10 Burning Questions: Wander Franco, Kyle Schwarber, Luis Castillo (2021 Fantasy Baseball)
By now, I’m sure many of your leagues are at or near the halfway point of their seasons. This season continues to be full of headlines and entertainment. From the ongoing investigation to superstars continuing to emerge – the MLB is filled with exciting storylines. Now, we will even get to see the highly coveted Wander Franco. It’s the season that keeps on giving, and I can’t wait to see what Franco does. He will surely live up to the hype.
Now, here are 10 burning questions I had from the previous week!
These rankings and statistics are up to date as of June 21st via Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) and average draft position (ADP) from FantasyPros.
1. How good can Wander Franco be this season?
It’s about time! The number one prospect in all of baseball has finally arrived. Franco has officially gotten the call-up after completely demolishing the competition at the Triple-A level. Calling Franco impressive would be a massive understatement. He is a phenom waiting to blossom at the MLB level. Many will see this as a panic move, as the Tampa Bay Rays have been struggling of late, but Wander has been due for his call-up for quite some time. Unlike Jarred Kelenic, I believe Franco will come out guns blazing. I fully expect him to have a Fernando Tatis Jr. or Ronald Acuna Jr. such impact right away. Yesterday, Franco was available in plenty of leagues. I hope you either stashed him or scooped him up when the news broke because he should be as good as they come for the remainder of the season.
2. Can Kyle Schwarber play his way into the NL Player of The Month?
I actually wrote about Schwarber’s recent success in my article last week, but now, he’s turned it up a notch further. Schwarber capped off a stunning week with a 3-HR game on Sunday. Schwarber looks as good as ever and appears to be back to his old form. He has to be the favorite to take home NL Player of The Month honors and is a huge reason the Washington Nationals are winning baseball games. Let’s hope his most recent injury is nothing too serious – as he should continue to hit at an elite level.
3. Is Carlos Correa having an underrated season?
Truth be told, I actually haven’t read or heard much on Carlos Correa this season. It’s surprising given his OPS is currently above .900, and he’s having one of the best offensive seasons in the American League. The controversial shortstop has gone under the radar by many fantasy baseball managers and fans alike. I’m sure the cheating scandal has much to do with it, but Correa’s season cannot be overlooked. Correa is slugging over .900 in his past seven games and is well on his way to an All-Star season. He came at a discount on draft day, and if you were lucky to snag him, pat yourself on the back.
4. Is Luis Castillo back on track?
The Reds’ ace had a brutal start to the season, to say the least. While Castillo’s stuff was still there, he looked like a complete shell of himself. Now, Castillo has put together four straight solid starts – looking much like his former self. The strikeouts are back, and Castillo has three quality starts in his last four outings. I’d like to see a dominant performance from him where he goes 7+ innings, but we’ll take the quality starts when we can get them. The buy low window may be closing soon.
5. Is anyone streakier than Adam Duvall?
Cubs fans. Close your eyes. Adam Duvall absolutely tormented the Chicago Cubs all weekend long. The Marlins’ outfielder tallied 17 total bases in two games alone. Those are just silly numbers. When Duvall is hot, he is HOT. I’m sure many fantasy baseball managers dropped him when the production was exceptionally low, but Duvall is the definition of streaky. He’s worth a roster spot in all formats, as he can single-handedly shift a weekly matchup.
6. Will Blake Snell go down as the biggest bust of 2021?
It has been tough sledding for the former Tampa Bay Ray. It’s funny because the Rays rarely lose a deal, and here is just another example of that. Snell has been downright dreadful in San Diego. He’s struggled to consistently even get to the 4th inning in many games, and his spot in the rotation may ultimately be in jeopardy. Admittedly, I was somewhat high on Snell, and therefore, I had a major conundrum come draft day. I was deciding between him or Tyler Glasnow (we’ll get to him in a minute), but ultimately I selected Glasnow. I got lucky. You may want to start feeling for offers if Snell is on your roster.
7. Was Tyler Glasnow right in his reaction to banned substances?
This is a loaded question. On the one hand, you have the MLB trying everything in its power to limit cheating and foreign substances. On the other hand, you have an incredibly talented pitcher who had a routine and would grip the baseball with a bit of legal sunscreen and rosin. Now, Glasnow is injured because of the new rules. He targeted his lack of grip to his elbow injury, and honestly, I believe him. If you lose your grip on the baseball, it will affect your elbow and cause injury. This is exactly what happened to Glasnow, and it’s unfortunate that we’ll lose him for a large chunk of the season. He is one of the most exciting pitchers to watch in all of baseball, and it’s a shame we got robbed of seeing him perform at an elite level. Let me know what you guys think about Glasnow, his argument, and the banning of foreign substances midseason.
8. Can Matt Olson make a strong case for AL MVP?
As of June 21st, the second-best record in the AL belongs to the Oakland Athletics. Yet again, they overachieve and silence their critics. A huge reason as to why they are so successful is Matt Olson. Olson is yet again performing at a supreme level, both offensively and defensively. Olson has an OPS north of 1.000 in his last 30 games. His numbers are jaw-dropping, and he deserves much more credit than is being talked about. We’d be talking about Olson as the AL MVP favorite if a certain Blue Jays’ third baseman wasn’t having an other-worldly season. Much like the A’s as a whole, Olson remains one of the most slept on players in all of fantasy baseball.
9. Did the time off do Ty France some good?
Coming into the 2021 season, Ty France was one of my biggest sleepers in all of fantasy baseball. He’s had a rollercoaster of a season, to say the least. The first month or so of the season, he was one of the best hitters in baseball, then he got extremely cold, missed some time due to injury, and now is on fire yet again. It appears some time off did France well. However, he again has an injury. We’ll have to monitor the situation closely. Hold onto him for now, especially if you have available IL slots.
10. Is Tyler Mahle the best Cincinnati Reds pitcher?
I write this now as Mahle is struggling versus the Minnesota Twins, but before that, Mahle was the best starting pitcher on the Reds. Coming into the season, many envisioned Mahle as one of the best sleepers in fantasy baseball. He displayed a strong repertoire and swing and miss ability. Many wrote him off after a few rough starts, but he appears to have found his mojo yet again. Mahle makes for a great asset in fantasy baseball because you can pair him with a few other star pitchers and ultimately round out your rotation. Let’s hope the Monday start versus the Twins is just a bump in the road, and he continues to produce stellar outings.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy baseball, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you navigate your season. From our Lineup Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to see which available players will improve your team quickly and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball season.