Ben Zobrist
Ben Zobrist
38-Year-Old Second Baseman2B
Chicago Cubs
2019 Fantasy Outlook
At the end of 2017, Zobrist looked like he might be close to done after finishing as essentially a replacement-level player. He then went out and proved that there's still something in the tank, hitting over .300 for the first time in his career and providing 3.6 wins above replacement (per FanGraphs). His batting average on balls in play went from .251 in 2017 to .331 last season. That improvement was partially his own doing, as Zobrist added close to four percentage points to his Oppo% and in turn beat the shift with more regularity, though part of it was simply a reversal of fortune with the BABIP Gods. As he nears his 38th birthday in May, Zobrist's power and speed are all but dried up, but the plate skills are holding firm (10.6% BB%, 11.5% K%). As long as the BABIP doesn't crash again and he avoids a prolonged slump, Zobrist should play out the final year of his contract in a near-everyday utility role. Read Past Outlooks
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$Signed a four-year, $56 million contract with the Cubs in December of 2015.
Day off Saturday
2BChicago Cubs
September 28, 2019
Zobrist is not starting Saturday in St. Louis.
The Cubs will use a heavily rotated lineup with nothing left to play for this season. Nico Hoerner slides to second base Saturday, with Addison Russell starting at shortstop.
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Batting Stats
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Batting Order Slot Breakdown
vs Right-Handed Pitchers
vs RHP
vs Left-Handed Pitchers
vs LHP
Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2017
Since 2017vs Left .671 284 34 1 20 1 .256 .331 .340
Since 2017vs Right .767 908 115 21 105 4 .272 .356 .411
2019vs Left .583 28 7 0 1 0 .190 .393 .190
2019vs Right .685 148 17 1 16 0 .271 .351 .333
2018vs Left .787 135 16 0 12 0 .333 .381 .407
2018vs Right .828 385 51 9 46 3 .295 .377 .452
2017vs Left .553 121 11 1 7 1 .179 .261 .292
2017vs Right .737 375 47 11 43 1 .249 .336 .401
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2017
OPS on Road
OPS at Home
OPS on Road
OPS at Home
Since 2017Home .720 603 76 8 59 4 .268 .343 .377
Since 2017Away .769 589 73 14 66 1 .268 .357 .412
2019Home .682 82 13 1 7 0 .243 .354 .329
2019Away .662 94 11 0 10 0 .275 .362 .300
2018Home .712 250 31 2 29 2 .278 .340 .372
2018Away .917 270 36 7 29 1 .332 .413 .504
2017Home .738 271 32 5 23 2 .267 .342 .396
2017Away .638 225 26 7 27 0 .190 .289 .349
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Stat Review
How does Ben Zobrist compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity and Barrels/PA % are benchmarked against 2019 data (min 400 PA) and Hard Hit Rate is benchmarked against last season's data (min 400 PA). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • BB/K
    Walk to strikeout ratio
  • BB Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a walk.
  • K Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a strikeout.
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many of a batter’s balls in play go for hits.
  • ISO
    Isolated Power. Slugging percentage minus batting average. A computation used to measure a batter's raw power.
  • AVG
    Batting average. Hits divided by at bats.
  • OBP
    On Base Percentage. A measure of how often a batters reaches base. Roughly equal to number of times on base divided by plate appearances.
  • SLG
    Slugging Percentage. A measure of the batting productivity of a hitter. It is calculated as total bases divided by at bats.
  • OPS
    On base plus slugging. THe sum of a batter's on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
  • wOBA
    Weighted on-base average. Measures a player's overall offensive contributions per plate appearance. wOBA combines all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Hard Hit Rate
    A measure of contact quality from Sports Info Solutions. This stat explains what percentage of batted balls were hit hard vs. medium or soft.
  • Barrels/PA
    The percentage of plate appearances where a batter had a batted ball classified as a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
BB Rate
K Rate
Exit Velocity
85.8 mph
Hard Hit Rate
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Additional Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Ben Zobrist
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
A variety of injuries likely impacted Zobrist's production in 2017, as neck and back ailments cost him occasional time during the first half before a mid-summer wrist injury sent him to the DL. In addition to hitting the ball on the ground more than ever (51.1 percent GB%), he pulled the ball at a higher rate than he has in any of the past five seasons. With two years left on the four-year, $56 million deal he signed before the 2016 season, Zobrist is looking the part of an expensive part-time player for the Cubs in 2018, albeit one whose eye at the plate remains steady (10.9 percent BB%, 14.3 percent K%) despite the otherwise disappointing showing at the plate last season. Manager Joe Maddon still moves him around enough to qualify him at multiple positions -- second base and the outfield in most leagues -- and his versatility defensively along with the ability to switch-hit, will still give him value as a supersub if that's the role he's tasked with going forward.
After helping Kansas City to their first World Series title in 30 years, Zobrist was signed to a four-year deal with the Cubs last offseason. He played a huge role in winning their first World Series in 108 years. A jack of all trades, Zobrist reached base at a .386 clip, his best OBP since 2009. He spent most of the year hitting fourth and fifth in the lineup, allowing him to collect 76 RBI, his most since 2011. At 35 years old, Zobrist isn't going to be swiping many bags any more, but he has proved an incredibly consistent fantasy performer, hitting between .270 and .284 with between 76 and 94 runs scored for five years in a row. With regular playing time and multi-position eligibility in a Cubs lineup that trailed only the Rockies in runs and OPS in the National League, Zobrist figures to be a solid option deployed in a similar fashion by manager Joe Maddon in his second season on the north side of Chicago.
The stolen bases are gone as Zobrist swiped three on the year, but a trade to Kansas City helped him in the power department as he hit 7 homers over the final two months of the season after hitting just 6 in the first four months with Oakland. Zobrist finished as the 14th-best second baseman – a position that had quite a bit of depth this past season. He is a free agent that is being coveted by multiple teams and should hit at the top of the lineup for most of the teams looking to acquire him. While he no longer steals bases, he can still hit 10+ homers and will score runs and give you a .270ish batting average while playing multiple spots on the field. He will age gracefully with this safe skill set and, now reunited with manager Joe Maddon in Chicago, is sure to add another position or even two to his 2B/OF eligibility on draft day.
The Swiss Army Knife of the Rays was traded to Oakland in the offseason so that Tampa Bay could move his $7.5M salary. Last year was the first time since he became a regular that he did not play in at least 150 contests, but there is no denying that the grind of playing multiple positions across full seasons, with more than half of the time coming on the fake grass, is taking its toll on him. His home run total has not improved for four consecutive seasons and his stolen base total has declined for five consecutive seasons. Like many switch hitters, Zobrist struggles from the right side but his .703 OPS against lefties was his worst since 2010. Conversely, he laid waste to righties hitting .340 with a .873 OPS. With the A's, it is going to be a push for him to be a double-double threat again in 2015 as this fantasy stud shifts on to the final stages of his career.
The Rays may shuffle pieces around the field with frequency, but the one constant fixture in the lineup is Zobrist. Though he bounced around in some matchups, the switch-hitter mostly played second base in 2013 for a total of 117 starts and was a finalist for the Gold Glove Award at the keystone position. He hit .275/.354/.402 with 12 home runs and 71 RBI and was selected to the All-Star Game. His stolen base total dipped to 11, but his 14 attempts were his lowest total since 2008. He remains the ultimate utility man who can play almost any position in the infield or outfield, which adds to his fantasy value as well. He cut down his strikeout rate, though his power numbers decreased also. Despite the decreases in some categories, he remains a well-rounded offensive player who is durable and logs a high volume of at-bats in the Rays' offense. He is a mainstay in the top few spots of the batting order, and with Evan Longoria and Wil Myers expected to bat nearby, Zobrist could see an increase in his run production. He has great value at second base for fantasy teams in 2014 with his consistent balance of power, speed, and versatility.
Few players in the league are more valuable to their team than Zobrist. With the Rays battling injuries all over the diamond, Zobrist often helped right the ship. He played games in the outfield, second base, and shortstop and maintained the composure to eclipse the 20-homer plateau and hit .270 playing in 157 games. He also posted a .377 OBP, his highest since 2009. The switch-hitting "Zorilla" took a career-high 99 walks, which should help keep him right ahead of Evan Longoria in the batting order. His versatile position eligibility will be extremely useful to fantasy owners needing offense and flexibility in their lineup, but Zobrist is expected to settle in at second base with the Rays' addition of Yunel Escobar this winter.
Zobrist put together a stellar 2011 campaign for fantasy owners, finishing one stolen base from a 20-20 season. The 20 home runs proved that the 27 he hit in 2009 were not an anomaly and he's now stolen between 17-24 bags the last three seasons showing some consistency. One of the red flags that comes up when looking at last season's stats was his plate discipline as his strikeout rate increased almost three percent while his walk rate dropped almost three percent. The trade-off for those stats was he hit for more power; his 46 doubles were 18 more than each of the previous two seasons. Zobrist will likely resume his spot near the top of the lineup in the batting order and is penciled in to be the everyday second baseman although he likely has outfield eligibility as well from the 2011 season. Once the top tier second basemen are off the board, snag "Zorilla" who can contribute across the board in fantasy leagues.
After a breakout season in 2009, owners expected much better numbers from Zobrist last season. He hit 17 fewer home runs and lost 59 points from his batting average, though he converted 24-for-27 stolen base attempts. This shouldn't come as too much of a shock considering he came out of nowhere in 2009 at age 28 to post that breakout year. Last season's decline may be the result of fatigue after playing in 152 games in 2009 and playing in only 178 games between 2007 and 2008. Zobrist saw most of his time in the outfield last season and could be used all over the field following the departure of a few of the veteran players. He's a virtual lock for 500 plate appearances no matter where he is in the field and should be able to rebound somewhat in the power department.
Zobrist had a breakout season last year and ended up finishing eighth in MVP voting. He hit 27 home runs, drove in 91 runs, and stole 17 bases while hitting .297. The trade of Akinori Iwamura opens up the starting second-base job for Zobrist, who should see even more at-bats this season. The Rays could also elect to give Sean Rodriguez the job at second and give Zobrist right-field duties, but he'll enter 2010 with multi-position eligibility (second, shortstop and outfield). Expecting similar numbers from the 29-year-old this season isn't out of the question with consistent playing time, but some regression should be expected after his power fell off a bit after the All-Star break (.478 SLG after a .632 mark in the first half).
Zobrist's versatility was extremely useful for the Rays, and he provided a lot of power out of less than 200 at-bats (indeed, only Evan Longoria posted a higher slugging average than Zobrist on Tampa Bay's roster last year). He'll return in a super-utility role in 2009, and he'll be of use in medium and deep AL leagues.
Zobrist started the year as the everyday shortstop, but soon fell into a slump and lost the job to Brendan Harris. Zobrist never returned to action after going on the DL (oblique) in mid-August, but he'll be ready come spring training. However, with Jason Bartlett now on the club, Zobrist likely is only competing for a utility role this spring.
Zobrist came over from Houston in the Aubrey Huff deal and was promoted from Double-A to the majors just weeks later. He's got a very steady glove at short, enough that the Rays are no longer keeping B.J. Upton at shortstop. Still, Zobrist has to hit better to keep a job long-term in the bigs. He had great on-base and doubles numbers in the minors, so that could show up at the major league level in the next year or two.
His ridiculous OBPs and walk rates at lower levels haven't been enough to get Zobrist rated highly, owing to his lack of tools. In fairness, players whose primary asset is plate discipline in A ball often fall by the wayside (Jackie Rexrode being the canonical example). Zobrist has no power, and as nice as the OBPs are, will likely hit a wall at higher levels.
More Fantasy News
Sitting Thursday
2BChicago Cubs
September 26, 2019
Zobrist is not in the lineup Thursday against the Pirates.
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Back in lineup Saturday
2BChicago Cubs
September 21, 2019
Zobrist is starting at second base and batting fifth in Saturday's game against the Cardinals.
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Heads to bench
2BChicago Cubs
September 20, 2019
Zobrist is not in the lineup Friday against the Cardinals.
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Two hits in win
2BChicago Cubs
September 16, 2019
Zobrist went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI in Monday's 8-2 win over the Reds.
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Connects for first homer
2BChicago Cubs
September 14, 2019
Zobrist went 2-for-2 with a solo homer and two runs scored in a 14-1 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday.
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