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Fantasy411 Podcast: Schwarber returns

Recently called up, Cubs outfielder worth a flier
MLB.com

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: Just today, the Cubs called up Kyle Schwarber. I'm not sure what to make of it. He was absolutely lighting it up at Triple-A. His stint at Triple-A did exactly what they hoped. He went down there, and he just starting obliterating the ball. I'm pretty optimistic on Schwarber. I think we should probably adjust, but we probably should have anyway, adjust what we think his ceiling is. I'm not sure Schwarber's ceiling is MVP-caliber hitter over a season. He's a guy who can get you some hits, hit some home runs, drive in some runs. There are definitely plenty of formats where I'm picking him up if he's available. You want to talk me down from that a little bit?

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: Just today, the Cubs called up Kyle Schwarber. I'm not sure what to make of it. He was absolutely lighting it up at Triple-A. His stint at Triple-A did exactly what they hoped. He went down there, and he just starting obliterating the ball. I'm pretty optimistic on Schwarber. I think we should probably adjust, but we probably should have anyway, adjust what we think his ceiling is. I'm not sure Schwarber's ceiling is MVP-caliber hitter over a season. He's a guy who can get you some hits, hit some home runs, drive in some runs. There are definitely plenty of formats where I'm picking him up if he's available. You want to talk me down from that a little bit?

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Zinkie: No, I don't think I can completely talk you down from that. I think you hit on something when you said, "I think we'll adjust a little bit of what his ceiling is." I think we can just accept that Schwarber was probably way overrated in the fantasy world at the start of the season. He was drafted too high. But just because that happened doesn't mean that he's a worthless asset going forward. Two things have happened that are bad for Schwarber's value. One is that obviously he underachieved. The second thing is that what he's good at, a lot of other players started doing this season with all of these Logan Morrison and Yonder Alonso and Justin Smoak, and everyone hitting home runs and joining mixed league lineups, and that's kind of what he was going to do. Maybe what Schwarber does isn't as coveted is as it was a year ago. That being said, I think he's worth a flier in a mixed league if he's outfield eligible. I think he's for sure worth adding right away if he's catcher eligible. To me, that's a massive difference depending on what service provider someone's using and what their league format is.

Leach: I think that's a really key point here. Even though I'm optimistic on him relatively, he's just a guy in the outfield. At this point, I don't think there's any reasonable read on Kyle Schwarber that sees him likely to be a star-level performer in the outfield from here to the rest of the season. He's just a guy. He's useful. You can have him. He's an option among other options, and he's a viable option. But he's not more than that if he's not a catcher.

We go to the opposite of news, something that happened a while back but we didn't talk much about. I think maybe if you're looking for guys to avoid, guys to whom bad things are going to happen, I should just make the roster of my office league, 10-team mixed team available, and you should just see anybody I drafted high and leave them alone. Because this is now Starling Marte, Trea Turner, and Yoenis Cespedes. If you're wondering about somebody, I'll check if I have them, and I'll tell you, and in that case, avoid that guy.

But Turner had really been coming on. He had been racking up a ton of base hits, he had been racking up a ridiculous amount of steals. He had been extremely productive after a slow start. And so, while you were probably frustrated if you had Turner in April, he's going to leave a hole in your lineup now. And so the question is, the default when you've got a guy like that is to replace what he was doing for you. But I thought you made an interesting point in our notes, which is that he got so many steals that you might not need to replace the steals. Or you might not need to entirely replace them. You might not need to worry about getting a speed guy to replace Turner because if you had him, you might be coasting in steals. So when you look to replace a guy like that, how do you go about filling that hole on your roster?

Zinkie: Yeah, I mean Turner owners really need to look at their standings and decide how they want to replace him. There's a lot of things to look at as far as he could have been used by an owner in the outfield or at second base or at shortstop, so where they need to replace him matters. As you were mentioning, in the steals category, he had 35 steals. Some Turner owners if they had some other base stealers on their roster may be so far out in front in steals. Or even if they're not in first, they may be like third in steals but have a wide gap between them and the pack where they don't really need to replace him with stolen bases, and they can use this as an opportunity to replace him with a power hitter, a high average hitter. They can really look at what they need. Some Turner owners will need to chase steals, but for a lot of them, this is a really unique situation. If you lose a power hitter, because the power categories tend to be fairly bunched up, you probably need to replace him with a power hitter. But base stealers are often not like that. And we don't really know what's going to happen with Turner. You could still get some steals late in the season from him. It's a huge blow, but it's not a time for Turner owners to panic until they really assess the standings.