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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Fernando Tatis Jr. Note
Fernando Tatis Jr. photo 3. Fernando Tatis Jr. CF,RF,SS
Tatis Jr. has a bit of a shoulder issue, but nothing suggests he'll need to miss any time. He had an outstanding rookie year, but because he had outperformed his Statcast data so significantly, many fantasy managers were worried that his numbers would regress in 2020. Although his batting average did come down (to a still respectable .277), he not only staved off regression, but he improved significantly in most areas. He cut his strikeout rate by 6%, upped his walk rate by 2.5%, and led the league in average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and barrel percentage. The fact that he's likely to throw in 25-30 steals over the course of a full season is just the cherry on top of elite fantasy production. He's a top-five overall pick with little or no downside and massive upside even off his incredible 2020 numbers, so long a there are no further developments with his shoulder.
37 weeks ago
Manny Machado Note
Manny Machado photo 17. Manny Machado 3B,SS
Machado was on pace to set career highs in most statistical categories other than steals after last year's 60-game season. He set career bests in strikeout and walk rates and, most importantly to fantasy managers, batting average, where he checked in at .304. Machado's batting average was earned (he had an identica .304 xBA), and came on the back of him cutting his ground ball rate to a career low 37.2% and his line drive rate to a career high 22%. Machado is still just entering his age-29 season, and will continue to bat in a loaded lineup. Expect some regression from his batting average, but all his other stellar numbers should remain on par, meaning it will be another outstanding season that is worth a second-round pick.
37 weeks ago
Yu Darvish Note
Yu Darvish photo 18. Yu Darvish SP
After a career year in 2020, Darvish moves to San Diego in a trade that shouldn't affect his strong 2021 outlook all that much. Despite his advancing age, Darvish built on the gains he had made over the second half of 2019, finishing with a 2.01 ER, a 0.96 WHIP, and a 31.3% strikeout rate. Darvish's walk rate has declined to a level once thought unattainable for the veteran, a mere 4.7%, which was in the top 8% of MLB in 2020. Although he'll be entering his age-35 season, there's simply nothing in Darvish's numbers, metrics, or statcast data that points to a decline. If you are desperate to find a negative, it's a move from the weak-hitting NL Central to the much stronger NL West, but that's hardly a reason to avoid Darvish. Draft him as an easy top-10 starter, and more like a top-5 option.
37 weeks ago
Blake Snell Note
Blake Snell photo 44. Blake Snell SP
Snell moves to the Padres fresh off a solid year, in which he pitched to a 3.24 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP, with a memorable early exit in the World Series. Snell has a checkered injury history and has pitched just 157 innings over the past two years, so don't expect him to be a big innings-eater in 2021. And, although he'll escape the dreaded AL East, he'll get a downgrade in park and defense, which largely makes the move a neutral one. All that said, Snell has plenty of talent as he's shown throughout his career, and should be able to pile up wins and strikeouts pitching for a strong Padres team. Draft him as an SP2 with upside.
37 weeks ago
Trent Grisham Note
Trent Grisham photo 80. Trent Grisham LF,CF,RF
Grisham had an excellent debut season with San Diego, reaching double digits in both home runs and steals in his 59 games. He improved on his already strong walk rate from 2019, and improved his quality of contact significantly. Whether or not you buy the bat, we know he has plenty of speed to do damage on the basepaths, as he ranks in the 96th percentile in sprint speed. Slated to lead off again for a strong Padres lineup, Grisham should provide plenty of runs scored to go along with his potential for a 20-20 season. Monitor his hamstring strain he suffered in the spring, but unless he looks like he'll miss significant time, draft him with confidence.
37 weeks ago
Chris Paddack Note
Chris Paddack photo 105. Chris Paddack SP
Paddack followed up his stellar rookie campaign with a subpar sophomore season, as his ERA rose to 4.73 and his WHIP to 1.22, while his strikeout rate dipped below one per inning. Paddack's bread and butter changeup was as good as ever in 2020 (and even better than in 2019), but his usually outstanding fastball just fell apart. After batters hit .204 with a .391 slugging percentage and .275 wOBA against the pitch in 2019, they hit .308 with a .658 slugging percentage and .407 wOBA against it in 2020. Paddack added a cutter in 2020, and it's possible that the addition of the pitch impacted the way he threw his fastball, as the vertical movement of it fell significantly. Either way, Paddack has too much talent to see his ERA hover around 5.00. There's risk given what we saw last year, but it's baked into his draft price.
37 weeks ago
Wil Myers Note
Wil Myers photo 109. Wil Myers 1B,LF,CF,RF
Myers talked openly about making a swing change last year, and it paid off in a big way. He raised his average by nearly 50 points over the previous year while cutting his strikeout rate, and ranked in the top seven percent in barrel rate. Myers didn't run as much as previous years in the shortened season, but he still ranked in the top 85% of the league in sprint speed. His average will likely come down to closer to its career .254 mark. But he has earned a bit of a leash at least with his strong 2020 campaign, and should be a fine power-speed combination who will put up solid overall counting numbers.
37 weeks ago
Dinelson Lamet Note
Dinelson Lamet photo 112. Dinelson Lamet RP,SP
Lamet had a dominant curveball in 2019 which he threw 31.7% of the time. Batters hit just .105 against it that year with a .193 wOBA. But Lamet ditched it entirely in 2020, and instead replaced it by greatly upping his slider usage, from 12.2% in 2019 to 53.4% in 2020. And somehow, his slider was even better than his curveball ever was. Batters hit 0.80 against it with a .120 slugging percentage and a .141 wOBA. It was, simply put, the best pitch in baseball last year. Unfortunately, Lamet's arm couldn't hold up to the stress, and he missed the end of the regular season and the playoffs because of an elbow injury. He underwent PRP therapy on his elbow in October and is progressing well, but the Padres' focus on adding starting pitching this offseason suggests that they are not expecting to have Lamet for the full season. Monitor his health this spring, but understand that even if he begins the year healthy, there are plenty of injury concerns.
37 weeks ago
Joe Musgrove Note
Joe Musgrove photo 115. Joe Musgrove SP
Musgrove has been a popular sleeper the last two seasons and now that he's been traded to the Padres, his ADP is surely going to rise. In 2019, Musgrove continued to improve as a pitcher, upping his strikeout rate and adding velocity. But his 2020 season looked like a step back, until he returned from the IL strong, including finishing his season with back-to-back scoreless outings while getting back some of the lost zip on his fastball. Overall, Musgrove's 2020 numbers suggest a breakout waiting to happen, as he built significantly on his gains in 2019, increasing his strikeout rate to 33.1%. His chances for wins should improve dramatically in San Diego, and he's a fine fourth starter with upside.
37 weeks ago
Eric Hosmer Note
Eric Hosmer photo 136. Eric Hosmer 1B
Hosmer made no secret of his effort to attempt to (finally) stop pounding the ball into the ground so much last year, and it worked to perfection. His ground ball rate fell from roughly 57% the previous three seasons to just 46.2%, and his flyball rate rose from about 21% in the same span to 34.2%. The result was an impressive nine home runs in just 38 games in an injury-shortened season. Hosmer still hits the ball hard and if he can maintain the changes to his profile into 2021, he'll make an incredibly cheap corner infielder who can chip in pretty much everywhere.
37 weeks ago
Jake Cronenworth Note
Jake Cronenworth photo 202. Jake Cronenworth 1B,2B,SS
Drew Pomeranz Note
Drew Pomeranz photo 254. Drew Pomeranz SP,RP
Pomeranz likely would have, at the very least, factored into the closer's mix for San Diego prior to the Mark Melancon and Keone Kela signings. After finally switching into a full-time reliever role last year, Pomeranz shined, with a 1.45 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP, and a 39.7% strikeout rate. Although he may still be in line for save opportunities, the presence of Melancon, Kela, and Emilio Pagan muddy the waters. That's especially true given that Pomeranz is currently the only healthy and reliable left-hander in the bullpen. Pomeranz is worth a late selection until and unless Jayce Tingler declares that he's not an option for the ninth inning.
37 weeks ago
Emilio Pagan Note
Emilio Pagan photo 267. Emilio Pagan RP
Austin Nola Note
Austin Nola photo 270. Austin Nola C,1B,2B
Nola has proven to be a quality bat for a catcher over the last two seasons, batting .271 with 17 home runs in 127 games over that span. He's in a great situation with the Padres, even if he will be batting at the bottom of the lineup, but a fractured finger will likely lead him to begin the season on the IL. Depending on how much time he'll miss, that could create a buying opportunity, as his ADP should drop a bit. As long he isn't projected to miss more than a couple of weeks, take the discount and enjoy premium production from the catcher position for the rest of the season.
37 weeks ago
Ha-Seong Kim Note
Ha-Seong Kim photo 283. Ha-Seong Kim 2B,3B,SS
Kim joins a loaded Padres team after a successful career in the KBO. He had a particularly strong 2020 season, slashing .306/.397/.523 with 30 home runs and 23 steals. Although he split time between shortstop and third base in the KBO, he should likely man second for the Padres, which is better for his fantasy value given the relative lack of strength of the position (though the signing of Jurickson Profar does add a few question marks). Kim is younger than most hitters coming over from the KBO - only 25 - and he has the speed and power to reach double digits in steals and homers pretty easily. But he's more of a 15-15 type of player, rather than the potential 30-25 he was last year, and he'll likely bat near the bottom of the order, limiting his plate appearance and runs and RBI opportunities. Draft him as a middle infield option, but with upside.
37 weeks ago
Jurickson Profar Note
Jurickson Profar photo 314. Jurickson Profar 1B,2B,CF,LF,RF
Jorge Alfaro Note
Jorge Alfaro photo 320. Jorge Alfaro C,LF
Alfaro batted just .226 in 2020, but he hit .262 from 2018-2019, along with 28 home runs in 238 games. He has been criticized for his defense, but he reportedly worked on it during the offseason and has received some praise this spring. After flirting with trade talk, the Marlins look like they'll stick with Alfaro, and his bat plays well enough to make him a high-end second catcher in mixed leagues. The stardom that some projected may never come, but he'll likely be fantasy-relevant in 2020.
37 weeks ago
MacKenzie Gore Note
MacKenzie Gore photo 325. MacKenzie Gore SP
Adrian Morejon Note
Adrian Morejon photo 441. Adrian Morejon SP,RP
Pierce Johnson Note
Pierce Johnson photo 513. Pierce Johnson RP
Victor Caratini Note
Victor Caratini photo 549. Victor Caratini C,1B,DH
Craig Stammen Note
Craig Stammen photo 555. Craig Stammen RP,SP
Tim Hill Note
Tim Hill photo 564. Tim Hill RP
Austin Adams Note
Austin Adams photo 646. Austin Adams RP
Luis Campusano Note
Luis Campusano photo 667. Luis Campusano C
Heath Fillmyer Note
Heath Fillmyer photo 905. Heath Fillmyer SP,RP
Michel Baez Note
Michel Baez photo 1077. Michel Baez SP,RP
Nabil Crismatt Note
Nabil Crismatt photo 1123. Nabil Crismatt RP
James Norwood Note
James Norwood photo 1284. James Norwood RP
Ryan Weathers Note
Ryan Weathers photo 1356. Ryan Weathers SP,RP
Jorge Ona Note
Jorge Ona photo 1529. Jorge Ona DH,LF