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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Max Fried Note
Max Fried photo 27. Max Fried SP
In many ways, Fried regressed during his 2020 season. His strikeout rate dropped, his walk rate increased, and his xFIP and SIERA jumped significantly. Nevertheless, thanks to his ability to limit hard contact (his 83.4 MPH average exit velocity and 23.8% hard hit rate allowed were among the best in MLB) led to a massive drop in BABIP allowed, and kept both his ERA and WHIP in check. It's hard to buy a pitcher without an elite strikeout rate whose underlying numbers don't fully support his gains. Nevertheless, Fried was an elite prospect playing on an excellent team, and is just 27 years old. Don't pay for last year's numbers, but don't run away from him in drafts either.
19 weeks ago
Charlie Morton Note
Charlie Morton photo 31. Charlie Morton SP
Morton's 2020 numbers were poor, without question. He was limited to just 38 regular season innings because of a shoulder injury, and pitched to a 4.74 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. His velocity was way down early in the season (when he got hit hard) and trickled up after he returned, but he got back to his normal 95 MPH fastball in the postseason and totaled a 2.70 ERA. Now 37 and with the Braves, the question is whether fantasy managers can write off Morton's down 2020 season considering his sterling post-season, or whether his age and injury history means they should avoid him. In reality, the answer is neither. Morton should still have gas left in the tank considering his playoff run, but should only be drafted as a value, meaning no earlier than a low-end SP3. Grab him there, at which point the risk-reward balance should reach an equilibrium.
19 weeks ago
Ian Anderson Note
Ian Anderson photo 36. Ian Anderson SP
After rising through the minor leagues, Anderson had an excellent debut season with the Braves in 2020, pitching to a 1.95 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with a 29.7% strikeout rate. He was even better in four postseason starts, allowing just two runs over 18 2/3 innings while striking out 24. Anderson led all starters in barrel rate (just 1.2%), and has an excellent fastball, curveball, and changeup. His control isn't elite, but his raw stuff and prospect pedigree suggest that his 2020 season was no fluke. Draft him with confidence as a No. 2 starter.
19 weeks ago
Mike Soroka Note
Mike Soroka photo 63. Mike Soroka SP
Soroka pitched in just three games last year before rupturing his Achilles tendon. He's progressing well but the best case scenario for him appears to be a late-April return. When healthy, he's someone who fantasy managers can rely on as an ERA and WHIP stabilizer, who should contribute plenty of wins. The strikeouts won't be there, however, and given that he's coming off a significant injury, the Braves will likely be extra cautious with him when he does start. All that to say, don't draft Soroka expecting much more than 100-120 innings out of him. If you do that, you'll likely be happy with your return on investment.
19 weeks ago
Will Smith Note
Will Smith photo 72. Will Smith RP
Smith had a rough 2020 season, losing several weeks to a bout with COVID-19 and being far less effective than usual when he did pitch. His dominant slider just wasn't the same, as batters hit .263 (after never hitting better than .193) and tallied a .398 wOBA (after never totaling higher than .282) against it. But Brian Snitker appears to be willing to throw out Smith's poor season almost entirely. Although he hasn't named Smith the closer, he has professed his confidence in him, and there's been speculation from beat writers that Smith will ultimately win the role after a battle with Chris Martin and A.J. Minter. Draft Smith as the presumptive closer unless you hear otherwise from Braves camp.
19 weeks ago
Richard Rodriguez Note
Richard Rodriguez photo 80. Richard Rodriguez RP
So long as he remains with the Pirates, Rodriguez is likely to be the closer after locking down four saves last year. He's been a quality reliever for a few years in a row now, including last year when he put up a 2.70 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP with plenty of strikeouts. There's been speculation that the Pirates will look to deal Rodriguez before the season begins. But until and unless they do, he's a decent late-round selection who will likely total a handful of saves until he's inevitably dealt mid-season.
19 weeks ago
Drew Smyly Note
Drew Smyly photo 103. Drew Smyly SP
If you're willing to buy into Smyly's 2020 season, then he's likely to come at a major discount in drafts. He added more than two miles per hour to his fastball, struck out 37.8% of the batters he faced, and leaned more into his excellent curveball. There's reason for optimism after the Braves offered him a substantial one-year deal. Of course, Smyly's real issue is his health, as he missed two full seasons because of Tommy John surgery and even last year was limited to 26 1/3 innings. But there's reason to believe his gains last year are sustainable, so taking him late in your drafts, is worth the gamble.
19 weeks ago
Chris Martin Note
Chris Martin photo 128. Chris Martin RP
Tyler Matzek Note
Tyler Matzek photo 204. Tyler Matzek RP
A.J. Minter Note
A.J. Minter photo 211. A.J. Minter RP
Kyle Wright Note
Kyle Wright photo 253. Kyle Wright SP
Shane Greene Note
Shane Greene photo 303. Shane Greene RP
Josh Tomlin Note
Josh Tomlin photo 327. Josh Tomlin SP,RP
Grant Dayton Note
Grant Dayton photo 328. Grant Dayton RP
Jacob Webb Note
Jacob Webb photo 343. Jacob Webb RP
Tanner Roark Note
Tanner Roark photo 367. Tanner Roark SP
Sean Newcomb Note
Sean Newcomb photo 413. Sean Newcomb SP,RP
Luke Jackson Note
Luke Jackson photo 451. Luke Jackson RP
Yoan Lopez Note
Yoan Lopez photo 494. Yoan Lopez RP
Jasseel De La Cruz Note
Jasseel De La Cruz photo 528. Jasseel De La Cruz SP,RP
Huascar Ynoa Note
Huascar Ynoa photo 541. Huascar Ynoa SP
Touki Toussaint Note
Touki Toussaint photo 542. Touki Toussaint SP,RP
Tucker Davidson Note
Tucker Davidson photo 576. Tucker Davidson SP
Victor Arano Note
Victor Arano photo 716. Victor Arano RP
Edgar Santana Note
Edgar Santana photo 718. Edgar Santana RP
Jesse Chavez Note
Jesse Chavez photo 742. Jesse Chavez SP,RP
Jesse Biddle Note
Jesse Biddle photo 805. Jesse Biddle RP