Deep Keepers: April 9

Welcome to our first installment of the Deep Keepers series at RotoGraphs. Today, we’ll take a quick peek at four prospects who had impressive minor league Opening Day performances last night.

Mike Montgomery | LHP | Kansas City Royals: With young pitchers Zack Greinke and Luke Hochevar rolling along in Kansas City right now, Montgomery has the next highest ceiling in the organization (sorry, Aaron Crow). The left-hander had a dazzling 2010 debut against Atlanta’s high-A affiliate and he allowed just two hits and one walk in 5.0 innings of work. He struck out six batters and induced six ground-ball outs.

Randall Delgado | RHP | Atlanta Braves: Montgomery’s opponent on Thursday night, Delgado was equally as impressive and he allowed just three hits and did not walk a batter in 5.0 innings. He struck out five hitters and saw seven balls scooped up his infield defense. Just 20, Delgado has good fastball velo, solid control for his age, and does a good job of getting ground-ball outs. There is some thought that Delgado may be destined for a bullpen job at the MLB level, but I think he can stick in the starting rotation.

Ike Davis | 1B | New York Mets: As we mentioned in our most recent Podcast on the FanGraphs side (available today), Mike Jacobs and Daniel Murphy are not the long-term answers at first base for the New York Mets. They’re just not first division first basemen. Davis, though, could be… especially if he keeps tapping into his power. After failing to hit a home run in his ’08 debut, he slammed 20 last season split between high-A and double-A. The former No. 1 draft pick also just missed ending the season with a .300 batting average. While his teammates struggled during Opening Night 2010, Davis went 3-for-4 and slugged two doubles. He represented 50% of the team’s hits and he was the only Buffalo player that got an extra-base hit.

Brad Emaus | 2B/3B | Toronto Blue Jays: Emaus opened a lot of eyes this spring and actually stuck around camp longer than expected. He’s opening the 2010 season back in double-A, which is where he spent all of ’09. Emaus is being asked to play more third base this season because of the much clearer opening at the MLB level (Aaron Hill is at second, signed to a long-term deal). The infielder does not have more than 15-homer power, but he should hit for a good average with gap power and can even steal five to 10 bases. He also has some versatility that could help out a fantasy roster.

We hoped you liked reading Deep Keepers: April 9 by Marc Hulet!

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Thanks Marc for posting a deep keepers list for those of us who play deeper fantasy leagues in which every starter, most backups and all top prospects are already on our rosters.

I too like Montgomery, both for his talent and the opportunity to move up quickly in an organization with a lot of good pitching prospects but some weakness in the back of the major league rotation — I think Meche has lost it and I am not a fan of Davies. He was my 12th pick out of 17 in our reserve draft after our auction.

Emaus is certainly a deep keeper and he was not selected in our reserve draft even though I play with some Blue Jay fans. He had a great Spring but I am skeptical that he has enough pop to be a viable third baseman. It’s too bad Hill is in his way because Emaus has qualities that I think could make him a solid second baseman: Good plate discipline, modest power and a little speed. Encarnacion is in the last year of his contract so Emaus may have a chance next year.

Two third basemen I like for this year are Danny Valencia and Lonnie Chisenhall. Gardenhire loves Punto, so perhaps he will stick at third all year, but if the Twins struggle, Valencia could be the first third baseman called up in the A.L., and if he is, I expect him to help in the power department. As for Chisenhall, there’s long been rumblings the Indians will try to unload Peralta this year, and if they do around the trade deadline, Chisenhall could step in Chisenhall knocked in two opening night but the game was postponed by rain.The Indians like him so much that they moved AAA Wes Hodges from third to first. I picked both Valencia and Chisenhall in our reserve draft in the fourth and fifth slots.