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Fantasy Baseball: George Springer Gets the Call – Don’t Miss Out on the Yasiel Puig of 2014

Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Editor-at-Large at XN Sports and has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sun-Sentinel, and FantasyPros. He has previously covered sports for COED Magazine, Fantasy Alarm, and Manwall.com.
George Springer
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

While all the fantasy talking heads, including myself, expected Astros top prospect George Springer to stay in the minors until at least June, the Houston Astros have promoted the outfielder and expect the 24-year-old to play every day.

With that said, why are you still reading this? Go grab him if he is magically still available in your league. His potential for power and speed is essentially unmatched among top prospects right now. Don’t miss out on this year’s Yasiel Puig.

Last season, Puig came up a bit later but looked like a can’t-miss prospect after he batted .328 with 13 home runs 52 RBI, 46 runs, and 21 steals in just 63 minor league games. He went on to bat .319 with 19 home runs, 42 RBI, 66 runs, and 11 steals over 104 Major League games for the Dodgers.

Now, it’s Springer’s turn.

In 2012, Springer batted .302 with 24 home runs, 55 extra-base hits, 87 RBI, 109 runs, and 32 steals between Single-A and Double-A. In 2013, he improved even more, batting .303 with 37 home runs, 108 RBI, 106 runs, and 45 steals between Double-A and Triple-A.

So far this year, Springer was batting .353 with three homers, nine RBI, 17 runs, and four steals in just 13 Triple-A games.

Meanwhile, the Astros Major League outfield is… woeful.

L.J. Hoes has been their best hitter, batting .267 with a homer. Dexter Fowler is batting .237 with a homer as well. Robbie Grossman is batting .125 and Alex Presley is batting .128. This outfield desperately needs Springer and he is fully expected to play every day.

So what can fantasy owners realistically expect? It’s hard to pin a true projection on a rookie but a 40/40 guy in the minors can certainly translate to 25+/25+ in the Bigs almost immediately.

Many worry about his average, even though he has consistently batted over .300. Certainly, his high strikeout rate is a concern. In 2012, he struck out 156 times and another 161 times in 2013. Should it concern you? Yes. Should it stop you from adding him? Absolutely not.

Even a .220 hitter that can provide 30+ home runs and 30+ steals has plenty of value, and outside of the strikeout rate, there is little to suggest that Springer will actually struggle to hit for at least a decent average.

The biggest problem with Springer coming into the season wasn’t that he strikes out a lot but that he was likely going to be a Super Two casualty, forced to stay in the minors until June. Now that he’s up in the Bigs, there is absolutely nothing that should stop you from adding him in every league you are in. His ownership rate is skyrocketing as you read this so don’t miss out.