In today's world of sports, there is no doubt that younger players are more appealing to fantasy owners. When management, coaches, and fans hear about a new young player with potential, there is no greater feeling. Some players who had the buzz around them developed like SP Josh Beckett, SS Hanley Ramirez, SS Derek Jeter and SP Tim Lincecum. On the flip side, there are big name prospects who didn't pan out like 3B Sean Burroughs, SP Bryan Bullington, 1B Casey Kotchman and SP Aaron Heilman.
With college players switching from aluminum bats to wood bats, and small town kids leaving home for the big show, there is no way to tell how a player will develop through the farm system. Here is a list of some players who excelled in the minor leagues to the point where they have a chance to make an impact this season.
I covered the cream of the crop in my first Making A Splash - Prospect Watch article, and now I drop some more players that will be under the radar that could help you for years down the road.
Desmond Jennings - OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Unfortunately, it was recently reported that the Vice President of the Tampa Bay Rays said it would take extraordinary circumstances for Desmond Jennings to be in the majors this season. So you're probably wondering why I listed him. Reason number one: you always have to consider the chance of an injury. Another reason is the two players vying for the third and fourth outfield spots on the team are Fernando Perez and Matt Joyce. Fernando Perez has a career batting average of .234 while Matt Joyce hit .188 in a short stint last season for the Rays. Meanwhile, Desmond Jennings had a .318 AVG with 11 HR and a whopping 52 steals in his 2009 minor league season. He is another young player who has developed great plate discipline, posting 67 walks while striking out the same amount of times. The hardest transition for most young players starting their major league career is plate discipline, so it's very impressive. Keep a very close eye on this, as I expect him to make an impact sooner rather than later.
Madison Bumgarner - SP, San Francisco Giants
Madison Bumgarner is already penciled in as the San Francisco Giants fifth starter this season. I am listing him as a prospect because he is only 20-years old and most fantasy competitors haven't heard of him yet. He got a brief stint with the big boys last year as a September call up and pitched well, but his body of work in the minors is outstanding and dominant. In 2008 he went 15 -3 with a 1.46 ERA in 24 combined minor league starts. In 2009, he went 12 -2 with a 1.85 ERA in 24 starts in Single-A ball. He has potential to be a strikeout pitcher this year with the Giants, but I would draft him for the chance of snagging 12 - 15 wins for your team with a pitcher you drafted late. Another reason to draft him is because he has a great baseball name to say over and over again to your buddies who missed drafting him.
Logan Morrison - 1B, Florida Marlins
Last year you probably heard a lot about another first base prospect the Marlins had in Gaby Sanchez. Well, Logan Morrison is the new prospect and is competing with Sanchez to get the starting first base job out of camp. The President of Baseball Operations for the Florida Marlins said Morrison is an impressive kid who is ready to play in the majors. Morrison is also the reason the Marlins are considering moving Jorge Cantu back to third base. In his last two seasons in the minors (910 plate appearances) Morrison posted a .311 AVG with 21 HR and 123 RBI. He also had 18 stolen bases, an impressive total for a first baseman. He is yet another player with great plate discipline too, posting 121 walks compared to just 128 strikeouts in that same two-year span. Keep a close eye on who wins the first base battle in camp for the Marlins If Sanchez wins this battle and struggles like he did last year, Morrison is next in line. Scouts are already considering Morrison as a Rookie of the Year candidate for 2010.