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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Yu Darvish Note
Yu Darvish photo 4. Yu Darvish
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.
19 weeks ago
Blake Snell Note
Blake Snell photo 14. Blake Snell
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.
19 weeks ago
Chris Paddack Note
Chris Paddack photo 30. Chris Paddack
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.
19 weeks ago
Joe Musgrove Note
Joe Musgrove photo 32. Joe Musgrove
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.
19 weeks ago
Dinelson Lamet Note
Dinelson Lamet photo 34. Dinelson Lamet
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.
19 weeks ago
Drew Pomeranz Note
Drew Pomeranz photo 90. Drew Pomeranz
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.
19 weeks ago
MacKenzie Gore Note
MacKenzie Gore photo 96. MacKenzie Gore
Adrian Morejon Note
Adrian Morejon photo 142. Adrian Morejon
Matt Strahm Note
Matt Strahm photo 165. Matt Strahm
Sam McWilliams Note
Sam McWilliams photo 286. Sam McWilliams
Ryan Weathers Note
Ryan Weathers photo 328. Ryan Weathers
Michel Baez Note
Michel Baez photo 399. Michel Baez