In my fantasy league (which is a twenty-team keeper league), we draft five rounds of minor leaguers following our regular draft. These players can be kept in the minor leagues until they are called up, or stashed away until they reach rookie eligibility. These top prospects become huge trade bait at the trade deadline and if your team is in the hunt for the playoffs, these prospects can be traded for some great first round talent that can put your team over the top. It also allows those teams that couldn't quite make it, to snatch up super keepers for the following year or years to come.
To be eligible for the minor league draft, players must maintain rookie eligibility and to qualify for rookie eligibility, a player must not have exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched at the major league level.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be breaking down the Top 15 Prospects at each position. Every couple of days you can find a new Top 15 Prospects by position and to complete the guide to prospects, I will be ranking the Top 100 Prospects.
To kick off the series, we'll start with the Top 15 First Base Prospects:
1) Justin Smoak - Texas Rangers (6'4'', 220 lbs - Bats: S Throws: L - DOB: 12/05/1986)
Switch-hitting, disciplined hitter with high power potential and a dazzling defense worthy of several gold gloves when he lands in the majors.
2) Chris Carter - Oakland Athletics (6'4", 225 lbs - Bats: R Throws: R - DOB: 12/18/1986)
He has a big swing and a huge power potential. He was voted MiLB.com Minor League Best Hitter of the Year.
3) Logan Morrison - Florida Marlins (6'3", 245 lbs - Bats: L Throws: L - DOB: 08/25/1987)
He has a quick inside-out swing with plus power, good plate coverage and raw power ready to be unleashed.
4) Freddie Freeman - Atlanta Braves (6'5", 220 lbs - Bats: L Throws: R - DOB: 09/12/1989)
Freeman is a solid contact hitter that will compete for the starting job in Atlanta next season. He is very strong hitter and still developing power.
5) Yonder Alonso - Cincinnati Reds (6'2", 215 lbs - Bats: L Throws: R - DOB: 04/08/1987)
The Reds selected the Cuban-born masher from the University of Miami with the seventh overall pick of 2008. He is a patient hitter with plus power, and on the defensive side, he has sound hands and smooth footwork.
6) Eric Hosmer - Kansas City Royals (6'4", 215 lbs - Bats: L Throws: L - DOB: 10/24/1989)
He was selected third overall in 2008 by Kansas City. Hosmer has a huge upside, great swing and plus power, defensively he is smooth around the base with a plus glove.
7) Ike Davis - New York Mets (6'5", 195 lbs - Bats: L Throws: L - DOB: 03/22/1987)
The son of former MLB hurler Ron Davis, he has super power potential and a strong work ethic. He is also excellent defensively, with smooth lateral movement around first base.
8) Brandon Allen - Arizona Diamondbacks (6' 2", 235 lbs - Bats: L Throws: R - DOB: 02/12/1986)
He hit a total of 24 homers last season including four at the big league level last season with the D'backs. His power potential is real, but be aware of his monstrous strikeout totals.
9) Lars Anderson - Boston Red Sox (6'4", 215 lbs - Bats: L Throws: L - DOB: 09/25/1987)
He is a solid defender, but we are still waiting for his power potential to develop. He is lacking aggressiveness in the batter's box which could hurt his major league value.
10) Brandon Snyder - Baltimore Orioles (6'2", 215 lbs - Bats: R Throws: R - DOB: 11/23/1986)
He is a very good hitter for a converted catcher. Snyder lacks the traditional first baseman power, yet his range defensively and walk rate are both improving.
11) Ryan Strieby - Detroit Tigers (6'5", 235 lbs - Bats: R Throws: R - DOB: 08/09/1985)
He was named the Tigers Minor League Player of the Year in 2008 and followed that by hitting .303 AVG with 19 homers in 294 at-bats in Double-A. Ryan will come back strong from a wrist injury last season and will be stashed in Triple-A waiting for the call to the show.
12) Matthew Sweeney - Tampa Bay Rays (6'3", 215 lbs - Bats: L Throws: R - DOB: 04/04/1988)
The Rays acquired Sweeny as part of the LHP Scott Kazmir trade last season. He has significant power potential with a smooth left-handed swing that generates easy power to all fields.
13) Beau Mills - Cleveland Indians (6'3", 220 lbs - Bats: L Throws: R - DOB: 08/15/1986)
Selected by the Indians thirteenth overall in the 2007 draft as a third basemen. He has an electric bat with plus power. Mills is a free swinger with a line drive stroke and good plate coverage. Mills also received an invite to big league camp this year.
14) Ryan Wheeler - Arizona Diamondbacks (6' 4", 220 lbs - Bats: L Throws: R - DOB: 07/10/1988)
He was a fifth round draft pick in 2009 and climbed to become the Diamondbacks Minor League Player of the Year. Wheeler is a rising star that led the Yakima Bears with a .363/.461/.538 batting line last season along with 28 extra base hits.
15) Anthony Rizzo - Boston Red Sox (6'3", 220 lbs - Bats: L Throws: L - DOB: 09/25/1987)
He has splendid fundamentals with plus bat speed and gap power to all fields, making him a hard out at the plate. Rizzo is an excellent defender and even though he will only be 20 this year, he's already climbing up the ladder as a top Red Sox prospect.