(By the way, I don't weigh that lineup-spot kafuffle as heavily for young players, especially those whose skills aren't far-fetched for the spot they're hoping to grow into.)
Heyward one of nice RBI options
As for when he did make contact, it became a liner 26 percent of the time. So much for concerns about squaring up. And with a healthier left hand, more lift should come, which would in turn bring his infield-fly percentage back to normal.
Even with all his issues, his ISO jumped 30 points to .196 - not an ideal figure for a fantasy CI, but still decent at Billy Butler levels and hinting at plenty more where that came from.
He turned 23 in September and has 1,279 MLB at-bats under his robust belt. In a full 2013, he'll smash through that alluring - if not at least slightly imaginary - breakthrough, or at least identity-setting, line of 1,500 at-bats.
Undoubtedly, much of Freeman's 2012 persona was dictated by his 91 RBIs; he'll be a stout base cleaner over his career, even if his power remains stagnant.
Luckily, that total looks plausible for a repeat with his new atop-the-lineup weapon. Freddie's .295 BABIP and ridiculous liner rate didn't jive; the .259 BA is an anomaly.
Although recovering from his hand and eye issues adds to the risk, they're not yet palatable enough to ditch him come March after a normal recovery. He'll probably fall into the midrange 1B starters, with Ryan Howard, Paul Goldschmidt, Ike Davis - sounds familiar, right?
Last year, I considered him the riskiest of these options. Now, I'll say he has the highest profit allure outside of a Howard rebound and Eric Hosmer recovery, which are also heavy possibilities. Hopefully Freeman's BA will allow him to fall down the board in your room.
As long as his body obliges, Freddie's ready. He will rock you if you pass him up and he's 100 percent next spring.
If he has a clean check-up, don't stop him now. He's a rocket ship, traveling at the speed of light, on his way to Mars ... or, at least, top-5 upside at his position.
Here's hoping he can see the ball during the trip.
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About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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