Fantasy Baseball Week That Was & Will Be: Rizzo Raking
Published: Aug 02, 2021
Anthony Rizzo: Anthony Rizzo has become an instant fan favorite in New York going 5-10 with two dingers, three RBI, five runs and 3 BB in his first three games with the Bombers. Will he stay this hot? Of course not. However, there is real reason to believe he will rake over the last two months. Hiding behind that .256 average and solid but not great 16 dingers are career high barrel and hard-hit rates and a constant 80+% contact rate. Pay the freight as the Yankees did.
For the Week That Will Be: With 7 home games featuring the short right field porch and the hardly scary pitching staffs of Baltimore and Seattle coming to town, Rizzo is due for a big week in pinstripes.
Rafael Ortega: With the aforementioned Anthony Rizzo as well as Kris Bryant and Javier Báez wearing other uniforms, Rafael Ortega’s role on the north side this summer should be secure. Oh, and if there were any doubts, his three dingers Sunday put those to rest. On the year, Ortega sports a .319 average and OPS over .900 to go with 6 dingers and 4 swipes in just over 100 AB. Can this last? Well, he will not have many three homer games but this is a guy who constantly put up strong OBPs in the minors so he should continue to get the counting numbers atop the Cubs lineup.
For the Week That Will Be: The first three games this week are in Colorado. I think you know what to do.
Kyle Finnegan: With Brad Hand in Toronto, Daniel Hudson in San Diego and Tanner Rainey back in the minors, the closer role belongs to Finnegan. This weekend, he made the most of that opportunity registering both a win and a save. Does he have the goods to close? Well, he will not remind anyone of Aroldis Chapman or Mariano Rivera but an 11% swinging strike rate, 40+% ground ball rate and strong first pitch strike rate should play, especially with a slider that gets over 18% swinging strikes.
For the Week That Will Be: Saves are hard to come by and Finnegan is the guy so roll with him.
Bryan De La Cruz: The Marlins are in full rebuild (again), especially on the offensive side. Bad news for Marlins fans, good news for Bryan. The Marlins new OF was hitting .324 with 12 dingers in 272 AB in AAA before his call up. Given that he has never been a big strike out guy in the minors and always made solid contact, there is every reason to believe he will be solid playing every day in South Florida. The only problem is that the team is not likely to score a lot of runs.
For the Week That Will Be: Plug and play in NL only and 15 teamers. Wait and see in more shallow leagues.
Andrew Heaney: With all the attention on Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo arriving in New York, the Heaney acquisition has flown under the radar. While I like the move for real baseball purposes, I worry about Heaney for fantasy moving from the NL West and parks like Anaheim, Seattle and Oakland to the AL East with the launching pads of NY, Boston, and Baltimore (and the booming bats of Toronto). Why you ask? Well, giving up over 40% flyballs in those bandboxes is not good. Add in the fact that Heaney is giving up more barrels and hard contact and you can see how things could get ugly. I am not giving up or writing him off but I would take a wait and see in fantasy.
For the Week That Will Be: Two home starts say take the risk only if you need to make up ground in the standings.
What to do if your FAAB bids did not go as planned:
If you did not get the pitchers you want, consider these middle relievers on teams with weak or unsettled closing situations or potential openings in the rotation: Tyler Clippard and Kyle Ryan as someone has to close for the DBacks and Cubs this week.
If you are in the mood to gamble, how about Jake Meyers. If he gets any time in Houston, there should be counting numbers in that lineup.
And Last But Not Least:
The moment you have been waiting for (just play along) -- Schultz says: “So, Schultz takes a couple weeks off and it seems like Major League Baseball decides to act like its fantasy counterpart in his absence. The City of Chicago conspired to sabotage the roto-value of Craig Kimbrel, the Nationals joined the Cubs in making league-altering dump deals and the Yankees literally acquired a player in exchange for Junk. While the big names changing teams are surely memorable, it is always helpful to remember the minor-leaguers that were considered a fair return. Schultz would like to think that we’ve come a long way since the days when the Indians’ acquisition of Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips was referred to as “Bartolo Colón traded for Lee Stevens and three minor leaguers.” However, mark Schultz’ words, this year’s moves that yielded Konnor Pilkington and Peyton Battenfield may be referred to as the day that Cleveland solidified their midfield for their pivot into the world of professional lacrosse.
It’s worth keeping in mind that general managers generally know what they are doing. While it seems unthinkable to trade away Max Scherzer and Trea Turner and make the strongest team in baseball even stronger, it does make sense if you are getting back Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz, the best catching prospect not named Joey Bart. Normally, you have to file the names of the youngsters away for future auctions but Gray might pay dividends in 2021. The Dodgers already considered Gray major-league ready and the Nationals are surely going to let him get his feet wet in the last two months of the season.
Another name to keep in mind is Tucupita Marcano, the future anchor of the Pirates’ infield who was the centerpiece of the deal that sent Adam Frazier to the West Coast. Presuming Fernando Tatis Jr.’s shoulder remains intact, the Padres are relatively set at shortstop for the next decade. Consequently, in the same manner that Gabriel Arias was expendable in the ill-fated Mike Clevinger trade, Marcano was available when the Pirates shopped baseball’s hit leader. Marcano’s speed and glove may get him an audition when the rosters expand and it’s fair to believe that his plate discipline will improve with age.
As most roto-league trading deadlines have also passed, it's time to gaze ahead towards the title that may be on the horizon. Hopefully, that view is within your sights.”
Response: Fantasy owners should save this Schultz piece and make sure to review it in the next couple of Marchs when looking for those undervalued young players to draft late.