When the Seattle Mariners traded for Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez, all eyes were on Winker. Now here we are, Eugenio Suarez has become a key piece in the Mariners offense and has done everything he possibly can to fill the big shoes left by Kyle Seager.
However, does his big name and energy warrant a spot on your fantasy team?
What fantasy baseball managers should expect from Eugenio Suarez
Is Geno good? Yes.
Is Geno elite? It depends.
Last year, the Mariners third baseman hit 31 balls over the outfield wall which is one less than his 162-game average. Geno is one of those players that will get you 30+ home runs each year and that's not easy to do. His career-best was 49 home runs in 2019 where he also drove in 103 runs. By the way, over the last five seasons, he is second in total home runs behind Aaron Judge.
That being said, his ceiling is extremely high in the home run category and the reason why I said "it depends" in response to whether he is elite. In terms of trends, his batting average hasn't been as good as earlier in his career. His career average is .250 but between 2015-2019, he was in the .265 area.
FanGraphs' Steamer projects Suarez to hit only 28 home runs, drive in 78 runs, and hit .211. That is quite the regression compared to his 31 home runs, 87 RBI, and .236 average in 2022. I'm not exactly sure what FanGraphs sees and the only thing I can think about is his age. Even then, he's only 32 years old so it's an odd projection in my opinion.
I checked Baseball Savant's leaderboards on a batter's wOBA with a shift and no-shift but it doesn't seem like there was much of an impact on the Seattle power hitter last year. With the shift, Suarez posted a .345 wOBA. Without the shift, he posted a .338 wOBA.
And now that Geno has a stronger offense with him, at least I think, it should only increase his offensive potential.
Draft strategy for Eugenio Suarez
I feel like in past years, there was a larger group of quality third baseman to choose from. This year, it doesn't seem like there are many options and the different levels of talent are stark. The obvious early third basemen to get drafted are the likes of Jose Ramirez, Rafael Devers, and Nolan Arenado. But after that, it drops off to Alex Bregman and Gunnar Henderson (I really like him). And the third tier according to FantasyPros is Max Muncy, Matt Chapman, Ke'Bryan Hayes, and Jose Miranda... And then Eugenio Suarez's name pops up next.
I'm not sure why FantasyPros and ESPN are so worried about regression for Eugenio Suarez because I'd draft him before Muncy and Chapman in a heartbeat. Suarez is a bit of a risky pick given his high strikeout rate and "all-or-nothing" type of value, but he hasn't been trending in the wrong direction for the most part.
All this to say, if you don't believe Eugenio Suarez will regress like me, draft him! FantasyPros has him as the 169th player in their rankings so he will be a 13th to 17th round selection. I'd make sure to draft him before your competition can steal him. His name is pretty well known and isn't a sleeper pick nowadays.
If you're hesitant to draft him earlier than in the projected round, I get it. The 10th - 20th rounds can make or break your fantasy baseball team. To ease your mind, even if Suarez does take a step back as FanGraphs projected, he will still give you a large boost in the home run categories which plays well for both points and category leagues.
Unless there are other names on your "to-draft" list, Geno seems like a great pick with a ceiling of reaching 40 home runs.
Other things to note on Eugenio Suarez
If you're in a fantasy league full of Mariners fans, Geno will be off the board pretty early. In those situations, it might be good to ease back and let others make the mistake of picking him too early over other quality players. You're never going to run out of options in the early rounds of fantasy baseball.