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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Bo Bichette Note
Bo Bichette photo 21. Bo Bichette SS
Bichette missed about half the season with a knee injury last year, but was productive when he was on the field, batting .301 with an .840 OPS. His 162-game pace was 28 home runs, 100 runs, 128 RBI, and 22 steals, so he was well on his way to earning his lofty draft price. If there was a wart to Bichette's season it was that his walk rate dropped to just 3.9%, one of the worst in the league. But, given that he had just 128 plate appearances, that's likely just the product of a small sample size, since he never walked at less than a 6.6% clip in his career. Batting in a stacked lineup, Bichette should once again put up strong five-category numbers, and should be one of the first shortstops drafted in fantasy leagues again in 2020.
26 weeks ago
George Springer Note
George Springer photo 48. George Springer CF,RF
Springer is dealing with a grade-2 oblique strain, and his status is in doubt for Opening Day, though the injury is not expected to keep him out for very long. When healthy, he's a dynamic player. Springer's batting average fell off a tad last year, but once he was past his wrist injury, he was explosive, batting .316 with a 1.033 OPS over the final month of the season. His expected statistics were excellent, as he ranked in the top eight percent of the league in xBA, xSLG, and xWOBA. Now with the Blue Jays and an extreme hitter's park (wherever the Blue Jay play this year), he should once again be in line for a stellar year. Home runs and runs scored should again be plentiful, making Springer a rock solid second outfielder in mixed leagues.
26 weeks ago
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Note
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. photo 49. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 1B,3B
Guerrero Jr. comes into 2021 with fantasy managers asking the same question they asked the year before: can he stop hitting the ball on the ground so much? A 49.6% ground-ball rate was bad in 2019, but a 54.6% ground ball rate in 2020 was downright egregious. Guerrero Jr. hits the ball really, really hard. He was in the top seven percent of MLB in average exit velocity (92.5 MPH) and hard hit rate (50.8%). But until he learns to stop pounding the ball into the dirt, his power upside will be limited. There will be some fantasy manager in your league willing to bet on the upside, so if you want Guerrero Jr., you're going to have to draft him before his numbers say you should. This may indeed be the year that everything clicks. But you'll have to pay to find out.
26 weeks ago
Hyun Jin Ryu Note
Hyun Jin Ryu photo 70. Hyun Jin Ryu SP
Fantasy managers expected some regression from Ryu after his career season in 2019 and with him moving to the Blue Jays, but it really didn't come. He continued to be among the best in the game at limiting opposing batters' quality of contact, and upped his strikeout rate to 26.2%, second best of his career. Ryu's 2.69 ERA was a bit higher than the 2.32 mark he put up in in 2019, but his FIP, xFIP, SIERA, and xERA were all the same or better than the previous year. In short, other than the potential for injury, which hasn't been a factor in the last two seasons, there's no reason to doubt Ryu at this point.
26 weeks ago
Teoscar Hernandez Note
Teoscar Hernandez photo 81. Teoscar Hernandez LF,CF,RF
Hernandez missed 10 games due to injury and still put up an impressive 16 home runs in his mere 50 games. The statcast leaderboard is peppered with Hernandez's name, as he hit the ball hard consistently throughout the year. He also upped his line drive rate significantly, which his why the underlying statistics supported his massive jump in batting average. But it's hard to tell if Hernandez's 2020 season was real or just a very hot 50-game stretch. After all, he still struck out more than 30 percent of the time, and his walk rate dropped by about two points. In the end, given his home park and his supporting case, you can buy Hernandez as a 35-homer bat who will chip in steals and help with the remaining counting stats. But assume he hits closer to his .245 batting average, and don't count on the 50 homer pace you saw last year.
26 weeks ago
Jose Berrios Note
Jose Berrios photo 83. Jose Berrios SP
Berrios may not ever become the dominant pitcher many projected him to be, but he offers a strong floor for fantasy managers. Ignoring his 2016 cup of coffee, Berrios has pitched to a 3.89 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, and a strikeout per inning in his career. And although his walk rate went up a tad and he gave up a bit harder contact in 2020's shortened season, his numbers didn't vary from his usual output significantly. Bank on around a 4.00 ERA, a WHIP somewhere around 1.25, and plenty of strikeouts. In today's fantasy game, that's more than adequate for a strong fantasy staff.
26 weeks ago
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Note
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. photo 84. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. 1B,2B,LF
Gurriel Jr. has developed into an extremely strong major league hitter, showing far more power than he did in the minors. He makes consistently strong (though not elite) contact, and although he swings a ton, his strikeout rate isn't prohibitive. Gurriel isn't going to be elite in any category, but he's going to provide some value in all five. Batting in an excellent lineup and hitter's park (whichever one it may be), Gurriel should be a fine pick in drafts in all formats.
26 weeks ago
Cavan Biggio Note
Cavan Biggio photo 89. Cavan Biggio 2B,3B,RF
Biggio doesn't hit the ball particularly well and is passive almost to a fault. He swung at just 36% of the pitches he saw last year, third-fewest in MLB, and that represents a continued trend. That passivity leads to increased strikeouts, but also plenty of walks, as Biggio took a free pass 15.5% of the time last season, which ranked in the top 8 percent of baseball. Despite not making consistently strong contact, Biggio has hit 24 home runs in his 159 major league games, and he's added on 107 runs and 20 steals. Those numbers play extremely well for fantasy, particularly at the weak second base position. Biggio is likely to add third base eligibility with the Blue Jays' addition of Marcus Semien, which should only add to his value, and he makes a fine pick if you can nab him in the fifth round or so where his ADP generally lands.
26 weeks ago
Marcus Semien Note
Marcus Semien photo 108. Marcus Semien 2B,SS
Semien looked like he had made some major and sustainable gains in 2019, cutting his strikeout rate way down and being far more selective, which led to better contact. Unfortunately, Semien looked a lot like the old version of himself in 2020, with a strikeout rate over 20% and similar mediocre contact to that which he had made consistently prior to 2019. He signed a one-year deal with the Blue Jays, which is a great landing spot for him, as he'll likely bat near the top of a strong lineup, see an upgrade in home park, and earn second base eligibility. That makes Semien far more enticing as a potential draft-day target, but he should still be considered only a middle infield option in mixed leagues.
26 weeks ago
Jordan Romano Note
Jordan Romano photo 203. Jordan Romano RP
Romano is poised to serve as the Blue Jays' closer after Kirby Yates suffered an elbow injury which will cost him the season. Romano's stuff isn't special, but he had a very solid 2020 campaign, and should see plenty of save chances with Toronto, assuming he's officially named the closer. The relief pitcher landscape for fantasy gets cloudy quickly, so despite the lack of certainty, Romano makes a decent option for your second reliever. Bump him higher if he's officially named the closer before the season.
26 weeks ago
Randal Grichuk Note
Randal Grichuk photo 255. Randal Grichuk CF,RF
Joakim Soria Note
Joakim Soria photo 270. Joakim Soria RP
The Diamondbacks gave Soria a one-year, $3.5 million deal after his successful stint with the A's. Soria fixed his home run problem from 2019, which was an outlier for his career anyway, and his 2020 numbers looked much more in line with his typical output. Soria hasn't been named the closer, but given that he has totaled at least 16 saves in eight separate seasons, it's a strong bet that he'll begin the year in the ninth inning. The Diamondbacks aren't expected to be competitive, so if you do draft him, bank on him being traded to another team, and into another role, by mid-season.
26 weeks ago
Nate Pearson Note
Nate Pearson photo 305. Nate Pearson SP,RP
Pearson is oozing with talent, but he just can't seem to stay healthy. Whether it was elbow soreness last year or the groin strain that is now going to keep him out of action for a bit, something seem to crop up to delay his success in the majors. He wound up pitching just 18 innings overall last year, but the stuff is there, without question. His fastball reaches triple digits, his slider is dominant, and his curveball and changeup are far above average. There's always a bit more uncertainty with young power pitchers, particularly when they've had elbow injuries like Pearson has. And, after trading for Steven Matz, the Blue Jays have plenty of rotation depth and shouldn't feel pressured into rushing Pearson back from injury. In keeper and dynasty formats, he's still a buy, but in redraft leagues, he's probably not worth a pick at this point.
26 weeks ago
Corey Dickerson Note
Corey Dickerson photo 316. Corey Dickerson LF,CF
Robbie Ray Note
Robbie Ray photo 322. Robbie Ray SP
Alejandro Kirk Note
Alejandro Kirk photo 331. Alejandro Kirk C
Kirk has the bat to to be a fantasy asset if he can stay in the lineup, particularly with catcher eligibility. He is a career .315 hitter with a .918 OPS in the minors, and had a strong, albeit short, stint in the majors last year during when he had a .983 OPS in nine games. The biggest obstacle for Kirk is that the Blue Jays have two solid defensive catchers in Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire, and although they could put Kirk at DH, they have plenty of other options for that position. In other words, Kirk needs to hit and hit early to cement a lineup spot. If he does, he's got top-10 catcher potential pretty easily.
26 weeks ago
Danny Jansen Note
Danny Jansen photo 349. Danny Jansen C
Jansen's playing time is uncertain this year with the presence of both Reese McGuire and Alejandro Kirk, but his defense is likely to keep him in the mix as a starter most games. He hasn't developed into the offensive force most thought he would become, and his average has been downright dreadful. But he's put up 19 home runs and 59 RBI over 150 games in the last two seasons, and the Toronto lineup is incredibly strong. If he wins the job outright out of spring training, he should be considered a fairly strong second catcher.
26 weeks ago
Gregory Polanco Note
Gregory Polanco photo 367. Gregory Polanco RF
Ross Stripling Note
Ross Stripling photo 427. Ross Stripling SP,RP
Rafael Dolis Note
Rafael Dolis photo 432. Rafael Dolis RP
Steven Matz Note
Steven Matz photo 554. Steven Matz SP
David Phelps Note
David Phelps photo 571. David Phelps RP
Tim Mayza Note
Tim Mayza photo 587. Tim Mayza RP
Julian Merryweather Note
Julian Merryweather photo 667. Julian Merryweather SP,RP
Jacob Barnes Note
Jacob Barnes photo 724. Jacob Barnes RP
Ryan Borucki Note
Ryan Borucki photo 726. Ryan Borucki RP
Jake Lamb Note
Jake Lamb photo 730. Jake Lamb 1B,3B,LF,RF
Thomas Hatch Note
Thomas Hatch photo 734. Thomas Hatch RP
Anthony Kay Note
Anthony Kay photo 737. Anthony Kay SP,RP
Travis Bergen Note
Travis Bergen photo 750. Travis Bergen RP
Adam Cimber Note
Adam Cimber photo 855. Adam Cimber RP
Trent Thornton Note
Trent Thornton photo 871. Trent Thornton SP,RP
Trevor Richards Note
Trevor Richards photo 931. Trevor Richards SP,RP
Reese McGuire Note
Reese McGuire photo 1012. Reese McGuire C
Jarrod Dyson Note
Jarrod Dyson photo 1056. Jarrod Dyson LF,CF,RF
Mallex Smith Note
Mallex Smith photo 1070. Mallex Smith CF,RF
Jeremy Beasley Note
Jeremy Beasley photo 1208. Jeremy Beasley RP
A.J. Cole Note
A.J. Cole photo 1218. A.J. Cole RP
Dany Jimenez Note
Dany Jimenez photo 1221. Dany Jimenez RP
Josh Palacios Note
Josh Palacios photo 1260. Josh Palacios CF,RF
Anthony Castro Note
Anthony Castro photo 1261. Anthony Castro RP
Jacob Waguespack Note
Jacob Waguespack photo 1320. Jacob Waguespack SP,RP
Juan Graterol Note
Juan Graterol photo 1431. Juan Graterol
Breyvic Valera Note
Breyvic Valera photo 1446. Breyvic Valera 2B,3B
Santiago Espinal Note
Santiago Espinal photo 1458. Santiago Espinal 3B,SS
Tyler White Note
Tyler White photo 1531. Tyler White 1B
Kevin Smith Note
Kevin Smith photo 1546. Kevin Smith 3B,SS