The 2014 baseball season has started, and if you are like many baseball fans, you probably have a fantasy baseball team or two. I have put together my 20 best fantasy baseball prospects for this season who will open the season in the minor leagues and have yet to make their debut in the big leagues. This is not an order of who will have the better career, but instead who will provide the most value this season.
20) Hunter Morris – 1B – Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers Opening Day depth chart at first base show Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay. Morris has three consecutive minor league seasons of at least 20 home runs, but last year at Triple-A his average dropped to .241 after hitting .303 in 2012 at Double-A. The left-handed hitting first baseman could offer an interesting power bat option at some point this season.
19) Brian Goodwin – OF – Washington Nationals – Goodwin has a light five-tool mix, with his best attribute being pure speed. He has a bright future in center field, but his biggest potential value in fantasy baseball in 2014 is as a late season steals option in roto leagues. Goodwin has been thrown out in nearly a third of his attempts in his minor league career, but if he improves on his jumps from first, his natural speed could lead to good steals numbers as early as this season.
18) Cory Knebel – RP – Detroit Tigers – Knebel is not all that highly touted a prospect, based mainly on the fact he was drafted as a pure college reliever. He came out of the University of Texas and looks to take fellow Longhorn, Huston Street‘s, path to the big leagues. After being drafted 39th overall in the 2013 draft, Knebel allowed just three earned runs in 31 innings in the Midwest League. The Tigers signed Joe Nathan this off-season, but he is in his age 39 season, and Bruce Rondon will miss the entire season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery, so Knebel might get a shot in late innings this season, but it won’t be until late as he will open the year in Double-A.
17) Joc Pederson – OF – Los Angeles Dodgers - Pederson is not the 17th best prospect on this list, he is more talented than some players ahead of him, but he is in a Dodgers organization that has four starting-caliber outfielders already on the roster and a solid back-up option in Scott Van Slyke already in the big leagues. If the Dodgers outfield suffers the injuries they did last season, or they trade one of the top four, Pederson could get some good playing time and put up solid fantasy numbers, it just doesn’t appear the playing time will be there for him this season to put up significant numbers.
16) Jesse Biddle – SP – Philadelphia Phillies – Biddle struck out 154 batters over 138.1 innings in Double-A in 2013 and put up an ERA of 3.64, but had a win-loss record (I know, terrible stat but it matters in fantasy baseball) of 5-14. Roberto Henandez is currently listed as the number four starter for the Phillies, and their depth chart does not list a fifth starter as of now. Biddle will not be a dominant pitcher, but he cold serve as a competent fourth or fifth starter by mid-season, and could rack up the strikeouts.