2021 Fantasy Baseball Rankings (AL)
Expert Consensus Ranking (49 of 53 Experts) -
|Rank||Player (Team, Position)||Notes|
|1||Kyle Tucker (HOU - LF,RF,DH) IL10||12.0||+1.0||
Tucker finally got regular playing time last year and it was mostly what fantasy owners had hoped for. Tucker didn't quite put up his gaudy numbers that he averaged in the minors, but he was on roughly a 25-20 pace while helping out in the other statistical categories. Tucker's batted ball profile didn't completely wow anyone last year, but given his performance, his prospect pedigree and minor-league track record, and his guaranteed spot in a strong lineup, fantasy managers should feel little concern about having Tucker be their first outfielder in fantasy.
|2||Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR - 1B,3B,DH)||22.0||+3.0||
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.
|3||Yordan Alvarez (HOU - LF,DH)||34.0||+10.0||
Alvarez missed almost all of last season and had surgery on both of his knees, which is obviously worrisome for his 2021 outlook. His 2019 performance was incredibly impressive on every level (50 homers, 149 RBI in 143 games between the majors and minors), and he offers a high batting average floor to boot. It's all about health with Alvarez, so monitor his performance this spring. If he shows he's remotely healthy, his ADP is going to skyrocket.
|4||Nelson Cruz (MIN - DH)||39.0||+12.0||
If you ascribe to the "I'd rather jump off a year too early than too late" philosophy, then you probably haven't been drafting Cruz for the last several years. But if not, then you've not only drafted one of the most underrated fantasy bats in recent memory, but you're probably going to do so again this year. Cruz is back on a one-year deal with the Twins, and he's coming off another utterly dominant season. Fine, his strikeout rate rose again a bit, he didn't hit the ball quite as hard, and he's eligible at utility only. But other than the fact that he will be 41 years old this season, there's nothing in his profile that should cause you to expect significant decline. Prepare to be having the same debate next year, after Crus puts up another 35-homer season this year.
|5||J.D. Martinez (BOS - LF,RF,DH)||42.0||+14.0||
Martinez had a disastrous 2020 season, during which he slashed just .213/.291/.389 and hit seven home runs. Martinez simply didn't hit the ball nearly as hard as he used to, and hit a ton of fly balls, the combination of which helped to drain his batting average significantly. There's a ton to dislike about last year, but given that Martinez has talked about how much he relies on watching video in-game, and his inability to do so last year because of COVID-19 protocols, it seems likely that you can write off last year to a slump that didn't have time to end. He'll be eligible at utility only, but there's a massive opportunity for profit if you are willing to largely look past 2020.
|6||Giancarlo Stanton (NYY - LF,DH)||50.0||+11.0||
It's all about the injuries with Stanton, as after two healthy seasons, he's been limited to just 41 games over the last two. There's little to analyze with the slugger other than his health. He still hits the ball as hard as anyone and walks and strikes out a ton. There's been little decline in his batted ball data over the last two years, but even if there had been, the sample size would be too small to draw any conclusions. Stanton is likely eligible at utility only in your league, but that limitation should let him come as a discount in drafts. Have power on your bench ready to fill in if you draft Stanton, but there's no reason to run from him.
|7||Franmil Reyes (CLE - RF,DH) IL10||69.0||+14.0||
Reyes didn't quite live up to his power potential last year with just nine home runs in 59 games, and his 50.3% ground ball rate certainly didn't help. His Statcast data waned a bit from his monstrous 2019 season, but his 92.4 mile per hour average exit velocity was in the top two percent in baseball. There's just not a ton to dislike about Reyes, other than he offers nothing in the way of speed. On his absolute worst day, he's a 30-homer bat with a batting average that won't kill you. On his best day, he's a lite version of a healthy Aaron Judge. Expect at least three-category production, and make it four if he can maintain the 10% walk rate he showed in 2020.
|8||Jorge Soler (KC - RF,DH)||62.0||+6.0||
Soler's injury-shortened 2020 season didn't live up to his massive 2019 campaign, but he did show that a lot of his gains were legitimate. Yes, it was more of a 30-homer pace, but his barrel rate, average exit velocity, and hard hit rate were all elite, as they were the prior year. Soler struck out way too much (34.5% of the time), and if he can't fix that, then his average will suffer as it did last year. But, his walk rate remains high and the power is going to be there with how hard he hits the ball. He's a source of cheap power you can grab later than other similarly-profiled bats going several rounds earlier.
|9||Michael Brantley (HOU - LF,RF,DH)||64.0||+6.0||
After a few hours where it looked like Brantley was heading to the Blue Jays, he'll instead return to the Astros on a two-year contract. Despite his advancing age, Brantley remains one of the safest players in all of fantasy, batting at least .299 in each of the last six seasons in which he played at least 11 games. He both walked and struck out more than usual last season, but given that he played in just 46 games, there's little reason to draw any firm conclusions from that data. The bigger issue is that Brantley excels in only batting average, and although he'll offer something in each of the other four rotisserie categories, he won't be a difference-maker. Draft Brantley in the middle-to-later rounds if you need an average boost, but there's little upside.
|10||Shohei Ohtani (LAA - DH)|
|11||Mark Canha (OAK - 1B,LF,CF,RF,DH)||120.0||+19.0||
Fantasy managers seem to have declared Canha's 2019 season as a fluke after he hit just five home run last year, but much of his 2020 seems to suggest 2019 was fairly legitimate. Canha built on his massive gains in walk rate in 2019 (13.5%) and increased it to 15.2%, and his quality of contact largely remained the same. He's got 20-homer power still, and he'll likely lead off or bat second for the A's. You won't need to pay much for him and given his average draft position, there's a high probability of a profit.
|12||Shohei Ohtani (LAA - SP,DH)||71.0||‐||
Depending on your league settings, Ohtani has the potential to be a dominant force in 2021. There has never been any doubt about his talent, and he looks fantastic in the spring, hitting home runs at will and pumping in high-90s fastballs when on the mound. He's been batting on days he pitches, and Joe Maddon has suggested that he's going to throw out the old rules that led to Ohtani's decreased playing time. If you can move him between hitter and pitcher on a daily basis, then move him up your board significantly. Even if not, he should provide plenty of value when healthy as either a hitter or a pitcher, so make sure he's on your radar as you move into the double-digit rounds.
|13||Ty France (SEA - 1B,2B,3B,DH)||126.0||-5.0|
|14||Rowdy Tellez (TOR - 1B,DH)||158.0||+9.0|
|15||Willie Calhoun (TEX - LF,DH)||212.0||+36.0||
Calhoun was set to build on his breakout 2019 season when an errant pitch fractured his jaw in spring training. Even with the delayed season, he was never able to fully recover, at least not mentally, and he had a lost campaign. He's now back and focused, particularly after working with a hitting coach in the offseason. He will likely earn everyday at-bats splitting time between DH and the outfield, but a low grade groin strain is going to keep him out of action for a couple of weeks. His draft price is negligible, so feel free to stash him with one of your last picks, and hopefully reap the rewards after the first week or two of the season.
|16||Renato Nunez (BAL - 1B,3B,DH)||230.0||+50.0|
|17||Zack Collins (CWS - C,DH)||278.0||-191.0|
|18||Miguel Cabrera (DET - 1B,DH)||209.0||+7.0|
|19||Pedro Severino (BAL - C,DH)||165.0||-93.0|
|20||Jose Iglesias (LAA - SS,DH)||177.0||-28.0|
|21||Abraham Toro (HOU - 3B,DH)||367.0||-7.0|
|22||Jed Lowrie (OAK - 2B,DH)||398.0||-22.0|
|23||Jose Marmolejos (SEA - 1B,DH,LF) MiLB||381.0||+20.0|
|24||Bobby Bradley (CLE - 1B,DH)||359.0||-81.0|
|25||Phil Gosselin (LAA - 1B,3B,DH,LF,RF)|