Fantasy Week in Review (4/4-4/11):

Fantasy Week in Review (4/4-4/11):
By: Raymond Ayala

The J-Hey Kid: The Future of Fantasy Baseball

If you were lucky enough to take a gamble on an outfielder from Atlanta who is probably younger than you in the later rounds this year, then you must have had a solid first week one in your fantasy league.
Move over Justin Upton, you are no longer the only young OF fantasy owners are drooling over. Some people compare him to Darryl Strawberry, while I see more of a Ken Griffey Jr. in this kid. Folks I want you to meet Jason Heyward the future of fantasy baseball and the potential successor to Albert Pujols as your No. 1 overall pick for seasons to come.
Heyward was selected 14th overall in the 2007 MLB Baseball Amateur Draft. He was drafted by his hometown Atlanta Braves and has quickly become one of the best hitting prospects in baseball. The Braves decided they could no longer wait on this phenom, who not only has plus power, but has probably some of the best bat speed in the majors right now. The Braves decided to give him the starting RF job out of Spring Training this year, and the kid cannot even buy a beer yet (20 years old).
After watching him play in his first week, I have to say he seems pretty comfortable. Most 20 year old kids would struggle in their first week of the bigs, but Heyward not only didn’t struggle, he probably had one of the best weeks of any ML-player (.292, 3 HR’s, 8 RBI). Why do I think he will continue to dominate like this? Because this kid is for real, and his swing is like that of a 3-4 year veteran. He is the most major league ready player to hit the Majors since Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez.

Brian Matusz a.k.a The Second Coming of the Big Unit

I had the luck of watching Brian Matusz play at my school for three years. During those three seasons, I thought he was the best lefty I had ever seen in my life and I had seen both Johan Santana and Barry Zito in his prime. Matusz is a 23 year old crafty lefty, who has a 94 MPH fastball with very balanced breaking pitches.
Matusz lost his status of “sleeper” last season when he capped his short 2nd half stint with the Baltimore Orioles, by throwing 7 innings of shutout ball against the New York Yankees. Ever since that game, fantasy owners are no well aware of the fact that this kid is for real.
The only downfall for Matusz may be the fact that he has trouble finding the win column, since he does play for the Orioles. Even though he may not get you the wins like Lincecum, Halladay, Beckett, etc. get you, the strikeouts will be right there with those guys if not more. Look for Matusz to maintain an ERA below 3.50 this year and top the 180 strikeout mark as well. The Orioles pitching staff is quickly becoming something to be reckoned with.

Chris Young: A Possible Resurgence?

Arizona Diamondbacks Outfielder Chris Young is one of those players you scratch your head and wonder if he will ever get his groove back. Largely ignored by most fantasy baseball players, reassured he will be one of the most popular waiver wire pickups after this first week.
Young started off this week strong, hitting .292 with 3 HR’s, 11 RBI. While those numbers look fantastic on paper, remember 9 of those RBI’s and 2 of those HR’s came against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates. Do not be fooled by this hot start, Young is another example of a player who got paid and is now taking it easy. After hitting 30 HR’s in 2007, Young was demoted to AAA last season after his terrible hitting display. While there is still a chance he continues this pace, I just don’t see it happening. My suggestion would be to pick up Delmon Young (MIN) or Rick Ankiel (KC) before possibly considering Chris Young.

Chapman and Strasburg dominate first Minor League Starts

While this may not apply to your current fantasy team, there are those who drafted these two pitchers in hopes of a call-up sooner than expected. While these two probably will be talked about the most of all the pitchers in the 2011 Fantasy Draft crop, right now they could be mid-season league changers if drafted properly.
My suggestion is draft neither if you are in a relatively shallow league (10 teams or less). If you are in a deep league (10 teams or more), then you may want to spend a late round pick on one of these two. While they probably will get limited ML starts this season, I suspect both will see ML time at some point this season. Both pitchers are similar in the fact that they will be good for monster strikeout numbers, but Strasburg seems to be the more likely of the two to see the majors first.
The only reason Stephen Strasburg is in the minor leagues right now is because of a technicality in his contract, which pays him less if he stays in the minors. The Washington Nationals aren’t going anywhere, anytime this season, so Strasburg is what Nat’s fans are cheering for this season. Equipped with a fastball that touches 99 MPH, Strasburg has begun to develop the breaking pitches that needed refining in his arsenal. Look for Strasburg as a pick up around May if he is still available in your league.
Aroldis Chapman is probably the only pitcher right now who has a faster fastball than Strasburg. Chapman’s fastball is the best in the league, and I’m confident in saying that. Chapman has the ability to hit triple-digits regularly, but his main issue will be developing his off speed stuff and fixing some control issues. Chapman is younger than Strasburg, and was signed knowing he was a project. I think Chapman is off limits this season in fantasy baseball, especially since I am very high on their current No. 5 starter Mike Leake. Keep an eye out on Chapman though, and if you hear any news about injuries to the starting pitchers in Cincinnati, pick up Chapman right away.


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