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June 19, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

Keeping Tabs on the Cubs' Top Prospects

by Mauricio Rubio


Kris Bryant was promoted to Triple-A Iowa, where he will likely play third base and hit in close proximity to the Cubs’ other talented and highly touted prospect Javier Baez.

Before the season started, the spring had created clever illusions about Baez, as Cubs fans and fantasy owners alike salivated at the possibility that each preseason laser beam to the outfield seats would draw him closer to major-league playing time in 2014. A deep slump to start the year popped those illusions, as those same fans and fantasy owners were left holding their heads in their hands and looking for a consolation that could only come after the high-risk proposition in Baez started solving the puzzle that is pitch sequencing.

For Bryant, the adoration would come later; the burn is slow and the embers are still burning hot, as Bryant absolutely crushed Double-A pitching. There was hopeful speculation that Bryant could also earn a promotion to the big club with his stellar play at Tennessee but those dreams are coming to a halt, as the Cubs have made it clear that they would like to see their prospects dominate a level before earning a promotion.

Let’s take a look at a five prominent hitters in the Cubs system and see where their short- and long-term fantasy values are.

Kris Bryant .355/.458/.702 (Triple-A Iowa)
Bryant’s the most advanced hitter in the Cubs system, and he had few offensive issues at Double-A Tennessee during his first full pro season. In the short term, Bryant isn’t likely to help you. There’s an outside chance that Bryant will get the call up sometime in August if he mashes in Iowa like he mashed in Tennessee, but those are tall odds to play. The Cubs aren’t competing for anything and they won’t feel a rush to push Bryant before they make the determination that he’s ready.

Like most Cubs’ prospects Bryant’s real value lies in the long term. The strikeout rates are a concern but Bryant did improve in that regard down the stretch. Over the last 30 days Bryant dropped his strikeout percentage down to 22.6 percent in 115 plate appearances. Bryant has the power and he’s got an idea of what he wants to do at the plate. Bryant will likely be a four-category contributor when it clicks. There’s debate on the average and he won’t steal bases, but I think Bryant can hit for average well enough (in the .280-plus range at his peak) to be a positive in the category.

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Tra... (06/19)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Tra... (06/19)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: My ... (06/20)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week... (06/19)

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