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Ben Rosener's Fantasy Baseball Beat: Seiya Suzuki and Brendan Rodgers News Updates

Seiya Suzuki fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers MLB injury news prospects

The offseason is officially no more, but Spring Training is here, and with it comes the daily influx of baseball news that fantasy managers have missed in the last few months. Lineup news, actual games happening, constant waiver wire moves, pitching assignments, and bullpen usage.

Baseball is back and so too is fantasy baseball, with drafts either starting in the near or not-too-near future for many. This column aims to cover any and all fantasy baseball news, big or small, and how it pertains to your fantasy team. Spring training or the regular season, it's covered here.

Has a player who’s usually been hitting in the middle of a lineup suddenly batting eighth or ninth for an extended period? The fantasy implications will be covered here. The same goes for injuries and injured placements and whether or not you should consider picking up a player who was recently called up. Basically, any kernel of fantasy news and its relevance to fantasy managers could be covered here. Today, the news of the day is the fantasy impact of injuries to Chicago Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki and Colorado Rockies second baseman Brendan Rodgers.

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Fantasy Impact Of Seiya Suzuki’s Oblique Injury

Suzuki was reportedly diagnosed with a left oblique strain, per a tweet from The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney on Tuesday:

Per another tweet from Mooney on Thursday, “It’s highly likely Seiya Suzuki will start the season on the injured list.”

Suzuki made an instant impact with the Cubs in 2022, batting .262 with a .336 on-base percentage, 14 home runs, and nine stolen bases in his debut season with the team. There was plenty to like with his underlying metrics as well.

The outfielder logged an 11.0% barrel rate and a 41.3% hard-hit rate while displaying quality plate discipline, with a 9.7% walk rate, (66th percentile) a 22.8% whiff rate (60th percentile), and a 21.3% chase rate (90th percentile).

Earlier this week, RotoBaller’s Justin Raffone recently wrote about Suzuki as one of five potential breakout hitters in leagues where on-base percentage is part of the scoring.

It's a notable loss for a much-improved Cubs lineup that features a number of new faces, including the likes of Dansby Swanson, Trey Mancini, Cody Bellinger, Eric Hosmer, and Tucker Barnhart.

With a crowded mix in the outfield corners and at designated hitter, Suzuki’s injury could open up plate appearances in the short term for the likes of Edwin Rios, who I wrote about last week. Rios likely won’t hit for a high average but could hit for considerable power. He owns a lifetime .273 ISO, 20 home runs, and a 15.5% barrel rate in 291 Major League plate appearances.


However, another outfielder to keep an eye on during Spring Training who could stand to see more playing time after Suzuki’s injury is Brennen Davis. One of the Cubs’ best prospects, Davis hit .191 with a .322 on-base percentage and four home runs in 174 plate appearances. With future raw power and game power grades of 60 per FanGraphs and current and future speed grades of 60 and 55 respectively, Davis certainly has the potential to make a significant fantasy impact. Though it is worth noting that his current and future hit grades are 30 and 40 respectively per the same publication, while his current grades for game power and raw power are 45 and 55. Still, he’s someone to keep an eye on moving forward as April and Opening Day get closer and closer.

One other Cubs player who has the potential to see an uptick in playing time is Christopher Morel. Able to play second base, third base, shortstop, and center field, Morel logged 16 home runs and 10 stolen bases to go along with a .235 average and a .308 on-base percentage in 425 plate appearances. If he steps into a regular role with Suzuki out, he has the ability to be an impact fantasy player early on.


Fantasy Impact Of Brendan Rodgers’ Shoulder Injury

Surgery is reportedly a possibility for the infielder, according to a tweet from MLB.com’s Thomas Harding on Thursday morning.

Per a tweet from Harding on Wednesday, Rodgers sustained the injury in a game on Tuesday.

It’s unfortunate news for the infielder, who turned in a promising 2022 season, establishing new career highs in barrel rate (7.2%) and xwOBA (.326) while raising his hard-hit rate to 45.9% and dropping his strikeout rate to 17.4%.

Overall, the 26-year-old hit .266 with a .325 on-base percentage and 13 home runs in 581 plate appearances.

Should the team stick internal options to fill in for Rodgers at second base, they have a number of options. Ryan McMahon could shift from third base to second base, a position he’s played before with another player stepping in at third base.

However, should McMahon stay at third, where he grades out as a much better fielder, Alan Trejo might be Rodgers’ replacement at the keystone.

Trejo hit .271 with a .312 on-base percentage, four home runs, and a stolen base in 125 plate appearances in the Majors for Colorado last season. And while he also added a .296 on-base percentage, a .331 on-base percentage, 16 home runs, and a pair of stolen bases in 293 Triple-A plate appearances, he doesn’t have quite near the same fantasy upside as Rodgers. First and foremost, the Pacific Coast League is notoriously hitter-friendly. Furthermore, Trejo didn’t make much in the way of loud contact at the Major League level.

With the Rockies, Trejo logged a 4.6% barrel rate, a .291 xwOBA, and a 31.4% hard-hit rate last season. Even if he continues to hit for average – his numbers unsurprisingly included a .309 average in 72 plate appearances at Coors Field – he’s unlikely to be a fantasy option outside of deeper leagues.

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