Talent pool: 10 prospects ready to make splash

Seager, Buxton, Matz among rookies likely to contribute in fantasy

March 7th, 2016

Decades may pass before baseball sees another rookie class to rival 2015's historic group. Carlos Correa, Kris Bryant, Miguel Sano, Francisco Lindor, Kyle Schwarber, Noah Syndergaard and Lance McCullers Jr. -- well, let's just say the list of players who arrived in the Majors and immediately made a massive impact goes on and on.

While 2016's rookie crop isn't as enthralling, it still offers plenty of help for big league and fantasy teams alike. The two best prospects in the game, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and Twins center fielder Byron Buxton, are also this year's two best prospects for fantasy baseball. That said, our rankings below are based solely on projected 2016 fantasy production and differ from MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, which is assembled with an eye toward long-term all-around value.

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1. Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers (No. 1 on Top 100)

Reinforcing the idea that he should have been promoted a lot earlier, Seager hit .337/.425/.561 during his September callup. He has a higher offensive ceiling than any Major League shortstop not named Correa and could hit .280 with 20 homers in his first full season with Los Angeles. He's going to be a better player than his brother, Mariners All-Star Kyle Seager.

2. Byron Buxton, OF, Twins (No. 2)

Yes, Buxton has a history of injuries and batted just .209/.250/.326 in his first shot with Minnesota last summer. Yet no prospect can match his all-around tools, which prompt comparisons to Mike Trout -- who just so happened to struggle in his first taste of the big leagues before becoming the game's best player the following year. We're not saying Buxton is going to make a run at the American League MVP Award, but a 15-homer, 35-steal season is very possible after the Twins cleared his path to a starting job with their offseason trade of Aaron Hicks.

3. Steven Matz, LHP, Mets (No. 15)

Rookie pitchers typically don't already have a World Series start on their résumés, but Matz can claim one. He was spectacular in six regular-season starts -- going 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP and 34 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings -- and wouldn't qualify as rookie if a lat injury hadn't kept him from exceeding the 50-inning threshold. Matz won't match those numbers over a full year in 2016, but he should help fantasy teams in every pitching category except for saves.

4. Trea Turner, SS, Nationals (No. 11)

Turner is Washington's best shortstop right now, though the club may open the season with Danny Espinosa in its lineup and Stephen Drew backing him up. But once he gets a shot, Turner should battle Buxton for the rookie lead in steals. And while his near-top-of-the-line speed attracts the most attention, he also can hit for average and has enough sneaky pop to reach double digits in homers.

5. Byung Ho Park, DH, Twins (ineligible)

The first Korea Baseball Organization hitter to record consecutive 50-homer seasons, Park hit .343 with 53 homers, 146 RBIs and 129 runs in 140 games in 2015. While the slugger won't equal those video-game numbers in the Majors, Minnesota invested $24.85 million in him because it believes his power is for real. After his former Nexen Heroes teammate Jung Ho Kang showed during 2015 that KBO stars can make it in the United States, Park could swat 20-plus homers this year.

6. Kenta Maeda, RHP, Dodgers (ineligible)

Los Angeles paid a $20 million posting fee and guaranteed $25 million with another possible $81.2 million in incentives in an eight-year contract to add Maeda, who won his second Sawamura Award (Japan's equivalent of the Cy Young Award) in 2015. He's not overpowering, but he's an efficient and crafty pitcher who can throw four offerings for strikes, which should translate well to MLB.

7. Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins (No. 19)

Berrios combines stuff and polish better than most pitching prospects, which is why Minnesota's decision not to give him a look as a starter while chasing a Wild Card berth in 2015 was puzzling. He led the Minors with 175 strikeouts in 166 1/3 innings last year and will be the Twins' best starting pitcher as soon as they give him an opportunity.

8. Blake Snell, LHP, Rays (No. 15)

Snell began 2015 with 46 consecutive scoreless innings and finished it as the Minors' ERA leader (1.41), climbing from Class A Advanced to Triple-A in the process. His command could use some fine-tuning, but he has no-hit stuff and some evaluators consider him the game's best pitching prospect.

9. Trevor Story, SS, Rockies (unranked)

With a possible domestic-violence suspension looming over Jose Reyes, Story could open the season as Colorado's starting shortstop and reap the benefits of Coors Field. A 15-15 rookie season isn't out of the question for the youngster, who produced a 20-20 season last year between Double-A and Triple-A.

10. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (No. 10)

Glasnow may not have an obvious opening in Pittsburgh's rotation, but he has the pure stuff to force his way in. He has one of the most untouchable fastballs in the Minors, backs it up with a plus curveball and has made consistent progress with his command.