MLB Quick Hits: What to expect from Kris Bryant

Bryant hit 43 home runs in the minors last season.

Mark J. Rebilas

Your long wait is over, fantasy owners. After 12 excruciating days of this major-league season, the Cubs will reportedly call up 3B prospect Kris Bryant and put him in the lineup today against the Padres. Bryant is owned in 90 percent of FOXSports.com leagues, because we all knew his stay in the minors would be brief. But now that he’s a real, live big leaguer, what should we expect? Our friends at FanGraphs offer a couple of projections:

ZiPS: .256 BA, 29 HR, 96 RBI, 91 R, 10 SB (based on 557 PA)

Steamer: .260 BA, 27 HR, 75 RBI, 63 R, 8 SB (based on 494 PA)

If Bryant stays healthy, the higher playing-time projection seems likely. If these projections are accurate, the only superior fantasy third baseman figure to be Adrian Beltre, possibly Josh Donaldson, a healthy (?) Anthony Rendon and maybe Todd Frazier. That’s good company, and it makes Bryant a locked-in fantasy starter regardless of format.

I’m a bit skeptical about Bryant’s batting average projections. ZiPS projects Bryant to strike out in a whopping 32.9 percent of his plate appearances, while Steamer has that percentage at 29.4. Using the lower number – we do want to be optimistic, right? – only 10 batters have whiffed in 29.4 percent or more of their plate appearances over the last three seasons. Their batting averages over that span are:

DAILY FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE (DFS)

Chris Carter (.227)

Adam Dunn (.214)

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.239)

Chris Davis (.254)

Drew Stubbs (.242)

Ryan Howard (.233)

Danny Espinosa (.226)

Mike Napoli (.247)

B.J. Upton (.216)

Mark Reynolds (.213)

Yes, we think Bryant is more talented than most or all of those guys. Maybe Giancarlo Stanton (27.6 K%, .277 BA 2012-14) is a better comp – he batted .259 with a 31.1 percent K rate as a rookie. But there are bound to be some bumps in the road for Bryant, right? With such an extreme whiff rate, a BA of .230 or .240 (or worse) is definitely in play, even considering that Bryant’s minor-league BABIP rates were very high. Bryant’s power might come with a downside, and you should keep that in mind while enjoying all those home runs. Otherwise – Merry Krismas!

In other news …

Blue Jays SS Jose Reyes will miss at least the weekend due to an oblique injury. 

Brewers OF Carlos Gomez (hamstring) is on the DL. Look for Gerardo Parra and Logan Schafer to share time in center, and Jean Segura to lead off most of the time.

The Angels have their Sunday starter listed as TBD. It’s probably going to be Garrett Richards.

The Indians will recall Danny Salazar to start on SaturdayCarlos Carrasco, who got hit in the face with a line drive this week, is scheduled to pitch again on Monday. It sounds like OF Michael Brantley (back) will be back in the lineup tonight, but that’s not a promise.

MASCOT RANKINGS!

Chalk up another good start for D-backs rookie Archie Bradley. Not dominant, but pretty good. He’s owned in 52.1 percent of FOXSports.com leagues.

Rays 3B Evan Longoria is day-to-day after getting hit in the left leg by a pitch.

Padres SP Ian Kennedy (hamstring) hopes to make a rehab start on Monday, but might need more than that before getting reactivated.

Yankees OF Brett Gardner (wrist) is expected to play tonight.

Marlins rookie C J.T. Realmuto might be in line for more playing time. Why is this interesting? Because Realmuto batted .299 with eight homers and 18 stolen bases at Double A last season. Snatch him up, NL-only owners.

Jarred Cosart wasn’t so good last night; if you’d like a refund on this blog’s 2015 streaming starter recommendations, please contact my editors. The weekend picks are Seattle’s J.A. Happ (owned in 0.5 percent of FOXSports.com leagues) against the Rangers tonight; C.J. Wilson (40 percent owned) at Houston on Saturday; and Mariner lefty James Paxton (31.6 percent owned) versus the Rangers on Sunday. It’s all about the AL West, folks.

See you back here Monday morning.