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2021 Fantasy Baseball Rankings (AL)

Expert Consensus Ranking (51 of 51 Experts) -

Rank Player (Team, Position) Overall Notes
1 Gerrit Cole (NYY - SP) 2 2.0
Cole was pretty much as advertised in his first season with the Yankees. His ERA rose a tad, as did his home run rate as expected, and his strikeout rate fell a bit, though it remained at an absurdly high level. And, for the most part, all of his expected metrics fell off a tad from his 2019 season. But Cole's numbers from that season were so dominating that he could withstand plenty of regression and still be one of the best pitchers in fantasy. As such, he'll head into 2021 close to the way he came into the 2020 season: a dominant, high-strikeout, low-walk starter who will throw plenty of innings and who is more likely to finish as the top overall fantasy pitcher than he is to finish outside the top-10. It's a matter of personal preference between Cole and Jacob deGrom as the first pitcher off the board, but neither should fall outside the top-10 overall picks on draft day.
2 Shane Bieber (CLE - SP) IL60 4 3.0 -1.0
Bieber took the huge gains he had made in 2019 and kicked the into hyperdrive en route to a Cy Young season. He had a miniscule 1.63 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP, and took his strikeout percentage to 41.1%, which ranked first among qualified starters. Everything was exceptional for Bieber, as he held batters to just a .167 batting average, barely allowed home runs, and earned eight wins in just 12 starts. He may struggle to again find wins given the Indians' depleted lineup, but there is nothing else to think twice about with Bieber. He's part of the ultra-elite tier in starting pitching with Jacob deGrom and Gerrit Cole, and should be a first-round selection, especially since he seems to have had no ill effects from his battle with COVID-19.
3 Lucas Giolito (CWS - SP) 6 5.0 -1.0
Giolito followed up his breakout 2019 season with a nearly identical 2020 season. His ERA was within .07, his WHIP within .02, and his strikeout percentage within a point and a half. Despite pitching in a homer-friendly park, Giolito has managed to limit home runs, which is a key to his continued success with the White Sox. He won't face quite an easy schedule this year (AL and NL Central pitchers had plenty of sub-par offenses to feast on in 2019), but entering his age-27 season, he should only continue to improve from a skills standpoint. Draft him as an SP1, albeit a low-end one.
4 Tyler Glasnow (TB - SP) IL60 22 20.0 -2.0
Glasnow is really a fascinating case study. He followed up an incredible 60-inning stretch in 2019 (1.78 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 33% strikeout rate) with a bit of a step back last year (4.08 ERA and 1.13 WHIP). But his xFIP in 2020 (2.75) was actually lower than in 2019 (2.94), and his strikeout rate jumped to a whopping 38.2%. The real issue for Glasnow is that he's a two-pitch pitcher, and although both his fastball and curveball are outstanding, they need to be superb at all times for him to have a dominant season. And last year, they were both just a bit worse than the season prior, particularly his fastball. With enormous strikeout upside and a spot in the rotation of one of the best and most pitching-savvy teams in the Rays, Glasnow makes a fine SP2 for a fantasy team. But his injury history, and his lack of a third pitch, make him a bit riskier than others going in his range.
5 Kenta Maeda (MIN - SP,RP) 26 19.0 -7.0
Fantasy managers rejoiced when Maeda was traded from the Dodgers to the Twins, but he surpassed even the loftiest of expectations. In the short season, Maeda went 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA, a 0.73 WHIP, and a 32.3% strikeout rate. In addition to simply being let loose with his innings, Maeda made a tangible change to his pitch mix, throwing far fewer fastball and more sliders and changeups (though his fastball was as effective as it had ever been last year, too). Maeda surely won't be able to repeat his numbers from 2020, as he allowed just a .208 BABIP, had an 80.2% LOB rate, and benefited from being able to feast on solely the NL and AL Central lineups. But even with some regression, he should still be a rock solid SP2, and should be drafted as such.
6 Lance Lynn (CWS - SP) 27 23.0 -4.0
Lynn turned in another stellar year in 2020, leading MLB with 84 innings pitched, striking out plenty of batters, and keeping his walk rate and overall numbers in check. But there are a few warning signs under the hood, including his 4.19 FIP, his 4.34 xFIP, and his career-high 79.4% LOB rate. Of bigger concern is his trade to the White Sox and hitter-friendly Guaranteed Rate Field, particularly because Lynn had a 38.3% fly-ball rate in 2019 and a 42.3% fly-ball rate last year. That led to the worst HR/9 rate of his career and second-worst HR/FB rate (13.8%) in 2020. Countering those troublesome warning signs, however, is the fact that he'll be caught by perhaps the best pitch framer in baseball in Yasmani Grandal, and that will generally help with his numbers which, again, were excellent last year. Add it all up and Lynn's ERA should likely increase simply because of the additional home runs he'll allow if he can't turn around his trend in fly-ball rate, but Grandal's presence and Lynn's general aptitude on the mound should allow for another strong season and make him worthy of a selection as an SP2.
7 Liam Hendriks (CWS - RP) 30 25.0 -5.0
Hendriks showed last year that his 2019 breakout season was not a fluke, as he improved on just about all of his numbers. Not only did he put up 14 saves in the shortened season, but he dropped his ERA to 1.78, his WHIP to 0.67, and his walk rate to just 3.3%. In short, there's nothing negative you can possibly take away from his 2020 season. Despite moving to a worse park with the White Sox, Hendriks is, without question one of the top closers in fantasy, and should be either the first or second (behind only Josh Hader) relief pitcher drafted.
8 Hyun Jin Ryu (TOR - SP) 32 29.0 -3.0
Fantasy managers expected some regression from Ryu after his career season in 2019 and with him moving to the Blue Jays, but it really didn't come. He continued to be among the best in the game at limiting opposing batters' quality of contact, and upped his strikeout rate to 26.2%, second best of his career. Ryu's 2.69 ERA was a bit higher than the 2.32 mark he put up in in 2019, but his FIP, xFIP, SIERA, and xERA were all the same or better than the previous year. In short, other than the potential for injury, which hasn't been a factor in the last two seasons, there's no reason to doubt Ryu at this point.
9 Aroldis Chapman (NYY - RP) 36 31.0 -5.0
Chapman missed time last year because he was diagnosed with COVID-19, but he was largely the same pitcher as always when he was on the mount. He struck out 22 batters in his 11 2/3 innings pitched and allowed just six hits. His velocity may be slightly below what it was at its peak, but it's still elite, and he appears to have plenty left in the tank heading into his age-33 season. He'll again close for one of the best teams in baseball, and although he's never had a 40-save season, he should easily surpass 30 and be one of the top closers drafted in fantasy.
10 Jose Berrios (TOR - SP) MiLB 40 34.0 -6.0
Berrios may not ever become the dominant pitcher many projected him to be, but he offers a strong floor for fantasy managers. Ignoring his 2016 cup of coffee, Berrios has pitched to a 3.89 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, and a strikeout per inning in his career. And although his walk rate went up a tad and he gave up a bit harder contact in 2020's shortened season, his numbers didn't vary from his usual output significantly. Bank on around a 4.00 ERA, a WHIP somewhere around 1.25, and plenty of strikeouts. In today's fantasy game, that's more than adequate for a strong fantasy staff.
11 Zack Greinke (HOU - SP) 45 45.0
Greinke is entering his age-37 season, but still somehow keeps getting it done. His ERA of 4.03 last year was certainly higher than fantasy managers are used to seeing, but it came with a 2.80 FIP and 3.51 xFIP. His strikeout rate was his best since 2017 and his walk rate of 3.3% was the best of his entire career. But his velocity was down about two ticks, with his fastball clocking in at just 87.9 miles per hour. Greinke is as smart a pitcher as there is but it's going to be difficult to succeed over the course of a full 162-game season if his pure stuff continues to diminish. He's one of the few pitchers in the game who is probably capable of pitching 200 innings in 2021, but expect a continued downward trend in his performance.
12 Raisel Iglesias (LAA - RP) 46 46.0
Iglesias bounced back from a sub-par 2019 to post an excellent 2020 season, with a 2.74 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP, and the lowest walk rate of his career. He'll now move to the Angels where he'll keep his role as a closer. Iglesias's numbers should be solid as usual, and his precise value should hinge on whether the Angels use him in more of a multi-inning role like the Reds historically did (which limited Iglesias's save totals), or deploy him as a more traditional ninth-inning option. Either way, Iglesias will be the Angels' stopper, and hence, should be drafted as a strong top-10 RP option.
13 Zach Plesac (CLE - SP) 49 33.0 -16.0
Plesac is getting a ton of love for his eight excellent starts in 2020, but there's plenty of reason to be cautious. His FIP, xFIP, xERA, and SIERA were all more than a run higher than his ERA, and both his strikeout rate and walk rate significantly outproduced what he showed he could do in the minors. Yes, Plesac altered his pitch mix, throwing fewer fastballs and instead more sliders and changeups, so if you're looking for a reason to buy the gains, you have one. But he had a ridiculous 91.7% LOB rate, and even with his ability to limit hard contact, his BABIP against should rise from the .224 mark last year. Plesac can help a fantasy staff, but manage expectations significantly.
14 Lance McCullers Jr. (HOU - SP) 52 57.0 +5.0
McCullers made a successful return from Tommy John surgery after missing the 2019 season and looked almost exactly like the 2018 version of himself. His ERA (3.93) and WHIP (1.16) were within seven-tenths of a point of his 2018 numbers, and his walk and strikeout rates fell just slightly. McCullers relied a bit more on his sinker and less on his curveball than in past years, but the two work well together and he continued to throw them in combination about 80% of the time. In short, what you thought of McCullers heading into 2018 is pretty much what you should think of him now. Unfortunately, that includes concerns about his innings, because after a missed year and 55 innings last year, the chances of him topping 150 innings this season are remote. Buy him at his production, but understand that there's likely a hard cap on his innings total.
15 Ryan Pressly (HOU - RP) 54 51.0 -3.0
Pressly had his usual solid season, but got the benefit of closing for the Astros after Roberto Osuna's injury. His numbers fell off a bit from the previous two years (his 1.33 WHIP was particularly out of character), but he will almost certainly rebound from the .365 BABIP he allowed. He's slated to again be the Astros' closer, and as such, should provide plenty of saves while giving fantasy managers positive value in ratios. That makes him one of the few reliable closers worth drafting at more than a late-round price.
16 Dylan Bundy (LAA - SP) 56 53.0 -3.0
Bundy largely made good on the enormous amount of buzz that surrounded him after he moved from the Orioles to the Angels. He set career bests in ERA (3.29), WHIP (1.04), strikeout rate (27%), and walk rate (6.4%). Bundy's fastball, though it continued to trend down in velocity, was more effective than in years' past, in part because he cut way down on his usage of the pitch (just 33.6%, after throwing it at least 42.4% of the time in every previous season). His slider remained one of the best pitches in the game, and his remaining secondary pitches improved, too. At some point, Bundy's fastball velocity is going to become an issue, but there's little reason to expect that to come in 2021. Draft him as as an SP3.
17 Brad Hand (TOR - RP) 60 50.0 -10.0
Hand joins the Nationals on a one-year deal after Cleveland declined his option. His velocity declined a bit last season, but the league's collective lack of interest in Hand is surprising, given that he's coming off one of the best seasons of his career, led the league in saves, has been a top-10 reliever over the last five seasons, and is a lefty. Dave Martinez wants Hand to be the Nationals' closer based on his comments, but it's unclear whether he'll be the sole option. The Nationals barely have another lefty reliever in their bullpen, let alone a reliable one, so chances are that Hand will be deployed earlier in the game if the opposing team has multiple left-handed hitters due up. All that to say that Hand is a reliable reliever who you should draft for his overall numbers, but he may provide fewer saves than most traditional closers.
18 James Karinchak (CLE - RP) 62 49.0 -13.0
Karinchak is expected to be Cleveland's closer after Brad Hand moved on to the Nationals, though it's not a sure thing yet. Yes, he walks too many batters (5.33 per nine innings), but you can get away with it when you strike out nearly half the batters you face and hitters bat .151 against you overall. Karinchak has two absolutely devastating pitches: a mid-90's fastball (.184 batting average against, .151 xBA) and a power curveball (.140 batting average against, .114 xBA). Cleveland may not have a ton of success this year and hence save opportunities may be limited, but Karinchak can be a dominant fantasy reliever if he gets the job. Monitor reports out of the spring to see when and if Terry Francona formerly anoints him as the closer. If he does, he should vault to being a top-6 or 7 reliever.
19 Trevor Rosenthal (OAK - RP) IL60 65 55.0 -10.0
After missing the 2018 season and most of the 2019 season, Rosenthal bounced back in a huge way last year. He stepped in as the Royals' closer, notching seven saves, and then was unhittable with the Padres after a mid-year trade. He parlayed his success into a one-year contract with the A's, where all signs point to him being the undisputed closer. Rosenthal was an outstanding reliever in his prime and once had back-to-back 45-save (or better) seasons. And his raw stuff looked excellent last year, as he totaled the best strikeout rate of his career. If he stays healthy, he has a shot at being a top-5 closer, but you can draft him a little later than that and likely make a profit.
20 Frankie Montas (OAK - SP) 67 80.0 +13.0
Montas had a terrible 2020 season, but it was more than likely due to a back injury he suffered early on which probably bothered him throughout the year. He started off with four excellent starts (four runs and 22 strikeouts in 23 innings) before he was scratched with back tightness and returned with lower velocity. Yes, he had the PED suspension in 2019, but Montas's splitter was, and should continue to be when a healthy, a dominant pitch, and a healthy season should mean a return to being a starter you can "set and forget." If he can ever get away from throwing his sinker so much, and incorporate more of his splitter and/or four-seam fastball, he could be a monster. Montas was diagnosed with COVID-19 right at the start of spring training, but he has returned healthy and looked good in the spring, so he's an ideal sleeper.
21 Shohei Ohtani (LAA - SP,DH) 71 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.
22 Marco Gonzales (SEA - SP) 77 76.0 -1.0
If you want to buy into performances from the 2020 season, then you'll have Gonzales significantly higher than you would otherwise. He made major gains last year, including up his strikeout rate to a career-best 23.1% and lowering his walk rate to a career-best 2.5%. Bu even with the gains, Gonzales's swinging strike rate was only 8.4% (below his career average), and his fastball velocity is close to the worst in the league. As a pure back end of the rotation starter, he's fine, but do not expect anything close to a 3.10 ERA again, and bake in regression for his strikeouts.
23 Corey Kluber (NYY - SP) IL60 78 65.0 -13.0
Kluber has pitched 36 2/3 innings combined over the last two years, and will now join the Yankees on a one-year deal. There's nothing to be gained from looking at his numbers since 2018, as the sample size is too small, and prior to that, he was a perennial Cy Young contender. There was a bit of a velocity drop at the end of his last healthy season, but he was also finishing up his fifth straight 200-inning season. In other words, his lack of innings over the last two years (due to injury) may wind up being a blessing in disguise for Kluber. His ADP has some helium based on how quickly the Yankees signed him, but so long as you bake in some pretty substantial injury risk, he's certainly worth drafting as an SP5 with upside.
24 Craig Kimbrel (CWS - RP) 80 77.0 -3.0
As a whole, Kimbrel's 2020 numbers were abysmal. A 5.28 ERA, a 1.43 WHIP, and a walk rate of 17.4%. And yet, there were some encouraging signs. Not only did his strikeout rate bounce back to 40.6%, but he was actually an elite pitcher after his first four outings. How elite? He pitched to a 1.42 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP, and stuck out 53.1% of the batters he faced. It wasn't perfect, as Kimbrel still walked five batters per nine innings over that stretch. But he showed that he still has some has left in the tank. Although he never reclaimed the closer's job despite his strong finish, it's a good bet that the Cubs hand him the ninth-inning role to start, as they try to rebuild his trade value in the final year of his deal. That means Kimbrel should at least get save chances for the first several weeks of the season, and, as such, should be drafted as low-end second closer with just a modicum of upside.
25 James Paxton (SEA - SP) IL60 81 103.0 +22.0
Paxton missed almost the entire 2020 season after straining a flexor in his pitching forearm. Any forearm injury is worrisome because of the connection to the elbow, and Paxton has hardly been the picture of health in his career. He'll try to jumpstart his career again back with the Mariners, and the reports from his workout, where he reportedly touched 94 MPH, were encouraging after his velocity drop last year. When he pitches, he's almost always effective, so he's worth a late-round pick for the potential upside. But the injury history should keep him relatively low on your draft board.
26 Aaron Civale (CLE - SP) IL60 79 93.0 +14.0
Civale fits the mold of the Cleveland pitcher over the last few seasons: start with the command, and let the team work on the rest. That's how Civale has found success the last two seasons, and continues to do so in the spring. He's never going to be a high-strikeout pitcher - he never was in the minors and his fastball sits in about the 91 MPH range. But his ability to limit free passes and hard contact means that he shouldn't hurt a fantasy rotation. He's a high-floor, low-ceiling starter, who is ideal for the back end of a fantasy staff.
27 Andrew Heaney (NYY - SP) 84 98.0 +14.0
Heaney is a fine pitcher, but it feels like he has a lot more to him than his career 4.44 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. His fastball is hittable and he throws it often, and his curveball isn't quite good enough to offset the damage. He was outspoken about working this offseason to become less predictable, so hopefully that manifests itself in his 2021 performance. But there's no reason to draft him as anything but a pitcher who will give you decent strikeouts and mediocre ratios, hopefully as someone you can use on your bench and stream in the right matchup.
28 Chris Bassitt (OAK - SP) 85 84.0 -1.0
Bassitt doesn't wow you with his raw stuff, and is never going to be a high-strikeout pitcher. But he has above-average command and is able to generally limit hard contact and home runs. If he were being drafted on the basis of his 2.29 ERA last year then he would be someone to avoid, but the fact is he is never going to be drafted on the basis of his actual numbers given his sub-par strikeout rate and his significantly higher FIP and xFIP (versus his ERA). He can add plenty of value on the back end of a fantasy rotation, so long as you have strikeouts covered elsewhere.
29 Jose Urquidy (HOU - SP) IL10 89 91.0 +2.0
30 Rafael Montero (HOU - RP) 92 81.0 -11.0
Montero wound up closing for the Rangers and totaling eight saves in 2020, but it wasn't a particularly special season. His hard-hit rate and walk-rate increased from his strong 2019 season, and he totaled a 4.08 ERA. Now with Seattle, Montero's best asset may be his lack of competition for the closer's role, as Seattle has struggled for several seasons to find a reliable ninth-inning option. Draft Montero as a mid-tier closer, who you're taking more for his job security than his spectacular numbers.
31 Triston McKenzie (CLE - SP) 91 89.0 -2.0
McKenzie had a very successful major league debut last year, pitching to a 3.24 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP, and a 33.1% strikeout rate. His talent isn't in question at this point, but his health certainly is. McKenzie has a very slight build and has missed time with injury in his minor league career, including all of the 2019 season. Even if he stays healthy all year, Cleveland is likely to put a hard cap on his innings. There's a reward, but there's plenty of risk to go with it. Draft him for the back end of your rotation and hope he gets to 140 innings.
32 Jordan Romano (TOR - RP) 94 94.0
Romano is poised to serve as the Blue Jays' closer after Kirby Yates suffered an elbow injury which will cost him the season. Romano's stuff isn't special, but he had a very solid 2020 campaign, and should see plenty of save chances with Toronto, assuming he's officially named the closer. The relief pitcher landscape for fantasy gets cloudy quickly, so despite the lack of certainty, Romano makes a decent option for your second reliever. Bump him higher if he's officially named the closer before the season.
33 Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS - SP) 97 99.0 +2.0
Rodriguez missed the entire 2020 season because of serious complications from a heart conditions caused by COVID-19, but he looks to be healthy heading into 2021. Assuming he doesn't have any setbacks, he should be considered one of the safest pitchers in the game. You know what you're going to get from Rodriguez: an ERA around 4.00, a WHIP around 1.30, and solid strikeouts. Those numbers won't wow you, but Rodriguez has consistently limited hard contact throughout his career, so he should retain what amounts to a fairly high floor. Plus, the usual innings concerns shouldn't be as much of a factor for him, considering nearly every pitcher has similar concerns after 2020. For a late-round pitcher, he's hardly an upside play, but he should be someone you can stick in the back end of your rotation and not think much about it.
34 John Means (BAL - SP) 98 116.0 +18.0
Means's 4.53 ERA and grotesque home run rate are probably going to scare the casual fantasy manager away, but there is a ton to like about him heading into 2021. First, Means had a weird year last season, as he dealt with arm fatigue early and then his father passed away, so his schedule was certainly thrown up into the air at the start. Probably because of those difficulties, his outstanding changeup wasn't effective earlier in the season, but it was back to being his money pitch by season's end. Add to that Means' increase in velocity, his strong finish (1.52 ERA, 30 strikeouts over his last four starts), and his excellent command, and there's a breakout waiting to happen, despite the tough division.
35 Alex Colome (MIN - RP) 99 75.0 -24.0
Colome has been a quality major league reliever for year, but last year, managed to drop his ERA down to a silly 0.81 and his WHIP below 1.00 for the first time in his career. His success was largely on the back of increased movement on his cutter (which induced a ton of weak contact, but which was also less of a strikeout pitch, leading to a drop in strikeouts), as well as Yasmani Grandal's pitch-framing skills. He'll now move to Minnesota where he'll likely form some sort of committee with Taylor Rogers. He's worth drafting, but only very late, and with the expectation that he won't pile on a ton of saves.
36 Dallas Keuchel (CWS - SP) 100 83.0 -17.0
Keuchel pitched to a remarkable 1.99 ERA last year, though that's hardly to be expected to repeat in 2021. His xFIP was nearly two runs higher, his BABIP against was nearly 40 points below his career average, and his already low strikeout rate dipped to just 16.3%. Having Yasmani Grandal as a catcher certainly helps a pitcher outperform his expected stats, but even if Keuchel were to repeat his 2020 performance, his strikeout rate is such a drain that it keeps his value in check. If your staff is dominant in strikeouts, then you can roll with Keuchel at the very back end of your rotation. But if not, just ignore him on draft day.
37 Taylor Rogers (MIN - RP) IL10 106 101.0 -5.0
Rogers has been the reliever to roster in Minnesota for the past two seasons, but he's totaled just 39 saves over that span. Even with the shortened 2020 season, that's just not the total you want to see from a reliever if you're relying on him as an RP1, especially when the Twins as a team have totaled 92 saves over the last two years. Rogers's lack of saves is all about Rocco Baldelli's philosophy, rather than Rogers's lack of effectiveness (he's totaled a 2.80 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP, and a 10.8 K/9 over the last three years). Unfortunately, Baldelli is unlikely to abandon his committee approach with the additions of Alex Colome and Hansel Robles. Rogers is still a fine RP2, but certainly don't expect him to get every save chance in Minnesota.
38 Jameson Taillon (NYY - SP) 104 90.0 -14.0
Taillon has undergone Tommy John surgery twice, and has totaled just 37 1/3 innings over the last two years. And really, he's had only one truly notable year, which was in 2018. But what separated Taillon that year was his outstanding slider, which not only performed exceedingly well, but also buoyed the effectiveness of the rest of his pitches. Now with the Yankees, Taillon has plenty of upside. But, as always, health remains the concern, and is the reason you shouldn't draft him until you've filled out most of your staff.
39 Jordan Montgomery (NYY - SP) 108 117.0 +9.0
40 Sean Manaea (OAK - SP) 116 115.0 -1.0
41 Michael Pineda (MIN - SP) 109 110.0 +1.0
42 Matt Barnes (BOS - RP) 120 111.0 -9.0
Barnes may begin the year as the closer, but it's hardly a guarantee that he'll keep the role. His walk rate has been above 13% for each of the last two seasons, and his WHIP is 1.38 over that span. Adam Ottavino, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Hirokazu Sawamura are in play to take over for Barnes if he struggles. For now, consider Barnes on the very tail end of draftable relievers in fantasy.
43 Ryan Yarbrough (TB - SP,RP) 118 130.0 +12.0
Yarbrough doesn't get a ton of respect in the fantasy community because he doesn't strike out a ton of batters, but he's quietly put together an excellent career. He's practically a wizard at limiting hard contact (he has allowed an average exit velocity of 84.8 MPH and an average hard hit rate of 26.3%, both remarkably low numbers), and he rarely issues free passes or home runs. In other words, it's really difficult to string together big innings against Yarbrough, especially as he's continued to use his excellent changeup more and more. The Rays will probably let him go a little more this year with their rotation, but even if they keep his usage the same, he'll be an excellent addition to the back end of a fantasy staff.
44 Brady Singer (KC - SP) IL10 112 137.0 +25.0
45 Cristian Javier (HOU - RP,SP) 113 105.0 -8.0
46 Nathan Eovaldi (BOS - SP,RP) 123 126.0 +3.0
Similar to John Means, Eovaldi is another starter who finished the season on a roll. Eovaldi upped his cutter usage as the expense of his four-seam fastball, and he posted a 25:2 K:BB ratio over his final four starts (while allowing just two earned runs). If you take out his worst start of the season, Eovaldi's ERA drops from 3.72 to 2.51. He has never shown any kind of consistency at the major league level, but fantasy managers could do worse when searching for a late-round lottery ticket.
47 Jake Odorizzi (HOU - SP) 124 138.0 +14.0
48 Diego Castillo (SEA - SP,RP) 127 131.0 +4.0
49 Greg Holland (KC - RP) 128 107.0 -21.0
Holland re-signed with the Royals after an outstanding season, during which he put up an ERA under 2.00 and a WHIP below 1.00 for the first time since 2014. He'll almost certainly begin the year as the closer, but he's unlikely to stay in the role for the entire season. Even if he's not dealt to a contender by the trade deadline, his walk rate is surely to be closer to the 5.3/9 innings that he put up his previous four seasons, rather than the 2.22 he managed last year. Draft Holland late as someone who can chip in saves early, but be prepared to hit the waiver wire later in the year.
50 Griffin Canning (LAA - SP) MiLB 137 157.0 +20.0
It's mostly about health with Canning, who offers a great deal of stability when he's on the mound. You can expect at worst a low 4.00 ERA, about a 1.30 WHIP, and roughly a strikeout per inning. But he did close last season notably strong, pitching to a 3.14 ERA, and a 1.19 WHIP, with a 14.5% swinging strike rate and a 10.4 K/9 mark over his final five starts. That's probably his ceiling, but it shows what he's capable of when he is healthy and gets into a groove. He's a fine pick at his cost (which is minimal), but bake in some injury risk.
51 Joakim Soria (TOR - RP) MiLB 135 127.0 -8.0
The Diamondbacks gave Soria a one-year, $3.5 million deal after his successful stint with the A's. Soria fixed his home run problem from 2019, which was an outlier for his career anyway, and his 2020 numbers looked much more in line with his typical output. Soria hasn't been named the closer, but given that he has totaled at least 16 saves in eight separate seasons, it's a strong bet that he'll begin the year in the ninth inning. The Diamondbacks aren't expected to be competitive, so if you do draft him, bank on him being traded to another team, and into another role, by mid-season.
52 Chris Sale (BOS - SP) IL60 131 133.0 +2.0
53 Framber Valdez (HOU - SP,RP) 125 95.0 -30.0
Valdez was shaping up to be a fine sleeper this year, after he had a highly successful stint in the Astros rotation last year. But he fractured his finger early in spring training and the expectation is that he'll miss significant time, though recent reports are far more optimistic than the initial season-ending variety. Drop him down a ton from where you initially had him ranked, but draft him toward the back end of your rotation where the risk/reward balance should equalize.
54 Pete Fairbanks (TB - RP) IL10 134 159.0 +25.0
55 Matthew Boyd (DET - SP) IL10 147 136.0 -11.0
56 Mike Minor (KC - SP) 139 152.0 +13.0
57 Yusei Kikuchi (SEA - SP) 140 158.0 +18.0
58 Domingo German (NYY - SP) 141 120.0 -21.0
German has won the fifth starter's job after a torrid spring, during which he didn't allow a run over nine innings pitched while walking one and striking out 13. German's off-the-field issues aside, he was a quality MLB pitcher in 2019, and he should be a decent contributor in four categories, especially considering his low walk rate. He's not risk-free, as a downturn in his performance could lead to Deivi Garcia coming back in the rotation. But he's a fine, late-round selection.
59 Justus Sheffield (SEA - SP) IL10 158 161.0 +3.0
60 Nate Pearson (TOR - SP) MiLB 153 139.0 -14.0
Pearson is oozing with talent, but he just can't seem to stay healthy. Whether it was elbow soreness last year or the groin strain that is now going to keep him out of action for a bit, something seem to crop up to delay his success in the majors. He wound up pitching just 18 innings overall last year, but the stuff is there, without question. His fastball reaches triple digits, his slider is dominant, and his curveball and changeup are far above average. There's always a bit more uncertainty with young power pitchers, particularly when they've had elbow injuries like Pearson has. And, after trading for Steven Matz, the Blue Jays have plenty of rotation depth and shouldn't feel pressured into rushing Pearson back from injury. In keeper and dynasty formats, he's still a buy, but in redraft leagues, he's probably not worth a pick at this point.
61 Tarik Skubal (DET - SP) 155 149.0 -6.0
62 Dane Dunning (TEX - SP) 162 170.0 +8.0
Dunning had an interesting seven-start run in 2020. He started out relying heavily on his outstanding slider and his fastball, which led to a strong swinging strike rate and plenty of punchouts in his first few starts. He then abandoned that approach to focus more on his changeup, which led to him missing fewer bats and being less successful. Now with the Rangers, Dunning should get a chance to compete for a rotation spot right out of the gate. He has the tools and skills necessary to be successful, and the draft capital necessary to acquire him should be minimal. He's worth a late-round pick in nearly all formats.
63 Luis Severino (NYY - SP) IL60 164 164.0
Severino is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, but the reports so far have been generally positive. He's already throwing off a mound in mid-March, and a June return isn't out of the question if he can avoid setbacks. Avoiding setbacks is the key, of course, and it's something that's rare in the world of returning from multiple serious issues, as Severino is trying to do. But, for now, draft him with one of your last picks and stash him in your IL spot, if you have the room.
64 Nick Wittgren (CLE - RP) 154 197.0 +43.0
65 Adam Ottavino (BOS - RP) 170 167.0 -3.0
66 Nick Anderson (TB - RP) IL60 142 100.0 -42.0
Anderson has a partial tear of his elbow ligament and, although he won't need surgery, he is likely out until after the All-Star Break. Although he can be dominant when healthy, there's no reason to draft and stash him at this point, given that he won't even be the sole closer for the Rays if and when he returns.
67 Brad Keller (KC - SP) 165 153.0 -12.0
68 Robbie Ray (TOR - SP) 172 143.0 -29.0
69 Tanner Scott (BAL - RP) 178 193.0 +15.0
70 Dylan Cease (CWS - SP) 183 151.0 -32.0
71 Michael Kopech (CWS - RP,SP) 189 150.0 -39.0
Kopech remains one of the top pitching prospects in the game, but he hasn't pitched competitively in about two-and-a-half year at this point. His fastball and slider are more than MLB caliber, and he had a 31.2% strikeout rate in the minors. But after missing all of 2019 with Tommy John surgery and opting out last year, it wouldn't be wise to just expect Kopech to step right back into a rotation without any growing pains. The White Sox also have depth in their rotation after trading for Lance Lynn and signing Carlos Rodon, so Chicago can, and likely will, stick Kopech in the minors to start the year to continue his development. But given their championship aspirations, he should crack the rotation at some point during the season if he show he is back to form.
72 Jake Diekman (OAK - RP) 185 155.0 -30.0
73 Chad Green (NYY - SP,RP) 180 177.0 -3.0
74 Jose Quintana (LAA - SP,RP) 188 203.0 +15.0
75 Spencer Turnbull (DET - SP) IL60 198 205.0 +7.0
76 Casey Mize (DET - SP) 199 163.0 -36.0
77 Emmanuel Clase (CLE - RP) 190 264.0 +74.0
78 Deivi Garcia (NYY - SP) MiLB 191 162.0 -29.0
79 Yimi Garcia (HOU - RP) 210 173.0 -37.0
Garcia was the favorite for saves in Miami until the team signed Anthony Bass, and now his exact role in the bullpen is unclear. He struck out 31.7% of the batter he faced last year, and put up a 0.80 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. He's got more prototypical "closer's stuff" than Bass does, and he has a lengthy relationship with Don Mattingly dating back to their Dodgers days. Draft Garcia late and hope he wins the job, but make sure you have other options.
80 Carlos Rodon (CWS - SP) 194 257.0 +63.0
81 Aaron Bummer (CWS - RP) 184 200.0 +16.0
82 Gregory Soto (DET - SP,RP) 195 191.0 -4.0
83 Spencer Howard (TEX - SP) 208 223.0 +15.0
84 Ross Stripling (TOR - SP,RP) 223 261.0 +38.0
85 A.J. Puk (OAK - RP) MiLB 209 202.0 -7.0
86 Chris Archer (TB - SP) IL60 217 186.0 -31.0
87 Daulton Jefferies (OAK - SP) MiLB 242 273.0 +31.0
88 Bryan Garcia (DET - RP) MiLB 239 233.0 -6.0
Garcia is the favorite for the closer's role in Detroit, but don't be fooled by his 1.66 ERA last year, as it came with a 5.74 xFIP and a 4.98 K/9 mark. His minor league career has been fairly stellar (2.50 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 11.5 K/9), and he has extensive experience as a closer from both college and the minors. If you're drafting a Tigers reliever, it should be Garcia, but only at a bargain-basement price.
89 Josh Staumont (KC - RP) 192 224.0 +32.0
90 Randy Dobnak (MIN - RP,SP) IL60 234 240.0 +6.0
91 Garrett Richards (BOS - SP) 196 226.0 +30.0
92 Yusmeiro Petit (OAK - RP) 226 195.0 -31.0
93 Tyler Duffey (MIN - RP) 222 196.0 -26.0
94 Logan Allen (CLE - SP,RP) MiLB 246 311.0 +65.0
95 Tanner Houck (BOS - SP) MiLB 227 168.0 -59.0
96 Taylor Hearn (TEX - RP) 201    
97 Rafael Dolis (TOR - RP) 229 219.0 -10.0
98 Felix Pena (LAA - SP,RP) MiLB 241 399.0 +158.0
99 Mike Foltynewicz (TEX - SP) 224 267.0 +43.0
100 Matt Bush (TEX - RP) IL60 240 298.0 +58.0
101 Scott Barlow (KC - RP) 230 305.0 +75.0
102 Drew Rasmussen (TB - RP) 243 432.0 +189.0
103 Alex Cobb (LAA - SP) IL10 264 299.0 +35.0
104 Jonathan Hernandez (TEX - RP) IL60 269 199.0 -70.0
105 J.B. Wendelken (OAK - RP) 248 216.0 -32.0
106 Zack Britton (NYY - RP) 247 183.0 -64.0
107 Dean Kremer (BAL - SP) MiLB 212 292.0 +80.0
108 Garrett Crochet (CWS - RP) 211 187.0 -24.0
109 Keegan Akin (BAL - RP,SP) IL10 215 302.0 +87.0
110 Nick Pivetta (BOS - SP,RP) 252 277.0 +25.0
111 Joe Smith (SEA - RP) 259    
112 Darwinzon Hernandez (BOS - RP) IL10 228 343.0 +115.0
113 Steven Matz (TOR - SP) 270 229.0 -41.0
114 Josh Fleming (TB - RP,SP) 274 263.0 -11.0
115 Luis Patino (TB - RP,SP) 277 217.0 -60.0
116 Kyle Crick (CWS - RP) MiLB 256 324.0 +68.0
117 Matt Manning (DET - SP) 281 274.0 -7.0
118 Darren O'Day (NYY - RP) IL60 276 244.0 -32.0
119 Matt Wisler (TB - SP,RP) 251 294.0 +43.0
120 Shane McClanahan (TB - SP,RP) 263 332.0 +69.0
121 Mike Mayers (LAA - RP) 282 254.0 -28.0
122 Mike Fiers (OAK - SP) IL60 290 297.0 +7.0
123 Joely Rodriguez (NYY - RP) 266 335.0 +69.0
124 Kris Bubic (KC - RP,SP) 268 262.0 -6.0
125 Matt Shoemaker (MIN - RP,SP) MiLB 293 287.0 -6.0
126 Enoli Paredes (HOU - RP) IL10 254 300.0 +46.0
127 Jorge Alcala (MIN - RP) 255    
128 Brandon Workman (BOS - RP) DFA 284 221.0 -63.0
129 Chris Flexen (SEA - SP,RP) 278 291.0 +13.0
130 Luis Garcia (HOU - RP,SP) 306    
131 Matt Foster (CWS - RP) MiLB 292 201.0 -91.0
132 Cal Quantrill (CLE - SP,RP) 302 251.0 -51.0
133 John Gant (MIN - RP,SP) 298 285.0 -13.0
134 Cesar Valdez (BAL - RP) 299 348.0 +49.0
135 Kohei Arihara (TEX - SP) IL60 285 272.0 -13.0
136 Julio Teheran (DET - SP) IL60 311 290.0 -21.0
137 Lou Trivino (OAK - RP) 286 360.0 +74.0
138 Patrick Sandoval (LAA - SP) 312 329.0 +17.0
139 Tyler Alexander (DET - SP,RP) 262    
140 Jonathan Loaisiga (NYY - SP,RP) 267 326.0 +59.0
141 Martin Perez (BOS - SP) 324 328.0 +4.0
142 Pedro Baez (HOU - RP) IL60 303 374.0 +71.0
143 Bruce Zimmermann (BAL - SP) IL10 500 412.0 -88.0
144 Collin McHugh (TB - SP,RP) IL10 308 383.0 +75.0
145 Joe Jimenez (DET - RP) 305 323.0 +18.0
146 Jesse Hahn (KC - RP) IL60 271 351.0 +80.0
147 Michael Wacha (TB - SP,RP) 330 228.0 -102.0
148 Adam Kolarek (OAK - RP) MiLB 313    
149 Jaime Barria (LAA - SP,RP) 291 346.0 +55.0
150 Cody Stashak (MIN - RP) IL60 279    
151 Phil Maton (HOU - RP) 295 398.0 +103.0
152 Michael King (NYY - SP,RP) IL60 283    
153 Jakob Junis (KC - RP,SP) MiLB 344 365.0 +21.0
154 Brendan McKay (TB - SP,DH) MiLB 314 337.0 +23.0
155 Hunter Harvey (BAL - RP) IL10 332 212.0 -120.0
Harvey strained his oblique in spring training and was placed on the 60-day IL, meaning he's unlikely to contribute as the Orioles' designated closer, which was unlikely anyway with Brandon Hyde as the manager. Harvey had a ton of buzz heading into last season, but a strained forearm ultimately limited him to just 8 2/3 innings. He's got a dominant fastball that can reach triple digits, but his injury history has been a roadblock to him becoming a regular and reliable reliever. Hyde likes to go by committee anyway, and Harvey's injury should give him the chance to do just that again. Perhaps spend a last-round pick on Harvey, but better yet, leave him undrafted.
156 Evan Marshall (CWS - RP) IL60 297 391.0 +94.0
157 Justin Dunn (SEA - SP) IL10 353 289.0 -64.0
158 Sergio Romo (OAK - RP) 345 245.0 -100.0
159 Jose Cisnero (DET - RP) 317 367.0 +50.0
160 Ryan Brasier (BOS - RP) IL60 296    
161 Josh Sborz (TEX - RP) 430    
162 Andrew Chafin (OAK - RP) 301    
163 Brent Honeywell Jr. (TB - SP) MiLB 333 327.0 -6.0
164 Sam Selman (LAA - RP) 349 269.0 -80.0
165 Cole Sulser (BAL - RP) 300    
166 Tyler Anderson (SEA - SP) 328 368.0 +40.0
167 Dillon Tate (BAL - RP) 351 419.0 +68.0
168 Blake Parker (CLE - RP) 363    
169 Ryan Thompson (TB - RP) IL10 304    
170 Andres Munoz (SEA - RP) IL60 335 376.0 +41.0
171 Anthony Misiewicz (SEA - RP) 307 445.0 +138.0
172 Keynan Middleton (SEA - RP) 357    
173 Oliver Perez (CLE - RP) MiLB 359    
174 Logan Gilbert (SEA - SP) 372 238.0 -134.0
175 David Phelps (TOR - RP) IL60 320    
176 Steve Cishek (LAA - RP) 340    
177 Carl Edwards Jr. (TOR - RP) IL60 375    
178 Blake Taylor (HOU - RP) 364    
179 Ryan Tepera (CWS - RP) 385 420.0 +35.0
180 Caleb Thielbar (MIN - RP) 316    
181 Alex Young (CLE - SP,RP) MiLB 376 275.0 -101.0
182 Chaz Roe (TB - RP) IL60 412    
183 Cody Reed (TB - RP) IL60 319    
184 Jace Fry (CWS - RP) MiLB 321    
185 Hunter Wood (TEX - RP) IL60 322    
186 Asa Lacy (KC - RP,SP) MiLB   421.0  
187 Julian Merryweather (TOR - SP,RP) IL60 323 387.0 +64.0
188 Clarke Schmidt (NYY - P,RP,SP) IL60 428 314.0 -114.0
189 Brett Martin (TEX - RP) 327    
190 Grayson Rodriguez (BAL - SP) MiLB   441.0  
191 Kendall Graveman (HOU - RP) 329 345.0 +16.0
192 Josh James (HOU - RP) IL60 396 389.0 -7.0
193 Kyle Zimmer (KC - RP) 331    
194 Drew Steckenrider (SEA - RP)      
195 Simeon Woods-Richardson (MIN - SP) MiLB   422.0  
196 Junior Guerra (LAA - RP) 379    
197 Richard Lovelady (KC - RP) 399    
198 DL Hall (BAL - SP) MiLB      
199 Matt Andriese (BOS - RP) IL10 338 407.0 +69.0
200 Trevor Stephan (CLE - RP,SP)      
201 Nick Nelson (NYY - RP) MiLB 339 400.0 +61.0
202 Tyler Chatwood (TOR - SP,RP) DFA 342 361.0 +19.0
203 Daniel Lynch (KC - SP) 436 330.0 -106.0
204 Jacob Barnes (TOR - RP) DFA 392    
205 Kolby Allard (TEX - RP,SP) 366 411.0 +45.0
206 Hansel Robles (BOS - RP) 367 215.0 -152.0
207 Reid Detmers (LAA - SP) MiLB   428.0  
208 Devin Smeltzer (MIN - SP,RP) IL60 343 442.0 +99.0
209 Shawn Armstrong (TB - RP) MiLB 346    
210 Jordan Balazovic (MIN - SP) MiLB 459 388.0 -71.0
211 Justin Verlander (HOU - SP) IL60 466 188.0 -278.0
212 Reynaldo Lopez (CWS - RP,SP) 442 357.0 -85.0
213 Brandon Brennan (BOS - RP) MiLB 348    
214 Cole Irvin (OAK - SP,RP)   331.0  
215 J.P. Feyereisen (TB - RP) IL10 381    
216 Buck Farmer (DET - RP) 350    
217 Tyler Ivey (HOU - SP,RP) MiLB 382    
218 Kyle Cody (TEX - RP,SP) IL60 354 322.0 -32.0
219 Ryan Borucki (TOR - RP) 365 448.0 +83.0
220 Josh Taylor (BOS - RP) 355    
221 Matt Magill (SEA - RP) MiLB 389    
222 Nick Margevicius (SEA - SP,RP) IL60 449 381.0 -68.0
223 Erik Swanson (SEA - SP,RP) 437    
224 Jordan Lyles (TEX - SP) 413 370.0 -43.0
225 Jose Urena (DET - SP,RP) IL10 409 355.0 -54.0
226 Zack Godley (CLE - SP,RP) MiLB 397    
227 Ljay Newsome (SEA - RP,SP) IL60 395    
228 Andrew Kittredge (TB - SP,RP) 422 356.0 -66.0
229 Adam Plutko (BAL - SP,RP) 416    
230 Derek Holland (DET - SP,RP) 360 293.0 -67.0
231 Demarcus Evans (TEX - RP) 448 372.0 -76.0
232 Ryan Sherriff (TB - RP) 414    
233 Ryne Stanek (HOU - SP,RP) 362    
234 Lewis Thorpe (MIN - RP,SP) MiLB 400    
235 Heath Fillmyer (CLE - SP,RP) MiLB 434    
236 Hector Rondon (BOS - RP) MiLB 406    
237 Marcus Walden (BOS - RP) MiLB 435    
238 James Hoyt (LAA - RP) 424    
239 Adam Cimber (TOR - RP) 425    
240 Jimmy Cordero (CWS - RP) IL60      
241 Tom Hatch (TOR - RP) 371 369.0 -2.0
242 Wade Davis (KC - RP) 415 284.0 -131.0
243 Anthony Kay (TOR - RP,SP) MiLB 373 437.0 +64.0
244 Andre Scrubb (HOU - RP) IL10 374    
245 Gerardo Reyes (LAA - RP) MiLB 446    
246 Jhoan Duran (MIN - SP) MiLB   408.0  
247 Jackson Kowar (KC - SP) MiLB 453 382.0 -71.0
248 Michael Fulmer (DET - RP,SP) 418 347.0 -71.0
249 Luke Bard (LAA - SP,RP) IL60 450    
250 Casey Sadler (SEA - RP) 377    
251 Joe Ryan (MIN - SP) MiLB   271.0  
252 Travis Bergen (TOR - RP) MiLB 380    
253 Jorge Lopez (BAL - SP,RP) 432 447.0 +15.0
254 Burch Smith (OAK - RP) 384    
255 Shaun Anderson (BAL - SP,RP) 386    
256 Aaron Slegers (LAA - RP) MiLB 387    
257 Trent Thornton (TOR - RP,SP) MiLB 427 450.0 +23.0
258 Hirokazu Sawamura (BOS - RP,SP) 441 395.0 -46.0
259 Austin Brice (BOS - RP) MiLB 394    
260 Wandy Peralta (NYY - RP) IL10 410    
261 Ryan Weber (SEA - SP,RP) MiLB 443    
262 Zac Lowther (BAL - SP) MiLB 431    
263 Jeffrey Springs (TB - RP) 402    
264 Trevor Richards (TOR - SP,RP) 445 436.0 -9.0
265 Cam Hill (CLE - RP) MiLB 452    
266 Brad Peacock (CLE - SP,RP) MiLB 451    
267 Mike Montgomery (NYY - SP,RP) MiLB 460    
268 Jake Newberry (KC - RP) MiLB 411    
269 Wes Benjamin (TEX - RP) MiLB 454    
270 Nik Turley (CWS - RP) MiLB      
271 Dennis Santana (TEX - RP)   414.0  
272 Phillips Valdez (BOS - RP) 483    
273 Homer Bailey (OAK - SP) MiLB 462 434.0 -28.0
274 Colten Brewer (BOS - SP,RP) MiLB      
275 Tyson Ross (TEX - SP) MiLB 468    
276 Joe Palumbo (TEX - SP,RP) MiLB 470    
277 Yohan Ramirez (SEA - SP,RP) MiLB 461 402.0 -59.0
278 Hyeon-jong Yang (TEX - RP,SP) MiLB 464 425.0 -39.0
279 John King (TEX - RP) MiLB 480    
280 Connor Seabold (BOS - SP) MiLB 471    
281 Carlos Hernandez (KC - RP,SP) 484    
282 Travis Lakins Sr. (BAL - SP,RP) IL60 491    
283 Evan Phillips (BAL - RP) MiLB 492    
284 Logan Allen (CLE - P) MiLB 497    
285 Mike Baumann (BAL - SP) MiLB 498