The American League Contenders
Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays – 9 wins, 126.1 IP, 6.91 K9, 2.64 BB9, 46.5 GB%, 3.21 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
Experienced fantasy owners often avoid rookie pitchers like a plague. The Rays Chris Archer was a top pitching prospect but he had flaws that stood out to any owner with an aversion to high walk rates and elevated WHIPs. But as usual the Rays organization knew exactly when to promote Archer and he has excelled throughout the season with improved control and occasional dominance. He could be even better in 2014.
Jose Iglesias, Boston Red Sox – 377PA, .306/.353/.390 3HR, 39 runs, 29 RBI, 5 SB
Iglesias has to be considered one of the favorites for the Jackie Robinson Award in the American league. Iglesias’ trademark is his incredible defense at the shortstop position. He has also hit much better than expected. Although his batting average has come back to earth since being traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Detroit Tigers he has still contributed very respectable numbers for his new team. However, for fantasy purposes he is a solid but unlikely choice, no matter how bright his future appears.
Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays – 360PA, .290/.350/.472 13HR, 47 runs, 51 RBI, 5 SB
Had Wil Myers remained with the Kansas City Royals he would likely have more at-bats. The Rays take their time with prospects and when they reach the majors they are generally ready to play. He slumped a bit in August but has bounced back strongly in September and is one of the keys to the Rays offense as they battle for a spot in the American League playoff picture. Myers on name value alone is the likely winner of the Jackie Robinson Award and his production and potential make him an extremely good option.
Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers – 330PA, .234/.308/.336 6HR, 30 runs, 26 RBI, 2 SB
He was at the top of just about every prospect list coming into the 2013 season. But Profar was on a team stacked with infield talent and there was not a spot for the Texas Rangers to play him on a regular basis without considering trading a more experienced star player. Profar is an amazing athlete with immense potential. Fantasy owners should take advantage of his disappointing debut and acquire him from doubters.
J.B. Shuck, Los Angeles Angels – 473PA, .292/.330/.366 2HR, 61 runs, 39 RBI, 8 SB
Shuck was not considered a top prospect by most fantasy analysts when he was signed by the Angels as a minor league free-agent. He lacks power and while his speed is an asset to fantasy teams his role on the Angels was expected to be minor at best. Shuck is a potential leadoff hitter who displayed strong on-base percentages in the minors and has the ability to steal 20-plus bases in a season.
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Jon Williams writes for a variety of sports sites.