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The Next Carlos Gonzalez

Though he was drafted in the 11th round on average last year, Carlos Gonzalez was coming off a strong half-season for the Rockies and had the pedigree of formerly being one of the 20 best prospects in the game.  There probably won't be another CarGo in 2011, but let's at least uncover some similar power/speed sleepers.

  • Mike Stanton, Marlins OF.  He might not hit much more than .260, but Stanton doesn't turn 21 until next month and has massive power.  35 home runs in 2011 would not be surprising.  He attempted seven steals in 100 big league games, leading me to believe he could swipe 8-10 next year.  He didn't run much in the minors, though Baseball America said before the season that he has the speed to steal 20+ if he develops baserunning instincts.
  • Danny Espinosa, Nationals 2B.  If nothing else, Espinosa showed good pop with six home runs in his 112-PA Major League debut.  He hit another 22 homers in 542 high minors PAs.  During those Double and Triple-A stints he also stole 25 bags in 36 tries.  Like Stanton, he's not expected to hit for average.
  • Tyler Colvin, Cubs OF.  Over 600 PAs, Colvin's rookie debut numbers translate to 30 homers and nine steals.  He wasn't a burner in the minors but he might be fast enough to steal ten despite what Baseball America described as "below-average speed out of the box."  I anticipate Colvin going into next year with a full-time job locked down.
  • Bill Hall, free agent 2B/OF.  Ah, old friend Bill Hall, who burned so many in 2007 drafts coming off a 35 home run, eight steal season for the Brewers.  This year in a utility role for the Red Sox he flashed that same 30 homer power and swiped nine bags in ten tries - a much better success rate than we're used to from him.  If Hall finds more regular playing time as a free agent, fantasy leaguers can stick him at second hoping for 20 home runs and 15 steals.
  • Jay Bruce, Reds OF.  Bruce could hit 25+ homers and steal 10-15.  Given his talent level there's room for much more.
  • Travis Snider, Blue Jays OF.  Snider is Bruce but a year behind, in a fantasy baseball sense.
  • Colby Rasmus, Cardinals OF.  Remember that CarGo had already demonstrated double digit Major League power/speed ability before 2010.  So Rasmus, who would've pushed 20/20 this year with better baserunning, may slip to the eighth round if we're lucky.
  • Drew Stubbs, Reds OF.  Stubbs had one of the quieter 22 home run, 30 steal seasons I can remember in recent years.  Like a lot of the players on this list, his strikeouts will limit his batting average.
  • Peter Bourjos, Angels OF.  He's known for his speed rather than his power, but Bourjos hit 19 home runs this year between Triple A and the Majors in 648 PAs.  We took a look at Bourjos in August.
  • Will Venable, Padres OF.  This year Venable hit 13 home runs and stole 29 bags in 445 PAs, so he's already done it.  Same problem, though - his average can kill you.
  • Jason Heyward, Braves OF.  Heyward should finish first or second in the NL ROY, and I think enough of last spring's hype will carry over that he'll go relatively early.  He could still be worth it with a 30 home run, 15 steal sophomore campaign.
  • Andres Torres, Giants OF.  He hinted at double-double skills in '09 and broke out with 16 homers and 26 swipes in 570 PAs this year.  He's a late bloomer - 33 in January - and has room for improvement against lefties.  I'm curious to see where he lands in drafts.
  • Coco Crisp, free agent OF.  Crisp may return to the A's, as they have a club option.  Finally healthy, Crisp is a sleeper candidate for 15 homers and 40 steals next year.
  • Sean Rodriguez, Rays 2B/OF.  He's a sleeper for 25 homers and ten steals, given enough playing time.
  • Roger Bernadina, Nationals OF.  He hit 11 home runs and stole 16 in 461 PAs this year, but the power is still a question mark.  More on him here.
  • Honorable mentions: Brooks ConradChris Denorfia, Brennan Boesch, Jeff Francoeur, David Murphy, Cameron Maybin, Reid Brignac, Cody Ross, Corey Patterson, Ryan Kalish, Gordon Beckham, Ian Desmond, Mike Aviles, Angel Pagan, Fred Lewis, Chase Headley, and Ronny Cedeno.
  • Well, we didn't really find a strong candidate for the next CarGo - his .336 average sets him apart.  Still, you'll want to put Stanton, Bruce, Snider, Rasmus, and Heyward at the top of your list for 2011.  If you're a Baseball America reader these have been household names for many years.


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