10 Burning Questions: Joey Votto, Abraham Toro, Sean Manaea (2021 Fantasy Baseball)
Another week has passed, and that means we are one more week closer to the fantasy baseball playoffs. Unfortunately, the injuries are starting to pile up, and fantasy baseball teams are feeling the effects of it. Fantasy baseball managers need to remain on their toes as things can change each day swiftly.
Now, I hope my 10 burning questions can help you end your season on a high note!
As always, you can find my last article here.
Also, these rankings and statistics are up to date as of August 2nd via Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) and average draft position (ADP) from FantasyPros.
1. Has Joey Votto found the fountain of youth?
Was there anyone in the world who saw this coming? Votto has been the hottest hitter in baseball over the past week-plus, and it isn’t particularly close. His most recent power surge has been a sight to behold as he’s slugging 1.259 in his last seven games. It’s an absurd run for a player his age, and it goes without saying that you should pick him up if he’s available in your league. The Reds’ offense is a goldmine for fantasy baseball production, and, right now, Votto is the cherry on top of it all.
2. Will Austin Riley remain an offensive juggernaut?
If it weren’t for the aforementioned Votto, Riley would be the talk of the town right now. He had his own HR streak against the New York Mets and is picking up the offensive production ever since Ronald Acuna Jr. went down. He’s always had a powerful swing, so it’s great to see Riley putting it all together this season. He’s increasing his fantasy baseball stock for this season and next. He has outplayed his draft day ADP and will continue to do so for the remainder of the season.
3. Is Abraham Toro a viable fantasy baseball asset?
Never truly given a chance in Houston, Toro has found himself an everyday role for the Seattle Mariners. Many, including myself, were baffled at the trade the Seattle Mariners made right before the deadline. However, Toro has always had potential, and the Mariners must’ve seen something they like with him. Since joining the Mariners, Toro has looked remarkable at the plate. His OPS is currently 1.400, and he is hitting the tail off the ball. Oddly enough, he is fantasy-relevant right now and should be picked up for any team looking for an offensive boost.
4. Has Sean Manaea reached his full potential?
Manaea has 22 strikeouts and has only given up four hits in 13 innings of work over his last two starts. That is elite stuff. Manaea is looking the part of an ace and, even though he is 29 years old, I believe the best is yet to come. Manaea should continue to bring stellar production for the remainder of the season. Don’t be surprised if he leads the charge for the Oakland A’s playoff chances.
5. When will Trent Grisham‘s struggles stop?
Grisham’s slash line over his last seven games: .000/.091/.000. Oof, not particularly ideal. Grisham has registered just one walk to go along with seven strikeouts over his last 20 at-bats. The worst part is, Grisham has been hitting around .200 for his last 30 games. Grisham’s struggles are becoming a theme, and fantasy baseball managers need to try and consider benching or trading him if they want to get into the playoffs. Let’s hope Grisham can start turning things around because right now, he looks lost.
6. Can Cavan Biggio finish the season on a high note?
Speaking of struggles – Cavan Biggio has not faired much better than the aforementioned Grisham lately. He has 2 hits in his last 7 games and a putrid .282 OPS. Much like his teammates, Biggio came into the season with high expectations, and he has yet to live up to them this season. His OPS is in the .600’s, and he looks more droppable than anything at this point. Keep him rostered if you have the room, but don’t hesitate to drop him if the time comes.
7. Will Blake Snell ever regain the form he had in Tampa Bay?
There’s a theme here: always be hesitant when you trade with the Tampa Bay Rays because most of the time, the other team loses the deal. Case and point here with Blake Snell. Snell has looked NOTHING like his AL Cy Young award-winning self that we are used to. At this point, Snell might find himself out of the Padres’ rotation sooner rather than later. His 3rd round ADP is looking more disgusting by the day, and he’s shown no signs of figuring it out. It could very well be a transition phase of pitching in the NL compared to the AL, but Snell’s days as a Cy Young contender appear over. Don’t be mad at yourself if you’ve considered dropping him.
8. Can we please have no more injuries?
Fernando Tatis Jr., Nicholas Castellanos, and Jacob deGrom are just a few players who have recently gone on the IL or had their time extended on the IL. It’s a shame to see such talent on the sideline, and it’s been a rough damper on what has been a remarkably entertaining 2021 MLB season. Let’s hope for no more injuries and that the aforementioned players are back and healthy soon. Both MLB and fantasy baseball teams alike can’t afford many more injuries.
9. Can Adam Wainwright continue to be a fantasy baseball difference maker?
The 39-year-old won’t go down without a fight. Wainwright, the Cardinals’ best pitcher this season, has looked anything but washed. He was more than likely a free agent pickup in your league and is looking like a tremendous season-long pickup. Wainwright has a 3.11 ERA in his last 15 games and honestly looks like the Wainwright we are accustomed to. He doesn’t appear to be slowing down this season. What a story it has been.
10. Is Yuli Gurriel the biggest all-star snub of 2021?
From one 39-year-old to a 37-year old – Yuli Gurriel had himself a week last week. Gurriel’s slash line over his last seven games: .462/.517/.769. Those numbers are pretty darn good for any age. Gurriel, for all intents and purposes, was my biggest all-star snub this season. The hitting performances he has put on were not imaginable before the season began. Many thought he was beyond washed, but now, he is looking anything but the part. He’s arguably the biggest reason why the Astros have been so successful this year. Also, it will be interesting to see if he can get more walks than strikeouts (41:45 BB:K rate) on the season. Congrats if you drafted him.
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.