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The further removed you get from the previous season, the easier it is to separate yourself from the emotions of the season. When you're in it and one of your highly valued players is letting your down, it's hard to step back and rationally assess the situation. And, when you first start ranking for the following season, it can be hard to shake those memories, too. 

Which is probably why Aaron Nola was one of my biggest risers in my most recent comprehensive rankings update, which went live on CBSSports.com Wednesday afternoon. Nola jumped from 51 to 43 in my overall Roto rankings and from SP13 to SP9. Nothing has changed since Nola last threw a pitch, of course, except for my perception of him. 

Nola was one of the most frustrating and disappointing pitchers in the game, putting up just one month all season with an ERA below 3.81. There just really wasn't any period where he looked like himself, and that's tough to swallow from someone we drafted as a top-10 pitcher.

But I've got him right back in my top 10 at the position here, because once you step back and assess his 2021 season rationally, you see there wasn't much that he actually did wrong. Nola's control was as good as ever and he had the second-highest strikeout rate of his career, and it's not like there was some dramatic change in his quality-of-contact suppression skills – Nola's .375 expected wOBA on contact was .375, actually down from both 2019 and 2020. 

Which makes his career-worst HR/9 (1.3) and worst-since-2017 H/9 (8.2) tougher to make sense of. You could see a scenario where his low walk right might have led Nola to catch too much of the strike zone too often, leading to too much solid contact, but you would presumably see that in the quality-of-contact metrics, and while he did allow more hard-contact than usual, it wasn't so bad that you would expect that explanation to make a ton of sense. In fact, his expected ERA, which takes into account those factors, was identical to his 2020 mark. 

So, while I don't want to chalk it all up to bad luck, when basically every peripheral suggests that Nola pitched much better than his actual ERA, I think that's a fair and logical conclusion to draw. And his August provides a sort of microcosm for the season as a whole – he had a 4.28 ERA despite a .172 batting average against and 33% strikeout rate. He allowed three home runs in 27.1 innings, which is actually lower than his season rate, and those homers only accounted for six of the 14 runs allowed anyway.  

It mostly just seems like the hits he allowed came at especially inopportune times, as his .904 OPS allowed with runners in scoring position shows. That's not all bad luck, certainly. And it's possible that Nola was tipping his pitches or struggling in some other way with runners on base that is harder to pin down in the numbers, but represents a real issue. However, it's never really been an issue before, and the sample size is so small – 146 plate appearances with runners in scoring position – that I think you can mostly dismiss it. Which means I'm mostly treating Nola as if 2021 never happened. 

So, Nola moved up a fair amount in that rankings update, and he wasn't alone. Here are five more big risers from inside of my top-100 since my first round of rankings back in January:

George Springer – 37th to 28th

Springer is one of my favorite values in drafts right now, and I'm making sure it's reflected in my rankings now. The only knock against him is injury, and while that's not an insignificant concern – he's missed 133 games over the past three seasons – there should be little doubt that Springer will be extremely productive when he's on the field. He has an OPS of at least .899 in each of the past three seasons, with a full-season pace of 48 homers, 124 runs, 115 RBI, and seven steals while hitting .278 in that time. 

Springer will likely hit leadoff full time for the Blue Jays this season, and his 162-game pace when he hit leadoff last season was even more impressive: 49 home runs, 136 runs, 113 RBI. This is a deep lineup that is especially strong up top, and Blue Jays leadoff hitters ranked fifth in the majors in runs and second in RBI in 2021, so the volume should be simply massive for Springer.

As for the injury risk … well, it is what it is, right? I think it's perfectly fair to say Springer has more injury risk than most players in his draft range, given his history and his age, but I certainly don't think it's a 100% certainty that he will get hurt. And that's often how we tend to talk about injury risk when it comes to Fantasy – like it's a binary thing, where some players have risk and some don't. But it's more about probabilities – every player has a chance to get hurt and miss time. 

I'm reasonably certain Springer is going to be tremendous when he plays – potentially a first-round type of player, and definitely a top-20 hitter. There aren't many players you can say that about, so the injury risk just doesn't scare me off that much. You're trying to win your league, not lose it, and the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that Springer is someone who can really help you win. 

Ketel Marte – 59th to 38th

Marte is in a similar spot to Springer in a lot of ways, where the hamstring injuries that hampered him in 2021 are almost certainly holding down his overall price. However, there also seems to be some question about how good he actually is, even when healthy. He had a massive breakout season in 2019, hitting .329/.389/.592, as he transformed from more of a slap hitter into someone who drove the ball consistently with authority. However, he followed that up with a .287/.323/.409 performance in 2020 that looked an awful lot like his pre-breakout production, and it seems like his 2021 wasn't enough to convince everyone. 

Me, I'm convinced, obviously. He's hit .318/.374/.543 since the start of 2020 even including the subpar showing in 2020 – which came along with a lingering wrist injury. However, even when he wasn't hitting for power early in his career, the potential was there, as evidenced by the fact that he has ranked in the top 10 percent among all hitters in max exit velocity every season since 2016. He re-worked his swing to generate more loft, and he turned that latent power into big in-game production, and he did it without having to sacrificing any of his excellent contact skills. 

The more I look into the underlying numbers, the more clear it becomes that Marte is one of the best bets for batting average in the whole game, and he does it without sacrificing power or run production. Plus, it's not unreasonable to think he could get back to around 10 steals like he had in 2019. If he does that, you've got the potential for a high-end, five-category contributor.

Kyle Schwarber – 88th to 68th

Sometimes when a player is unsigned, it can lead to their perceived value taking a hit in Fantasy, and that's usually a mistake. Sure, Schwarber might end up signing somewhere with a tough home park or mediocre lineup, but I'm just not sure that's going to matter very much. Schwarber's power will play anywhere, and as we saw in Boston when he only hit seven homers in 41 games, he made up for that in other ways when the park proved somewhat limiting. 

Schwarber is just a great hitter, one who has sported average exit velocities in the top-10% of the league for three straight seasons while perennially ranking in the same range in barrel rate and other quality of contact measures. Strikeouts mute his batting average potential somewhat, but if Schwarber gets 600 plate appearances, he's just about as good a bet for 40 homers as anyone in the game. With power seemingly being harder to find now than it was in recent years, that matters. I think he's being overlooked right now. 

Will Smith – 96th to 80th

The overwhelming majority of catchers wouldn't even be rostered in most Fantasy leagues if you didn't have to have a catcher, so the handful of exceptions are especially noteworthy. Smith has played in 221 games over his three seasons and has hit .262/.365/.527, which is right in line with what someone like Max Muncy or Pete Alonso produced last season. Sure, Smith won't have the same counting stats as those guys because he won't get as many plate appearances, but when Yadier Molina's .667 OPS was the 12th-best among catchers with at least 400 PA last season, you can plainly see how much Smith stands out. 

I'm actually still a bit lower on Smith than the consensus, and that's something I may have to rectify. If you can get 25 homers and 150-plus RBI+runs from one of your catcher spots, that might be worth the premium. And, if the DH in the NL makes Smith a candidate for 600 plate appearances, well, it wouldn't surprise if he ended up being the No. 1 player at the position. 

Cody Bellinger – 117th to 78th

I wrote about why I prefer Christian Yelich to Bellinger last week, and it ultimately comes down to this: Yelich mostly just has to stay healthy to bounce back, while Bellinger needs to figure out what went wrong with his swing last season amidst his own health issues. I think Yelich's chances of pulling that off are a bit better than Bellinger's, but that exercise also helped me see the appeal of taking the flier on Bellinger. 

It ultimately comes down to the fact that there just aren't a lot of players who are capable of the kind of production we've seen from Bellinger when he's right. 2020 was a disappointment for him even before 2021, however, he still had a .285 expected batting average and .500 expected slugging percentage, so there was surely some bad luck at play there. This lends credence to the theory that his 2021 struggles were largely due to injury – he was coming back from offseason shoulder surgery and then suffered a lower leg injury in April that cost him nearly two months. 

There's obviously no guarantee Bellinger bounces back – if there were, I'd be ranking him as a second rounder. However, if he does, he's one of the few players in the game with the potential for 40 homers and 15 steals, and that alone makes him worth the gamble when we're talking about a pick in the bottom-third of the top 100.