At the Double-A level, there are top prospects, potential fourth outfielders, veteran has-beens, and — most depressing — “organizational depth.” With that said, there is also one other category: ABSOLUTE DOMINANCE. Yordano Ventura flashed signs of it during his brief tenure with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2013. George Springer, meanwhile, seemed like a man among boys during his tenure with the Corpus Christi Hooks.
Obviously, no Fantasy player could give two nickels about a player’s production in the Texas League. However, what one may care about, is the player prior to him that flashed similar signs of dominance in that league: Mike Trout.
Trout played 91 games for the Arkansas Travelers in 2011, hitting 11 home runs with a .326/.414/.544 slash line, while swiping 33 bases. Springer, meanwhile, played 18 less games, recorded 19 home runs, slashed .297/.399/.579 with 23 stolen bases, and launched two home runs in the 2013 Texas League All-Star game, the day after Houston announced his promotion to Triple-A.
What to Hope for with George Springer
Fantasy Baseball owners have two concerns with Springer: strikeouts and lack of steals. Both are certainly justified, as Springer averaged over a strikeout per game during every stop in the minor leagues, and that concern became even more evident during his first season with the Houston Astros (114 strikeouts and a .231 batting average in 78 games). In addition, and perhaps more confusing than concerning, Springer only attempted seven stolen bases for the Astros in 2014, after stealing 45 in 53 attempts across Double-A and Triple-A in 2013.
The addition of Evan Gattis and Colby Rasmus should relieve some of the weight on Springer’s shoulders this season, and also force pitchers to give him a little more to hit. The biggest detriment to a player with already poor plate discipline is a player in a lineup with no protection. If the better lineup can help elevate Springer’s average to the .260-.270 range, he has already shown his power is Major League ready (2o home runs in 78 games last season).
While no one needs me to tell them Springer will/should go within the first four rounds of this year’s draft, I fully endorse anyone willing to select him within the first 15 picks. If players like Jose Abreu, Carlos Gomez or Giancarlo Stanton are being drafted in the first round, there’s no reason Springer does not deserve mentioning in that group. It’s not so long ago that Stanton hit below .250 in a season (.249 in 2013). Springer’s the only hitter in that group that I could see pose a threat to Trout’s number one spot in 2016, and give you the potential for a 40-40 season.
George Springer Photo Credit: Arturo Pardavila III
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