Multi-position players allow for roster and lineup flexibility in fantasy baseball, and they give fantasy managers more options when evaluating the waiver wire and trade market, as well. In 2021, the multi-position player landscape may look very different, depending on your league. 2020 was a mess. And that goes for fantasy baseball and pretty much everything else. The year itself is one many won’t miss.
When it comes to positional eligibility, it’s going to vary from league to league in 2021. NFBC is using seven games. Other sites are using five, eight, 10, or 20 games from the 2020 season. Other leagues are throwing out 2020 completely and just continuing with 2019 eligibility where possible. You’ll have to double-check your league and its settings before drafting to make sure the players you’re drafting have the eligibility you’re expecting.
We’ll use the combined Yahoo, ESPN, and CBS eligibility here, which is what you can find at FantasyPros. Below, you can find the top multi-position players for the 2021 season. Have questions or just want to talk baseball? Feel free to reach out on Twitter @mikeMaher.
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Cody Bellinger (1B/OF – LAD)
Cody Bellinger had a down year in 2020, and it’s being somewhat baked into his ADP. His current ADP and ECR put him around the 13-15 mark, right at the beginning of the second round. Bellinger broke out with a career year in 2019, batting .305 with 47 home runs and 15 stolen bases while winning the MVP. In 2020, he batted .239 but still managed 12 home runs and six stolen bases in 56 games. Is he going to bat .305 again? No, probably not. But the power is real, and 10+ steals is possible. For someone who is going at the top of the second round, the positional versatility is a nice bonus, especially with one of those positions being first base.
D.J. LeMahieu (1B/2B/3B – NYY)
No one has been a better pure hitter than LeMahieu over the last two seasons. He has combined great contact skills with juiced balls and a teeny Yankee Stadium into back-to-back career years. His 1.011 OPS in 2020 was a new career-high, but it did come with a .370 .BABIP. But even with some baked-in regression, LeMahieu’s positional versatility and contact skills make him incredibly valuable in standard leagues, even if the deadened balls bring his new-found power back down to Earth.
Whit Merrifield (2B/OF – KC)
Whit Merrifield was a trade candidate this offseason, but the Royals actually went out and acquired some talent around him instead. He recently turned 32 years old, but he still managed to steal 12 bases in 60 games last season. His value as an outfielder is really a bonus to his second base eligibility in 2021, but it’s still helpful. Merrifield is the kind of player who can help with steals while not really hurting you anywhere else, which is hard to find right now. He’ll be in high demand, though some fantasy managers may start to worry about relying on stolen bases from a player in his 30s. But in a lineup with Adalberto Mondesi, Salvador Perez, Carlos Santana, Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier, and now Andrew Benintendi, he and the Royals may make more noise than people are expecting in 2021.
Cavan Biggio (2B/3B/OF – TOR)
The Statcast data for Biggio isn’t great, but the overall numbers have been intriguing, especially in OBP leagues. For standard leagues, the conversation becomes more complicated, as he is just a .240 hitter of the last two seasons. But his OPS is sitting around .800 thanks to an OBP that hovers around .370. In 159 games, he has swatted 24 home runs while swiping 20 bases, which is tempting to extrapolate over a full season. He carries some risk because of the batted ball data, but his positional versatility, especially at second base, means he’ll be a popular target in the fourth and fifth rounds of fantasy drafts this season.
Brandon Lowe (2B/OF – TB)
Lowe is already eligible at second base, a shallow position in 2021, and outfield entering the season, and recent reports indicate he could see some time at third base this year. In 56 games in 2020, Lowe batted .269 with 14 home runs and three stolen bases, and his Statcast data generally backs those numbers up. We have now see Lowe break out in 2019 before getting hurt and then back that performance up in 2020. If he can stay healthy and play a full season in 2021, we could be talking about a 25+ home run, 10+ steal, .260+ player who scores 75+ runs and drives in 75+ more.
Max Muncy (1B/2B/3B – LAD)
Muncy batted just .192 in 2020, but he did manage to hit 12 home runs. He had the worst BABIP in all of baseball, but a lot of that was earned because he wasn’t hitting line drives. His .235 xBA does account for at least some bad luck, though. If he were just a corner infielder, he might slip down draft boards a bit more this season. But the expectation that he’ll bounce back combined with his 1B/2B/3B eligibility means he’ll be off the board sooner than some think, especially in OBP leagues. His ADP is currently sitting at 92, but his ECR is 65. And I expect his ADP to creep closer to his 65 ECR than the other way around in the coming weeks.
Alec Bohm (1B/3B – PHI)
Bohm appeared in seven games at first base in 2020, putting him right on the cusp of eligibility. He didn’t join the Phillies until August, but he didn’t miss a beat once he made it to the show, batting .338 with four home runs and a stolen base in 44 games. He is likely due for some expected regression in 2021, especially over a full season, but he was the third overall pick in 2018 for a reason. The kid can hit. Adding more power will be the next step for him, but his dual eligibility should push him into the Top 100 in most leagues.
Jeff McNeil (2B/3B/OF – NYM)
If your league uses 10+ games for eligibility, then McNeil will only have 2B/OF available. But second base is the important position for McNeil anyway, so the positional flexibility is really just a bonus for him in 2021. McNeil’s power disappeared in 2020, and there is some concern that he just might not be a 20+ home run guy on an annual basis, especially with deadened baseballs. But he’s going to bat over .300, and the Mets are going to be better in 20210, so the potential to score 100 runs and drive in 75+ while helping your batting average is real.
Ryan Mountcastle (1B/OF – BAL)
The Baltimore Orioles are going to be awful in 2021, but Mountcastle is a reason to watch them. He might actually be the only reason to watch them. He looked unfazed in his 35-game debut in 2020, and he has legit 25+ home run potential. He shouldn’t hurt you in batting average, but he also isn’t going to bat .333 over a full season. One promising trend in 2020 was that he took more walks at the big league level, which is not something he did a lot of in the minor leagues. With a terrible lineup around him, he will have to be more willing to take those walks in 2021.
Mike Moustakas (1B/2B – CIN)
It’s strange seeing Moustakas without third base eligibility, but here we are. And he only played two games at the hot corner in 2020, so he won’t be eligible there unless your league uses the 2019 season for eligibility purposes. He didn’t have a particularly strong 2020, but he was banged up and missed more than 15 games. He’s the kind of player who I’m willing to throw out 2020 stats for because I know what to expect: 30 home runs, an average around .250, 70+ runs scored, and 85+ RBI.
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Mike Maher is an editor and featured writer at FantasyPros and BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive, follow him on Twitter @MikeMaher, and visit his Philadelphia Eagles blog, The Birds Blitz.