The Atlanta Braves announced on Friday what everyone in baseball has been speculating over the last few months – that hyped power hitting prospect Jason Heyward will be starting for Atanta on opening day.

All the hype on Heyward is making its way to fantasy leagues as well.  But before you go and spend a high draft pick on Heyward in your fantasy league – I’d like to try and clear your head just a little bit.

Listen, the kid is likely to be a stud for years to come – but that doesn’t mean his talents will translate immediately to the major leagues.

“We want to keep our expectations, with common sense,” Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said, as reported by David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  “Everybody is going to think he’s going to hit 40 home runs, hit .330 and drive in 150 runs.”

Cox’s quote says it all.  Everyone is going to think exactly what he said – but that doesn’t mean that you should.

In Fantasy Baseball, Heyward has high value in keeper leagues only.  For any other league, I would still take a flyer on him – but in later rounds.

If you don’t agree – then let me present you with a few examples of recent stud prospects – and how they performed in their first season in the majors (99+ games only):

PLAYER

TEAM

GAMES

HR

RBI

AVG.

Jay Bruce

Reds

108

21

52

.254

Nick Markakis

Orioles

147

16

62

.291

Alex Gordon

Royals

151

15

60

.247

Justin Upton*

D’Backs

108

15

42

.250

Jeremy Hermida**

Marlins

99

5

28

.251

The Final Word:

While I love the upside of Jason Heyward, there are at least a few dozen outfielders that I would draft well before him.  Keep this in mind when drafting – and feel out your league for trends as to how much youth and outfield talent everyone is drafting (and when).

Again, as you can see with the stats above – don’t always believe in the hype of a big time prospect.  They may pan out, but not always right away.

Don’t forget: Heyward is only 20 years old!

jason-heyward-will-start-for-braves-on-opening-day

* Justin Upton also played 43 games in 2007 (year before the one listed above)

** Jeremy Hermida (now with Boston) also played 23 games in 2005 – year before one above

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