The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's Fantasy411 podcast, hosted by MLB.com lead fantasy writer Fred Zinkie and national editor Matthew Leach. To hear the rest of their discussion, subscribe to the Fantasy411 podcast by clicking here.Leach: We start with something I don't think would have
The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's Fantasy411 podcast, hosted by MLB.com lead fantasy writer Fred Zinkie and national editor Matthew Leach. To hear the rest of their discussion, subscribe to the Fantasy411 podcast by clicking here.
Leach: We start with something I don't think would have been possible to happen as quickly as it did, but it appears Aaron Judge has been passed as the story of the MLB season thus far. Maybe even more surprising, he's been surpassed by another young power hitter. So with that, we turn our attention to Cody Bellinger, who has been absolutely unbelievable. I think the questions we have to ask are the same questions we had to ask about Judge a couple of weeks ago. And those are, how highly do you value him for the rest of the year, what would you give up if you were trying to acquire him, what would you be looking for if you had him and were looking to move him? In short, what do you do with this guy who's become one of the most dangerous power hitters in baseball? Where do you have him just on a big board right now? Where do you have him, Fred?
Zinkie: I think he has to be, maybe not in the first-round players yet, but probably right after that in with the second- and third-round type players. You know, I had a little bit of a deeper look at his statistics this season. He's hitting .270, which is fine. His BABIP is .286, which is totally something that's sustainable, so he could have an average of .270 or higher for the rest of the way. He strikes out a fair amount, but so do a lot of other power hitters. His homer-to-fly ball percentage is a little over 34, which is high, but not crazy high like we saw with Gary Sanchez last season. It's something that could come down, but he doesn't have to hit home runs at the rate he's hitting now to still be one of the best home run hitters in baseball.
Something really sneaky about Bellinger and Judge, both of them, in a season where we haven't seen many stolen bases, they will probably each steal about 10 bags, which really does matter when you compare them to power hitters who don't steal any. The thing that can really tip it when you're talking about these kinds of guys and one of the things you need to remember, players need to remember, is at that age, that's something you will see once in a while, and it can be an argument for a young guy. You are never, ever, ever going to see that from, say, Edwin Encarnacion. Jose Pujols was a 10-, 15-steal guy early in his career. This can happen with young guys. It's not something that will be shocking, and Bellinger had 10 steals in 2015.
To compare him head-to-head to Judge, I think the interesting thing to me is that he did this throughout the Minors. That's the thing that really jumps out about Bellinger. He has a 30-home run season. Now, it was the Cal League, and everyone hits in the Cal League, but he has a 30-home run season in a full season, High-A League, at age 19. He has a 26-homer season split between Double-A and Triple-A at age 20. Aaron Judge, we talk forever about his raw power, but for the most part, the power production wasn't quite there. It wasn't lacking, it wasn't like he was hitting 10, 12 home runs per year, but Bellinger is a guy who, from basically the day he got into the Minor Leagues, was hitting for serious power. And that gives me particular optimism about him going forward because I don't think there's reason to doubt that he's a legitimate producing power hitter.