Don’t draft on reputation, draft on the evidence… Despite the fact that first base is thinner than it has been in the past, I am still avoiding Anthony Rizzo in 2020.
To be clear I am not completely adverse to Rizzo, but with an ADP of 62 I will not be drafting him at that price. He can still help your fantasy team, but there is some risk involved that we previously didn’t have to deal with. At this point we can’t expect to see him eclipse the 30 home run mark, and the way we evaluate him needs to change.
Granted he was dealing with a back injury, but 2019 was the second straight year in which Rizzo had an expected home run total, per Baseball HQ, of 22. With 613 plate appearances he really didn’t miss much time and the batting average (.293) and run production (94) were there, but with 27 HR we were left wanting more.
The major issue is the back injury, as Rizzo traded fly balls for line drives in the second half and the concern is that this is a trend that will continue. With power and home runs rising across baseball, seeing his production go in the other direction has to be concerning regardless of the cause.
We aren’t disputing Rizzo’s skill and ability as a run producer, but his ADP and ranking among first baseman is really based on his batting average at this point. If we are talking about taking him in the seventh round instead of the fourth then I can get on board, but is there really that much difference between him and Josh Bell (ADP of 90) or Trey Mancini (104)? Remember you can get that batting average elsewhere, and you can’t replace that early round power.
The other issue is the fact that his Stat Cast metrics compared to league averages aren’t doing him any favors:
- Launch Angle: 12.4 degrees vs. 11.2
- Exit Velocity: 88.8 miles per hour vs. 90.6
- Hard Hit Rate: 37% vs. 34.5%
- Barrel Rate: 7% to 6.3%
At age 30 Rizzo still has something left in the tank, but he isn’t the same player he was a few seasons ago, at least in the home run department. I don’t want to pay to find out to see if regains that capability.