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Fantasy 411: What to expect from Bellinger?

April 28, 2017

The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's Fantasy411 podcast, hosted by lead fantasy writer Fred Zinkie and national editor Matthew Leach. To hear the rest of Zinkie and Leach's discussion, subscribe to the Fantasy411 podcast by clicking here.Leach: There's a lot of news this week,

The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's Fantasy411 podcast, hosted by lead fantasy writer Fred Zinkie and national editor Matthew Leach. To hear the rest of Zinkie and Leach's discussion, subscribe to the Fantasy411 podcast by clicking here.
Leach: There's a lot of news this week, and one of the biggest pieces of news is that Cody Bellinger is up. The Dodgers continue to slot in their ridiculous array of young talent, and he's the latest one to arrive. He's kind of an interesting player -- he hit .343 before his callup this year -- but kind of a mix of interesting numbers in the past. He hasn't really hit for average that much in the Minors, a .260/.270/.280 kind of hitter, but he also hasn't struck out a ton and he hits for power. I kind of what wonder what to do with that, because it's not like he doesn't put the bat on the ball; he just hasn't gotten a lot of base hits. I like the potential a lot in that lineup. I think he's a must-add in most formats, what are your expectations for Bellinger, Fred?
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Zinkie: My expectations range wildly, just because the Dodgers do have a lot of depth on their roster and they do have a lot of players injured right now. I think the first two or three weeks are really important for him. If he gets off to a solid start, I could see him hitting 20 or 30 home runs the rest of the way and having a decent average. That being said, I don't think he's totally clear of those playing time concerns given all the veterans they have. At the same time, usually when teams bring up prospects as good as Bellinger, it's to keep them up, give them a real chance and let them spark the lineup. I'd really like to see him hit well early and also move into a premium lineup spot; he started off near the bottom of their lineup. I think those things will be real factors, because you need counting stats for him. I don't think he's going to hit .300.
Leach: With that kind of prospect, if he's on the roster, he's going to play. I don't think Cody Bellinger is going to be on the Dodgers' roster and only play twice a week; I think as long as he's up, he'll play. And I think if the roster shuffle turns out in such a way that there's not opportunity for him, he'll be sent back down. So you won't be left wondering. You won't be setting your roster saying, "Is he going to play? Or isn't he?" If he's on the roster, he's going to play.
Zinkie: That's right. And standard theory in most of these leagues is to drop the least valuable player on your roster and take a shot at the prospect. If it doesn't turn out, you can probably get that exact player back or someone who's very similar -- maybe someone you didn't like quite as much as the one you had before -- but someone quite similar you can probably get back in a month if things aren't working out with Bellinger.

Leach: We go to the opposite ends of careers with guys who are off to a bit of a scuffle, and to me these are two guys I see very differently. With Jose Cabrera, I personally think the time to buy low has gone. He had about eight or nine rough games to start the year, and in the last eight or nine games, he is hitting and raking like Miguel Cabrera. If somebody is for whatever reason looking to move him, you should jump on that now right away. But the guy we need to talk about is Troy Tulowitzki, because I'm not sure this is that far off from what he is. I think a reasonable expectation for him coming into the year was 15-20 home runs, and he's short of that pace but I don't think it would be hard for him to get there. He's not the .320 hitter he used to be. I don't know if it's a buy-low opportunity, but I do think he's a little better than this. Where are you on Tulowitzki?
Zinkie: Yeah, I think short of one or two homers before he went on the DL, this is Troy Tulowitzki. I mean, this is what he's been since he joined the Blue Jays. He's a .250-, .260-type hitter, with maybe 20 home runs across a full season. I don't know if we can write him off as a product of Coors Field or if this is just the aging process for someone who had a lot of injuries in their 20s, but I think this is just who he is. When we did our shortstop preview back in March, I'm pretty sure he wasn't in it as part of our top 12. If he was in it, he was at the very end. So you take away any stolen-base ability and the likelihood of hitting for average, and he's just a 20-home run shortstop. I don't think he's worth buying low for such name value. I do agree with you on Cabrera, and I think there could still be a buy-low window with his owners where he's hitting .268 and he's injured and he's an older player now. So maybe there will be some Cabrera owners who will say, "Hey, I would get out." And maybe they would say, "Would you trade for Yoenis Cespedes for him?" He got off to a really nice start this season, but everyone would have rather had Cabrera in their draft.
Leach: In an instant. And I wouldn't hesitate. I would click on "Yes" before the person had a chance to reconsider.
Zinkie: Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if some owners see -- whether it's Cespedes or someone like A.J. Pollock, who's off to a really nice start -- they just see kind of blah stats from Cabrera and the fact that he's injured and him being in his 30s and they say, "Oh sure, I'll take the hotter bat and go for it." Those are things maybe for owners who have some depth on their roster and feel like they can stash Cabrera -- for probably not that long -- that that's worth considering.
Leach: The thing with Cespedes specifically is I don't have a whole lot more faith over his durability over the remainder of the season than I do in Cabrera's.
Zinkie: I agree with that, and with Cabrera, we do have to get our heads around the new 10-day DL stint. It makes sense for a team like the Tigers to say, "We're not going to push this," and 10 days is probably only eight or nine games and hopefully we'll have him every day from here on out rather than the 15-day stint. I do think that's changed things. We've already had more DL stints this April than we did all of last April.

Leach: With Joey Gallo, I think he's up. I think at this point regardless of what happens, they have to find room for him. As we discussed earlier this year, I wasn't buying any of their other left-field options as an everyday guy. He's leading the American League in home runs, and if you have the chance to acquire him -- I don't worry much about it. I'll put it this way -- he could play himself out of a job in two months, but he's not going to find himself out of a job in two weeks.
Zinkie: Yeah, the Rangers recently said that Ryan Rua is going to be their left fielder most days from now on, but once Adrian Beltre comes back, I really think Gallo gets that shot. We don't really know when Beltre gets back. That seems to be something that continues to be undetermined. But I've been really surprised. I guess this qualifies as a post-hype sleeper, because Gallo was really hyped when he first came up. But in Yahoo formats for example, he's barely owned in half of the leagues, and this is a legitimate candidate to lead the American League in home runs this year. I'm not saying it's going to happen, but this is someone that if he plays all the time is going to be at least up into the 30s for home runs. The batting average won't be high, but you don't leave 35-home run guys on waivers. I'm really surprised there hasn't been more buzz about him. I think if he got off to this start the first time he was ever called up, he would have been 95 percent owned right now. It is a classic post-hype sleeper where people see Joey Gallo and just say, "He strikes out too much, it won't work out." But there's a lot of players in baseball who strike out a lot, but also hit home runs.