A few days ago, Howard looked at some key position battles commencing this spring. Typically players fall into two camps: prospects and place holders. In the fantasy community, we love the prospects. We want the the most toolsy, upside-laden players to get the jobs. But, major league teams consider more variables. Is a player ready? Do they have a platoon split? Will they be a Super 2? Where are we on the win-curve? Take Atlanta's second base conundrum, for instance:

"There's so many different dynamics" explained Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez, "Do you want to go left/right (platoon)? Do you want to give Callaspo the job? Do you want to go Gosselin/Callaspo? Gosselin/Peterson? Gosselin/Peraza? Put Peraza in there?" 

The truth is, teams don't give players jobs because Baseball America or ESPN or MLB.com put them on their Top-100 lists. For us fantasy owners, the reality is that plate appearances and innings are the most important stats during draft season. Thus, we have to consider guys who may not light the world on fire, but have a unique opportunity and may well be adequate fill ins — or maybe better — when injuries inevitably pile up and the dog days open their foamy maws.

As a side note, sometimes "lower-upside," place-holder type guys turn in surprising fantasy value. Look at Matt CarpenterHe wasn't supposed to be better than a utility batbut he's now blossomed into a fantasy stalwart. Below you will find some relatively unheralded prospects who could emerge as fantasy relevant players, given opportunity. 

Kendall Graveman, SP, Athletics (Age: 24) – Graveman was one of the "other" pieces that came over to the A's in the Josh Donaldson trade. In college, he led Mississippi State to the College World series, yet was mostly overlooked heading into the 2013 draft thanks to a mediocre strikeout rate — just 5.4 K/9. He was thusly drafted in the 8th round, but has been much better than expected since becoming a pro. Graveman ascended three levels in Toronto's system during 2014, which even culminated in a brief major-league stint. Over 161.1 innings, he had a 1.88 ERA and 0.65 WHIP, and induced groundballs at a 57.9-percent clip — cue drooling. Graveman relies primarily on a two-seam fastball that he spots to either side of the plate. He also unfurled a cutter for the first time last season, and scouts think it may already he his best pitch. The strikeouts, however, still weren’t there. In spite of his utter dominance, he still struck out just 6.1 per nine (but walked fewer than 2.00, of course). But, he hasn’t failed yet, so it’s tough to slam him until he finds himself overmatched. If he secures Oakland's fifth-starter spot, he'll be worth rostering in deeper leagues; just don't expect strikeouts. 

Jace Peterson, IF, Braves (Age: 25) – The Braves signed Alberto Callaspo to be the placeholder for top prospect Jose Peraza. Simple right? Wrong. Callaspo reportedly showed up to camp out of shape and is a shell of his former self to begin with — he was one of the MLB's worst regulars by fWAR. Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez has out-and-out called the second base race a "wide-open" competition. Jose Peraza is the guy fantasy owners should be rooting for thanks to his impact speed. Peraza, however, hasn't played above Double-A and the Braves signaled they're in the midst of a mini rebuild this season dumping Evan Gattis and Justin Upton in favor of minor leaguers. In all likelihood, the Braves will keep Peraza down until at least June to avoid bestowing a potential Super 2 tag upon the young infielder. One of the minor leaguers the Braves acquired for Justin Upton was Jace Peterson, who spent some time in the majors in 2014 when Chase Headley went down with injury. Peterson struggled in four major league stints, slashing just .113/.161/.113 in 55 plate appearances. Still, Peterson is solid defender with a track record of excellent plate discipline. He doesn't have a platoon split, either, which helps his case for regular playing time. His power is non existent, but he could hit for a decent average and chip in a handful of steals. 

Carlos Sanchez, 2B, White Sox (Age: 22) – Sanchez is currently penciled in as the White Sox’s starting second baseman. His main competition, Micah Johnson, has much louder tools, but his injury history is speckled and has big defensive deficit he needs to square before taking over at second base. Sanchez, in turn, is the solid, yet boring option for the White Sox. He's polished defensively and has enough speed to contribute on the basepaths. The problem for fantasy is it's hard to imagine him doing anything with the stick. He's got well-below-average power and even if he hits for a decent batting average, his low walk totals in the minors suggest he'll only be a down-lineup option. Still, in AL-Only leagues, middle infielders with just a heartbeat and a job are worth keeping our eyes on. 

Jake Lamb, 3B, Diamondbacks (Age: 24) – Lamb is "oozing with talent" according to D'Backs Baseball Operations Exec Tony La Russa. He had a breakout in 2014 after making some key swing adjustments, slashing .327/.407/.566 with 15 home runs, 39 doubles (!!!) and two stolen bases, mostly at Double-A Mobile. The effort was given the rubber stamp when after the season he was awarded the Southern League's MVP honors. His signature is above-average power to all fields and a solid approach at the plate. Before the signing of Yasmany Tomás this offseason, he was seen as the favorite to land the third base gig in 2015. Most of us in the fantasy community assume Tomás will get the nod at third base, but that's far from being certain. His defensive reviews at the third base this spring have been unequivocally meh, and with David Peralta — also meh — slated for a starting gig in left field, Tomás could see time in left field. If Tomás is playing more left field than third base by the end of March, Lamb will be worthy of late-round flier in deeper mixed leagues. 

Peter O’ Brien, C, 1B, LF, Diamondbacks (Age: 24) — Miguel Montero is gone, and O'Brien is making literal noise — think car windows and hoods — early in D'Backs camp. The rub on O'Brien is that he's a free swinger with serious pop. Sound familar? That could be because it's a similar profile to teammate Mark Trumbo. The D'Backs have shown a proclivity towards the power-at-the-expense-of-plate-discipline archetype, which bodes well for O'Brien's chances of cracking the opening day roster. The main question is whether or not O'Brien can prove he has defensive chops behind the dish. Tuffy Gosewich and Oscar Hernandez are O'Brien's primary competition at catcher, competition you would never describe as fierce. With a full season of at-bats, O'Brien could hit 20-plus home runs with relative ease; however, let's not speculate about potential batting averages — it could be ugly.

Ryan Rua, OF, Rangers (Age: 25) - Rua was a 17th round pick in 2011 out of Division II Lake Eerie College. After a few years in the minors, Rua put together an outstanding 2014 season, tasting his first major league coffee, even, in September. He slashed .306/.378/.488 with 18 home runs and seven steals between Double and Triple-A. In the long term, Rua doesn't profile as more than a fill in at an outfield or infield corner, but this spring he's battling Michael Choice and Jake Smolinksi for rights to left field. There's a strong opportunity for at-bats in left, as neither Nomar Mazara nor Nick Williams is likely to be ready at any point during the upcoming season. One thing to watch is whether or not the Rangers begin to work out über prospect Joey Gallo in left field; crazier things have happened. 

Alex Colome, SP/RP, Rays (Age: 26) – Colome is the only Rays player yet to report to spring training. He's been unable to secure a work visa for the upcoming season from his home Dominican Republic. It's concerning because, as of now, he's penciled into the Rays' fifth starter spot until Matt Moore returns midsummer. Also concerning, Colome served a 50-game suspension last season for testing positive for anabolic steroids. Once he shows up to camp, he will be in competition with Burch Smith and Nate Karns for the fifth-starter slot. He's got a live arm and sits in the mid-90's with his fastball along with an above average cutter, changeup and curveball. He's got the raw stuff of an above average-big league starter, but he's far from consistent. He doesn't repeat his delivery well and has spates where he can't find the strikezone. There's plenty of upside here, but risk is significant. Thankfully, he won't be drafted in most leagues, so we can monitor this situation as it develops over the next month. 

Rob Refsnyder, 2B, OF, Yankees, (Age: 24) – Let’s take a minute to muse at exactly how piss-poor Stephen Drew was in 2014. Per plate appearance, he may have been the major league’s worst player. He slashed .162/.237/.299 with seven home runs over 85 games. It says something that he hit seven home runs in roughly half a season and ended with a slugging percentage of less than .300. In fact, BJ Upton and Adam Dunn are the only players since 1990 with at least 300 plate appearances to hit more home runs than Drew while slugging less than .300. And, they recorded 446 and 496 plate appearances, repsecitively. Drew tallied just 300.  

Enter Refsnyder. Between Double-A and Triple-A in 2014, he slashed .317/.385/.497 with 14 home runs and nine steals in 136 games. He’s got some swing-and-miss to his game. Not a ton, but according to Minor League Central, his Zone Contact % was 86.7 in Triple-A in 2014. For reference, that’s about the same amount of contact Miguel Montero and Jhonny Peralta made in the majors last season, against major league pitching. Still, Refsnyder could be average across the board, and anybody playing at Yankee Stadium deserves a perked ear. Refsnyder could easily best Drew in the offensive department, although he also could be a liability on defense. Unfortunately, he could be used on the short side of a platoon with Drew too, who's been a liability against left-handed pitchers even in his best years. If given regular at-bats, Refsnyder could hit around .260 with 10-12 home runs. Not great, but serviceable in AL-Only leagues.  

You can find more material like this in the 2015 Fantasy Alarm Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide. You can also find Spencer Silva on Twitter @WordSmithSilva