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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Jose Ramirez Note
Jose Ramirez photo 11. Jose Ramirez 3B
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.
18 weeks ago
Shane Bieber Note
Shane Bieber photo 12. Shane Bieber SP
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.
18 weeks ago
Eddie Rosario Note
Eddie Rosario photo 87. Eddie Rosario LF
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.
18 weeks ago
Zach Plesac Note
Zach Plesac photo 102. Zach Plesac SP
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.
18 weeks ago
Franmil Reyes Note
Franmil Reyes photo 118. Franmil Reyes DH
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.
18 weeks ago
James Karinchak Note
James Karinchak photo 139. James Karinchak RP
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.
18 weeks ago
Aaron Civale Note
Aaron Civale photo 172. Aaron Civale SP
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.
18 weeks ago
Triston McKenzie Note
Triston McKenzie photo 190. Triston McKenzie SP
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.
18 weeks ago
Andres Gimenez Note
Andres Gimenez photo 192. Andres Gimenez 2B,3B,SS
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.
18 weeks ago
Amed Rosario Note
Amed Rosario photo 301. Amed Rosario SS,CF
Cesar Hernandez Note
Cesar Hernandez photo 303. Cesar Hernandez 2B
Wilson Ramos Note
Wilson Ramos photo 317. Wilson Ramos C,DH
Nick Wittgren Note
Nick Wittgren photo 329. Nick Wittgren RP
Josh Naylor Note
Josh Naylor photo 360. Josh Naylor LF,RF,1B
Emmanuel Clase Note
Emmanuel Clase photo 400. Emmanuel Clase RP
Oscar Mercado Note
Oscar Mercado photo 462. Oscar Mercado LF,CF
Cal Quantrill Note
Cal Quantrill photo 539. Cal Quantrill SP,RP
Logan Allen Note
Logan Allen photo 542. Logan Allen RP,SP
Phil Maton Note
Phil Maton photo 547. Phil Maton RP
Roberto Perez Note
Roberto Perez photo 552. Roberto Perez C
Jordan Luplow Note
Jordan Luplow photo 594. Jordan Luplow LF,CF,RF
Austin Hedges Note
Austin Hedges photo 632. Austin Hedges C
Oliver Perez Note
Oliver Perez photo 649. Oliver Perez RP
Blake Parker Note
Blake Parker photo 655. Blake Parker RP
Alex Young Note
Alex Young photo 738. Alex Young SP,RP
Harold Ramirez Note
Harold Ramirez photo 763. Harold Ramirez RF,CF,LF
Zack Godley Note
Zack Godley photo 775. Zack Godley SP
Daniel Johnson Note
Daniel Johnson photo 846. Daniel Johnson RF
Bradley Zimmer Note
Bradley Zimmer photo 866. Bradley Zimmer LF,CF
Heath Fillmyer Note
Heath Fillmyer photo 903. Heath Fillmyer RP
Bobby Bradley Note
Bobby Bradley photo 917. Bobby Bradley DH,1B
Brad Peacock Note
Brad Peacock photo 947. Brad Peacock RP
Cam Hill Note
Cam Hill photo 955. Cam Hill RP
Scott Moss Note
Scott Moss photo 970. Scott Moss SP
Trevor Stephan Note
Trevor Stephan photo 978. Trevor Stephan SP,RP
Eli Morgan Note
Eli Morgan photo 995. Eli Morgan SP
Nolan Jones Note
Nolan Jones photo 1002. Nolan Jones 3B
Logan Allen Note
Logan Allen photo 1107. Logan Allen
Kyle Nelson Note
Kyle Nelson photo 1108. Kyle Nelson RP
Nick Sandlin Note
Nick Sandlin photo 1130. Nick Sandlin RP
DJ Johnson Note
DJ Johnson photo 1151. DJ Johnson RP
Sam Hentges Note
Sam Hentges photo 1252. Sam Hentges SP,RP
Bryan Shaw Note
Bryan Shaw photo 1381. Bryan Shaw RP
Yu Chang Note
Yu Chang photo 1440. Yu Chang SS,1B,3B
Owen Miller Note
Owen Miller photo 1520. Owen Miller SS
Tyler Freeman Note
Tyler Freeman photo 1533. Tyler Freeman SS