First off, I need to warn against taking any rookies in a draft. Most don’t pan out to be anything. Some perenial All-Stars and other bench bunnies (seemingly multiplying as they jump from team to team).
I’d like to think the guys I’m about to mention are can’t miss but be weary not to jump at any too early when a veteran can do the same thing for you guaranteed.
Jay Bruce, CF, Reds
- In almost all scouting circles Jay Bruce is the top prospect, and in all other circles he’s in the top two or three. He is the premier power prospect in baseball and won’t even turn 21 till the beginning of the season. There are only two concerns with Jay Bruce’s emergence as a fantasy stud: Dusty Baker and his youth. Dusty Baker is notorious for playing his veterans. And to his liking the Reds picked up Corey Patterson to help acclimate Bruce to center. Bull in my opinion. Patterson could be a huge factor is stealing Bruce’s AB’s. What hurts Bruce most of all is his youth as it concerns getting playing time. Like I said before Baker will side with a vet as apposed to youth. And because Bruce is so young he needs a period to adjust and not be expected to dominate day 1. ADVICE: Don’t expect much from Bruce pre-All-Star game. In time Bruce will be called up, and earn the spot and earn it full time. By the end of the year if he is batting in the 2 hole he’ll probably hit at a 30 home-run pace. (Line: 79 R, 24 HR, 68 RBI, .280 avg)
Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
- Longoria will be a good hitter. He hits for average, has power, can run a bit and works the count. He’s a David Wright clone at 3rd base. Not David Wright but what Wright looked like before he came up. The Tampa Bay Rays have cleared room for him at 3rd base and it’s all up to Longoria. He’s proving his worth so far tearing it up in spring training where his line over 32 AB’s is .313/.477/.719 with 12 runs, 3 home-runs, 9 RBI and 10 walks. ADVICE: Longoria coule explode onto the scene and be a .300 hitter with 30 homeruns. But more likely expect something like .270 average with 25 home-runs and 85 RBI. When drafting him jump a little early, no matter what Longoria is good trade bait. Like last year with Alex Gordon, everyone seems to know his name. So unless Longoria has an Alex Gordon kind of year you can still sell him on his upside.
Clay Buchholz, SP, Red Sox
- Fantasy wise taking a young pitcher is like putting all your money on some young stallion (horse) whose never run a lap but looked good in the open fields. With that said Buchholz could be that young stallion. His change-up and curveball make hitters knees so weak you’d think they were being lobbed up there by a butt-naked Erica Ellyson (This is going on my wish list for a Jimmy Fund event). With Shonda Schilling home taking care of her man, Bucholz will have a great oppurtunity to take a rotation spot for his own. If he comes into his own this year you could see a 16 wins, a 3.50 ERA, and a 9.0 K/9. On the opposite side of that and just as likely he could have 9 wins, a 4.50 ERA and a 7.0 K/9. ADVICE:Take a look at Buchholz for yourself and depending on your feel take a grab at him mide-late or very late. Considering Buchholz needs to hold down fort in the AL East it won’t be an easy job. There is plenty of upside though including a very good chance at a win everytime.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF, Red Sox
- Jacoby Ellsbury is the starting CF and Coco Crisp is pissed. Why? He thought he defense earned him that. Too bad Coco has to bat too. Coco will be moved in before the trade deadline thats for sure. In the meantime it would help everyone if he stopped complaining and platooned with Ellsbury in the meantime. Until Coco is gone Ellsbury is only a part time player and not worth running out there every day unless you know he’s starting. After the Coco is traded though, Ellsbury will be a great guy to own. ADVICE: Skip on Ellsbury in the draft. And give it a month into the season for Ellsburys value to drop After he only plays half the games and shows his power isn’t what it was in 2007, its a great time to jump on him. Expect 99 R, 8 HR, 65 RBI, 35 SBs and a .310 avg. For another insight on Jacoby see AL East Fantasy Preview: Boston Red Sox
Tags: Clay Buchholz, Coco Crisp, Evan Longoria, Fantasy, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jay Bruce