2021 Fantasy Baseball Rankings (AL)
Expert Consensus Ranking (57 of 57 Experts) -
|Rank||Player (Team, Position)||Overall||Notes|
|1||DJ LeMahieu (NYY - 1B,2B,3B)||12||7.0||-5.0||
LeMahieu will return to the Yankees on a six-year deal, and that is great news for fantasy managers. Since he's been New York, he's provided elite all-around production, most notably in batting average, where he has batted .336. He's blossomed into a 25-home run hitter with plenty of runs and RBI, and a handful of steals that chip in with the category. Add to that LeMahieu's multi-position eligibility and he is a huge asset to every fantasy team. With nothing in his profile to suggest a skills decline, he should be drafted before the third round is out in every fantasy league.
|2||Whit Merrifield (KC - 2B,CF,RF)||16||16.0||‐||
Merrifield has established an extremely strong floor, as he'll almost always be an asset in batting average, steals, and runs scored, and chip in for the remaining categories. There were some concern after his steals dropped to just 20 in 2019, but he bounced back to a 32-steal pace last year while also seeing a power spike. Merrifield is 32 years old and does not hit the ball particularly hard, but that's really irrelevant at this point. He is what he is, and with multi-position eligibility, what he is a major asset in fantasy and one of the top second basemen in fantasy.
|3||Gleyber Torres (NYY - 2B,SS)||23||25.0||+2.0||
Torres missed some time with quad and hamstring strains last season, but his year was an absolute disaster even without it. He batted just .243 and hit a mere three home runs in 160 plate appearances. The culprit was that he was reportedly out of shape, a byproduct of the long layoff between the original spring training and when baseball resumed months later. There's every reason to buy into the excuse given Torres' track record, especially since he bounced back a bit in September and October with an .842 OPS. Expect more typical numbers from Torres this year, meaning around a .270 average, 30 home runs, and plenty of counting stats. Given his ADP, he's likely to be a bargain this year.
|4||Jose Altuve (HOU - 2B)||31||39.0||+8.0||
Altuve had a rough 2020 season (like most Astros offensive players), but it was particularly drastic for him. After batting .298 (which was low for him) with 31 home runs in 2019, he batted just .219 with five home runs last year, and he struck out more than he ever had before. But, like his counterpart in the middle infield, Carlos Correa, Altuve had a strong postseason, slashing .375/.500/.720 with five home runs. It's reasonable to write off Altuve's regular season as a slump that he would have broken out of in light of his postseason, though with just eight steals combined over his previous two seasons, stolen bases may not be a big part of his game going forward (though his sprint speed is still excellent). Expect a bounce-back campaign in most categories, and take the undervalued Altuve as a solid starting second baseman.
|5||Brandon Lowe (TB - 1B,2B,LF,RF)||34||29.0||-5.0||
Lowe actually lost a point on his batting average from 2019 (.269 from .270), but his profile looked far better in 2020. He cut his strikeout rate from 34.6% to 25.9%, and his swinging strike rate from 19.1% to 15.4%. Despite barreling the ball a whopping 17.5% of the time (top 2 percent in baseball), his average dropped a point because, well, he just didn't have an outrageously lucky BABIP like he did in 2019 (.377). Lowe improved his ISO and HR/FB rate, and was generally the best version of himself in 2020. Even mashing together his 2019 and 2020 seasons, Lowe has hit 31 homers and stole eight bases over 138 games. Batting near the top of a strong lineup, he should deliver another solid season at the thin second base position.
|6||Cavan Biggio (TOR - 2B,3B,RF)||40||27.0||-13.0||
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.
|7||Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (TOR - 1B,2B,DH,LF)||39||40.0||+1.0||
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.
|8||Dylan Moore (SEA - 2B,3B,SS,LF,RF)||64||59.0||-5.0||
Moore hit .255 with eight home runs and 12 stolen bases in just 38 games last year. Despite not having an abundance of speed, Moore's stolen base prowess is real, as he stole 96 bases over 447 minor league games at a 77% clip and ranked in the 71st percentile in sprint speed last year. And he cut his strikeout rate to a high but manageable 27% last year, and his barrel rate, hard hit percentage, and average exit velocity were all well above average. But Moore has struggled against righties for much of his time in the majors, and despite his success last year, is unlikely to have a long leash with Shed Long waiting in the wings. Moore has upside and multi-position eligibility to go along with his power and speed. Just have a backup plan ready to go.
|9||Nick Solak (TEX - 2B,3B,LF,CF)||70||75.0||+5.0||
Solak hasn't shown a ton of power in the majors so far (just seven home runs in 91 career games), but he makes consistently strong contact and always had pop in the minors. His more than reasonable strikeout rate should generally keep his batting average in check, and his stolen base acuity (nine stolen bases in the majors, 91% in sprint speed) makes him a potential five-category player. Add to that multi-position eligibility, especially at the thin second base position, and he's an excellent mid-to-late round draft pick that should fill up the stat sheet without costing you as much as his numbers say he should.
|10||Andres Gimenez (CLE - 2B,3B,SS)||72||72.0||‐||
Gimenez was one of the main pieces in the Francisco Lindor/Carlos Carrasco trade, and he looks like he'll be the starting shortstop for Cleveland on Opening Day. There's not a ton of power in his bat, but he has a ton of speed. He ranked in the 94th percentile in sprint speed last season, and stole eight bases in 49 games in 2020 and 28 in 117 games in Triple-A the year before. His ADP is rising as his job security grows, but it's worth it for the steals he will provide.
|11||David Fletcher (LAA - 2B,3B,SS,LF)||99||87.0||-12.0|
|12||Ty France (SEA - 1B,2B,3B,DH)||119||106.0||-13.0|
|13||Luis Arraez (MIN - 2B,3B,LF)||133||144.0||+11.0|
|14||Jonathan Schoop (DET - 1B,2B,DH)||124||167.0||+43.0|
|15||Kike Hernandez (BOS - 2B,SS,LF,CF,RF)||139||151.0||+12.0|
|16||Joey Wendle (TB - 2B,3B,SS)||182||159.0||-23.0|
|17||Adam Frazier (SEA - 2B,LF)||147||150.0||+3.0|
|18||Chad Pinder (OAK - 2B,3B,LF,RF)||219||237.0||+18.0|
|19||Nicky Lopez (KC - 2B,SS)||291||268.0||-23.0|
|20||Tony Kemp (OAK - 2B,LF,CF)||265||286.0||+21.0|
|21||Christian Arroyo (BOS - 2B,3B)||350||300.0||-50.0|
|22||Vidal Brujan (TB - 2B)||321||242.0||-79.0|
|23||Aledmys Diaz (HOU - 1B,2B,3B,LF,SS)||302||270.0||-32.0|
|24||Jose Rojas (LAA - 2B,3B,RF)||335.0|
|25||Jahmai Jones (BAL - 2B)||335||328.0||-7.0|
|26||Tyler Wade (LAA - 2B,3B,CF,LF,SS)||349||199.0||-150.0|
|27||Harold Castro (DET - 1B,2B,3B,CF,LF,RF,SS)||372|
|28||Luis Rengifo (LAA - 2B,3B,RF,SS)||362||344.0||-18.0|
|29||Danny Mendick (CWS - 2B,RF,SS)||370|