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Kris Bryant was the most talked about Fantasy Baseball rookie at the start of the 2015 season, and thus far he has backed it up with his performance. The 23-year-old has 10 HRs, 40 Runs, 42 RBIs and a .278 average. Not only that, but he has stolen six bases and has drawn 36 walks in his first 61 games. He does have 81 strikeouts and could see his average dip further as he makes his way around the league again. Still, it is very evident that Bryant has a bright future full of elite Fantasy performances. Bryant’s keeper/dynasty value is skyrocketing because of his production and the fact that he has barely scratched the surface on his potential. Given his immense ceiling, what is his value like in long-term formats? He is a cornerstone
player that owners can build around for years to come. That means he is going to command a hefty price tag, likely a substantial package of players. Right now, there are only five players that you can definitely trade Bryant for in a straight up trade.
- Mike Trout (Angels, OF) – Trout has been atop the keeper and dynasty world ever since he burst onto the Fantasy scene in 2012. While his speed has been on the decline, Trout remains an elite five-category contributor. He will not turn 24 years old until August and we may not have seen the best of what he can offer, which is scary. While he is facing stiff competition from a couple of the hitters on this list, Trout has a slight edge right now because of his track record of Fantasy domination. While Bryant may offer slightly more power upside, Trout should be a better average hitter over the long-term. While the Trout owner is not likely to do a straight up trade, you can potentially pique his or her interest by kicking in another starting caliber player along with Bryant.
- Bryce Harper (Nationals, OF) – The biggest competition Trout has for that top spot in dynasty is Harper. In his fourth season and finally healthy, he is mashing the ball all over the yard right now. While he may slow down a bit as the season goes on, this type of production is not a fluke. This is Harper simply playing to his potential. He has already set a career high in homers with 24 in just 235 at-bats. He has walked 54 times already and has an impressive .340 average. When you consider that Harper is younger than Trout and Bryant, you can see why many think he belongs at the top of this list. His ultimate ceiling is higher than any player in the game. Basically, you are not trading for Harper right now in a keeper league. His numbers are too good and owners have been waiting for this since he was drafted.
- Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins, OF) – Stanton is the only one player that can rival the power potential of Harper and Bryant. The 25-year-old already has 180 HRs in his career and is up to 27 in 72 games already this year. Stanton will likely settle in as a .275 hitter with a boatload of walks as one of the most feared hitters in the game. He should provide a handful of steals as well, but that is not why you own Stanton. A case can be made for Bryant here as a younger, similarly skilled player. However, Stanton’s power potential borders on record-setting and when he gets a better lineup around him, the RBI and Run upside will increase as well. A fully healthy 2015 will cement Stanton as a Top 3 dynasty asset.
- Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers, SP) – Keeping pitchers in dynasty leagues is always a dangerous proposition but when you are as overpowering as Kershaw, exceptions can be made. Only 27 years old and already a three-time CY Young Award winner, Kershaw has had an ERA below 2.00 and a WHIP below 1.00 in each of the past two years. While his performance has been ‘spotty’ at times this year, he is still the best in the game. Only a healthy Jose Fernandez can rival him on the mound from an upside standpoint. Having an ace to anchor your staff year after year is a valuable commodity, especially with all of the injuries that occur at the position. In leagues that skew more heavily on pitching, he is as valuable as anyone. My personal preference is always going to be an elite hitter over an arm, but a case can be made for Kershaw because he’s that good.
- Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks, 1B) – Goldschmidt is the oldest player on this list, but at age 27 he still has plenty of elite seasons left. After a mammoth breakthrough in 2013, Goldy was raking again last year until an injury cut his season short. Back and healthy this season, he is picking up right where he left off. He is a threat to put up a 40 HR / 20 SB season and currently leads the NL with a .353 average. If Bryant can cut down on the swings and misses as he matures, he could be a very similar type of player. After all, one of the main knocks on Goldschmidt as a prospect was his strikeouts. He is the front runner for the NL MVP Award at this point.