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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.
37 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.
37 weeks ago
Josh Hader Note
Josh Hader photo 62. 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.
37 weeks ago
Corbin Burnes Note
Corbin Burnes photo 66. 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.
37 weeks ago
Keston Hiura Note
Keston Hiura photo 67. Keston Hiura 1B
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.
37 weeks ago
Devin Williams Note
Devin Williams photo 181. 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.
37 weeks ago
Lorenzo Cain Note
Lorenzo Cain photo 221. 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.
37 weeks ago
Kolten Wong Note
Kolten Wong photo 224. 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.
37 weeks ago
Freddy Peralta Note
Freddy Peralta photo 247. Freddy Peralta SP,RP
Willy Adames Note
Willy Adames photo 266. Willy Adames SS
Rowdy Tellez Note
Rowdy Tellez photo 290. Rowdy Tellez 1B,DH
David Dahl Note
David Dahl photo 303. David Dahl LF
Hunter Renfroe Note
Hunter Renfroe photo 335. Hunter Renfroe RF
Josh Lindblom Note
Josh Lindblom photo 350. Josh Lindblom SP
Omar Narvaez Note
Omar Narvaez photo 392. Omar Narvaez C
Pedro Severino Note
Pedro Severino photo 412. Pedro Severino C
Brent Suter Note
Brent Suter photo 427. Brent Suter RP
Adrian Houser Note
Adrian Houser photo 448. Adrian Houser SP
Luis Urias Note
Luis Urias photo 451. Luis Urias 2B,3B,SS
Mike Brosseau Note
Mike Brosseau photo 584. Mike Brosseau 1B,2B,3B
Justin Topa Note
Justin Topa photo 603. Justin Topa RP
Ray Black Note
Ray Black photo 690. Ray Black RP
Dylan File Note
Dylan File photo 789. Dylan File SP
Ethan Small Note
Ethan Small photo 816. Ethan Small SP
Eric Lauer Note
Eric Lauer photo 899. Eric Lauer SP
Mark Mathias Note
Mark Mathias photo 926. Mark Mathias RF
Zack Brown Note
Zack Brown photo 937. Zack Brown SP
Aaron Ashby Note
Aaron Ashby photo 982. Aaron Ashby RP
Trevor Gott Note
Trevor Gott photo 1112. Trevor Gott RP
Alec Bettinger Note
Alec Bettinger photo 1141. Alec Bettinger RP
Angel Perdomo Note
Angel Perdomo photo 1163. Angel Perdomo RP
Logan Forsythe Note
Logan Forsythe photo 1187. Logan Forsythe 2B
Hoby Milner Note
Hoby Milner photo 1201. Hoby Milner RP
Jace Peterson Note
Jace Peterson photo 1253. Jace Peterson 2B,RF
Jonathan Davis Note
Jonathan Davis photo 1273. Jonathan Davis CF
Jandel Gustave Note
Jandel Gustave photo 1294. Jandel Gustave RP
Rex Brothers Note
Rex Brothers photo 1342. Rex Brothers RP
Tyrone Taylor Note
Tyrone Taylor photo 1435. Tyrone Taylor LF,RF
Abraham Almonte Note
Abraham Almonte photo 1451. Abraham Almonte LF
Dustin Peterson Note
Dustin Peterson photo 1518. Dustin Peterson LF
Corey Ray Note
Corey Ray photo 1525. Corey Ray RF