Atlanta skipper Bobby Cox has announced that lefty will be the right fielder for the Braves on Opening Day.
Heyward, the consensus top hitting prospect in the majors, and one of the most hyped hitters in years, is destroying Spring Training by hitting .366 with a .500 OBP and .537 SLG. His power, patience, and poise have been the talk of camp and all signs point towards the 20-year old Georgia kid being a future All-Star.
The real question is when.
In keeper leagues he is pure gold; itís his 2010 value that is hard to predict. On MockDraftCentral.com his ADP is currently 223 and he went with the pick 178 in my most recent 12-team mixed league draft. Both are pretty conservative draft slots and now that he is assured a spot in the Bigs, he is guaranteed to skyrocket up the boards.
I own him in my keeper league and already named my team after him, but Iím not likely to be drafting him in any single season leagues. Itís not that I donít think he can be a stud this year; he definitely has the upside to be the next Longoria/Braun. There is just enough risk/downside for a 20-year old rookie, no matter how talented, to struggle in his first full year in the majors.
For me he needs to last until the early-to-mid teens to be worth the risk and upside, but all it takes is for one person in your league to be all-aboard on the hype train for him to go far too early. For me, the odds of him lasting to a round where the reward outweighs the risk are not very high these days.
That being said, I am a big proponent of targeting ďyour guysĒ and if Heyward is a guy you feel you need to get, and if you feel that your hitting and OF depth is enough to take that risk, then by all means do what you need to do to get him. Fantasy baseball is about building your team with the players you want; thatís half the fun of the game. Just remember that Heyward is no guarantee to be an All-Star in 2010, thatís all I ask.
Jason Heyward has been the story of Spring Training and will be one of the most watched and covered players in baseball this year; no matter what he does itís going to be a fun ride and while Iím cautious on 2010, heís going to be a monster in 2011 and beyond.
I wish I had taken him with pick 173 in that aforementioned draft; itís probably the latest Iíll ever see him last again.