Fantasy owners constantly have an eye on the future, looking for a young superstar who could provide a game-changing boost and help lead his fantasy teams to titles. Last week, the first big domino dropped on the prospect scene when the Astros called up George Springer and instilled him in the everyday lineup. Who else is lurking on the horizon that deserves attention in fantasy circles?
Gregory Polanco (OF, PIT) has been a hit machine in the International League thus far, posting a league-leading .406 batting average along with two home runs, 16 RBI and one stolen base in 64 at-bats. As highly touted as Springer in prospect rankings, Polanco has pieced together a quality minor-league resume that includes enough power to deliver 15 to 20 home runs and enough speed to swipe 40 bags. The Pirates are keeping right field warm for his potential promotion, and it's highly likely he's already gone in many competitive leagues. If you happen to have a bench spot open, you should grab him immediately, as his numbers against Triple-A pitching this season could lead the team to bring him up very soon.
The Astros already brought up the highly-regarded Springer, and that precedence may have Jon Singleton (1B, HOU) soon packing his bags. He has jumped out to a .343/.439/.757 line while smacking a league-leading seven home runs in 70 at-bats with Triple-A Oklahoma City. Coming off a down 2013 season, Singleton has almost matched his power numbers from last year before a month has even gone by. He's continually shown the ability to take walks while coming up through the minors, posting OBPs of .390 or better each season before struggling last season. Add that pitch recognition to a budding power bat and he could wind up being relevant immediately upon promotion, in a CI slot at the very least.
Alex Guerrero (2B, LAD) was a hot name this offseason as the foreign import decided which team to join, and though he wasn't able to break camp with the Dodgers, he's shown enough in a small sample size with Triple-A Albuquerque to expect a promotion before long. Guerrero has struck out just once in his first 25 at-bats while hitting two home runs and posting a .440/.500/.800 line. While the Pacific Coast League tends to inflate batting numbers by and large, Guerrero has yet to show signs of needing much more time to improve in the minors. His promotion to the majors could be delayed if Dee Gordon continues to play well, but the team will look to get major-league production from its investment before much longer.
The Blue Jays rotation has shown significant improvement from last year's debacle, but that doesn't mean the team should delay Marcus Stroman (SP, TOR) from joining the majors much longer. He has eviscerated the International League in the early going, posting a 1.17 ERA and 21:6 K:BB ratio in 15 1/3 innings over three starts. Selected 22nd overall in the 2012 draft, Stroman has risen quickly through the minors, racking up impressive strikeout numbers at each stop. Last year's season, in which he went 9-5 with a 3.30 ERA and 129:27 K:BB ratio in 111 2/3 innings over 20 starts at the Double-A level, proved he was ready for the big time. This year's hot start has just reinforced the notion. He could soon supplant Dustin McGown in the major-league rotation.