We take a look at the young hitters in the National League who have at least have a good amount of games under their belts and analyze them on the possible star potential in 2010. Not looking at rookies in this article. This list is in alphabetical order.
Kyle Blanks - SD - OF - Age 23
09 Stats - 10HR - 22RBI - 24R - 1SB - .250 Avg
I like the fact that Blanks had a .355 OBP but what is concerning is Blanks struck out 37% of the time in 148 AB's. That is a bit alarming. I have read articles concerned about what Blanks average will be. As long as Blanks can hit .250 he can give you good power numbers for 2010, as Blanks has monster pop although plays in a huge ball park. Could be a star one day and he did lose about 20 pounds in the off season but I don't see it for 2010.
Jay Bruce - Cinn - OF - Age 23 1st week of April
09 Stats - 22HR - 58RBI - 47R - 3SB - .223 Avg
08 Stats - 21HR - 52RBI - 63R - 4SB - .254 Avg
Jay Bruce a couple of years ago was Baseball America's #1 overall prospect. Bruce has the potential to be a lethal hitter and plays in a very small ball park. When Bruce came up in June of 08 he played like Roy Hobbs (The movie the Natural) but since then he has had growing pains. Bruce also has to cut down on his K's some what in 2009 where he struck out 22% of the time while in 2008 it was 27% of the time. Bruce has a good chance as anyone on this list to become a star player in 2010 if he can get those K's down. It will mean a much higher average and bigger overall numbers.
Chris Coghlan - Fla - OF - Age 25 in June
09 Stats - 9HR - 47RBI - 84R - 8SB - .321 Avg
Coghlan is a line drive hitting machine and love the fact he had a .390 OBP in 09. That is a strong sign. Going to hit lead off for the Marlins and while I don't think he will be a star Roto player, he could be a guy who gives you a strong average, 100 runs and maybe low teens in HR & SB.
Alcides Escobar - Mil - SS - Age 24
09 Stats - 1HR - 11RBI - 20R - 4SB - .304 Avg
Escobar came up in August last year and looked solid. I have read and heard in a lot of places that Escobar can get you a lot of steals and while I think Escobar will be a good SB guy for 2010 I would temper that enthusiam a bit (be conservative and think around 20). I do like Escobar but the thing that jumps out at me is Escobar only had 4 walks in 125 AB's last year with the Brewers. The most walks Escobar had in a minor league season was 32. This is could be a warning sign that 2010 will have a number of slumps for Escobar.
Dexter Fowler - Col - OF - Age 24
09 Stats - 4HR - 34RBI - 73R - 27SB - .266 Avg
Fowler is a sick looking athlete. I like the .363 OBP Fowler showed last year. If he can cut down on his K's this year (116K in 433 AB's) I can see a big improvement in 2010. Has the potential to be a top of the order star but if that happens probably will be after this season.
Carlos Gonzalez - Col - OF - Age 24
09 Stats - 13HR - 29RBI - 53R - 16SB - .284 Avg
08 Stats - 4HR - 26RBI - 31R - 4SB - .242 Avg in Oakland
If I was betting man and someone told me from this list one player would become a roto star in 2010 I would bet on Carlos Gonzalez. How can you not like his power & speed combo. Again if he can make strides cutting down on his K's (25 % in 09) I can see a special year in 2010. Remember Colorado got Gonzalez from Oakland in the Matt Holiday trade.
Cameron Maybin - Fla - OF - Age 23 1st week of April
09 Stats - 4HR - 13RBI - 30R - 1SB - .250 Avg in 176 AB's
I like that after a bad start to the season in Flordia and being sent back to AAA Maybin responded hitting .319 with a OBP of .399. Maybin is going to start the season batting 2nd as of now. Maybin has crazy skills and is capable of being great fantasy player with his power and speed. Look for progress in 2010 but the future looks very bright.
Andrew McCutchen - Pitt - OF - Age 23
09 Stats - 12HR - 54RBI - 74RBI - 22SB - .286 Avg
What's not to like about McCutchen? Should be nice pop and strong speed at the top of the lineup. I see a guy who will be mid teens in HR & 30 plus steals. Only danger for 2010 is expectations might be very high for McCutchen so he might press and get off to a slow start. Should be a $30 fantasy player for years to come.
Colby Rasmus - Stl - OF - Age 23
09 Stats - 16HR - 52RBI - 72R - 3SB - .251 Avg
When Rasmus was a top prospect in AAA I read that he would give Jim Edmonds numbers with 15 to 20 steals. That sounds pretty good to me. Rasmus rookie year would have been really nice with the numbers above if he had 13 steals instead of 3. What you read Rasmus has mid to high teen SB potential. That factor will determine is he is a good fantasy player or one knocking on the door as a $30 player in an NL only league.
Ian Stewart - Col - 2B/3B - Age 25 1st week of April
09 Stats - 25HR - 70RBI - 74R - 7SB - .228 Avg
08 Stats - 10HR - 41RBI - 33E - 1SB - .259 Avg
If Stewart hit .260 last year he would love his year especially considering he had only 425 AB's and qualifies at 2B as well as 3B. But Stewart hit .228 which is a killer. Again like almost everyone on this list if Stewart can cut down his K's (struck out 32% of the time in 09 Yikes !!!) Stewart can take a huge step from last year and at 2B to boot.
In analyzing these young potential stars I think have shown the red flags on all as well as the positives. Again, to me looking at each guy if I was to bet who would emerge with a huge 2010 I would say Carlos Gonzalez then Jay Bruce followed by Andrew McCutchen. Don't forget that with a young player with a lot of potential in many cases they are dealing with high expectations going into a season for the 1st time and that can cause some very slow starts. You must be patient with young players and be conservative with your projections with them as well.
NL King - C. Lizza
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