1. Jonathan Gray-RHP-22
-The Rockies first round pick in 2013 (#3 overall) Gray has the look of a true horse who can lead a rotation.† Gray may feature the best FB in all of the minors as his heater sits in the mid-90s and can reach triple figures.† Gray also features a wipeout slider that could grade as at least a 7 pitch right now.† Grayís third offering is a changeup that has the look of a future plus offering as well.† Gray has a solid delivery and a true power pitchers frame which should allow him to eat up innings for a lot of years to come.
-Outlook:† Grayís upside rivals that of just about any pitcher in the minors right now and the only thing holding him back is inexperience as a professional.† I would assume that Gray will spend the first few months of the season in AA and assuming all goes well he will be summoned to Coors Field around the time the kids get ready to head back to school.† Pitching in Colorado may dampen Grayís fantasy upside a little but I still see a big time #1 type starter developing here.
ETA: August 2014
2. Mark Appel-RHP-22
-Appel, taken two spots ahead of the afore mentioned Gray in last years draft, canít match his future Orioleís teammate in terms of upside.† Appel features a low-to-mid 90s fastball that at times can show a little arm side movement.† Appelís second offering is a slider that can be a weapon at times but is not really a plus pitch as of now.† The changeup that Appel features can show plus at times also but will need work to be a consistently above average offering.† Appel has a clean delivery and projects to have pretty solid command when all is said and done.
-Outlook:† There are a lot of things to like about Appel but nothing really to love.† I have no doubt that he will be a good major league pitcher but I donít see a guy who really moves the needle in fantasy.† For my money I would bet on Appel settling in as a nice #3 starter who is more of a 4/5 type in FBLO because he lacks overpowering stuff.† All in all Appel is a really nice prospect who will help a fantasy team but as more of a Robin, not the Dark Knight.
ETA: June 2014
3. Rougned Odor-2B-20
-Odorís 2013 was a true breakout season for the young second baseman, reaching AA and hitting over .300 as a teenager.† Odor has great bat to ball skills and shows a knack for making hard contact and spraying line drives all over the field.† Odor projects to have a 6-7 hit tool and he has the potential for grade 5 power as well.† A good, but not great runner, Odor should also be able to chip in some steals to go with his prowess with the lumber.†
-Outlook:† Odor should return to AA to start the year and if all goes well he has a chance to see the majors late in 2014.† Odor should develop into a .300 hitter who clubs 15 or so homers and steals in the neighborhood of 15 bags as well.† That might not sound like much but should be enough to make him a top-5 second baseman in FBLO for a long time to come.
4. Nick Williams-OF-20
-Williams is almost all protection at this point but there are a lot of good tools to dream on as he shows a unique ability to square up pitches.† Williams has a chance to have a plus-plus hit tool down the line and he shows great raw power in BP that has yet to translate to game action.† Williams run tool would grade around 7 as well and he has a chance to be a consistent 30+ steal player down the line.
-Outlook:† Williams has a shot to be a tremendous fantasy player if everything clicks.† I could see an upside in the range of a .300 hitter who hits 20+ HRs and steals 30+ bags.† Williams is more of an athlete rather than a baseball player at this point and his approach is terrible and if he canít develop a feel for the game all those great tools will go to waste.
ETA: Maybe never but if I have to pick I would guess 2016 at the earliest
5. Colin Moran-3B-21
-Another 2013 draftee Moran was widely considered the second best college bat (Bryant) in the class.† Moran lacks Bryantís impact power but does profile as a solid hitter with enough power to play at third base.† Moran profiles to have a grade 6 hit tool with a potential for perhaps even a grade higher if everything clicks.† Power is what will determine how good of a fantasy player Moran will become as right now he is more of a line drive hitter but he does show some raw power potential.
-Outlook:† Moran profiles to hit for average and shows some gap power right now but Iím not confident in predicting more than 15-20 HR potential, especially playing 81 games at Marlins Park each year.† I see more of a backup type player in FBLO who can be serviceable in a spot start role here and there.
6. Erik Johnson-RHP-24
-Johnson has a solid heater that sits in the low-90s and features a little arm side run and he commands it well.† To complement the heater Johnson features a solid slider and an ok changeup that at times flashes plus.† Johnsonís upside is that of a #3 starter in MLB and probably more of a bench arm/spot starter in FBLO.
7. Garin Cecchini-3B-21
-Cecchini shows a unique ability to control the strike zone for a hitter his age and that helped him to lead all of the minors in OBP last year.† Cecchini has a fluid stroke that produces a lot of line drives and gap power at this point and like Moran above power development will be the ke to fantasy usefulness.† Right now I see Cecchini as more of a Bill Mueller type who has some fantasy value as a low end starter/backup type in FBLO whose value has a chance to get a slight uptick because of the MLB lineup around him.
8. Justin Nicolino-LHP-22
-Nicolino is one of those advanced command guys who chews up the low minors but really doesnít have the stuff to be relevant at the big league level.† To me Nicolinoís ceiling is a #5 starter in MLB with zero fantasy value and honestly Iíd be shocked if he is more than a situational lefty.†
9. Michael Choice-OF-24
-Choice is yet another non-prospect for me at this point.† A move to Texas may give him a chance to be a platoon guy who flashes a little power but I just donít see a fantasy player here.
10. Anthony Ranaudo-RHP-24
-Ranaudo is a potential back of the rotation starter who is injury prone and is more hype than talent at this point.† Add to that the fact that heís about the 6th best SP prospect in Bostonís system I see more of a middle relief type.† Another roster spot that could be better served on more of an upside guy with some fantasy potential.
2013 Top Prospects:
1. Gerrit Cole-RHP
2. Jorge Soler-OF
3. Chris Archer-RHP
4. A.J. Cole-RHP
5. Jake Odorizzi-RHP
-Graduations of guys like Chris Archer have hurt the system as have trades to bolster the big league club.† As it stands this system is all about Gray, if he develops into a true ace the guys like Appel can slot in behind him but if Gray flames out there isnít much upside here.† To be fair to the Oís if we counted guys like Tanaka and Abreu things would look quite differently but unlike Baseball America I donít consider those guys true prospects.