Most of you have probably wrapped up your fantasy baseball drafts and either hate your team, love your team, or are already ravaged by injuries. No matter which team you have, key waiver wire additions always help championship teams. One way to build that team after the draft, is by snatching up top flight prospects off of the waiver wire while people are asleep. This is always an effective tactic.
In no particular order, these 5 prospects are sure to pay big dividends during the 2014 season.
Noah Syndergaard SP, New York Mets
“Thor” as he’s affectionately known as, was the “other” piece in the R.A. Dickey trade for the Mets. Originally, the big chip for the Mets was catcher Travid d’Arnaud. But as we have quickly found out, Syndergaard is clearly going to be the impact player in the deal. In 2013, between single-A and double-A, Syndergaard posted a 9-4 record and a 3.06 ERA. But those numbers aren’t what will be the most important for your fantasy squad. It’s his strikeouts and WHIP. When Syndergaard was promoted to double-A Binghamton, he posted a 1.07 WHIP and 11.5 K/9IP. While he is going to be on an innings count, look for Syndergaard to be in the majors some time in June. He should be good for 12-18 starts at the MLB level.
George Springer OF, Houston Astros
If there is one player who has the chance to be the type of 5 category fantasy stud that Mike Trout has become, look no further than Astros OF prospect George Springer. Do you want to see some video game numbers? Ok, here you go…
Those are the types of stats you see when you jack your created player’s speed and power up to 99. Those were Springer’s numbers in AA and AAA last season. The only flaw in Springer’s game is obviously the strikeouts. But let’s be honest, does anyone really care that Mike Trout struck out 275 times over the past two seasons? Nope. But that’s what the Astros will probably point to when trying to justify keeping Springer down in the minors to start the season. Shhhh. Don’t tell MLB that you are really keeping him down to keep his MLB service time clock from starting. Either way, he should be up sooner than later. Especially if he starts off the season pulverizing the baseball and committing grand larceny at the same clip.
Javier Baez SS, Chicago Cubs
Some hardcore baseball fans already knew his name or have seen some of his mammoth homers on the internet. But this spring, Javier Baez has put everyone on watch. Probably for economic reasons only, Baez will continue to take batting practice in AAA until the magic date on the calendar passes. After hitting 37 homers between single-A and double-A last year, Baez uncorked 5 more solo jacks this spring. Before getting sent to minor league camp the other day, Baez was actually playing second base instead of short stop. So make sure to be on the lookout for when Baez is ready to be called up, because he might have more than just SS eligibility.
Oscar Taveras OF, St. Louis Cardinals
It’s amazing how the rich keep getting richer. Remember when the Cardinals decided that they weren’t going to dish out over $200 million to Albert Pujols? Yeah, they just invented this guy named Allen Craig in the basement of Busch Stadium and threw him in over at first base. Nothing like being able to just plug in .300/25/95 anywhere you want. This year, they might just be able to plug another guy like that into their outfield. Although Oscar Taveras was limited to just 46 games last year due to ankle surgery, his 2012 campaign opened everyone’s eyes. Taveras belted out a line of .321 BA, 23 HR, 94 RBI, .953 OPS. in double-A Springfield. Heading into this season, he was named the #3 ranked prospect in baseball according to every major publication. Manager Mike Matheney deemed that Taveras’ ankle wasn’t healthy enough to challenge for a starting OF spot to start the season. So Taveras will start the season in AAA while trying to he his ankle healthy. Look for this monster to surface once the super-2 deadline has passes sometime in late June or early July.
Eddie Butler SP, Colorado Rockies
Much of the buzz heading into the spring for the Colorado Rockies was surrounding 2013 #3 overall pick, Jonathan Gray. But the pitcher who shouldn’t be overlooked, is Eddie Butler. The 23 year old right hander was on full display last season during the Futures Game at Citi Field. Please sit back and watch how silly he made MLB’s #2 prospect, Xander Bogarts look with these 3 pitches. Thanks to thegoldensombrero.com for the awesome GIFs.
I might need a towel after watching that. 97 MPH Fastball, 88 MPH Slider, 90 MPH Changeup. Butler’s stuff is moist. If you want numbers to salivate over, here they are. While pitching at A, A+, and AA, Butler compiled a 9-5 record with a 1.80 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, all while averaging 8.5 K/9IP. The Rockies are ALWAYS desperate for pitching. Whether it’s in the starting rotation or bullpen, you can fully expect Butler to make an impact during the 2014 season.
Taijuan Walker SP, Seattle Mariners – The highly touted prospect had a taste of the majors last summer, but a shoulder injury will derail Walker’s start to the 2014 campaign. This is the only reason why I didn’t put him on the initial list. He just recently made his first start of the spring and is slated to start the season on the DL, however it looks like a return to the lineup in mid to late April or early May.