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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Gerrit Cole Note
Gerrit Cole photo 8. Gerrit Cole SP
Cole was pretty much as advertised in his first season with the Yankees. His ERA rose a tad, as did his home run rate as expected, and his strikeout rate fell a bit, though it remained at an absurdly high level. And, for the most part, all of his expected metrics fell off a tad from his 2019 season. But Cole's numbers from that season were so dominating that he could withstand plenty of regression and still be one of the best pitchers in fantasy. As such, he'll head into 2021 close to the way he came into the 2020 season: a dominant, high-strikeout, low-walk starter who will throw plenty of innings and who is more likely to finish as the top overall fantasy pitcher than he is to finish outside the top-10. It's a matter of personal preference between Cole and Jacob deGrom as the first pitcher off the board, but neither should fall outside the top-10 overall picks on draft day.
26 weeks ago
DJ LeMahieu Note
DJ LeMahieu photo 36. DJ LeMahieu 1B,2B,3B
LeMahieu will return to the Yankees on a six-year deal, and that is great news for fantasy managers. Since he's been New York, he's provided elite all-around production, most notably in batting average, where he has batted .336. He's blossomed into a 25-home run hitter with plenty of runs and RBI, and a handful of steals that chip in with the category. Add to that LeMahieu's multi-position eligibility and he is a huge asset to every fantasy team. With nothing in his profile to suggest a skills decline, he should be drafted before the third round is out in every fantasy league.
26 weeks ago
Aaron Judge Note
Aaron Judge photo 47. Aaron Judge CF,DH,RF
Judge missed about half of the regular season last year with a calf strain, though he still hit for plenty of power when he was in the lineup. He walked and struck out a bit less than usual, but trying to glean anything from a 28-game sample, given Judge's history, is silly. When he's in the lineup, you know you'll get a ton of power and runs scored with a passable average. The key is "when he's in the lineup," however, as injuries have forced Judge to miss significant time over the last three seasons. So long as you factor that into your draft price and select him as an OF2, you'll be happy with the production.
26 weeks ago
Gleyber Torres Note
Gleyber Torres photo 52. Gleyber Torres 2B,SS
Torres missed some time with quad and hamstring strains last season, but his year was an absolute disaster even without it. He batted just .243 and hit a mere three home runs in 160 plate appearances. The culprit was that he was reportedly out of shape, a byproduct of the long layoff between the original spring training and when baseball resumed months later. There's every reason to buy into the excuse given Torres' track record, especially since he bounced back a bit in September and October with an .842 OPS. Expect more typical numbers from Torres this year, meaning around a .270 average, 30 home runs, and plenty of counting stats. Given his ADP, he's likely to be a bargain this year.
26 weeks ago
Anthony Rizzo Note
Anthony Rizzo photo 74. Anthony Rizzo 1B
Rizzo's average dropped to just .222 last year and his counting stats waned, though the latter failing was much more due to the lack of production from the rest of the Cubs lineup. His walk and strikeout rates, however, stayed mostly in line, and his BABIP was an artificially low .218 (career mark of .289), which is partly why there was such a gap between his xBA of .266 and his actual batting average. With that said, Rizzo didn't hit the ball nearly as hard last year, as he saw career worsts in average exit velocity and hard hit rate. He likely won't ever be the player he was at his peak, but there's still plenty in his bat that can help fantasy managers, including the handful of steals he will throw in each year. He's a starting-caliber first baseman still, without question, and he'll go at a discount because of last year's numbers.
26 weeks ago
Aroldis Chapman Note
Aroldis Chapman photo 75. Aroldis Chapman RP
Chapman missed time last year because he was diagnosed with COVID-19, but he was largely the same pitcher as always when he was on the mount. He struck out 22 batters in his 11 2/3 innings pitched and allowed just six hits. His velocity may be slightly below what it was at its peak, but it's still elite, and he appears to have plenty left in the tank heading into his age-33 season. He'll again close for one of the best teams in baseball, and although he's never had a 40-save season, he should easily surpass 30 and be one of the top closers drafted in fantasy.
26 weeks ago
Giancarlo Stanton Note
Giancarlo Stanton photo 82. Giancarlo Stanton DH,LF,RF
It's all about the injuries with Stanton, as after two healthy seasons, he's been limited to just 41 games over the last two. There's little to analyze with the slugger other than his health. He still hits the ball as hard as anyone and walks and strikes out a ton. There's been little decline in his batted ball data over the last two years, but even if there had been, the sample size would be too small to draw any conclusions. Stanton is likely eligible at utility only in your league, but that limitation should let him come as a discount in drafts. Have power on your bench ready to fill in if you draft Stanton, but there's no reason to run from him.
26 weeks ago
Luke Voit Note
Luke Voit photo 126. Luke Voit 1B,DH
Voit suffered a partial meniscus tear in his knee this spring and is going to be precluded from participating in baseball activity for at least three weeks after surgery. It's almost certainly going to take Voit at least a couple of weeks after returning to baseball activity to return to game action, meaning you should bank on him being out until May 15th or so. When healthy, he's going to produce, however. He has always had a ton of power but last year he left the yard at a ridiculous pace last year, with a 34.9% HR/FB rate, third best in the league. The thing is, nothing about his profile really changed all that much. Indeed, his hard hit rate, barrel percentage, and average exit velocity actually were career lows. The biggest difference was that Voit simply swung more than ever, 52.1% of the time, and correspondingly made more contact, at a 73.8% rate, and actually struck out less than ever before. If Voit keeps the same approach, there's every reason to expect him to put up massive power numbers when he's healthy. That's always been his bugaboo, of course, and since he is already dealing with a significant injury, you can't draft him as a starting first baseman in mixed leagues at this point.
25 weeks ago
Joey Gallo Note
Joey Gallo photo 128. Joey Gallo CF,DH,LF,RF
Gallo went from a big-time power hitter who would drain your batting average in 2017-2018, to a big-time power hitter who wouldn't crush your average in 2019, to a complete disaster in 2020. Gallo has actually been consistent against righties over the last several years, and the difference in his performance has been that he somehow destroyed lefties in 2019 (.333/.427/.747) and was worse than ever in 2020 (.143/.241/.386). The best bet is he's more like the 2017-2018 version of himself, and he'll likely put up a season where he hits around 40 home runs and bats in the low .200s. That's plenty valuable, and his ADP seems to be giving a ton of credit to his 2020 season. That leaves a lot of room for Gallo to outperform his draft position.
26 weeks ago
Gio Urshela Note
Gio Urshela photo 141. Gio Urshela 3B,SS
Urshela isn't the most exciting player, and perhaps that's why he largely gets ignored by fantasy managers despite his quality production. Over his last two seasons (175 games), he's slashed .310/.358/.523 with 27 home runs and 104 RBI. He won't contribute in steals, but he's an incredibly safe source of batting average, particularly because of his excellent strikeout rate, and he should have plenty of opportunities to contribute counting stats. The only question was his health, but he seems fully recovered from his elbow injury. Draft him with confidence.
26 weeks ago
Corey Kluber Note
Corey Kluber photo 167. Corey Kluber SP
Kluber has pitched 36 2/3 innings combined over the last two years, and will now join the Yankees on a one-year deal. There's nothing to be gained from looking at his numbers since 2018, as the sample size is too small, and prior to that, he was a perennial Cy Young contender. There was a bit of a velocity drop at the end of his last healthy season, but he was also finishing up his fifth straight 200-inning season. In other words, his lack of innings over the last two years (due to injury) may wind up being a blessing in disguise for Kluber. His ADP has some helium based on how quickly the Yankees signed him, but so long as you bake in some pretty substantial injury risk, he's certainly worth drafting as an SP5 with upside.
26 weeks ago
Clint Frazier Note
Clint Frazier photo 174. Clint Frazier LF,RF
There's little reason to doubt Frazier's ability to contribute from a fantasy perspective at this point. Over the last two seasons, he has a 162-game pace of a .267 average, 30 home runs, 83 runs scored, 96 RBI, and 6 steals. He upped his walk rate significantly in 2020 (15.6%, top seven percent in the league) and hits the ball hard consistently. The only issue for Frazier is his playing time with Giancarlo Stanton healthy and Brett Gardner back in the fold. But Frazier has done enough to hold the left field job and, regardless, Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Aaron Hicks are not the product of health. Draft Frazier as a starting outfielder and don't worry about the playing time.
26 weeks ago
Andrew Heaney Note
Andrew Heaney photo 180. Andrew Heaney RP,SP
Heaney is a fine pitcher, but it feels like he has a lot more to him than his career 4.44 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. His fastball is hittable and he throws it often, and his curveball isn't quite good enough to offset the damage. He was outspoken about working this offseason to become less predictable, so hopefully that manifests itself in his 2021 performance. But there's no reason to draft him as anything but a pitcher who will give you decent strikeouts and mediocre ratios, hopefully as someone you can use on your bench and stream in the right matchup.
25 weeks ago
Gary Sanchez Note
Gary Sanchez photo 182. Gary Sanchez C
If you want to credit last season's numbers, then you're going to avoid Sanchez like the plague. He batted a ridiculous .147 and struck out 36% of the time. When Sanchez did hit the ball, he still hit it really, really hard, like he always has. But he just simply can't stop himself from swinging (13.8% swinging strike rate), and especially from swinging outside the zone (31.5% O-Swing%, which was actually better than his career rate). It wasn't that long ago that Sanchez was one of the top catchers drafted, and he's still just 28 years old. If he can just cut down on his whiffs, he can easily be a top-five catcher, so buy him for his upside, while also making sure to focus on batting average elsewhere.
26 weeks ago
Aaron Hicks Note
Aaron Hicks photo 204. Aaron Hicks CF
Hicks is reportedly going to bat third for the Yankees this year, and the lineup spot is so valuable that it largely covers a player's warts. Those warts are plentiful with Hicks, including that he's probably going to bat about .240, his power is declining, and he's a huge injury risk. He still walks a ton (including last year's 19.4%), and he'll have decent counting stats if he sticks in the three-hole all year. But there's little upside and he has topped 97 games played just twice in his career. He's best suited as a bench option or a fifth outfielder in deeper mixed leagues.
25 weeks ago
Jameson Taillon Note
Jameson Taillon photo 207. Jameson Taillon SP
Taillon has undergone Tommy John surgery twice, and has totaled just 37 1/3 innings over the last two years. And really, he's had only one truly notable year, which was in 2018. But what separated Taillon that year was his outstanding slider, which not only performed exceedingly well, but also buoyed the effectiveness of the rest of his pitches. Now with the Yankees, Taillon has plenty of upside. But, as always, health remains the concern, and is the reason you shouldn't draft him until you've filled out most of your staff.
26 weeks ago
Jordan Montgomery Note
Jordan Montgomery photo 211. Jordan Montgomery SP
Domingo German Note
Domingo German photo 284. Domingo German SP
German has won the fifth starter's job after a torrid spring, during which he didn't allow a run over nine innings pitched while walking one and striking out 13. German's off-the-field issues aside, he was a quality MLB pitcher in 2019, and he should be a decent contributor in four categories, especially considering his low walk rate. He's not risk-free, as a downturn in his performance could lead to Deivi Garcia coming back in the rotation. But he's a fine, late-round selection.
25 weeks ago
Luis Severino Note
Luis Severino photo 313. Luis Severino SP
Severino is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, but the reports so far have been generally positive. He's already throwing off a mound in mid-March, and a June return isn't out of the question if he can avoid setbacks. Avoiding setbacks is the key, of course, and it's something that's rare in the world of returning from multiple serious issues, as Severino is trying to do. But, for now, draft him with one of your last picks and stash him in your IL spot, if you have the room.
26 weeks ago
Chad Green Note
Chad Green photo 379. Chad Green SP,RP
Deivi Garcia Note
Deivi Garcia photo 384. Deivi Garcia SP
Zack Britton Note
Zack Britton photo 464. Zack Britton RP
Joely Rodriguez Note
Joely Rodriguez photo 472. Joely Rodriguez RP
Rougned Odor Note
Rougned Odor photo 483. Rougned Odor 2B,3B
Darren O'Day Note
Darren O'Day photo 499. Darren O'Day RP
Jonathan Loaisiga Note
Jonathan Loaisiga photo 522. Jonathan Loaisiga SP,RP
Michael King Note
Michael King photo 620. Michael King SP,RP
Tim Locastro Note
Tim Locastro photo 677. Tim Locastro LF,CF,RF
Nick Nelson Note
Nick Nelson photo 686. Nick Nelson RP
Kyle Higashioka Note
Kyle Higashioka photo 735. Kyle Higashioka C
Lucas Luetge Note
Lucas Luetge photo 781. Lucas Luetge RP
Wandy Peralta Note
Wandy Peralta photo 809. Wandy Peralta RP
Miguel Andujar Note
Miguel Andujar photo 845. Miguel Andujar 3B,LF
Brett Gardner Note
Brett Gardner photo 851. Brett Gardner LF,CF
Clarke Schmidt Note
Clarke Schmidt photo 873. Clarke Schmidt P,RP,SP
Mike Montgomery Note
Mike Montgomery photo 969. Mike Montgomery SP,RP
Tyler Wade Note
Tyler Wade photo 1022. Tyler Wade 2B,3B,CF,DH,LF,RF,SS
Greg Allen Note
Greg Allen photo 1103. Greg Allen LF,CF,RF
Josh Smith Note
Josh Smith photo 1185. Josh Smith RP,SS
Adam Warren Note
Adam Warren photo 1216. Adam Warren RP
Reggie McClain Note
Reggie McClain photo 1232. Reggie McClain RP
Nick Goody Note
Nick Goody photo 1265. Nick Goody RP
Jonathan Davis Note
Jonathan Davis photo 1273. Jonathan Davis CF,RF
Clay Holmes Note
Clay Holmes photo 1302. Clay Holmes RP
Tyler Lyons Note
Tyler Lyons photo 1303. Tyler Lyons RP
Sal Romano Note
Sal Romano photo 1327. Sal Romano RP
Nestor Cortes Jr. Note
Nestor Cortes Jr. photo 1336. Nestor Cortes Jr. RP,SP
Albert Abreu Note
Albert Abreu photo 1348. Albert Abreu RP
Rob Brantly Note
Rob Brantly photo 1415. Rob Brantly C
Andrew Velazquez Note
Andrew Velazquez photo 1457. Andrew Velazquez SS
Kyle Holder Note
Kyle Holder photo 1464. Kyle Holder SS
Estevan Florial Note
Estevan Florial photo 1507. Estevan Florial CF
Socrates Brito Note
Socrates Brito photo 1509. Socrates Brito CF,RF