The long winter has passed, spring training has come and gone and prospects have received their respective assignments. That means it's time for us to unveil our inaugural edition of the top 10 fantasy prospects for 2014.
It's important to note that this is not a list of the top 10 prospects in baseball, but strictly a list of the 10 best minor league players who have a chance to help make your fantasy baseball roster better this season. Note the term "minor league," as any player who currently is on a major league roster -- such as Xander Bogaerts or Nick Castellanos -- is ineligible for the list.
Not every player on this list is guaranteed to make an impact in the coming year -- or even to be on a major league roster this season -- but this group represents the best combination of upside and likelihood of making a contribution during the 2014 campaign.
Each week, we'll bring you updates to the lists based on call-ups, trades and performance; we'll also spotlight other prospects to keep an eye on over the season, with scouting reports and updates on how players fit within their respective clubs. Without further ado, here's the first edition of the top 10 fantasy prospects for 2014:
1. George Springer, OF, Houston Astros
Current level: Triple-A Oklahoma City
2013 stats: .311/.425/.626, 18 HR, 53 RBI, 22 SB at Triple-A Oklahoma City; .297/.399/.579, 19 HR, 55 RBI, 23 SB at Double-A Corpus Christi
Analysis: It may be a surprise to some that Springer starts the year as the top fantasy prospect over some of the other big names, but it shouldn't be. Springer has tremendous offensive potential from a swing that features big-time leverage, and the ball explodes off of the right-handed hitter's bat to all parts of the field. There's a load of swing-and-miss in his game, but he'll also draw his share of walks and he's a threat to steal a bag (or two) every time he's on base. The strikeouts are concerning, but as a center fielder who can hit .300 and provide 30/30 seasons, Springer belongs at the top of the list, and he should be in the Astros' lineup this summer.