BALLER MOVE: Draft target ~pick 300
CURRENT ADP: ~331 overall
ANALYSIS: The Cubs’ #1 prospect in 2018 has had his ups and downs since his debut in 2019, but he has the makings of being a difference-maker for the Cubs and for fantasy owners late in drafts. Going from a 6.7% usage rate in 2020 to 39.8% in 2021, the slider became Alzolay’s primary pitch, and perhaps his most dominant. Hitters only managed to have a .181 BA, .317 SLG, and a .242 WOBA against the slider, and I expect those numbers to continue to improve now that it is cemented as Alzolay’s go-to pitch. The ability to strike guys out is also a skill that needs to be there for a successful fantasy pitcher, and Alzolay has shown that his ability stacks up with some of the best in the game.
One of the main questions with Alzolay is in regard to his role in the Cubs’ pitching staff. After getting injured in mid-August, the Cubs moved him to the bullpen when he returned in September, and frankly, he was fantastic in that role. In seven games coming out of the bullpen, he had a 1.76 ERA in 15 innings, with 16 strikeouts and two walks. While obviously a small sample size, it wouldn’t be smart to ignore what the Cubs did with him and how Alzolay responded to it.
As a late-round pick this year (going around pick 260 in drafts as of now), the best-case scenario here is Alzolay taking another step in the right direction and giving you a really exciting starter with a lot of Ks at the end of your rotation. The worst-case here is probably that he gets moved to the bullpen, and he still acts as a pretty solid source of Ks and a win here and there if he throws multiple innings in relief. All in all, a very worthy gamble.
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