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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Christian Yelich Note
Christian Yelich photo 9. Christian Yelich LF,RF
Yelich's 2020 season was, in a word, bizarre. After batting .327 combined from 2018-2019, his batting average dropped to a meager .205 last year. Although he hit the ball as hard as ever, setting career highs in average exit velocity and hard hit percentage, his strikeout rate ballooned more than 10 points to 30.8%. At the same time, Yelich's walk rate jumped up to 18.6%. Unsurprisingly, the reason for the jump in both Yelich's strikeouts and walks was that he simply swung less - just 34.6% of the time after his mark hovered above 44% the previous two seasons. If Yelich takes the same passive approach in 2021, then it's likely that his batting average will remain below what fantasy managers had come to expect. But considering that his season was so out of line with what he'd produced since coming to Milwaukee, fantasy managers should expect far more this season, and feel confident drafting him late in the first round.
4 weeks ago
Brandon Woodruff Note
Brandon Woodruff photo 40. Brandon Woodruff SP
There were some skeptics after Woodruff succeeded in 2019 based largely on one pitch - his devastating fastball - but he put those concerns to rest in 2020. His ERA (3.05) and WHIP (0.99) were incredibly strong, particularly when you consider that he struck out more than 11 batters per nine innings. Woodruff's fastball hits rests at 96 MPH and is one of the better pitches in baseball, but his slider and changeup both made strides last year. The Brewers are reportedly planning to add about 100 innings to their starter's workloads last season, so pencil Woodruff in for roughly 175 extremely strong frames. You can survive with him as your fantasy ace, though he's best as an incredibly strong number 2.
4 weeks ago
Josh Hader Note
Josh Hader photo 63. Josh Hader RP
Hader wasn't quite as dominant as he had been the previous two years, largely due to a spike in walk rate and the slightest of declines in strikeout rate. But he still tallied 13 saves, third-best in baseball, and had a miniscule 0.95 WHIP. If you parse it closely, it was just a bizarre season for Hader, who didn't give up a run through his first nine appearances, but subsequently allowed four runs in an inning. He walked five batters in a game, but didn't allow a single walk in any game after that, a span of 11 appearances. In other words, there seems to be a lot of noise in Hader's "decline," which likely would have been ironed out over the course of a full season. Draft him as the top closer off the board with few concerns.
4 weeks ago
Corbin Burnes Note
Corbin Burnes photo 64. Corbin Burnes SP,RP
Burnes's raw stuff was apparent to anyone who saw him pitch in 2019, but he simply couldn't stop giving up home runs (17 in 49 innings). The culprit was largely his four-seam fastball, which he threw more than half of the time and against which batters hit .425 with an .823 slugging percentage. In 2020, however, Corbin cut his four-seam fastball usage from 52.5% to just 2.5%. In its place, he relied heavily on a sinker and cutter, both of which worked better for the natural action on his pitches and which were highly effective. Considering that his slider, changeup, and curveball are also huge swing and miss pitches, Burnes's 36.7% strikeout rate from last year shouldn't be considered fluky. Even coming off a Cy Young-caliber season, there's still upside for the 26-year-old, and you should ignore entirely his 2019 disaster.
4 weeks ago
Keston Hiura Note
Keston Hiura photo 68. Keston Hiura 1B,2B,DH
Hiura looked to be on the verge of superstardom heading into 2020, if he could just cut back on his bloated 30.7% strikeout rate. Instead, he struck out more than ever (34.6% of the time), en route to a league-leading 85 strikeouts. That led to a massive drop in production, notably in batting average, which fell from .303 in 2019 to .212 last year. Hiura was never a high-strikeout player in the minors. He never struck out more than 26.3% in any level and he had an overall strikeout rate of just 21%. If he can manage to cut down on the whiffs, he should be a top option at second base given his power and speed, but for now, drop him down your draft board a bit from where he was heading into 2020. He's still a borderline top-five option, especially since he will add first base eligibility after the Brewers signed Kolten Wong, but exercise more caution.
4 weeks ago
Devin Williams Note
Devin Williams photo 179. Devin Williams RP
You have to hand it to the Brewers - they produce relievers who put up historically great seasons. Williams wasn't just good in 2020 - he was truly beyond belief. A 0.33 ERA. One run and eight hits allowed in 27 innings. A 44% K-BB%. Williams has battled injuries for much of his career, but given what he did last year, he should be drafted among the elite fantasy relievers in the game. Even if he never gets a save chance with Josh Hader in front of him, his ratios make him more than worth it.
4 weeks ago
Kolten Wong Note
Kolten Wong photo 218. Kolten Wong 2B
Wong lands in a great situation with the Brewers, where he's expected to lead off in front of a strong lineup. His quality of contact is incredibly poor, but in Miller Park, he should be a good bet for 10-15 homers, and he'll throw in 15-20 steals despite having a fairly average sprint speed. There's not a ton of upside for Wong, but absent injury, there's not a whole lot of downside for him in Milwaukee either. He's not a startable second baseman in mixed leagues, but he's a fine middle infielder or bench option.
4 weeks ago
Lorenzo Cain Note
Lorenzo Cain photo 222. Lorenzo Cain CF
Cain opted out of the season last year after just five games, but he'll play and bat near the top of the Brewers' lineup this year. His steals total dropped to just 18 in 2019, and his sprint speed has been declining in recent years. But he talked openly about wanting to try to steal more bases before he opted out last year, and he's still a safe bet for batting average and double-digit homers. He's been forgotten a bit in drafts this year, but he's a fine fifth outfielder in mixed leagues.
4 weeks ago
Freddy Peralta Note
Freddy Peralta photo 243. Freddy Peralta SP,RP
Jackie Bradley Jr. Note
Jackie Bradley Jr. photo 329. Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Avisail Garcia Note
Avisail Garcia photo 335. Avisail Garcia CF,RF
Josh Lindblom Note
Josh Lindblom photo 351. Josh Lindblom SP
Omar Narvaez Note
Omar Narvaez photo 386. Omar Narvaez C
Brent Suter Note
Brent Suter photo 424. Brent Suter SP,RP
Adrian Houser Note
Adrian Houser photo 446. Adrian Houser SP,RP
Luis Urias Note
Luis Urias photo 449. Luis Urias 2B,3B,SS
Drew Rasmussen Note
Drew Rasmussen photo 559. Drew Rasmussen RP
Justin Topa Note
Justin Topa photo 601. Justin Topa RP
Manny Pina Note
Manny Pina photo 633. Manny Pina C
Brett Anderson Note
Brett Anderson photo 640. Brett Anderson SP
Travis Shaw Note
Travis Shaw photo 643. Travis Shaw 1B,3B
Ray Black Note
Ray Black photo 691. Ray Black RP
J.P. Feyereisen Note
J.P. Feyereisen photo 709. J.P. Feyereisen RP
Eric Yardley Note
Eric Yardley photo 711. Eric Yardley RP
Zack Godley Note
Zack Godley photo 773. Zack Godley SP,RP
Daniel Vogelbach Note
Daniel Vogelbach photo 784. Daniel Vogelbach 1B,DH
Dylan File Note
Dylan File photo 788. Dylan File SP
Derek Fisher Note
Derek Fisher photo 810. Derek Fisher LF,RF
Ethan Small Note
Ethan Small photo 814. Ethan Small SP
Dee Strange-Gordon Note
Dee Strange-Gordon photo 853. Dee Strange-Gordon 2B,LF
Eric Lauer Note
Eric Lauer photo 897. Eric Lauer SP
Mark Mathias Note
Mark Mathias photo 924. Mark Mathias RF
Tim Lopes Note
Tim Lopes photo 926. Tim Lopes LF,RF,DH
Zack Brown Note
Zack Brown photo 935. Zack Brown SP
Jacob Nottingham Note
Jacob Nottingham photo 965. Jacob Nottingham C
Jordan Zimmermann Note
Jordan Zimmermann photo 975. Jordan Zimmermann SP
Aaron Ashby Note
Aaron Ashby photo 980. Aaron Ashby SP
Bobby Wahl Note
Bobby Wahl photo 1134. Bobby Wahl RP
Brad Boxberger Note
Brad Boxberger photo 1136. Brad Boxberger RP
Blaine Hardy Note
Blaine Hardy photo 1139. Blaine Hardy RP
Alec Bettinger Note
Alec Bettinger photo 1142. Alec Bettinger SP,RP
Daniel Robertson Note
Daniel Robertson photo 1147. Daniel Robertson 2B,3B,SS
Angel Perdomo Note
Angel Perdomo photo 1164. Angel Perdomo RP
Hoby Milner Note
Hoby Milner photo 1202. Hoby Milner RP
Jace Peterson Note
Jace Peterson photo 1254. Jace Peterson 2B,3B,LF,RF
Chad Sobotka Note
Chad Sobotka photo 1298. Chad Sobotka RP
Phil Bickford Note
Phil Bickford photo 1323. Phil Bickford RP
Patrick Weigel Note
Patrick Weigel photo 1325. Patrick Weigel RP
Luke Maile Note
Luke Maile photo 1415. Luke Maile C
Tyrone Taylor Note
Tyrone Taylor photo 1436. Tyrone Taylor RF
Billy McKinney Note
Billy McKinney photo 1445. Billy McKinney LF,RF
Zach Green Note
Zach Green photo 1511. Zach Green 3B
Dustin Peterson Note
Dustin Peterson photo 1519. Dustin Peterson 3B,LF
Corey Ray Note
Corey Ray photo 1526. Corey Ray CF