It has only been a few short months since Randy Arozarena won over the baseball world with his marvelous postseason run that carried the Tampa Bay Rays to the World Series. However, are we letting this cloud our judgment come draft time? I’ll try to make the argument that we’re all wearing rose-colored glasses and tell you why you shouldn’t draft Randy Arozarena in 2021 Fantasy Baseball.
After watching Arozarena hit 10 HRs and tally 64 total bases in only 20 postseason games, it is tough not to chase the hype. Should we believe the hype though?
Arozarena has just 99 career plate appearances in the regular season, 190 if his postseason plate appearances are added.
This article will focus mainly on drafting Arozarena in redraft leagues. Should fantasy owners consider using a 5th-6th round pick on Arozarena? What about a 3rd or 4th like in a few leagues?
As much as I love Arozarena, I am suggesting staying away from him at that price. I think he could provide great fantasy production, but I am worried we could look back in a few months and realize he was drafted too highly. Here’s why you shouldn’t draft Randy Arozarena in 2021 Fantasy Baseball.
2021 Fantasy Baseball: Why you shouldn’t draft Randy Arozarena
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High Price Tag
As highlighted in the introduction, Arozarena comes with a pretty hefty draft price. Are you willing to spend a 5th or 6th round pick on Arozarena? Maybe so, but what about leagues where he is going in the 3rd or 4th?
Pick 60 is not the worst range to consider drafting Arozarena. However, guys like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Starling Marte, Cavan Biggio, Corbin Burnes, Max Fried, and Michael Conforto all reside around this range as well.
While Arozarena might provide a higher ceiling, these players could provide a higher floor option at this point in the draft.
It would not be a huge issue to take Arozarena in this range, it is risky though. Remember, this is a redraft league, where owners should be looking for the best value for that year, not over the long-term like in a dynasty league. There could be safer options available in this range.
The worry starts when Arozarena starts creeping into the 3rd and 4th rounds.
The first hit of spring?
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) February 28, 2021
Should Arozarena be drafted in the range of Eloy Jimenez, Ozzie Albies, Anthony Rendon, and Corey Seager? Sure, if Arozarena hits like he did in the 2020 postseason, he should be drafted above all these guys. However, I am not sure such a small sample justifies the draft slot in a redraft league.
Maybe the risk is worth a 5th or 6th round pick if owners want to take the chance, but once it becomes a 3rd or 4th, it becomes dicey.
Drafting Arozarena in this range is drafting him on his potential and his hype from the postseason. Do not let this get you in trouble this draft season. Fantasy owners need to hit on their 3rd round pick, Arozarena has not proven himself to be worthy of a 3rd round pick over a full season.
Drafting him in this range means fantasy owners are drafting a stud, something we have not seen from Arozarena over a full season just yet.
What about his metrics?
2020 regular season: .281/.382/.641 7 HRs, 15 Rs, 11 RBIs, 4 SBs, and a 176 wrc+
2020 postseason: .377/.442/.831 10 HRs, 19 Rs, 14 RBIs, and a 239 wrc+
Truly elite production from Randy Arozarena.
He is probably not going to replicate the 2020 postseason pace over 162 games and hit 80 HRs. I will make that bold prediction right now.
How much of his production is sustainable?
Picking up right where he left off pic.twitter.com/bbth3AARmt
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) February 28, 2021
Let us dive into the metrics and see what Arozarena did well and what he struggled with. I would like to recognize that while looking at Arozarena’s baseball savant page, we will be looking at a small sample size for his entire career, but this is what concerns me about him in 2021 redraft leagues, the mystery.
Starting off, we see a lot of particularly good metrics from Arozarena.
Over his two years, he ranks in the 70th percentile in average exit velocity (90.4) and hard-hit rate (42.4%). He is also above league average in xSLG (.469), wOBA (.413), xwOBA (.356), & xwOBAcon (.428).
This is further illustrated when looking at his high barrel % of 11.9% for his career, meaning that when Arozarena makes contact, he usually hits the ball hard.
That chicken and rice diet combined with pushups really works for him. When pitchers throw him fastballs.
In 2020, Arozarena has a .316 AVG and an .895 SLG on fastballs. He absolutely feasted on fastballs (173 pitches) in 2020 with a .306 xBA, .683 xSLG, .533 wOBA, .468 xwOBA, and a 94.4 average exit velocity.
What happens when he is not thrown a fastball?
The Not so Good
2020 against breaking pitches: 98 pitches .154 AVG, .154 SLG, .158 xBA, .185 xSLG, .164 wOBA, & .181 xwOBA. This includes a 79.8 average exit velocity and a 45.5% whiff rate.
2020 against off-speed pitches: 51 pitches .306 AVG, .385 SLG, .195 xBA, .259 xSLG, .327 wOBA, & .236 xwOBA. This includes an 89.0 average exit velocity and a 50% whiff rate.
When pitchers throw him something other than a fastball, Arozarena has struggled.
Thankfully, he does not chase too many pitches, coming in below league average with a 24.1% chase rate for his career. While this is a positive for Arozarena, how long until pitchers figure out he struggles with breaking pitches? How quickly can he adjust?
As a Braves fan, I remember seeing Dansby Swanson and Austin Riley come up and set the world on fire by crushing fastballs for a month. Then pitchers started throwing them sliders and they began struggling.
Could Arozarena struggle early while he learns to adjust to off-speed and breaking balls? What if he does struggle early when pitchers adjust to him? In a redraft league, waiting on your 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th round pick to figure it out can be a scary proposition.
Other Potential Options
I will show a few options of guys that could be had a few rounds later that may provide similar value to Arozarena. For this argument, I will only use outfielders since we would be passing up an outfielder in Arozarena. I will also include their ZiPs projections to give an idea of the season they could have.
For reference, here is Arozarena’s ZiPs projection: .262/.339/.475 21 HRs, 67 Rs, 60 RBIs, 16 SBs, and a 117 wrc+.
Nick Castellanos, OF, Cincinnati Reds
Current ADP: 83
2021 Projection: .264/.323/.489 27 HRs, 86 Rs, 89 RBIs, 2 SBs, and a 105 wrc+.
Castellanos will not provide steals but will provide a constant source of power and plays in a hitter friendly ballpark. Could be a solid option two rounds later.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Current ADP: 88
2021 Projection: .272/.311/.492 25 HRs, 64 Rs, 79 RBIs, 6 SBs, and a 107 wrc+.
Gurriel has been trending upwards over the last few seasons, and now he has a dangerous Blue Jays lineup around him. Gurriel could provide great value two-three rounds later.
Austin Meadows, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Current ADP: 98
2021 Projection: .251/.318/.460 23 HRs, 68 Rs, 71 RBIs, 11 SBs, and a 105 wrc+.
Arozarena’s teammate could provide great value 40 picks later! After a down 2020 season, people have forgotten Meadows incredible 2019 season where he 33 HRs and an OPS north of .900.
Mike Yastrzemski, OF, San Francisco Giants
Current ADP: 117
2021 Projection: .264/.341/.477 22 HRs, 76 Rs, 78 RBIs, 5 SBs, and a 114 wrc+.
Going nearly five rounds after Arozarena, Yaz provides some solid value. While the Giants offense will not be the deepest, that has not stopped Yastrzemski from being a reliable fantasy asset in the past.
“Shouldn’t” Might be a Bit Much
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) March 1, 2021
I think Arozarena is a great baseball player and I love him. His postseason run was great for the game. However, I am worried about his redraft value in 2021. I will not blame anyone for drafting him in redraft leagues, but I will caution owners against it.
It is a high price tag for a guy with less than 200 career plate appearances. There are guys going in the rounds after him that could provide a similar value and have track records of previous seasons to back it up.
Overall, I think Arozarena could be a great asset for dynasty leagues, but we are not talking dynasty here. This is for 2021 and I am concerned that pitchers find a hole in his swing and he struggles for a month or two while he learns to adjust. I am also worried his ADP will continue to creep upwards, making him a 3rd or 4th round selection in some drafts, which only increases the risk factor.
Fantasy owners need to be cautious of the small sample size we have from him. There are valuable OF options to be had in later rounds.
I love Arozarena so I would be fine if I was wrong. Hopefully, I look back in a few months and think that I should have drafted him, but as of right now, I am not buying it.
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