Fantasy Baseball: Anthony Rizzo's homer barrage shows there's still hope for offense

·2-min read

Anthony Rizzo had a monster fantasy game Tuesday, swatting three homers with six RBI. The 32-year-old veteran is the early MLB leader with eight home runs (matching the team total hit so far by the Tigers and Orioles), also adding two steals (and a comical 232 wRC+). Rizzo has settled in as the Yankees’ No. 3 hitter and looks primed to rack up counting stats even when his hot bat inevitably regresses. All but one of Rizzo’s homers have come at home, where Yankee Stadium has played insanely HR-friendly to open the season.

There’s only so much that can be said about a universally rostered player like Rizzo in a still small sample, but his scorching start at the plate looks especially impressive given the dramatic power outage throughout the rest of the league to start 2022.

Offense is down across MLB, but there's still hope

Entering Tuesday, hitters across baseball had a collective .231 batting average, which is six points lower than the previous worst mark in MLB history (1968). Home runs (0.90/9) are also way down compared to recent seasons despite a similar K rate. While further policing the sticky stuff has likely contributed, the baseball itself is almost certainly at least partially to blame, as home runs are somehow down significantly despite Barrels being up. The introduction of league-wide humidors is surely another factor, as is colder early season weather and expanded roster rules leading to ideal bullpen usage with batters facing fresher pitchers more frequently.

Anthony Rizzo #48 of the New York Yankees is a fantasy star right now
Anthony Rizzo's explosive fantasy performance is even more impressive given the factors working against offense. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Whatever the reason(s), offense has been significantly down to open 2022 (teams are scoring the fewest runs per game — 4.0 — in 20+ years), so appreciate Rizzo’s HR outburst especially and don’t be overly discouraged if your fantasy team is seemingly hitless every night; many of the contributing factors will likely change as the season progresses (and a new ball could/will be introduced at any moment), leading to a nice offensive explosion come summer.

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