Anthony Rizzo creeping toward second base eligibility in fantasy baseball, one bunt at a time

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/8868/" data-ylk="slk:Anthony Rizzo">Anthony Rizzo</a>, switching gloves and causing problems. (Armando Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
Anthony Rizzo, switching gloves and causing problems. (Armando Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

As most of you know, players earn eligibility at new positions in Yahoo Fantasy Baseball when they make five starts or ten appearances at a roster spot within a single season. It’s a longtime rule around here. Ten appearances is a perfectly reasonable threshold, demonstrating a degree of reliability and proficiency at a defensive position. Nothing controversial about it, really.

But lately, the scheming of Joe Maddon and the arcane rules and requirements of Major League Baseball have created an interesting situation. Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo is, as of this writing, seven appearances away from achieving eligibility at second base. He’s up to three official appearances this season after a one-batter stint at second on Friday. If you check the box score (from any site) of that particular Cubs-Reds game, you’ll notice Rizzo’s position listed as “1B-2B-1B” and Javier Baez as “2B-1B-2B.”

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Here’s what happened: In the third inning, with Cincinnati’s pitcher at the plate and a runner on first, the Cubs went to this defensive alignment to guard against a sacrifice bunt…

Anthony Rizzo, technically a second baseman in this fielding arrangement. (MLB)
Anthony Rizzo, technically a second baseman in this fielding arrangement. (MLB)

Rizzo and Kris Bryant were positioned to field the ball, and Javier Baez held the runner at first. (Nobody wanted Jon Lester attempting to throw to first or second, or anyplace other than home.) Baez, as the fielder closest to first, was wearing a first baseman’s glove. Rizzo had switched to a standard fielder’s glove. At that point, for a single batter, Rizzo was officially recognized as the second baseman.

And thus, Anthony Rizzo took another step toward 1B/2B eligibility in fantasy baseball. You can blame Joe Maddon for this if you like. Or possibly Clint Hurdle, because the Pirates manager is the guy who originally insisted last season that Cubs infielders should switch gloves when in the alignment above. But please don’t blame me, because I’m simply the messenger here. I am the official scorer of nothing, and I am here to tell you that Rizzo will almost certainly achieve second base status by July. You can track his progress by going to the “Players” tab in your fantasy league, then scrolling to “Position Eligibility.”

Yahoo obviously doesn’t make independent determinations about defensive appearances, and we are not going to dispute MLB’s official record of events. Also, we aren’t about to make a mid-year change to longstanding game rules.

If you’re a fantasy owner with Rizzo on your roster, rejoice. This is kind of ridiculous, but also awesome. You shouldn’t need an expert to tell you that Rizzo is a top-tier fantasy second baseman.

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