But what about the rookies who come onto the scene with little-to-no hype whatsoever yet are quietly proving to be fantasy relevant to the savvy fantasy owner who isn't afraid to dig a little deeper into the depths of the waiver wire.
The following players are letting their numbers speak for themselves. And those numbers are screaming, "Hi! My name is...what? My name is...who?":
- OF Alex Presley, PIT (16.9% ESPN; 9% Yahoo!) is sporting a very impressive 5x5 line of .343/12/1/9/4 in 15 games since replacing the injured Jose Tabata. The Pirates will have a difficult decision to make once Tabata is activated and Garrett Jones could be the odd man out. Don't be surprised if Jones is traded for some pitching. (25 years old)
- SS Zack Cozart, CIN (2.1% ESPN; 4% Yahoo!) is the shortstop of the future for the Reds and is showing fantasy owners what to expect in 2012 with a six-game hitting streak to start his big-league career and an impressive .400/5/1/2/0 5x5 line. Let's see how Dusty Baker manages to mess this rookie up, too. (25 years old)
- OF Eric Thames, TOR (30.3% ESPN; 12% Yahoo!) is keeping his name in the mix for playing time in a crowded Blue Jays outfield with a .308/23/4/14/0 fantasy line over the first 32 games of his young career. Shipping Juan Rivera to the Dodgers and Corey Patterson becoming Corey Patterson again has helped but a hot-hitting Travis Snider may stand in his way for regular at-bats. (24 years old)
- OF Josh Reddick, BOS (2.1% ESPN; 3% Yahoo!) has had two previous, unsuccessful auditions with the Red Sox (27 games in 2009 and 29 games in 2010) resulting in a .182 batting average in 121 at-bats. In 26 games this season, Reddick has put up a .352/16/3/17/1 line and could be pushing free agent J.D. Drew out the door come the July 31st trade deadline. (24 years old)
- 2B Jemile Weeks, OAK (24.2% ESPN; 18% Yahoo!) is doing all he can to not be simply known as "Rickie Weeks' little brother". He's used the first 35 games of his career this season to produce a .319/17/0/11/10 fantasy line and allowed Oakland to ship Mark Ellis off to Colorado for minor league pitcher Bruce Billings. He will never have the power Rickie possesses but show rack up plenty of steals sitting atop the Athletics lineup. (24 years old)
I would never suggest throwing in the towel on your season but at some point (soon) you'll need to be realistic about if you are playing to win in 2011 or building a foundation of keepers and/or dynasty players for 2012. Don't go crazy stockpiling your team with tons of prospects over proven veterans because sometimes the label of "can't-miss prospect" causes fantasy owners to overvalue a player's potential and could destroy a future season before it ever gets underway.
Question: Which of these five players are you buying into for the 2012 season and why?
*All statistics quoted are from games played through July 17th, 2011