Ten Prospects That Could See Playing Time in 2015
Cubs’ Soler Tops The List Going Into 2015
Here’s a list of my top 10 hitting prospects, that could see significant playing time at the major league level in 2015. In addition to grading on talent, I also had to factor in potential playing time. This list is for fantasy purposes, so defensive value was not considered.
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1) Jorge Soler, Cubs – Projected to be the starting right fielder for the Cubs on opening day, Soler is a plus hitter with plus power and we could see .280/.350/.480 with 25-30 home runs as soon as this year. One word of caution, Soler has had some leg problems throughout his minor league career. Assuming he stays healthy, Soler likely approaches 600 plate appearances in 2015.
2) Kris Bryant, Cubs – Bryant is expected to start 2015 in the minors at least for most of April, but he should be up with the Cubs soon after as their starting third baseman. I expect Bryant to get around 500 plate appearances, and we could see .270/.350/.550 with 23-28 home runs. A lot of swing and miss in Bryant’s game so we could see an inconsistent batting average early in his career.
3) Steven Souza, Rays – Souza is projected to be the starting right fielder for the Rays to start 2015. He has intriguing power and speed and is a 20/20 threat which could also come with .270/.320/.450. He’s off to a slow start in spring training, so worth keeping an eye on if that changes the Rays plan.
4) Joc Pederson, Dodgers – Pederson is projected to be the starting center fielder for the Dodgers on opening day. Similar to Souza, Pederson too offers 20/20 upside, but the batting average is going to be a bit more of a question but we could see .250/.300/.420. Hitting toward the back-end of the Dodgers batting order will affect the counting stats too.
5) Devon Travis, Blue Jays – Travis has an excellent chance to be the starting second baseman in Toronto on opening day. Even if that doesn’t happen, I expect he’ll exceed 500 plate appearances in 2015. He’s a contact hitter with a line drive stroke, average speed but excellent instincts and fringe average power. I think we could see .285/.340/.430 with 12-15 home runs and 14-18 stolen bases.
6) Micah Johnson, White Sox – If Johnson isn’t the White Sox starting second baseman on opening day, he likely will be by the end of April (thanks in part to his monster Spring). He has plus, plus speed, a line drive approach that should lead to a decent batting average, and below average power. If he manages to get 600 plate appearances, we could see .270/.320/.390 4-8 home runs, 30-40 stolen bases.
7) Dalton Pompey, Blue Jays – Pompey is penciled in as the starting center fielder for the Blue Jays. He has plus speed and fringe power to go with an average hit tool. Assuming he gets 600 plate appearances we could see .270/.320/.400 with 8-12 home runs and 20-30 stolen bases.
8) Francisco Lindor, Indians – There’s an excellent chance Lindor gets a mid-season call up and I’m projecting 350 plate appearances for him. He is an above average hitter with fringe power and plus speed, and we could see .275/.320/.390 with 4-8 home runs and 14-18 stolen bases. As a slick fielding short stop, he’ll always be more valuable in real baseball than fantasy but .280, 8-12 home runs and 20-25 stolen bases annually isn’t too shabby, especially from short stop.
9) Maikel Franco, Phillies – Franco’s reign as the starting third baseman in Philly will begin at some point in 2015, I suspect around June. He combines plus power with an excellent contact rate. I think there’s a good chance he sees 350 plate appearances in Philly in 2015, and he likely hits .260/.310/.440 with 10-14 home runs. He figures to be an excellent power source for years to come.
10) Giovanny Urshela, Indians – Urshela, was the minor league position player of the year for the Indians in 2014. He has shown an excellent contact rate throughout the minors, and he became more selective and nearly doubled his walk rate, in addition to showing more consistent power in 2014. Lonnie Chisenhall is the starting third baseman in Cleveland and he fizzled badly after a hot start in 2014, hitting .225/.283/.318 from July 1st on. It’s difficult to say how much playing time Urshala will get in 2015, but he’ll likely hit .270/.310/.410 with 8-12 home runs if he gets 350 plate appearances.
Next up will be pitchers that could see a significant amount of playing time in the bigs in 2015.
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