Repost from 2014: Taking a look at 1 under the radar prospect from each AL East team that will have a major league impact in 2014.
They may not be sexy. They may not win you any fantasy championships. Or maybe they will. You just never know where the next big name is going to come from.
Here’s a look at one prospect from each AL East squad that will contribute at the MLB level in 2014.
July 15, 2015: Sometimes it’s fun to take a look back in the time tunnel to see what we were thinking about 16 months ago. We were prepping for the 2014 fantasy baseball season, and seeing as many of us at Moxyball are deep league enthusiasts, diving deep into farm systems is key to uncovering some potential gems that may not be on anybody’s radar or draft board. Getting every advantage you can is critical. And with that, let’s have a look at a post from February 2014 where we talked about prospects in the American League East that had potential (at the time) to have some sort of impact for their respective teams. I definitely didn’t bat 100% in this one here, but there are certainly some useful fantasy names on this list that are helping some managers in 2015 – be it DFS or season long.
Tampa Bay Rays
Kevin Kiermaier, Outfielder
- K to the power of 2 is an outfielder with solid speed and defense. A polished hitter that doesn’t strike out much (45 BB vs 87 K in 2013) is exactly the type of guy Joe Maddon loves to have on his bench when he needs a reliable body to call on. He got a look in 2013 (one MLB defensive appearance – but no at bats!) so clearly he’s a guy they are going to look to at some point in 2014. If injuries strike in the Tampa Bay OF (and let’s face it, Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce don’t exactly have the cleanest medical histories), Kiermaier could even land a semi-full time role.
- Just missed the cut: Tim Beckham, Hak-Ju Lee, Mikie Mahtook
Boston Red Sox
Bryce Brentz, Outfielder
- This guy has been talked about for a few years as a prospect on the verge of breaking into the majors. But he hasn’t taken that “next step” to elevate his game as many have hoped he would. That doesn’t mean he won’t be useful or able to play at the major league level. Plenty of guys without stellar minor league stats make it to the show and prove they have what it takes to stick around. Brentz is an outfielder with modest power and a good feel for hitting. He has the ability to hit the ball out of the park, and in Fenway – this is something that happens more often than in most other ballparks. Especially for pull hitters. Look for Brentz to get a handful of at bats in a Red Sox uni in 2014.
- Just missed the cut: Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo
Eduardo Rodriguez, Pitcher
- His name has been mentioned a couple of times in trade rumors, bringing his visibility to baseball fans much stronger than a few months back. He profiles as a steady left-handed arm with the ability to eat innings and for the most part, throw strikes. He still has some control issues (3.1 BB/9 in 2013) but scouts expect him to figure this out in 2014. If not – he still has the stuff to profile as a back-end starter in the majors. With a pretty shaky rotation, it’s highly plausible that we see Rodriguez make a handful of starts in 2014.
- Just missed the cut: Mike Wright, Tyler Wilson
Toronto Blue Jays
Sean Nolin, Starting Pitcher
- As a Jays fan, it’s clear they have issues in the pitching department at the MLB level. I also got to watch Nolin pitch in his MLB debut this past summer. It was bad. But – he is not a bad pitcher. Nerves and “the MLB debut moment” can absolutely get in the way of performing to one’s abilities the first time they make it to the show. Nolin may not have the kind of upside that people love to see from prospects – but he could easily be an end of the rotation type guy that helps eat innings and keep his team in the game. He put up over a K an inning in 2013, compiled a .248 BAVG against and only walked 35 in 110.1 innings. Not a bad set of numbers for a 6’5” southpaw who’s still only 24 years old. I expect to see him in the powder blue as early as June 2014, and with some fortunate injury circumstances (I’m looking at you, everyone in the Jays rotation not named Mark Buehrle or R.A. Dickey), could make anywhere between 5-15 starts.
- Just missed the cut: A.J. Jimenez, Kevin Pillar, Josh Stilson
New York Yankees
Masahiro Tanaka, Starting Pitcher
- Just kidding. This guy will probably be their best starter for the next 5 years.
Manny Banuelos, Pitcher
- Remember this guy? Not too long ago this guy was a top prospect in the Yankees organization. Injury after injury has buried him at the bottom of prospect lists heading into 2014. Finally healthy and still showing his plus fastball that explodes out of his left hand – we’ll be seeing him in a pinstripe uniform this summer, at the very least in a LOOGY role.
- Just missed the cut – Mike Montgomery, Tyler Austin, J.R. Murphy
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