With the 2009 season nearly in the books, it’s time to analyze some of the more prominent prospects of the year and look into my crystal ball in order to see what 2010 has in store.
Matt Wieters – His lackluster first season has not swayed me. Wieters should be among the top tier catchers in the league next year. But his draft status may not reflect that. Take advantage in all fantasy formats. This kids all-around bat is too good to be held down for long.
Carlos Santana – Legit through and through, Santana’s bat could catapult him to elite status in time. And the baseball world may get a glimpse of it in 2010. Despite his impressive Double-A season stat line, personally, I still want to see more contact ability and a bulkier batting average before I pay my man crush membership dues.
Brian Matusz – I severely underestimated Baltimore’s front office. Back in May, I was the guy complaining about Matusz’s High-A purgatory. A few months later, I’m witnessing a young man trying to hold his own against the big boys. While he is struggling with his pursuit, Matusz’s potential is undeniable. He has truly become one of the elite pitching prospects in the game.
Justin Smoak – I have been among Smoak’s most aggressive supporters, all the while keeping in mind that his power has not yet developed. And it still hasn’t. I drooled over his Double-A dominance, but his game still has holes; most prominently that pesky and alarming lack of power, especially from a first baseman. Smoak will spend more time in Triple-A next year before he gets his full time big league opportunity.
Travis Snider – In 2009 Snider has shown that he can be a productive big league regular, and he has plenty more untapped potential beyond that. The 21-year-old will have an unchallenged slot in Toronto’s lineup from the outset of 2010. Expect improved numbers across the board and a hit of the stardom that could follow.
Dexter Fowler – Fowler’s season has been perplexing. His base stealing and plate discipline skills have come full bloom; but his strikeouts, home runs, and batting average are lagging way behind. This young man has a loaded tool box, and if you have the patience to wait it out, you might just end up with the league’s best lead off hitter on your hands.
Michael Stanton – Many have Stanton ranked up there with Jason Heyward and Jesus Montero on top prospect lists. I just cannot justify placing Stanton that high… yet. Make no mistake, the power is there. Unfortunately, his contact skills and plate discipline are not. The big league sluggers that can’t hit for a solid batting average make up for it by taking walks. Stanton has a long way to go before he’s capable of playing at that level. 2010 will be another learning year.
Martin Perez – This kid has made a huge mark on the prospect world. His stuff is ace-worthy and his control is incredibly advanced for his age. He will spend 2010 in the minors, but we could be looking at the next Felix Hernandez-esque teenage phenom. If Perez hasn’t yet been claimed in your keeper league, make his acquisition one of your top priorities this off-season.
Mike Moustakas – In 2008, with his stock slipping, Moustakas reeled off an unreal late season surge. 2009 has seen him struggle once again in the early going, but a late season charge isn’t in the cards. He has a long way to go, but he does possess one of the quickest bats in the minor leagues, which will aid him on his quest for stardom.