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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Christian Yelich Note
Christian Yelich photo 9. Christian Yelich LF
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.
3 hours ago
Brandon Woodruff Note
Brandon Woodruff photo 46. 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.
3 hours ago
Josh Hader Note
Josh Hader photo 65. 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.
3 hours ago
Keston Hiura Note
Keston Hiura photo 68. Keston Hiura 2B
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.
3 hours ago
Corbin Burnes Note
Corbin Burnes photo 76. Corbin Burnes SP
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.
3 hours ago
Devin Williams Note
Devin Williams photo 172. 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.
3 hours ago
Lorenzo Cain Note
Lorenzo Cain photo 203. 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.
3 hours ago
Kolten Wong Note
Kolten Wong photo 255. Kolten Wong 2B
Avisail Garcia Note
Avisail Garcia photo 324. Avisail Garcia CF
Josh Lindblom Note
Josh Lindblom photo 326. Josh Lindblom SP
Freddy Peralta Note
Freddy Peralta photo 331. Freddy Peralta RP
Omar Narvaez Note
Omar Narvaez photo 427. Omar Narvaez C
Brent Suter Note
Brent Suter photo 450. Brent Suter RP
Daniel Vogelbach Note
Daniel Vogelbach photo 497. Daniel Vogelbach DH
Luis Urias Note
Luis Urias photo 501. Luis Urias 3B
Adrian Houser Note
Adrian Houser photo 533. Adrian Houser SP
Orlando Arcia Note
Orlando Arcia photo 551. Orlando Arcia SS
Travis Shaw Note
Travis Shaw photo 553. Travis Shaw 3B
Derek Fisher Note
Derek Fisher photo 657. Derek Fisher RF
Dylan File Note
Dylan File photo 716. Dylan File SP
Eric Lauer Note
Eric Lauer photo 765. Eric Lauer SP
Drew Rasmussen Note
Drew Rasmussen photo 777. Drew Rasmussen RP
Jacob Nottingham Note
Jacob Nottingham photo 793. Jacob Nottingham C
Justin Topa Note
Justin Topa photo 807. Justin Topa RP
Brett Anderson Note
Brett Anderson photo 823. Brett Anderson SP
Aaron Ashby Note
Aaron Ashby photo 894. Aaron Ashby SP
Jordan Zimmermann Note
Jordan Zimmermann photo 956. Jordan Zimmermann SP
Ray Black Note
Ray Black photo 977. Ray Black RP
J.P. Feyereisen Note
J.P. Feyereisen photo 980. J.P. Feyereisen RP
Eric Yardley Note
Eric Yardley photo 985. Eric Yardley RP
Bobby Wahl Note
Bobby Wahl photo 1055. Bobby Wahl RP
Angel Perdomo Note
Angel Perdomo photo 1145. Angel Perdomo RP
Alec Bettinger Note
Alec Bettinger photo 1150. Alec Bettinger RP
Phil Bickford Note
Phil Bickford photo 1201. Phil Bickford RP
Brad Boxberger Note
Brad Boxberger photo 1216. Brad Boxberger RP
Manny Pina Note
Manny Pina photo 1256. Manny Pina C
Luke Maile Note
Luke Maile photo 1309. Luke Maile C
Billy McKinney Note
Billy McKinney photo 1347. Billy McKinney RF
Tim Lopes Note
Tim Lopes photo 1354. Tim Lopes LF
Tyrone Taylor Note
Tyrone Taylor photo 1365. Tyrone Taylor RF
Mark Mathias Note
Mark Mathias photo 1385. Mark Mathias RF
Jace Peterson Note
Jace Peterson photo 1397. Jace Peterson RF
Lucas Erceg Note
Lucas Erceg photo 1427. Lucas Erceg 3B
Dustin Peterson Note
Dustin Peterson photo 1462. Dustin Peterson LF
Zach Green Note
Zach Green photo 1465. Zach Green 3B
Corey Ray Note
Corey Ray photo 1479. Corey Ray CF