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Fantasy: Zobrist Pick Up of the Year?

NEW YORK - JUNE 07:  Ben Zobrist #18 of the Tampa Bay Rays at bat  against the New York Yankees during their game on June 7, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Dan ClasgensContributor IJune 17, 2009

We are through 10 weeks of the fantasy baseball season and while there are still a ton of games to go, it's getting to the point where you can start to figure out which picks were steals and which ones were busts.

One guy that has helped carry my team and many more for owners that plucked him off waivers is the Tampa Ray's Ben Zobrist.

The 28-year old journeyman has finally gotten an opportunity to show what he could on the big league level and has not disappointed.

He came up a double short of hitting for the cycle on Tuesday night, but did connect for his 14th home run of the season and is now hitting .317 with 39 RBI and eight stolen bases to boot.

He is hitting .356 in June with six homers and 13 RBI this month.

Zobrist's value was limited early on in the season as he struggled to find at-bats in a stacked Rays' line-up.

However, injuries to 2B Akinori Iwamura (out for season) and SS Jason Bartlett opened the door for him to get in the lineup, and despite the fact Bartlett is nearing a return, there is no way that Tampa can keep Zobrist out of the line-up.

His versatility not only gives manager Joe Maddon some options, it also means good things for fantasy owners.  Zobrist is eligible in most leagues at second base, shortstop, and in the outfield. That makes him even more valuable.

A dip in production would not be surprising, but right now he's on pace to 34 HR's and 95 RBI as a middle infielder.  That type of production is rare at those positions.

There is a reason for concern when you consider his lack of production in brief stints with the Rays over the past few years, but a deeper look reveals the power numbers aren't that unexpected given the extra at-bats. He hit 12 HR's in 198 at bats in 2008 for Tampa (1 homer every 16.5 at-bats) and has gone yard 14 times already this season in just 170 at-bats (1 homer every 12 at-bats).

Fantasy owners should ride the Zobrist's wave until it crashes and I'm not sure it will. Considering he was undrafted in nearly every fantasy league at the start of the season, that makes him my pick for the waiver wire pick-up of the year at this point! It doesn't hurt that he is on my team.

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