Fantasy Baseball: What's up with Juan Soto?

·5 min read

It's mind-boggling to think that Juan Soto is still just 23 years old. He's a World Series champion, a fantasy superstar, and, for many, the best hitter in the game.

But all those accolades aren't much help to fantasy managers who spent a top-three draft pick on Soto back in April only for him to stand now as the 83rd-ranked player in roto leagues.

Let's take a deeper look at the start of Soto's season, as well as some more fantasy tidbits from Monday's MLB action.

Juan Soto's quiet fantasy start continues

It's no secret that offense is down across MLB. Whether you blame it on a new, deadened ball or increased humidor usage or just wayyyy better pitching or all of the above, we're seeing less explosive games as a whole.

Yet, you would think that shouldn't have a huge effect on Soto, who has shown an uncanny ability to dominate the batter's box. Soto doesn't strike out and when he makes contact, good things usually happen.

[Play in one of Yahoo's MLB DFS contests]

So far, the good things have been few and far between. After his 1-for-3 outing during Monday night's 10-1 thrashing of the Nationals, Soto now sports a .245/.381/.452 slash line.

Now, if we were talking about, oh, I don't know, someone like Max Kepler, that would be a pretty good slash line. But this is Soto we're talking about. He went a paltry 2-for-18 last week.

That .245 batting average is especially eye-opening; the idea that Soto would hit under .280 nearly two months into the season sounds like a lie. He does have eight home runs, but he hasn't hit one since May 12. He's walking at an astounding rate (17.5 percent of the time), but fantasy managers aren't getting much bang for that buck since Soto isn't a prolific base-stealer (to his credit, he does have four stolen bases on the season).

Juan Soto #22 of the Washington Nationals is having a slow fantasy start
Juan Soto's fantasy season has started off quietly by his standards. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Maybe pitchers just aren't giving Soto anything to hit, so he's forcing the issue, causing more strikeouts and more uneventful contact — his current 23% O-Swing rate is the second-highest it's been in his career. Maybe he's in his head about recent trade rumors. Maybe playing on the worst Nationals team of his young career is getting to him.

Whatever the reason, Soto's start has been anything but exciting. All that said, however, the old adage of, "It's too early to panic" is obvious here. There are still four whole months left in the season for Soto to turn it around. And, if we're to believe Statcast, he should turn it around. Baseball Savant has expected batting average and slugging numbers of .289 and .583, respectively, for him.

So, what's the point of all these words? Well, let's run through a possible scenario: Say the Soto manager in your league is at or near the bottom of the standings. Maybe they're weak in specific categories, and their first-round pick slumping is holding their team back as a whole.

Maybe you shoot them a message asking if Soto is available.

Sure, even with his 83rd-ranked start, it'd take a serious package to pry Soto from a league-mate. But who knows? Soto was traded straight up for Freddie Freeman, Giancarlo Stanton and Ty France, respectively, just this past Sunday.

Worst case scenario, the Soto manager in your league declines your inquiry.

Best case, you get a, "What did you have in mind?" The risk is worth it for one of the best hitters in the game.

Last call on Tyler Anderson

If you hadn't gotten a chance to add Tyler Anderson off the waiver wire before his Monday night gem against the Nationals, well, you might've missed your shot.

If he's somehow still available in your league — his rostered percentage crept up to 51% overnight — pick him up now and don't look back.

Anderson threw eight scoreless innings on Monday, striking out eight hitters and walking none. He lowered his ERA to 3.30 and his WHIP to a sublime 1.01.

It's understandable to have been wary of Anderson. The 32-year-old has never really been a viable fantasy starter, but he wouldn't be the first pitcher to turn his career around as a member of the powerhouse Dodgers. His BABIP isn't too far off his career mark either, so while he won't get the Nationals to beat up on in every start, he has as much upside as any middle-of-the-rotation starter — and he's now delivered four quality starts in his last five games.

There are worse pitchers out there rostered in more leagues than Anderson. It's time to remedy that.

Why is Luis Arraez not rostered in more leagues?

Yeah, so he doesn't hit home runs or steal bases with authority. But you can't sit here and tell me that a .349/.459/.422 season line doesn't belong in more than 45% of leagues.

Arraez went 2-for-2 with two walks and a run scored on Monday. He's struck out just once in his last 10 GAMES.

Read that again. In 2022, Arraez — a nearly everyday player for the Twins — has struck out just once in his last 10 games. His BB/K ratio is an astounding 2.50.

This guy is a legitimate batting title candidate. He can win you your batting average category by himself, and he rarely hits outside of the top of the Twins' lineup. Arraez being rostered in less than 50 percent of leagues is one of the more head-scratching fantasy events of the season so far.