#1 – Javier Baez
Javier Baez plays the game with reckless abandon. The problem with those types of players is that they seem so….well, reckless. The beauty of those types of players is that if everything clicks just right then we are looking at something magical.
So we’ve talked about both his floor and his potential ceiling.
An aggressive approach can play well in the low minors, but a quality major league pitcher can spot a sucker from across the stadium. A pitcher like Clayton Kershaw or Stephen Strasburg have the talent to expand the zone and sequence their arsenal, making an aggressive see-ball, hit-ball hitter like Baez flail like a two-year-old in the middle of a tantrum.
But Baez has already shown he can develop a maturity at the plate and has taken some HUGE strides in 2013. Oodles of talent + an aggressive makeup + a quick learner = him stepping closer and closer to something magical.
He could be a monster. Baez could hit for both a high average and high power (30-plus HR) from a position on the left side of the infield, which is a healthy Troy Tulowitzki.
He’s a future Top
10 5 fantasy player.
#2 – Kris Bryant
Kris Bryant was the best bat in 2013 draft and the Chicago Cubs snatched him at #2 overall. In terms of fantasy only one word matters: POWER.
The question is if Kris Bryant stay at 3B, or if right field is in his future. If he stays at 3B he is undeniably the top target at that position for dynasty leagues (considering that Miguel Sano is scheduled for TJ surgery). But he’ll get a crack at Double A this season, so one wonders if he might even get a major league cup of coffee late in the season.
#3 – Jorge Soler
Jorge Soler had a tough year last year. First a suspension for flashing a latin temper, then he fouled a ball of his leg and gave himself a stress fracture.
But the 6’4″, 215 pound Cuban is all athleticism so there is certainly time for the 22-year-old to take a step forward. Even with the tough year, he hit .281 with a .343 on-base percentage to go along with eight home runs and 35 RBIs in just 55 games.
Right now he’s a mistake hitter, lacking the ability to adjust in bat to maximize his hitting ability. But the raw power is there, if not refined. He could be a potential 30+ homer hitter and an excellent #2 fantasy outfielder. (Think about a poor man’s Jay Bruce.)
#4 – Albert Almora
The youngest of the Cub’s “Core Four”, Albert Almora doesn’t have a fantasy upside that’s as sky high as teammate Javier Baez. What he does have are the tools for a line of .290/.350/.450 from the center field position, with 10-15 home run pop, and a chance to steal 15 bases a season.
But beyond tools, Almora is praised for his maturity. After all, you have to have a pretty darned solid makeup to be the captain of Team USA. Although he’s just 19, his maturity could have him at the major league before you know it.
When he does make the show expect 3rd of 4th outfield fantasy production, that on a bad day will remind you or Lorenzo Cain.