Fantasy Baseball Player Notes
2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes
1.
Jacob deGrom
NYM
deGrom barely missed out on winning his third straight Cy Young Award last year, but it was yet another dominant season. For the third straight year, he came in with a WHIP under 1.00, an ERA under 2.50, and a strikeout percentage above 31%. deGrom is getting up there in age, but it's worth remembering that he has fewer miles on his arm than most pitcher entering their age33 season, given that he didn't transition to pitching until late in his college career and missed significant time with injuries during his time in the minors. deGrom has shown no decline in his game, and should hopefully (finally) begin to pile on more wins this year pitching for a better team in front of an improved bullpen. He should be the first or second starting pitcher taken and is an obvious firstround pick.

2.
Gerrit Cole
NYY
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, highstrikeout, lowwalk 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 top10. 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 top10 overall picks on draft day.

3.
Shane Bieber
CLE
Bieber took the huge gains he had made in 2019 and kicked the into hyperdrive en route to a Cy Young season. He had a miniscule 1.63 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP, and took his strikeout percentage to 41.1%, which ranked first among qualified starters. Everything was exceptional for Bieber, as he held batters to just a .167 batting average, barely allowed home runs, and earned eight wins in just 12 starts. He may struggle to again find wins given the Indians' depleted lineup, but there is nothing else to think twice about with Bieber. He's part of the ultraelite tier in starting pitching with Jacob deGrom and Gerrit Cole, and should be a firstround selection.

4.
Walker Buehler
LAD
Because the Dodgers wanted to closely watch Buehler's routine and workload, he got a late start to the shortened season, essentially using his first few starts as the end of his spring training. He also dealt with blisters late in the year. All that to say, Buehler's 36 2/3 regularseason innings are, for the most part, largely meaningless. He gave up a few more home runs and walked a few more batters than usual, and he won just a single game. But none of it matters. Value Buehler as you did after his 2019 season  as one of the true stud pitchers in the game. Once the big three of Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole, and Shane Bieber are off the board, Buehler should come under immediate consideration, as the type of starting pitcher who can be your fantasy ace.

5.
Trevor Bauer
FA

6.
Yu Darvish
SD
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 age35 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 weakhitting NL Central to the much stronger NL West, but that's hardly a reason to avoid Darvish. Draft him as an easy top10 starter, and more like a top5 option.

7.
Aaron Nola
PHI
Nola bounced back from his disappointing 2019 campaign, and looked much closer to the 2018 breakout version of himself last year. His set a career mark in strikeout rate (33.2%, which ranked in the top nine percent in the league) and swinging strike rate (13.4%), and brought his walk rate down to just eight percent. Nola also got batters to swing at pitches outside the strike zone at a rate of 38.1%, far better than he had ever done in his career, and they made contact less than ever, at a rate of only 59.1%. The reason for the change was Nola relying far less on his fastball and more on his changeup, which kept hitters off balance and made both pitches more effective. Nola doesn't throw particularly hard, so his success relies much more on command and finding the right pitch mix, both of which he excelled at in 2020. If he can keep that going in 2021, and it's a good bet he will, he should be considered a fantasy ace.

8.
Lucas Giolito
CWS

9.
Max Scherzer
WSH

10.
Jack Flaherty
STL

11.
Luis Castillo
CIN

12.
Clayton Kershaw
LAD

13.
Blake Snell
SD
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 inningseater 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.

14.
Brandon Woodruff
MIL

15.
Zac Gallen
ARI

16.
Stephen Strasburg
WSH

17.
Kenta Maeda
MIN

18.
Sonny Gray
CIN

19.
Lance Lynn
CWS
Lynn turned in another stellar year in 2020, leading MLB with 84 innings pitched, striking out plenty of batters, and keeping his walk rate and overall numbers in check. But there are a few warning signs under the hood, including his 4.19 FIP, his 4.34 xFIP, and his careerhigh 79.4% LOB rate. Of bigger concern is his trade to the White Sox and hitterfriendly Guaranteed Rate Field, particularly because Lynn had a 38.3% flyball rate in 2019 and a 42.3% flyball rate last year. That led to the worst HR/9 rate of his career and secondworst HR/FB rate (13.8%) in 2020. Countering those troublesome warning signs, however, is the fact that he'll be caught by perhaps the best pitch framer in baseball in Yasmani Grandal, and that will generally help with his numbers which, again, were excellent last year. Add it all up and Lynn's ERA should likely increase simply because of the additional home runs he'll allow if he can't turn around his trend in flyball rate, but Grandal's presence and Lynn's general aptitude on the mound should allow for another strong season and make him worthy of a selection as an SP2.

20.
Tyler Glasnow
TB

21.
Dinelson Lamet
SD

22.
Max Fried
ATL

23.
Hyun Jin Ryu
TOR

24.
Carlos Carrasco
NYM

25.
Zach Plesac
CLE

26.
Zack Greinke
HOU

27.
Zack Wheeler
PHI

28.
Corbin Burnes
MIL

29.
Kyle Hendricks
CHC

30.
Chris Paddack
SD

31.
Jose Berrios
MIN

32.
Jesus Luzardo
OAK

33.
Ian Anderson
ATL

34.
Framber Valdez
HOU

35.
Dylan Bundy
LAA

36.
Charlie Morton
ATL
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 postseason, 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 lowend SP3. Grab him there, at which point the riskreward balance should reach an equilibrium.

37.
Patrick Corbin
WSH

38.
Sixto Sanchez
MIA

39.
Julio Urias
LAD

40.
Mike Soroka
ATL

41.
Lance McCullers Jr.
HOU

42.
Frankie Montas
OAK

43.
Pablo Lopez
MIA

44.
Joe Musgrove
SD
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 backtoback 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.

45.
German Marquez
COL

46.
Marco Gonzales
SEA

47.
Sandy Alcantara
MIA

48.
Aaron Civale
CLE

49.
David Price
LAD

50.
Dustin May
LAD

51.
Devin Williams
MIL

52.
Dallas Keuchel
CWS

53.
Chris Bassitt
OAK

54.
Triston McKenzie
CLE

55.
Tony Gonsolin
LAD

56.
Chris Sale
BOS

57.
Kevin Gausman
SF

58.
Andrew Heaney
LAA

59.
Eduardo Rodriguez
BOS

60.
Brady Singer
KC

61.
Cristian Javier
HOU

62.
John Means
BAL

63.
Shohei Ohtani
LAA

64.
Zach Eflin
PHI

65.
Zach Davies
CHC

66.
Jose Urquidy
HOU

67.
Jameson Taillon
PIT

68.
Corey Kluber
NYY

69.
Michael Pineda
MIN

70.
James Paxton
FA

71.
Marcus Stroman
NYM

72.
Tyler Mahle
CIN

73.
Sean Manaea
OAK

74.
Justus Sheffield
SEA

75.
Nathan Eovaldi
BOS

76.
Matthew Boyd
DET

77.
Ryan Yarbrough
TB

78.
Nate Pearson
TOR

79.
Drew Pomeranz
SD

80.
Griffin Canning
LAA

81.
Elieser Hernandez
MIA

82.
MacKenzie Gore
SD

83.
Taijuan Walker
FA

84.
Masahiro Tanaka
FA

85.
Dane Dunning
TEX
Dunning had an interesting sevenstart run in 2020. He started out relying heavily on his outstanding slider and his fastball, which led to a strong swinging strike rate and plenty of punchouts in his first few starts. He then abandoned that approach to focus more on his changeup, which led to him missing fewer bats and being less successful. Now with the Rangers, Dunning should get a chance to compete for a rotation spot right out of the gate. He has the tools and skills necessary to be successful, and the draft capital necessary to acquire him should be minimal. He's worth a lateround pick in nearly all formats.

86.
Diego Castillo
TB

87.
Jordan Romano
TOR

88.
Michael Kopech
CWS

89.
Tarik Skubal
DET

90.
Brad Keller
KC

91.
Jordan Montgomery
NYY

92.
Drew Smyly
ATL

93.
Mike Minor
KC

94.
Domingo German
NYY

95.
Justin Verlander
HOU

96.
Tanner Houck
BOS

97.
Deivi Garcia
NYY

98.
Noah Syndergaard
NYM

99.
Jake Odorizzi
FA

100.
Miles Mikolas
STL

101.
Luis Severino
NYY

102.
Mitch Keller
PIT

103.
Alex Reyes
STL

104.
Spencer Turnbull
DET

105.
Caleb Smith
ARI

106.
Yusei Kikuchi
SEA

107.
Casey Mize
DET

108.
Rich Hill
FA

109.
Adam Wainwright
FA

110.
Jon Gray
COL

111.
Spencer Howard
PHI

112.
Josh Lindblom
MIL

113.
Freddy Peralta
MIL

114.
Dylan Cease
CWS

115.
Madison Bumgarner
ARI

116.
Robbie Ray
TOR

117.
Alec Mills
CHC

118.
Luke Weaver
ARI

119.
Ross Stripling
TOR

120.
Dean Kremer
BAL

121.
Garrett Richards
BOS

122.
Chad Green
NYY

123.
Daniel Bard
COL

124.
A.J. Puk
OAK

125.
Keegan Akin
BAL

126.
Tejay Antone
CIN

127.
Dakota Hudson
STL

128.
Jose Leclerc
TEX

129.
Austin Gomber
STL

130.
Rick Porcello
FA

131.
Hunter Harvey
BAL

132.
Adbert Alzolay
CHC

133.
Kyle Wright
ATL

134.
David Peterson
NYM

135.
Gregory Soto
DET

136.
Lucas Sims
CIN

137.
Johnny Cueto
SF

138.
Danny Duffy
KC

139.
J.A. Happ
MIN

140.
Carlos Martinez
STL

141.
Anthony DeSclafani
SF

142.
Adrian Houser
MIL

143.
Tyler Matzek
ATL

144.
Brendan McKay
TB

145.
Luis Patino
TB

146.
Cal Quantrill
CLE

147.
Brusdar Graterol
LAD

148.
Ian Kennedy
FA

149.
Kyle Freeland
COL

150.
Kyle Gibson
TEX

151.
Mike Foltynewicz
FA

152.
Joey Lucchesi
NYM

153.
Daniel Ponce de Leon
STL

154.
Jesse Hahn
KC

155.
Trevor Rogers
MIA

156.
Forrest Whitley
HOU

157.
Clarke Schmidt
NYY

158.
Alex Wood
SF

159.
Yonny Chirinos
TB

160.
Mike Clevinger
SD

161.
Kris Bubic
KC

162.
Cole Hamels
FA

163.
Jose Quintana
LAA

164.
JT Brubaker
PIT

165.
Jonathan Hernandez
TEX

166.
Logan Webb
SF

167.
Adrian Morejon
SD

168.
Josh James
HOU

169.
Corbin Martin
ARI

170.
Randy Dobnak
MIN

171.
Steven Matz
NYM

172.
Matt Manning
DET

173.
Anibal Sanchez
FA

174.
Merrill Kelly
ARI

175.
Antonio Senzatela
COL

176.
Jonathan Loaisiga
NYY

177.
Jeff Samardzija
FA

178.
Matt Strahm
SD

179.
Jon Lester
WSH

180.
Julio Teheran
FA

181.
Reynaldo Lopez
CWS

182.
Chris Archer
FA

183.
Mike Fiers
FA

184.
Justin Dunn
SEA

185.
Bud Norris
FA

186.
Homer Bailey
FA

187.
Tanner Roark
TOR

188.
Scott Barlow
KC

189.
Matt Shoemaker
FA

190.
Jordan Yamamoto
MIA

191.
Brent Suter
MIL

192.
Bryse Wilson
ATL

193.
Chad Kuhl
PIT

194.
Daniel Norris
DET

195.
Nick Pivetta
BOS

196.
Trevor Richards
TB

197.
Joe Ross
WSH

198.
Enoli Paredes
HOU

199.
Tyler Beede
SF

200.
Logan Gilbert
SEA

201.
Darwinzon Hernandez
BOS

202.
Jake Arrieta
FA

203.
Felix Pena
LAA

204.
Austin Voth
WSH

205.
Jaime Barria
LAA

206.
Brent Honeywell Jr.
TB

207.
Michael King
NYY

208.
Edward Cabrera
MIA

209.
Carlos Rodon
FA

210.
Steven Brault
PIT

211.
Trevor Williams
FA

212.
Tyler Anderson
FA

213.
Ryan Helsley
STL

214.
Robert Stephenson
COL

215.
Asher Wojciechowski
NYY

216.
Nick Kingham
TOR

217.
Vince Velasquez
PHI

218.
Logan Verrett
BAL

219.
Touki Toussaint
ATL

220.
Anderson Espinoza
SD

221.
John Gant
STL

222.
Michael Fulmer
DET

223.
Sean Newcomb
ATL

224.
Kolby Allard
TEX

225.
Jeff Hoffman
CIN

226.
Carson Fulmer
PIT

227.
Brady Aiken
CLE

228.
Erick Fedde
WSH

229.
Yadier Alvarez
LAD

230.
Eric Lauer
MIL

231.
Riley Pint
COL

232.
Sean ReidFoley
TOR

233.
Adam Plutko
CLE

234.
Jorge Guzman
MIA

235.
Jakob Junis
KC

236.
Braxton Garrett
MIA

237.
Chance Adams
KC

238.
Franklin Perez
DET

239.
J.B. Bukauskas
ARI

240.
Nick Neidert
MIA

241.
Anthony Kay
TOR

242.
Jon Duplantier
ARI

243.
Ranger Suarez
PHI

244.
Dennis Santana
LAD

245.
Eric Pardinho
TOR

246.
Logan Allen
CLE

247.
Matt Liberatore
STL

248.
Peter Lambert
COL

249.
Ryan Weathers
SD

250.
Taylor Clarke
ARI

251.
Trent Thornton
TOR

252.
Cole Winn
TEX

253.
Dereck Rodriguez
COL

254.
Patrick Sandoval
LAA

255.
Devin Smeltzer
MIN

256.
Josiah Gray
LAD

257.
Mick Abel
PHI

258.
Simeon WoodsRichardson
TOR

259.
Asa Lacy
KC
