- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
Colleague Keith Law released his top 100 prospects list today, and this includes a bunch of youngsters who won't reach the big leagues until late in 2014 or 2015.
But there will be some young players who will have an immediate impact this coming season -- some right away, some later in the year. Based on how spring training goes, every guy on this list at least has a chance to begin the year in the big leagues.
He figures to be a dangerous weapon in the Tampa Bay rotation, and there are plenty of New York Yankees and Texas Rangers who saw the left-hander late last season who will attest to Moore's extraordinary ability. He is the American League version of Stephen Strasburg. A lot of young starters are greatly limited by an innings count early in their careers, but remember -- Moore was drafted in 2007 and he threw 174.1 innings last season, between the minors (155) and majors (19.1), including the postseason. So the Rays will likely be OK with him throwing about 200 innings this year.
There will be lots of debate in spring training about whether Montero is ready to catch in the big leagues and whether his future is as an everyday catcher or DH. But he will hit, and he will hit somewhere in the middle of the Seattle lineup, which is why the Yankees have felt all along that there is less risk for the Mariners in the Michael Pineda trade than there is for the Yankees.
The more conservative faction in the Washington organization will want Harper to start 2012 in the minor leagues, while manager Davey Johnson will probably be the strongest advocate for opening the year with Harper as his everyday right fielder. Johnson said a few weeks ago that he thinks Harper can adjust to breaking balls and use the whole field, two prerequisites for a young player to advance to the big leagues. But regardless of whether Harper starts the year in Triple-A or in Washington, he's going to be in the big leagues sometime early in 2012.
The only unknown about Teheran is how he'll get his chance, because the Braves have a lot of returning starting pitchers with Tim Hudson, Brandon Beachy, Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens and Mike Minor. But the opportunity will be there at some point.
6. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies
Part of the reason Arizona should be the favorite to win the NL West to open the year is the D-backs' remarkable depth, and Skaggs and Bauer are a part of that. Whether it's because of injury or because Skaggs and Bauer force their way to the majors, they will both be factors this year.
Detroit talked about Turner as possible trade bait a little, but in the end, GM David Dombrowski clung to the right-hander, who figures to get a shot in the big leagues sometime this year. Remember -- the Tigers haven't filled the No. 5 spot in their rotation, and Turner impressed in his one start last year.
10. Drew Pomeranz, P, Rockies
He had a handful of starts in Double-A last year and dominated. His innings count will be closely monitored by the Rockies this year.
Potential trade targets
Inspired by a conversation with colleague Jayson Stark, some guys who might be traded in spring training (or before):
Jeff Niemann, Rays: Tampa Bay isn't going to give him away, but at the same time, the Rays have six starters for five spots and Niemann is probably the most likely guy to move if they choose to make a deal.
Jake Westbrook, St. Louis Cardinals: Roy Oswalt wants to play with the Cardinals and they are interested, but Oswalt continues to look for more money. If St. Louis signs Oswalt, Westbrook would be the most likely guy to get bumped out of the rotation and into the bullpen. If Westbrook was devoted to the idea of continuing as a starter, he would have to waive his full no-trade clause.
It's a heck of a gamble for the franchise. To put this into perspective for the Marlins: Before the offseason began, the only deal of more than $40 million made by the Marlins was with Hanley Ramirez. And this would be the third such deal for Miami in the last three months.
The Marlins say they're OK with the risks presented by Cespedes.
Cespedes is not worth the risk for the Tigers, writes Tony Paul.
It's sort of an existential question that nobody can know the answer to: Would Alderson have taken the job if he had known exactly just how deeply the Mets' cuts were going to go?
Moves, deals and decisions
11. The Mariners might not be as young as expected.
• Gary Carter has shown extraordinary courage to his players, writes Jeff Bradley.
• Oil Can Boyd says he pitched about two-thirds of his games under the influence of cocaine, writes Nick Cafardo.
• The Nationals are reaping the harvest from their farm system.
• The Yankees are getting a Japanese pitcher without the mystery, writes David Waldstein.
• A bunch of Tigers spring training games will be televised.
• A bunch of Rays games will be televised this summer.
• The Hall of Fame is beginning a drug education program.
• Vanderbilt had a strong second half.
And today will be better than yesterday.
With Keith Law's top 100 prospects debuting today, Buster Olney looks at 10 guys who may not have to wait to make the big leagues.