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Who will be the next Tim Lincecum, Francisco Liriano and Buster Posey? I’ve put together a few newcomers to watch this year. These are the guys to watch this year and possibly use on your fantasy team.
J.P. Arencibia C (Blue Jays) – Sure, this guy might be turning 25, but he’s at the majors, and he’s ready. Last year in Triple-A, he hit .301 and hit 32 homers in a little over 100 games. In Toronto, he pretty much has the starting gig locked up. While his batting average will never be the same and his OBP isn’t going to be very high, his power should translate well to the majors and you can expect about 20 dingers. He is a great sleeper pick. I wouldn’t draft him to be your starting catcher right away, but put him on your bench and see what he does because he likely won’t be drafted in many leagues. He could develop into something more than a bench warmer this year.
Freddie Freeman 1B (Braves) – This is another guy that has his job all but locked up. He is a great contact hitter, who has a knack for finding the gaps in the outfield to leg out doubles. He probably isn’t going to be the next Joey Votto or Albert Pujols, but he’s a guy that you know is going to get at-bats, and he is capable of hitting around the .280 range his first year.
Jeremy Hellickson P (Rays) – This guy is probably as ready as they come. He has a 4 pitch arsenal and commands all of them well. Throughout his career in the minors, he compiled a 2.71 ERA, and averaged nearly 10 strikeouts per 9 innings. In other words, he is capable of keeping a solid ERA under 4, and will help boost your team in strikeouts, while providing a quality WHIP. The Rays traded away Matt Garza, and expect him to step right into his shoes and perform. The only red flag is that he hasn’t appeared in a game at Triple-A, but experts believe he is ready right now.
Domonic Brown RF (Phillies) – He hits around .300 in the minors with decent power and speed, a somewhat rare combination. He is a multi-tool talent who seems like the logical choice for the vacant right field spot left by the departure of Jayson Werth, but the Phillies don’t seem to want to commit to him just yet. It looks like he has a few problems such as hitting the major league change-up and pitch recognition, but the only way he’ll be able to improve on those is to get at-bats in the majors. In a worst case scenario, I see him being able to produce enough to keep him in the lineup, with the upside to develop into something special. By the end of the season, he could find his way into your starting fantasy lineup.