Drew Silva

Fantasy Roundtable

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Roundtable: Bradley Zimmer

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


This is the Fantasy Roundtable, where the writers of Rotoworld Baseball let the readers of Rotoworld in on a quick staff discussion. Whether it’s a top prospect arriving, a closer role changing, or we just need to vent -- our staff talks it over and you get a peek behind the curtain. It's water cooler chatter ... that we've decided to publish.

 

Drew Silva: Let me quickly get your thoughts on top Indians outfield prospect Bradley Zimmer, who made his major league debut on Tuesday night against the Rays. He went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in that game, a 6-4 loss to Tampa Bay, but the 24-year-old is back in Cleveland’s starting lineup on Wednesday afternoon and could be an everyday player for good if he performs well enough to warrant busting into that kind of role. What’s the fantasy outlook here? How do you see Zimmer faring?


Zimmer, recently ranked the No. 22 overall prospect in baseball by MLB.com, was sporting a .902 OPS with five home runs and nine stolen bases through 33 games this year with Triple-A Columbus. Attractive numbers no doubt.



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Ryan Boyer: Nine players in baseball went 20/20 last season. Just four players did it in 2015, and only five in 2014. Bradley Zimmer has 20/20 ability, making him immediately appealing for fantasy owners that are always looking for that power/speed combo. The question is whether he'll make enough contact to cash in on his potential.


Zimmer had a whopping 37.3 percent strikeout rate last season at Triple-A Columbus. It improved to 29.9 percent this season, but clearly there's always going to be a lot of swing-and-miss in his game. Zimmer's career average in the minors is .270, and unless he has a lot of BABIP luck it seems doubtful that he'll approach that mark in the majors right away. He's also had issues against lefties, although he was off to a .323/.389/.581 start in his first 31 at-bats against them this year.


Zimmer has an opportunity to run away with a job. Abraham Almonte (biceps), Brandon Guyer (wrist) and Austin Jackson (toe) aren't roadblocks, and Tyler Naquin, while he's hit .396/.441/.528 since his demotion to Columbus, is currently out with a back injury. My hunch is that Zimmer will struggle out of the chute, but the appeal here is obvious. He's worth a shot in all formats.



D.J. Short: I mostly agree with Ryan here. Zimmer comes with the obvious concerns about his strikeout rate, but that's not the end-all-be-all it might have been in the past. Entering play on Tuesday, hitters are striking out 21.5 percent of the time this season, which would be the highest league-wide strikeout percentage ever. In short, teams have learned to live with it.


The question is whether Zimmer will hit enough right away to stick. I could see a scenario where he really struggles and finds himself back in the minors, but the combination of pop and speed is enough for me to take a chance on him in most formats. I know, I know. That's often not very helpful advice, because it doesn't put the situation into context. Who would you be willing to drop for him among outfielders? If it helps, I'd keep the likes of Byron Buxton or Stephen Piscotty, but I could see making the switch if you own the likes of Manuel Margot or Jorge Soler.



Drew Silva: Our own Matthew Pouliot seemed to agree with that add-drop range in his weekly notes column, writing: "He’s not a bad stash in mixed leagues, but I wouldn’t suggest dropping a top-60 outfielder in order to pick him up."

 

 

You can follow these @Rotoworld_BB writers on Twitter: @drewsilv@RyanPBoyer@djshort.



Drew Silva is a baseball editor for Rotoworld and also contributes on NBC Sports' Hardball Talk. He can be found on Twitter.
Email :Drew Silva



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