clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

This fantasy shortstop has been fantastic over his last 100 games, and he's available

A fantasy owner should check out this shortstop if they need some middle infield help.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

There is a shortstop who is 30% owned in Yahoo leagues that has been fantastic over his last 100 games, and it's a guy who doesn't get much attention.

Zack Cozart is hitting .283/.323/.497 over his last 99 games dating back to the start of 2015. It's good for an .820 OPS, which is significantly above the MLB average OPS for shortstops, which is about .685. He has 17 HR in 370 at bats, with a .215 ISO.

Cozart has been on a rampage this week, socking 3 dingers and raising his season line to .310/.337/.540. He is in the top 25 in line drive rate, and neither his BABIP (.313) nor home run to fly ball ratio (14.3%) appear to be unsustainable.

He is currently the 10th best SS in Yahoo 5x5, and is the #81 overall player. No other player in the top 100 in Yahoo 5x5 is under 50% owned. Cozart is at 30%. So why is Cozart going under the radar so much?

Well, firstly, Cozart was really bad from 2012-2014, spanning over 1700 PA. He hit .241/.280/.362, which is below average even by shortstop's light hitting standards. Fantasy owners probably aren't buying into him yet.

But Cozart may have made legitimate improvements in his skill since then. Cozart worked on his swing mechanics in the 2014-15 offseason. He watched video of flaws in his swing, and focused on cocking his hands back in a more loaded position in an effort to hit for more power. It's worked so far. Cozart had an ISO of .121 from 2012-2014. Since the 2015 mechanical change, Cozart's ISO has shot up to .215. According to research over at Baseball Prospectus, ISO stabilizes in a period of about 160 at bats, so there's some indication that the power surge is real.

A tangible change in process at the plate, combined with a surge in offensive production, makes the endpoints used above not arbitrary. It's not cherry picking statistics to fit a narrative. There is some real substance behind Cozart's increase in production.

So if a fantasy owner is in need of a shortstop, especially in an OPS league, check the waiver wire or free agent list and see if Cozart is still around. There's a 70% chance he'll be there if you're playing on Yahoo.