Dan Harris’s 2021 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Starting Pitcher
As has been the case for a few years now, starting pitcher is thinner than ever. Those who think they can wait to beef up their rotation until the later rounds almost always put themselves at a massive disadvantage.
That’s especially the case this year after last season’s shortened campaign. Innings pitched will be at a premium in 2021, and starters who manage to approach 200 innings will be few and far between and offer their fantasy managers a great advantage.
Because of that, I like to try to draft at least one starting pitcher in the first three rounds, and usually try to have three after my first six picks. But regardless of your exact approach, having depth is critical. Here are a few of the starters I’ve found myself drafting most often.
Corbin Burnes (SP – MIL) – ADP: 63
Considering I was all in on Burnes during his terrible 2019 campaign, I’m certainly buying the dominant small sample we saw last year. Burnes made a change to his pitch mix to better accentuate the natural movement on the ball, so I truly have little doubt that he’ll be a quality fantasy starter this year.
But a bigger reason I’m drafting Burnes is that with the injuries to Carlos Carrasco, Sonny Gray, and Stephen Strasburg, he’s usually just the last in a tier of starters I’m happy to rely on as an SP2.
Charlie Morton (SP – ATL) – ADP: 118
Morton had a down 2020 season, but it was mostly due to a shoulder injury that cost him significant velocity. When he recovered, and the velocity returned, he was pretty much the same as he ever was (as you can see from his playoff performance).
Morton is also likely pitching in the final year of his career, so there’s no reason for the Brave to hold him back at all. With innings at a premium, Morton should have plenty of value.
Frankie Montas (SP – OAK) – ADP: 171.4
Casual fantasy managers will likely avoid Montas after his PED suspension in 2019 and poor output in 2020. But really, there’s a ton of upside with him. A back injury quietly derailed his season last year, and when you look at his first few and last starts, you have an idea of what he looks like when healthy. Recovered from his battle with COVID-19, Montas is being drafted like an SP 4/5 when he could produce like an SP3.
Marcus Stroman (SP – NYM) – ADP: 204.4
Quality innings eater? Check. Improved infield defense? Check. New pitch getting rave reviews during the spring? Check. Pitches for a good team with a lengthy bullpen? Check.
There’s nothing not to like. Especially at that ADP.
ADP – Average Draft Position
Beyond our fantasy baseball content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you navigate your season. From our Trade Analyzer – which allows you to instantly find out if a trade offer benefits you or your opponent – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team, and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball season.