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5/26/1981 (35 y, 8 m, 28 d)
2004 June Amateur Draft - Round: 6, Pick: 23, Overall: 184, Team: Houston Astros
$56M / 4 Years (2016 - 2019)
Zobrist could be given more days off during spring training and the upcoming season, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. (2/20/2017)
Early ADP Thoughts – Second Base, Shortstop
Paul Sporer (RotoGraphs)
Ben Zobrist Will Not Be Underrated by the History »
August Fagerstrom (FanGraphs)
Cubs-Indians: World Series Notes
David Laurila (FanGraphs)
Javier Baez, the Chicago Cubs, and the Value of Ve»
Craig Edwards (FanGraphs)
Lessons in Obsessive-Compulsive Fantasy Management
Trey Baughn (RotoGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Well, that was unexpected. Zobrist started the season as the super utility guy off the bench. He played some short, second, and outfield while being used as a pinch hitter. Zobrist began launching homers in important situations, and an injury to Akinori Iwamura opened the door for more consistent playing time. Zobrist took advantage and found himself playing in his first career All-Star game. Combine a top-5 AL OPS with fantastic defense and Zobrist actually lead the league in WAR. Go back and reread that last sentence. Yep, it really happened.
The Year Ahead:
With Iwamura elsewhere, Zobrist should enter the season as the starting second baseman. Expecting him to replicate his 2009 season is a bit much. Heck, 50% retention would be a good season by most standards. Odds are his fantasy value will be inflated because of how good he was last year, and while this is by no means saying he’s turning back into a pumpkin, it’s just hard to see a first- or second-round pick being worthwhile given the potential flukiness of such an extraordinary campaign. (R.J. Anderson)
There's nothing more exciting than a player with the ability to hit for average, hit for power, and get on base at a high clip with multi-position eligibility in fantasy leagues, and that's exactly was Zobrist was coming into 2010. Unfortunately, he reverted back into the Ben Zobrist of old, following up his .297 AVG, .405 OBP, 27 HR season with .238/.346/10. His BABIP dropped from .326 back to his career average of ~.273, but he also swung at and made contact with more pitches out of the strike zone -- 25.3%, 72.6% respectively -- than in the past. That could be behind the ~3% increase in his ground-ball rate and the ~2% decrease in his line-drive rate. Zobrist is certainly still a valuable fantasy piece because he is eligible at basically every position under the sun and will give you 20 steals with double-digit homers in regular playing time. His new contract (three more years with $18M left) ensures that, yes, he'll be on the field everyday. It's up to Zobrist to prove that 2010 was the fluke, not 2009, and until he does so you should treat him as the player he's been for most of the last three years.(Mike Axisa)
The Quick Opinion:
Zobrist was a fantasy disappointment in 2010, but he's still valuable because he's eligible at a ton of positions and will steal you 20+ bases with double-digit homers in regular playing time.
One of the league's elite multiple-position defenders, Zobrist also is a doubles machine and strong hitter. He has had a few down seasons with the bat (or just one, if we disregard his first two, partial years), but he is yearly a threat to go 20-20. In 2011, he hit 20 homers and stole 19 bases and should do much of the same in 2012. Think something in the 130 wRC+ range, with a lot of his value coming from doubles -- which hurts his fantasy value. (Bradley Woodrum)
The Quick Opinion:
Zobrist is a great real-life player, but his doubles talent hurts his fantasy value. His flexibility and near-20-20 ability will make him an asset to most fantasy teams nonetheless.
Ask Rays manager Joe Maddon about Ben Zobrist's top skill, he might say defense. Zobrist plays about every position under the dome and plays those positions exceptionally. This is great news for fantasy owners who can use his second base and right field -- and possibly shortstop -- eligibility to make up for a number of roster shortcomings. But flexibility would be a bit disappointing if it didn't come with his strong offense. In 2012, he posted his second-straight 130+ wRC+ while reaching double digits in both homers and steals. He will be 32 in 2013, and though he is coming off his second-best offensive year, we have to anticipate his offense will move towards league average over the next few seasons. But even with average offense, his continued second base eligibility should make him a safe long-term investment. (
The Quick Opinion:
He's not the best-hitting outfielder or the best-hitting infielder, but being a little bit of both makes him the best of something, right? He hits homers, steals bags, and is eligible at no less than two positions. His strong defense also mean he should retain his second-base eligibility late into his career as his offense fades towards average.
Odds are, you don't have a chance to acquire Ben Zobrist. If he's not shortstop eligible in your league, there's always a chance he could regain it because he's the Rays backup shortstop -- as if being eligible at both second and in the outfield isn't enough of a value boost itself. Zobrist has a career .263 batting average and .354 on-base percentage, and though he'll be 33 in 2014, he's yet to dip beneath double digit steals or homers in a full season. In almost any league -- and especially in linear weights leagues, which incorporate the value of Zobrist's doubles-heavy hitting -- Zobrist is a premium player. Most projection systems anticipate Zobrist repeating his offensive success from 2013, if not improving upon it, his .275/.354/.402 slash in 2014. Zobrist has always been a durable player too, playing in 150+ games since 2009, but durable players are durable until they aren't anymore, and in his age-33 season, Zobrist is ever closer to the possibility of injuries. But if you're going to bet on a player's health and value to your fantasy team, Zobrist isn't a bad bet. (
The Quick Opinion:
Zobrist is an annual producer of strong plate appearances and steady, all-around fantasy value. He's the kind of player worth premium draft picks or auction bids, if he's available -- especially given that he's the Rays' backup shortstop too. But he's older than we might expect (33 in 2014), so be mindful of his health.
Not too long ago, fantasy owners found themselves reaching for Ben Zobrist in their fake drafts for the slight speed and power combination to go along with multiple position eligibility. It seemed like the perfect match for your roster, and it probably was from 2009-2012. But since then, fewer balls are clearing the fences due to an increase in ground balls, a decrease in fly balls, and a decline true home run distance. He’s not running as much either. At least he did continue to score runs and hit for at least a .272 clip at the dish. In the offseason, Billy Beane acquired the super utility man from the Rays in exchange for John Jaso and a couple of prospects. Zobrist will likely play the cornerstone and hit in the top of the A’s lineup. Entering his age 34 season, I can’t imagine BenZo will come close to meeting or exceeding his career best numbers of 2009, but he should still be able to pull off double digit longballs and swipes. Zobrist will still be a value in AL-Only formats, but consider him the later rounds of your mixed leagues if you’re pegging him to rebound on the West Coast. (
The Quick Opinion:
Ben Zobrist doesn’t pack the punch at the plate -- or on the basepaths -- that he once did, but he still carries multiple position eliibility and could likely reach double digits in both home runs and stolen bases while maintaining a .270 average. Keep him on your draft list for a potential late-round bench or middle infield stash.
After winning a world series, the veteran mega-utility man landed back with his old manager Joe Maddon in Chicago. Currently it looks like Zobrist will be utilized mostly at second base, but given how Maddon utilized him in Tampa Bay, he should get enough looks in the outfield to remain dual-eligible. Zobrist had a really nice season last year, posting an isolated slugging percentage of .173, which was his highest since 2012. He will move to a much better hitter park than the two stadiums he called home last year (Oakland and Kansas City), so it is reasonable to expect his ISO to be somewhere between last year's total and the .120ish marks he was posting annually. Unfortunately Zobrist did little on the base paths, which was upsetting for owners as he had been a consistent source of double-digit steals every season as a regular. The Cubs had the ninth most steals last year so he may bounce back in the stolen base department, but playing at age 35 this year, that is far from a given. Zobrist is one of the more consistent bats in the game when it comes to average and on base percentage, and his positional flexibility has been a huge boost to his fantasy value. Dropping from double digit steals to low single digit steals hurts his bottom line, but he still should contribute well for a second baseman in at least three categories, as he will likely hit in front of some major hitters in Chicago. (Ben Duronio)
The Quick Opinion:
Zobrist is back with Joe Maddon and will be a key player for arguably the game's top offense. He is now in his mid 30's so stolen bases may be few and far between, but Zobrist's consistency and positional flexibility make him a valued fantasy commodity.
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Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 3:35 AM ET
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