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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Trevor Bauer Note
Trevor Bauer photo 5. Trevor Bauer
Bauer capped off a Cy Young season by signing a massive deal with the Dodgers. There's no other way to describe Bauer's 2020 season other than utterly dominant. A 1.73 ERA, a 0.79 WHIP, and a 36% strikeout rate. Notably, the spin rate on almost all of his pitched jumped dramatically, and every single one of them was more effective than we'd previously seen. Bauer had an outstanding season in 2018 and followed it up with a sub-par 2019, so we shouldn't take for granted that he'll be the best pitcher in baseball for the second season in a row. But on the best team in baseball with a near bulletproof 2020 resume, he should be drafted as a top-five starter and a second-round pick.
13 weeks ago
Walker Buehler Note
Walker Buehler photo 7. Walker Buehler
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 regular-season 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.
13 weeks ago
Clayton Kershaw Note
Clayton Kershaw photo 12. Clayton Kershaw
Kershaw turned back the clock a bit in 2020, as the shortened season allowed him to let things go a bit more and add some of the velocity he had lost over the previous two seasons. The result was his best WHIP and ERA since 2016 and best strikeout rate since 2017. Kershaw isn't going to reach 200 innings pitched at this stage of his career, not with his injury history and the Dodgers' depth in their rotation and World Series aspirations. But even entering his age-33 season, he offers next to no downside. Consider this: Kershaw had probably the worst season of his career in 2019 and pitched to a 3.03 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP with more than a strikeout per inning. Draft him as a strong SP2 but bank on 160 innings. Anything more is gravy.
13 weeks ago
Julio Urias Note
Julio Urias photo 37. Julio Urias
Urias had an interesting season (other than his postseason, which was dominant). His numbers overall were very solid, with a 3.27 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. But his strikeout rate dipped dramatically as a full-time starter, and his SIERA (4.88) and xFIP (5.06) suggest he got lucky. But the bottom line is that Urias is excellent at limiting hard contact, and he's allowed just a .257 BABIP over the last two seasons, which should keep his ERA in check. The Dodgers' rotation is overflowing, so it's possible they continue to limit Urias's innings. But for now, he should be considered an SP3, and as his playoffs showed, there's plenty of room for growth with his strikeout numbers.
13 weeks ago
Dustin May Note
Dustin May photo 60. Dustin May
May has been named the Dodgers' fifth starter by Dave Roberts, a surprising twist given the presence of David Price and Tony Gonsolin. Given the Dodgers' depth and their history, it's unlikely that he'll remain in the rotation from start to finish, but if you haven't drafted yet, move him significantly higher on your board.
12 weeks ago
David Price Note
David Price photo 62. David Price
Price was traded to the Dodgers along with Mookie Betts, but hasn't yet made a start with the team after opting out of the 2020 season. He'll be back for 2021, but his role isn't yet solidified according to reports, especially considering the extreme depth of the Dodgers' rotation. When healthy, even at his advanced age, Price is still a quality major league starter, with above-average strikeout and walk rates. The issue for Price is really health, as he's averaged only about 120 innings per season over his previous three years. His average draft position reflects the risk, and assuming he does end up in the rotation, he offers as much upside as anyone going in his range. There's still juice left for Price when he's healthy, so monitor reports out of the spring.
13 weeks ago
Tony Gonsolin Note
Tony Gonsolin photo 74. Tony Gonsolin
Gonsolin doesn't have a guaranteed spot in the Dodgers' rotation to start the season, and with the team signing Trevor Bauer, it's unclear just how much he'll start this season. His stuff doesn't blow you away, but he's got a 2.60 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP in 86.2 big league innings. And there were gains last year, as he cut his walk rate down and upped his strikeout rate. Gonsolin is an ideal candidate to have on your bench, because if he does get a spot in the rotation, he'll be a popular waiver wire add, and he can add value as a reliever in the meantime. So draft him late, and likely reap the rewards.
13 weeks ago
Jimmy Nelson Note
Jimmy Nelson photo 195. Jimmy Nelson
Josiah Gray Note
Josiah Gray photo 276. Josiah Gray
Mike Kickham Note
Mike Kickham photo 423. Mike Kickham