|Fantasy Baseball: NL Rookies to Watch: Now and Down the Road|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on March 29, 2005
SS Clint Barmes, Colorado Rockies – Yet another Rockies player, Barmes hit to the tune of .328 with sixteen bombs and 104 runs scored in AAA last year. Of course those numbers were slightly inflated, expect Barmes to produce a .280 average and reach base a fair amount. Enough to get him a few runs scored.
RP Yhency Brazoban, Los Angeles Dodgers – Brazoban filled in quite admirably for Guillermo Mota last season and should produce the same next year. What makes Brazoban’s success even more impressive is the fact that he was an outfielder in the Yankees system until joining the Dodgers in the Weaver deal. He will help you in Ks and the two ratios, so make sure to grab him in Head to Head leagues.
2B Chris Burke, Houston Astros – The Astros let Jeff Kent walk after last year mainly because they thought they could re-sign Beltran. Well, it turns out that they couldn’t and Kent is gone, which means the door is wide open for Burke. The youngster needs to show his abilities to lead off and in dire desperation because Biggio could move back to the Keystone. If he gets the everyday job, Burke could hit .280 with 10 bombs and 15 stolen bases.
SP Jose Capellan, Milwaukee Brewers – I know there have been a lot of question as to whether Capellan fits into the rotation or bullpen, but I think he can start. This kid throws serious heat and could fill the role Ben Sheets has, but will vacate after being traded from the Brewers at the Deadline. Capellan will strike out a lot of hitters, but his ratios won’t be of much help. Oh, and remember, these are the Brewers, so not many wins at all for him. If Capellan fails, he’ll probably be groomed into a closer.
C JD Closser, Colorado Rockies – The Rockies were tired of watching Charles Johnson play, and I would be too if I were them. They are now turning to a new player, JD Closser. Closser has been a quiet prospect, but he could hit fairly well this season, despite being a catcher. Expect .280 with maybe 10 bombs.
SP Kyle Davies, Atlanta Braves – The Braves are so high on this guy, they are making him the sixth pitcher in the rotation. Injuries sidelined Horacio Ramirez quite a bit last year, so Davies could see some innings there. He’ll probably start out in the bullpen, however, and get a few Ks. If he joins the rotation, grab him in NL only leagues, but wait and see in mixed leagues.
SP Gavin Floyd, Philadelphia Phillies – When I wrote about him for my Prospect in the Spotlight, I wrote that Floyd will be a very good pitcher. And that definitely is true. He will start the season in Triple A, but the first chance that he gets, Floyd will be in the rotation. I expect Floyd to be a dominating force once he gets the job, so consider him like Davies above, maybe even better.
SP Jeff Francis, Colorado Rockies – Francis is another pitcher that I am truly high on due to his tremendous talents. That and the fact that he’s left handed. While being a pitcher at Coors Field severely limits his value, Francis does have a chance to succeed. He is definitely not worth the risk to start at home, but in deep mixed leagues and NL only leagues, start him when he’s on the road.
OF Freddy Guzman, San Diego Padres – While Dave Roberts is the starting center fielder, expect Guzman to be breathing down his neck. Roberts has been injured a lot the past two years; Guzman has averaged eighty stolen bases the past two years. The Padres are going to use Guzman in the very near future, and so should you. Add Guzman to your NL only leagues. It’s only a matter of time before Roberts is down with injury and Guzman is called up.
OF Brad Hawpe, Colorado Rockies – Hawpe does not get much attention at all, but because of me, you now know his name. He is a career .303 hitter in the minor leagues, which should be worth something in determining his ability to hit major league pitching. He hits for power quite well, so expect him to produce along the lines of .275 with 20 homers.
1B Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies – The epitome of a home run hitter, Ryan Howard can flat out send them into the stands. The Phillies happen to have a first baseman, though, one by the name of Jim Thome. So until Howard is traded or Thome goes down with injury, expect Howard to rot in the minor leagues. He really deserves a chance because he could produce Adam Dunn numbers in his prime.
SP Edwin Jackson, Los Angeles Dodgers – This right hander has tremendous talent, but he did not show it last year due to injuries, despite being a favorite for the NL Rookie of the Year. He is still in the running for the award this year and is the number five starter for the Dodgers. Expect him to be a good source of Ks, but his ratios won’t excite anyone. He should win 12-14 games if he plays the entire year.
OF Dave Krynzel, Milwaukee Brewers – With Brady Clark the everyday center fielder, Krynzel’s playing time might be limited. However, Krynzel has the ability to steal bases and should get some playing time just because of that. He managed to steal more than 40 bases per season except for last year, but everyone has an off season. One major detriment to Krynzel is the fact that he is seemingly becoming injury prone, which warrants some caution when adding him.
OF Willy Tavares, Houston Astros – If Chris Burke does not match expectations this spring or goes down with injury and Tavares hits well, jump on the bandwagon. Tavares is a speed demon in the mold of Freddie Guzman, but less people know about him. If given the everyday job in CF for the Astros, Tavares could steal 30 bases, but don’t expect much help in other categories.