Top 100 Fantasy Prospects for 2012: Coming Soon

Like, next week.

After spending the past few weeks at a secure, undisclosed location (Code Name: Parent’s Basement), I’ve emerged with a list of 100 prospects who, I’m fairly confident, will make an impact on the 2012 fantasy baseball season. Just how much impact? In some cases, it could be a lot; but in others, it could be minimal — or even none. That’s the inherent risk in predicting and projecting not only prospects’ development curves but also how these players could possibly fit into their big-league team’s plans during the upcoming season.

That’s why, much like I do with my Mining the Minors columns, I’ve done my best to incorporate both talent and opportunity. Sometimes, a player’s talent is so elite that it’s worth bumping him up the rankings even if his path to playing time isn’t all that clear (think: Mike Trout). But there are also plenty of players in the rankings who will skew more toward the opportunity side of the spectrum, as in: talent aside, they’re (nearly) ready from Day One. Trying to weigh and balance these two aspects — talent and opportunity — is what makes a list like this so challenging. And so fluid. Which is to say, my mind could change on any of the players on the list between today and tomorrow. Or even today and later today.

What I hope this ranking provides for you readers is some semblance of an idea of which prospects will be making an impression on the 2012 fantasy baseball landscape. If you happen to think that the guy ranked No. 18 should be No. 93 … or that there’s no way the dude at No. 47 should be outside the Top 10 … well I can’t say you’re wrong. I can only say this is my guess based on my knowledge of these players and their teams — and where everything stands at the moment.

So over the coming weeks, I’ll be unveiling my rankings 20 players at a time, starting from No. 100 and working all the way to the top of the list.

Remember, to be eligible for this, a player must not have exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (or 30 appearances) in his career.

Also to be clear: This is strictly for 2012. While some of these players are already owned, about to be drafted or could make for nice in-season acquisitions in keeper leagues, the goal here is to help fantasy owners in 2-0-1-2.

Until next week.

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Jason Catania is an MLB Lead Writer for Bleacher Report who also contributes to ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Insider and MLB Rumor Central, focusing on baseball and fantasy content. When he was first introduced to fantasy baseball, Derek Jeter had 195 career hits, Jamie Moyer had 72 wins and Matt Stairs was on team No. 3. You can follow him on Twitter: @JayCat11

38 Responses to “Top 100 Fantasy Prospects for 2012: Coming Soon”

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      FG+ subscription to the person who can correctly guess your top 10?

      (I already won one, it’s great).

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Max says:

        Top 10 Fantasy Prospects for 2012. As in, only accounting for 2012 production.

        1. Matt Moore
        (1b. Yu Darvish)
        2. Mike Trout
        3. Bryce Harper
        4. Yoenis Cespedes
        5. Jesus Montero
        6. Zack Cozart
        7. Shelby Miller
        8. Danny Hultzen
        9. Julio Teheran
        10. Trevor Bauer
        11. Randall Delgado

        This assumes that Danny Duffy, Mike Minor, Pedro Alvarez, Domonic Brown, Jason Kipnis, and JD Martinez are disqualified due to experience.

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    • jaywrong says:

      I would not go pitching 1 overall.

      1 – Harper
      2 – Trout
      3 – Moore
      4 – Montero
      5 – Profar
      6 – Miller
      7 – Teheran
      8 – Machado
      9 – Bauer
      10 -Bundy

      That’s at least how I see it.

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      • jaywrong says:

        (I don’t count Darvish as a rookie), but if he were, I would put him ahead of Profar, below Montero.

        Honestly, top 10′s are usually full of elite talent, and you could make an argument for any realistic top 10 list. I would not argue putting Trout at the top as well.

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      • d_i says:

        Profar, Machado, and Bundy have little to not shot to play in the majors this year.

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      • Jason Catania says:

        jaywrong: Ya, you’re missing the key point here. It’s not going forward to eternity. It’s JUST for 2012!

        Profar, Machado, Bundy — ain’t makin’ the cut.

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      • jaywrong says:

        very good point guys. that’s just my own personal list, not for 2012. my bad.

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      • Steve Z says:

        I don’t see Profar making it to the bigs until at least 2013. Or Machado

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  1. d_i says:

    I think some of the most likely to play a role this year will be competing with other prospects for time – ie who will get the call first between Paxton/Hultzen, Skaggs/Bauer, Vizciano/Teheran/Delgado, Parker/Milone/Peacock, Weiland/Erlin…those are all coin flips that I’d like to know because it significantly changes the value of each involved for 2012.

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  2. d_i says:

    Looking forward to the list. Personally I think:
    1. Moore – no question about PT or skill
    2. Montero – no question about PT or OFFENSIVE/FANTASY skill
    3. Mesoraco – solit bet to see at least 400 PAs and produce at tough position
    4. S. Miller – could make arguement for Parker, Bauer, etc if they are announced in the rotation, but I just think Miller is better if he has a job which none of them do as of now.
    5. Trout – just too crowded to be confident he’ll see the ABs he should right now
    6. Paxton/Hultzen – who ever is first will put up good #s being a lefty in Safeco
    7. Y. Alonso – not much for upside, but you know what you’re getting
    8. B Jackson – ditto though not as sure about playing time
    9. Harper – guessing 250 ABs
    10. Arenado – the job is his when he’s ready and it’s Coors

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  3. Random Guess says:

    My guess for Top 10 in 2012 (heavily weighted on 2012 PT):

    1. Moore
    2. Darvish
    3. Montero
    4. Trout
    5. Paxton => should make the M’s out of ST
    6. Bauer => should make the D’Backs out of ST
    7. J.Turner => #5 starter for DET?
    8. Alonso
    9. Hultzen =>should come up after a few months
    10. Mesoraco => will get 400 ABs this season and should be starting at year-end

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. JB says:

    1. Harper
    2. Moore
    3. Trout
    4. Darvish
    5. T. Bauer
    6. Teheran
    7. Profar
    8. J. Montero
    9. S. Miller
    10. Alonso

    Mesoraco is honorable mention.

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    • GrittleTooth says:

      Why does Profar keep getting listed? Elvis Andrus is pretty good and not getting traded (if Texas decides Profar is the future) until next year at the earliest. Just don’t see how Profar contributes this year.

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  5. joey bats says:

    chris parmelee #1

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  6. jonkk says:

    Nice lists. I would have Drew Pomeranz in a top 10.

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  7. Los says:

    1) Moore
    2) Trout
    3) Montero
    4) Darvish (If not a “prospect” see 11)
    5) Harper
    6) Miller
    7) Parker
    8) Mesoraco
    9) Bauer
    11) Lavarnway

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Josh says:

    Seems like Addison Reed should have his name firmly entrenched on pretty much any list for fantasy purposes, as he has a real shot at closing in 2012.

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  9. Tyler McAdams says:

    1) Matt Moore
    2) Jesus Montero
    3) Zack Cozart
    4) Addison Reed
    5) Devin Mesoraco
    6) Trevor Bauer
    7) Julio Teheran
    8) Yonder Alonso
    9) Bryce Harper
    10) Drew Pomeranz

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Tyler McAdams says:

      Wow. I managed to leave Trout off. Oops

      1) Matt Moore
      2) Jesus Montero
      3) Zack Cozart
      4) Addison Reed
      5) Mike Trout
      6) Devin Mesoraco
      7) Trevor Bauer
      8) Julio Teheran
      9) Bryce Harper
      10) Yonder Alonso

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  10. ash says:

    Doesn’t seem to bother you guys that Montero might not have C eligibility? Also what is the hesitation with Profar – just that he won’t be a viable offensive force yet when he’s called up? Or that you don’t think he’ll be called up this year?

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    • Zac says:

      Depends on your league. ESPN and Yahoo! have him eligible at Utility Hitter only, but CBSSports lists him at Catcher.

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    • theeiffeltower says:

      I will eat my hat if Jurickson Profar even gets to AAA next year.

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    • EarlSweatshirt says:

      Again, for 2012 value, not lifetime keeper value. You expect Profar to play in the MLB level this year? He’s at least 2 years away, and it’s not like they have an opening. No chance.

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  11. Tvators says:

    1. Moore
    2. Montero
    3. Trout *
    4. Reed
    5. Alonso
    6. Cozart
    7. Mesoraco
    8. Miller
    9. Teheran
    10. Turner

    * Darvish at 3 if listed

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Garret Shivley says:

    This is supposed to be a list for 2012… Guys like Reed, Shelby Miller, Profar, and Machado aren’t going to be high impact guys THIS year (Reed won’t close, Miller is a late call-up, Profar and Machado won’t sniff the bigs).

    Darvish, Cespedes, along with all foreigners who aren’t prospects.

    1. Moore–Secure spot in the rotation and 200 K’s depending on the innings limit.
    2. Trout–He has to play this year right??? When he does watch out.
    3. Teheran–If he is the 5th starter out of spring training he will be the rookie of the year in the National League (best starting pitcher not named Matt Moore in AAA)
    4. Montero–I don’t think he’s a world-beater (this year), but has a secure spot in the line-up and staring at 500+ ABs… C eligibility would be the cherry on top (get with it ESPN!)
    5. Pomeranz–He is in the rotation barring anything terrible happening in the Spring and he could out-perform Ubaldo this year (bad deal Tribe).
    6. Harper–I think he breaks camp as the starting RF… There have only been two great 19 year-old seasons in the history of the game (thank you Clubhouse Confidential)… Unless it’s a keeper league I will pass on reaching for the name.
    7. Turner–Looks like he has a real shot at the 5th spot out of camp. Pitching simply translates quicker than hitting (sorry Yonder, Cozart, and Mesoraco).
    8. Mesoraco–Did someone say Mesoraco? Starting catcher in a nice line-up… Don’t overpay for Posey when you can wait on Mesoraco and Salvador Perez)
    9. Hultzen–I think he breaks camp with the club and shows the fans why they traded Pineda
    10. Alonso–Way over Yonder, he beats out Jesus Guzman and puts up respectable numbers… It is SanDiego and he is not a power hitter by any stretch of the imagination… 13-15 HR tops this year.

    My apologies to Zack Cozart and Shleby Miller.

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  13. kozilla says:

    1. Moore
    2. Montero
    3. Darvish
    4. Harper
    5. Mesoraco
    6. Trout
    7. Pomeranz
    8. Reed
    9. Turner
    10. Alonso

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  14. SKob says:

    1. Darvish – Guaranteed a starting gig and will be lights out for 2 months while teams figure out his stuff.
    2. Moore – Still 6 SP’s in Tampa, but new contract should guarantee the playing time.
    3. Montero – C eligible in leagues that make sense and will rake from day 1.
    4. Reed – Dude is a beast, FIP and K-rates are just silly, and less than 20 saves would be surprising.
    5. Mike Trout – Gives the team the best chance to win and after 2 more months of Wells it will be painfully obvious.
    6. Yoenis Cespedes – Will start right away and should be pretty good all year
    7. Shelby Miller – Forget the other pitchers getting promtions, 3-4 months of Miller will outplay them all.
    8. Bryce Harper – Might not even play half a season, but he will be solid after his typical 15 game level adjustment period.
    9. Bryan LaHair – Yeah I did! Will be a HR machine in that ballpark.
    10. Hultzen – Team will likely let get him in the rotation for most of the year and he’s got a great ballpark to show his stuff in.

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    • Jason Catania says:

      SKob: A quick note on LaHair — While I like him as a guy to take a flier on this year, he’s ineligible for the purposes of my rankings because he’s accrued nearly 200 big-league ABs, thanks mainly to his time with the Mariners back in 2008. But you all remember that actually happened, right?

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  15. cwj says:

    A huge “LOL” at anyone who has Harper outside the top 3.
    Davey Johnson has a lot of say with the Nats, and if ST numbers are good Harper will play a full season.
    Worse case scenario is that Harper starts in AAA and makes the club in early June.
    Either way, expect ROY.

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  16. TD says:

    I think Jarrod Parker has to be on any 2012 list…hes ready now and he’s going to play – with the spacious, he can be an impact player this year.

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