« Injury Watch: Berkman & McCarthy Edition | Main | Stock Watch: Buy & Sell Analysis »

The Best Fantasy Rookie Hitter Of 2012*

* Not counting Mike Trout, because c'mon man.

Other than the imminent insanity of the Wild Card chase, the storyline of 2012 is immediate impact. A number of prospects - both high-end and middling - came up to the show this year and gave their club an instant shot in the arm. Trout has pretty much carried the Angels since the day he was recalled, Manny Machado swatted two homers in his second game as a big leaguer, Matt Harvey whiffed 11 guys in his first career start, Jurickson Profar homered in his first career at-bat ... so on and so forth. With young players becoming more and more important as baseball evolves, kids who come up and have immediate impact are essential in both the real and fantasy baseball worlds.

Trout is, by far, the best rookie of 2012 and possibly the best ever, but he's gotten enough attention this year already. Here are three other top rookies - two just as hyped as Trout, one not so much - who turned into fantasy stalwarts this summer...

Yoenis Cespedes | OF | Athletics | .287/.343/.483 | 18 HR | 45 R | 16 SB | 452 PA

A hand strain and nagging hamstring problems cost the 26-year-old Cuban defector roughly 30 games earlier this season, but he's provided exactly the kind of offensive firepower that was expected when Oakland signed him to that four-year, $36MM contract just prior to Spring Training. It might be a little late to join the 20-20 club but Cespedes almost certainly would have gotten there if it wasn't for the hand strain-induced DL stint in May. I think that more than anything, his batting average is better than expected. Reports indicated that he had wasn't a patient hitter and a little too pull happy with a long swing, but he's been able to stay on breaking balls and pitches on the outer half. The number of .280+, 18+ HR, and 15+ SB outfielders this year is only six deep: Cespedes, Trout, Ryan Braun, Alex Rios, Carlos Gonzalez, and Andrew McCutchen.

Todd Frazier | 1B, 3B, OF | Reds | .283/.344/.516 | 18 HR | 52 R | 3 SB | 422 PA

When Scott Rolen got hurt earlier this season, the Reds called on Frazier to fill the gap at third base and he's done more than that. A prospect for what feels like an eternity -- he was drafted in 2007 and has spent parts of four seasons in Triple-A - the 26-year-old Frazier is one of only seven third base eligible players to hit at least .280 with 18+ dingers this year, joining guys like Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, and Ryan Zimmerman. He filled in at first base while Joey Votto was out and he's also picked up outfield eligibility. The raw production is great, but also having the flexibility to squeeze him into a fantasy lineup on any given day is a huge boon as well.

Bryce Harper | OF | Nationals | .262/.335/.454 | 18 HR | 82 R | 13 SB | 523 PA

It's hard to believe Harper is just 19 years old when you see him hit balls like this. Only two teenagers in baseball history have hit 15+ homers and stolen 10+ bases in a single season, and that's Harper and Ken Griffey Jr. An extended slump after the All-Star break dragged his numbers down a bit, but he's shaken it off and continues to produce like a two tier outfielder at an age when most kids are freshmen are college. The batting average might be a little light, but Harper has scored far more runs than Cesepdes and Frazier thanks to his playing time and spot in the batting order (second rather than fourth or fifth).


Full Story |  Comments (0) | Categories: Rookies


Site Map     Contact     About     Advertise     Privacy Policy     MLB Trade Rumors     Rss Feed