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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Lucas Giolito Note
Lucas Giolito photo 20. Lucas Giolito SP
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.
2 days ago
Jose Abreu Note
Jose Abreu photo 29. Jose Abreu 1B
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.
2 days ago
Eloy Jimenez Note
Eloy Jimenez photo 38. Eloy Jimenez LF
Jimenez has some warts, without question. He hits the ball on the ground too much, doesn't walk enough, and will provide nothing in the stolen base category. But he makes up for all of that by hitting the ball really, really, really hard pretty much every time he steps up to the plate. Jimenez ranks no worse than the 90th percentile in barrel rate, expected slugging percentage, average exit velocity, and hard hit percentage, and has hit 45 home runs in 177 MLB games. Playing in Guaranteed Rate Field helps, of course, and Jimenez should pretty easily provide nearly 40 home runs with strong runs and RBI over the course of a full season. Draft him as a borderline top-10 outfielder.
2 days ago
Luis Robert Note
Luis Robert photo 40. Luis Robert CF
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.
2 days ago
Tim Anderson Note
Tim Anderson photo 44. Tim Anderson SS
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.
2 days ago
Lance Lynn Note
Lance Lynn photo 58. Lance Lynn SP
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.
2 days ago
Liam Hendriks Note
Liam Hendriks photo 68. Liam Hendriks RP
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.
2 days ago
Yoan Moncada Note
Yoan Moncada photo 87. Yoan Moncada 3B
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.
2 days ago
Yasmani Grandal Note
Yasmani Grandal photo 141. Yasmani Grandal C,1B
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. He's just a tad outside of the elite range at the position, but he's a locked in fantasy starter.
2 days ago
Nick Madrigal Note
Nick Madrigal photo 175. Nick Madrigal 2B
Dallas Keuchel Note
Dallas Keuchel photo 198. Dallas Keuchel SP
Adam Eaton Note
Adam Eaton photo 305. Adam Eaton LF,RF
Michael Kopech Note
Michael Kopech photo 311. Michael Kopech SP
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.
2 days ago
Andrew Vaughn Note
Andrew Vaughn photo 316. Andrew Vaughn 1B
Aaron Bummer Note
Aaron Bummer photo 391. Aaron Bummer RP
Dylan Cease Note
Dylan Cease photo 410. Dylan Cease SP
Garrett Crochet Note
Garrett Crochet photo 494. Garrett Crochet RP
Alex McRae Note
Alex McRae photo 524. Alex McRae RP
Carlos Rodon Note
Carlos Rodon photo 544. Carlos Rodon SP
Evan Marshall Note
Evan Marshall photo 627. Evan Marshall RP
Codi Heuer Note
Codi Heuer photo 629. Codi Heuer RP
Adam Engel Note
Adam Engel photo 644. Adam Engel CF,RF
Matt Foster Note
Matt Foster photo 648. Matt Foster RP
Reynaldo Lopez Note
Reynaldo Lopez photo 744. Reynaldo Lopez SP
Leury Garcia Note
Leury Garcia photo 761. Leury Garcia 2B,SS,LF,CF,RF
Jace Fry Note
Jace Fry photo 767. Jace Fry RP
Jonathan Stiever Note
Jonathan Stiever photo 906. Jonathan Stiever SP
Bernardo Flores Jr. Note
Bernardo Flores Jr. photo 1149. Bernardo Flores Jr. RP
Jose Ruiz Note
Jose Ruiz photo 1171. Jose Ruiz RP
Jimmy Lambert Note
Jimmy Lambert photo 1175. Jimmy Lambert RP
Tayron Guerrero Note
Tayron Guerrero photo 1184. Tayron Guerrero RP
Jimmy Cordero Note
Jimmy Cordero photo 1198. Jimmy Cordero RP
Zack Burdi Note
Zack Burdi photo 1259. Zack Burdi RP
Zack Collins Note
Zack Collins photo 1322. Zack Collins C,DH
Jonathan Lucroy Note
Jonathan Lucroy photo 1324. Jonathan Lucroy C
Seby Zavala Note
Seby Zavala photo 1346. Seby Zavala C
Danny Mendick Note
Danny Mendick photo 1380. Danny Mendick 2B
Micker Adolfo Note
Micker Adolfo photo 1423. Micker Adolfo RF
Luis Gonzalez Note
Luis Gonzalez photo 1434. Luis Gonzalez CF,Util
Gavin Sheets Note
Gavin Sheets photo 1461. Gavin Sheets 1B
Nick Williams Note
Nick Williams photo 1480. Nick Williams LF,RF
Blake Rutherford Note
Blake Rutherford photo 1487. Blake Rutherford CF,RF
Yermin Mercedes Note
Yermin Mercedes photo 1516. Yermin Mercedes C,DH
Tim Beckham Note
Tim Beckham photo 1526. Tim Beckham 2B,3B,SS,LF