2021 Fantasy Baseball Rankings (AL)
Expert Consensus Ranking (56 of 56 Experts) -
|Rank||Player (Team, Position)||Overall||Notes|
|1||Jose Ramirez (CLE - 3B,DH)||3||4.0||+1.0||
If you throw out the first half of his 2019 season, then Ramirez has been a dominant force in fantasy baseball for the last five years. He was as good as ever in 2020, setting career highs in slugging percentage (.607), wOBA (.415) and wRC+ (164). To the extent there are question marks about Ramirez, they're about his supporting cast, as Cleveland's lineup should be one of the weaker ones in the league now that the team has jettisoned Francisco Lindor. But a hitter's lineup is often overvalued by fantasy managers, particularly with a player like Ramirez who adds in value with stolen bases. He comes with little to no risk, and should be the first third baseman drafted, and a first round pick, in all formats.
|2||Anthony Rendon (LAA - 3B) IL10||8||8.0||‐||
Rendon's stock feels like it has dropped dramatically, but there's really nothing in the small sample size of the 2020 season that should alter your outlook much on him. Yes, he didn't hit the ball as hard consistently, but he walked more than ever, maintained his elite strikeout rate, and still put up a roughly 30-homer, 100-RBI pace. Still just 31 years old, there should be plenty left in the tank this season for the veteran, and he should once again be a strong four-category contributor, with a small bit of speed thrown in for good measure.
|3||Rafael Devers (BOS - 3B)||9||15.0||+6.0||
Devers' 2020 season was . . . fine. That's about the best you can say about it. He still hit the ball hard, ranking in the 96th percentile in average exit velocity, and he increased his barrel rate significantly. His counting stat paces from his breakout 2019 season went down, but not dramatically so (other than his batting average), and fantasy managers never felt like Devers was a drain on their teams. But, at the same time, his already poor walk rate declined, his strikeout rate jumped to a career worst, and he didn't even attempt a single stolen base. Devers is just 24 years old, so there is plenty of upside for him. The safest course of action is to build in some natural regression from Devers' strong 2019 season, and pencil him in for roughly 30 home runs and 200 combined runs and RBI. That still makes him an asset to any fantasy team.
|4||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.
|5||Alex Bregman (HOU - 3B,SS) IL10||13||11.0||-2.0||
2020 was just a bad season for Bregman, plain and simple. He missed time with a hamstring injury, and generally regressed in every major statistical category. Considering that Bregman will be just 27 years old on Opening Day and had batted .291 with 72 home runs combined over the previous two seasons, fantasy managers can probably just throw out most of what they saw from him in 2020. He'll continue to be an upper echelon option at third base and considering his strong walk and strikeout rates, an even better one in points leagues. He's been battling a hamstring issue for most of camp, but as of now, he doesn't look like he'll miss much, if any, time, so draft him accordingly.
|6||Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR - 1B,3B,DH)||20||22.0||+2.0||
Guerrero Jr. comes into 2021 with fantasy managers asking the same question they asked the year before: can he stop hitting the ball on the ground so much? A 49.6% ground-ball rate was bad in 2019, but a 54.6% ground ball rate in 2020 was downright egregious. Guerrero Jr. hits the ball really, really hard. He was in the top seven percent of MLB in average exit velocity (92.5 MPH) and hard hit rate (50.8%). But until he learns to stop pounding the ball into the dirt, his power upside will be limited. There will be some fantasy manager in your league willing to bet on the upside, so if you want Guerrero Jr., you're going to have to draft him before his numbers say you should. This may indeed be the year that everything clicks. But you'll have to pay to find out.
|7||Yoan Moncada (CWS - 3B)||34||45.0||+11.0||
If you're looking for reasons to throw out a player's 2020 season, Moncada's battle with COVID-19 offers you just that for him. His quality of contact dropped like a stone, he struck out a ton, and he went back to his old passive approach, rather than the aggressive one that had led to such gains in 2019. Moncada detailed his struggles after suffering from the virus, so it's a legitimate excuse and surely led to his struggles. Moncada is likely to hit about 25 home runs, and help you everywhere except perhaps batting average (though his .315 mark in 2019 shows his upside). Although he won't be a superstar, at a third base position that gets shallow quicker than expected, he makes a fine option you can wait on but who will offer plenty of production.
|8||Matt Chapman (OAK - 3B)||43||46.0||+3.0||
Chapman lost a significant chunk of his 2020 season to a torn labrum in his hip, and had surgery to repair the injury. It seems obvious that the injury was bothering him all year, as evidenced by his massive jump in strikeout rate (35.5%) and corresponding drop in walk rate. There's little reason to give Chapman's 2020 season any credence given what he'd shown the previous two years. Expect him to bounce back to the 30-homer bat with decent all-around production that we had come to expect, and enjoy the discount that his numbers from last year provide.
|9||Cavan Biggio (TOR - 2B,3B,RF)||42||27.0||-15.0||
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.
|10||Gio Urshela (NYY - 3B,SS)||63||73.0||+10.0||
Urshela isn't the most exciting player, and perhaps that's why he largely gets ignored by fantasy managers despite his quality production. Over his last two seasons (175 games), he's slashed .310/.358/.523 with 27 home runs and 104 RBI. He won't contribute in steals, but he's an incredibly safe source of batting average, particularly because of his excellent strikeout rate, and he should have plenty of opportunities to contribute counting stats. The only question was his health, but he seems fully recovered from his elbow injury. Draft him with confidence.
|11||Josh Donaldson (MIN - 3B,DH)||70||85.0||+15.0||
Donaldson again missed significant time with a calf strain last year, and was limited to just 28 games. He hit for power and walked plenty when he was in the lineup, and both his average exit velocity and hard hit rate were at or near his career highs. In other words, there doesn't seem to be much of a decline in his performance over recent seasons. Now in his age-35 season, it sounds like the Twins are going to give Donaldson plenty of rest this year in an effort to keep him healthy. Bank on the power, but assume a maximum of 130 games or so. There's a lot of value in that so long as you factor it in appropriately.
|12||Miguel Sano (MIN - 1B,3B,DH)||74||86.0||+12.0||
Sano has always had one of the worst strikeout rates in the majors, but his 43.9% mark in 2020 was awful even by his standards. That's always the risk with Sano - that his strikeout rate is going to bring his batting average down to close to .200, where he'll almost single-handedly tank you in that category. The upside of course is that he absolutely crushes the ball, as evident by the fact that he was no worse than second in baseball in average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and barrel rate last year. Sano's contract with the Twins shows they're committed to him, so he should hopefully be beyond concerns of getting sent down to the minors if he struggles. That puts Sano in the high-power, low-average bucket of sluggers, but one who goes much later in drafts than others who will provide similar production.
|13||Dylan Moore (SEA - 2B,3B,SS,LF,RF)||75||70.0||-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.
|14||Andres Gimenez (CLE - 2B,3B,SS) MiLB||87||84.0||-3.0||
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.
|15||Nick Solak (TEX - 2B,3B,LF,CF) MiLB||82||87.0||+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.
|16||Kyle Seager (SEA - 3B)||108||121.0||+13.0|
|17||Hunter Dozier (KC - 1B,3B,LF,RF)||103||111.0||+8.0||
Dozier is almost entirely off the fantasy radar this year, but that feels like an overreaction to 2020. Yes, his poor performance last year makes his breakout 2019 performance seem like an outlier, but really, it seems like 2020, rather than 2019, should be discounted. Dozier's quality of contact was awful last year, but it was out of character for him over the previous two seasons, and was more likely the result of him having tested positive for COVID-19 rather than from a sudden loss of skills. The Royals' lineup is sneaky deep, and Dozier will start at third base this season, giving him eligibility at three positions. Considering he's free in drafts, there is every reason to scoop him up with a late-round pick.
|18||David Fletcher (LAA - 2B,3B,SS,LF)||115||103.0||-12.0|
|19||Jeimer Candelario (DET - 1B,3B)||138||143.0||+5.0||
Candelario isn't going to wow you with his numbers, but he'll bat in the middle of the Tigers' order, has eligibility at first and third base, and improved his quality of contact greatly last year. You can try to write off his 2020 production as a product of the shortened season, but given his solid 2018 campaign, it looks more like 2019, and not 2020, was the outlier. Candelario probably tops out at 20 homers, but he should provide a decent average and be a fine bench player for most fantasy leagues.
|20||Willi Castro (DET - 2B,3B,SS)||128||124.0||-4.0|
|21||Ty France (SEA - 1B,2B,3B,DH)||133||126.0||-7.0|
|22||Yuli Gurriel (HOU - 1B,3B)||122||132.0||+10.0|
|23||Isiah Kiner-Falefa (TEX - C,3B,SS)||149||145.0||-4.0|
|24||Maikel Franco (BAL - 3B)||169||197.0||+28.0|
|25||Yandy Diaz (TB - 1B,3B,DH)||239||280.0||+41.0|
|26||Luis Arraez (MIN - 2B,3B,LF) IL10||168||183.0||+15.0|
|27||Joey Wendle (TB - 2B,3B,SS)||198||167.0||-31.0|
|28||Renato Nunez (BAL - 1B,3B,DH)||179||229.0||+50.0|
|29||Spencer Torkelson (DET - 1B,3B) MiLB||203||235.0||+32.0|
|30||Hanser Alberto (KC - 2B,3B,SS)||209||210.0||+1.0|
|31||Isaac Paredes (DET - 3B) IL10||336||311.0||-25.0|
|32||Chad Pinder (OAK - 2B,3B,LF,RF) IL10||273||307.0||+34.0|
|33||Nolan Jones (CLE - 3B) MiLB||469||316.0||-153.0|
|34||Mike Brosseau (TB - 1B,2B,3B) MiLB||326||232.0||-94.0|
|35||Marwin Gonzalez (BOS - 1B,2B,3B,LF,RF,SS) IL10||289||245.0||-44.0|
|36||Miguel Andujar (NYY - 3B,LF) IL10||354||302.0||-52.0|
|37||Abraham Toro (HOU - 3B,DH)||370||364.0||-6.0|
|38||Jake Lamb (CWS - 1B,3B,LF,RF) IL10||369||268.0||-101.0|
|39||Aledmys Diaz (HOU - 1B,2B,3B,LF)||400||350.0||-50.0|
|40||Christian Arroyo (BOS - 2B,3B) IL10||478||388.0||-90.0|
|41||Josh Lowe (TB - 3B,CF) MiLB||351.0|
|42||Danny Santana (BOS - 1B,2B,3B,SS,LF,CF,RF) IL10||438||337.0||-101.0|
|43||Triston Casas (BOS - 1B,3B) MiLB||417.0|
|44||Jose Rojas (LAA - 2B,3B,LF,RF) MiLB||433.0|
|45||Josh Jung (TEX - 3B) MiLB||510||315.0||-195.0|
|46||Willians Astudillo (MIN - C,1B,3B)||465||211.0||-254.0|
|47||Brock Holt (TEX - 1B,2B,3B,LF,RF)||505||277.0||-228.0|
|48||Yairo Munoz (BOS - 3B,SS,LF,RF) MiLB||479|
|49||Harold Castro (DET - 1B,2B,3B,CF,LF,RF,SS)||508|
|50||Rylan Bannon (BAL - 3B) MiLB||503|
|51||Vimael Machin (OAK - 3B,SS) MiLB||507|
|52||Wyatt Mathisen (SEA - 1B,3B) MiLB||512|
|53||Tim Beckham (CWS - 2B,3B,SS,LF) MiLB||513|