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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Ronald Acuna Jr. Note
Ronald Acuna Jr. photo 1. Ronald Acuna Jr. CF,RF - ATL
Acuna missed some time last year and batted a mere .250. And thus ends the negative things you can say about him. He walked at an absurd 18.8% clip, which led him to a .406 OBP despite the poor average. He was one of the league leaders in quality of contact, wOBA, and xWOBA, and we now know after the last two years that he will run often on the bases so long as he continues to bat leadoff, which he should. In other words, from a fantasy perspective, Acuna is an absolute monster. He's a top-three pick and will (deservedly) go first overall in many leagues, and there's still upside given that he just turned 23 years old.
36 weeks ago
Mookie Betts Note
Mookie Betts photo 2. Mookie Betts RF,CF - LAD
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
Fernando Tatis Jr. Note
Fernando Tatis Jr. photo 3. Fernando Tatis Jr. SS,RF - SD
Tatis Jr. has a bit of a shoulder issue, but nothing suggests he'll need to miss any time. He had an outstanding rookie year, but because he had outperformed his Statcast data so significantly, many fantasy managers were worried that his numbers would regress in 2020. Although his batting average did come down (to a still respectable .277), he not only staved off regression, but he improved significantly in most areas. He cut his strikeout rate by 6%, upped his walk rate by 2.5%, and led the league in average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and barrel percentage. The fact that he's likely to throw in 25-30 steals over the course of a full season is just the cherry on top of elite fantasy production. He's a top-five overall pick with little or no downside and massive upside even off his incredible 2020 numbers, so long a there are no further developments with his shoulder.
36 weeks ago
Juan Soto Note
Juan Soto photo 4. Juan Soto LF,RF - WSH
There aren't enough superlatives in the English language to describe what Soto has done in his career given his young age. Had he merely repeated his incredible 2019 numbers last season, fantasy managers would have been ecstatic. Instead, he upped his walk rate from an elite 16.4% to a truly remarkable 20.9%, cut his strikeout rate down to just 14.3%, and batted .351. Soto does not have the speed or baserunning chops to steal 30 bases in a season, which is the only thing keeping him from being considered worthy of drafting first overall. But given what he's accomplished through his age-21 season, it's truly scary to think of how high his ceiling may be. Draft him as a top-five pick and enjoy the ridiculous production.
36 weeks ago
Mike Trout Note
Mike Trout photo 5. Mike Trout CF - LAA
For one of the first times since he took the league by storm, Trout is not the consensus top pick this year. It's hardly his fault, though it's fair to point out some of the negatives with his 2020 season. He batted a career-low .281, and posted his worst walk- and strikeout-rates since 2015. He also stole only one base. But Trout's move down the overall baseball rankings is due more to his competition for the top spot, rather than his numbers. He was still among the league leaders in quality of contact and every expected statcast metric, and was on pace to hit 50 home runs over the course of a full season. Trout is entering his age-30 season, so although we've seen him rebound from poor stolen base years before, it now seems unlikely that he'll ever get back to much past low-double digits. That keeps him out of the top spot in rotisserie rankings, but his incredibly high floor makes him a top-five overall draft pick.
36 weeks ago
Jacob deGrom Note
Jacob deGrom photo 6. Jacob deGrom SP - NYM
deGrom barely missed out on winning his third straight Cy Young Award last year, but it was yet another dominant season. For the third straight year, he came in with a WHIP under 1.00, an ERA under 2.50, and a strikeout percentage above 31%. deGrom is getting up there in age, but it's worth remembering that he has fewer miles on his arm than most pitcher entering their age-33 season, given that he didn't transition to pitching until late in his college career and missed significant time with injuries during his time in the minors. deGrom has shown no decline in his game, and should hopefully (finally) begin to pile on more wins this year pitching for a better team in front of an improved bullpen. He should be the first or second starting pitcher taken and is an obvious first-round pick.
36 weeks ago
Trea Turner Note
Trea Turner photo 7. Trea Turner SS,2B - LAD
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
Gerrit Cole Note
Gerrit Cole photo 8. Gerrit Cole SP - NYY
Cole was pretty much as advertised in his first season with the Yankees. His ERA rose a tad, as did his home run rate as expected, and his strikeout rate fell a bit, though it remained at an absurdly high level. And, for the most part, all of his expected metrics fell off a tad from his 2019 season. But Cole's numbers from that season were so dominating that he could withstand plenty of regression and still be one of the best pitchers in fantasy. As such, he'll head into 2021 close to the way he came into the 2020 season: a dominant, high-strikeout, low-walk starter who will throw plenty of innings and who is more likely to finish as the top overall fantasy pitcher than he is to finish outside the top-10. It's a matter of personal preference between Cole and Jacob deGrom as the first pitcher off the board, but neither should fall outside the top-10 overall picks on draft day.
36 weeks ago
Christian Yelich Note
Christian Yelich photo 9. Christian Yelich LF - MIL
Yelich's 2020 season was, in a word, bizarre. After batting .327 combined from 2018-2019, his batting average dropped to a meager .205 last year. Although he hit the ball as hard as ever, setting career highs in average exit velocity and hard hit percentage, his strikeout rate ballooned more than 10 points to 30.8%. At the same time, Yelich's walk rate jumped up to 18.6%. Unsurprisingly, the reason for the jump in both Yelich's strikeouts and walks was that he simply swung less - just 34.6% of the time after his mark hovered above 44% the previous two seasons. If Yelich takes the same passive approach in 2021, then it's likely that his batting average will remain below what fantasy managers had come to expect. But considering that his season was so out of line with what he'd produced since coming to Milwaukee, fantasy managers should expect far more this season, and feel confident drafting him late in the first round.
36 weeks ago
Trevor Story Note
Trevor Story photo 10. Trevor Story SS - FA
Story had his usual stellar year in 2020, putting up strong overall numbers and offering a rare power and speed combination. As usual, he greatly outperformed his expected statistics, but that's been the norm for Story throughout his career and isn't all that unexpected since he plays in Colorado. Story is entering his walk year, so the chances of a trade, which would diminish his value, remain a possibility. But there are few safer players in the game as of this moment, and he's a locked-in first round pick. The only question surrounding Story is whether he or Trea Turner should be the first shortstop selected in drafts.
36 weeks ago
Jose Ramirez Note
Jose Ramirez photo 11. Jose Ramirez 3B,DH - CLE
If you throw out the first half of his 2019 season, then Ramirez has been a dominant force in fantasy baseball for the last five years. He was as good as ever in 2020, setting career highs in slugging percentage (.607), wOBA (.415) and wRC+ (164). To the extent there are question marks about Ramirez, they're about his supporting cast, as Cleveland's lineup should be one of the weaker ones in the league now that the team has jettisoned Francisco Lindor. But a hitter's lineup is often overvalued by fantasy managers, particularly with a player like Ramirez who adds in value with stolen bases. He comes with little to no risk, and should be the first third baseman drafted, and a first round pick, in all formats.
36 weeks ago
Shane Bieber Note
Shane Bieber photo 12. Shane Bieber SP - CLE
Bieber took the huge gains he had made in 2019 and kicked the into hyperdrive en route to a Cy Young season. He had a miniscule 1.63 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP, and took his strikeout percentage to 41.1%, which ranked first among qualified starters. Everything was exceptional for Bieber, as he held batters to just a .167 batting average, barely allowed home runs, and earned eight wins in just 12 starts. He may struggle to again find wins given the Indians' depleted lineup, but there is nothing else to think twice about with Bieber. He's part of the ultra-elite tier in starting pitching with Jacob deGrom and Gerrit Cole, and should be a first-round selection, especially since he seems to have had no ill effects from his battle with COVID-19.
36 weeks ago
Freddie Freeman Note
Freddie Freeman photo 13. Freddie Freeman 1B - FA
Although there were questions about Freeman's 2020 season because of his battle with COVID-19 prior to the season, those questions were answered and then some with his MVP season. The statcast leaderboard is littered with Freeman's name, as he ranked in the top nine percent of the league in barrel rate, average exit velocity, expected batting average, expected slugging percentage, wOBA, xwOBA, xwOBAcon, hard hit percentage, strikeout percentage, and walk percentage. Freeman likely won't reach double digits in steals, but that is about the only negative thing you can say about his fantasy outlook. He's as safe as they come in the other four hitting categories, and comes with next to no risk. He'll likely cost a borderline first round pick on draft day, but he is worth it.
36 weeks ago
Bryce Harper Note
Bryce Harper photo 14. Bryce Harper RF,DH - PHI
In 157 games in Harper's first year with the Phillies, he batted .260 with 35 home runs, 98 runs, 114 RBI, and 15 steals. In 2020, his 157-game pace was .268 with 35 home runs, 111 runs, 89 RBI, and 21 steals. In other words, Harper provides an incredibly safe baseline now with Philadelphia, and fantasy managers can expect roughly 35 home runs, 15-20 steals, and 220 combined runs and RBI. There were some gains for Harper in 2020, as he walked more and struck out less than he ever had in his career, and hit the ball as hard as ever. But there's no reason to expect much growth in Harper's surface numbers at this point. Take the incredibly high floor in the second round and be happy with it.
36 weeks ago
Cody Bellinger Note
Cody Bellinger photo 15. Cody Bellinger 1B,CF - LAD
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
Francisco Lindor Note
Francisco Lindor photo 16. Francisco Lindor SS - NYM
Lindor's season wasn't particularly impressive, as his surface numbers regressed fairly significantly from his previous three seasons. But, under the hood, not much changed. His walk rate and strikeout rate were largely steady, and his statcast data remained on par with his career marks. He also got much better to close the year, batting .285 with a 122 wRC+ over his final 39 games. Just 27 years old and now with a stronger lineup with the Mets, Lindor should put up numbers closer to his 2017-2019 levels, especially since he'll be playing for a new contract after this season. He'll come at a bit of a discount in the second round this year, and he's well worth your investment at that price.
36 weeks ago
Manny Machado Note
Manny Machado photo 17. Manny Machado 3B - SD
Machado was on pace to set career highs in most statistical categories other than steals after last year's 60-game season. He set career bests in strikeout and walk rates and, most importantly to fantasy managers, batting average, where he checked in at .304. Machado's batting average was earned (he had an identica .304 xBA), and came on the back of him cutting his ground ball rate to a career low 37.2% and his line drive rate to a career high 22%. Machado is still just entering his age-29 season, and will continue to bat in a loaded lineup. Expect some regression from his batting average, but all his other stellar numbers should remain on par, meaning it will be another outstanding season that is worth a second-round pick.
36 weeks ago
Yu Darvish Note
Yu Darvish photo 18. Yu Darvish SP - SD
After a career year in 2020, Darvish moves to San Diego in a trade that shouldn't affect his strong 2021 outlook all that much. Despite his advancing age, Darvish built on the gains he had made over the second half of 2019, finishing with a 2.01 ER, a 0.96 WHIP, and a 31.3% strikeout rate. Darvish's walk rate has declined to a level once thought unattainable for the veteran, a mere 4.7%, which was in the top 8% of MLB in 2020. Although he'll be entering his age-35 season, there's simply nothing in Darvish's numbers, metrics, or statcast data that points to a decline. If you are desperate to find a negative, it's a move from the weak-hitting NL Central to the much stronger NL West, but that's hardly a reason to avoid Darvish. Draft him as an easy top-10 starter, and more like a top-5 option.
36 weeks ago
Trevor Bauer Note
Trevor Bauer photo 19. Trevor Bauer SP - LAD
Bauer capped off a Cy Young season by signing a massive deal with the Dodgers. There's no other way to describe Bauer's 2020 season other than utterly dominant. A 1.73 ERA, a 0.79 WHIP, and a 36% strikeout rate. Notably, the spin rate on almost all of his pitched jumped dramatically, and every single one of them was more effective than we'd previously seen. Bauer had an outstanding season in 2018 and followed it up with a sub-par 2019, so we shouldn't take for granted that he'll be the best pitcher in baseball for the second season in a row. But on the best team in baseball with a near bulletproof 2020 resume, he should be drafted as a top-five starter and a second-round pick.
36 weeks ago
Bo Bichette Note
Bo Bichette photo 20. Bo Bichette SS,DH - TOR
Bichette missed about half the season with a knee injury last year, but was productive when he was on the field, batting .301 with an .840 OPS. His 162-game pace was 28 home runs, 100 runs, 128 RBI, and 22 steals, so he was well on his way to earning his lofty draft price. If there was a wart to Bichette's season it was that his walk rate dropped to just 3.9%, one of the worst in the league. But, given that he had just 128 plate appearances, that's likely just the product of a small sample size, since he never walked at less than a 6.6% clip in his career. Batting in a stacked lineup, Bichette should once again put up strong five-category numbers, and should be one of the first shortstops drafted in fantasy leagues again in 2020.
36 weeks ago
Walker Buehler Note
Walker Buehler photo 21. Walker Buehler SP - LAD
Because the Dodgers wanted to closely watch Buehler's routine and workload, he got a late start to the shortened season, essentially using his first few starts as the end of his spring training. He also dealt with blisters late in the year. All that to say, Buehler's 36 2/3 regular-season innings are, for the most part, largely meaningless. He gave up a few more home runs and walked a few more batters than usual, and he won just a single game. But none of it matters. Value Buehler as you did after his 2019 season - as one of the true stud pitchers in the game. Once the big three of Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole, and Shane Bieber are off the board, Buehler should come under immediate consideration, as the type of starting pitcher who can be your fantasy ace.
36 weeks ago
Lucas Giolito Note
Lucas Giolito photo 22. Lucas Giolito SP - CWS
Giolito followed up his breakout 2019 season with a nearly identical 2020 season. His ERA was within .07, his WHIP within .02, and his strikeout percentage within a point and a half. Despite pitching in a homer-friendly park, Giolito has managed to limit home runs, which is a key to his continued success with the White Sox. He won't face quite an easy schedule this year (AL and NL Central pitchers had plenty of sub-par offenses to feast on in 2019), but entering his age-27 season, he should only continue to improve from a skills standpoint. Draft him as an SP1, albeit a low-end one.
36 weeks ago
Aaron Nola Note
Aaron Nola photo 23. Aaron Nola SP - PHI
Nola bounced back from his disappointing 2019 campaign, and looked much closer to the 2018 breakout version of himself last year. His set a career mark in strikeout rate (33.2%, which ranked in the top nine percent in the league) and swinging strike rate (13.4%), and brought his walk rate down to just eight percent. Nola also got batters to swing at pitches outside the strike zone at a rate of 38.1%, far better than he had ever done in his career, and they made contact less than ever, at a rate of only 59.1%. The reason for the change was Nola relying far less on his fastball and more on his changeup, which kept hitters off balance and made both pitches more effective. Nola doesn't throw particularly hard, so his success relies much more on command and finding the right pitch mix, both of which he excelled at in 2020. If he can keep that going in 2021, and it's a good bet he will, he should be considered a fantasy ace.
36 weeks ago
Xander Bogaerts Note
Xander Bogaerts photo 24. Xander Bogaerts SS - BOS
Bogaerts largely backed up his excellent 2019 season with a strong 2020 campaign. He didn't hit the ball quite as hard and his launch angle dropped, but he did manage to maintain his .300 average and put up a similar home run pace. Two things from last year stand out and probably shouldn't be written off entirely: first, Bogaerts' RBI pace dropped significantly, and considering that the Red Sox lineup went from a relative strength to a weakness, it seems unlikely he'll approach 100 RBI in 2021. Second, after dropping for three consecutive seasons, Bogaerts' steal pace increased to the highest of his career. The drop in RBI and increase in steals may be related, as Bogaerts likely looked to manufacture runs with less help around him. Both trends are worth projecting going forward, and while Bogaerts' value doesn't change much, fantasy managers will likely take the increase in steals going forward.
36 weeks ago
Max Scherzer Note
Max Scherzer photo 25. Max Scherzer SP - NYM
Scherzer had a decent season for a mortal, but for someone with his career track record, it was a major disappointment. His 3.74 ERA was his highest since 2012, his 1.38 WHIP the highest of his career, and his 7.8% walk percentage his worst in a decade. Scherzer still struck out plenty of batters but entering his age-37 season and with a ton of mileage on his arm, it's only fair to accept that the old Scherzer is gone for good. But though he may not be a consensus top-three starter anymore, he's still perfectly capable of being a fantasy ace. After all, Scherzer's velocity hasn't declined much, and his 31.2% strikeout rate was tied for 10th among starters. Scherzer likely won't reach 200 innings pitched again and his ERA seems destined to remain above 3.00 going forward, but he's far from someone to avoid in fantasy drafts.
36 weeks ago
Anthony Rendon Note
Anthony Rendon photo 26. Anthony Rendon 3B - LAA
Rendon's stock feels like it has dropped dramatically, but there's really nothing in the small sample size of the 2020 season that should alter your outlook much on him. Yes, he didn't hit the ball as hard consistently, but he walked more than ever, maintained his elite strikeout rate, and still put up a roughly 30-homer, 100-RBI pace. Still just 31 years old, there should be plenty left in the tank this season for the veteran, and he should once again be a strong four-category contributor, with a small bit of speed thrown in for good measure.
36 weeks ago
Corey Seager Note
Corey Seager photo 27. Corey Seager SS - TEX
2020 was essentially a perfect season for Seager. More than a year removed from Tommy John surgery, he morphed into the player that most people expected him to be at this stage of his career. Seager increased his barrel rate from 7.3% to 15.8%, his average exit velocity from 88.8 MPH to 93.2 MPH, and his hard hit percentage from 38.2% to a remarkable 55.9%. Seager's 2020 season does not look fluky, but rather the product of a highly-touted prospect being fully recovered from injury and entering his prime. Seager may not reach the nearly 50-homers he was on pace to hit last year, but a 30-homer season with above a .300 average is well within reach. In other words, his performance over the shortened season is not one to write off.
36 weeks ago
Rafael Devers Note
Rafael Devers photo 28. Rafael Devers 3B - BOS
Devers' 2020 season was . . . fine. That's about the best you can say about it. He still hit the ball hard, ranking in the 96th percentile in average exit velocity, and he increased his barrel rate significantly. His counting stat paces from his breakout 2019 season went down, but not dramatically so (other than his batting average), and fantasy managers never felt like Devers was a drain on their teams. But, at the same time, his already poor walk rate declined, his strikeout rate jumped to a career worst, and he didn't even attempt a single stolen base. Devers is just 24 years old, so there is plenty of upside for him. The safest course of action is to build in some natural regression from Devers' strong 2019 season, and pencil him in for roughly 30 home runs and 200 combined runs and RBI. That still makes him an asset to any fantasy team.
36 weeks ago
Ozzie Albies Note
Ozzie Albies photo 29. Ozzie Albies 2B - ATL
A wrist injury limited Albies to just 29 games last season, and affected his performance early in the year before he went on the IL. In other words, there's little reason to draw conclusions from anything he did last year, including his drop in walk rate and increase in strikeout rate. Albies had established a rough 24-15 baseline from 2018-2019, and at 24 years old, there's no reason to expect that floor to decrease. With his power and speed combination, and his locked in strong RBI and runs scored numbers batting near the top of the Braves' lineup, Albies should be either the first second baseman drafted or the second behind DJ LeMahieu, depending on how you want to build your team.
36 weeks ago
Jack Flaherty Note
Jack Flaherty photo 30. Jack Flaherty SP - STL
Flaherty ended up with a 4.91 ERA, but that hardly represents his actual performance, given that he allowed nine runs in a three-inning start in September. If you take out that outing, Flaherty had just a 3.13 ERA, and he didn't allow more than three earned runs in any of his eight other starts. Given that Flaherty's season was shorter than most due to the Cardinals' COVID-19 issues, it's fair to essentially throw out at that one abysmal outing, considering his other numbers were relatively consistent from 2019. Indeed, his swinging strike rate improved, as did his K/9 rate and ground ball percentage. With his devastating slider, Flaherty should still be considered one of the top pitchers in the real and fantasy game, and is capable of fronting a fantasy staff.
36 weeks ago
Luis Castillo Note
Luis Castillo photo 31. Luis Castillo SP - CIN
Castillo turned in another excellent season last year, cutting his walk rate and striking out batters at a higher rate than he ever had in his career. His WHIP increased to a career-worst 1.23, but that was largely due to bad luck, as batters hit .232 against him despite an expected batting average of just .212. Nevertheless, Castillo kept runs off the board, largely because he was able to avoid home runs (just five in 70 innings) and limit free passes. Castillo is capable of fronting a fantasy pitching staff, though he's more of a low-end ace, and there are plenty of trade rumors following him around. But, given his reliable production and increased strikeout rate the past two seasons, he can be drafted with confidence.
36 weeks ago
Jose Abreu Note
Jose Abreu photo 32. Jose Abreu 1B,DH - CWS
For most players, fantasy managers need to consider whether to discount a highly out-of-character dip in their numbers given the shortened season. For Abreu, it's the opposite - whether fantasy managers should give credence to an outstanding MVP season, during which Abreu vastly outperformed his numbers from every other season of his career. Everything was good for Abreu in 2020, everything. He hit the ball harder than ever and consistently. He got on base more. He had career-high paces in every category. Abreu will be entering his age-34 season, so there's no way you should expect a repeat performance, but it's worth noting that he has increased his average exit velocity and hard-hit percentage in each of the last five seasons. Abreu's cost doesn't match his numbers last year, of course, but you'll still have to pay a hefty price in drafts. Given his safety and and his newly-discovered upside, however, it's worth it.
36 weeks ago
Kyle Tucker Note
Kyle Tucker photo 33. Kyle Tucker LF,DH,RF - HOU
Tucker finally got regular playing time last year and it was mostly what fantasy owners had hoped for. Tucker didn't quite put up his gaudy numbers that he averaged in the minors, but he was on roughly a 25-20 pace while helping out in the other statistical categories. Tucker's batted ball profile didn't completely wow anyone last year, but given his performance, his prospect pedigree and minor-league track record, and his guaranteed spot in a strong lineup, fantasy managers should feel little concern about having Tucker be their first outfielder in fantasy.
36 weeks ago
Clayton Kershaw Note
Clayton Kershaw photo 34. Clayton Kershaw SP - FA
Kershaw turned back the clock a bit in 2020, as the shortened season allowed him to let things go a bit more and add some of the velocity he had lost over the previous two seasons. The result was his best WHIP and ERA since 2016 and best strikeout rate since 2017. Kershaw isn't going to reach 200 innings pitched at this stage of his career, not with his injury history and the Dodgers' depth in their rotation and World Series aspirations. But even entering his age-33 season, he offers next to no downside. Consider this: Kershaw had probably the worst season of his career in 2019 and pitched to a 3.03 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP with more than a strikeout per inning. Draft him as a strong SP2 but bank on 160 innings. Anything more is gravy.
36 weeks ago
Marcell Ozuna Note
Marcell Ozuna photo 35. Marcell Ozuna LF,DH - ATL
Ozuna had a career year with the Braves last year, slashing .338/.431/.636, a career best in each category. His 18 home runs and 56 RBI led the National League, while his barrel rate, average exit velocity, and hard hit rate were all among the best in baseball. Given that he had shoulder surgery before the 2018 season, it's fair to assume that he needed two full years to recover. And although perhaps we can't expect him to again lead the league in power categories, you should expect roughly a 35-homer, 100-RBI season with a plus batting average. That makes him capable of being your first outfielder in mixed leagues and an asset to any fantasy team.
36 weeks ago
DJ LeMahieu Note
DJ LeMahieu photo 36. DJ LeMahieu 1B,2B,3B - NYY
LeMahieu will return to the Yankees on a six-year deal, and that is great news for fantasy managers. Since he's been New York, he's provided elite all-around production, most notably in batting average, where he has batted .336. He's blossomed into a 25-home run hitter with plenty of runs and RBI, and a handful of steals that chip in with the category. Add to that LeMahieu's multi-position eligibility and he is a huge asset to every fantasy team. With nothing in his profile to suggest a skills decline, he should be drafted before the third round is out in every fantasy league.
36 weeks ago
Alex Bregman Note
Alex Bregman photo 37. Alex Bregman 3B - HOU
2020 was just a bad season for Bregman, plain and simple. He missed time with a hamstring injury, and generally regressed in every major statistical category. Considering that Bregman will be just 27 years old on Opening Day and had batted .291 with 72 home runs combined over the previous two seasons, fantasy managers can probably just throw out most of what they saw from him in 2020. He'll continue to be an upper echelon option at third base and considering his strong walk and strikeout rates, an even better one in points leagues. He's been battling a hamstring issue for most of camp, but as of now, he doesn't look like he'll miss much, if any, time, so draft him accordingly.
36 weeks ago
Luis Robert Note
Luis Robert photo 38. Luis Robert CF - CWS
Robert's production was pretty much what it was cracked up to be in terms of his power and speed, but his .233 batting average was a little hard to stomach. He struck out way too much (32.2% of the time, bottom 6% of the league), and just didn't make hard enough contact consistently to keep his average above water. But Robert will be just 24 years old this season, so there's plenty of room for growth in that area. That's particularly true given that Robert was a career .312 hitter in the minors and .314 in Cuba. Even if he was a batting average drain, which you shouldn't expect, given that he was on a roughly 30-25 full-season pace last year, fantasy managers should be able to stomach it. Draft him as a borderline first outfielder in fantasy leagues and reap the rewards.
36 weeks ago
Tim Anderson Note
Tim Anderson photo 39. Tim Anderson SS - CWS
Anderson doesn't seem like he should be that valuable in fantasy. He doesn't have a ton of power, he rarely walks, and his quality of contact is nothing to write home about. But he's hit .335 and .322 the last two seasons, and although both numbers significantly surpass his xBA, it's clear that Anderson is going to be a plus value in that category. He won't excel in any other area, but he will chip in about 20 homers and 15-20 steals which, along with his batting average, makes him an excellent value given that his ADP is always in check.
36 weeks ago
Brandon Woodruff Note
Brandon Woodruff photo 40. Brandon Woodruff SP - MIL
There were some skeptics after Woodruff succeeded in 2019 based largely on one pitch - his devastating fastball - but he put those concerns to rest in 2020. His ERA (3.05) and WHIP (0.99) were incredibly strong, particularly when you consider that he struck out more than 11 batters per nine innings. Woodruff's fastball hits rests at 96 MPH and is one of the better pitches in baseball, but his slider and changeup both made strides last year. The Brewers are reportedly planning to add about 100 innings to their starter's workloads last season, so pencil Woodruff in for roughly 175 extremely strong frames. You can survive with him as your fantasy ace, though he's best as an incredibly strong number 2.
36 weeks ago
Whit Merrifield Note
Whit Merrifield photo 41. Whit Merrifield 2B,CF,RF - KC
Merrifield has established an extremely strong floor, as he'll almost always be an asset in batting average, steals, and runs scored, and chip in for the remaining categories. There were some concern after his steals dropped to just 20 in 2019, but he bounced back to a 32-steal pace last year while also seeing a power spike. Merrifield is 32 years old and does not hit the ball particularly hard, but that's really irrelevant at this point. He is what he is, and with multi-position eligibility, what he is a major asset in fantasy and one of the top second basemen in fantasy.
36 weeks ago
Starling Marte Note
Starling Marte photo 42. Starling Marte CF - NYM
Marte's getting a little old for a player to rely on for stolen bases, and although fantasy managers need to start lowering their expectations as he enters his age-32 season, there should be enough left in the tank for him to be productive. He ranked in the top 11% in sprint speed last year and was caught stealing just twice in 10 attempts. The quality of his contact declined fairly significantly, however, and considering he now plays in Miami, anything more than 15 home runs should be considered gravy. But he'll likely continue to chip in for all five rotisserie categories and be an asset in both stolen bases and batting average, two difficult categories to fill. Again, temper expectations a bit against his historical production, but fantasy managers can still draft him with confidence.
36 weeks ago
Nolan Arenado Note
Nolan Arenado photo 43. Nolan Arenado 3B - STL
On the bright side, Arenado struck out just 10% of the time, a career-best. On the down side, there was everything else. Arenado batted just .253 and put up a 162-game pace of 27 home runs, 78 runs, 88 RBI, and zero steals. Those numbers won't kill your fantasy team, but considering Arenado's worst numbers over the previous five seasons were 37 home runs, 97 runs scored, and 110 RBI, they were a disaster. The good news, at least from the standpoint of projecting Arenado into the future, is that he was dealing with an injured AC joint in his shoulder for most of the season. In other words, fantasy managers can largely ignore Arenado's poor 2020 numbers, and focus instead on how he will perform now that he's been traded to the Cardinals. Although there's likely to be some dip in his numbers, we've seen hitters leave the Rockies and largely retain their value (or, in the case of DJ LeMahieu, increase their value), The best part is you won't have to pay that first-round price anymore, and if his ADP drops after the trade to St. Louis, it should be easy to turn a profit.
36 weeks ago
Blake Snell Note
Blake Snell photo 44. Blake Snell SP - SD
Snell moves to the Padres fresh off a solid year, in which he pitched to a 3.24 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP, with a memorable early exit in the World Series. Snell has a checkered injury history and has pitched just 157 innings over the past two years, so don't expect him to be a big innings-eater in 2021. And, although he'll escape the dreaded AL East, he'll get a downgrade in park and defense, which largely makes the move a neutral one. All that said, Snell has plenty of talent as he's shown throughout his career, and should be able to pile up wins and strikeouts pitching for a strong Padres team. Draft him as an SP2 with upside.
36 weeks ago
Adalberto Mondesi Note
Adalberto Mondesi photo 45. Adalberto Mondesi SS,3B - KC
Mondesi will begin the year on the 10-day IL with a strained oblique. When healthy, however, there's no reason to doubt his performance. Even in a shortened year, it was a tale of two seasons for Mondesi. In 35 games in July and August, he batted just .186 with 11 runs, two RBI, no home runs, and eight steals. In his final 24 games, he batted .356 with six home runs, 22 runs scored, 20 RBI, and 16 steals. In the end, Mondesi delivered exactly the type of season that fantasy managers have come to expect, and his 24 steals were eight more than the next highest total. Mondesi won't help in batting average and offers minimal power, but he's an unmatched source of steals. And given that much of his lackluster first month can probably be written off to offseason shoulder surgery, fantasy managers should be able to expect closer to the second-half version of Mondesi rather than the first this year.
35 weeks ago
Pete Alonso Note
Pete Alonso photo 46. Pete Alonso 1B,DH - NYM
Alonso didn't quite follow up his incredible 2019 season last year, but he certainly wasn't terrible. The vast majority of his underlying statcast data and metrics looked similar, and he mostly just didn't make quite as consistently hard contact as he did the previous year. Alonso is never going to help you in batting average, but you should expect 40 home runs and 100 RBI this year and for the foreseeable future. With such a high floor, Alonso makes a more than adequate starting first baseman in mixed leagues.
36 weeks ago
Aaron Judge Note
Aaron Judge photo 47. Aaron Judge RF,DH,CF - NYY
Judge missed about half of the regular season last year with a calf strain, though he still hit for plenty of power when he was in the lineup. He walked and struck out a bit less than usual, but trying to glean anything from a 28-game sample, given Judge's history, is silly. When he's in the lineup, you know you'll get a ton of power and runs scored with a passable average. The key is "when he's in the lineup," however, as injuries have forced Judge to miss significant time over the last three seasons. So long as you factor that into your draft price and select him as an OF2, you'll be happy with the production.
36 weeks ago
George Springer Note
George Springer photo 48. George Springer CF,DH - TOR
Springer is dealing with a grade-2 oblique strain, and his status is in doubt for Opening Day, though the injury is not expected to keep him out for very long. When healthy, he's a dynamic player. Springer's batting average fell off a tad last year, but once he was past his wrist injury, he was explosive, batting .316 with a 1.033 OPS over the final month of the season. His expected statistics were excellent, as he ranked in the top eight percent of the league in xBA, xSLG, and xWOBA. Now with the Blue Jays and an extreme hitter's park (wherever the Blue Jay play this year), he should once again be in line for a stellar year. Home runs and runs scored should again be plentiful, making Springer a rock solid second outfielder in mixed leagues.
36 weeks ago
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Note
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. photo 49. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 1B,DH - TOR
Guerrero Jr. comes into 2021 with fantasy managers asking the same question they asked the year before: can he stop hitting the ball on the ground so much? A 49.6% ground-ball rate was bad in 2019, but a 54.6% ground ball rate in 2020 was downright egregious. Guerrero Jr. hits the ball really, really hard. He was in the top seven percent of MLB in average exit velocity (92.5 MPH) and hard hit rate (50.8%). But until he learns to stop pounding the ball into the dirt, his power upside will be limited. There will be some fantasy manager in your league willing to bet on the upside, so if you want Guerrero Jr., you're going to have to draft him before his numbers say you should. This may indeed be the year that everything clicks. But you'll have to pay to find out.
36 weeks ago
Tyler Glasnow Note
Tyler Glasnow photo 50. Tyler Glasnow SP - TB
Glasnow is really a fascinating case study. He followed up an incredible 60-inning stretch in 2019 (1.78 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 33% strikeout rate) with a bit of a step back last year (4.08 ERA and 1.13 WHIP). But his xFIP in 2020 (2.75) was actually lower than in 2019 (2.94), and his strikeout rate jumped to a whopping 38.2%. The real issue for Glasnow is that he's a two-pitch pitcher, and although both his fastball and curveball are outstanding, they need to be superb at all times for him to have a dominant season. And last year, they were both just a bit worse than the season prior, particularly his fastball. With enormous strikeout upside and a spot in the rotation of one of the best and most pitching-savvy teams in the Rays, Glasnow makes a fine SP2 for a fantasy team. But his injury history, and his lack of a third pitch, make him a bit riskier than others going in his range.
36 weeks ago
Randy Arozarena Note
Randy Arozarena photo 51. Randy Arozarena LF,RF,DH - TB
Fantasy managers will likely remember Arozarena's remarkable postseason, when he slashed .377/.442/.831. But his regular season (.281/.382/.641) would make him a strong fantasy asset if he could repeat hit. Arozarena wasn't looked at as a high impact prospect, but he put on significant muscle before last year and it manifested itself in his power production. There's a 25-homer bat in his skill set, and the fact that he'll likely throw in 15-20 steals should give him a high floor regardless. Don't pay for the postseason, of course, but Arozarena should be a rock solid fantasy outfielder in 2021.
36 weeks ago
Gleyber Torres Note
Gleyber Torres photo 52. Gleyber Torres SS,2B - NYY
Torres missed some time with quad and hamstring strains last season, but his year was an absolute disaster even without it. He batted just .243 and hit a mere three home runs in 160 plate appearances. The culprit was that he was reportedly out of shape, a byproduct of the long layoff between the original spring training and when baseball resumed months later. There's every reason to buy into the excuse given Torres' track record, especially since he bounced back a bit in September and October with an .842 OPS. Expect more typical numbers from Torres this year, meaning around a .270 average, 30 home runs, and plenty of counting stats. Given his ADP, he's likely to be a bargain this year.
36 weeks ago
J.T. Realmuto Note
J.T. Realmuto photo 53. J.T. Realmuto C,1B - 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.
36 weeks ago
Yordan Alvarez Note
Yordan Alvarez photo 54. Yordan Alvarez DH,LF - HOU
Alvarez missed almost all of last season and had surgery on both of his knees, which is obviously worrisome for his 2021 outlook. His 2019 performance was incredibly impressive on every level (50 homers, 149 RBI in 143 games between the majors and minors), and he offers a high batting average floor to boot. It's all about health with Alvarez, so monitor his performance this spring. If he shows he's remotely healthy, his ADP is going to skyrocket.
36 weeks ago
Kenta Maeda Note
Kenta Maeda photo 55. Kenta Maeda SP - MIN
Fantasy managers rejoiced when Maeda was traded from the Dodgers to the Twins, but he surpassed even the loftiest of expectations. In the short season, Maeda went 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA, a 0.73 WHIP, and a 32.3% strikeout rate. In addition to simply being let loose with his innings, Maeda made a tangible change to his pitch mix, throwing far fewer fastball and more sliders and changeups (though his fastball was as effective as it had ever been last year, too). Maeda surely won't be able to repeat his numbers from 2020, as he allowed just a .208 BABIP, had an 80.2% LOB rate, and benefited from being able to feast on solely the NL and AL Central lineups. But even with some regression, he should still be a rock solid SP2, and should be drafted as such.
36 weeks ago
Javier Baez Note
Javier Baez photo 56. Javier Baez SS,2B - DET
Everything went wrong for Baez in 2020. His already high strikeout rate increased to 31.9%. His already low walk rated fell to an abysmal 3.0%. He swung less, made contact less, and did not hit the ball as hard as he used to. In the end, Baez earned every bit of his .203 batting average and poor counting stats. But how much weight do you put into a 59-game stretch for a veteran like Baez, particularly when he complained that his inability to watch video between at-bats affected his overall performance. The answer is a little, but not all that much. Baez had a stellar three-year run as a reliable power-speed combination, and he'll be just 28 years old this season. The Cubs lineup won't be overly strong, but Baez should certainly put up numbers closer to his 2017-2019 totals than those he put up in 2020.
36 weeks ago
Lance Lynn Note
Lance Lynn photo 57. Lance Lynn SP - CWS
Lynn turned in another stellar year in 2020, leading MLB with 84 innings pitched, striking out plenty of batters, and keeping his walk rate and overall numbers in check. But there are a few warning signs under the hood, including his 4.19 FIP, his 4.34 xFIP, and his career-high 79.4% LOB rate. Of bigger concern is his trade to the White Sox and hitter-friendly Guaranteed Rate Field, particularly because Lynn had a 38.3% fly-ball rate in 2019 and a 42.3% fly-ball rate last year. That led to the worst HR/9 rate of his career and second-worst HR/FB rate (13.8%) in 2020. Countering those troublesome warning signs, however, is the fact that he'll be caught by perhaps the best pitch framer in baseball in Yasmani Grandal, and that will generally help with his numbers which, again, were excellent last year. Add it all up and Lynn's ERA should likely increase simply because of the additional home runs he'll allow if he can't turn around his trend in fly-ball rate, but Grandal's presence and Lynn's general aptitude on the mound should allow for another strong season and make him worthy of a selection as an SP2.
36 weeks ago
Eugenio Suarez Note
Eugenio Suarez photo 58. Eugenio Suarez 3B,SS - CIN
Suarez's power numbers were again strong in last year's shortened season, but his batting average plummeted to just .202. He hit the ball as hard as ever, however, and ranked in the top 9% of the league in average exit velocity. Suarez's BABIP was just .214 (he has a .310 mark), and although he hit more fly balls than usual, there's nothing to suggest that his batting average should have fallen off a cliff. In other words, there's plenty of reason to expect Suarez to hit closer to his .261 career batting average this year. Add to that his potential for 40 home runs and 200 combined runs and RBI, and he'll likely be a value in this year's draft.
36 weeks ago
Michael Conforto Note
Michael Conforto photo 59. Michael Conforto RF - FA
Conforto built on his excellent 2019 season by trading off a bit of power for some batting average. Fed by a significant increase in line drive rate that led to a .412 BABIP, Conforto batted a career best .322 last year. His xBA was just .284, so don't think that he suddenly morphed into a high average bat, but he did hit above .300 against every type of pitch last year, so it was certainly more than luck. Expect some regression to closer to his .259 mark, but he should hit around 30 homers with plenty of runs and RBI and even toss in a few steals. That makes him a worthwhile OF2 in mixed leagues.
36 weeks ago
Nelson Cruz Note
Nelson Cruz photo 60. Nelson Cruz DH - FA
If you ascribe to the "I'd rather jump off a year too early than too late" philosophy, then you probably haven't been drafting Cruz for the last several years. But if not, then you've not only drafted one of the most underrated fantasy bats in recent memory, but you're probably going to do so again this year. Cruz is back on a one-year deal with the Twins, and he's coming off another utterly dominant season. Fine, his strikeout rate rose again a bit, he didn't hit the ball quite as hard, and he's eligible at utility only. But other than the fact that he will be 41 years old this season, there's nothing in his profile that should cause you to expect significant decline. Prepare to be having the same debate next year, after Crus puts up another 35-homer season this year.
36 weeks ago
J.D. Martinez Note
J.D. Martinez photo 61. J.D. Martinez DH,LF - BOS
Martinez had a disastrous 2020 season, during which he slashed just .213/.291/.389 and hit seven home runs. Martinez simply didn't hit the ball nearly as hard as he used to, and hit a ton of fly balls, the combination of which helped to drain his batting average significantly. There's a ton to dislike about last year, but given that Martinez has talked about how much he relies on watching video in-game, and his inability to do so last year because of COVID-19 protocols, it seems likely that you can write off last year to a slump that didn't have time to end. He'll be eligible at utility only, but there's a massive opportunity for profit if you are willing to largely look past 2020.
36 weeks ago
Josh Hader Note
Josh Hader photo 62. Josh Hader RP - MIL
Hader wasn't quite as dominant as he had been the previous two years, largely due to a spike in walk rate and the slightest of declines in strikeout rate. But he still tallied 13 saves, third-best in baseball, and had a miniscule 0.95 WHIP. If you parse it closely, it was just a bizarre season for Hader, who didn't give up a run through his first nine appearances, but subsequently allowed four runs in an inning. He walked five batters in a game, but didn't allow a single walk in any game after that, a span of 11 appearances. In other words, there seems to be a lot of noise in Hader's "decline," which likely would have been ironed out over the course of a full season. Draft him as the top closer off the board with few concerns.
36 weeks ago
Nick Castellanos Note
Nick Castellanos photo 63. Nick Castellanos RF - FA
Castellanos hit for plenty of power last season with the Reds, but it was far from the full breakout season many expected. His strikeout rate jumped to 28.5%, his batting average cratered to a career-low .225, and his wOBA was his worst mark since 2015. But Castellanos was also the victim of some pretty terrible luck, given that he had an expected batting average of .273 and a strong 46.7% hard-hit rate. With a full year in Great American Ballpark, Castellanos should fully live up to the hype he had coming into the 2020 season if he can just have even normal luck. Draft him with confidence as a likely strong four-category contributor.
36 weeks ago
Liam Hendriks Note
Liam Hendriks photo 64. Liam Hendriks RP - CWS
Hendriks showed last year that his 2019 breakout season was not a fluke, as he improved on just about all of his numbers. Not only did he put up 14 saves in the shortened season, but he dropped his ERA to 1.78, his WHIP to 0.67, and his walk rate to just 3.3%. In short, there's nothing negative you can possibly take away from his 2020 season. Despite moving to a worse park with the White Sox, Hendriks is, without question one of the top closers in fantasy, and should be either the first or second (behind only Josh Hader) relief pitcher drafted.
36 weeks ago
Paul Goldschmidt Note
Paul Goldschmidt photo 65. Paul Goldschmidt 1B - STL
Goldschmidt had an interesting 2020 season, during which he brought his batting average back up to .304 and his walk rate to 16%, while simultaneously dropping his strikeout rate to a career best 18.6%. After swinging more than he ever had in his first season with the Cardinals, Goldschmidt returned to the patient approach he had developed throughout his career, swinging at just 40.5% of pitches (after a 46.4% swinging strike rate the year before). But while his average went up, his power waned, as he hit just six home runs and had a career-worst .466 slugging percentage. Nolan Arenado batting behind him this year should help, and he had bone chips removed from his elbow this offseason. There could be another big-time power season left in Goldschmidt's bat, but the more likely scenario is that he will put up solid but unspectacular production at the first base position.
36 weeks ago
Corbin Burnes Note
Corbin Burnes photo 66. Corbin Burnes SP - MIL
Burnes's raw stuff was apparent to anyone who saw him pitch in 2019, but he simply couldn't stop giving up home runs (17 in 49 innings). The culprit was largely his four-seam fastball, which he threw more than half of the time and against which batters hit .425 with an .823 slugging percentage. In 2020, however, Corbin cut his four-seam fastball usage from 52.5% to just 2.5%. In its place, he relied heavily on a sinker and cutter, both of which worked better for the natural action on his pitches and which were highly effective. Considering that his slider, changeup, and curveball are also huge swing and miss pitches, Burnes's 36.7% strikeout rate from last year shouldn't be considered fluky. Even coming off a Cy Young-caliber season, there's still upside for the 26-year-old, and you should ignore entirely his 2019 disaster.
36 weeks ago
Keston Hiura Note
Keston Hiura photo 67. Keston Hiura 2B,DH,1B - MIL
Hiura looked to be on the verge of superstardom heading into 2020, if he could just cut back on his bloated 30.7% strikeout rate. Instead, he struck out more than ever (34.6% of the time), en route to a league-leading 85 strikeouts. That led to a massive drop in production, notably in batting average, which fell from .303 in 2019 to .212 last year. Hiura was never a high-strikeout player in the minors. He never struck out more than 26.3% in any level and he had an overall strikeout rate of just 21%. If he can manage to cut down on the whiffs, he should be a top option at second base given his power and speed, but for now, drop him down your draft board a bit from where he was heading into 2020. He's still a borderline top-five option, especially since he will add first base eligibility after the Brewers signed Kolten Wong, but exercise more caution.
36 weeks ago
Ketel Marte Note
Ketel Marte photo 68. Ketel Marte 2B,CF - ARI
Most fantasy managers expected regression from Marte after his breakout 2019 season, but few saw last year coming. Marte hit two homeruns in his 45 games, and contributed minimally elsewhere other than batting average. His walk rate dropped to a miniscule 3.6%, and although he struck out less than ever, the quality of his contact was overwhelmingly poor. Truth be told, both 2019 and 2020 are probably outliers for Marte, and the truth probably lies somewhere between his 2018 (.260/.332/.437) and 2019 (.329/.389/.592) seasons. Those numbers will play at second base, especially given Marte's draft cost, but give up dreams of him hitting 32 home runs ever again.
36 weeks ago
Charlie Blackmon Note
Charlie Blackmon photo 69. Charlie Blackmon RF - COL
Blackmon hit just six home runs last year, and the quality of his contact was downright awful. His 86.9 MPH average exit velocity, 29.7% hard hit rate, and 4.9% barrel rate were all well below the MLB average and at or close to his career worst marks. And his sprint speed continued to decline to now what is essentially league average. The steals are likely gone for good, but even on his worst day, Blackmon will help you in batting average, runs, and RBI, and he was still on pace for 15 home runs last year. Blackmon may be on the downside of his career, but he won't cost you much and can still contribute solid or better numbers in four of five categories. With his draft price fairly modest, there's plenty of value there.
36 weeks ago
Hyun Jin Ryu Note
Hyun Jin Ryu photo 70. Hyun Jin Ryu SP - TOR
Fantasy managers expected some regression from Ryu after his career season in 2019 and with him moving to the Blue Jays, but it really didn't come. He continued to be among the best in the game at limiting opposing batters' quality of contact, and upped his strikeout rate to 26.2%, second best of his career. Ryu's 2.69 ERA was a bit higher than the 2.32 mark he put up in in 2019, but his FIP, xFIP, SIERA, and xERA were all the same or better than the previous year. In short, other than the potential for injury, which hasn't been a factor in the last two seasons, there's no reason to doubt Ryu at this point.
36 weeks ago
Austin Meadows Note
Austin Meadows photo 71. Austin Meadows LF,DH - TB
Meadows missed time with an oblique injury last year, and, more importantly, because of complications from COVID-19. Meadows's strikeout rate ballooned to 32.9% and his average fell to just .205 in 2020. Even if you expected regression from his 2019 season, he's just much better than a player who put up the 87 wRC+ and .292 wOBA we saw last year. Though it's absolutely fair to write off Meadows's season entirely, it's a bit worrisome that he struggled so much against lefties (.143 batting average), as that could potentially open him up to a platoon situation if he struggles against them out of the gate. The best course of action is to discount him from his numbers in 2019 for certain, but still buy him as a strong third outfielder, which should bake in the risk of any continued struggles against his upside.
36 weeks ago
Jose Altuve Note
Jose Altuve photo 72. Jose Altuve 2B - HOU
Altuve had a rough 2020 season (like most Astros offensive players), but it was particularly drastic for him. After batting .298 (which was low for him) with 31 home runs in 2019, he batted just .219 with five home runs last year, and he struck out more than he ever had before. But, like his counterpart in the middle infield, Carlos Correa, Altuve had a strong postseason, slashing .375/.500/.720 with five home runs. It's reasonable to write off Altuve's regular season as a slump that he would have broken out of in light of his postseason, though with just eight steals combined over his previous two seasons, stolen bases may not be a big part of his game going forward (though his sprint speed is still excellent). Expect a bounce-back campaign in most categories, and take the undervalued Altuve as a solid starting second baseman.
36 weeks ago
Stephen Strasburg Note
Stephen Strasburg photo 73. Stephen Strasburg SP - WSH
Strasburg was limited to just five innings in 2020, with an injury that eventually required carpal tunnel syndrome. Although that's a minor surgery, the truth is that fantasy managers have very little data as to the impact and/or successful recovery rate after that surgery for pitchers. Strasburg's a tricky draft pick in any given year - he always provides strong value when he's on the mound, but has only topped 200 innings pitched twice in his career. Now entering his age-33 season, Strasburg will likely again provide excellent overall numbers assuming he is healthy. He looks great in the spring, though he's currently battling a minor calf injury, though it shouldn't keep him out for long. Draft him as an SP2, but anything more than 160 innings is gravy.
36 weeks ago
Anthony Rizzo Note
Anthony Rizzo photo 74. Anthony Rizzo 1B - FA
Rizzo's average dropped to just .222 last year and his counting stats waned, though the latter failing was much more due to the lack of production from the rest of the Cubs lineup. His walk and strikeout rates, however, stayed mostly in line, and his BABIP was an artificially low .218 (career mark of .289), which is partly why there was such a gap between his xBA of .266 and his actual batting average. With that said, Rizzo didn't hit the ball nearly as hard last year, as he saw career worsts in average exit velocity and hard hit rate. He likely won't ever be the player he was at his peak, but there's still plenty in his bat that can help fantasy managers, including the handful of steals he will throw in each year. He's a starting-caliber first baseman still, without question, and he'll go at a discount because of last year's numbers.
36 weeks ago
Aroldis Chapman Note
Aroldis Chapman photo 75. Aroldis Chapman RP - NYY
Chapman missed time last year because he was diagnosed with COVID-19, but he was largely the same pitcher as always when he was on the mount. He struck out 22 batters in his 11 2/3 innings pitched and allowed just six hits. His velocity may be slightly below what it was at its peak, but it's still elite, and he appears to have plenty left in the tank heading into his age-33 season. He'll again close for one of the best teams in baseball, and although he's never had a 40-save season, he should easily surpass 30 and be one of the top closers drafted in fantasy.
36 weeks ago
Yoan Moncada Note
Yoan Moncada photo 76. Yoan Moncada 3B - CWS
If you're looking for reasons to throw out a player's 2020 season, Moncada's battle with COVID-19 offers you just that for him. His quality of contact dropped like a stone, he struck out a ton, and he went back to his old passive approach, rather than the aggressive one that had led to such gains in 2019. Moncada detailed his struggles after suffering from the virus, so it's a legitimate excuse and surely led to his struggles. Moncada is likely to hit about 25 home runs, and help you everywhere except perhaps batting average (though his .315 mark in 2019 shows his upside). Although he won't be a superstar, at a third base position that gets shallow quicker than expected, he makes a fine option you can wait on but who will offer plenty of production.
36 weeks ago
Kyle Hendricks Note
Kyle Hendricks photo 77. Kyle Hendricks SP - CHC
Hendricks is the Rodney Dangerfield of fantasy pitchers in that he never gets the respect he deserves. He's had an ERA above 3.46 once in his career and he's never had a WHIP higher than 1.19. Yes, his strikeout rate is never going to help fantasy managers, but Dave Ross let him go deeper into games last year (Hendricks' 81 innings pitched were among the most in MLB), so he should make up for his lack of strikeout rate with some additional innings. The Cubs probably won't be a great team but the NL Central has mostly weak offenses, so Hendricks should find his way to enough wins to make a difference. Ignore the fact that he outperforms his expected metrics every year. Hendricks is a reliable, high-end SP3 for a fantasy team. Just be sure to take care of strikeouts elsewhere.
36 weeks ago
Brandon Lowe Note
Brandon Lowe photo 78. Brandon Lowe 2B,RF,LF - TB
Lowe actually lost a point on his batting average from 2019 (.269 from .270), but his profile looked far better in 2020. He cut his strikeout rate from 34.6% to 25.9%, and his swinging strike rate from 19.1% to 15.4%. Despite barreling the ball a whopping 17.5% of the time (top 2 percent in baseball), his average dropped a point because, well, he just didn't have an outrageously lucky BABIP like he did in 2019 (.377). Lowe improved his ISO and HR/FB rate, and was generally the best version of himself in 2020. Even mashing together his 2019 and 2020 seasons, Lowe has hit 31 homers and stole eight bases over 138 games. Batting near the top of a strong lineup, he should deliver another solid season at the thin second base position.
36 weeks ago
Matt Olson Note
Matt Olson photo 79. Matt Olson 1B - OAK
Olson again hit for a ton of power last year, and ranked in the top nine percent of the league in average exit velocity for the third straight season. But he struck out 31.4% of the time, which contributed to a massive average drop to just .195. Olson had a bit of bad luck, as his xBA was .224, but still, it was by far his worst career mark. Although he'll never be a high average hitter, it's a good bet that he'll return something this year closer to his .245 career mark. Combine that with his likely near-40 home run season, and he'll make a fine mid-round selection and starting first baseman for any fantasy team.
36 weeks ago
Trent Grisham Note
Trent Grisham photo 80. Trent Grisham CF - SD
Grisham had an excellent debut season with San Diego, reaching double digits in both home runs and steals in his 59 games. He improved on his already strong walk rate from 2019, and improved his quality of contact significantly. Whether or not you buy the bat, we know he has plenty of speed to do damage on the basepaths, as he ranks in the 96th percentile in sprint speed. Slated to lead off again for a strong Padres lineup, Grisham should provide plenty of runs scored to go along with his potential for a 20-20 season. Monitor his hamstring strain he suffered in the spring, but unless he looks like he'll miss significant time, draft him with confidence.
36 weeks ago
Teoscar Hernandez Note
Teoscar Hernandez photo 81. Teoscar Hernandez RF,LF,DH - TOR
Hernandez missed 10 games due to injury and still put up an impressive 16 home runs in his mere 50 games. The statcast leaderboard is peppered with Hernandez's name, as he hit the ball hard consistently throughout the year. He also upped his line drive rate significantly, which his why the underlying statistics supported his massive jump in batting average. But it's hard to tell if Hernandez's 2020 season was real or just a very hot 50-game stretch. After all, he still struck out more than 30 percent of the time, and his walk rate dropped by about two points. In the end, given his home park and his supporting case, you can buy Hernandez as a 35-homer bat who will chip in steals and help with the remaining counting stats. But assume he hits closer to his .245 batting average, and don't count on the 50 homer pace you saw last year.
36 weeks ago
Giancarlo Stanton Note
Giancarlo Stanton photo 82. Giancarlo Stanton DH,RF,LF - NYY
It's all about the injuries with Stanton, as after two healthy seasons, he's been limited to just 41 games over the last two. There's little to analyze with the slugger other than his health. He still hits the ball as hard as anyone and walks and strikes out a ton. There's been little decline in his batted ball data over the last two years, but even if there had been, the sample size would be too small to draw any conclusions. Stanton is likely eligible at utility only in your league, but that limitation should let him come as a discount in drafts. Have power on your bench ready to fill in if you draft Stanton, but there's no reason to run from him.
36 weeks ago
Jose Berrios Note
Jose Berrios photo 83. Jose Berrios SP - TOR
Berrios may not ever become the dominant pitcher many projected him to be, but he offers a strong floor for fantasy managers. Ignoring his 2016 cup of coffee, Berrios has pitched to a 3.89 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, and a strikeout per inning in his career. And although his walk rate went up a tad and he gave up a bit harder contact in 2020's shortened season, his numbers didn't vary from his usual output significantly. Bank on around a 4.00 ERA, a WHIP somewhere around 1.25, and plenty of strikeouts. In today's fantasy game, that's more than adequate for a strong fantasy staff.
36 weeks ago
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Note
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. photo 84. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. LF,DH,1B - TOR
Gurriel Jr. has developed into an extremely strong major league hitter, showing far more power than he did in the minors. He makes consistently strong (though not elite) contact, and although he swings a ton, his strikeout rate isn't prohibitive. Gurriel isn't going to be elite in any category, but he's going to provide some value in all five. Batting in an excellent lineup and hitter's park (whichever one it may be), Gurriel should be a fine pick in drafts in all formats.
36 weeks ago
Edwin Diaz Note
Edwin Diaz photo 85. Edwin Diaz RP - NYM
Diaz's overall numbers bounced back in a monstrous way last season. He dropped his ERA from a bloated 5.59 in 2019 to a 1.75, and upped his strikeout rate to a career-best 45.5%. He was among the league leaders in nearly every expected statistic (batting average, slugging percentage wOBA, and ERA), and he cut his HR/9 rate from 2.33 to just 0.70. Diaz's walk rate actually regressed, however, as he issued free passes to nearly five batters per nine innings. That's not often a recipe for success from a closer, but Diaz can survive at that rate if he continues to keep the strikeouts up and limit the long balls. In the end, Diaz does carry some risk given his history, but he should be drafted as one of the upper echelon closers in the game, if not a touch behind the truly elite options.
36 weeks ago
Eddie Rosario Note
Eddie Rosario photo 86. Eddie Rosario LF - FA
Rosario stays in the AL Central, signing a one-year deal with the Indians after a successful tenure with the Twins. He's established a fairly reliable power baseline at this point, and he usually offers some batting average to go with it. Last year, however, his batting average dipped to just .257, in part because he became much more passive (8.2% walk rate, 51.2% Swing%, both far out of character for his career). The bigger issue was that Rosario largely cut down on his swing percentage on pitches in the strike zone, but continued to swing at pitches out of the zone at a 41.2% clip. That likely explains his lower than usual average exit velocity and barrel rate, and it's something that's easily correctable if he just goes back to his previous approach. At the very least, Rosario should chip in 25 home runs at least, while helping out in runs and RBI, and he's a fine third outfielder in mixed leagues.
36 weeks ago
Sonny Gray Note
Sonny Gray photo 87. Sonny Gray SP - CIN
Two dreadful starts late in the season severely hurt what was otherwise a strong 2020 campaign for Gray, though it was a bizarre year. His strikeout rate surpassed 30% for the first time in his career, while his walk rate jumped to 11.1%. He was also far more hittable, particularly his slider and curveball, which had been dominant pitches in 2019. But even if Gray simply repeats his 2020 season, his strikeout rate and decent ERA and WHIP should be enough to make him a borderline SP2 for fantasy leagues. He will likely begin the year on the IL after experiencing back spasms in mid-March, but the injury doesn't sound like it will keep him out for long. Considering we've seen much more than that from him in 2019, fantasy managers should have little hesitation drafting him.
36 weeks ago
Max Fried Note
Max Fried photo 88. Max Fried SP - ATL
In many ways, Fried regressed during his 2020 season. His strikeout rate dropped, his walk rate increased, and his xFIP and SIERA jumped significantly. Nevertheless, thanks to his ability to limit hard contact (his 83.4 MPH average exit velocity and 23.8% hard hit rate allowed were among the best in MLB) led to a massive drop in BABIP allowed, and kept both his ERA and WHIP in check. It's hard to buy a pitcher without an elite strikeout rate whose underlying numbers don't fully support his gains. Nevertheless, Fried was an elite prospect playing on an excellent team, and is just 27 years old. Don't pay for last year's numbers, but don't run away from him in drafts either.
36 weeks ago
Cavan Biggio Note
Cavan Biggio photo 89. Cavan Biggio 2B,3B,RF - TOR
Biggio doesn't hit the ball particularly well and is passive almost to a fault. He swung at just 36% of the pitches he saw last year, third-fewest in MLB, and that represents a continued trend. That passivity leads to increased strikeouts, but also plenty of walks, as Biggio took a free pass 15.5% of the time last season, which ranked in the top 8 percent of baseball. Despite not making consistently strong contact, Biggio has hit 24 home runs in his 159 major league games, and he's added on 107 runs and 20 steals. Those numbers play extremely well for fantasy, particularly at the weak second base position. Biggio is likely to add third base eligibility with the Blue Jays' addition of Marcus Semien, which should only add to his value, and he makes a fine pick if you can nab him in the fifth round or so where his ADP generally lands.
36 weeks ago
Zack Greinke Note
Zack Greinke photo 90. Zack Greinke SP - FA
Greinke is entering his age-37 season, but still somehow keeps getting it done. His ERA of 4.03 last year was certainly higher than fantasy managers are used to seeing, but it came with a 2.80 FIP and 3.51 xFIP. His strikeout rate was his best since 2017 and his walk rate of 3.3% was the best of his entire career. But his velocity was down about two ticks, with his fastball clocking in at just 87.9 miles per hour. Greinke is as smart a pitcher as there is but it's going to be difficult to succeed over the course of a full 162-game season if his pure stuff continues to diminish. He's one of the few pitchers in the game who is probably capable of pitching 200 innings in 2021, but expect a continued downward trend in his performance.
36 weeks ago
Matt Chapman Note
Matt Chapman photo 91. Matt Chapman 3B - OAK
Chapman lost a significant chunk of his 2020 season to a torn labrum in his hip, and had surgery to repair the injury. It seems obvious that the injury was bothering him all year, as evidenced by his massive jump in strikeout rate (35.5%) and corresponding drop in walk rate. There's little reason to give Chapman's 2020 season any credence given what he'd shown the previous two years. Expect him to bounce back to the 30-homer bat with decent all-around production that we had come to expect, and enjoy the discount that his numbers from last year provide.
36 weeks ago
Zack Wheeler Note
Zack Wheeler photo 92. Zack Wheeler SP - PHI
Wheeler's first season in Philadelphia was a success, in that he had the lowest ERA of his career (2.92) and a strong 1.17 WHIP. But his strikeout numbers plummeted, as he struck out just 18.4% of batters. The whiff rate on all of Wheeler's pitches, other than his "show me" curveball, dropped significantly, despite the fact that his velocity remained the same. If Wheeler can again excel at completely limiting hard contact like he did last season (his 85.7 MPH average exit velocity allowed ranked in the top 10% in baseball), then he can probably get away with the lack of strikeouts. Otherwise, he's unlikely to repeat his 2020 success. Given the shortened season, it's a good bet that Wheeler's strikeouts will bounce back, and you can slot him in as an SP3 without much worry.
36 weeks ago
Jeff McNeil Note
Jeff McNeil photo 93. Jeff McNeil 2B,LF - NYM
Much of McNeil's 2020 season looked similar to his year in 2019. He hit over .300, rarely struck out, and got on base plenty. But the power gains that we saw in 2019 vanished, as he hit just four home runs over 52 games. His barrel rate (2.5%) and hard-hit percentage (26.5%) were some of the worst in the league, and he didn't even offer the token stolen base that he had chipped in during previous seasons. This is a scenario where McNeil's value to any particular fantasy manager will depend on the weight he or she gives to the shortened 2020 season. Given that McNeil never hit the ball particularly hard anyway, though, a good bet is to assume he at least returns to the high teens in home runs, slightly below his 2019 pace. With his strong average and multi-position eligibility, that makes McNeil an asset in the middle rounds.
36 weeks ago
Max Muncy Note
Max Muncy photo 94. Max Muncy 1B,2B,3B - LAD
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
Charlie Morton Note
Charlie Morton photo 95. Charlie Morton SP - ATL
Morton's 2020 numbers were poor, without question. He was limited to just 38 regular season innings because of a shoulder injury, and pitched to a 4.74 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. His velocity was way down early in the season (when he got hit hard) and trickled up after he returned, but he got back to his normal 95 MPH fastball in the postseason and totaled a 2.70 ERA. Now 37 and with the Braves, the question is whether fantasy managers can write off Morton's down 2020 season considering his sterling post-season, or whether his age and injury history means they should avoid him. In reality, the answer is neither. Morton should still have gas left in the tank considering his playoff run, but should only be drafted as a value, meaning no earlier than a low-end SP3. Grab him there, at which point the risk-reward balance should reach an equilibrium.
36 weeks ago
Dansby Swanson Note
Dansby Swanson photo 96. Dansby Swanson SS - ATL
Swanson's four-year trend in OPS is .636, .699, .748, and finally .809 last season. There's little to dislike about his profile at this stage in his career. He makes consistently good contact, has improved his launch angle enough to where that contact translates into home runs, and his walk and strikeout rates are strong enough so that his batting average should remain a benefit to fantasy managers. He also ranked in the 90th percentile in sprint speed last season, so he should reach double digits in stolen bases this year, as he had done in the two years prior to 2020's shortened season. In short, Swanson's skill level and output should no longer be in doubt, and he makes a strong starting option at the shortstop position.
36 weeks ago
Raisel Iglesias Note
Raisel Iglesias photo 97. Raisel Iglesias RP - FA
Iglesias bounced back from a sub-par 2019 to post an excellent 2020 season, with a 2.74 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP, and the lowest walk rate of his career. He'll now move to the Angels where he'll keep his role as a closer. Iglesias's numbers should be solid as usual, and his precise value should hinge on whether the Angels use him in more of a multi-inning role like the Reds historically did (which limited Iglesias's save totals), or deploy him as a more traditional ninth-inning option. Either way, Iglesias will be the Angels' stopper, and hence, should be drafted as a strong top-10 RP option.
36 weeks ago
Carlos Correa Note
Carlos Correa photo 98. Carlos Correa SS - FA
There's still plenty of upside with Correa, as he showed when he hit 21 home runs and drove in 59 runs in just 75 games in 2019 and went on a postseason tear last year. But he's also one of the bigger injury risks in the game, given that he hasn't topped 109 games played since 2016. The steal potential that he showed early in his career is gone after he struggled with back issues, as he hasn't stolen more than three bases in any of his last four seasons. That leaves Correa as someone who will likely contribute, but not excel, in four areas. With his upside, there's still a lot to like about his fantasy outlook. But realistically, with a different name on the back of his jersey, he'd probably go several picks later than he does.
36 weeks ago
Kris Bryant Note
Kris Bryant photo 99. Kris Bryant 3B,LF,RF,1B,CF - FA
Bryant had a terrible 2020 season, but it seems like fantasy managers are forgetting how consistent he's been. Over the last four seasons, he has a 162-game pace of a .278 average, 29 home runs, 112 run scored, 80 RBI, and five steals. His quality of contact was awful last season, but hard contact has never really been his calling card anyway, and he battled back and wrist injuries. Bryant doesn't deserve a mulligan entirely for last season, but give it minimal weight in your evaluation.
36 weeks ago
Jesus Luzardo Note
Jesus Luzardo photo 100. Jesus Luzardo SP,RP - MIA
Luzardo's 2020 campaign wasn't terrible, but it certainly left fantasy managers wanting more. The strikeouts were there, but not quite at the level that was expected. He rarely went deep into games. And he was just more hittable than he ever was in the minors or in his brief time as a reliever in 2019. Luzardo throws four quality pitches and is working to improve his arsenal as we head into the 2021 season, so there's little reason to downgrade your opinion of him too much from where it was prior to the 2020 campaign because of one nine-start stretch. He's an incredibly high-upside pitcher who carries with him plenty of injury risk, and the combination leaves him as a solid SP3 for fantasy leagues.
36 weeks ago
Tommy Pham Note
Tommy Pham photo 101. Tommy Pham LF,DH,CF - FA
Pham had a terrible 2020 season, during which he slashed .211/.312/.312 and hit just three home runs. A broken hamate bone limited him to just 31 games, and to make matters worse, he was stabbed in the lower back during an altercation in the offseason. But even entering his age-33 season, there are reasons to be optimistic about his 2021 outlook. Pham had averaged roughly 22 home runs and 22 steals with a .284 batting average the three years prior to last, and he had the highest hard-hit rate of his career in 2020. Indeed, his expected batting average of .266 was 55 points higher than his actual average. There's reason to expect Pham to return to his 20-20 ways if he can remain healthy, and batting in a loaded Padres lineup, he should add plenty of counting stats.
36 weeks ago
Zach Plesac Note
Zach Plesac photo 102. Zach Plesac SP - CLE
Plesac is getting a ton of love for his eight excellent starts in 2020, but there's plenty of reason to be cautious. His FIP, xFIP, xERA, and SIERA were all more than a run higher than his ERA, and both his strikeout rate and walk rate significantly outproduced what he showed he could do in the minors. Yes, Plesac altered his pitch mix, throwing fewer fastballs and instead more sliders and changeups, so if you're looking for a reason to buy the gains, you have one. But he had a ridiculous 91.7% LOB rate, and even with his ability to limit hard contact, his BABIP against should rise from the .224 mark last year. Plesac can help a fantasy staff, but manage expectations significantly.
36 weeks ago
Alec Bohm Note
Alec Bohm photo 103. Alec Bohm 3B - PHI
Bohm's major league debut was a success, in that he batted a robust .338 with an .881 OPS. But despite hitting the ball hard consistently (his 10.3% barrel rate and 46.8% hard hit percentage was well above the major league average), he hit just four home runs, and his xBA was just .286. The problem is he simply pounded the ball into the ground, putting up a 53.2% ground ball rate and just 4.8 degrees of launch angle. Bohm never showed a ton of power in the minors, but he's just entering his age-25 season, so there's always room for growth. But for redraft leagues, buy him as a high-average bat with unexceptional power.
36 weeks ago
Salvador Perez Note
Salvador Perez photo 104. Salvador Perez C,DH - 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.
36 weeks ago
Chris Paddack Note
Chris Paddack photo 105. Chris Paddack SP - SD
Paddack followed up his stellar rookie campaign with a subpar sophomore season, as his ERA rose to 4.73 and his WHIP to 1.22, while his strikeout rate dipped below one per inning. Paddack's bread and butter changeup was as good as ever in 2020 (and even better than in 2019), but his usually outstanding fastball just fell apart. After batters hit .204 with a .391 slugging percentage and .275 wOBA against the pitch in 2019, they hit .308 with a .658 slugging percentage and .407 wOBA against it in 2020. Paddack added a cutter in 2020, and it's possible that the addition of the pitch impacted the way he threw his fastball, as the vertical movement of it fell significantly. Either way, Paddack has too much talent to see his ERA hover around 5.00. There's risk given what we saw last year, but it's baked into his draft price.
36 weeks ago
Mike Moustakas Note
Mike Moustakas photo 106. Mike Moustakas 1B,2B,3B - CIN
Because Moustakas was a hitter who played for the Reds, he had a poor 2020 season (seriously, look at their collective numbers). He walked more, struck out more, and lost some points on his batting average, but overall, there was little different in Moustakas's profile. He continued to hit for power and make quality contact. He may not score many runs given his lack of speed and surrounding cast, and the batting average isn't going to help you. But he's got plenty of power for a second-base eligible player, and there's no sign that his production is ready to fall off a cliff.
36 weeks ago
Byron Buxton Note
Byron Buxton photo 107. Byron Buxton CF - MIN
Buxton has immense talent and upside, and it feel like he could be a fantasy superstar if he stays healthy. Limited to just 39 games last year, he hit 13 home runs, greatly increasing his barrel rate (13.5%), average exit velocity (91.2 MPH) and hard hit rate (47.9%). Although he only stole two base, his sprint speed ranked in the 99th percentile. The two things holding Buxton back are his health concerns - he has played more than 92 games just once in his career, and his .238 career batting average, which won't improve until he stops swinging so much, particularly at pitches outside of the zone. But he's still just 27 years old, and has the power and speed to deliver a 30-30 season in a perfect world. Just bake in some missed time into the draft capital you're willing to spend.
36 weeks ago
Marcus Semien Note
Marcus Semien photo 108. Marcus Semien SS,2B - TEX
Semien looked like he had made some major and sustainable gains in 2019, cutting his strikeout rate way down and being far more selective, which led to better contact. Unfortunately, Semien looked a lot like the old version of himself in 2020, with a strikeout rate over 20% and similar mediocre contact to that which he had made consistently prior to 2019. He signed a one-year deal with the Blue Jays, which is a great landing spot for him, as he'll likely bat near the top of a strong lineup, see an upgrade in home park, and earn second base eligibility. That makes Semien far more enticing as a potential draft-day target, but he should still be considered only a middle infield option in mixed leagues.
36 weeks ago
Wil Myers Note
Wil Myers photo 109. Wil Myers RF,LF - SD
Myers talked openly about making a swing change last year, and it paid off in a big way. He raised his average by nearly 50 points over the previous year while cutting his strikeout rate, and ranked in the top seven percent in barrel rate. Myers didn't run as much as previous years in the shortened season, but he still ranked in the top 85% of the league in sprint speed. His average will likely come down to closer to its career .254 mark. But he has earned a bit of a leash at least with his strong 2020 campaign, and should be a fine power-speed combination who will put up solid overall counting numbers.
36 weeks ago
Ian Anderson Note
Ian Anderson photo 110. Ian Anderson SP - ATL
After rising through the minor leagues, Anderson had an excellent debut season with the Braves in 2020, pitching to a 1.95 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with a 29.7% strikeout rate. He was even better in four postseason starts, allowing just two runs over 18 2/3 innings while striking out 24. Anderson led all starters in barrel rate (just 1.2%), and has an excellent fastball, curveball, and changeup. His control isn't elite, but his raw stuff and prospect pedigree suggest that his 2020 season was no fluke. Draft him with confidence as a No. 2 starter.
36 weeks ago
Lance McCullers Jr. Note
Lance McCullers Jr. photo 111. Lance McCullers Jr. SP - HOU
McCullers made a successful return from Tommy John surgery after missing the 2019 season and looked almost exactly like the 2018 version of himself. His ERA (3.93) and WHIP (1.16) were within seven-tenths of a point of his 2018 numbers, and his walk and strikeout rates fell just slightly. McCullers relied a bit more on his sinker and less on his curveball than in past years, but the two work well together and he continued to throw them in combination about 80% of the time. In short, what you thought of McCullers heading into 2018 is pretty much what you should think of him now. Unfortunately, that includes concerns about his innings, because after a missed year and 55 innings last year, the chances of him topping 150 innings this season are remote. Buy him at his production, but understand that there's likely a hard cap on his innings total.
36 weeks ago
Dinelson Lamet Note
Dinelson Lamet photo 112. Dinelson Lamet SP,RP - SD
Lamet had a dominant curveball in 2019 which he threw 31.7% of the time. Batters hit just .105 against it that year with a .193 wOBA. But Lamet ditched it entirely in 2020, and instead replaced it by greatly upping his slider usage, from 12.2% in 2019 to 53.4% in 2020. And somehow, his slider was even better than his curveball ever was. Batters hit 0.80 against it with a .120 slugging percentage and a .141 wOBA. It was, simply put, the best pitch in baseball last year. Unfortunately, Lamet's arm couldn't hold up to the stress, and he missed the end of the regular season and the playoffs because of an elbow injury. He underwent PRP therapy on his elbow in October and is progressing well, but the Padres' focus on adding starting pitching this offseason suggests that they are not expecting to have Lamet for the full season. Monitor his health this spring, but understand that even if he begins the year healthy, there are plenty of injury concerns.
36 weeks ago
Alex Verdugo Note
Alex Verdugo photo 113. Alex Verdugo LF,RF,CF - BOS
Verdugo's first season in Boston went about as well as you would have expected. He hit for a high average, scored plenty of runs, and added just a bit of power and speed. But under the hood, there were some concerning signs. Specifically, his quality of contact was generally below the MLB average in every notable measure, and his expected batting average was just .238, a full 70 points below his actual batting average. And his strikeout rate rose to 20.4%, a career worst. But, in the end, Verdugo is going to continue to lead off for the Red Sox and contribute in both batting average and runs scored even on his worst day, and he'll offer at least some production in the remaining categories. Nitpick if you must, but he'll be a valuable contributor overall, regardless of the Statcast data.
36 weeks ago
Mike Yastrzemski Note
Mike Yastrzemski photo 114. Mike Yastrzemski CF,RF - SF
Yastrzemski followed up his impressive 2019 season with an even better one last year, during which he slashed .297/.400/.568. His breakout has come extremely late - he'll be 31 years old by the end of the season - but he makes fairly solid contact and walks a ton. He's not going to hit .297 again - his xBA was just .254 and he had a .370 BABIP. But with the changes in Oracle Park leading to more power, he should be in line for at least a 20-homer season with decent counting stats. That's not sexy, but it's someone you can plug in as your fourth or fifth outfielder.
36 weeks ago
Joe Musgrove Note
Joe Musgrove photo 115. Joe Musgrove SP - SD
Musgrove has been a popular sleeper the last two seasons and now that he's been traded to the Padres, his ADP is surely going to rise. In 2019, Musgrove continued to improve as a pitcher, upping his strikeout rate and adding velocity. But his 2020 season looked like a step back, until he returned from the IL strong, including finishing his season with back-to-back scoreless outings while getting back some of the lost zip on his fastball. Overall, Musgrove's 2020 numbers suggest a breakout waiting to happen, as he built significantly on his gains in 2019, increasing his strikeout rate to 33.1%. His chances for wins should improve dramatically in San Diego, and he's a fine fourth starter with upside.
36 weeks ago
Ryan Pressly Note
Ryan Pressly photo 116. Ryan Pressly RP - HOU
Pressly had his usual solid season, but got the benefit of closing for the Astros after Roberto Osuna's injury. His numbers fell off a bit from the previous two years (his 1.33 WHIP was particularly out of character), but he will almost certainly rebound from the .365 BABIP he allowed. He's slated to again be the Astros' closer, and as such, should provide plenty of saves while giving fantasy managers positive value in ratios. That makes him one of the few reliable closers worth drafting at more than a late-round price.
36 weeks ago
Zac Gallen Note
Zac Gallen photo 117. Zac Gallen SP - ARI
Gallen has a hairline stress fracture of his right forearm at the radial head. He's reportedly going to be able to continue playing catch at a "low stress level" while recovering, though there's no indication of how much time he'll miss. When healthy, he's a solid SP2. He built on his excellent 2019 season with an even more impressive 2020 campaign. Not only did he drop his ERA slightly to 2.75, but he cut way down on his walks (10.8% to 8.6%), which led to a much-improved 1.11 WHIP. Gallen has a 28.5% strikeout rate in 152 MLB innings, and an excellent fastball, curveball, and changeup. There's just not much negative you can say about him when he's healthy other than he might again struggle for wins playing for a mediocre team in a good division. Because of the injury and surrounding uncertainty, you shouldn't draft him as anything higher than an SP4, but he should perform extremely well when he does recover.
36 weeks ago
Franmil Reyes Note
Franmil Reyes photo 118. Franmil Reyes DH,RF - CLE
Reyes didn't quite live up to his power potential last year with just nine home runs in 59 games, and his 50.3% ground ball rate certainly didn't help. His Statcast data waned a bit from his monstrous 2019 season, but his 92.4 mile per hour average exit velocity was in the top two percent in baseball. There's just not a ton to dislike about Reyes, other than he offers nothing in the way of speed. On his absolute worst day, he's a 30-homer bat with a batting average that won't kill you. On his best day, he's a lite version of a healthy Aaron Judge. Expect at least three-category production, and make it four if he can maintain the 10% walk rate he showed in 2020.
36 weeks ago
Josh Bell Note
Josh Bell photo 119. Josh Bell 1B,DH - WSH
Bell looked like a superstar in the making in the first half of 2019, but struggled for much of the second half of the season and then fell off a cliff in 2020. He slashed a mere .226/.305/.364 and hit only eight home runs. His strikeout and ground ball rates took massive jumps, while his walk rate and launch angle plummeted. Bell blamed his struggles on his swing getting long, and you could tell by how often he changed his stance and swing last year that he simply could not figure things out. Now with the Nationals, the 29-year-old Bell will have a chance to revive his career. We've seen the upside, so he's certainly worth drafting at a discount, but he's much more of a borderline corner infielder than a starting-caliber first baseman.
36 weeks ago
Jorge Soler Note
Jorge Soler photo 120. Jorge Soler DH,RF - FA
Soler's injury-shortened 2020 season didn't live up to his massive 2019 campaign, but he did show that a lot of his gains were legitimate. Yes, it was more of a 30-homer pace, but his barrel rate, average exit velocity, and hard hit rate were all elite, as they were the prior year. Soler struck out way too much (34.5% of the time), and if he can't fix that, then his average will suffer as it did last year. But, his walk rate remains high and the power is going to be there with how hard he hits the ball. He's a source of cheap power you can grab later than other similarly-profiled bats going several rounds earlier.
36 weeks ago
Kenley Jansen Note
Kenley Jansen photo 121. Kenley Jansen RP - FA
It feels like Jansen has been on the verge of losing his job at several points over the last two seasons, but he continues to receive nearly every save opportunity for the Dodgers. But Jansen is far from the dominant reliever he was in his prime, as his patented cutter has gone from 94 MPH in 2016 to just 90.9 MPH last year. The Dodgers have plenty of depth behind Jansen, including Blake Treinen, Brusdar Graterol, Joe Kelly, and Corey Knebel, so Jansen's leash probably won't be all that long. At the same time, Jansen will certainly be the closer coming into the season and has a lengthy track record and a large contract. In today's day and age, that makes him a fairly desirable fantasy closer, despite the concerns.
36 weeks ago
Dylan Bundy Note
Dylan Bundy photo 122. Dylan Bundy SP - MIN
Bundy largely made good on the enormous amount of buzz that surrounded him after he moved from the Orioles to the Angels. He set career bests in ERA (3.29), WHIP (1.04), strikeout rate (27%), and walk rate (6.4%). Bundy's fastball, though it continued to trend down in velocity, was more effective than in years' past, in part because he cut way down on his usage of the pitch (just 33.6%, after throwing it at least 42.4% of the time in every previous season). His slider remained one of the best pitches in the game, and his remaining secondary pitches improved, too. At some point, Bundy's fastball velocity is going to become an issue, but there's little reason to expect that to come in 2021. Draft him as as an SP3.
36 weeks ago
Rhys Hoskins Note
Rhys Hoskins photo 123. Rhys Hoskins 1B - PHI
Hoskins' stock was down heading into the 2020 season, after he batted just .229 and continued his three-year trend of declining in almost every noticeable category. But he was slashing .241/.381/.485 before he was hit by a pitch on his hand and struggled to finish the year. Last year, Hoskins slashed .245/.384/.503 and was on a 40-homer, 100-RBI pace, similar numbers to those he put up prior to his 2019 injury. Unfortunately, an elbow injury ended Hoskins' 2020 season early, and he had surgery in early October with a 4-6 month recovery timeframe. Everything looks good for Hoskins as of now, and assuming he has no setbacks as spring training ramps up, he should make a fine starting first baseman in mixed leagues.
36 weeks ago
Michael Brantley Note
Michael Brantley photo 124. Michael Brantley LF,DH - HOU
After a few hours where it looked like Brantley was heading to the Blue Jays, he'll instead return to the Astros on a two-year contract. Despite his advancing age, Brantley remains one of the safest players in all of fantasy, batting at least .299 in each of the last six seasons in which he played at least 11 games. He both walked and struck out more than usual last season, but given that he played in just 46 games, there's little reason to draw any firm conclusions from that data. The bigger issue is that Brantley excels in only batting average, and although he'll offer something in each of the other four rotisserie categories, he won't be a difference-maker. Draft Brantley in the middle-to-later rounds if you need an average boost, but there's little upside.
36 weeks ago
Luke Voit Note
Luke Voit photo 125. Luke Voit 1B,DH - NYY
Voit suffered a partial meniscus tear in his knee this spring and is going to be precluded from participating in baseball activity for at least three weeks after surgery. It's almost certainly going to take Voit at least a couple of weeks after returning to baseball activity to return to game action, meaning you should bank on him being out until May 15th or so. When healthy, he's going to produce, however. He has always had a ton of power but last year he left the yard at a ridiculous pace last year, with a 34.9% HR/FB rate, third best in the league. The thing is, nothing about his profile really changed all that much. Indeed, his hard hit rate, barrel percentage, and average exit velocity actually were career lows. The biggest difference was that Voit simply swung more than ever, 52.1% of the time, and correspondingly made more contact, at a 73.8% rate, and actually struck out less than ever before. If Voit keeps the same approach, there's every reason to expect him to put up massive power numbers when he's healthy. That's always been his bugaboo, of course, and since he is already dealing with a significant injury, you can't draft him as a starting first baseman in mixed leagues at this point.
36 weeks ago
Ramon Laureano Note
Ramon Laureano photo 126. Ramon Laureano CF - OAK
Laureano had a down 2020, which included a .213 batting average and a sharp decline in his Statcast data, as well as his steal attempts. But he had provided a fairly solid baseline over the two prior seasons, with a .288 batting average, 29 home runs, and 20 steals while being caught just three times over 171 games. Laureano doesn't excel anywhere, but he'll chip in almost everywhere, and you can get him beyond the 12th round in most drafts. He's an ideal fourth outfielder in mixed leagues.
36 weeks ago
Dominic Smith Note
Dominic Smith photo 127. Dominic Smith 1B,LF - NYM
Smith showed he had the bat to hit in the majors in 2019, but he took an extra step forward in last year's shortened season. His .316/.377/.616 slash line effectively forced the Mets to find a way to get his bat into the lineup, even if his defense tried to prevent it. His Statcast data was excellent, as he put up a barrel percentage of 13.3% and a hard hit percentage of 46.7%, all with a .405 wOBA, which was in the top four percent of the league. The issue for Smith is his fielding and with the National League surprisingly not adopting the designated hitter, that means he'll need to play out in left field most days. Although the Mets can surely live with the tradeoff, Smith will likely lose plenty of at-bats late in games as he gets switched out for defensive purposes. He'll still have plenty of value, but without the DH, be cautious with your projections for his counting stats.
36 weeks ago
Joey Gallo Note
Joey Gallo photo 128. Joey Gallo RF,DH,LF - NYY
Gallo went from a big-time power hitter who would drain your batting average in 2017-2018, to a big-time power hitter who wouldn't crush your average in 2019, to a complete disaster in 2020. Gallo has actually been consistent against righties over the last several years, and the difference in his performance has been that he somehow destroyed lefties in 2019 (.333/.427/.747) and was worse than ever in 2020 (.143/.241/.386). The best bet is he's more like the 2017-2018 version of himself, and he'll likely put up a season where he hits around 40 home runs and bats in the low .200s. That's plenty valuable, and his ADP seems to be giving a ton of credit to his 2020 season. That leaves a lot of room for Gallo to outperform his draft position.
36 weeks ago
Patrick Corbin Note
Patrick Corbin photo 129. Patrick Corbin SP - WSH
Corbin had a disastrous 2020 season, during which he went 2-7 with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP. His strikeout rate plummeted, and his velocity dropped significantly, with his fastball seeing a dip of almost two miles per hour. Corbin leans heavily into his slider, and he needs it to be pristine to be an effective pitcher. And although it wasn't a terrible pitch in 2020, the swinging strike rate on it dropped from 28.1% to 21.2%, and the whiff rate from 52% to just 38.2%. If the loss in velocity and effectiveness of his slider were entirely due to the oddities of the shortened season, then Corbin is going to be a major value in drafts this year. But if not, then his days as a "set it and forget it" starter are likely over. Monitor Corbin's performance this spring, particularly with his velocity. If it's back up to prior levels, then push him up your board significantly.
36 weeks ago
Ke'Bryan Hayes Note
Ke'Bryan Hayes photo 130. Ke'Bryan Hayes 3B - PIT
Hayes had an outstanding 24-game run with the Pirates last year, hitting five home runs with an 1.124 OPS and a 55.4% hard-hit rate, which would have ranked seventh best in the majors had he had enough plate appearances. But that was far more offensve production than he had shown in the minors, where he totaled just a .752 OPS with 25 home runs in 461 career games. Hayes makes a ton of contact and should bat near the top of the Pirates order this year, so even if he regresses some offensively, he should still find enough counting stats to be useful. But don't expect 2020's power levels.
36 weeks ago
Brad Hand Note
Brad Hand photo 131. Brad Hand RP - FA
Hand joins the Nationals on a one-year deal after Cleveland declined his option. His velocity declined a bit last season, but the league's collective lack of interest in Hand is surprising, given that he's coming off one of the best seasons of his career, led the league in saves, has been a top-10 reliever over the last five seasons, and is a lefty. Dave Martinez wants Hand to be the Nationals' closer based on his comments, but it's unclear whether he'll be the sole option. The Nationals barely have another lefty reliever in their bullpen, let alone a reliable one, so chances are that Hand will be deployed earlier in the game if the opposing team has multiple left-handed hitters due up. All that to say that Hand is a reliable reliever who you should draft for his overall numbers, but he may provide fewer saves than most traditional closers.
36 weeks ago
Pablo Lopez Note
Pablo Lopez photo 132. Pablo Lopez SP - MIA
Despite his 5.09 ERA and mediocre strikeout rate in 2019, there was some buzz about Lopez heading into last season because of his outstanding changeup and his ability to keep his WHIP in check. He justified the expectations, cutting his ERA to 3.61 and striking out about a batter and a half more per nine innings than he had previously. He's still volatile, as he has seemingly random games where he lacks command with his changeup and gets hit hard. And he needs another pitch to complement his fastball and changeup. But if he can continue to develop either his curveball or cutter, he could be a true breakout candidate. Draft him as an SP4 with upside for more if his other pitches continue to improve.
36 weeks ago
Julio Urias Note
Julio Urias photo 133. Julio Urias SP - LAD
Urias had an interesting season (other than his postseason, which was dominant). His numbers overall were very solid, with a 3.27 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. But his strikeout rate dipped dramatically as a full-time starter, and his SIERA (4.88) and xFIP (5.06) suggest he got lucky. But the bottom line is that Urias is excellent at limiting hard contact, and he's allowed just a .257 BABIP over the last two seasons, which should keep his ERA in check. The Dodgers' rotation is overflowing, so it's possible they continue to limit Urias's innings. But for now, he should be considered an SP3, and as his playoffs showed, there's plenty of room for growth with his strikeout numbers.
36 weeks ago
Victor Robles Note
Victor Robles photo 134. Victor Robles CF - WSH
There were plenty of warning signs with Robles' batted-ball data heading into 2020, and they're only greater now after an abysmal season during which he slashed .220/.293/.315. The MLB average in barrel rate and average exit velocity are 6.4% and 88.3 MPH, respectively. Robles clocked in at 4.8% and 83.3 MPH in 2019, and then fell to a ridiculous 1.7% and 82.2 MPH in 2020. His continously poor contact limits any upside, but it's worth noting that he still hit 17 homers and stole 28 bases in 2019 despite it all. Robles is still just entering his age-24 season, so massive long-term growth is still certainly on the table. But for now, it's impossible to justify drafting him as anything more than a fifth outfielder in mixed leagues.
36 weeks ago
Kevin Gausman Note
Kevin Gausman photo 135. Kevin Gausman SP - TOR
Gausman had the best season of his career with the Giants last season, and accepted a qualifying offer to remain in San Francisco. Gausman not only put up an impressive 3.62 ERA, but he upped his strikeout rate by about nine points to 32.2%. He saw a nice velocity bump on his fastball and leaned into his excellent splitter a bit more than usual. The downside for Gausman is that he really is mostly a fastball/splitter pitcher, meaning that when his splitter isn't working, he's likely to get hit hard. But, we've now at least seen the upside over a full season, and he's a pretty ideal SP4/SP5 if you can get him in that range.
36 weeks ago
Eric Hosmer Note
Eric Hosmer photo 136. Eric Hosmer 1B - SD
Hosmer made no secret of his effort to attempt to (finally) stop pounding the ball into the ground so much last year, and it worked to perfection. His ground ball rate fell from roughly 57% the previous three seasons to just 46.2%, and his flyball rate rose from about 21% in the same span to 34.2%. The result was an impressive nine home runs in just 38 games in an injury-shortened season. Hosmer still hits the ball hard and if he can maintain the changes to his profile into 2021, he'll make an incredibly cheap corner infielder who can chip in pretty much everywhere.
36 weeks ago
Didi Gregorius Note
Didi Gregorius photo 137. Didi Gregorius SS - PHI
From a fantasy standpoint, Gregorius isn't special. He doesn't walk much, he's injury prone, and his Statcast data from 2020 was downright awful. But there is no denying that Gregorius knows how to take advantage of his home parks, first Yankee Stadium, and now Citizens Bank Park. With Gregorius back with the Phillies, you should again bank on his typical 25-homer power, good counting stats, and a handful of steals. Considering that he's rarely someone who fantasy managers target, his ADP will likely remain discounted, and he's a fine fallback option if you miss out on most of the early- or mid-round options.
36 weeks ago
Willson Contreras Note
Willson Contreras photo 138. Willson Contreras C,DH - 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.
36 weeks ago
James Karinchak Note
James Karinchak photo 139. James Karinchak RP - CLE
Karinchak is expected to be Cleveland's closer after Brad Hand moved on to the Nationals, though it's not a sure thing yet. Yes, he walks too many batters (5.33 per nine innings), but you can get away with it when you strike out nearly half the batters you face and hitters bat .151 against you overall. Karinchak has two absolutely devastating pitches: a mid-90's fastball (.184 batting average against, .151 xBA) and a power curveball (.140 batting average against, .114 xBA). Cleveland may not have a ton of success this year and hence save opportunities may be limited, but Karinchak can be a dominant fantasy reliever if he gets the job. Monitor reports out of the spring to see when and if Terry Francona formerly anoints him as the closer. If he does, he should vault to being a top-6 or 7 reliever.
36 weeks ago
Trevor Rosenthal Note
Trevor Rosenthal photo 140. Trevor Rosenthal RP - FA
After missing the 2018 season and most of the 2019 season, Rosenthal bounced back in a huge way last year. He stepped in as the Royals' closer, notching seven saves, and then was unhittable with the Padres after a mid-year trade. He parlayed his success into a one-year contract with the A's, where all signs point to him being the undisputed closer. Rosenthal was an outstanding reliever in his prime and once had back-to-back 45-save (or better) seasons. And his raw stuff looked excellent last year, as he totaled the best strikeout rate of his career. If he stays healthy, he has a shot at being a top-5 closer, but you can draft him a little later than that and likely make a profit.
36 weeks ago
Gio Urshela Note
Gio Urshela photo 141. Gio Urshela 3B,SS - NYY
Urshela isn't the most exciting player, and perhaps that's why he largely gets ignored by fantasy managers despite his quality production. Over his last two seasons (175 games), he's slashed .310/.358/.523 with 27 home runs and 104 RBI. He won't contribute in steals, but he's an incredibly safe source of batting average, particularly because of his excellent strikeout rate, and he should have plenty of opportunities to contribute counting stats. The only question was his health, but he seems fully recovered from his elbow injury. Draft him with confidence.
36 weeks ago
Ian Happ Note
Ian Happ photo 142. Ian Happ LF,CF,RF - CHC
Happ has always made consistently hard contact, but his strikeout rate was simply untenable, hovering around 34% in his first two seasons. But he has cut that down to a more manageable 26% over the last two years, and he's batted .260 with 23 home runs and 58 RBI over 115 games in that span. Happ has some speed even if he hasn't shown it recently, and he'll likely bat leadoff for the Cubs, who may need to manufacture runs more than in previous years. The average probably won't help you much, but he should contribute in four categories at a relatively inexpensive price.
36 weeks ago
Sandy Alcantara Note
Sandy Alcantara photo 143. Sandy Alcantara SP - MIA
Alcantara continued to build on what was a pretty strong foundation heading into 2020. He lowered his ERA to 3.00 and his WHIP to 1.19, and improved in both his strikeout and walk rate while adding velocity. He pitched only 42 innings last year because of COVID-19 issues, but he dominated over the latter three-quarters of the season, pitching to a 2.30 ERA with 30 strikeouts over his final 31 1/3 innings. There's not a ton to dislike about Alcantara, and there's room for continued growth. Draft him as a fourth starter with upside for more.
36 weeks ago
Frankie Montas Note
Frankie Montas photo 144. Frankie Montas SP - OAK
Montas had a terrible 2020 season, but it was more than likely due to a back injury he suffered early on which probably bothered him throughout the year. He started off with four excellent starts (four runs and 22 strikeouts in 23 innings) before he was scratched with back tightness and returned with lower velocity. Yes, he had the PED suspension in 2019, but Montas's splitter was, and should continue to be when a healthy, a dominant pitch, and a healthy season should mean a return to being a starter you can "set and forget." If he can ever get away from throwing his sinker so much, and incorporate more of his splitter and/or four-seam fastball, he could be a monster. Montas was diagnosed with COVID-19 right at the start of spring training, but he has returned healthy and looked good in the spring, so he's an ideal sleeper.
36 weeks ago
Anthony Santander Note
Anthony Santander photo 145. Anthony Santander RF,DH - BAL
Santander has quietly turned into a strong power bat, but few fantasy managers seem to give him credit. A .476 slugging percentage with 20 home runs in 93 games in 2019, followed by a .575 slugging percentage and 11 home runs in 37 games in 2020. There's nothing particularly fluky about his power output - it's just a young hitter coming into his own and making better contact. He did seem to sell out a bit for power last year, upping his launch angle and fly ball rate significantly. And yet he hit .261, the same mark as in 2019, and his xBA was .286. In other words, there's plenty to like about Santander, who is going well behind other hitters who offer similar production. He should be a value in drafts this year.
36 weeks ago
Ryan Mountcastle Note
Ryan Mountcastle photo 146. Ryan Mountcastle 1B,LF,DH - BAL
Mountcastle followed up a successful minor-league career with a strong 35-game stint in the majors last year. Not only did he bat .333 with an .878 OPS and a 139 wRC+, but he also walked 7.9% of the time, far above what he showed in the minors. The batting average is unsustainable - he was a .295 hitter in the minors and last year he relied on a .398 BABIP despite sub-par average exit velocity and a middling line drive rate. But playing in Camden Yards should certainly keep his production high, and batting in the middle of the Orioles lineup should lead to enough RBI chances to make him a rosterable, if not startable, fantasy option.
36 weeks ago
Yasmani Grandal Note
Yasmani Grandal photo 147. Yasmani Grandal C - 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, though his recovery from a knee injury may cause Chicago to take it easy with him at the outset. He's just a tad outside of the elite range at the position, but he's a locked in fantasy starter.
36 weeks ago
Max Kepler Note
Max Kepler photo 148. Max Kepler RF,CF - MIN
Kepler isn't a fancy player, but he's the kind of depth piece that fantasy managers need to survive a long season. The 36-homer season in 2019 is likely a mirage, as his barrel rate and hard-hit percentage were way out of line with his typical production. But he should be a fairly reliable 25-homer bat who will put up 150-160 combined runs and RBI with the occasional steal thrown in. His career batting average is just .237 but his xBA over the last two years is .257, so he shouldn't actively hurt you. Shrug your shoulders, draft him late, and take the reliable production.
36 weeks ago
Sixto Sanchez Note
Sixto Sanchez photo 149. Sixto Sanchez SP - MIA
Sanchez built on his strong 2019 season in Double-A with an excellent seven-start stretch in the majors, during which he put up a 3.46 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Sanchez throws really hard (his fastball velocity is in the 98th percentile), but he doesn't put up a ton of strikeouts, either in the minors or during his stint in the majors last year. But his outstanding changeup (.148 BAA, .148 slugging against, .158 wOBA against) keeps hitters off balance, and allows him to avoid giving up too much hard contact. Combine that with his well above-average control and his almost comical ability to avoid giving up home runs, and you have a quality pitcher who can slide into the middle of your staff.
36 weeks ago
Josh Donaldson Note
Josh Donaldson photo 150. Josh Donaldson 3B,DH - MIN
Donaldson again missed significant time with a calf strain last year, and was limited to just 28 games. He hit for power and walked plenty when he was in the lineup, and both his average exit velocity and hard hit rate were at or near his career highs. In other words, there doesn't seem to be much of a decline in his performance over recent seasons. Now in his age-35 season, it sounds like the Twins are going to give Donaldson plenty of rest this year in an effort to keep him healthy. Bank on the power, but assume a maximum of 130 games or so. There's a lot of value in that so long as you factor it in appropriately.
36 weeks ago
Will Smith Note
Will Smith photo 151. Will Smith C - 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.
36 weeks ago
Justin Turner Note
Justin Turner photo 152. Justin Turner 3B,DH - LAD
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
Tommy Edman Note
Tommy Edman photo 153. Tommy Edman 3B,SS,RF,2B - STL
After a highly successful 2019 season in which he hit 11 home runs and stole 15 bases in 92 games, Edman's numbers regressed in nearly every meaningful way last year. His batting average slipped from .304 to just .250, he hit just five home runs, and he went 2-for-6 in stolen base attempts. Edman was a bit unlucky last year, as his xBA and xSLG outperformed his actual numbers. And despite his down year on the basepaths, he was in the 95th percentile in sprint speed. He's likely to lead off for the Cardinals this year, and should be good for double digits in both home runs and steals, with plenty of runs scored. Considering he has multi-position eligibility, he should be drafted before the double-digit rounds.
36 weeks ago
Shohei Ohtani Note
Shohei Ohtani photo 154. Shohei Ohtani DH,SP - LAA
Depending on your league settings, Ohtani has the potential to be a dominant force in 2021. There has never been any doubt about his talent, and he looks fantastic in the spring, hitting home runs at will and pumping in high-90s fastballs when on the mound. He's been batting on days he pitches, and Joe Maddon has suggested that he's going to throw out the old rules that led to Ohtani's decreased playing time. If you can move him between hitter and pitcher on a daily basis, then move him up your board significantly. Even if not, he should provide plenty of value when healthy as either a hitter or a pitcher, so make sure he's on your radar as you move into the double-digit rounds.
36 weeks ago
Dylan Carlson Note
Dylan Carlson photo 155. Dylan Carlson LF,CF,RF - STL
Carlson caught major buzz heading into the season last year as he looked likely to earn an everyday role in the outfield, but he sputtered for much of the season even when he did play, slashing just .200/.252/.364 with three home runs in 119 plate appearances. But he had a successful, albeit brief, post-season, and now again looks ready to claim a starting outfield spot for the Cardinals. Carlson is just 22 years old and has a strong minor-league track record. If he can hold down his spot, he has 25-15 potential, and should hit for a solid average. Given his age and his poor 2020 season, there's some obvious risk, but the draft capital necessary to get him on your team is not prohibitive, and his upside should make him a target in all formats.
36 weeks ago
AJ Pollock Note
AJ Pollock photo 156. AJ Pollock LF,CF,DH - LAD
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
Trey Mancini Note
Trey Mancini photo 157. Trey Mancini RF,1B,DH - BAL
Mancini missed all of the 2020 season after being diagnosed with cancer, but appears to be healthy as we head into 2021. He had a breakout 2019 season during which he hit 35 home runs and slashed .291/.364/.535, and there's every reason to think that production is sustainable. Mancini had hit 24 home runs in each of the two previous seasons, and other than being a bit more selective at the plate, made few changes that suggest his 2019 production was fluky. Instead, it appeared to be the natural progression of a hitter improving on his already strong foundation. Batting in a great home park, Mancini should again be a four-category producer, and his ADP should rise if he shows he's fully healthy throughout the spring.
36 weeks ago
Travis d'Arnaud Note
Travis d'Arnaud photo 158. Travis d'Arnaud C - 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.
36 weeks ago
Andrew McCutchen Note
Andrew McCutchen photo 159. Andrew McCutchen LF,DH - FA
McCutchen returned from his torn ACL and put up a decent season, hitting 10 home runs and stealing four bases in 57 games. If you watched him play, you could see he wasn't 100% himself, and his sprint speed dropped to just 27.4 ft/s, by far a career low. But he looks and reportedly feels healthier this spring, and will lead off again for the Phillies. Expect 20-plus homers, close to double-digit steals, and plenty of runs scored. And because he's an aging veteran, expect him to be a value on draft day.
36 weeks ago
Miguel Sano Note
Miguel Sano photo 160. Miguel Sano 1B,DH - MIN
Sano has always had one of the worst strikeout rates in the majors, but his 43.9% mark in 2020 was awful even by his standards. That's always the risk with Sano - that his strikeout rate is going to bring his batting average down to close to .200, where he'll almost single-handedly tank you in that category. The upside of course is that he absolutely crushes the ball, as evident by the fact that he was no worse than second in baseball in average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and barrel rate last year. Sano's contract with the Twins shows they're committed to him, so he should hopefully be beyond concerns of getting sent down to the minors if he struggles. That puts Sano in the high-power, low-average bucket of sluggers, but one who goes much later in drafts than others who will provide similar production.
36 weeks ago
German Marquez Note
German Marquez photo 161. German Marquez SP - COL
If Marquez ever extricates himself from Colorado, you'd probably have a bona fide superstar on your hands. As it is, you have a very solid overall pitcher who won't really help you out tremendously in any category, but won't hurt you badly either. Marquez's control is above average, and although his strikeout rate has dipped in two consecutive seasons, he has the ability to miss bats regularly. His value rises in leagues with daily lineup changes as you can avoid him at home (career 5.10 ERA) and start him on the road (career 3.51 ERA). But, absent that, consider him a back-end of the rotation starter in deeper leagues.
36 weeks ago
Kyle Lewis Note
Kyle Lewis photo 162. Kyle Lewis CF - SEA
Even in a shortened year, Lewis managed to have two distinctively different seasons en route to the AL Rookie of the Year Award. In the first half, he hit .368 with seven home runs. In the second half, he hit just .150 with four home runs. Lewis has plenty of tools but needs to cut back on his strikeouts if he's going to avoid the ups and downs he saw last year. His average is likely to hurt you, but he has 25-homer pop, and can throw in a handful of steals. Despite his rookie of the year award, there's not a ton of buzz on Lewis after his late-season slide, so he'll likely come at a discount.
36 weeks ago
Tyler Mahle Note
Tyler Mahle photo 163. Tyler Mahle SP - CIN
Mahle's solid 2020 season (3.59 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) will probably slip under the radar, but there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about him with a guaranteed spot in the Reds rotation. His strikeout rate jumped to 30% on the back of a 4.4% increase in his swinging strike rate, and he had just a .188 expected batting average against, top 10% in the league. The biggest change for Mahle was that he brought back a slider that he had shelved entirely in 2019, and batters hit just .180 against the pitch with a .249 wOBA. He could do well to cut down on his walks a bit, but still, as a fifth starter for your fantasy team, there's plenty of potential for profit.
36 weeks ago
Kyle Schwarber Note
Kyle Schwarber photo 164. Kyle Schwarber LF,DH,1B - FA
Schwarber gave back many of his 2019 gains last year, seeing a rise in strikeout rate (29.5%) and his batting average dropping to an abysmal .188. But Schwarber's season was far from linear: over the first half of the season, he slashed .230/.343/.448, but those numbers dropped to .154/.279/.346 over the second half. At the same time, he continued to hit the ball extremely hard, with a 92.8 MPH average exit velocity, which was top 5% in the league. Given his consistently hard contact, the better course of action seems to forgive Schwarber for what amounted to an extremely poor 24-game stretch to close out the season. Now batting in the middle of the Nationals lineup with a fresh start and entering his age-28 season, Schwarber should rebound to somewhere between his 2018 and 2019 numbers.
36 weeks ago
Christian Walker Note
Christian Walker photo 165. Christian Walker 1B,DH - ARI
Walker's power waned last season and his barrel rate dropped precipitously, but there were still plenty of things to like about his 2020 campaign. Notably, he cut his strikeout rate to a career-best 20.6% while raising his average to a strong .271. Walker is not, and is probably never going to be, a superstar fantasy asset. But he is a quiet producer who should help in four of the five rotisserie categories and is often overlooked. He's an ideal corner infielder for a team that needs steady production.
36 weeks ago
Marco Gonzales Note
Marco Gonzales photo 166. Marco Gonzales SP - SEA
If you want to buy into performances from the 2020 season, then you'll have Gonzales significantly higher than you would otherwise. He made major gains last year, including up his strikeout rate to a career-best 23.1% and lowering his walk rate to a career-best 2.5%. Bu even with the gains, Gonzales's swinging strike rate was only 8.4% (below his career average), and his fastball velocity is close to the worst in the league. As a pure back end of the rotation starter, he's fine, but do not expect anything close to a 3.10 ERA again, and bake in regression for his strikeouts.
36 weeks ago
Carlos Carrasco Note
Carlos Carrasco photo 167. Carlos Carrasco SP - NYM
Carrasco suffered a serious hamstring strain in mid-March which is likely to keep him out 6-8 weeks. It's a devastating blow to the veteran who returned strong from his battle with leukemia in 2019 to post a 2.91 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 2020. There was plenty to like about Carrasco in New York, including that the Mets will provide him with a better chance at wins, their infield defense should be above average, and Carrasco will play in a more favorable park. But at this point, he's nothing more than a bench starter for your fantasy team given his injury.
36 weeks ago
Corey Kluber Note
Corey Kluber photo 168. Corey Kluber SP - TB
Kluber has pitched 36 2/3 innings combined over the last two years, and will now join the Yankees on a one-year deal. There's nothing to be gained from looking at his numbers since 2018, as the sample size is too small, and prior to that, he was a perennial Cy Young contender. There was a bit of a velocity drop at the end of his last healthy season, but he was also finishing up his fifth straight 200-inning season. In other words, his lack of innings over the last two years (due to injury) may wind up being a blessing in disguise for Kluber. His ADP has some helium based on how quickly the Yankees signed him, but so long as you bake in some pretty substantial injury risk, he's certainly worth drafting as an SP5 with upside.
36 weeks ago
Craig Kimbrel Note
Craig Kimbrel photo 169. Craig Kimbrel RP - CWS
As a whole, Kimbrel's 2020 numbers were abysmal. A 5.28 ERA, a 1.43 WHIP, and a walk rate of 17.4%. And yet, there were some encouraging signs. Not only did his strikeout rate bounce back to 40.6%, but he was actually an elite pitcher after his first four outings. How elite? He pitched to a 1.42 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP, and stuck out 53.1% of the batters he faced. It wasn't perfect, as Kimbrel still walked five batters per nine innings over that stretch. But he showed that he still has some has left in the tank. Although he never reclaimed the closer's job despite his strong finish, it's a good bet that the Cubs hand him the ninth-inning role to start, as they try to rebuild his trade value in the final year of his deal. That means Kimbrel should at least get save chances for the first several weeks of the season, and, as such, should be drafted as low-end second closer with just a modicum of upside.
36 weeks ago
Mike Soroka Note
Mike Soroka photo 170. Mike Soroka SP - ATL
Soroka pitched in just three games last year before rupturing his Achilles tendon. He's progressing well but the best case scenario for him appears to be a late-April return. When healthy, he's someone who fantasy managers can rely on as an ERA and WHIP stabilizer, who should contribute plenty of wins. The strikeouts won't be there, however, and given that he's coming off a significant injury, the Braves will likely be extra cautious with him when he does start. All that to say, don't draft Soroka expecting much more than 100-120 innings out of him. If you do that, you'll likely be happy with your return on investment.
36 weeks ago
Aaron Civale Note
Aaron Civale photo 171. Aaron Civale SP - CLE
Civale fits the mold of the Cleveland pitcher over the last few seasons: start with the command, and let the team work on the rest. That's how Civale has found success the last two seasons, and continues to do so in the spring. He's never going to be a high-strikeout pitcher - he never was in the minors and his fastball sits in about the 91 MPH range. But his ability to limit free passes and hard contact means that he shouldn't hurt a fantasy rotation. He's a high-floor, low-ceiling starter, who is ideal for the back end of a fantasy staff.
36 weeks ago
Marcus Stroman Note
Marcus Stroman photo 172. Marcus Stroman SP - CHC
Stroman missed the entire 2020 season after battling a calf injury and then opting out, but he'll return to the Mets after accepting the team's qualifying offer. Stroman's strikeout rate jumped after his trade to the National League, but with a career 58.7% ground ball rate, he'll need the Mets' infield defense to be better than it was in 2019. The trade for Francisco Lindor should help, as should his reported development of both a new split changeup and four-seam fastball. Stroman has always had a decent floor, but now out of the AL East and with some tweaks to his arsenal coming, he possesses plenty of upside as a late-round draft pick.
36 weeks ago
James Paxton Note
James Paxton photo 173. James Paxton SP - FA
Paxton missed almost the entire 2020 season after straining a flexor in his pitching forearm. Any forearm injury is worrisome because of the connection to the elbow, and Paxton has hardly been the picture of health in his career. He'll try to jumpstart his career again back with the Mariners, and the reports from his workout, where he reportedly touched 94 MPH, were encouraging after his velocity drop last year. When he pitches, he's almost always effective, so he's worth a late-round pick for the potential upside. But the injury history should keep him relatively low on your draft board.
36 weeks ago
Clint Frazier Note
Clint Frazier photo 174. Clint Frazier RF,LF - CHC
There's little reason to doubt Frazier's ability to contribute from a fantasy perspective at this point. Over the last two seasons, he has a 162-game pace of a .267 average, 30 home runs, 83 runs scored, 96 RBI, and 6 steals. He upped his walk rate significantly in 2020 (15.6%, top seven percent in the league) and hits the ball hard consistently. The only issue for Frazier is his playing time with Giancarlo Stanton healthy and Brett Gardner back in the fold. But Frazier has done enough to hold the left field job and, regardless, Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Aaron Hicks are not the product of health. Draft Frazier as a starting outfielder and don't worry about the playing time.
36 weeks ago
Dylan Moore Note
Dylan Moore photo 175. Dylan Moore 2B,LF,RF,3B - SEA
Moore hit .255 with eight home runs and 12 stolen bases in just 38 games last year. Despite not having an abundance of speed, Moore's stolen base prowess is real, as he stole 96 bases over 447 minor league games at a 77% clip and ranked in the 71st percentile in sprint speed last year. And he cut his strikeout rate to a high but manageable 27% last year, and his barrel rate, hard hit percentage, and average exit velocity were all well above average. But Moore has struggled against righties for much of his time in the majors, and despite his success last year, is unlikely to have a long leash with Shed Long waiting in the wings. Moore has upside and multi-position eligibility to go along with his power and speed. Just have a backup plan ready to go.
36 weeks ago
Nick Madrigal Note
Nick Madrigal photo 176. Nick Madrigal 2B - CHC
Madrigal had a successful 2020 debut season with the White Sox, doing what he has done best throughout his minor league career: hitting for a high average with no power and never striking out. His main assets are his speed and and ability to hit for a high batting average, and though the power may eventually come, considering he hit four home runs total in the minor leagues, it's a good bet that it won't be this year. He's slated to bat at the bottom of Chicago's order, so downgrade his plate appearances a bit, but he will be a plus contributor in the two most difficult to fill rotisserie categories.
36 weeks ago
Nick Solak Note
Nick Solak photo 177. Nick Solak 2B,LF,CF - TEX
Solak hasn't shown a ton of power in the majors so far (just seven home runs in 91 career games), but he makes consistently strong contact and always had pop in the minors. His more than reasonable strikeout rate should generally keep his batting average in check, and his stolen base acuity (nine stolen bases in the majors, 91% in sprint speed) makes him a potential five-category player. Add to that multi-position eligibility, especially at the thin second base position, and he's an excellent mid-to-late round draft pick that should fill up the stat sheet without costing you as much as his numbers say he should.
36 weeks ago
Jesse Winker Note
Jesse Winker photo 178. Jesse Winker LF,DH - CIN
Winker had a quietly strong 2020 season, getting on base at a .388 clip and hitting 12 home runs in 54 games. He hit the ball hard consistently and walked an impressive 15.3% of the time, which help to offset his rise in strikeout rate (25.1%, well above his career mark). He'll likely bat leadoff for the Reds, and should be an asset in both home runs and runs scored. That's not a profile that blows you away, but it's enough for you to use as a fifth outfielder.
36 weeks ago
Andrew Heaney Note
Andrew Heaney photo 179. Andrew Heaney SP,RP - LAD
Heaney is a fine pitcher, but it feels like he has a lot more to him than his career 4.44 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. His fastball is hittable and he throws it often, and his curveball isn't quite good enough to offset the damage. He was outspoken about working this offseason to become less predictable, so hopefully that manifests itself in his 2021 performance. But there's no reason to draft him as anything but a pitcher who will give you decent strikeouts and mediocre ratios, hopefully as someone you can use on your bench and stream in the right matchup.
36 weeks ago
Jean Segura Note
Jean Segura photo 180. Jean Segura 2B,3B - PHI
Segura's strikeout rate ballooned last season to above 20%, though his walk rate also took a corresponding jump. But other than that, there wasn't much notable or exciting about his season. He ran a bit less than usual in the shortened year, but he still ranked in the 87th percentile in sprint speed, suggesting that the stolen base potential is still there if he wants to take it. The bigger issue with Segura as he enters his age-31 season is that there's almost no upside, as he'll bat near the bottom of the order and has established a fairly firm ceiling in his career. He's a borderline startable middle infielder in mixed leagues, but nothing more.
36 weeks ago
Devin Williams Note
Devin Williams photo 181. Devin Williams RP - MIL
You have to hand it to the Brewers - they produce relievers who put up historically great seasons. Williams wasn't just good in 2020 - he was truly beyond belief. A 0.33 ERA. One run and eight hits allowed in 27 innings. A 44% K-BB%. Williams has battled injuries for much of his career, but given what he did last year, he should be drafted among the elite fantasy relievers in the game. Even if he never gets a save chance with Josh Hader in front of him, his ratios make him more than worth it.
36 weeks ago
Gary Sanchez Note
Gary Sanchez photo 182. Gary Sanchez C - NYY
If you want to credit last season's numbers, then you're going to avoid Sanchez like the plague. He batted a ridiculous .147 and struck out 36% of the time. When Sanchez did hit the ball, he still hit it really, really hard, like he always has. But he just simply can't stop himself from swinging (13.8% swinging strike rate), and especially from swinging outside the zone (31.5% O-Swing%, which was actually better than his career rate). It wasn't that long ago that Sanchez was one of the top catchers drafted, and he's still just 28 years old. If he can just cut down on his whiffs, he can easily be a top-five catcher, so buy him for his upside, while also making sure to focus on batting average elsewhere.
36 weeks ago
Chris Bassitt Note
Chris Bassitt photo 183. Chris Bassitt SP - OAK
Bassitt doesn't wow you with his raw stuff, and is never going to be a high-strikeout pitcher. But he has above-average command and is able to generally limit hard contact and home runs. If he were being drafted on the basis of his 2.29 ERA last year then he would be someone to avoid, but the fact is he is never going to be drafted on the basis of his actual numbers given his sub-par strikeout rate and his significantly higher FIP and xFIP (versus his ERA). He can add plenty of value on the back end of a fantasy rotation, so long as you have strikeouts covered elsewhere.
36 weeks ago
Paul DeJong Note
Paul DeJong photo 184. Paul DeJong SS - STL
Jose Urquidy Note
Jose Urquidy photo 185. Jose Urquidy SP - HOU
Jorge Polanco Note
Jorge Polanco photo 186. Jorge Polanco SS,2B - MIN
Polanco has generally been a bit underrated in his career, but the fantasy community seems to have abandoned him in full after 2020. But there's little reason to do so. Polanco should gain second base eligibility quickly this year, as he moves over to accommodate Andrelton Simmons at shortstop. Polanco's quality of contact isn't great, but he rarely strikes out, doesn't hurt you in batting average, and has enough speed to throw in a handful of steals. With soon-to-be multi-position eligibility, he's an ideal bench candidate.
36 weeks ago
Zach Eflin Note
Zach Eflin photo 187. Zach Eflin SP - PHI
Rafael Montero Note
Rafael Montero photo 188. Rafael Montero RP - HOU
Montero wound up closing for the Rangers and totaling eight saves in 2020, but it wasn't a particularly special season. His hard-hit rate and walk-rate increased from his strong 2019 season, and he totaled a 4.08 ERA. Now with Seattle, Montero's best asset may be his lack of competition for the closer's role, as Seattle has struggled for several seasons to find a reliable ninth-inning option. Draft Montero as a mid-tier closer, who you're taking more for his job security than his spectacular numbers.
36 weeks ago
Triston McKenzie Note
Triston McKenzie photo 189. Triston McKenzie SP - CLE
McKenzie had a very successful major league debut last year, pitching to a 3.24 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP, and a 33.1% strikeout rate. His talent isn't in question at this point, but his health certainly is. McKenzie has a very slight build and has missed time with injury in his minor league career, including all of the 2019 season. Even if he stays healthy all year, Cleveland is likely to put a hard cap on his innings. There's a reward, but there's plenty of risk to go with it. Draft him for the back end of your rotation and hope he gets to 140 innings.
36 weeks ago
Christian Vazquez Note
Christian Vazquez photo 190. Christian Vazquez C - 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.
36 weeks ago
Austin Riley Note
Austin Riley photo 191. Austin Riley 3B,1B - ATL
Riley made some notable gains last year after he looked like he might fall out of fantasy-relevance entirely with the way he closed his 2019 season. He essentially traded off some power for contact, as his swing percentage dropped, his contact rate increased, and he improved on both his walk and strikeout rates. Although there was some question as to whether the Braves would add another third baseman in free agency, it appears they're content to roll with Riley to begin the year. That should make him a cheap source of power for fantasy, one whose batting average (.262 xBA last year) won't hurt you too badly.
36 weeks ago
Will Smith Note
Will Smith photo 192. Will Smith RP - ATL
Smith had a rough 2020 season, losing several weeks to a bout with COVID-19 and being far less effective than usual when he did pitch. His dominant slider just wasn't the same, as batters hit .263 (after never hitting better than .193) and tallied a .398 wOBA (after never totaling higher than .282) against it. But Brian Snitker appears to be willing to throw out Smith's poor season almost entirely. Although he hasn't named Smith the closer, he has professed his confidence in him, and there's been speculation from beat writers that Smith will ultimately win the role after a battle with Chris Martin and A.J. Minter. Draft Smith as the presumptive closer unless you hear otherwise from Braves camp.
36 weeks ago
Andres Gimenez Note
Andres Gimenez photo 193. Andres Gimenez 2B,3B,SS - CLE
Gimenez was one of the main pieces in the Francisco Lindor/Carlos Carrasco trade, and he looks like he'll be the starting shortstop for Cleveland on Opening Day. There's not a ton of power in his bat, but he has a ton of speed. He ranked in the 94th percentile in sprint speed last season, and stole eight bases in 49 games in 2020 and 28 in 117 games in Triple-A the year before. His ADP is rising as his job security grows, but it's worth it for the steals he will provide.
36 weeks ago
Andrew Benintendi Note
Andrew Benintendi photo 194. Andrew Benintendi LF - KC
Benintendi will get a fresh start with the Royals in 2021, and if any player ever needed a change of scenery, it's him. After looking like a perennial 20-20 player with a solid batting average, Benintendi has fallen off a cliff the last two years. To the extent you could boil his struggles down to something simple, it was that he appeared to get too homer-happy in 2019. Despite making better contact when he did hit the ball, his swinging strike rate jumped by four points to 11.6%, and his fly ball percentage and launch angle skyrocketed. Things didn't look much better in his brief 2020 season, which was cut short by a rib injury. Benintendi is still young, and out of the spotlight of the Boston media, might be able to return to what made him an impact player prior to 2019. You won't need to spend a ton to find out, thankfully, and he's worth a late-round pick in all formats.
36 weeks ago
Eduardo Rodriguez Note
Eduardo Rodriguez photo 195. Eduardo Rodriguez SP - DET
Rodriguez missed the entire 2020 season because of serious complications from a heart conditions caused by COVID-19, but he looks to be healthy heading into 2021. Assuming he doesn't have any setbacks, he should be considered one of the safest pitchers in the game. You know what you're going to get from Rodriguez: an ERA around 4.00, a WHIP around 1.30, and solid strikeouts. Those numbers won't wow you, but Rodriguez has consistently limited hard contact throughout his career, so he should retain what amounts to a fairly high floor. Plus, the usual innings concerns shouldn't be as much of a factor for him, considering nearly every pitcher has similar concerns after 2020. For a late-round pitcher, he's hardly an upside play, but he should be someone you can stick in the back end of your rotation and not think much about it.
36 weeks ago
John Means Note
John Means photo 196. John Means SP - BAL
Means's 4.53 ERA and grotesque home run rate are probably going to scare the casual fantasy manager away, but there is a ton to like about him heading into 2021. First, Means had a weird year last season, as he dealt with arm fatigue early and then his father passed away, so his schedule was certainly thrown up into the air at the start. Probably because of those difficulties, his outstanding changeup wasn't effective earlier in the season, but it was back to being his money pitch by season's end. Add to that Means' increase in velocity, his strong finish (1.52 ERA, 30 strikeouts over his last four starts), and his excellent command, and there's a breakout waiting to happen, despite the tough division.
36 weeks ago
Mitch Haniger Note
Mitch Haniger photo 197. Mitch Haniger RF,DH - SEA
Haniger hasn't played since June of 2019, and his career has been riddled with injuries. But he's shown his potential in his lone healthy season, and he certainly has 25-homer pop in his bat. The question, as usual, is health, and for now, he remains ready to go for the season. If things remain that way, draft him as a bench player with upside.
36 weeks ago
Dustin May Note
Dustin May photo 198. Dustin May SP - LAD
May has been named the Dodgers' fifth starter by Dave Roberts, a surprising twist given the presence of David Price and Tony Gonsolin. Given the Dodgers' depth and their history, it's unlikely that he'll remain in the rotation from start to finish, but if you haven't drafted yet, move him significantly higher on your board.
35 weeks ago
Gavin Lux Note
Gavin Lux photo 199. Gavin Lux 2B,SS,LF - LAD
David Price Note
David Price photo 200. David Price SP,RP - LAD
Price was traded to the Dodgers along with Mookie Betts, but hasn't yet made a start with the team after opting out of the 2020 season. He'll be back for 2021, but his role isn't yet solidified according to reports, especially considering the extreme depth of the Dodgers' rotation. When healthy, even at his advanced age, Price is still a quality major league starter, with above-average strikeout and walk rates. The issue for Price is really health, as he's averaged only about 120 innings per season over his previous three years. His average draft position reflects the risk, and assuming he does end up in the rotation, he offers as much upside as anyone going in his range. There's still juice left for Price when he's healthy, so monitor reports out of the spring.
36 weeks ago
Carlos Santana Note
Carlos Santana photo 201. Carlos Santana 1B,DH - KC
Jake Cronenworth Note
Jake Cronenworth photo 202. Jake Cronenworth 1B,2B,SS - SD
Aaron Hicks Note
Aaron Hicks photo 203. Aaron Hicks CF - NYY
Hicks is reportedly going to bat third for the Yankees this year, and the lineup spot is so valuable that it largely covers a player's warts. Those warts are plentiful with Hicks, including that he's probably going to bat about .240, his power is declining, and he's a huge injury risk. He still walks a ton (including last year's 19.4%), and he'll have decent counting stats if he sticks in the three-hole all year. But there's little upside and he has topped 97 games played just twice in his career. He's best suited as a bench option or a fifth outfielder in deeper mixed leagues.
36 weeks ago
Alex Colome Note
Alex Colome photo 204. Alex Colome RP - FA
Colome has been a quality major league reliever for year, but last year, managed to drop his ERA down to a silly 0.81 and his WHIP below 1.00 for the first time in his career. His success was largely on the back of increased movement on his cutter (which induced a ton of weak contact, but which was also less of a strikeout pitch, leading to a drop in strikeouts), as well as Yasmani Grandal's pitch-framing skills. He'll now move to Minnesota where he'll likely form some sort of committee with Taylor Rogers. He's worth drafting, but only very late, and with the expectation that he won't pile on a ton of saves.
36 weeks ago
Mark Canha Note
Mark Canha photo 205. Mark Canha LF,RF,DH,CF - NYM
Fantasy managers seem to have declared Canha's 2019 season as a fluke after he hit just five home run last year, but much of his 2020 seems to suggest 2019 was fairly legitimate. Canha built on his massive gains in walk rate in 2019 (13.5%) and increased it to 15.2%, and his quality of contact largely remained the same. He's got 20-homer power still, and he'll likely lead off or bat second for the A's. You won't need to pay much for him and given his average draft position, there's a high probability of a profit.
36 weeks ago
Jordan Romano Note
Jordan Romano photo 206. Jordan Romano RP - TOR
Romano is poised to serve as the Blue Jays' closer after Kirby Yates suffered an elbow injury which will cost him the season. Romano's stuff isn't special, but he had a very solid 2020 campaign, and should see plenty of save chances with Toronto, assuming he's officially named the closer. The relief pitcher landscape for fantasy gets cloudy quickly, so despite the lack of certainty, Romano makes a decent option for your second reliever. Bump him higher if he's officially named the closer before the season.
36 weeks ago
Jameson Taillon Note
Jameson Taillon photo 207. Jameson Taillon SP - NYY
Taillon has undergone Tommy John surgery twice, and has totaled just 37 1/3 innings over the last two years. And really, he's had only one truly notable year, which was in 2018. But what separated Taillon that year was his outstanding slider, which not only performed exceedingly well, but also buoyed the effectiveness of the rest of his pitches. Now with the Yankees, Taillon has plenty of upside. But, as always, health remains the concern, and is the reason you shouldn't draft him until you've filled out most of your staff.
36 weeks ago
Brian Anderson Note
Brian Anderson photo 208. Brian Anderson 3B - MIA
Dallas Keuchel Note
Dallas Keuchel photo 209. Dallas Keuchel SP - CWS
Keuchel pitched to a remarkable 1.99 ERA last year, though that's hardly to be expected to repeat in 2021. His xFIP was nearly two runs higher, his BABIP against was nearly 40 points below his career average, and his already low strikeout rate dipped to just 16.3%. Having Yasmani Grandal as a catcher certainly helps a pitcher outperform his expected stats, but even if Keuchel were to repeat his 2020 performance, his strikeout rate is such a drain that it keeps his value in check. If your staff is dominant in strikeouts, then you can roll with Keuchel at the very back end of your rotation. But if not, just ignore him on draft day.
36 weeks ago
Richard Rodriguez Note
Richard Rodriguez photo 210. Richard Rodriguez RP - FA
So long as he remains with the Pirates, Rodriguez is likely to be the closer after locking down four saves last year. He's been a quality reliever for a few years in a row now, including last year when he put up a 2.70 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP with plenty of strikeouts. There's been speculation that the Pirates will look to deal Rodriguez before the season begins. But until and unless they do, he's a decent late-round selection who will likely total a handful of saves until he's inevitably dealt mid-season.
36 weeks ago
Michael Pineda Note
Michael Pineda photo 211. Michael Pineda SP - FA
Eduardo Escobar Note
Eduardo Escobar photo 212. Eduardo Escobar 3B,2B,1B - NYM
James McCann Note
James McCann photo 213. James McCann C - 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.
36 weeks ago
Hunter Dozier Note
Hunter Dozier photo 214. Hunter Dozier 1B,RF,3B,LF,DH - KC
Dozier is almost entirely off the fantasy radar this year, but that feels like an overreaction to 2020. Yes, his poor performance last year makes his breakout 2019 performance seem like an outlier, but really, it seems like 2020, rather than 2019, should be discounted. Dozier's quality of contact was awful last year, but it was out of character for him over the previous two seasons, and was more likely the result of him having tested positive for COVID-19 rather than from a sudden loss of skills. The Royals' lineup is sneaky deep, and Dozier will start at third base this season, giving him eligibility at three positions. Considering he's free in drafts, there is every reason to scoop him up with a late-round pick.
36 weeks ago
Nick Senzel Note
Nick Senzel photo 215. Nick Senzel CF - CIN
Sean Murphy Note
Sean Murphy photo 216. Sean Murphy C - OAK
Murphy has pretty quietly put together two quality seasons in a row, albeit in limited samples. Over his past 63 games, he's put up 11 home runs, 35 runs scored, and 22 RBI, a pace that is more than respectable, even if it comes with a sub-par batting average. Murphy is dealing with a collapsed lung and may not be ready for the start of the season, but it doesn't sound like it will keep him out of action for long. He's a borderline starter in most mixed leagues, but he offers a decent floor if you miss our on more quality options.
36 weeks ago
Jordan Montgomery Note
Jordan Montgomery photo 217. Jordan Montgomery SP - NYY
J.D. Davis Note
J.D. Davis photo 218. J.D. Davis 3B,DH - NYM
C.J. Cron Note
C.J. Cron photo 219. C.J. Cron 1B - COL
Cron fits the Rockies' narrative perfectly, as he's a veteran hitter on a short-term deal who will block a younger player from playing. Nevertheless, Cron offers plenty of fantasy goodness if he does indeed win the first base job for Colorado as expected. He missed almost all of last year with a knee injury, but he had a 15% barrel rate and a .544 expected slugging percentage in 2019. He's practically free in drafts and could easily hit 30 home runs with a plus average. Draft him late everywhere you can.
36 weeks ago
Taylor Rogers Note
Taylor Rogers photo 220. Taylor Rogers RP - MIN
Rogers has been the reliever to roster in Minnesota for the past two seasons, but he's totaled just 39 saves over that span. Even with the shortened 2020 season, that's just not the total you want to see from a reliever if you're relying on him as an RP1, especially when the Twins as a team have totaled 92 saves over the last two years. Rogers's lack of saves is all about Rocco Baldelli's philosophy, rather than Rogers's lack of effectiveness (he's totaled a 2.80 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP, and a 10.8 K/9 over the last three years). Unfortunately, Baldelli is unlikely to abandon his committee approach with the additions of Alex Colome and Hansel Robles. Rogers is still a fine RP2, but certainly don't expect him to get every save chance in Minnesota.
36 weeks ago
Lorenzo Cain Note
Lorenzo Cain photo 221. Lorenzo Cain CF - MIL
Cain opted out of the season last year after just five games, but he'll play and bat near the top of the Brewers' lineup this year. His steals total dropped to just 18 in 2019, and his sprint speed has been declining in recent years. But he talked openly about wanting to try to steal more bases before he opted out last year, and he's still a safe bet for batting average and double-digit homers. He's been forgotten a bit in drafts this year, but he's a fine fifth outfielder in mixed leagues.
36 weeks ago
Kyle Seager Note
Kyle Seager photo 222. Kyle Seager 3B,DH - FA
Sean Manaea Note
Sean Manaea photo 223. Sean Manaea SP - OAK
Kolten Wong Note
Kolten Wong photo 224. Kolten Wong 2B - MIL
Wong lands in a great situation with the Brewers, where he's expected to lead off in front of a strong lineup. His quality of contact is incredibly poor, but in Miller Park, he should be a good bet for 10-15 homers, and he'll throw in 15-20 steals despite having a fairly average sprint speed. There's not a ton of upside for Wong, but absent injury, there's not a whole lot of downside for him in Milwaukee either. He's not a startable second baseman in mixed leagues, but he's a fine middle infielder or bench option.
36 weeks ago
Jared Walsh Note
Jared Walsh photo 225. Jared Walsh 1B,RF - LAA
Amir Garrett Note
Amir Garrett photo 226. Amir Garrett RP - CIN
Garrett cut way down on his walks in 2020 and had the best season of his career, striking out 37.7% of the batters he faced. He also retired the first batter he faced in every inning, and completely dominated against left-handed hitters. He's in the mix to be the Reds' closer with Lucas Sims and Sean Doolittle, and he's been vocal about wanting the job. He's probably the first reliever to draft out of Cincinnati until there's some clarity, but it's far from a sure thing that he'll be the everyday closer.
36 weeks ago
Brandon Nimmo Note
Brandon Nimmo photo 227. Brandon Nimmo LF,CF,RF - NYM
Nimmo has a career .390 OBP and will be batting atop the Mets lineup this year, and that's really all you need to know for his fantasy value. He'll likely be a steady contributor in the runs scored category, while chipping in some homers and steals with a batting average that won't hurt you much. He might see a bit of a platoon against left-handers, but he's a player who will cost you nothing in drafts and who can fill in for your team if you need him. He's worth a bench spot in all 10-team or deeper leagues.
36 weeks ago
Matt Barnes Note
Matt Barnes photo 228. Matt Barnes RP - BOS
Barnes may begin the year as the closer, but it's hardly a guarantee that he'll keep the role. His walk rate has been above 13% for each of the last two seasons, and his WHIP is 1.38 over that span. Adam Ottavino, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Hirokazu Sawamura are in play to take over for Barnes if he struggles. For now, consider Barnes on the very tail end of draftable relievers in fantasy.
35 weeks ago
Leody Taveras Note
Leody Taveras photo 229. Leody Taveras CF - TEX
Taveras should be a cheap source of speed for fantasy managers this year, as he's set to lead off for the Rangers. He stole 32 bases across 131 minor league games in 2019 and eight last year in 33 games. He won't do a ton else for your fantasy team, but given that he ranked in the 96th percentile in sprint speed last year, his contributions in the stolen base category should more than make up for his lack of production in others.
36 weeks ago
Raimel Tapia Note
Raimel Tapia photo 230. Raimel Tapia LF,DH - COL
Tapia doesn't make a ton of hard contact, but he slashed .321/.369/.402 last year and led off for the Rockies for the majority of the season. He's slated to do so again this year, which means he should be a cheap source of runs, batting average, and steals. Tapia's been around for awhile and never held a starting job all season, but he's in an excellent position this year and can be drafted late in all mixed leagues as a fifth outfielder or bench player.
36 weeks ago
Elieser Hernandez Note
Elieser Hernandez photo 231. Elieser Hernandez SP - MIA
Hernandez was excellent in his six starts last season, tallying a 3.16 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, and a 32.1% strikeout rate. But he allowed a lot of hard contact along the way, including a 91.8 MPH average exit velocity (bottom three percent in the league). He worked on his changeup this offseason in an effort to add a reliable third pitch (he threw his fastball and slider 94% of the time last year), and it has gotten rave reviews in camp. He's fourth in the pecking order of the Marlins starters, but if his changeup can be an effective pitch, he might be the one to provide the most value given his extremely modest ADP.
36 weeks ago
Brady Singer Note
Brady Singer photo 232. Brady Singer SP - KC
David Peralta Note
David Peralta photo 233. David Peralta LF - ARI
Peralta is entering his age-34 season and coming off a season during which he hit just five home runs, but he still makes a fairly reliable late-round selection. His career batting average is .291 (and he hit .300 last year), and his 162-game pace is roughly 20 home runs and 160 combined runs and RBI. Even if his steals are gone, there's still plenty of production left in the bat for someone who will be drafted well beyond the top 200 picks, and who had shoulder surgery prior to the 2020 season which likely affected his production. The upside isn't there anymore, but safe and boring can sometimes be the right move.
36 weeks ago
David Fletcher Note
David Fletcher photo 234. David Fletcher 2B,SS - LAA
Yuli Gurriel Note
Yuli Gurriel photo 235. Yuli Gurriel 1B - HOU
Cristian Javier Note
Cristian Javier photo 236. Cristian Javier SP,RP - HOU
Chris Taylor Note
Chris Taylor photo 237. Chris Taylor 2B,SS,LF,CF,3B - LAD
Hector Neris Note
Hector Neris photo 238. Hector Neris RP - HOU
Neris has been named the Phillies' closer to start the season. Although he has been the Phillies' primary closer for the past four seasons, he's hardly been the model of efficiency. His ERA over those seasons is 3.01, 5.10, 2.93, and 4.57. And he surprisingly struggled with his control last year, seeking his BB/9 rate jump to 5.40 and his WHIP to 1.71. Neris's splitter is outstanding when it's on, but he has the tendency to get hit hard when it's not. With Archie Bradley and Jose Alvarado in tow, and Brandon Kintzler with the team on a minor league deal, Neris's leash will be short. Draft him as a low-end closer, but don't rush to do so.
35 weeks ago
Mitch Garver Note
Mitch Garver photo 239. Mitch Garver C - MIN
As quickly as Garver exploded onto the scene in 2019 with 31 home runs in just 93 games, he disappeared last year, to the tune of a .167 batting average and two home runs with a 45.7% strikeout rate. An intercostal strain led to his shortened season and almost certainly affected his performance. He's been red hot in the spring thus far, and should be slowly moving up your draft board. If you're looking for a catcher who has the potential to finish within the top-5 but is being drafted only as a low-end starter, this is your guy.
36 weeks ago
Jarred Kelenic Note
Jarred Kelenic photo 240. Jarred Kelenic CF,LF - SEA
Kelenic was assigned to the Mariners' Minor League camp on March 26th, which wasn't much of a surprise after he suffered a knee injury that cost him time this spring. He looked more than ready for the big club in his 23 plate appearances, however, hitting two home runs with a 1.256 OPS. Kelenic likely won't be down for too long (perhaps just long enough for the team to gain an extra year of control), so fantasy managers can still draft him late and wait a bit to reap the rewards.
36 weeks ago
Nathan Eovaldi Note
Nathan Eovaldi photo 241. Nathan Eovaldi SP - BOS
Joc Pederson Note
Joc Pederson photo 242. Joc Pederson LF,DH,RF,CF - FA
Ryan Yarbrough Note
Ryan Yarbrough photo 243. Ryan Yarbrough SP,RP - TB
Yarbrough doesn't get a ton of respect in the fantasy community because he doesn't strike out a ton of batters, but he's quietly put together an excellent career. He's practically a wizard at limiting hard contact (he has allowed an average exit velocity of 84.8 MPH and an average hard hit rate of 26.3%, both remarkably low numbers), and he rarely issues free passes or home runs. In other words, it's really difficult to string together big innings against Yarbrough, especially as he's continued to use his excellent changeup more and more. The Rays will probably let him go a little more this year with their rotation, but even if they keep his usage the same, he'll be an excellent addition to the back end of a fantasy staff.
36 weeks ago
Jordan Hicks Note
Jordan Hicks photo 244. Jordan Hicks RP - STL
Hicks is likely to serve as the Cardinals' closer this year if he can show that he has fully recovered from Tommy John surgery. He totaled 20 saves from 2018-2019 before hurting his elbow, and then opted out of last season, in part because of setbacks in his recovery. Early reports from the spring are promising, and it seems that the Cardinals want him and his 100+ MPH fastball to lead the way in the ninth inning. Monitor his health in the spring, but draft him late for now and expect saves so long as he is healthy.
36 weeks ago
Jake Odorizzi Note
Jake Odorizzi photo 245. Jake Odorizzi SP - HOU
Griffin Canning Note
Griffin Canning photo 246. Griffin Canning SP - LAA
It's mostly about health with Canning, who offers a great deal of stability when he's on the mound. You can expect at worst a low 4.00 ERA, about a 1.30 WHIP, and roughly a strikeout per inning. But he did close last season notably strong, pitching to a 3.14 ERA, and a 1.19 WHIP, with a 14.5% swinging strike rate and a 10.4 K/9 mark over his final five starts. That's probably his ceiling, but it shows what he's capable of when he is healthy and gets into a groove. He's a fine pick at his cost (which is minimal), but bake in some injury risk.
36 weeks ago
Freddy Peralta Note
Freddy Peralta photo 247. Freddy Peralta RP,SP - MIL
Tony Gonsolin Note
Tony Gonsolin photo 248. Tony Gonsolin SP - LAD
Gonsolin doesn't have a guaranteed spot in the Dodgers' rotation to start the season, and with the team signing Trevor Bauer, it's unclear just how much he'll start this season. His stuff doesn't blow you away, but he's got a 2.60 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP in 86.2 big league innings. And there were gains last year, as he cut his walk rate down and upped his strikeout rate. Gonsolin is an ideal candidate to have on your bench, because if he does get a spot in the rotation, he'll be a popular waiver wire add, and he can add value as a reliever in the meantime. So draft him late, and likely reap the rewards.
36 weeks ago
Diego Castillo Note
Diego Castillo photo 249. Diego Castillo RP - SEA
Joey Votto Note
Joey Votto photo 250. Joey Votto 1B - CIN
Austin Hays Note
Austin Hays photo 251. Austin Hays LF,CF,RF - BAL
Randal Grichuk Note
Randal Grichuk photo 252. Randal Grichuk CF,RF,DH - TOR
Bobby Dalbec Note
Bobby Dalbec photo 253. Bobby Dalbec 1B,3B - BOS
If you like Miguel Sano, you'll absolutely love Dalbec. He crushes the ball routinely (it was a small sample, but he had a 22%(!) barrel rate last year in 23 games), strikes out a ton (42.4% rate last year), and is equally likely to look like the best player in baseball at times as he is to look like the worst. He'll be the everyday first baseman for the Red Sox this year which means plenty of counting stats with perhaps 30 home runs if he stays healthy the whole year. Just have batting average help elsewhere if you draft him, as he'll almost certainly provide negative value in that category.
36 weeks ago
Drew Pomeranz Note
Drew Pomeranz photo 254. Drew Pomeranz RP - SD
Pomeranz likely would have, at the very least, factored into the closer's mix for San Diego prior to the Mark Melancon and Keone Kela signings. After finally switching into a full-time reliever role last year, Pomeranz shined, with a 1.45 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP, and a 39.7% strikeout rate. Although he may still be in line for save opportunities, the presence of Melancon, Kela, and Emilio Pagan muddy the waters. That's especially true given that Pomeranz is currently the only healthy and reliable left-hander in the bullpen. Pomeranz is worth a late selection until and unless Jayce Tingler declares that he's not an option for the ninth inning.
36 weeks ago
Drew Smyly Note
Drew Smyly photo 255. Drew Smyly SP,RP - FA
If you're willing to buy into Smyly's 2020 season, then he's likely to come at a major discount in drafts. He added more than two miles per hour to his fastball, struck out 37.8% of the batters he faced, and leaned more into his excellent curveball. There's reason for optimism after the Braves offered him a substantial one-year deal. Of course, Smyly's real issue is his health, as he missed two full seasons because of Tommy John surgery and even last year was limited to 26 1/3 innings. But there's reason to believe his gains last year are sustainable, so taking him late in your drafts, is worth the gamble.
36 weeks ago
Greg Holland Note
Greg Holland photo 256. Greg Holland RP - FA
Holland re-signed with the Royals after an outstanding season, during which he put up an ERA under 2.00 and a WHIP below 1.00 for the first time since 2014. He'll almost certainly begin the year as the closer, but he's unlikely to stay in the role for the entire season. Even if he's not dealt to a contender by the trade deadline, his walk rate is surely to be closer to the 5.3/9 innings that he put up his previous four seasons, rather than the 2.22 he managed last year. Draft Holland late as someone who can chip in saves early, but be prepared to hit the waiver wire later in the year.
36 weeks ago
Willi Castro Note
Willi Castro photo 257. Willi Castro SS,2B,LF - DET
Bryan Reynolds Note
Bryan Reynolds photo 258. Bryan Reynolds LF,CF - PIT
Andrew Vaughn Note
Andrew Vaughn photo 259. Andrew Vaughn 1B,LF,RF - CWS
Vaughn's minor league numbers from 2019 don't jump off the page, but make no mistake, he has the talent to become an instant quality hitter in the majors. He raked all throughout his college career, and not only carries plenty of thump in his bat, but also has an excellent approach that should keep his batting average and OBP well above the league average. He looks more and more likely to win the everyday DH job for the White Sox, in which case, he'd be an absolute steal if you can get him outside the top 160 or so, which you should be able to do everywhere.
36 weeks ago
Jeimer Candelario Note
Jeimer Candelario photo 260. Jeimer Candelario 1B,3B - DET
Candelario isn't going to wow you with his numbers, but he'll bat in the middle of the Tigers' order, has eligibility at first and third base, and improved his quality of contact greatly last year. You can try to write off his 2020 production as a product of the shortened season, but given his solid 2018 campaign, it looks more like 2019, and not 2020, was the outlier. Candelario probably tops out at 20 homers, but he should provide a decent average and be a fine bench player for most fantasy leagues.
36 weeks ago
Zach Davies Note
Zach Davies photo 261. Zach Davies SP - FA
Davies has quietly put together two quality seasons, with a 3.55 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 2019, and a 2.73 ERA and 1.07 WHIP last year. Notably, he started throwing more changeups in 2020, which led both to an increased swinging strike rate and strikeout rate. But his xERA was still 5.01, and although he routinely outperforms his expected stats, it's a reminder not to get too high on a pitcher who amounts to a command specialist. The upside is that after a trade to the Cubs, he'll face mostly weak offenses, which should help to boost his floor a bit.
36 weeks ago
Manuel Margot Note
Manuel Margot photo 262. Manuel Margot LF,CF,RF - TB
Ryan McMahon Note
Ryan McMahon photo 263. Ryan McMahon 1B,2B,3B - COL
Chris Sale Note
Chris Sale photo 264. Chris Sale SP - BOS
Jonathan Villar Note
Jonathan Villar photo 265. Jonathan Villar 2B,SS,3B - FA
Villar's quality of contact dropped significantly last year, but given how out of character it was for his career, the decline can probably be written off to the small sample of the shortened season. But he was still one of the league leaders in stolen bases with 16 and he showed no hesitation about running whenever he got the chance. The bigger issue is that Villar won't have a regular role now that he's with the Mets, but instead will be a super-utility player. With that said, Villar's versatility should allow him to see a few starts each week, and he should see action as a defensive replacement and pinch runner. All that to say that Villar should tack on 15-20 steals over the course of the season, and therefore make a viable middle infield option despite his lack of a regular role.
36 weeks ago
Willy Adames Note
Willy Adames photo 266. Willy Adames SS - MIL
Emilio Pagan Note
Emilio Pagan photo 267. Emilio Pagan RP - SD
Matthew Boyd Note
Matthew Boyd photo 268. Matthew Boyd SP - FA
Framber Valdez Note
Framber Valdez photo 269. Framber Valdez SP - HOU
Valdez was shaping up to be a fine sleeper this year, after he had a highly successful stint in the Astros rotation last year. But he fractured his finger early in spring training and the expectation is that he'll miss significant time, though recent reports are far more optimistic than the initial season-ending variety. Drop him down a ton from where you initially had him ranked, but draft him toward the back end of your rotation where the risk/reward balance should equalize.
36 weeks ago
Austin Nola Note
Austin Nola photo 270. Austin Nola C - SD
Nola has proven to be a quality bat for a catcher over the last two seasons, batting .271 with 17 home runs in 127 games over that span. He's in a great situation with the Padres, even if he will be batting at the bottom of the lineup, but a fractured finger will likely lead him to begin the season on the IL. Depending on how much time he'll miss, that could create a buying opportunity, as his ADP should drop a bit. As long he isn't projected to miss more than a couple of weeks, take the discount and enjoy premium production from the catcher position for the rest of the season.
36 weeks ago
Joakim Soria Note
Joakim Soria photo 271. Joakim Soria RP - FA
The Diamondbacks gave Soria a one-year, $3.5 million deal after his successful stint with the A's. Soria fixed his home run problem from 2019, which was an outlier for his career anyway, and his 2020 numbers looked much more in line with his typical output. Soria hasn't been named the closer, but given that he has totaled at least 16 saves in eight separate seasons, it's a strong bet that he'll begin the year in the ninth inning. The Diamondbacks aren't expected to be competitive, so if you do draft him, bank on him being traded to another team, and into another role, by mid-season.
36 weeks ago
Garrett Hampson Note
Garrett Hampson photo 272. Garrett Hampson 2B,CF - COL
Giovanny Gallegos Note
Giovanny Gallegos photo 273. Giovanny Gallegos RP - STL
Gallegos pitched well last year with the Cardinals despite seeing limited innings because of his difficulty in getting to the states in the middle of a pandemic. But he was effective when he pithed, and owns a career 3.06 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and 31.6% strikeout rate. The Cardinals want Jordan Hicks to be their closer, but Gallegos will undoubtedly be in the mix should Hick prove ineffective or suffer a setback in his return from Tommy John surgery.
36 weeks ago
Victor Reyes Note
Victor Reyes photo 274. Victor Reyes LF,CF,RF - DET
Kole Calhoun Note
Kole Calhoun photo 275. Kole Calhoun RF - TEX
Calhoun tore his knee meniscus in early March, and has a 4-6 week timetable for his recovery. When healthy, he offers a fairly reliable baseline of production: he will hit plenty of homers and drain your batting average, while offering passable but unspectacular counting statistics otherwise. He's a fine bench outfielder who can always be a plug-in, and he'll likely be essentially free in drafts this year with the injury.
36 weeks ago
Yusei Kikuchi Note
Yusei Kikuchi photo 276. Yusei Kikuchi SP - FA
Mike Minor Note
Mike Minor photo 277. Mike Minor SP - KC
Anthony Bass Note
Anthony Bass photo 278. Anthony Bass RP - MIA
Bass will likely be in the mix for saves with Yimi Garcia (and possibly Dylan Floro) after he signed a two-year deal with the Marlins. He lacks the typical strikeout stuff of most closers, but he's totaled 12 saves, a 3.54 ERA, and a 0.99 WHIP over the past two years. Bass is an extreme ground ball pitcher (62.3% ground ball rate last year), which is how he's able to survive without big time stuff. But Don Mattingly likely won't name a closer until the end of spring training, so draft Bass late for now, but have plenty of other bullpen options.
36 weeks ago
Alex Dickerson Note
Alex Dickerson photo 279. Alex Dickerson LF - FA
Elvis Andrus Note
Elvis Andrus photo 280. Elvis Andrus SS - OAK
Buster Posey Note
Buster Posey photo 281. Buster Posey C - FA
Posey sat out the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and concern for the health of his adopted daughters, but he returns this year for what is almost certainly his final season with the Giants and perhaps his career. Posey is in his age-34 season, ancient for a catcher, and he's coming off two seasons during which he totaled a .741 OPS and a .688 OPS in 2018 and 2019 respectively. But he's healthy and appears refreshed, and the changes to Oracle Park last year should work in his benefit now. He's outside the top-12 catchers, but you can get away with him in a one-catcher league in a pinch.
36 weeks ago
Ty France Note
Ty France photo 282. Ty France 2B,DH,1B - SEA
Ha-Seong Kim Note
Ha-Seong Kim photo 283. Ha-Seong Kim SS,3B,2B - SD
Kim joins a loaded Padres team after a successful career in the KBO. He had a particularly strong 2020 season, slashing .306/.397/.523 with 30 home runs and 23 steals. Although he split time between shortstop and third base in the KBO, he should likely man second for the Padres, which is better for his fantasy value given the relative lack of strength of the position (though the signing of Jurickson Profar does add a few question marks). Kim is younger than most hitters coming over from the KBO - only 25 - and he has the speed and power to reach double digits in steals and homers pretty easily. But he's more of a 15-15 type of player, rather than the potential 30-25 he was last year, and he'll likely bat near the bottom of the order, limiting his plate appearance and runs and RBI opportunities. Draft him as a middle infield option, but with upside.
36 weeks ago
Pete Fairbanks Note
Pete Fairbanks photo 284. Pete Fairbanks RP - TB
Domingo German Note
Domingo German photo 285. Domingo German SP - NYY
German has won the fifth starter's job after a torrid spring, during which he didn't allow a run over nine innings pitched while walking one and striking out 13. German's off-the-field issues aside, he was a quality MLB pitcher in 2019, and he should be a decent contributor in four categories, especially considering his low walk rate. He's not risk-free, as a downturn in his performance could lead to Deivi Garcia coming back in the rotation. But he's a fine, late-round selection.
36 weeks ago
Jesus Aguilar Note
Jesus Aguilar photo 286. Jesus Aguilar 1B,DH - MIA
Wander Franco Note
Wander Franco photo 287. Wander Franco SS - TB
Tommy La Stella Note
Tommy La Stella photo 288. Tommy La Stella 1B,2B - SF
Taijuan Walker Note
Taijuan Walker photo 289. Taijuan Walker SP - NYM
Rowdy Tellez Note
Rowdy Tellez photo 290. Rowdy Tellez 1B,DH - MIL
Mark Melancon Note
Mark Melancon photo 291. Mark Melancon RP - ARI
Melancon had another fine year as the Braves' closer, and now joins the back end of the Padres bullpen. It's unclear if he'll serve as the closer, a Drew Pomeranz and Emilio Pagan also may have a claim to the role. Melancon is entering his age-36 season and his strikeout rate is mediocre at best. Although he is still performing well, his lack of pure stuff suggests that the wheels could come off at any moment. That said, he'll have plenty of value if he can earn the ninth-inning role, so monitor the reports out of spring, and draft him late until and unless he's officially ruled out for the role.
36 weeks ago
Daniel Bard Note
Daniel Bard photo 292. Daniel Bard RP - COL
Bard comes into 2021 as the Rockies' presumptive closer, after he came out of a two-year retirement to pitch in the majors for the first time since 2013. Bard's control problems, which derailed his career, were largely solved, and his 3.65 ERA and 1.30 WHIP were more than passable for a Colorado closer. Mychal Givens remains, and Scott Oberg will try to pitch effectively after undergoing thoracic outlet surgery, but if Bard can maintain his control, he'll likely earn and hold the closer's job.
36 weeks ago
Archie Bradley Note
Archie Bradley photo 293. Archie Bradley RP - FA
Bradley joined the Phillies on a one-year deal after a successful 2020 season with Arizona and Philadelphia. He performed admirably over the past two seasons as the Diamondbacks' closer, and last year put up a very solid 2.95 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 24.7% strikeout rate. The Phillies were open about their desire to add some velocity to their bullpen and Bradley does just that. But although Joe Girardi has indicated he'd like set roles for the Phillies' bullpen, those roles may not be decided until close to the end of spring training. Bradley is worth drafting, but only late, as he may go back to his former role as a setup man.
36 weeks ago
Adam Eaton Note
Adam Eaton photo 294. Adam Eaton RF - FA
Yadier Molina Note
Yadier Molina photo 295. Yadier Molina C - STL
The ageless wonder is back for another year in St. Louis as he enters his age-39 season. Molina isn't what he once was - the token stolen bases are gone and his runs scored continue to decline. But he has yet to fall off a cliff in either batting average of power, and his numbers there are still mildly enticing for a catcher. The run is going to end some day, perhaps this year, but the cost is that of a middling second catcher, and his track record suggests he'll again be worth that price.
36 weeks ago
Alex Kirilloff Note
Alex Kirilloff photo 296. Alex Kirilloff RF,1B,LF - MIN
Kirilloff's bat is probably major-league ready, but since he hasn't yet played above Double-A and his fielding is iffy at best, he's going to begin the year at the Twins' alternate site. But his .317/.365/.498 slash line in his minor league career suggests he'll hit upon his promotion, which will likely be in late-April once the Twins gain a year of control. Even though he won't begin the year with the big club, draft him for your bench. He'll be an expensive waiver wire pickup if you don't.
36 weeks ago
Justus Sheffield Note
Justus Sheffield photo 297. Justus Sheffield SP,RP - SEA
Carson Kelly Note
Carson Kelly photo 298. Carson Kelly C - ARI
After an impressive 2019 season during which he hit 18 home runs in just 111 games, Kelly had a down 2020, batting just .221 with five long balls. Kelly's walk rate regressed significantly to just 4.7%, and he showed little of the patience that brought him success in 2019. Daulton Varsho is a threat to his playing time, but it seems like Kelly will have the lead role behind the plate, with Varsho filling in and getting time at outfield. That should make Kelly a borderline startable catcher in most mixed leagues, assuming he can bounce back from his down 2020 campaign.
36 weeks ago
Jake McGee Note
Jake McGee photo 299. Jake McGee RP - SF
Amed Rosario Note
Amed Rosario photo 300. Amed Rosario SS,CF - CLE
Noah Syndergaard Note
Noah Syndergaard photo 301. Noah Syndergaard SP - LAA
Nate Pearson Note
Nate Pearson photo 302. Nate Pearson SP,RP - TOR
Pearson is oozing with talent, but he just can't seem to stay healthy. Whether it was elbow soreness last year or the groin strain that is now going to keep him out of action for a bit, something seem to crop up to delay his success in the majors. He wound up pitching just 18 innings overall last year, but the stuff is there, without question. His fastball reaches triple digits, his slider is dominant, and his curveball and changeup are far above average. There's always a bit more uncertainty with young power pitchers, particularly when they've had elbow injuries like Pearson has. And, after trading for Steven Matz, the Blue Jays have plenty of rotation depth and shouldn't feel pressured into rushing Pearson back from injury. In keeper and dynasty formats, he's still a buy, but in redraft leagues, he's probably not worth a pick at this point.
36 weeks ago
David Dahl Note
David Dahl photo 303. David Dahl CF,LF,DH,RF - MIL
Cesar Hernandez Note
Cesar Hernandez photo 304. Cesar Hernandez 2B - FA
Tarik Skubal Note
Tarik Skubal photo 305. Tarik Skubal SP - DET
Brandon Belt Note
Brandon Belt photo 306. Brandon Belt 1B - FA
Justin Upton Note
Justin Upton photo 307. Justin Upton LF - LAA
Myles Straw Note
Myles Straw photo 308. Myles Straw CF - CLE
Isiah Kiner-Falefa Note
Isiah Kiner-Falefa photo 309. Isiah Kiner-Falefa 3B,SS - TEX
Dane Dunning Note
Dane Dunning photo 310. Dane Dunning SP - TEX
Dunning had an interesting seven-start run in 2020. He started out relying heavily on his outstanding slider and his fastball, which led to a strong swinging strike rate and plenty of punchouts in his first few starts. He then abandoned that approach to focus more on his changeup, which led to him missing fewer bats and being less successful. Now with the Rangers, Dunning should get a chance to compete for a rotation spot right out of the gate. He has the tools and skills necessary to be successful, and the draft capital necessary to acquire him should be minimal. He's worth a late-round pick in nearly all formats.
36 weeks ago
Jon Berti Note
Jon Berti photo 311. Jon Berti 2B,CF,3B - MIA
Starlin Castro Note
Starlin Castro photo 312. Starlin Castro 2B,3B - FA
Luis Severino Note
Luis Severino photo 313. Luis Severino SP - NYY
Severino is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, but the reports so far have been generally positive. He's already throwing off a mound in mid-March, and a June return isn't out of the question if he can avoid setbacks. Avoiding setbacks is the key, of course, and it's something that's rare in the world of returning from multiple serious issues, as Severino is trying to do. But, for now, draft him with one of your last picks and stash him in your IL spot, if you have the room.
36 weeks ago
Jurickson Profar Note
Jurickson Profar photo 314. Jurickson Profar 2B,LF,CF,RF,1B - SD
Wilson Ramos Note
Wilson Ramos photo 315. Wilson Ramos C,DH - FA
Jonathan Schoop Note
Jonathan Schoop photo 316. Jonathan Schoop 2B,1B,DH - DET
Kwang Hyun Kim Note
Kwang Hyun Kim photo 317. Kwang Hyun Kim SP,RP - FA
If you want upside with a late-round pitcher, you're looking in the wrong place with Kim. Although he put up a 1.62 ERA and 1.07 WHIP last year, his xFIP and SIERA were each about three runs higher than his ERA. He also struck out just 5.54 batters per nine innings, and never showed much strikeout potential in the KBO. That said, for a pitcher who is basically free in drafts, he offers some decent stability, and is worth taking late if you have an otherwise strong staff, particularly with strikeouts. Back tightness may put him on the IL to start the year, but there does not appear to be any long-term concerns.
36 weeks ago
Corey Dickerson Note
Corey Dickerson photo 318. Corey Dickerson LF,CF - FA
Chris Martin Note
Chris Martin photo 319. Chris Martin RP - FA
Jorge Alfaro Note
Jorge Alfaro photo 320. Jorge Alfaro C,LF - SD
Alfaro batted just .226 in 2020, but he hit .262 from 2018-2019, along with 28 home runs in 238 games. He has been criticized for his defense, but he reportedly worked on it during the offseason and has received some praise this spring. After flirting with trade talk, the Marlins look like they'll stick with Alfaro, and his bat plays well enough to make him a high-end second catcher in mixed leagues. The stardom that some projected may never come, but he'll likely be fantasy-relevant in 2020.
36 weeks ago
Tejay Antone Note
Tejay Antone photo 321. Tejay Antone SP,RP - CIN
Antone's role wasn't entirely clear at the outset of spring training, but he now looks destined for a starter's job, if he can stay healthy. With Sonny Gray and Wade Miley likely to begin the year on the IL, Antone should begin the year in the rotation, assuming he is healthy enough to do so. He's currently battling a groin strain, and his status is uncertain. When healthy, he's got a wipeout slider, enough to pile on the strikeouts, and has enough upside to be worth a late-round dart throw. Monitor his, Gray's, and Miley's health status closely heading into your drafts.
36 weeks ago
Trevor Rogers Note
Trevor Rogers photo 322. Trevor Rogers SP - MIA
Daulton Varsho Note
Daulton Varsho photo 323. Daulton Varsho C,CF,RF,LF - ARI
Varsho was optioned to Triple-A, which was mildly surprising, though not entirely unexpected. He 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. Varsho was optioned less because of his talent level and more because the Diamondbacks' roster is pretty full, especially with the signing of Asdrubal Cabrera,. There's a ton of potential for Varsho, given that he was a high-average hitter during his minor-league career, but fantasy managers will need to wait a bit longer for him to become someone to start in fantasy leagues.
36 weeks ago
Robbie Ray Note
Robbie Ray photo 324. Robbie Ray SP - SEA
MacKenzie Gore Note
MacKenzie Gore photo 325. MacKenzie Gore SP - SD
Eloy Jimenez Note
Eloy Jimenez photo 326. Eloy Jimenez LF,DH - CWS
Jimenez is going to miss 5-6 months with a ruptured pectoral tendon, an absolutely brutal blow to a player who was being drafted as a borderline top-10 outfielder. You can draft him with your last pick and hope to be able to stash him on your IL all season long, but for the most part, you can ignore him in redraft formats.
36 weeks ago
Mauricio Dubon Note
Mauricio Dubon photo 327. Mauricio Dubon CF,SS,2B,3B - SF
Adam Ottavino Note
Adam Ottavino photo 328. Adam Ottavino RP - FA
Nick Wittgren Note
Nick Wittgren photo 329. Nick Wittgren RP - FA
Brad Keller Note
Brad Keller photo 330. Brad Keller SP - KC
Jo Adell Note
Jo Adell photo 331. Jo Adell RF,LF - LAA
Jackie Bradley Jr. Note
Jackie Bradley Jr. photo 332. Jackie Bradley Jr. CF,LF,RF - MIL
Alejandro Kirk Note
Alejandro Kirk photo 333. Alejandro Kirk C - 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.
36 weeks ago
Nathaniel Lowe Note
Nathaniel Lowe photo 334. Nathaniel Lowe 1B - TEX
Hunter Renfroe Note
Hunter Renfroe photo 335. Hunter Renfroe RF - BOS
Maikel Franco Note
Maikel Franco photo 336. Maikel Franco 3B - FA
Avisail Garcia Note
Avisail Garcia photo 337. Avisail Garcia CF,RF - MIA
Tyler O'Neill Note
Tyler O'Neill photo 338. Tyler O'Neill LF - STL
Nick Anderson Note
Nick Anderson photo 339. Nick Anderson RP - TB
Anderson has a partial tear of his elbow ligament and, although he won't need surgery, he is likely out until after the All-Star Break. Although he can be dominant when healthy, there's no reason to draft and stash him at this point, given that he won't even be the sole closer for the Rays if and when he returns.
36 weeks ago
Mitch Keller Note
Mitch Keller photo 340. Mitch Keller SP - PIT
In his brief MLB career, Keller is the author of one of the unluckiest (2019) and luckiest (2020) seasons in recent memory. So, the best course of action is to essentially ignore his 69 major league innings and focus on his stuff and minor league career. If you do that, there's a lot to like. Keller has a mid-90s fastball to go along with an above average slider and curveball. Over more than 500 minor league innings, he had a 25.5% strikeout rate, a 3.12 ERA, and a 1.15 WHIP. He will likely struggle for wins on the Pirates, but he'll also get a long leash given the dearth of reliable options, and he should face mostly weak offenses in the NL Central. Keller likely won't be a star, but he'll probably outperform where you need to draft him.
36 weeks ago
Tanner Scott Note
Tanner Scott photo 341. Tanner Scott RP - BAL
Evan White Note
Evan White photo 342. Evan White 1B - SEA
Nick Ahmed Note
Nick Ahmed photo 343. Nick Ahmed SS - ARI
Sam Hilliard Note
Sam Hilliard photo 344. Sam Hilliard LF,CF,RF,3B - COL
Andrelton Simmons Note
Andrelton Simmons photo 345. Andrelton Simmons SS - FA
Kike Hernandez Note
Kike Hernandez photo 346. Kike Hernandez 2B,RF,CF - BOS
Stefan Crichton Note
Stefan Crichton photo 347. Stefan Crichton RP - ARI
Crichton filled in admirably for Archie Bradley after Bradley was traded last season. His strikeout numbers weren't particularly impressive, but he had a 2.42 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP, and tallied five saves. He doesn't have prototypical "closer's stuff," but he's more than capable of getting major league hitters out. The Diamondbacks signed Joakim Soria to a one-year deal (and added Tyler Clippard, too), so Crichton seems unlikely to begin the year as the closer, even though it's an open competition at the moment. He's not worth anything other than an extremely late-round pick as a speculative ninth-inning option.
36 weeks ago
Madison Bumgarner Note
Madison Bumgarner photo 348. Madison Bumgarner SP - ARI
Danny Jansen Note
Danny Jansen photo 349. Danny Jansen C - 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.
36 weeks ago
Josh Lindblom Note
Josh Lindblom photo 350. Josh Lindblom SP,RP - MIL
Willie Calhoun Note
Willie Calhoun photo 351. Willie Calhoun DH,LF - TEX
Calhoun was set to build on his breakout 2019 season when an errant pitch fractured his jaw in spring training. Even with the delayed season, he was never able to fully recover, at least not mentally, and he had a lost campaign. He's now back and focused, particularly after working with a hitting coach in the offseason. He will likely earn everyday at-bats splitting time between DH and the outfield, but a low grade groin strain is going to keep him out of action for a couple of weeks. His draft price is negligible, so feel free to stash him with one of your last picks, and hopefully reap the rewards after the first week or two of the season.
36 weeks ago
Dylan Cease Note
Dylan Cease photo 352. Dylan Cease SP - CWS
Michael Kopech Note
Michael Kopech photo 353. Michael Kopech SP,RP - CWS
Kopech remains one of the top pitching prospects in the game, but he hasn't pitched competitively in about two-and-a-half year at this point. His fastball and slider are more than MLB caliber, and he had a 31.2% strikeout rate in the minors. But after missing all of 2019 with Tommy John surgery and opting out last year, it wouldn't be wise to just expect Kopech to step right back into a rotation without any growing pains. The White Sox also have depth in their rotation after trading for Lance Lynn and signing Carlos Rodon, so Chicago can, and likely will, stick Kopech in the minors to start the year to continue his development. But given their championship aspirations, he should crack the rotation at some point during the season if he show he is back to form.
36 weeks ago
Luis Arraez Note
Luis Arraez photo 354. Luis Arraez 2B,3B,LF - MIN
Jake Diekman Note
Jake Diekman photo 355. Jake Diekman RP - FA
Yan Gomes Note
Yan Gomes photo 356. Yan Gomes C - CHC
Robbie Grossman Note
Robbie Grossman photo 357. Robbie Grossman LF,RF - DET
Joey Wendle Note
Joey Wendle photo 358. Joey Wendle 2B,3B,SS - MIA
Luke Weaver Note
Luke Weaver photo 359. Luke Weaver SP - ARI
J.A. Happ Note
J.A. Happ photo 360. J.A. Happ SP - FA
Josh Naylor Note
Josh Naylor photo 361. Josh Naylor LF,RF,1B - CLE
Adam Duvall Note
Adam Duvall photo 362. Adam Duvall LF,RF,CF - ATL
Franchy Cordero Note
Franchy Cordero photo 363. Franchy Cordero RF,LF,1B - BOS
Cristian Pache Note
Cristian Pache photo 364. Cristian Pache LF,CF - ATL
Colin Moran Note
Colin Moran photo 365. Colin Moran 1B,DH - PIT
Caleb Smith Note
Caleb Smith photo 366. Caleb Smith SP,RP - ARI
Gregory Polanco Note
Gregory Polanco photo 367. Gregory Polanco RF - FA
Spencer Turnbull Note
Spencer Turnbull photo 368. Spencer Turnbull SP - DET
A.J. Puk Note
A.J. Puk photo 369. A.J. Puk RP - OAK
Casey Mize Note
Casey Mize photo 370. Casey Mize SP - DET
Tanner Rainey Note
Tanner Rainey photo 371. Tanner Rainey RP - WSH
Jazz Chisholm Jr. Note
Jazz Chisholm Jr. photo 372. Jazz Chisholm Jr. 2B,SS - MIA
Alex Reyes Note
Alex Reyes photo 373. Alex Reyes RP - STL
Austin Slater Note
Austin Slater photo 374. Austin Slater RF,DH,CF,LF - SF
Jonathan India Note
Jonathan India photo 375. Jonathan India 3B,2B - CIN
Adbert Alzolay Note
Adbert Alzolay photo 376. Adbert Alzolay SP,RP - CHC
Yimi Garcia Note
Yimi Garcia photo 377. Yimi Garcia RP - TOR
Garcia was the favorite for saves in Miami until the team signed Anthony Bass, and now his exact role in the bullpen is unclear. He struck out 31.7% of the batter he faced last year, and put up a 0.80 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. He's got more prototypical "closer's stuff" than Bass does, and he has a lengthy relationship with Don Mattingly dating back to their Dodgers days. Draft Garcia late and hope he wins the job, but make sure you have other options.
36 weeks ago
Yasiel Puig Note
Yasiel Puig photo 378. Yasiel Puig RF - FA
Lucas Sims Note
Lucas Sims photo 379. Lucas Sims RP - CIN
Sims had a fine 2020, going 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA a 0.94 WHIP, and plenty of strikeouts. He'll be in the mix for the Reds' closer job with Amir Garrett and Sean Doolittle, though his early bout with elbow soreness this spring doesn't help him. Monitor the reports out of spring training, but he's a late-round speculative draft pick at best at the moment.
36 weeks ago
Miles Mikolas Note
Miles Mikolas photo 380. Miles Mikolas SP - STL
Chad Green Note
Chad Green photo 381. Chad Green RP - NYY
Renato Nunez Note
Renato Nunez photo 382. Renato Nunez 1B,DH - BAL
Tom Murphy Note
Tom Murphy photo 383. Tom Murphy C - SEA
Anthony DeSclafani Note
Anthony DeSclafani photo 384. Anthony DeSclafani SP - SF
Adam Wainwright Note
Adam Wainwright photo 385. Adam Wainwright SP - STL
Miguel Cabrera Note
Miguel Cabrera photo 386. Miguel Cabrera DH,1B - DET
Deivi Garcia Note
Deivi Garcia photo 387. Deivi Garcia SP - NYY
Logan Webb Note
Logan Webb photo 388. Logan Webb SP - SF
Donovan Solano Note
Donovan Solano photo 389. Donovan Solano 2B - FA
Seth Lugo Note
Seth Lugo photo 390. Seth Lugo SP,RP - NYM
Jose Iglesias Note
Jose Iglesias photo 391. Jose Iglesias SS,DH,2B - BAL
Omar Narvaez Note
Omar Narvaez photo 392. Omar Narvaez C - MIL
Trevor May Note
Trevor May photo 393. Trevor May RP - NYM
Stephen Piscotty Note
Stephen Piscotty photo 394. Stephen Piscotty RF - OAK
Jason Heyward Note
Jason Heyward photo 395. Jason Heyward RF - CHC
Evan Longoria Note
Evan Longoria photo 396. Evan Longoria 3B - SF
Carlos Martinez Note
Carlos Martinez photo 397. Carlos Martinez SP - FA
Shohei Ohtani Note
Shohei Ohtani photo 398. Shohei Ohtani DH - LAA
Miguel Rojas Note
Miguel Rojas photo 399. Miguel Rojas SS - MIA
Wilmer Flores Note
Wilmer Flores photo 400. Wilmer Flores 1B,2B,DH,3B - SF
Josh Rojas Note
Josh Rojas photo 401. Josh Rojas 2B,SS,RF,LF,3B - ARI
Rich Hill Note
Rich Hill photo 402. Rich Hill SP - FA
Emmanuel Clase Note
Emmanuel Clase photo 403. Emmanuel Clase RP - CLE
Spencer Howard Note
Spencer Howard photo 404. Spencer Howard SP - TEX
Jose Quintana Note
Jose Quintana photo 405. Jose Quintana SP,RP - PIT
Adam Frazier Note
Adam Frazier photo 406. Adam Frazier 2B,LF - SEA
Kevin Newman Note
Kevin Newman photo 407. Kevin Newman 2B,SS - PIT
Carlos Rodon Note
Carlos Rodon photo 408. Carlos Rodon SP - FA
Garrett Cooper Note
Garrett Cooper photo 409. Garrett Cooper 1B,DH,RF - MIA
Aaron Bummer Note
Aaron Bummer photo 410. Aaron Bummer RP - CWS
Ian Kennedy Note
Ian Kennedy photo 411. Ian Kennedy RP - FA
Pedro Severino Note
Pedro Severino photo 412. Pedro Severino C,DH - MIL
Max Stassi Note
Max Stassi photo 413. Max Stassi C - LAA
Chris Archer Note
Chris Archer photo 414. Chris Archer SP - TB
Jose Alvarado Note
Jose Alvarado photo 415. Jose Alvarado RP - PHI
Garrett Richards Note
Garrett Richards photo 416. Garrett Richards SP,RP - FA
Kevin Kiermaier Note
Kevin Kiermaier photo 417. Kevin Kiermaier CF - TB
Merrill Kelly Note
Merrill Kelly photo 418. Merrill Kelly SP - ARI
Ryan Jeffers Note
Ryan Jeffers photo 419. Ryan Jeffers C - MIN
JaCoby Jones Note
JaCoby Jones photo 420. JaCoby Jones CF - KC
Jacob Stallings Note
Jacob Stallings photo 421. Jacob Stallings C - MIA
Kevin Pillar Note
Kevin Pillar photo 422. Kevin Pillar CF,RF,LF - FA
Randy Dobnak Note
Randy Dobnak photo 423. Randy Dobnak SP,RP - MIN
Daulton Jefferies Note
Daulton Jefferies photo 424. Daulton Jefferies SP - OAK
Gregory Soto Note
Gregory Soto photo 425. Gregory Soto RP - DET
Blake Treinen Note
Blake Treinen photo 426. Blake Treinen RP - LAD
Brent Suter Note
Brent Suter photo 427. Brent Suter SP,RP - MIL
Ross Stripling Note
Ross Stripling photo 428. Ross Stripling SP,RP - TOR
Elias Diaz Note
Elias Diaz photo 429. Elias Diaz C - COL
Brendan Rodgers Note
Brendan Rodgers photo 430. Brendan Rodgers 2B,SS - COL
Rodgers was the favorite for the second base job in Colorado and was having a blistering spring, slashing .348/.400/.652 in 10 games. But he suffered a hamstring strain and now is expected to miss a month. Rodgers is still a post-hype sleeper and he will be free in drafts at this point. As an upside bench piece with speed, he's worth a shot, but not as anything more.
36 weeks ago
Tyler Duffey Note
Tyler Duffey photo 431. Tyler Duffey RP - MIN
Rafael Dolis Note
Rafael Dolis photo 432. Rafael Dolis RP - FA
J.P. Crawford Note
J.P. Crawford photo 433. J.P. Crawford SS - SEA
Josh Staumont Note
Josh Staumont photo 434. Josh Staumont RP - KC
Mitch Moreland Note
Mitch Moreland photo 435. Mitch Moreland 1B,DH - FA
Yandy Diaz Note
Yandy Diaz photo 436. Yandy Diaz 3B,1B - TB
Tanner Houck Note
Tanner Houck photo 437. Tanner Houck SP,RP - BOS
Harrison Bader Note
Harrison Bader photo 438. Harrison Bader CF - STL
Danny Duffy Note
Danny Duffy photo 439. Danny Duffy SP - FA
Reyes Moronta Note
Reyes Moronta photo 440. Reyes Moronta RP - FA
Adrian Morejon Note
Adrian Morejon photo 441. Adrian Morejon SP,RP - SD
Masahiro Tanaka Note
Masahiro Tanaka photo 442. Masahiro Tanaka SP - FA
Mike Mayers Note
Mike Mayers photo 443. Mike Mayers RP - LAA
Brusdar Graterol Note
Brusdar Graterol photo 444. Brusdar Graterol RP - LAD
Alex Wood Note
Alex Wood photo 445. Alex Wood RP,SP - SF
Kurt Suzuki Note
Kurt Suzuki photo 446. Kurt Suzuki C - FA
JT Brubaker Note
JT Brubaker photo 447. JT Brubaker SP - PIT
Adrian Houser Note
Adrian Houser photo 448. Adrian Houser SP - MIL
Bryan Garcia Note
Bryan Garcia photo 449. Bryan Garcia RP - DET
Garcia is the favorite for the closer's role in Detroit, but don't be fooled by his 1.66 ERA last year, as it came with a 5.74 xFIP and a 4.98 K/9 mark. His minor league career has been fairly stellar (2.50 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 11.5 K/9), and he has extensive experience as a closer from both college and the minors. If you're drafting a Tigers reliever, it should be Garcia, but only at a bargain-basement price.
36 weeks ago
Scott Kingery Note
Scott Kingery photo 450. Scott Kingery 2B - PHI
Luis Urias Note
Luis Urias photo 451. Luis Urias 2B,3B,SS - MIL
Niko Goodrum Note
Niko Goodrum photo 452. Niko Goodrum 2B,SS - FA
Roberto Osuna Note
Roberto Osuna photo 453. Roberto Osuna RP - FA
Nico Hoerner Note
Nico Hoerner photo 454. Nico Hoerner 2B,SS - CHC
Freddy Galvis Note
Freddy Galvis photo 455. Freddy Galvis 2B,SS,3B - FA
Brandon Kintzler Note
Brandon Kintzler photo 456. Brandon Kintzler RP - FA
Edwin Rios Note
Edwin Rios photo 457. Edwin Rios 3B,1B - LAD
Tyler Matzek Note
Tyler Matzek photo 458. Tyler Matzek RP - ATL
Andrew Miller Note
Andrew Miller photo 459. Andrew Miller RP - FA
Michael Lorenzen Note
Michael Lorenzen photo 460. Michael Lorenzen RP - LAA
Oscar Mercado Note
Oscar Mercado photo 461. Oscar Mercado LF,CF,RF - CLE
Cedric Mullins II Note
Cedric Mullins II photo 462. Cedric Mullins II CF - BAL
Brandon Workman Note
Brandon Workman photo 463. Brandon Workman RP - FA
Garrett Crochet Note
Garrett Crochet photo 464. Garrett Crochet RP - CWS
Zack Britton Note
Zack Britton photo 465. Zack Britton RP - NYY
Matt Wisler Note
Matt Wisler photo 466. Matt Wisler SP,RP - TB
Khris Davis Note
Khris Davis photo 467. Khris Davis DH - FA
Shogo Akiyama Note
Shogo Akiyama photo 468. Shogo Akiyama LF,CF - CIN
Johnny Cueto Note
Johnny Cueto photo 469. Johnny Cueto SP - FA
Francisco Mejia Note
Francisco Mejia photo 470. Francisco Mejia C - TB
Dean Kremer Note
Dean Kremer photo 471. Dean Kremer SP - BAL