It's another edition of The Kids Are Alright. This week we're looking at three impact hitters, two coming from premium positions for fantasy owners: Yankees outfielder Slade Heathcott, Arizona third baseman Matt Davidson and Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong.
Slade Heathcott, OF, New York Yankees
He's more than just a cool name. Slade Heathcott is part of the rejuvenated Yankees outfield. He's come up through the system with top prospects Mason Williams and Tyler Austin. These three could form an entirely homegrown outfield in the Bronx, an exciting prospect for Yankees fans and for fantasy owners alike. The current regime of Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro won't last much longer. Bring on the kids.
Before Heathcott can usher in the new outfield order, he needs to overcome a long history of injuries. Two shoulder surgeries on his throwing arm have set back his progress. It's a shame because Heathcott has great speed as a runner, plus power and good arm strength even after the surgeries. He has five tool potential and swings from the left side. He's looking for a better year for his durability; he had only 298 at-bats in 2010, his highest total for any year in his career.
All three outfield prospects would suit fantasy owners well. Heathcott, Austin and Williams have the tools to play center and they can all hit. The trio would most likely be together in New York in 2015, mostly due to Heathcott's slow progress after his injuries.
Matt Davidson, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks
Power in the California League can be an illusion at times, but for Matt Davidson, his 20 home run year in Visalia in 2011 was no joke. He followed it up with a 23 homer season in 2012 at Double-A Mobile and slightly improved his OBP. Davidson will hit for power - doubles and home runs- - though he won't do much for your fantasy batting average, likely hovering around .260.
He's big and built like a power hitter, and with some questionable defense and little speed, he's locked into a corner infield position. Arizona kept him at third this year after platooning him at first and third with Bobby Borchering in Visalia. Paul Goldschmidt is locked in at first base for the Diamondbacks.
Third base in Arizona is dismal, with Martin Prado and Eric Chavez as the options there. What a mess. Davidson might get a shot to win the third base job this spring. If he falls short, he'll report to Triple-A Reno where he'll need to shore up his defense. Once he's ready, he'll be another future slugger for the Snakes.
For more on Davidson, take a look at this piece I did on him for milb.com in 2011.
Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals
Wong is somewhat lost in the shuffle in the Cardinals system, what with all the pitching and No. 1 guy Oscar Taveres ahead of him. If you need a second baseman, don't overlook Wong. He's the second best position player in the system and he's at a premium position for fantasy owners. He has .300 hitting potential, has some pop and he will get on base. He puts pressure on fielders and pitchers with his aggressive approach at the plate and with his base running. Wong is also good defensively.
Wong is one of the best second base prospects in the game. Right now it's easy to see him as an impact player like Marco Scutaro was last year for the Giants - a guy who gets it done at the plate under any circumstance. He's a much better option than David Descalso.
After a good year at Double-A in 2012 where he showed doubles power and enough speed to rack up a few triples, Wong will head to Triple-A. He may be in St. Louis this summer.
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