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Sleepers & Busts: Lesser-Discussed Prospects

Every year there are prospects who break camp with their teams and provide lofty returns on a minimal investment in the draft. While there's plenty of buzz around names like Wil Myers and Oscar Taveras already (despite Taveras not having a spot to claim on the Major League roster), here are some names to keep an eye on in the late rounds and dollar portions of your drafts and auctions this Spring...

Jedd Gyorko, 2B/3B, SD - ADP 224

I already covered Gyorko in another post here, so I won't go too in depth in this portion. But it should be noted that Gyorko started Spring Training on an absolute tear, clubbing three early home runs. He's cooled since that time, but given that his main competition at second base is the light-hitting Logan Forsythe, Gyorko has a a real chance to crack the Opening Day roster as the second baseman. He's a third baseman right now in Yahoo leagues (not ESPN), meaning he'll ultimately carry dual position eligibility as well.

Gyorko ranked 71st on Baseball America's Top 100 prospect list this year and 50th on MLB.com's edition.

Nolan Arenado, 3B, COL - ADP N/A

Arenado isn't even being drafted right now over at Mock Draft Central, but that figures to change if he continues to rake the way he has thus far in Spring Training and force the Rockies to think about giving him the Opening Day job at third base.

Arenado, the No. 52 prospect according to BA and No. 62 according to MLB.com, had a down year at Double-A last season, but it didn't do much to alter his status as a top prospect. He hit .285/.337/.428 with 12 homers in 573 plate appearances just one season after belting 20 bombs in nearly the same amount of playing time. BA praises his quick hands and bat speed, stating that he has the ability to use all fields and should eventually blossom into a high-average, 20+ homer bat at the Major League level. He won't provide any speed, but with a home park like Coors Field to take advantage of, he brings plenty of power and RBI upside.

That might happen sooner rather than later, as the soon-to-be 22-year-old is 7-for-17 with four homers this Spring, and the Rockies are considering him for an Opening Day roster spot.

Aaron Hicks, CF, MIN - ADP N/A

Hicks entered Spring Training as the No. 72 prospect according to BA and the #98 per MLB.com, though he's previously ranked as high as 19th on BA's list. He's another name that's not being drafted over at MDC, but Hicks entered Spring Training as a serious candidate to become the Twins' everyday center fielder right out of the gate. He's only improved those chances in limited at-bats thus far. Hicks is 7-for-22 with a homer and he picked up another two hits (including a second homer) in Minnesota's game against the Puerto Rican WBC team.

He's yet to draw a walk, but his traditionally patient approach is one of the things Minnesota likes most about him. It's led to a career .379 OBP in the Minor Leagues and a .384 mark at Double-A last season. Hicks getting on base is important to fantasy owners, because he brings 30-steal upside to the table (32-for-43 at Double-A last season). He also has double-digit homer pop in his bat. A switch-hitter, Hicks has historically been much stronger at the right side of the plate, but he posted an .828 OPS as a lefty last season as well. That natural right-handed stroke fits in well at Target Field, where lefties struggle to hit for power while right-handers have thrived (see: Josh Willingham, Trevor Plouffe, Michael Cuddyer).

Hicks could end up hitting leadoff atop an order that features Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau in the 3-4-5 spots. Keep an eye on his Spring performance to see if he can edge out Darin Mastroianni and Joe Benson for the starting job. Manager Ron Gardenhire has already voiced his desire for Hicks to make the team, and he could be a bargain in drafts if that happens.



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