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Fantasy Football Maniaxs


June 26, 2010 5:21 AM

Fantasy Baseball Power Prospects: Justin Smoak and Mike

justin_smoak.jpgPower has become the fancy of Major League Baseball over the last few seasons.

With every homer, fans (and fantasy owners) buzz at the sight of 5.25-ounce white projectiles soaring 400 feet into the stands.

When you think of the best power hitters in the game today, guys like Albert Pujols, Mark Reynolds, Ryan Braun and Ryan Howard come to mind.

 

But as the game begins to dig into the next batch of instant game-changers, two of the guys to keep an eye on will be outfielder Mike Stanton of the Florida Marlins and first baseman Justin Smoak of the Texas Rangers.

 

Stanton (20) and Smoak (23) have been massive power threats throughout their professional careers and only project to improve as they fill out their respective 6'5" and 6'4" frames.

 

Even while each has seen his fair share of time in the Majors this seasons (13 games for Stanton and 56 for Smoak), they are both still developing and are very projectable moving forward.

 

Smoak, a switch-hitter, was the 11th overall pick in the 2008 draft by the Rangers and has rocketed through the Texas system--playing only one full season in the minors and collecting a mere 247 at-bats above AA.

 

The South Carolina native collected 12 homers in 106 games between Rookie Ball, AA, and AAA as a 22-year-old while posting a .290/.410/.443 line on his way to becoming the No. 9 prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.

 

While the .443 slugging percentage may not scream "super power," his total of 34 extra-base hits and .410 OBP (which was aided by a pretty respectable 75:81 BB:K ratio) scream "excellent eye with power to come."

 

Plus, as I said earlier, he's only going to fill out that 6'4" frame (and garner more power) as he matures more and more (so, for now, you can ignore his MLB line of .223/.332/.399).

 

He'll probably never be a 50 home run guy, but he's going to be an Adrian Gonzalez-esque run producer--a guy that can be counted on year in and year out for a home run total in the 30s and a plentitude of RBIs (as well as a glove to keep him in the lineup).

 

Mike Stanton, on the other hand, is a 50 homer guy.

 

Over the course of his minor league career, the California native has been nothing short of incredible as he tallied a homer once every 13.4 ABs (including an incredible rate of one bomb every 9.1 ABs in 53 AAA games in 2010).

 

That's raw power right there.

 

But don't let that make you think that that's all Jonathan Mayo's No. 3 prospect can do.

 

In three full minor league seasons, the 2007 second-rounder garnered a line of .274/.369/.570 and amassed 76 of his total 165 extra-base hits via something other than the long ball (including 10 triples).

 

Oh, and with the 21 homers he hit at AAA in 2010, he also garnered a .313/.442/.729 line and 44 walks to 53 Ks (not flooring, but still pretty good for a power guy).

 

The only concern that comes with Stanton is his immaculate strikeout totals (including 153 in 125 games with single-A Greensboro in 2008 and 144 in 129 games split between A+ and AA in 2009), as he has amassed a K for every 3.6 plate appearances in his minor league career.

 

His eye hasn't improved much since joining Florida's big squad (his 5:22 BB:K ratio isn't pretty), but he is only 20 and can be expected to move into power-hitting royalty in years to come.

 

Both of these guys are already seeing a fair amount of playing time in their rookie seasons.

 

While neither of them has found immediate success (hey, not everyone can be Jason Heyward--and even he is riding a three-and-a-half week slump), their futures aren't bleak by any stretch of the imagination.

 

As each of them matures, look for them to become fantasy studs in the years to come.

By Cameron Britt, analyst at Fantasy Baseball Maniaxs

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