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Where would you draft Cubs’ Kris Bryant in fantasy baseball?


With two weeks until the Chicago Cubs open the regular season against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field, fantasy baseball drafts are under way around the country.

Cubs’ top prospect Kris Bryant has never played a day in his life in the big leagues, but he’s made this 2015 spring training a memorable one – when was the last time you could say that? Bryant has produced out-of-this-stratosphere type numbers so far, slashing .480/.552/1.520 in 25 at-bats, good for an outrageous OPS of 2.072.

He leads all of Major League Baseball with his 14 RBI and eight home runs – with no other player tallying more than four long-balls. One question I keep asking myself (and I’m sure a lot of fantasy baseball enthusiasts are as well) is what round should I draft the reigning Minor League Player of the year?

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The pros outweigh the cons when it comes to the Cubs’ former 2nd overall pick. One con being that he will not begin the regular season in the majors, which in the long run is actually a good thing for the Cubs organization and their fans. Another con – which is similar with most of the up-and-coming talent nowadays – is that Bryant strikes out at a high rate. In two seasons in the minors, he’s struck out at a 32 percent clip – which comes in above league average in the bigs.

Regarded as the best pure hitter in the 2013 draft class, the pros are quite obvious. Bryant has always been the best hitter at every level he’s played in – including high school and college. He’s demonstrated an advanced awareness of the strike zone and isn’t as anxious at the plate as most young sluggers tend to be. Not only did Bryant hit minor league pitching, he destroyed it and his power prowess has carried over early this spring; most recently launching two home runs in one game and one of those coming off former Cy Young recipient Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners.

So as the legend of Kris Bryant continues and his hype soars, so does his average draft position. With starting pitching being as deep as its ever been and power hitters becoming like an endangered species, all the top sluggers will be off the board early, and drafting Bryant has little risk and tremendous reward potential. It would only be a plus if the Cubs decided to play their prize-prospect in the outfield, as he would become third base/outfield eligible in most leagues which is a huge plus.

Last season – which was split between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa, Bryant racked up 43 long-balls to go along with his 111 runs batted in. Despite this showing, he did not earn a September call-up, which gave him more time to prepare for this season (clearly that worked out fairly well, given how he’s produced in camp so far).

So where should you draft Kris Bryant? Obviously you’d have to play it by ear; most fantasy leagues have Bryant ranked between tenth to fifteenth amongst third basemen, with guys like Pablo Sandoval, Todd Frazier and David Wright ranked ahead of him. That being said, with all due respect I would take the Cubs’ phenom over those mentioned.

In my humble opinion, Bryant is a must-own player. The lanky righty has a ceiling that can not be seen from earth, and his upside is immense (clearly I’m all in). If  I could get the uber-prospect somewhere between the eighth to 11th rounds I would feel lucky. Best case scenario Bryant produces Paul Goldschmidt type numbers – worst case scenario he produces Mark Trumbo-type numbers.

In any case, if Bryant continues his torrid pace this spring you’re going to have to reach, which I’m willing to do.

Next: MM:Bryant homers twice as Cubs top Seattle