The Cubs are an awful team. You know that, and all you need to do is look at the Fantasy Top 5 written by Cubs fan Alex Kantecki to see that they don't have much talent that can help fantasy teams. But that will change as the Cubs have one the deepest farm systems in the game, and for fantasy owners, that's a good thing, as most of their top prospects are hitting prospects.
At the top of that list is shortstop Javier Baez, who was ranked as the #8 prospect in the game in John Sickels' end of season Top 75 prospects. Here is what John wrote in his Top 75 rankings:
8) Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs. Pre-season 18, July rank 14. I do worry about the strikeouts but the power/speed upside is just enormous. I could see this going down a few slots depending on book analysis.
Baez could be a fantasy monster, once he gets a season or two under his belt. He went nuts at the plate in High A and AA in 2013, hitting a combined .282-.341-.578 with 37 home runs, 98 runs, 111 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 24 attempts. He strikes out a lot and doesn't walk, so he could struggle in his first taste of major league pitching, but the power tool is pretty evident.
So, when will we see Baez playing shortstop in Wrigley Field? Well, it's quite possible he starts his big league career at the keystone with Starlin Castro manning shortstop for the foreseeable future, if we can believe what Bruce Levine, from 670thescore.com, tweeted on Friday:
Cubs believe in Javier Baez as a shortstop but will let him move around in spring training. Second base could be his by the end of June.— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) December 6, 2013
A call up by the end of June actually makes sense to me, as long as Baez can continue to dominate at the plate like he did in 2013. Should he continue to exceed expectations in AAA, a June call up is not out of the question, especially when light-hitting Darwin Barney is the player currently blocking him at second base. Barney is good glove, no bat, second baseman, and could slot into a utility role/backup middle infielder once Baez gets the call.
I recently traded a $2 Sergio Romo and a second round minor league pick for a $5 Baez in one of my NL only keeper leagues, showing how high I am on him. Should he move to second base on a permanent basis, he could be the new Robinson Cano at the position with his power, and he could steal double digit bags as well.
Baez will be the prospect that will be hyped come spring training, and he should be drafted in all leagues that have more than a one player bench. He could be one of the top prospects called up in 2014 who can make an impact on your fantasy team. Draft accordingly.
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