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One Eye on the Future

Owners in keeper leagues are often enamored with the shine of a new player, especially when the player has power skills like Kris Bryant. Some owners in deeper leagues have already kept Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, and Miguel Sano. As owners prepare for their drafts in March, they will want some names for their drafts to prepare their teams for beyond 2015. It is worth taking a risk on these names to stash build stronger teams in the future.

Shortstop looks weak for 2015, but there are several SS that are worth the investment in keeper leagues. Carlos Correa, if he can recover from his injury, should debut in Houston by 2016. His ability to take walks, (12% walk rate since 2013) and make contact, along with his speed (20-24 in 2014), should lead to productive seasons at SS. His defense and contact will allow him to stick in Houston, and owners can set their sights on Correa for a 2016 arrival.

Addison Russell, a key piece in the Oakland-Chicago (NL) trade last summer, is blocked by Starlin Castro in Chicago, but his power at SS draws attention to his future value. Russell has the ability to make contact, and he hit .294 with 12 homers in 205 AB for AA-Tennessee last year. Scouts rave about Russell's quick swing and athletic ability at the plate and on defense. He could see more than 100 AB in 2015 if the Cubs have room at SS or 2B, and he should see regular at-bats in 2016.

Corey Seager, a SS prospect for the Dodgers, will have to wait for Jimmy Rollins to leave an opening, but Seager could also play 3B for the Dodgers. Seager's power will help fantasy owners at a SS or 3B. Seager had a successful 2014, in which he hit 20 homers and batted close to .350 in A/AA. Owners should be able to draft Seager in the reserve/farm portion of their draft this year, and he may obtain some MLB at-bats at the end of the season.

Owners may have already seen some great defensive plays from Francisco Lindor this spring, and he could make his MLB debut this summer. His defense will allow him to stick in Cleveland while he uses his contact to help with BA, and his average speed should reward owners with 15-20 SB a year. He will need to hone his bat skills to turn a profit for future owners. While owners will hear Lindor's name mentioned with the players above, fantasy teams are better off investing their time with Russell, Correra, or Seager.

Kyle Schwarber, a C prospect for the Cubs, has plus-power if he stays at C. He hit 32 HR at Indiana University, and he hit another HR on his Birthday this week in Arizona. He has a good-eye at the plate, and he drew walks 13% of the time last year, His ability to hit for contact and power will provide consistent production in the future.

Joey Gallo is a name that will go early in minor-league rounds. He could see at-bats in 2015, and his power, 42 HR in 2014, will play well in Arlington after Adrian Beltre exits. The Rangers could also slot him at an OF position to bring him up earlier. His batting average could suffer (.232 in Fresno), but his walk-rate (13% in Fresno) will help his OBP. Owners will gladly take the power and hope that he continues to take free passes to first instead of too many swings and misses.

None of these names may help owners will their respective titles in 2015, but some of these names can create a foundation for teams looking toward the future in 2016.