The Cubs have had a busy offseason. They have brought in several players with a future fantasy baseball impact: Anthony Rizzo, Ian Stewart, Gerardo Concepcion and Travis Wood.
What can baseball fans expect from these new Cubs players in the future?
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo looks like a future fantasy star. He projects as a relatively powerful, left-handed hitter who will play well in Wrigley Field. He won't be a 40-plus-homer slugger like Prince Fielder or a .300-plus hitter like Adrian Gonzalez.
But a future line of .275 or higher, 25-30 home runs, 90 to 100 RBI, and a few stolen bases at the center of the Cubs' lineup would make him a strong option at the position beginning as early as next season.
Ian Stewart, Chicago's new third baseman, is a good bounce-back candidate. Stewart was a top prospect who hit, and hit for power. In 2010, he hit .265 with 18 home runs and a .443 slugging percentage.
In 2009, Stewart hit .228 with 25 home runs and a .464 slugging percentage.
Stewart fell off the map in 2011, but his power and hitting style could play well in Wrigley Field, which means he could be a sleeper option at the hot corner. If he gets dual eligibility at second base, watch out.
Cuban star Gerardo Concepcion will be a future fantasy baseball starter. He is not going to make the Cubs' 2012 major league roster. But keep him in the back of your mind for 2013, particularly if he shines in Double A this year.
Concepcion's future, assuming he progresses as planned, is as a No. 3 starter with an ERA in the mid-3s, a decent WHIP, and a win total between 13-16 depending on how competitive Chicago's roster is in a particular year. So, fans can expect a decent fourth starter in fantasy within a couple years.
Finally, Cubs starter Travis Wood is an intriguing sleeper. Wood is capable of a mid-3.00s ERA, decent WHIP, and double-digit wins, but regressed significantly in 2011. If he is back to his 2010 form this season, look for him on the wire because he can be an excellent back-end starter in your fantasy rotation.
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