Jason Kipnis, Yonder Alonso and 5 Sleeper Prospects for 2012

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It’s never too early to plan for the future. Now that the MLB season is at the All-Star break, it’s a good time to do some scouting for next year’s sleepers.

This is a topic we at Fantasy Knuckleheads have already tackled a couple of times, but here are five more players to keep an eye on for 2012.

  1. Kyle Gibson, P, Minnesota Twins – It’s only a matter of time before Gibson gets his chance to crack the Twins’ rotation. If there’s an injury, or if Francisco Liriano can’t get his act together on a consistent basis, Gibson could see time in the big leagues during the second half of this season. I’d also expect him to get a September call-up, where he’ll be a very valuable strikeout guy.
  2. Jason Kipnis, 2B, Cleveland Indians – Orlando Cabrera is just a placeholder for Kipnis, who should be ready for the majors by 2012. Kipnis is a very good all-around player, hitting around .300 with 11 home runs and 51 RBI in 83 games this season. He also adds strong defense and some speed on the basepaths, having swiped 11 bases so far.
  3. Yonder Alonso, OF, Cincinnati Reds – Alonso will find it hard to crack the Reds’ lineup before September, with Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisey roaming the outfield. Those three are all solid young players who are continuing to improve. Alonso might be able to replace Heisey, but the Reds will probably need to make a move to make room for Alonso or trade him. Alonso also plays first base, but that position is obviously blocked by Joey Votto.
  4. Shelby Miller, P, St. Louis Cardinals – Miller has been tearing it up in Double-A this season. He’s made seven starts and has a 4-1 record. He has a 1.90 ERA and an excellent 43-10 strikeout to walk ratio. He might be called up to the Cardinals in September and will most likely have a chance to crack the starting rotation next season.
  5. Devin Mesoraco, C, Cincinnati Reds – Mesoraco should have an easier time earning a spot in the Reds’ lineup. He’ll probably be called up in September and he’ll have a good shot of winning the job in 2012. That means the Reds could trade Ramon Hernandez and keep Ryan Hanigan as a back-up.