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11 Players to Buy (2021 Fantasy Baseball)

Apr 13, 2021

It’s very early in the fantasy baseball season, but it’s never too early to start thinking about trades. Sometimes, acting early can be the difference between winning and losing your league. Last week our writers discussed prospects to stash, and this week we’re giving readers some players to buy.

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Yordan Alvarez (UTIL – HOU)
The fantasy baseball community went into the 2021 preseason fully aware of how valuable Alvarez could be, but the all-important “could” was filled with an even more important “if.” “If” he were truly healthy. All signs point to Alvarez avoiding any lingering effects from last year’s knee injury that sidelined him for almost the entire season, as he has played in each of the Houston Astros’ first seven games. In that span, he hit .333 with two home runs. Between his health and early production, I’ve seen enough to buy into Alvarez for the remainder of the season.
– Mario Mergola (@MarioMergola)

Kyle Tucker (OF – HOU)
When looking at a hitter to buy, I’m looking for a hitter off to a cold start on the surface. One of those guys is Kyle Tucker. He’s hitting .182 with three home runs, five runs, and 10 RBI. Tucker smacked a home run in three straight games and recorded a hit in six of eight contests. He’s still barreling up the ball with a 15.4% barrel rate, 109.6 mph maximum exit velocity, and 42.3% hard-hit rate. One concern includes Tucker chasing a bit more with a 40.3% O-Swing% compared to a 31.8% O-Swing% in his brief MLB career. Baseball is a long season, and I expect Tucker to bounce back so acquire him via trade where you can.
– Corbin Young (@Corbin_Young21)

Jeff McNeil (2B/3B/OF – NYM)
McNeil is hitting .077 with a .558 OPS. That’s pretty terrible on the surface. But, the underlying stats are excellent. He’s striking out less than seven percent of the time in the early going, has two barrels in 12 batted balls, and he’s walking nearly 19% of the time. He was drafted inside the top-100 for his ability to be a high average bat that will provide above-average counting stats. While he is hitting fifth or sixth on most days, his average is bound to regress to the mean. His above-average max exit velocity also suggests that there is power in his bat, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he belted 20 homers by season’s end. You can probably get him by trading your SP3 or 4, and you could easily win that trade.
– Carmen Maiorano (@carmsclubhouse)

Gleyber Torres (SS – NYY)
Early season slumps are the best way to attempt to capitalize on trade opportunities, specifically for teams who lose their first few matchups of the season or start slowly out of the gate and are looking to shake things up. If you can acquire slumping players like Trevor Story, Ozzie Albies, Marcell Ozuna, or Ian Happ for a fraction of their draft-day cost, go for it. One such guy I’m looking at is Gleyber Torres. The Yankees offense as a whole has been ice cold in the early going, but there is no denying that this team will rank amongst the league-leaders in runs, home runs, and RBI when all is said and done. Torres struggled in 2020 but hit .435 with a 1.262 OPS in seven playoff games last year. And let’s not forget that he hit 38 home runs – thirty-eight! – in 2019, although a ton of those came against the Orioles admittedly. Torres is hitting just .220 thus far with a paltry .550 OPS, but he’s recorded a hit in eight out of nine games this season and stole his first base on Sunday. I’m willing to bet on his pedigree, his supporting cast, and his home ballpark that there are much better days ahead.
– Lucas Spence (@lspence24)

Yoan Moncada (3B – CWS)
Moncada is slashing .161/.297/.290 with one homer and two RBI across 37 plate appearances in 2021. He’s the White Sox’s primary cleanup hitter and in a premium spot to drive in 100-plus runs. Moncada contracted COVID-19 last season and struggled at the plate in 2020. The 25-year-old admitted he wasn’t himself and was ready to put 2020 behind him. Moncada is off to a rough start in 2021 but makes for an excellent buy-low candidate. Fantasy managers could therefore get a potential top-5 third baseman at a bargain price.
– Brad Camara (@Beerad30)

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Blake Snell (SP – SD)
One of the main talking points during draft season was the lasting power of Snell both for an entire season and within a single game. Indeed, it’s not overly likely that he reaches 200 innings, but we are seeing that the San Diego Padres are allowing Snell to pitch deep enough to, at least, make himself eligible for a win. That’s all we wanted. Through two games, Snell has thrown 4.2 and 5.0 innings, respectively, and he carries an outstanding 1.86 ERA. He also struck out eight batters in each appearance. I’m not setting my sights on any complete games from Snell, but I am absolutely targeting him to steadily deliver over the course of the 2021 season.
– Mario Mergola (@MarioMergola)

Jordan Montgomery (SP – NYY)
So many pitchers that I love, but I settled on Montgomery as the one to buy. He dazzled in his first start against the Orioles with six scoreless innings and seven strikeouts. Montgomery uses a four to five pitch mix and added a cutter that he used 19.2% of the time in 2021 compared to 6.7% in 2020. It’s one start, but Montgomery has a 55.8% O-Swing% compared to a career 34.3% O-Swing% likely boosted by his 19.2% swinging-strike rate, which is a seven percent jump from his career rate. Montgomery’s bread and butter – his curveball and changeup. My feelings haven’t changed and I’m still extremely high on Jordan Montgomery in 2021.
– Corbin Young (@Corbin_Young21)

Chris Paddack (SP – SD)
This is probably an unpopular choice, as Paddack is severely regressing, and he’s only throwing two pitches with confidence (and his fastball looks awful). However, I expect him to positively regress. He pitches in a weak division, and I trust the Padres to get him back on the right track relatively quickly. Despite the poor start, his xERA is 3.59, and his FIP is 3.19. It’s likely too early in the season to cite these types of advanced metrics, but I simply don’t believe that Paddack is as bad as he’s shown so far. The Paddack manager in your league is likely panicking, and you can probably deal a hitter outside the top overall 200 to get him at this point. Make sure you trade for him before his start against the Pirates, as I’m expecting him to rebound.
– Carmen Maiorano (@carmsclubhouse)

Jack Flaherty (SP – STL) + Ian Anderson (SP – ATL)
Are there any Jacob deGroms available for sale? If so, I want to buy each and every one of them. Man is that guy incredible. Otherwise, if we are talking about “buying” players, we want to look for guys whose stock is low with slow starts to the season. If the Jack Flaherty manager in your league is frustrated by that bloated 5.23 ERA, I would try to swoop in with a trade offer. The Cardinals ace struggled mightily in his season debut in terribly cold weather conditions (which impacted Reds starter Luis Castillo as well), but Flaherty responded with six shutout innings against Miami last Wednesday. I trust the talent, the team, and the ballpark. Braves starter Ian Anderson (4.35 ERA) is another guy I would target in some buy-low trade offers. He’s had two tough matchups against the Phillies already and held his own (1.16 WHIP, 13 Ks in 10 1/3 innings) and should have better matchups in the future, starting with a date against the Marlins this week which should get his numbers back on track.
– Lucas Spence (@lspence24)

Lance McCullers (SP – HOU)
McCullers is off to an amazing start in 2021, allowing two runs across 10 innings while striking out 13. He recently added a slider to his pitching arsenal and owns a 47.1% whiff percentage when using it. McCullers was labeled as a potential breakout candidate in 2021 and has so far delivered for fantasy managers this season. McCullers owns an 11.7 K:9 along with a solid 3.36 xFIP. The 27-year-old has all the tools to be a fantasy ace and is someone I am looking to acquire in most of my fantasy leagues.
– Brad Camara (@Beerad30)

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