Friday, March 26, 2010

Jump on Jason Heyward

It's easy to get caught up in the hype about fantasy baseball prospects. Matt Wieters was supposed to be the second coming of Yogi Berra last year, and while his rookie season was solid, particularly in the second half, he didn't quite revolutionize the catching position.

Sometimes it's best to use caution when trying to project stats for rookies or build your fantasy team around them. But sometimes there are prospects that are simply too enticing to ignore.

Jason Heyward is one of those prospects.

Heyward, Baseball America's minor league player of the year in 2009 and top prospect for this season, has been tearing up the Grapefruit League (.366/.500/.537). He's been turning heads with his power - his 6-foot-4, 245-pound frame doesn't hurt, either - to the point the Braves have considered adding special nets at their spring park to protect the parked cars from getting smashed by his monster home run shots.

Heyward's forced his way into an Opening Day starting spot in right field for Atlanta - not bad for a 20-year-old. And the Braves have a pretty good track record of knowing when a top prospect is ready for the big show - remember Andruw Jones at age 19 and Chipper Jones at 21?

Sure, Heyward doesn't have much minor league seasoning under his belt, only having been in the Braves' system since 2007. But his career .899 OPS on the farm is a great sign, and the rave reviews and Opening Day roster spot are too good to ignore. I'd be more than happy to have Heyward as my fourth or fifth outfielder this year.

- Photo by The Associated Press

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