5. Jurickson Profar, Rangers
Salary in '13 $0.491$
I was surprised to see the Rangers extend Elvis Andrus when they have Jurickson Profar waiting in the minors. Sure, they can use him as a second basemen, but they won't witness his full defensive potential until he plays shortstop. He has plus range to go along with a strong arm.
No matter what position he plays though, he'll always have his bat. Profar is a switch hitter and he hits extremely well from both sides of the plate. His physique makes him an unusual power candidate, but he gets through the zone quick with his bat resulting in home runs and doubles.
Profar is as sure a thing as you can get as a prospect. The only negative about Profar, or rather his situation is that there are no vacancies in Texas.
4. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
Salary in '13 $0.537M
Stanton is a midst a bad slump at the moment, but with his talent, he should have no problems reversing his fortunes. When things are going well for Stanton he's hitting true home runs. By true home runs I mean home runs that are no doubters. Not popups that just get over the wall. Stanton owned a .318 ISO last season. Along with that he had a wOBA of .405.
He needs to cut down on the strikeouts, 28.5% K%, but that's to be expected of a young power hitter. It's not ruining his value all to much anyways. Stanton posted a 5.7 WAR a season ago. This make Stanton one of the most prized young talents in all of baseball. General managers around baseball are seeking prospects to package to Miami in order to land this big fish. (Too much pun for you?) Whether he's in a Marlins uniform or not, Stanton is going to be the face of any franchise that he's associated with.
3. Justin Upton, Braves
Salary in '13 $9.75M
With Upton being traded to the Braves this past off-season, the Braves have two top position players to be candidates as franchise players. He's another one of the cheats on this list, but his contract is too much to be considered for the top spot. Upton does have the potential to be a top player in this league if he's not one already.
In little over a half decade Upton has put together some streaky seasons. One year he'll have a .385 wOBA, the next year a .340 wOBA. Now if that's Upton at his worst, you know that he's a special player. If his success continues, 2013 will be his best season yet. He has already accumulated a 1.4 WAR. Not even 20 games in and he's already close to his 2012 WAR total of 2.0. If Upton is going to be considered one of the best in the league he's going to have to show more consistency year in and year out.
2. Bryce Harper, Nationals
Salary in '13 $0.75$
Bryce Harper is already a star in this league and is widely considered a preseason MVP candidate. That's how good this 20 year old kid is. Harper had 139 games his rookie season to transition to the life of a big leaguer. He posted a .340 OBP, .477 SLG, .340 wOBA, 121 wRC+, and a 4.5 WAR. Those numbers were good enough to earn him the National League Rookie of The Year award last year.
This season he's completely taking the league by storm. While everyone is drooling over what Justin Upton is doing in Atlanta, Harper is putting together a nice April himself. So far Harper has 7 home runs in 19 games. Opposing National League pitchers should be getting worried about this kid because he's starting to reveal his power. Harper has increased his ISO from .206 in 2012 to a whopping .352 presently. It may decline over the course of the season, but expect him to hit 30 homers this year.
1. Mike Trout, Angels
Salary in '13 $0.51M
I probably switched the top player to start a franchise with 100 times between Trout and Harper. I admit, Harper's quick start had me wanting to select him, but I can't let such a small sample size take precedent over an entire season of work. So, Mike Trout was picked, and I don't think I will receive much flack for my selection.
Not only did Trout have an amazing rookie year, but he had one of the greatest seasons of all-time. Many, including myself, were petitioning him to be the American League MVP. Trout posted a 10.0 WAR combined with a .409 wOBA. The guy knows how to hit, but that's not all he knows. Trout has more value in his game with his defense and baserunning. Trout's incredible speed allows him to be able to make plays not many can make. So while Harper can hit, I'd take the added value that lies in Trout's defense and speed.