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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Luis Castillo Note
Luis Castillo photo 37. Luis Castillo SP
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.
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Eugenio Suarez Note
Eugenio Suarez photo 62. Eugenio Suarez 3B
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.
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Nick Castellanos Note
Nick Castellanos photo 70. Nick Castellanos LF,RF
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.
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Sonny Gray Note
Sonny Gray photo 73. Sonny Gray SP
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. Considering we've seen much more than that from him in 2019, fantasy managers should have no hesitation drafting him.
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Mike Moustakas Note
Mike Moustakas photo 115. Mike Moustakas 1B,2B,3B
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.
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Tyler Mahle Note
Tyler Mahle photo 187. Tyler Mahle SP
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.
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Jesse Winker Note
Jesse Winker photo 195. Jesse Winker LF,CF,RF,DH
Nick Senzel Note
Nick Senzel photo 249. Nick Senzel CF
Joey Votto Note
Joey Votto photo 259. Joey Votto 1B
Amir Garrett Note
Amir Garrett photo 261. Amir Garrett RP
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.
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Tejay Antone Note
Tejay Antone photo 359. Tejay Antone SP,RP
Michael Lorenzen Note
Michael Lorenzen photo 372. Michael Lorenzen CF,RP
Lucas Sims Note
Lucas Sims photo 374. Lucas Sims SP,RP
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.
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Sean Doolittle Note
Sean Doolittle photo 395. Sean Doolittle RP
After missing most of 2020 with various injuries, Doolittle took a small one-year deal from the Reds in his hope of a bounceback season. He's been trending the wrong way for a couple of seasons now, but he did tally at least 24 saves in each season between 2017 and 2019. Doolittle is the only one in the Reds bullpen with much closing experience, so if he performs well this spring, he could win the ninth-inning job. But there's a ton of uncertainty, and given Doolittle's small contract, it's far from a sure thing that he sees any save opportunities in 2021.
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Shogo Akiyama Note
Shogo Akiyama photo 410. Shogo Akiyama LF,CF
Aristides Aquino Note
Aristides Aquino photo 491. Aristides Aquino LF,RF
Tyler Stephenson Note
Tyler Stephenson photo 564. Tyler Stephenson C
Tucker Barnhart Note
Tucker Barnhart photo 614. Tucker Barnhart C
Cam Bedrosian Note
Cam Bedrosian photo 664. Cam Bedrosian SP,RP
Jose Garcia Note
Jose Garcia photo 741. Jose Garcia SS
Riley O'Brien Note
Riley O'Brien photo 810. Riley O'Brien SP,RP
Vladimir Gutierrez Note
Vladimir Gutierrez photo 816. Vladimir Gutierrez SP
Wade Miley Note
Wade Miley photo 842. Wade Miley SP
Tyler Naquin Note
Tyler Naquin photo 858. Tyler Naquin LF,RF
Dee Strange-Gordon Note
Dee Strange-Gordon photo 864. Dee Strange-Gordon 2B,LF
Noe Ramirez Note
Noe Ramirez photo 917. Noe Ramirez SP,RP
Joel Kuhnel Note
Joel Kuhnel photo 1014. Joel Kuhnel RP
Ryan Hendrix Note
Ryan Hendrix photo 1016. Ryan Hendrix RP
Tony Santillan Note
Tony Santillan photo 1054. Tony Santillan SP
Cionel Perez Note
Cionel Perez photo 1058. Cionel Perez RP
Art Warren Note
Art Warren photo 1130. Art Warren RP
R.J. Alaniz Note
R.J. Alaniz photo 1142. R.J. Alaniz RP
Hector Perez Note
Hector Perez photo 1177. Hector Perez RP
Jesse Biddle Note
Jesse Biddle photo 1193. Jesse Biddle RP
Sal Romano Note
Sal Romano photo 1209. Sal Romano RP
Josh Osich Note
Josh Osich photo 1213. Josh Osich RP
Jeff Hoffman Note
Jeff Hoffman photo 1223. Jeff Hoffman SP,RP
Brandon Bailey Note
Brandon Bailey photo 1238. Brandon Bailey RP
Edgar Garcia Note
Edgar Garcia photo 1248. Edgar Garcia RP
Jose De Leon Note
Jose De Leon photo 1273. Jose De Leon RP
Kyle Farmer Note
Kyle Farmer photo 1330. Kyle Farmer C,1B,2B,3B,SS
Deivy Grullon Note
Deivy Grullon photo 1332. Deivy Grullon C
Kyle Holder Note
Kyle Holder photo 1369. Kyle Holder SS
Mark Payton Note
Mark Payton photo 1377. Mark Payton LF
Scott Heineman Note
Scott Heineman photo 1395. Scott Heineman CF
Alex Blandino Note
Alex Blandino photo 1406. Alex Blandino 2B,3B
Max Schrock Note
Max Schrock photo 1409. Max Schrock 2B,Util
Alfredo Rodriguez Note
Alfredo Rodriguez photo 1491. Alfredo Rodriguez SS
Cheslor Cuthbert Note
Cheslor Cuthbert photo 1514. Cheslor Cuthbert 1B,3B
Jonathan India Note
Jonathan India photo 1517. Jonathan India 3B