Chris Parmelee, 1B/OF Minnesota- Two short years ago Parmelee looked like a 1st round bust. Today he looks like a lock for a starting spot in the Twins opening day lineup.
He tore the cover off the ball during a 21-game stint last September, hitting .355 with four HR, 14 RBI and 12 walks drawn. He hasn't skipped a beat during spring training, producing a .302/3/8 triple slash. Right field is ripe for the picking and regular playing time will be available at 1B or DH, whichever position Justin Morneau isn't occupying. Target Field is a rough park on left-handed power, but Parmelee has greatly increased his line drive percentage (and BB: K ratio) over the past two seasons. Ignore this peaking 24-year old on draft day at your own risk.
Jose Iglesias, SS Boston- Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine is a supreme evaluator of talent, and he clearly believes in Iglesias. The recently turned 22-year old is a defensive wizard, but lack of plate discipline has cost him an extended early shot in the majors. His overall offensive ceiling is limited by a small frame and underwhelming power potential (10 XBH in 357 AB last season at AAA). However, Iglesias does possess the tools to be a solid average hitter with improved pitch recognition and approach (5/25 in spring). He will need to utilize his speed and athleticism on the base paths (12 SB) to warrant fantasy consideration in AL-only leagues. With Mike Aviles being flaunted as trade bait and Nick Punto--well, being Nick Punto-- don't be surprised to see Iglesias and his slick glove at shortstop on opening day. Perhaps a step up in competition is what he requires to flip the switch.
Dayan Viciedo, OF Chicago AL- Carlos Quentin has been removed from the picture in Chi-town and Viciedo is all but guaranteed a starting outfield spot. With that being said, a 4/40 showing (14 strikeouts) in spring training isn't going to hook many believers. The same can be said for his below average mobility (240 lbs.) defensively at either corner spot. His offensive arsenal is not in question. Similar to the feeling out process that Cuban compatriot Alexei Ramirez battled, Viciedo is overswinging badly and needs experience to find a happy medium between contact/power. He displayed glimpses of his potential in 2010, batting .308 with five homers and a .519 SLG% in 104 plate appearances (albeit with a 2:25 BB: K ratio). If you're seeking a low risk, high reward run producer with raw power to all fields, take a flyer with Viciedo in the late rounds of mixed leagues.
Devin Mesoraco, C Cincinnati- After struggling badly upon his introduction to professional baseball at the lower levels, the Reds 1st round pick in 2007 has righted the ship with a vengeance. His path to regular catching duty is blocked only by power-deficient Ryan Hanigan, meaning he will get ample opportunities to showcase his skills on the biggest stage. Mesoraco possesses ferocious pop to the pull side (41 HR between 2010 and 2011) and the kiddie porch in left at Great American Ballpark should be very much to his liking. While he hasn't earned the starting job yet (.180 BA during September call-up), the 225 pound backstop has excellent fantasy potential both for the upcoming campaign and down the road. His superior catching skills will only serve to expedite the process.
Keep an eye on Seattle's Alex Liddi. The 23-year old from Italy lacks a true position (6'4 230) and the Mariners are crowded at 1B, 3B and DH, but Liddi is opening eyes with his bat. He ranks 2nd amongst all major leaguers with a .429 batting average in ST and has knocked in a run every 3.5 at bats. Justin Smoak and Chone Figgins would be wise to start quickly.
Written by Adam Ganeles exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. Follow Adam (@AdamGaneles) and The Fantasy Fix on Twitter @thefantasyfix.
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