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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Javier Baez Note
Javier Baez photo 56. Javier Baez SS
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.
8 weeks ago
Anthony Rizzo Note
Anthony Rizzo photo 74. Anthony Rizzo 1B
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.
8 weeks ago
Kyle Hendricks Note
Kyle Hendricks photo 76. Kyle Hendricks SP
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.
8 weeks ago
Kris Bryant Note
Kris Bryant photo 100. Kris Bryant 3B,CF,LF,RF
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.
8 weeks ago
Willson Contreras Note
Willson Contreras photo 138. Willson Contreras C
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.
8 weeks ago
Ian Happ Note
Ian Happ photo 141. Ian Happ CF,LF
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.
8 weeks ago
Craig Kimbrel Note
Craig Kimbrel photo 172. Craig Kimbrel RP
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.
8 weeks ago
Joc Pederson Note
Joc Pederson photo 241. Joc Pederson LF
Zach Davies Note
Zach Davies photo 262. Zach Davies SP
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.
8 weeks ago
Adbert Alzolay Note
Adbert Alzolay photo 375. Adbert Alzolay SP
Jason Heyward Note
Jason Heyward photo 389. Jason Heyward RF
Nico Hoerner Note
Nico Hoerner photo 451. Nico Hoerner 2B
Rowan Wick Note
Rowan Wick photo 478. Rowan Wick RP
David Bote Note
David Bote photo 492. David Bote 2B,3B
Alec Mills Note
Alec Mills photo 501. Alec Mills SP,RP
Andrew Chafin Note
Andrew Chafin photo 560. Andrew Chafin RP
Jason Adam Note
Jason Adam photo 584. Jason Adam RP
Austin Romine Note
Austin Romine photo 625. Austin Romine C
Ryan Tepera Note
Ryan Tepera photo 659. Ryan Tepera RP
Jake Marisnick Note
Jake Marisnick photo 675. Jake Marisnick CF
Eric Sogard Note
Eric Sogard photo 721. Eric Sogard 2B,3B
Jake Arrieta Note
Jake Arrieta photo 730. Jake Arrieta SP
Dan Winkler Note
Dan Winkler photo 813. Dan Winkler RP
Trevor Williams Note
Trevor Williams photo 823. Trevor Williams SP
Jonathan Holder Note
Jonathan Holder photo 827. Jonathan Holder RP
Cameron Maybin Note
Cameron Maybin photo 862. Cameron Maybin RF
Robert Stock Note
Robert Stock photo 876. Robert Stock RP
Justin Steele Note
Justin Steele photo 906. Justin Steele SP
Keegan Thompson Note
Keegan Thompson photo 948. Keegan Thompson SP
Cory Abbott Note
Cory Abbott photo 964. Cory Abbott SP
Kyle Ryan Note
Kyle Ryan photo 984. Kyle Ryan RP
Shelby Miller Note
Shelby Miller photo 1021. Shelby Miller RP
Brad Wieck Note
Brad Wieck photo 1044. Brad Wieck RP
Tony Wolters Note
Tony Wolters photo 1050. Tony Wolters C
Tyson Miller Note
Tyson Miller photo 1075. Tyson Miller SP
Dillon Maples Note
Dillon Maples photo 1117. Dillon Maples RP
Adam Morgan Note
Adam Morgan photo 1142. Adam Morgan RP
Trevor Megill Note
Trevor Megill photo 1165. Trevor Megill RP
Ildemaro Vargas Note
Ildemaro Vargas photo 1189. Ildemaro Vargas 2B
Trayce Thompson Note
Trayce Thompson photo 1248. Trayce Thompson RF
Matt Duffy Note
Matt Duffy photo 1283. Matt Duffy 3B
Manuel Rodriguez Note
Manuel Rodriguez photo 1290. Manuel Rodriguez RP
Brailyn Marquez Note
Brailyn Marquez photo 1296. Brailyn Marquez RP
Rex Brothers Note
Rex Brothers photo 1342. Rex Brothers RP
Kohl Stewart Note
Kohl Stewart photo 1343. Kohl Stewart RP
Joe Biagini Note
Joe Biagini photo 1370. Joe Biagini RP
P.J. Higgins Note
P.J. Higgins photo 1405. P.J. Higgins C
Jose Lobaton Note
Jose Lobaton photo 1427. Jose Lobaton C
Michael Hermosillo Note
Michael Hermosillo photo 1456. Michael Hermosillo LF
Rafael Ortega Note
Rafael Ortega photo 1459. Rafael Ortega LF
Sergio Alcantara Note
Sergio Alcantara photo 1474. Sergio Alcantara 3B
Ian Miller Note
Ian Miller photo 1532. Ian Miller CF
Patrick Wisdom Note
Patrick Wisdom photo 1535. Patrick Wisdom 1B