Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Though rookies like Mike Trout and Jose Fernandez don't come along every season, there are still a number of young players who could end up helping your fantasy lineup in the 2014 season.
We won't include New York Yankees "rookie" Masahiro Tanaka, a veteran of seven professional seasons in the Japanese League, on the list as his 24-0 record last season already had him on fantasy radar screens and he won't be a surprise to any fantasy owner.
Let's look at a dozen lesser-known players and what they can do for you this season:
Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati (2014 Yahoo ADP 61) - By far the most heralded base stealer to enter the league since Ricky Henderson. Hamilton stole 13 bases in 13 games at the end of last season and 155 in the minors in 2012. He'll likely single-handedly win a fantasy owner the stolen base category, which is why the untested rookie is going around the end of the fifth round.
Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox (116) - The White Sox signed the Cuban slugger to hit the long ball like fellow countryman Yoenis Cespedes. During the 2013 Cuban league season, he batted .382 with 13 home runs and 36 RBI in just 42 games. The 27-year-old has legitimate power, but the culture shock of coming to America still makes him a gamble. We have projected 23 homers and 74 RBI in the White Sox's mediocre lineup, worthy of a 10th-round selection
Xander Bogaerts, Boston (187) - The Red Sox thought enough of Bogaerts to let Stephen Drew go to free agency. Bogaerts batted .297 with 15 home runs and 67 RBI between Double-A and Triple-A last season, and figures to bat seventh in a powerful Boston lineup.
Nick Castellanos, Detroit (237) - Castellanos is essentially replacing Prince Fielder in the Tigers lineup (Miguel Cabrera will shift to first base), but at least he won't have the pressure of protecting the MVP as well. Batting seventh, he should be allowed to slowly find his way and could hit 20 homers and knock in 80 runs.
George Springer, Houston (253) - Springer hit 37 home runs and knocked in 108 runs between Double-A and Triple-A last season. He would be the best outfielder on the Astros roster, though he figures to start the season in the minors for financial reasons. He'll be up by late May/early June and it is definitely worth stashing him in an unused roster spot until he gets there.
Oscar Taveras, St. Louis (286) - Taveras has major league talent, but a spring training injury and the lack of an open starting spot in the Cardinals outfield makes him a bit of a gamble with stashing. He played just 46 games last season due to injury and the team could opt to leave him in the minors until September.
Maikel Franco, Philadelphia (1190) - Franco is just 21 years old and had an opportunity to win the Phillies' third base job, but didn't do enough this spring. Still, the youngster smashed 31 home runs, knocked in 103 runs and batted .319 between Single-A and Double-A last season, and only has Cody Asche in his way. Franco is worth stashing in keeper leagues, but may not get an opportunity to help a fantasy lineup until September.
Travis d'Arnaud, New York Mets (1257) - He'll be the Mets' Opening Day catcher despite struggling this spring. He's not a 25-home run hitter and we question what kind of RBI total he can produce batting seventh or eighth in a mediocre offensive lineup. He's a better option in keeper leagues.
Yordano Ventura, Kansas City (264) - The 22-year-old right-hander put his massive talents on display this spring, going 20 1/3 innings and giving up just four runs (1.77 ERA) with a .934 WHIP and 18 strikeouts. He's already locked into the Royals' starting rotation and his strikeout ability makes him a prime candidate for fantasy stardom.
Taijuan Walker, Seattle (273) - Many thought last year would be the coming-out party for Walker, but the Mariners kept him down on the farm until almost September. In three starts, he gave up just 11 hits and struck out 12 batters. He's had shoulder problems this spring, which will delay the start of his season, but he has top-quality stuff.
Marcus Stroman, Toronto (632) - The 22-year-old put up very good numbers last season at Double-A (9-5, 3.30 ERA, 1.128 WHIP, 129 Ks in 111 innings). Given the weak back end of the Blue Jays' rotation, there is a good chance Stroman will be on the big club by June. Toronto can score runs; it just need someone to hold the opposition to a reasonable total. Stroman, with his mid-90s fastball and tough slider, can do that.
Archie Bradley, Arizona (643) - The season-ending injury to Patrick Corbin opened up a spot and Bradley should be the guy to fill it, though he won't. He has a major league fastball which registers in the mid-90s and a strikeout curveball. He was a combined 17-5 at Single-A and Double-A last season with 162 Ks in 152 IP. He'll surely be up by the middle of the season and is worth stashing.
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