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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. SS
Tatis Jr. 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.
3 days 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.
3 days 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.
3 days ago
Blake Snell Note
Blake Snell photo 48. 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.
3 days ago
Trent Grisham Note
Trent Grisham photo 73. 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.
3 days ago
Dinelson Lamet Note
Dinelson Lamet photo 93. Dinelson Lamet 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.
3 days ago
Tommy Pham Note
Tommy Pham photo 105. Tommy Pham LF
Pham had a terrible 2020 season, during which he slashed .211/.312/.312 and hit just three home runs. A broken hamate bone limited him to just 31 games, and to make matters worse, he was stabbed in the lower back during an altercation in the offseason. But even entering his age-33 season, there are reasons to be optimistic about his 2021 outlook. Pham had averaged roughly 22 home runs and 22 steals with a .284 batting average the three years prior to last, and he had the highest hard-hit rate of his career in 2020. Indeed, his expected batting average of .266 was 55 points higher than his actual average. There's reason to expect Pham to return to his 20-20 ways if he can remain healthy, and batting in a loaded Padres lineup, he should add plenty of counting stats.
3 days ago
Chris Paddack Note
Chris Paddack photo 111. 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.
3 days ago
Wil Myers Note
Wil Myers photo 119. 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.
3 days ago
Joe Musgrove Note
Joe Musgrove photo 128. 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.
3 days ago
Eric Hosmer Note
Eric Hosmer photo 134. Eric Hosmer 1B
Jake Cronenworth Note
Jake Cronenworth photo 195. Jake Cronenworth 1B,2B,SS
Drew Pomeranz Note
Drew Pomeranz photo 205. 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.
3 days ago
Austin Nola Note
Austin Nola photo 208. Austin Nola C,1B,2B
Ha-seong Kim Note
Ha-seong Kim photo 245. Ha-seong Kim 2B,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.
3 days ago
Mark Melancon Note
Mark Melancon photo 269. Mark Melancon RP
Melancon had another fine year as the Braves' closer, and now joins the back end of the Padres bullpen. It's unclear if he'll serve as the closer, a Drew Pomeranz and Emilio Pagan also may have a claim to the role. Melancon is entering his age-36 season and his strikeout rate is mediocre at best. Although he is still performing well, his lack of pure stuff suggests that the wheels could come off at any moment. That said, he'll have plenty of value if he can earn the ninth-inning role, so monitor the reports out of spring, and draft him late until and unless he's officially ruled out for the role.
3 days ago
MacKenzie Gore Note
MacKenzie Gore photo 286. MacKenzie Gore SP
Jurickson Profar Note
Jurickson Profar photo 306. Jurickson Profar 2B,LF
Emilio Pagan Note
Emilio Pagan photo 381. Emilio Pagan RP
Adrian Morejon Note
Adrian Morejon photo 480. Adrian Morejon SP,RP
Jose Castillo Note
Jose Castillo photo 509. Jose Castillo RP
Keone Kela Note
Keone Kela photo 513. Keone Kela RP
Austin Adams Note
Austin Adams photo 581. Austin Adams RP
Craig Stammen Note
Craig Stammen photo 582. Craig Stammen RP
Matt Strahm Note
Matt Strahm photo 606. Matt Strahm SP,RP
Pierce Johnson Note
Pierce Johnson photo 609. Pierce Johnson RP
Victor Caratini Note
Victor Caratini photo 611. Victor Caratini C,1B
Tim Hill Note
Tim Hill photo 699. Tim Hill RP
Mike Clevinger Note
Mike Clevinger photo 725. Mike Clevinger SP
Luis Campusano Note
Luis Campusano photo 883. Luis Campusano Util
Josh Van Meter Note
Josh Van Meter photo 911. Josh Van Meter
Dan Altavilla Note
Dan Altavilla photo 917. Dan Altavilla RP
Jorge Mateo Note
Jorge Mateo photo 949. Jorge Mateo Util
Taylor Williams Note
Taylor Williams photo 997. Taylor Williams RP
Michel Baez Note
Michel Baez photo 1021. Michel Baez RP
Nick Ramirez Note
Nick Ramirez photo 1080. Nick Ramirez RP
Nabil Crismatt Note
Nabil Crismatt photo 1103. Nabil Crismatt RP
Ryan Weathers Note
Ryan Weathers photo 1226. Ryan Weathers RP
Brian O'Grady Note
Brian O'Grady photo 1380. Brian O'Grady CF
Jorge Ona Note
Jorge Ona photo 1509. Jorge Ona