11) Andrew Heaney, LHP, Los Angeles Angels – Heaney was traded twice in the same day during this year’s Winter Meetings, and has landed with the Angels, where he will likely start the year as the team’s fifth starter while Garrett Richards is still on the mend. Heaney is arguably the best left-handed pitching prospect in baseball, so once he makes the rotation he should be able to stick. The problem may be Nick Tropeano, who is battling Heaney for the fifth spot, and I am told the Angels are very high on too, so it is no guarantee Heaney gets the job. If he does, he could be a future ace and flash that ability at times this year. He will also have some clunkers, so he may be a better bet in weekly leagues where you can play the matchups and hopefully take advantage of his big games.
12) Andrew Susac, C, San Francisco Giants – Ok, this one may be a bit of a stretch, but I did say the rookies who will have the biggest impact this year. Susac’s impact may not come purely in his own numbers, but also in the numbers he will allow Buster Posey to put up. I have been on record in saying Posey will soon be very overrated, especially if he becomes a full-time first baseman which, with Susac’s ability behind the plate, may be sooner than later. The impact on Posey this year, however, is that he will be remained fresh with days off from catching and should put up very good numbers for a catcher. Susac is no slouch himself though. He may not be a great starter for your standard fantasy team, but in a two catcher league, he could bring some sneaky value.
13) Michael Taylor, OF, Washington Nationals – With Denard Span expected to begin the 2015 season on the DL, Taylor should be the Nationals opening day center fielder, and he has all the ability to never let go of the job. Taylor was once thought to be a defense and speed prospect, as he is a solid center fielder and has stolen more than 60 bags in three of the last four seasons in the minors. Last year was a breakout year for Taylor, as he started to hit for power that is expected to only improve. He has a very quick bat and a big lower half which is where the power comes from. He can be a strikeout risk, and could lose playing time when Span comes back, but he does have 25/25 upside.
14) Marco Gonzales, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals – Based on pure stuff, Gonzales probably would not even make this list. But when you put a lefty with a good feel for pitching and command of three pitches into the Cardinals rotation, you end up as a legit fantasy option. Gonzales won’t get a whole lot of strikeouts, despite betting eight per nine in just under 35 innings in his 2014 debut campaign. There is also a chance Gonzales is left out of the rotation, but with Carlos Martinez having a history of struggling as a starter and signs of being a dominant late-inning reliever, that fifth spot should go to Gonzales.
15) Daniel Norris, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays – While the Stroman injury had a massive impact on Aaron Sanchez, all it did for the “man in the van” was solidify his spot as the fifth starter. He has a solid fastball and a rare curveball/slider duo that allows him to strikeout batters at a rate better than one per inning. He will struggle with command at times, allowing too many walks and potentially killing your WHIP at times, but his mistakes tend to be down in the zone so his ERA should remain solid even in the dangerous AL East.