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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Javier Baez Note
Javier Baez photo 61. 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.
7 hours ago
Anthony Rizzo Note
Anthony Rizzo photo 83. 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.
7 hours ago
Kyle Hendricks Note
Kyle Hendricks photo 88. 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.
7 hours ago
Kris Bryant Note
Kris Bryant photo 103. Kris Bryant 3B
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.
7 hours ago
Willson Contreras Note
Willson Contreras photo 137. Willson Contreras C,DH
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.
7 hours ago
Ian Happ Note
Ian Happ photo 159. Ian Happ LF,CF
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.
7 hours ago
Craig Kimbrel Note
Craig Kimbrel photo 165. 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.
7 hours ago
Zach Davies Note
Zach Davies photo 251. 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.
7 hours ago
Joc Pederson Note
Joc Pederson photo 302. Joc Pederson LF,DH
Jason Heyward Note
Jason Heyward photo 365. Jason Heyward RF
Adbert Alzolay Note
Adbert Alzolay photo 368. Adbert Alzolay SP
Brandon Workman Note
Brandon Workman photo 394. Brandon Workman RP
Nico Hoerner Note
Nico Hoerner photo 433. Nico Hoerner 2B,SS
Alec Mills Note
Alec Mills photo 474. Alec Mills SP
David Bote Note
David Bote photo 546. David Bote 3B
Rowan Wick Note
Rowan Wick photo 560. Rowan Wick RP
Pedro Strop Note
Pedro Strop photo 580. Pedro Strop RP
Trevor Williams Note
Trevor Williams photo 591. Trevor Williams SP
Austin Romine Note
Austin Romine photo 668. Austin Romine C
Jake Arrieta Note
Jake Arrieta photo 728. Jake Arrieta SP
Cameron Maybin Note
Cameron Maybin photo 772. Cameron Maybin RF
Andrew Chafin Note
Andrew Chafin photo 799. Andrew Chafin RP
Cory Abbott Note
Cory Abbott photo 857. Cory Abbott SP
Gray Fenter Note
Gray Fenter photo 879. Gray Fenter SP
Jason Adam Note
Jason Adam photo 883. Jason Adam RP
Keegan Thompson Note
Keegan Thompson photo 885. Keegan Thompson SP
Jake Marisnick Note
Jake Marisnick photo 889. Jake Marisnick CF
Justin Steele Note
Justin Steele photo 893. Justin Steele SP
Brad Wieck Note
Brad Wieck photo 905. Brad Wieck RP
Duane Underwood Jr. Note
Duane Underwood Jr. photo 943. Duane Underwood Jr. RP
Tyson Miller Note
Tyson Miller photo 975. Tyson Miller SP
Jonathan Holder Note
Jonathan Holder photo 995. Jonathan Holder RP
Dillon Maples Note
Dillon Maples photo 1034. Dillon Maples RP
Robert Stock Note
Robert Stock photo 1119. Robert Stock RP
Manuel Rodriguez Note
Manuel Rodriguez photo 1123. Manuel Rodriguez RP
Rex Brothers Note
Rex Brothers photo 1147. Rex Brothers RP
James Bourque Note
James Bourque photo 1180. James Bourque RP
Kyle Ryan Note
Kyle Ryan photo 1185. Kyle Ryan RP
James Norwood Note
James Norwood photo 1202. James Norwood RP
Brailyn Marquez Note
Brailyn Marquez photo 1214. Brailyn Marquez RP
Kohl Stewart Note
Kohl Stewart photo 1220. Kohl Stewart RP
Dan Winkler Note
Dan Winkler photo 1260. Dan Winkler RP
CD Pelham Note
CD Pelham photo 1276. CD Pelham RP
Shelby Miller Note
Shelby Miller photo 1291. Shelby Miller RP
P.J. Higgins Note
P.J. Higgins photo 1331. P.J. Higgins C
Miguel Amaya Note
Miguel Amaya photo 1343. Miguel Amaya C
Matt Duffy Note
Matt Duffy photo 1375. Matt Duffy 3B
Ildemaro Vargas Note
Ildemaro Vargas photo 1406. Ildemaro Vargas 2B
Sergio Alcantara Note
Sergio Alcantara photo 1410. Sergio Alcantara 2B
Michael Hermosillo Note
Michael Hermosillo photo 1420. Michael Hermosillo LF
Ian Miller Note
Ian Miller photo 1445. Ian Miller CF