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I'm taking a brief break from my fantasy football draft guide responsibilities this week to address a major development in the fantasy baseball world: The call-up of super-prospect Javier Baez.
Okay, maybe it's a much bigger deal to local fantasy baseball team owners, and those who happen to be Cubs fans, but given Baez's current position eligibility at SS, and another for which he should soon gain eligibility - 2B - Baez could have a major effect on fantasy fortunes.
I'm not saying he can live up to the his performance in the minors, or the mythologizing that Cubs fans have given into as they have watch the organization collect high-ranked prospects while the MLB-level continues to tank. But, I'm also not saying he won't live up to it.
I think what you'll get from Javy is pretty much what you saw in his Tuesday night debut. He went 1-for-6 in an extra inning affair, striking out three times, but hitting what proved to be the game-winning HR in the 12th inning. The situation in which that HR came will only add to the legend, as the strikeouts are accepted as growing pains.
B ut with less than two months left in the season, here's my prediction for Javy's line: 10 HRs, 22 RBI, .240 AVG.
At the SS position, 10 HRs are nothing to ignore. Plenty of starting fantasy SS's who have been playing all year won't match that. Assuming Baez soon qualifies at 2B, his value in the waning weeks will only increase. I think that kind of power and multi-position eligibility makes him worth adding to rosters at least as a bench player/occasional starter.
Another reason why you should add him is defense - not Javy's defense, which by most accounts seems fairly atrocious, but as strategy to defend your own team from others in your league who would otherwise pick him up.
This is particularly true if you are currently in position to make the playoffs by a narrow margin. You don't want some upstart with a brand new power-hitting 2B/SS ruining your chances at the last minute.
Even if you don't think the fantasy world should go crazy for young Javy, it already is - his ownership in Yahoo! fantasy leagues jumped from 14% to 47% between the Monday rumors of his call-up and Tuesday's debut. You might as well jump on the bandwagon, even if it's just to make sure you don't get run over by someone else's bandwagon.
* ESPN says Javy's a clear-cut fantasy add.
* iSportsWeb.com says you should wait on Javy.
Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.
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