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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Mookie Betts Note
Mookie Betts photo 2. Mookie Betts RF,CF
Betts's first year with the Dodgers was basically exactly what fantasy managers expected - that is to say it was pretty much in line with what he did with the Red Sox. If you want to quibble, his walk rate dropped a few percentage points and he struck out at a career-worst 15.4% clip. But at this point, there are few safer players than Betts - you know he'll give you strong production in all five categories and he bats atop one of the best lineups in all of baseball. Betts should be a top-three pick and there's every reason to consider him number one overall. The downside is borderline non-existent.
36 weeks ago
Trea Turner Note
Trea Turner photo 6. Trea Turner SS,2B
Turner was the best version of himself in 2020, slashing his strikeout rate to below 14% and setting career bests in batting average, OBP, slugging percentage, wOBA, and wRC+. Above all, Turner locks down two incredibly scarce categories for fantasy managers, stolen bases and batting average, while offering production in the other three hitting categories. Still just entering his age-28 season, Turner is in the prime of his career, and should continue to put up stellar numbers. He's a top-eight pick in rotisserie leagues.
36 weeks ago
Cody Bellinger Note
Cody Bellinger photo 12. Cody Bellinger 1B,CF
Bellinger was unable to replicate the magic of his 2019 breakout during last year's shortened season. His average dipped to .239, the worst mark of his career, his power dropped significantly, and he didn't make the same quality of contact. But although he slid backwards in his walk and strikeout rates, his regression there was minimal, and his expected batting average was .284. In other words, Bellinger got worse in 2020, but it wasn't quite as bad as the surface numbers suggest. He did have offseason shoulder surgery after getting injured during a post-season celebration, and that's always a bit worrisome for a hitter. But given that a "down" year for Bellinger at this point is a 30-15 season, he warrants being selected early in the second round.
36 weeks ago
Max Muncy Note
Max Muncy photo 64. Max Muncy 1B,2B,3B
Muncy's batting average dropped to a ridiculously low .192 last year, and there were two culprits. The first is that his line drive rate plummeted from 23.5% to just 13.8%, leading to far more ground balls. The second was that he simply didn't hit the ball as hard. His hard hit rate and average exit velocity fell, and his HR/FB rate dropped seven points. Muncy dealt with finger and elbow injuries, so those may account for his poor season, but even then he was on pace to reach the 30-homer plateau for a third straight year. Muncy has position eligibility galore, and at the weak second base position, so continue to draft him in the middle rounds as a cheap source of power who adds value thanks to his ability to play all around the infield for your fantasy team.
36 weeks ago
Will Smith Note
Will Smith photo 94. Will Smith C
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.
36 weeks ago
Justin Turner Note
Justin Turner photo 98. Justin Turner 3B,DH
Turner signed a two-year deal with the Dodgers, and it's a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, he remains a key cog in an incredibly strong lineup where he's had plenty of success for several years. On the other, he's almost certainly going to see a downtick in his playing time given his age and the presence of Edwin Rios. Turner is still a batting average asset, has shown little decline in his batted ball data, and almost always produces when he's in the lineup. But he's much more valuable in daily transaction leagues where you can swap him in and out of the lineup.
36 weeks ago
AJ Pollock Note
AJ Pollock photo 103. AJ Pollock LF,CF,DH
Pollock's production when healthy is rarely in doubt. In 141 games over the last two seasons, he's hit 31 home runs, scored 79 runs, drove in 81, and stolen seven bases while batting .270. But it's the "when healthy" part that is the key to Pollock's value, as he hasn't topped 113 games played since 2015. He's a better pick in shallow leagues where you can replace him if and when he misses time due to injury. But the performance is that of a solid OF3 or OF4 when he's in the lineup.
36 weeks ago
Gavin Lux Note
Gavin Lux photo 123. Gavin Lux 2B,SS,LF
Edwin Rios Note
Edwin Rios photo 260. Edwin Rios 3B,1B
Austin Barnes Note
Austin Barnes photo 295. Austin Barnes C
Matt Beaty Note
Matt Beaty photo 357. Matt Beaty 1B,LF,RF
Kody Hoese Note
Kody Hoese photo 439. Kody Hoese 3B
Wilman Diaz Note
Wilman Diaz photo 494. Wilman Diaz SS
Luis Rodriguez Note
Luis Rodriguez photo 525. Luis Rodriguez CF
Michael Busch Note
Michael Busch photo 563. Michael Busch 2B
Miguel Vargas Note
Miguel Vargas photo 571. Miguel Vargas 3B
Zach McKinstry Note
Zach McKinstry photo 592. Zach McKinstry 2B,RF,LF,3B
Sheldon Neuse Note
Sheldon Neuse photo 674. Sheldon Neuse 2B
Jason Martin Note
Jason Martin photo 722. Jason Martin CF,LF
Luke Raley Note
Luke Raley photo 724. Luke Raley RF,LF
Omar Estevez Note
Omar Estevez photo 738. Omar Estevez 2B