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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Jacob deGrom Note
Jacob deGrom photo 6. Jacob deGrom SP
deGrom barely missed out on winning his third straight Cy Young Award last year, but it was yet another dominant season. For the third straight year, he came in with a WHIP under 1.00, an ERA under 2.50, and a strikeout percentage above 31%. deGrom is getting up there in age, but it's worth remembering that he has fewer miles on his arm than most pitcher entering their age-33 season, given that he didn't transition to pitching until late in his college career and missed significant time with injuries during his time in the minors. deGrom has shown no decline in his game, and should hopefully (finally) begin to pile on more wins this year pitching for a better team in front of an improved bullpen. He should be the first or second starting pitcher taken and is an obvious first-round pick.
26 weeks ago
Francisco Lindor Note
Francisco Lindor photo 16. Francisco Lindor SS
Lindor's season wasn't particularly impressive, as his surface numbers regressed fairly significantly from his previous three seasons. But, under the hood, not much changed. His walk rate and strikeout rate were largely steady, and his statcast data remained on par with his career marks. He also got much better to close the year, batting .285 with a 122 wRC+ over his final 39 games. Just 27 years old and now with a stronger lineup with the Mets, Lindor should put up numbers closer to his 2017-2019 levels, especially since he'll be playing for a new contract after this season. He'll come at a bit of a discount in the second round this year, and he's well worth your investment at that price.
26 weeks ago
Pete Alonso Note
Pete Alonso photo 46. Pete Alonso 1B
Alonso didn't quite follow up his incredible 2019 season last year, but he certainly wasn't terrible. The vast majority of his underlying statcast data and metrics looked similar, and he mostly just didn't make quite as consistently hard contact as he did the previous year. Alonso is never going to help you in batting average, but you should expect 40 home runs and 100 RBI this year and for the foreseeable future. With such a high floor, Alonso makes a more than adequate starting first baseman in mixed leagues.
26 weeks ago
Javier Baez Note
Javier Baez photo 56. Javier Baez 2B,SS
Everything went wrong for Baez in 2020. His already high strikeout rate increased to 31.9%. His already low walk rated fell to an abysmal 3.0%. He swung less, made contact less, and did not hit the ball as hard as he used to. In the end, Baez earned every bit of his .203 batting average and poor counting stats. But how much weight do you put into a 59-game stretch for a veteran like Baez, particularly when he complained that his inability to watch video between at-bats affected his overall performance. The answer is a little, but not all that much. Baez had a stellar three-year run as a reliable power-speed combination, and he'll be just 28 years old this season. The Cubs lineup won't be overly strong, but Baez should certainly put up numbers closer to his 2017-2019 totals than those he put up in 2020.
26 weeks ago
Michael Conforto Note
Michael Conforto photo 59. Michael Conforto CF,RF
Conforto built on his excellent 2019 season by trading off a bit of power for some batting average. Fed by a significant increase in line drive rate that led to a .412 BABIP, Conforto batted a career best .322 last year. His xBA was just .284, so don't think that he suddenly morphed into a high average bat, but he did hit above .300 against every type of pitch last year, so it was certainly more than luck. Expect some regression to closer to his .259 mark, but he should hit around 30 homers with plenty of runs and RBI and even toss in a few steals. That makes him a worthwhile OF2 in mixed leagues.
26 weeks ago
Edwin Diaz Note
Edwin Diaz photo 85. Edwin Diaz RP
Diaz's overall numbers bounced back in a monstrous way last season. He dropped his ERA from a bloated 5.59 in 2019 to a 1.75, and upped his strikeout rate to a career-best 45.5%. He was among the league leaders in nearly every expected statistic (batting average, slugging percentage wOBA, and ERA), and he cut his HR/9 rate from 2.33 to just 0.70. Diaz's walk rate actually regressed, however, as he issued free passes to nearly five batters per nine innings. That's not often a recipe for success from a closer, but Diaz can survive at that rate if he continues to keep the strikeouts up and limit the long balls. In the end, Diaz does carry some risk given his history, but he should be drafted as one of the upper echelon closers in the game, if not a touch behind the truly elite options.
26 weeks ago
Jeff McNeil Note
Jeff McNeil photo 93. Jeff McNeil 2B,3B,LF,RF
Much of McNeil's 2020 season looked similar to his year in 2019. He hit over .300, rarely struck out, and got on base plenty. But the power gains that we saw in 2019 vanished, as he hit just four home runs over 52 games. His barrel rate (2.5%) and hard-hit percentage (26.5%) were some of the worst in the league, and he didn't even offer the token stolen base that he had chipped in during previous seasons. This is a scenario where McNeil's value to any particular fantasy manager will depend on the weight he or she gives to the shortened 2020 season. Given that McNeil never hit the ball particularly hard anyway, though, a good bet is to assume he at least returns to the high teens in home runs, slightly below his 2019 pace. With his strong average and multi-position eligibility, that makes McNeil an asset in the middle rounds.
26 weeks ago
Dominic Smith Note
Dominic Smith photo 127. Dominic Smith 1B,LF
Smith showed he had the bat to hit in the majors in 2019, but he took an extra step forward in last year's shortened season. His .316/.377/.616 slash line effectively forced the Mets to find a way to get his bat into the lineup, even if his defense tried to prevent it. His Statcast data was excellent, as he put up a barrel percentage of 13.3% and a hard hit percentage of 46.7%, all with a .405 wOBA, which was in the top four percent of the league. The issue for Smith is his fielding and with the National League surprisingly not adopting the designated hitter, that means he'll need to play out in left field most days. Although the Mets can surely live with the tradeoff, Smith will likely lose plenty of at-bats late in games as he gets switched out for defensive purposes. He'll still have plenty of value, but without the DH, be cautious with your projections for his counting stats.
26 weeks ago
Brad Hand Note
Brad Hand photo 132. Brad Hand RP
Hand joins the Nationals on a one-year deal after Cleveland declined his option. His velocity declined a bit last season, but the league's collective lack of interest in Hand is surprising, given that he's coming off one of the best seasons of his career, led the league in saves, has been a top-10 reliever over the last five seasons, and is a lefty. Dave Martinez wants Hand to be the Nationals' closer based on his comments, but it's unclear whether he'll be the sole option. The Nationals barely have another lefty reliever in their bullpen, let alone a reliable one, so chances are that Hand will be deployed earlier in the game if the opposing team has multiple left-handed hitters due up. All that to say that Hand is a reliable reliever who you should draft for his overall numbers, but he may provide fewer saves than most traditional closers.
26 weeks ago
Carlos Carrasco Note
Carlos Carrasco photo 168. Carlos Carrasco SP,RP
Carrasco suffered a serious hamstring strain in mid-March which is likely to keep him out 6-8 weeks. It's a devastating blow to the veteran who returned strong from his battle with leukemia in 2019 to post a 2.91 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 2020. There was plenty to like about Carrasco in New York, including that the Mets will provide him with a better chance at wins, their infield defense should be above average, and Carrasco will play in a more favorable park. But at this point, he's nothing more than a bench starter for your fantasy team given his injury.
26 weeks ago
Marcus Stroman Note
Marcus Stroman photo 169. Marcus Stroman SP
Stroman missed the entire 2020 season after battling a calf injury and then opting out, but he'll return to the Mets after accepting the team's qualifying offer. Stroman's strikeout rate jumped after his trade to the National League, but with a career 58.7% ground ball rate, he'll need the Mets' infield defense to be better than it was in 2019. The trade for Francisco Lindor should help, as should his reported development of both a new split changeup and four-seam fastball. Stroman has always had a decent floor, but now out of the AL East and with some tweaks to his arsenal coming, he possesses plenty of upside as a late-round draft pick.
26 weeks ago
James McCann Note
James McCann photo 209. James McCann C,1B
McCann will be the everyday catcher for the Mets after putting up his second consecutive successful season for the White Sox. After putting up a .789 OPS in 2019, he jumped up to an .896 mark in 2020, setting a career-high in walk rate. McCann was a part-timer last year, so his rate stats will likely dip as he takes over a heavy workload with the Mets (Wilson Ramos ranked fourth among catchers in plate appearances the last two seasons). But counting stats should be there in spades in a strong Mets lineup. He should be drafted as a starting catcher in 12-team formats.
26 weeks ago
J.D. Davis Note
J.D. Davis photo 220. J.D. Davis 3B,LF
Brandon Nimmo Note
Brandon Nimmo photo 227. Brandon Nimmo LF,CF,RF
Nimmo has a career .390 OBP and will be batting atop the Mets lineup this year, and that's really all you need to know for his fantasy value. He'll likely be a steady contributor in the runs scored category, while chipping in some homers and steals with a batting average that won't hurt you much. He might see a bit of a platoon against left-handers, but he's a player who will cost you nothing in drafts and who can fill in for your team if you need him. He's worth a bench spot in all 10-team or deeper leagues.
26 weeks ago
Jonathan Villar Note
Jonathan Villar photo 267. Jonathan Villar 2B,3B,SS
Villar's quality of contact dropped significantly last year, but given how out of character it was for his career, the decline can probably be written off to the small sample of the shortened season. But he was still one of the league leaders in stolen bases with 16 and he showed no hesitation about running whenever he got the chance. The bigger issue is that Villar won't have a regular role now that he's with the Mets, but instead will be a super-utility player. With that said, Villar's versatility should allow him to see a few starts each week, and he should see action as a defensive replacement and pinch runner. All that to say that Villar should tack on 15-20 steals over the course of the season, and therefore make a viable middle infield option despite his lack of a regular role.
26 weeks ago
Taijuan Walker Note
Taijuan Walker photo 286. Taijuan Walker SP
Noah Syndergaard Note
Noah Syndergaard photo 299. Noah Syndergaard SP
Trevor May Note
Trevor May photo 389. Trevor May RP
Rich Hill Note
Rich Hill photo 398. Rich Hill SP
Seth Lugo Note
Seth Lugo photo 403. Seth Lugo SP,RP
Kevin Pillar Note
Kevin Pillar photo 431. Kevin Pillar LF,CF,RF
Joey Lucchesi Note
Joey Lucchesi photo 477. Joey Lucchesi SP
David Peterson Note
David Peterson photo 478. David Peterson SP
Chance Sisco Note
Chance Sisco photo 521. Chance Sisco C
Dellin Betances Note
Dellin Betances photo 527. Dellin Betances RP
Aaron Loup Note
Aaron Loup photo 536. Aaron Loup RP
Miguel Castro Note
Miguel Castro photo 575. Miguel Castro RP
Jeurys Familia Note
Jeurys Familia photo 660. Jeurys Familia RP
Tomas Nido Note
Tomas Nido photo 703. Tomas Nido C
Albert Almora Jr. Note
Albert Almora Jr. photo 771. Albert Almora Jr. CF
Trevor Williams Note
Trevor Williams photo 823. Trevor Williams SP
Luis Guillorme Note
Luis Guillorme photo 837. Luis Guillorme 2B,3B,SS
Cameron Maybin Note
Cameron Maybin photo 872. Cameron Maybin LF,RF
Robert Stock Note
Robert Stock photo 876. Robert Stock SP,RP
Heath Hembree Note
Heath Hembree photo 887. Heath Hembree RP
Thomas Szapucki Note
Thomas Szapucki photo 901. Thomas Szapucki SP
Robert Gsellman Note
Robert Gsellman photo 938. Robert Gsellman SP,RP
Jordan Yamamoto Note
Jordan Yamamoto photo 957. Jordan Yamamoto SP
Jose Peraza Note
Jose Peraza photo 1062. Jose Peraza 2B,SS,LF
Jose Martinez Note
Jose Martinez photo 1064. Jose Martinez RF
Brandon Drury Note
Brandon Drury photo 1095. Brandon Drury 1B,2B,3B,LF,RF
Arodys Vizcaino Note
Arodys Vizcaino photo 1120. Arodys Vizcaino RP
Drew Smith Note
Drew Smith photo 1131. Drew Smith RP
Jerry Blevins Note
Jerry Blevins photo 1166. Jerry Blevins RP
Corey Oswalt Note
Corey Oswalt photo 1171. Corey Oswalt P
Sean Reid-Foley Note
Sean Reid-Foley photo 1180. Sean Reid-Foley SP,RP
Yennsy Diaz Note
Yennsy Diaz photo 1227. Yennsy Diaz
Franklyn Kilome Note
Franklyn Kilome photo 1332. Franklyn Kilome RP
Patrick Mazeika Note
Patrick Mazeika photo 1417. Patrick Mazeika C
Mark Payton Note
Mark Payton photo 1436. Mark Payton LF
Travis Blankenhorn Note
Travis Blankenhorn photo 1476. Travis Blankenhorn 2B
Khalil Lee Note
Khalil Lee photo 1508. Khalil Lee CF,RF
Cesar Puello Note
Cesar Puello photo 1552. Cesar Puello LF,CF,RF