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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

J.T. Realmuto Note
J.T. Realmuto photo 1. J.T. Realmuto PHI
Realmuto fractured the thumb on his throwing hand in mid-February, and is iffy for Opening Day. He is in a tier to himself among catchers when healthy, putting up consistently excellent numbers in what is the thinnest of positions. He had the highest barrel rate and hard hit percentage of his career in 2020, and also walked at a career-best pace. Realmuto is in his age-30 season, so that's getting near the point where catchers begin to decline. But given that he's shown no real slippage in his skills to this point, his numbers shouldn't fall off much in 2021, assuming he has no setbacks and returns on or around Opening Day. Back with Philadelphia now and for several years after signing a five-year contract, Realmuto is the only catcher worth drafting before the sixth or seventh round.
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Salvador Perez Note
Salvador Perez photo 2. Salvador Perez KC
Perez returned from missing all of the 2019 season to put up monstrous numbers. He batted .333 with 11 home runs in just 37 games. Sure, his meager walk rate became even worst and he struck out more than ever, but his strong numbers were absolutely earned. He had an expected batting average of .325, an expected slugging percentage of .624, and barreled baseballs at a significantly higher rate than he ever had before. Perez will be 31 years old this year this year but considering that he's had just 156 plate appearances combined over the past two years (after having one of the heaviest workloads for a catcher over the previous six seasons), he should have some gas left in the tank. Draft him as a top-three catcher without hesitation.
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Will Smith Note
Will Smith photo 3. Will Smith LAD
Smith had an outstanding 2020 season, walking a ton, striking out little, and getting on base at higher than a .400 clip. The power he showed in his 54-game stretch in 2019 remained, and he ranked in the top 10% of the league in wOBA, expected wOBA, and expected slugging percentage. Given how the Dodgers play the entire season with an eye toward the playoffs, as well as the presence of Keibert Ruiz, it's possible that Smith may get more rest than other catchers this year. But that's a minor point against someone who should be one of the top options at his position. He's no worse than a top-five catcher, and there's a good argument that he should be the second player selected at his position.
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Willson Contreras Note
Willson Contreras photo 4. Willson Contreras CHC
Contreras has established a pretty decent baseline for what fantasy managers can expect over the course of a full season. He'll likely give you a floor of 15 home runs and 110 combined runs and RBI, with upside for more. Those numbers don't sound impressive, but they're enough to make Contreras a top-five catcher easily. Given his safety, there's an argument to be made to take him as high as second overall at the position. But, even so, there's no need to select him before the eighth round or so, as there's not an appreciable difference in the production of the next seven or eight catchers beyond J.T. Realmuto.
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Yasmani Grandal Note
Yasmani Grandal photo 5. Yasmani Grandal CWS
Grandal is getting up there in age for a catcher, and there were a few warning signs for the veteran. He struck out nearly 30% of the time last season, well above his typical rate, and his expected batting average, slugging percentage, and wOBA were some of the worst of his career. At the same time, he continued to walk at a near-elite clip, and again provided plenty of power from a position where pop is hard to find. The good news for Grandal is that both his large contract and his elite pitch framing skills should keep him in the lineup as often as possible, which will help to pad his counting stats. He's just a tad outside of the elite range at the position, but he's a locked in fantasy starter.
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Travis d'Arnaud Note
Travis d'Arnaud photo 6. Travis d'Arnaud ATL
It took a long time but d'Arnaud has finally developed into one of the best hitting catchers in the game, as he was projected to be. It's difficult to quite buy what we saw last year, considering d'Arnaud's batting average (.321) and slugging percentage (.533) were miles ahead of his career marks, and even the numbers that he had put up in recent seasons. With that said, he'll bat in the middle of a strong Braves lineup and be presented with plenty of RBI opportunities, so 15 home runs with 55 RBI should be considered the floor for a healthy d'Arnaud. Those numbers aren't just passable, they're extremely strong for a catcher in fantasy, and he should be drafted as a relatively strong first catcher in mixed leagues.
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Christian Vazquez Note
Christian Vazquez photo 7. Christian Vazquez BOS
Vazquez was a late bloomer, but he's developed into one of the more reliable catchers in the game. Not only does he provide 20-homer power, but he's one of the best assets at catcher in both batting average and stolen bases. Entering his age-31 season, there's certainly the possibility for a major decline in his numbers, but there is little in his underlying metrics to suggest it is imminent. Draft Vazquez as a strong starter in single-catcher formats, and you won't need to do so before the double-digit rounds.
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Gary Sanchez Note
Gary Sanchez photo 8. Gary Sanchez NYY
Austin Nola Note
Austin Nola photo 9. Austin Nola SD
Sean Murphy Note
Sean Murphy photo 10. Sean Murphy OAK
James McCann Note
James McCann photo 11. James McCann NYM
McCann will be the everyday catcher for the Mets after putting up his second consecutive successful season for the White Sox. After putting up a .789 OPS in 2019, he jumped up to an .896 mark in 2020, setting a career-high in walk rate. McCann was a part-timer last year, so his rate stats will likely dip as he takes over a heavy workload with the Mets (Wilson Ramos ranked fourth among catchers in plate appearances the last two seasons). But counting stats should be there in spades in a strong Mets lineup. He should be drafted as a starting catcher in 12-team formats.
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Daulton Varsho Note
Daulton Varsho photo 12. Daulton Varsho ARI
Varsho saw plenty of action between catcher and the outfield last year for the Diamondbacks, and although he batted just .188, he hit three home runs and stole three bases. That may not sound like much but for a catcher-eligible player in 37 games, it's plenty. The problem for Varsho is that the Diamondbacks' roster looks pretty full, especially with the signing of Asdrubal Cabrera, and there's a good chance he begins the year in the minors. There's a ton of potential for Varsho, given that he was a high-average hitter during his minor-league career, but it seems increasingly likely that fantasy managers will need to wait a bit longer for him to become someone to start in fantasy leagues.
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Mitch Garver Note
Mitch Garver photo 13. Mitch Garver MIN
Buster Posey Note
Buster Posey photo 14. Buster Posey SF
Yadier Molina Note
Yadier Molina photo 15. Yadier Molina STL
Carson Kelly Note
Carson Kelly photo 16. Carson Kelly ARI
Jorge Alfaro Note
Jorge Alfaro photo 17. Jorge Alfaro MIA
Wilson Ramos Note
Wilson Ramos photo 18. Wilson Ramos DET
Danny Jansen Note
Danny Jansen photo 19. Danny Jansen TOR
Jansen's playing time is uncertain this year with the presence of both Reese McGuire and Alejandro Kirk, but his defense is likely to keep him in the mix as a starter most games. He hasn't developed into the offensive force most thought he would become, and his average has been downright dreadful. But he's put up 19 home runs and 59 RBI over 150 games in the last two seasons, and the Toronto lineup is incredibly strong. If he wins the job outright out of spring training, he should be considered a fairly strong second catcher.
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Alejandro Kirk Note
Alejandro Kirk photo 20. Alejandro Kirk TOR
Kirk has the bat to to be a fantasy asset if he can stay in the lineup, particularly with catcher eligibility. He is a career .315 hitter with a .918 OPS in the minors, and had a strong, albeit short, stint in the majors last year during when he had a .983 OPS in nine games. The biggest obstacle for Kirk is that the Blue Jays have two solid defensive catchers in Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire, and although they could put Kirk at DH, they have plenty of other options for that position. In other words, Kirk needs to hit and hit early to cement a lineup spot. If he does, he's got top-10 catcher potential pretty easily.
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Isiah Kiner-Falefa Note
Isiah Kiner-Falefa photo 21. Isiah Kiner-Falefa TEX
Yan Gomes Note
Yan Gomes photo 22. Yan Gomes WSH
Pedro Severino Note
Pedro Severino photo 23. Pedro Severino BAL
Omar Narvaez Note
Omar Narvaez photo 24. Omar Narvaez MIL
Ryan Jeffers Note
Ryan Jeffers photo 25. Ryan Jeffers MIN
Tom Murphy Note
Tom Murphy photo 26. Tom Murphy SEA
Kurt Suzuki Note
Kurt Suzuki photo 27. Kurt Suzuki LAA
Jacob Stallings Note
Jacob Stallings photo 28. Jacob Stallings PIT
Max Stassi Note
Max Stassi photo 29. Max Stassi LAA
Joey Bart Note
Joey Bart photo 30. Joey Bart SF
Francisco Mejia Note
Francisco Mejia photo 31. Francisco Mejia TB
Tyler Stephenson Note
Tyler Stephenson photo 32. Tyler Stephenson CIN
Roberto Perez Note
Roberto Perez photo 33. Roberto Perez CLE
Tucker Barnhart Note
Tucker Barnhart photo 34. Tucker Barnhart CIN
Andrew Knizner Note
Andrew Knizner photo 35. Andrew Knizner STL
Elias Diaz Note
Elias Diaz photo 36. Elias Diaz COL
Sam Huff Note
Sam Huff photo 37. Sam Huff TEX
Victor Caratini Note
Victor Caratini photo 38. Victor Caratini SD
Chance Sisco Note
Chance Sisco photo 39. Chance Sisco BAL
Luis Torrens Note
Luis Torrens photo 40. Luis Torrens SEA
Martin Maldonado Note
Martin Maldonado photo 41. Martin Maldonado HOU
Adley Rutschman Note
Adley Rutschman photo 42. Adley Rutschman BAL
Jason Castro Note
Jason Castro photo 43. Jason Castro HOU
Mike Zunino Note
Mike Zunino photo 44. Mike Zunino TB
Austin Barnes Note
Austin Barnes photo 45. Austin Barnes LAD
Andrew Knapp Note
Andrew Knapp photo 46. Andrew Knapp PHI
Jose Trevino Note
Jose Trevino photo 47. Jose Trevino TEX
Austin Romine Note
Austin Romine photo 48. Austin Romine CHC
Robinson Chirinos Note
Robinson Chirinos photo 49. Robinson Chirinos NYY
Kyle Higashioka Note
Kyle Higashioka photo 50. Kyle Higashioka NYY
Willians Astudillo Note
Willians Astudillo photo 51. Willians Astudillo MIN
Curt Casali Note
Curt Casali photo 52. Curt Casali SF
Keibert Ruiz Note
Keibert Ruiz photo 53. Keibert Ruiz LAD
Tony Wolters Note
Tony Wolters photo 54. Tony Wolters PIT
Alex Avila Note
Alex Avila photo 55. Alex Avila WSH
Tyler Flowers Note
Tyler Flowers photo 56. Tyler Flowers FA
Jonah Heim Note
Jonah Heim photo 57. Jonah Heim TEX
Stephen Vogt Note
Stephen Vogt photo 58. Stephen Vogt ARI
Chadwick Tromp Note
Chadwick Tromp photo 59. Chadwick Tromp SF
Austin Hedges Note
Austin Hedges photo 60. Austin Hedges CLE
Jonathan Lucroy Note
Jonathan Lucroy photo 61. Jonathan Lucroy CWS
Dom Nunez Note
Dom Nunez photo 62. Dom Nunez COL
Jeff Mathis Note
Jeff Mathis photo 63. Jeff Mathis PHI
Luis Campusano Note
Luis Campusano photo 64. Luis Campusano SD
Ryan Lavarnway Note
Ryan Lavarnway photo 65. Ryan Lavarnway CIN
Eric Haase Note
Eric Haase photo 66. Eric Haase DET
Kevin Plawecki Note
Kevin Plawecki photo 67. Kevin Plawecki BOS
Manny Pina Note
Manny Pina photo 68. Manny Pina MIL
John Hicks Note
John Hicks photo 69. John Hicks TEX
Reese McGuire Note
Reese McGuire photo 70. Reese McGuire TOR
Jacob Nottingham Note
Jacob Nottingham photo 71. Jacob Nottingham MIL
Francisco Cervelli Note
Francisco Cervelli photo 72. Francisco Cervelli FA
Grayson Greiner Note
Grayson Greiner photo 73. Grayson Greiner DET
Bo Naylor Note
Bo Naylor photo 74. Bo Naylor CLE
Austin Allen Note
Austin Allen photo 75. Austin Allen OAK
Tyler Heineman Note
Tyler Heineman photo 76. Tyler Heineman STL
Chad Wallach Note
Chad Wallach photo 77. Chad Wallach MIA
Tomas Nido Note
Tomas Nido photo 78. Tomas Nido NYM
Sandy Leon Note
Sandy Leon photo 79. Sandy Leon FA
William Contreras Note
William Contreras photo 80. William Contreras ATL
Zack Collins Note
Zack Collins photo 81. Zack Collins CWS
Michael Perez Note
Michael Perez photo 82. Michael Perez PIT
Matt Wieters Note
Matt Wieters photo 83. Matt Wieters FA
Alex Jackson Note
Alex Jackson photo 84. Alex Jackson ATL
Cam Gallagher Note
Cam Gallagher photo 85. Cam Gallagher KC
Aramis Garcia Note
Aramis Garcia photo 86. Aramis Garcia OAK
Welington Castillo Note
Welington Castillo photo 87. Welington Castillo WSH
Jake Rogers Note
Jake Rogers photo 88. Jake Rogers DET
Garrett Stubbs Note
Garrett Stubbs photo 89. Garrett Stubbs HOU
Kevan Smith Note
Kevan Smith photo 90. Kevan Smith TB
Drew Butera Note
Drew Butera photo 91. Drew Butera TEX
Anthony Bemboom Note
Anthony Bemboom photo 92. Anthony Bemboom LAA
Cal Raleigh Note
Cal Raleigh photo 93. Cal Raleigh SEA
Rene Rivera Note
Rene Rivera photo 94. Rene Rivera FA
Luke Maile Note
Luke Maile photo 95. Luke Maile MIL
Dustin Garneau Note
Dustin Garneau photo 96. Dustin Garneau DET
Kyle Farmer Note
Kyle Farmer photo 97. Kyle Farmer CIN
Deivy Grullon Note
Deivy Grullon photo 98. Deivy Grullon CIN
Chris Herrmann Note
Chris Herrmann photo 99. Chris Herrmann BOS
Meibrys Viloria Note
Meibrys Viloria photo 100. Meibrys Viloria KC
Connor Wong Note
Connor Wong photo 101. Connor Wong BOS
Jose Briceno Note
Jose Briceno photo 102. Jose Briceno COL
Seby Zavala Note
Seby Zavala photo 103. Seby Zavala CWS
Rafael Marchan Note
Rafael Marchan photo 104. Rafael Marchan PHI
Caleb Joseph Note
Caleb Joseph photo 105. Caleb Joseph NYM
Bryan Holaday Note
Bryan Holaday photo 106. Bryan Holaday FA
Beau Taylor Note
Beau Taylor photo 107. Beau Taylor CLE
Tres Barrera Note
Tres Barrera photo 108. Tres Barrera WSH
P.J. Higgins Note
P.J. Higgins photo 109. P.J. Higgins CHC
Andrew Susac Note
Andrew Susac photo 110. Andrew Susac PIT
Ali Sanchez Note
Ali Sanchez photo 111. Ali Sanchez STL
Patrick Mazeika Note
Patrick Mazeika photo 112. Patrick Mazeika NYM
Joseph Odom Note
Joseph Odom photo 113. Joseph Odom TB
Austin Wynns Note
Austin Wynns photo 114. Austin Wynns BAL
Joe Hudson Note
Joe Hudson photo 115. Joe Hudson PIT
David Freitas Note
David Freitas photo 116. David Freitas FA
John Ryan Murphy Note
John Ryan Murphy photo 117. John Ryan Murphy PIT
Raudy Read Note
Raudy Read photo 118. Raudy Read WSH
Miguel Amaya Note
Miguel Amaya photo 119. Miguel Amaya CHC
Nick Ciuffo Note
Nick Ciuffo photo 120. Nick Ciuffo BAL
Brian Navarreto Note
Brian Navarreto photo 121. Brian Navarreto MIA
Tim Federowicz Note
Tim Federowicz photo 122. Tim Federowicz LAD
Josh Phegley Note
Josh Phegley photo 123. Josh Phegley FA
Colton Shaver Note
Colton Shaver photo 124. Colton Shaver HOU
Yermin Mercedes Note
Yermin Mercedes photo 125. Yermin Mercedes CWS