Over at Fake Teams, Jason Hunt has been publishing his early prospect position rankings, and recently he posted his Early Top 20 Fantasy Outfield Prospects for 2013. Jason ranked Royals outfield prospect Wil Myers as his No.1 fantasy outfield prospect for next year, just ahead of Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras. One could argue that Tavaras is the better outfield prospect and I wouldn't disagree.
But is there another, better choice, for the No. 1 fantasy outfield prospect for 2013? How about the minor league record holder in stolen bases, Reds outfield prospect Billy Hamilton? I was trading emails with another fantasy owner on Friday night while watching the Cardinals tremendous comeback to beat Bryce Harper and the Nationals on Friday night, and he asked if Hamilton is the better option than Myers or Taveras. HIs reasoning was that he could steal 100 bases in the big leagues. My response was "I am not sure if he can hit enough to steal 100 bases".
Here are their minor league stats, courtesy of Baseball-Reference:
|2012||21||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AAA-AA||134||522||98||164||26||6||37||109||61||140||.314||.387||.600||.987||313|
Myers was named the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year in September, capping a monster 2012 season for him. He was limited due to injuries in 2011, and some questioned his top prospect status as his numbers were below expectations in 2011. But he showed he was in good health with a solid Arizona Fall League campaign in 2011 , and regained his prospect status. Many, including me, felt that he could be a mid-season call up in 2012, but Dayton Moore and the rest of the Royals front office thought otherwise, allowing Myers to feast on AA and AAA pitching for the whole season. If not for the August home run surge from Phillies prospect Darren Ruf, Myers would have lead all minor leagues in home runs this season.
Myers proved that he could handle more advanced pitching in AAA, hitting 24 HRs, scoring 66 runs and driving in 79 runs in less than 400 at bats in the Pacific Coast League this season. With the move to AAA, his strikeout rate dropped from 27.6% to 22.3%, while his walk rate remained relatively constant.
I would be shocked if he does not start the 2013 season in the big leagues. The Royals are looking to improve their rotation this offseason, so assuming the Royals go the trade route to obtain a starting pitcher could open up a roster spot for Myers to show off his talents to Royals fans for the next 5 - 6 years.
Oscar Taveras had an excellent season at AA Springfield in 2012, terrorizing Texas League pitching by triple slashing .321-.380-.572 with 23 HRs, 83 runs, 94 RBI while displaying a solid eye at the plate as evidenced by his 56-42 strikeout to walk rate in 477 at bats. Earning comparisons to former All Star Vladimir Guerrero, Taveras' free swinging at the plate has yet to hurt him in the batting average or power department.
I see him advancing to AAA to start the 2013 season, as the Cardinals are a team that does not rush their prospects, and their outfield is full with the likes of Matt Holliday in left field, John Jay in center field and Carlos Beltran in right field. I could see Taveras staying in AAA for the whole season, with a possible call up if one of their starting outfielders gets hurt.
|2012||21||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A+-AA||132||512||112||159||22||14||2||45||155||37||86||113||.311||.410||.420||.830||215|