Kris Bryant (3B-CHC): Widely expected to go with an arm, the Chicago Cubs surprised many by selecting Kris Bryant with the #2 pick in yesterday's MLB Draft. The University of San Diego junior leads the nation with 31 homers this season and boasts a ridiculous .329/.493/.820 triple slash line with a 66:44 BB:K ratio. Scouts have raved about Bryant's power for quite sometime, but have been equally impressed with the improvements he has made in his swing and in his approach at the plate, most notably his ability to read and hit breaking pitches. I think the Cubs hit an absolute home run with this pick...even if Bryant doesn't stay at third (which is a coin flip at this point), he could easily slide into an outfield corner. Those players in keeper/dynasty leagues will want to look at Bryant and other high-upside players who should move quickly once signed by their respective clubs. He could be mashing at Wrigley by mid-2015.
Ian Kennedy (SP-ARI): Ian Kennedy's return from the cut to his right index finger left fantasy owners squinting their eyes when reading his final line: 4 innings, 10 earned runs, 13 hits, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts. While Kennedy has been a bit unfortunate with a 5.72 ERA/4.43 xFIP, there is definite cause for concern here. Kennedy has seen his K-rate fall from 20.8% to 19.4% and his BB-rate climb from 6.1% to 8.3%. Batters are making solid contact against him, as his LD rate has climbed from 20.6% to 24.5%, and his HR/FB rate has climbed from 10.8% to 13.8%. Owners are advised to drop him in shallow mixed leagues and bench him and wait in deeper mixed leagues/NL only leagues. While I see him eventually being serviceable as a #5/6 starter in most formats, his 2011 looks to be the outlier.
Domonic Brown (OF-PHI): Domonic Brown continued his breakout campaign last night by going 2 for 3 with a run scored and 2 stolen bases. The post-hype prospect now boasts a .289/.328/.587 line with 18 homers, 44 RBI, 31 Runs, and 6 steals through 60 games. Credit has to go to Brown for making some adjustments to his swing and improving his ability to consistently hit breaking pitches. He is hitting everything solidly, even pitches out of the zone. However, I see this breakout as making him a top 20-25 outfielder, not his top-5 level that he currently holds on ESPN's player rater. Brown is walking 4.7% less and striking out 3% more from last year, and his 31% HR/FB rate is simply unsustainable. With that being said, I'd still continue to ride the breakout unless you are overwhelmed with an offer, because even when he slows down, he'll be a must-start in all formats.
Yasiel Puig (OF-LAD): PuigMania continues, as Yasiel Puig hit his first career grand slam and 3rd homer of the week to lead the Dodgers to victory. Puig has now gone 7 for 16 with 9 RBI and 3 runs scored through 4 MLB games, sparking the Dodgers to 3 wins. His upside alone merits a pickup and start in all formats. Puig has done nothing but hit since signing, posting a 1.076 OPS last season and a .982 OPS this season in the minors. He had even displayed solid plate discipline and coverage with a 27:46 BB:K ratio through 63 games. However, I see an adjustment period coming. Puig is still quite raw by most accounts and still has some refining to do to his overall approach. He could eventually be a #1 fantasy outfielder, and he's going to show flashes this season, but I also see several cold spells along the way. Trading him would be dangerous (and unadvisable) at this point, but so would expecting him to be anything more than a #3/4 outfielder in fantasy for 2013.
Nolan Arenado (3B-COL): Nolan Arenado hit second in the lineup for the 3rd time in 4 games, going 2 for 6 with a run scored. The Rockies rookie has 6 hits in his last 12 AB's to push his season line to .245/.280/.399 with 4 homers, 12 RBI, and 18 runs through 37 games. While the fantasy love for Arenado went initially too far, I think he has become somewhat of a forgotten man (similarly to the way Jedd Gyorko did in early May) and makes for an excellent buy-low candidate. Arenado has traditionally been an aggressive, high-contact rate kind of player throughout his minor league career, and he's carried that over to the Bigs with an impressively high 83.6% contact rate and impressively low 14% k-rate for a rookie. The Rockies should continue to hit him higher in the lineup, which will provide him with plenty of counting stat opportunities. If you can pick him up and slide him into a utility or corner spot, I'd pounce.
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