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Fantasy Baseball Risers & Fallers: Daulton Varsho, Ty France, Triston McKenzie

by Jon Mathisen | @eazymath | Featured Writer
Aug 24, 2021
Ty France

Ty France has been Captain Clutch for the upstart Mariners.

Welcome to the Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers article for Week 21 (8/16 – 8/22). I will be covering some of the hottest and coldest players in baseball over the last seven days. This column aims to provide insight into the featured players’ success and/or struggles. We’ll try and discover if their recent performances have any staying power or if it was just a flash in the pan. The fantasy baseball trade deadline has passed, and we have just two weeks before postseason play begins. Division races are getting tighter in Major League Baseball as well, with a little over a month of the regular season left.

The NFL is set to kick off in less than three weeks, which is crazy to think about, but it’s still important to pay attention to the happenings all around MLB. Sure, the end is in sight, and your fantasy baseball roster is pretty much finalized, but we can’t take our eyes off the prize. Laid-back fantasy managers have mostly checked out by now, but if you can’t get enough of this stuff, then you’re probably reading this article. Experienced and competitive managers (like you) know that this is the time to hunker down and focus with the playoffs just two weeks away. This is where we separate the serious from the casual. While most of us may have a set it and forget it lineup by now, some lesser-known players mentioned below could be worth adding to your rosters right now.

It’s important to pay attention to which players are “rising” and which ones are “falling.” I try my best to focus on some lesser-known players or fringe roster-worthy guys that have been flying under the radar. To avoid redundancy, I won’t always be covering superstars like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr., for example. They’re obviously both amazing players. As much as I’d like to write about them every week, they’re rostered in 100% of leagues, and their awesomeness is well documented across the fantasy baseball landscape. Anyway, with all of that out of the way, let’s get into it.

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Daulton Varsho (C/1B – ARI)
Varsho didn’t crack the D-Backs major league roster out of Spring Training and wasn’t recalled until late April. He struggled over his first 19 games before being optioned back to Triple-A in late May. He was recalled again on June 20 and has steadily improved since then. The 25-year-old catcher/outfielder slashed a measly .138/.250/.175 with no home runs, five RBI, and one stolen base over his first 34 games with the club (April 28 – July 10). But it’s been the opposite in terms of production since July 11 as he’s slashed .338/.446/.738 with nine home runs, 20 RBI, and three stolen bases across 84 at-bats. Overall, he’s got a .238/.342/.470 batting line with nine long balls, 25 RBI, and four stolen bases.

He hit .429 with a 1.643 OPS, two doubles, one triple, two home runs, and five RBI in five games last week. His .246 xBA, .340 xwOBA, and .429 xSLG aren’t far off his actual stats, and he’s sporting career bests in Hard Hit Rate (43.2%), Average Launch Angle (20.6 degrees), Barrel Rate (9.3%), Strikeout Rate (23%), and Walk Rate (13.9%). Including Monday’s loss to the Pirates, he’s now homered in three straight contests and is rostered in just 34% of Yahoo! leagues. His catcher eligibility makes him an intriguing addition to any fantasy team, but it should also be noted that he tends to hit towards the bottom of the Arizona lineup, which caps his RBI upside.

Ty France (INF – SEA)
All France has done is hit since he came over from the Padres in last season’s trade involving Austin Nola. He’s been Captain Clutch for the upstart Mariners lately, delivering numerous timely hits as they continue to scratch and claw for a Wild Card spot. Last week, he hit .417/.423/.833 with a double, three home runs, seven RBI, and six runs scored across 26 plate appearances (six games). He’s been raking since the All-Star break as well, slashing .358/.403/.569 with seven extra-base hits, eight home runs, 22 RBI, six HBP, and 26 runs scored. Overall, the versatile 27-year-old holds a solid .292/.361/.467 batting line with 16 home runs, 59 RBI, and 65 runs scored over 435 at-bats.

The Mariners had their backs against the wall on Sunday (August 22) in Houston before France delivered a solo home run in the top of the ninth to send the game to extra innings, where Seattle would go on to win. He repeated the same feat on Monday evening in Oakland when he tied up the ball game with a solo blast in the top of the ninth, again, as the M’s eventually pulled ahead for the W. France has always been a talented hitter, but he’s taken his plate discipline to another level this season. He lowered his Strikeout Rate from 23.9% in 2020 to 16.9% this season. He’s also sporting career-bests in his Z-Contact (89%) and O-Contact (59%) Rates. There’s a bit of a gap between his expected batting average (.265) and his actual one, but his .340 xwOBA and .430 xSLG aren’t far off. France is one of those players that is a better real-life performer than a fantasy one as he lacks the big counting stats upside, but he’s worth rostering during this hot streak. He’s available in 31% of Yahoo! leagues at the time of this publishing.

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