Ben Zobrist
Ben Zobrist
37-Year-Old Second Baseman2B
Chicago Cubs
2019 Fantasy Outlook
At the end of 2017, Zobrist looked like he might be close to done after finishing as essentially a replacement-level player. He then went out and proved that there's still something in the tank, hitting over .300 for the first time in his career and providing 3.6 wins above replacement (per FanGraphs). His batting average on balls in play went from .251 in 2017 to .331 last season. That improvement was partially his own doing, as Zobrist added close to four percentage points to his Oppo% and in turn beat the shift with more regularity, though part of it was simply a reversal of fortune with the BABIP Gods. As he nears his 38th birthday in May, Zobrist's power and speed are all but dried up, but the plate skills are holding firm (10.6% BB%, 11.5% K%). As long as the BABIP doesn't crash again and he avoids a prolonged slump, Zobrist should play out the final year of his contract in a near-everyday utility role. Read Past Outlooks
$Agreed to a four-year, $56 million contract with the Cubs in December of 2015.
Leading off in NL Wild Card Game
2BChicago Cubs
October 2, 2018
Zobrist is starting in right field and hitting leadoff in Tuesday's NL Wild Card Game.
Zobrist is hitting .333 against left-handers this season, so he'll be rewarded with a spot atop the order for Tuesday's win-or-go-home game against lefty Kyle Freeland. Daniel Murphy, the team's usual leadoff hitter, was dropped to sixth in the order.
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Batting Stats
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2016
Since 2016vs Left .747 426 57 5 30 3 .277 .355 .392
Since 2016vs Right .798 1221 162 34 154 8 .268 .366 .432
2018vs Left .787 135 16 0 12 0 .333 .381 .407
2018vs Right .828 385 51 9 46 3 .295 .377 .452
2017vs Left .553 121 11 1 7 1 .179 .261 .292
2017vs Right .737 375 47 11 43 1 .249 .336 .401
2016vs Left .856 170 30 4 11 2 .301 .401 .455
2016vs Right .823 461 64 14 65 4 .261 .380 .442
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2016
OPS on Road
OPS on Road
OPS at Home
OPS on Road
Since 2016Home .731 823 108 12 89 7 .262 .353 .378
Since 2016Away .838 824 111 27 95 4 .279 .372 .466
2018Home .712 250 31 2 29 2 .278 .340 .372
2018Away .917 270 36 7 29 1 .332 .413 .504
2017Home .738 271 32 5 23 2 .267 .342 .396
2017Away .638 225 26 7 27 0 .190 .289 .349
2016Home .739 302 45 5 37 3 .242 .375 .365
2016Away .912 329 49 13 39 3 .297 .396 .516
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Stat Review
How does Ben Zobrist compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
BB Rate
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Additional Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Ben Zobrist
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
A variety of injuries likely impacted Zobrist's production in 2017, as neck and back ailments cost him occasional time during the first half before a mid-summer wrist injury sent him to the DL. In addition to hitting the ball on the ground more than ever (51.1 percent GB%), he pulled the ball at a higher rate than he has in any of the past five seasons. With two years left on the four-year, $56 million deal he signed before the 2016 season, Zobrist is looking the part of an expensive part-time player for the Cubs in 2018, albeit one whose eye at the plate remains steady (10.9 percent BB%, 14.3 percent K%) despite the otherwise disappointing showing at the plate last season. Manager Joe Maddon still moves him around enough to qualify him at multiple positions -- second base and the outfield in most leagues -- and his versatility defensively along with the ability to switch-hit, will still give him value as a supersub if that's the role he's tasked with going forward.
After helping Kansas City to their first World Series title in 30 years, Zobrist was signed to a four-year deal with the Cubs last offseason. He played a huge role in winning their first World Series in 108 years. A jack of all trades, Zobrist reached base at a .386 clip, his best OBP since 2009. He spent most of the year hitting fourth and fifth in the lineup, allowing him to collect 76 RBI, his most since 2011. At 35 years old, Zobrist isn't going to be swiping many bags any more, but he has proved an incredibly consistent fantasy performer, hitting between .270 and .284 with between 76 and 94 runs scored for five years in a row. With regular playing time and multi-position eligibility in a Cubs lineup that trailed only the Rockies in runs and OPS in the National League, Zobrist figures to be a solid option deployed in a similar fashion by manager Joe Maddon in his second season on the north side of Chicago.
The stolen bases are gone as Zobrist swiped three on the year, but a trade to Kansas City helped him in the power department as he hit 7 homers over the final two months of the season after hitting just 6 in the first four months with Oakland. Zobrist finished as the 14th-best second baseman – a position that had quite a bit of depth this past season. He is a free agent that is being coveted by multiple teams and should hit at the top of the lineup for most of the teams looking to acquire him. While he no longer steals bases, he can still hit 10+ homers and will score runs and give you a .270ish batting average while playing multiple spots on the field. He will age gracefully with this safe skill set and, now reunited with manager Joe Maddon in Chicago, is sure to add another position or even two to his 2B/OF eligibility on draft day.
The Swiss Army Knife of the Rays was traded to Oakland in the offseason so that Tampa Bay could move his $7.5M salary. Last year was the first time since he became a regular that he did not play in at least 150 contests, but there is no denying that the grind of playing multiple positions across full seasons, with more than half of the time coming on the fake grass, is taking its toll on him. His home run total has not improved for four consecutive seasons and his stolen base total has declined for five consecutive seasons. Like many switch hitters, Zobrist struggles from the right side but his .703 OPS against lefties was his worst since 2010. Conversely, he laid waste to righties hitting .340 with a .873 OPS. With the A's, it is going to be a push for him to be a double-double threat again in 2015 as this fantasy stud shifts on to the final stages of his career.
The Rays may shuffle pieces around the field with frequency, but the one constant fixture in the lineup is Zobrist. Though he bounced around in some matchups, the switch-hitter mostly played second base in 2013 for a total of 117 starts and was a finalist for the Gold Glove Award at the keystone position. He hit .275/.354/.402 with 12 home runs and 71 RBI and was selected to the All-Star Game. His stolen base total dipped to 11, but his 14 attempts were his lowest total since 2008. He remains the ultimate utility man who can play almost any position in the infield or outfield, which adds to his fantasy value as well. He cut down his strikeout rate, though his power numbers decreased also. Despite the decreases in some categories, he remains a well-rounded offensive player who is durable and logs a high volume of at-bats in the Rays' offense. He is a mainstay in the top few spots of the batting order, and with Evan Longoria and Wil Myers expected to bat nearby, Zobrist could see an increase in his run production. He has great value at second base for fantasy teams in 2014 with his consistent balance of power, speed, and versatility.
Few players in the league are more valuable to their team than Zobrist. With the Rays battling injuries all over the diamond, Zobrist often helped right the ship. He played games in the outfield, second base, and shortstop and maintained the composure to eclipse the 20-homer plateau and hit .270 playing in 157 games. He also posted a .377 OBP, his highest since 2009. The switch-hitting "Zorilla" took a career-high 99 walks, which should help keep him right ahead of Evan Longoria in the batting order. His versatile position eligibility will be extremely useful to fantasy owners needing offense and flexibility in their lineup, but Zobrist is expected to settle in at second base with the Rays' addition of Yunel Escobar this winter.
Zobrist put together a stellar 2011 campaign for fantasy owners, finishing one stolen base from a 20-20 season. The 20 home runs proved that the 27 he hit in 2009 were not an anomaly and he's now stolen between 17-24 bags the last three seasons showing some consistency. One of the red flags that comes up when looking at last season's stats was his plate discipline as his strikeout rate increased almost three percent while his walk rate dropped almost three percent. The trade-off for those stats was he hit for more power; his 46 doubles were 18 more than each of the previous two seasons. Zobrist will likely resume his spot near the top of the lineup in the batting order and is penciled in to be the everyday second baseman although he likely has outfield eligibility as well from the 2011 season. Once the top tier second basemen are off the board, snag "Zorilla" who can contribute across the board in fantasy leagues.
After a breakout season in 2009, owners expected much better numbers from Zobrist last season. He hit 17 fewer home runs and lost 59 points from his batting average, though he converted 24-for-27 stolen base attempts. This shouldn't come as too much of a shock considering he came out of nowhere in 2009 at age 28 to post that breakout year. Last season's decline may be the result of fatigue after playing in 152 games in 2009 and playing in only 178 games between 2007 and 2008. Zobrist saw most of his time in the outfield last season and could be used all over the field following the departure of a few of the veteran players. He's a virtual lock for 500 plate appearances no matter where he is in the field and should be able to rebound somewhat in the power department.
Zobrist had a breakout season last year and ended up finishing eighth in MVP voting. He hit 27 home runs, drove in 91 runs, and stole 17 bases while hitting .297. The trade of Akinori Iwamura opens up the starting second-base job for Zobrist, who should see even more at-bats this season. The Rays could also elect to give Sean Rodriguez the job at second and give Zobrist right-field duties, but he'll enter 2010 with multi-position eligibility (second, shortstop and outfield). Expecting similar numbers from the 29-year-old this season isn't out of the question with consistent playing time, but some regression should be expected after his power fell off a bit after the All-Star break (.478 SLG after a .632 mark in the first half).
Zobrist's versatility was extremely useful for the Rays, and he provided a lot of power out of less than 200 at-bats (indeed, only Evan Longoria posted a higher slugging average than Zobrist on Tampa Bay's roster last year). He'll return in a super-utility role in 2009, and he'll be of use in medium and deep AL leagues.
Zobrist started the year as the everyday shortstop, but soon fell into a slump and lost the job to Brendan Harris. Zobrist never returned to action after going on the DL (oblique) in mid-August, but he'll be ready come spring training. However, with Jason Bartlett now on the club, Zobrist likely is only competing for a utility role this spring.
Zobrist came over from Houston in the Aubrey Huff deal and was promoted from Double-A to the majors just weeks later. He's got a very steady glove at short, enough that the Rays are no longer keeping B.J. Upton at shortstop. Still, Zobrist has to hit better to keep a job long-term in the bigs. He had great on-base and doubles numbers in the minors, so that could show up at the major league level in the next year or two.
His ridiculous OBPs and walk rates at lower levels haven't been enough to get Zobrist rated highly, owing to his lack of tools. In fairness, players whose primary asset is plate discipline in A ball often fall by the wayside (Jackie Rexrode being the canonical example). Zobrist has no power, and as nice as the OBPs are, will likely hit a wall at higher levels.
More Fantasy News
Starting in regular-season finale
2BChicago Cubs
September 30, 2018
Zobrist is starting in right field and batting second in Sunday's game against the Cardinals.
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Collects three hits in win
2BChicago Cubs
September 23, 2018
Zobrist went 3-for-6 with a run scored in Sunday's 6-1 win over the White Sox.
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Drives in two, scores twice in win
2BChicago Cubs
September 23, 2018
Zobrist went 2-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and two RBI in Saturday's 8-3 win over the White Sox.
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Takes seat Saturday
2BChicago Cubs
September 15, 2018
Zobrist is out of the lineup against Cincinnati on Saturday.
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Takes seat Thursday
2BChicago Cubs
September 13, 2018
Zobrist is not in the starting lineup against Washington on Thursday.
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