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Fantasy Baseball: What Is The 2010 Value Of Jason Heyward?

Fresh off being named the top prospect in baseball, this time by Baseball America, where does Jason Heyward's value lie for fantasy purposes?

I wrote about Heyward and his value as a prospect for the Braves over at my blog, but didn't really get too much into his fantasy value. For the purpose of this discussion, I am only really referring to his value in redraft leagues. Clearly, as a top prospect, for dynasty leagues he will provide a whole different type of value.

Fangraphs only has 2 projections for Heyward, the one from Bill James, and the one from CHONE:

James:  .303/.371/.465, 86 R, 17 HR, 78 RBI, 11 SB (146 games)
CHONE: .258/.324/.416, 39 R, 9 HR, 36 RBI, 4 SB (99 games)

Clearly, these are at completely opposite ends of the spectrum. Heyward is going to provide value in all 5 categories in time, but I'm not sure that it is necessarily going to be for the 2010 campaign. I realistically see two problems with Heyward for fantasy purposes: playing time, and adjustments

Heyward is coming into spring training having only played about a week's worth of games above AA, but still has the chance to make the opening day roster with a good spring. To make the team, he'll have to out play Matt Diaz or Melky Cabrera, as it seems extremely unlikely to me that the Braves would bring him up to Atlanta without the expectation that he would play every day. If he doesn't make the team out of Spring Training, I would have to believe he will stay down until at least June or even July potentially. Half a season of a player taking up a spot for a player that, while extremely highly touted, remains a rookie who could be subject to some struggles, is a bit tough for me in a standard league. Heyward also remains a rookie, and with very little time above AA could also see some struggles as he adjusts to playing at the Major League level. For me, I think it could honestly go either way with this. He is that good of a prospect.

Heyward is currently being drafted at MockDraftCentral.Com on average at pick #304, or essentially undrafted in standard 10 and 12-team leagues. I think that's about right at this point in Spring Training. He clearly is an extremely well-thought of player, and will definitely be in Atlanta by season's end. But I really can't see taking him any later than the last round or the second-to-last round in a draft right now. In shallow leagues, you're going to need that roster spot, and until his playing time situation becomes more clear, I don't think you can invest it in Heyward.


Will Jason Heyward meet the projections of Bill James? 146 games .303, 86 R, 17 HR, 78 RBI, 11 SB

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