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Mon Jun 4, 2012 1:01am|
By Chris Hadorn
KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting series highlights the exploits of minor league baseball players, including top MLB prospects. Find out who'll make an impact, whether it's in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball game next week or in your fantasy baseball keeper league two years from now.
At the beginning of the season, Texas Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland was thought of as a marginal player at the premium hitting position, and many were sure would be only a matter of time before prospect slugger Mike Olt would push him. However, Moreland has responded with a fine season (.508 slugging percentage), and he's in no danger of losing his grip on his regular gig.
On the other hand, Olt continues to put up gaudy numbers in the minors. The former University of Connecticut star is batting .318 with 17 homers, 45 RBIs, 38 runs scored and a 1.060 OPS in 198 at-bats with Double-A Frisco.
The 2010 first-round supplemental pick is praised for his outstanding power and selective approach at the plate. While Olt is hitting for a good average this year, his ability to make contact is not his strength as a hitter.
A third baseman by trade, Olt has played 47 games at the hot corner and five at first base in 2012, but many feel he has a better chance to break through on the right side of the diamond because Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre is locked up through 2015.
In any other organization, Olt would be knocking on the door this season for a potential promotion. Because the Rangers are loaded with bats, there is no rush to accelerate Olt up the ladder, and he could be used as a chip to acquire additional veteran help at the deadline.
Prior to the 2011 season, the Colorado Rockies locked up franchise shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to a 10-year, $157 million contract through the 2020 season and a club option for the 2021 campaign. Even though Tulowitzki is expected to be a fixture in Denver for the next decade, it didn't stop the organization from selecting Texas prep shortstop Trevor Story with the 45th overall pick of the 2011 Draft.
Based on his early returns thus far, Story could be the top prospect in the entire organization. In 190 at-bats with low Single-A Asheville this season, Story is hitting .300 with 10 home runs, 34 RBIs, 44 runs scored and a .980 OPS.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound infielder has above-average power and has the thunder in his bat to one day become a 20- to 25-home-run hitter at the major league level.
Story has shown respectable plate discipline so far with a .391 on-base percentage, but it will be interesting to see if he can sustain a .300 average against higher levels because he tends to lift the ball a little too much.
He has also struck out his share with an average of one whiff every 4.5 at-bats.
Defensively, Story has all the tools to be an adequate major league shortstop. With the roadblock of Tulowitzki in mind, the Rockies have played Story 12 times at third base this season in addition to his 36 games at shortstop.
Story is at least a couple years away from the majors, but he is currently one of the top keeper gems to own in low Single-A ball.