Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Cubs’ Rookies: Should We Trust Alcantara, Baez or Soler Down The Stretch?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Rookies are often difficult to trust, especially when fantasy owners are hanging in the balance.  The Cubs have given us some great ones this season, but let’s check in on three of the best to determine how they have fared and if they are trustworthy for the remainder of the season (all stats through Monday), as well as touching on there potential long-term appeal (though we’ll dig into that a lot more in the offseason):

 

Arismendy Alcantara
Overall he’s hitting .212 with 9 HR and 8 SB over 245 AB. We like the power and the speed, as it shows his 20/20 potential, but the average has been a killer. He’s struggled to make contact, with a 28.3% strikeout rate, and when he has hit the ball it hasn’t been hard, with a dismal 10.7% line drive rate.

Believe it or not both numbers have been even worse in September, with marks of 34.6% and 6.3%, respectively. There’s a lot of upside moving forward, but how can we trust those types of marks at this point? He needs to learn and make adjustments, but for now he should be squarely on your bench in keeper leagues an can be dropped in redraft formats (especially now that he’s banged up a bit).

 

Javier Baez
He has shown the power, with 9 HR, and just recently broke a 17 game HR drought. The problem is that he’s been as feast or famine as they come, with an almost unbelievable 41.4% strikeout rate. He also has been hitting the ball in the air an awful lot, with a 43.8% fly ball rate and 17.9% IFFB. The fly ball rate would rank him 12th in the Majors if he were to qualify.

Significant Strikeouts + Significant Fly Balls = Poor Average

It’s an easy formula and, at this point, it’s hard to imagine anything changing for 2014. We will obviously try to dissect his 2015 upside in the offseason, but for now consider him more of a play if, and only if, you don’t care about average.

 

Jorge Soler
The new kid on the block, he’s a little bit different because pitchers are still trying to adjust to him. He has benefited from a lot of luck, with a .382 BABIP despite a 10.5% line drive rate, but he’s shown immense power (26.7% HR/FB) in his brief time in the Majors. He’s also shown an ability to make consistent contact, with a 23.1% strikeout rate, helping his cause.

There’s risk, given the inflated BABIP, but opponents may not have enough time to make the necessary adjustments for the remainder of 2014. Of the Cubs youngsters, he’s probably the “safest” play down the stretch, though with his own inherent issues.

Source – Fangraphs

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