10 Burning Questions: Cody Bellinger, Aroldis Chapman, Franmil Reyes (2021 Fantasy Baseball)
Another week of fantasy baseball is behind us. We are one step closer to the fantasy baseball playoffs. All-Star selections are being made, and snubs such as Chris Bassitt and Yuli Gurriel were robbed of their first all-star appearances. For me, the snubs are the talk of the town, and there were plenty of them this season.
However, it was yet another exciting week, and I had plenty on my mind following this week of baseball.
These rankings and statistics are up to date as of July 5th via Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) and average draft position (ADP) from FantasyPros.
1. Will Cody Bellinger ever turn it around?
The 2019 NL MVP has struggled for the past two seasons. Bellinger was a barely above-average hitter last year, all while being a consensus top-five pick. Now, he only has 18 hits on the season, and he doesn’t appear to be turning it around any time soon. His swing looks slow and long, and he appears to be lost at the plate. Many fantasy baseball managers might see this as an opportunity to buy-low, but I need to see more from Bellinger to declare him a buy-low. I would steer clear from him, for now.
2. Have Aroldis Chapman’s days as the Yankees’ closer come to an end?
Oh, man. I’m not sure struggling is the correct word for Chapman’s recent performances. Chapman has been downright dreadful after looking unhittable for a large part of the season. Perhaps he has been hit hard with the foreign substance ban? In any case, Chapman’s closer role may be up for grabs soon. Chad Green appears to be the next man up, and he should be added in all formats. At this point, Chapman is losing fantasy baseball managers weeks and is arguably droppable. I do believe he’ll turn it around, but when that is, remains to be seen.
3. Is Franmil Reyes available in your league?
If the hard-hitting outfielder is still available in your league, be sure to scoop him up. He might’ve been dropped after his lengthy appearance on the IL. However, he recently came off the IL and should reclaim his role in the middle of an anemic Cleveland batting order. He’s good for 20 more HRs, barring any health issues. Make sure to acquire him if he’s still available.
4. Can German Marquez continue his fabulous pitching?
It’s been a tale of two seasons for the Rockies’ ace. Marquez has appeared to put the poor starts behind him as he’s been absolutely brilliant his last few starts, even flirting with a no-hitter. He followed up his near no-hitter with a strong 11 strikeout, quality start performance. Marquez has looked like an ace outside of a rough start versus Cincinnati and could continue to dominate as the season goes on. He appears to have found his groove, which is great news for fantasy baseball managers who own him.
5. Is Raisel Iglesias here to stay?
Much like the aforementioned Marquez, Iglesias really struggled in his new change of scenery. Many, including myself, saw Iglesias as one of the safest closer options in fantasy baseball. He had major success in Cincinnati and basically had no competition for saves in Anaheim. However, he struggled drastically through the first few months of the season. Iglesias has looked much better recently and could continue to give back strong closer value – much of which we thought we’d see at the beginning of the season. He appears locked in now.
6. Will Alex Manoah win AL Rookie of the Year?
It’s absurd to think, but, as we stand now, Manoah is nowhere near the favorite for AL Rookie of the Year. Manoah has looked very solid through his first seven starts – posting a 1.2 WAR and respectable 4.44 FIP. His ERA is 2.70, so there is probably room for regression, but Manoah has looked great. His slider has made hitters look foolish, and the Blue Jays may have found themselves a great starter for years to come. Yermin Mercedes was recently demoted to Triple-A, and Adolis Garcia has begun to cool off. I’d bet Manoah will be right in the mix at the end of the season, and if you picked him up, congrats to you.
7. Can Jace Peterson be a viable fantasy asset?
Peterson has been a journeyman for much of his career. Unfortunately, he’s been a below-average hitter his entire career but has recently caught fire for the Milwaukee Brewers. He has become one of the hottest pickups off the waiver wire, and it will be interesting to see if he can keep it up. The Brewers are always in search of offense, so Peterson’s bat would be a welcomed sight. Feel free to take a flier on him if you have the room.
8. Is Dominic Smith back to his 2020 form?
Dominic Smith posted one of the best wRC+’s in baseball last year. He posted a career-best .993 OPS and was one of the best hitters in baseball. He was a name many fantasy baseball managers were targeting because of his enormous success from last year. However, Smith started this season incredibly poor and became droppable after a few weeks. Now, he appears to have found some of the success of what he did last season and again looks like a viable option for fantasy managers. Let’s hope he continues to turn it around, and feel free to add him if he’s still available in your league.
9. Should Chris Flexen be rostered in all fantasy baseball formats?
The answer to this question is yes. Flexen has been outstanding for the Seattle Mariners, posting a respectable 3.57 FIP to go along with an extremely low HR/9. Flexen looks like a completely different pitcher from the last time we saw him in New York. The Mariners may have found something with Flexen, and if he keeps putting up solid outings, you’ll want to roster him for the backend of your fantasy baseball rotation too.
10. Can Max Muncy win NL MVP?
I’ve written about Max Muncy several times this season, and I still don’t believe he’s getting the recognition he deserves. I was very high on Muncy coming into the season because his metrics stated that he was one of the most unlucky hitters in all of baseball. Now, Muncy is putting together one of the best seasons for any hitter this year. His 4.1 WAR is 5th best in baseball and 2nd only behind Fernando Tatis Jr. in the NL. He has been on an absolute tear for the defending champs all season long and shows no signs of slowing down. Muncy also has a league-best .416 OBP and 55 BB to 56 strikeouts. He should be strongly considered for NL MVP – especially if the Dodgers come away with the best record in the NL.
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 quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball season.