2021 Fantasy Baseball Rankings (NL)
Expert Consensus Ranking (55 of 55 Experts) -
|Rank||Player (Team, Position)||Overall||Notes|
|1||Ozzie Albies (ATL - 2B)||20||24.0||+4.0||
A wrist injury limited Albies to just 29 games last season, and affected his performance early in the year before he went on the IL. In other words, there's little reason to draw conclusions from anything he did last year, including his drop in walk rate and increase in strikeout rate. Albies had established a rough 24-15 baseline from 2018-2019, and at 24 years old, there's no reason to expect that floor to decrease. With his power and speed combination, and his locked in strong RBI and runs scored numbers batting near the top of the Braves' lineup, Albies should be either the first second baseman drafted or the second behind DJ LeMahieu, depending on how you want to build your team.
|2||Ketel Marte (ARI - 2B,SS,CF) IL10||38||36.0||-2.0||
Most fantasy managers expected regression from Marte after his breakout 2019 season, but few saw last year coming. Marte hit two homeruns in his 45 games, and contributed minimally elsewhere other than batting average. His walk rate dropped to a miniscule 3.6%, and although he struck out less than ever, the quality of his contact was overwhelmingly poor. Truth be told, both 2019 and 2020 are probably outliers for Marte, and the truth probably lies somewhere between his 2018 (.260/.332/.437) and 2019 (.329/.389/.592) seasons. Those numbers will play at second base, especially given Marte's draft cost, but give up dreams of him hitting 32 home runs ever again.
|3||Keston Hiura (MIL - 1B,2B,DH) MiLB||39||39.0||‐||
Hiura looked to be on the verge of superstardom heading into 2020, if he could just cut back on his bloated 30.7% strikeout rate. Instead, he struck out more than ever (34.6% of the time), en route to a league-leading 85 strikeouts. That led to a massive drop in production, notably in batting average, which fell from .303 in 2019 to .212 last year. Hiura was never a high-strikeout player in the minors. He never struck out more than 26.3% in any level and he had an overall strikeout rate of just 21%. If he can manage to cut down on the whiffs, he should be a top option at second base given his power and speed, but for now, drop him down your draft board a bit from where he was heading into 2020. He's still a borderline top-five option, especially since he will add first base eligibility after the Brewers signed Kolten Wong, but exercise more caution.
|4||Jeff McNeil (NYM - 2B,3B,LF,RF)||49||53.0||+4.0||
Much of McNeil's 2020 season looked similar to his year in 2019. He hit over .300, rarely struck out, and got on base plenty. But the power gains that we saw in 2019 vanished, as he hit just four home runs over 52 games. His barrel rate (2.5%) and hard-hit percentage (26.5%) were some of the worst in the league, and he didn't even offer the token stolen base that he had chipped in during previous seasons. This is a scenario where McNeil's value to any particular fantasy manager will depend on the weight he or she gives to the shortened 2020 season. Given that McNeil never hit the ball particularly hard anyway, though, a good bet is to assume he at least returns to the high teens in home runs, slightly below his 2019 pace. With his strong average and multi-position eligibility, that makes McNeil an asset in the middle rounds.
|5||Max Muncy (LAD - 1B,2B,3B)||50||51.0||+1.0||
Muncy's batting average dropped to a ridiculously low .192 last year, and there were two culprits. The first is that his line drive rate plummeted from 23.5% to just 13.8%, leading to far more ground balls. The second was that he simply didn't hit the ball as hard. His hard hit rate and average exit velocity fell, and his HR/FB rate dropped seven points. Muncy dealt with finger and elbow injuries, so those may account for his poor season, but even then he was on pace to reach the 30-homer plateau for a third straight year. Muncy has position eligibility galore, and at the weak second base position, so continue to draft him in the middle rounds as a cheap source of power who adds value thanks to his ability to play all around the infield for your fantasy team.
|6||Mike Moustakas (CIN - 1B,2B,3B)||56||63.0||+7.0||
Because Moustakas was a hitter who played for the Reds, he had a poor 2020 season (seriously, look at their collective numbers). He walked more, struck out more, and lost some points on his batting average, but overall, there was little different in Moustakas's profile. He continued to hit for power and make quality contact. He may not score many runs given his lack of speed and surrounding cast, and the batting average isn't going to help you. But he's got plenty of power for a second-base eligible player, and there's no sign that his production is ready to fall off a cliff.
|7||Tommy Edman (STL - 2B,3B,SS,LF,RF)||83||80.0||-3.0||
After a highly successful 2019 season in which he hit 11 home runs and stole 15 bases in 92 games, Edman's numbers regressed in nearly every meaningful way last year. His batting average slipped from .304 to just .250, he hit just five home runs, and he went 2-for-6 in stolen base attempts. Edman was a bit unlucky last year, as his xBA and xSLG outperformed his actual numbers. And despite his down year on the basepaths, he was in the 95th percentile in sprint speed. He's likely to lead off for the Cardinals this year, and should be good for double digits in both home runs and steals, with plenty of runs scored. Considering he has multi-position eligibility, he should be drafted before the double-digit rounds.
|8||Ian Happ (CHC - 2B,3B,LF,CF) IL10||79||83.0||+4.0||
Happ has always made consistently hard contact, but his strikeout rate was simply untenable, hovering around 34% in his first two seasons. But he has cut that down to a more manageable 26% over the last two years, and he's batted .260 with 23 home runs and 58 RBI over 115 games in that span. Happ has some speed even if he hasn't shown it recently, and he'll likely bat leadoff for the Cubs, who may need to manufacture runs more than in previous years. The average probably won't help you much, but he should contribute in four categories at a relatively inexpensive price.
|9||Jean Segura (PHI - 2B,3B,SS)||99||100.0||+1.0||
Segura's strikeout rate ballooned last season to above 20%, though his walk rate also took a corresponding jump. But other than that, there wasn't much notable or exciting about his season. He ran a bit less than usual in the shortened year, but he still ranked in the 87th percentile in sprint speed, suggesting that the stolen base potential is still there if he wants to take it. The bigger issue with Segura as he enters his age-31 season is that there's almost no upside, as he'll bat near the bottom of the order and has established a fairly firm ceiling in his career. He's a borderline startable middle infielder in mixed leagues, but nothing more.
|10||Gavin Lux (LAD - 2B,SS)||107||114.0||+7.0|
|11||Jake Cronenworth (SD - 1B,2B,SS)||108||99.0||-9.0||
Cronenworth wound up being one of the best waiver pickups of the 2020 season. He provided a great batting average (.285) with multi-position eligibility. The counting stats - mainly the four homers and three steals - left a lot to be desired, however. Cronenworth ultimately profiles as a better "real life" player than he does as a fantasy option. Still, in deeper roto leagues that use batting average, his contact skills and defensive versatility give him a fantastic floor. I just don't expect him to be a fantasy difference-maker in most 10-12 team leagues.
|12||Kolten Wong (MIL - 2B)||114||123.0||+9.0||
Wong lands in a great situation with the Brewers, where he's expected to lead off in front of a strong lineup. His quality of contact is incredibly poor, but in Miller Park, he should be a good bet for 10-15 homers, and he'll throw in 15-20 steals despite having a fairly average sprint speed. There's not a ton of upside for Wong, but absent injury, there's not a whole lot of downside for him in Milwaukee either. He's not a startable second baseman in mixed leagues, but he's a fine middle infielder or bench option.
|13||Eduardo Escobar (ARI - 2B,3B)||111||136.0||+25.0|
|14||Chris Taylor (LAD - 2B,SS,LF,CF)||119||105.0||-14.0|
|15||Ryan McMahon (COL - 1B,2B,3B)||138||120.0||-18.0|
|16||Garrett Hampson (COL - 2B,SS,LF,CF)||140||139.0||-1.0|
|17||Jonathan Villar (NYM - 2B,3B,SS)||129||106.0||-23.0||
Villar's quality of contact dropped significantly last year, but given how out of character it was for his career, the decline can probably be written off to the small sample of the shortened season. But he was still one of the league leaders in stolen bases with 16 and he showed no hesitation about running whenever he got the chance. The bigger issue is that Villar won't have a regular role now that he's with the Mets, but instead will be a super-utility player. With that said, Villar's versatility should allow him to see a few starts each week, and he should see action as a defensive replacement and pinch runner. All that to say that Villar should tack on 15-20 steals over the course of the season, and therefore make a viable middle infield option despite his lack of a regular role.
|18||Tommy La Stella (SF - 1B,2B,3B) IL10||150||157.0||+7.0|
|19||Ha-Seong Kim (SD - 2B,3B,SS)||143||119.0||-24.0||
Kim joins a loaded Padres team after a successful career in the KBO. He had a particularly strong 2020 season, slashing .306/.397/.523 with 30 home runs and 23 steals. Although he split time between shortstop and third base in the KBO, he should likely man second for the Padres, which is better for his fantasy value given the relative lack of strength of the position (though the signing of Jurickson Profar does add a few question marks). Kim is younger than most hitters coming over from the KBO - only 25 - and he has the speed and power to reach double digits in steals and homers pretty easily. But he's more of a 15-15 type of player, rather than the potential 30-25 he was last year, and he'll likely bat near the bottom of the order, limiting his plate appearance and runs and RBI opportunities. Draft him as a middle infield option, but with upside.
|20||Austin Nola (SD - C,1B,2B)||131||113.0||-18.0||
Nola has proven to be a quality bat for a catcher over the last two seasons, batting .271 with 17 home runs in 127 games over that span. He's in a great situation with the Padres, even if he will be batting at the bottom of the lineup, but a fractured finger will likely lead him to begin the season on the IL. Depending on how much time he'll miss, that could create a buying opportunity, as his ADP should drop a bit. As long he isn't projected to miss more than a couple of weeks, take the discount and enjoy premium production from the catcher position for the rest of the season.
|21||Starlin Castro (WSH - 2B,3B)||147||181.0||+34.0|
|22||Jon Berti (MIA - 2B,3B,SS,CF,RF)||164||150.0||-14.0|
|23||Jurickson Profar (SD - 2B,LF,RF) IL10||163||159.0||-4.0|
|24||Mauricio Dubon (SF - 2B,SS,CF)||183||177.0||-6.0|
|25||Josh Rojas (ARI - 2B,LF,RF,SS)||204||216.0||+12.0|
|26||Colin Moran (PIT - 1B,2B,3B,DH) IL10||169||231.0||+62.0|
|27||Jazz Chisholm Jr. (MIA - 2B,SS) IL10||194||234.0||+40.0|
|28||Adam Frazier (PIT - 2B,LF)||187||193.0||+6.0|
|29||Donovan Solano (SF - 2B,3B,SS) IL10||193||188.0||-5.0|
|30||Brendan Rodgers (COL - 2B,SS) IL10||192||229.0||+37.0||
Rodgers was the favorite for the second base job in Colorado and was having a blistering spring, slashing .348/.400/.652 in 10 games. But he suffered a hamstring strain and now is expected to miss a month. Rodgers is still a post-hype sleeper and he will be free in drafts at this point. As an upside bench piece with speed, he's worth a shot, but not as anything more.
|31||Wilmer Flores (SF - 1B,2B,3B,DH)||195||182.0||-13.0|
|32||Scott Kingery (PHI - 2B,3B,SS,LF,CF)||234||223.0||-11.0|
|33||Kevin Newman (PIT - 2B,SS)||218||204.0||-14.0|
|34||Luis Urias (MIL - 2B,3B,SS)||245||238.0||-7.0|
|35||Nico Hoerner (CHC - 2B,3B,SS) IL10||250||215.0||-35.0|
|36||Luis Garcia (WSH - 2B) MiLB||273||296.0||+23.0|
|37||David Bote (CHC - 2B,3B)||251||275.0||+24.0|
|38||Isan Diaz (MIA - 2B)||319||344.0||+25.0|
|39||Asdrubal Cabrera (ARI - 1B,2B,3B,DH)||303||200.0||-103.0|
|40||Brad Miller (PHI - 1B,2B,3B,DH,LF)||326||338.0||+12.0|
|41||Yolmer Sanchez (ATL - 2B,3B) MiLB||329||351.0||+22.0|
|42||Eric Sogard (CHC - 2B,3B,RF)||341||388.0||+47.0|
|43||Johan Camargo (ATL - 2B,3B,SS,LF,RF)||363||255.0||-108.0|
|44||Odubel Herrera (PHI - 2B,CF)||381||243.0||-138.0|
|45||Dee Strange-Gordon (MIL - 2B,LF) MiLB||399||242.0||-157.0|
|46||Josh Harrison (WSH - 2B,3B)||370||332.0||-38.0|
|47||Luis Guillorme (NYM - 2B,3B,SS) IL10||395||246.0||-149.0|
|48||Mike Freeman (CIN - 2B,3B,SS) MiLB||407|
|49||Ehire Adrianza (ATL - 1B,2B,3B,SS,RF)||428||268.0||-160.0|
|50||Kyle Farmer (CIN - C,1B,2B,3B,SS)||447||354.0||-93.0|
|51||Thairo Estrada (SF - 2B) MiLB||469|
|52||Jose Peraza (NYM - 2B,SS,LF)||458|
|53||Chris Owings (COL - 2B,3B,SS,CF) IL60||479||377.0||-102.0|
|54||Brandon Drury (NYM - 1B,2B,3B,LF,RF) MiLB||471|
|55||Zach McKinstry (LAD - 2B,RF) IL10||482||406.0||-76.0|
|56||Logan Forsythe (MIL - 1B,2B,3B,SS) MiLB||485|
|57||Ildemaro Vargas (CHC - 2B,3B)||486||425.0||-61.0|
|58||Edmundo Sosa (STL - 2B,SS)||490||274.0||-216.0|
|59||Andrew Young (ARI - 2B) MiLB||492|
|60||Rodolfo Castro (PIT - 2B,SS) MiLB||495|
|61||Alex Blandino (CIN - 1B,2B,3B)||498|
|62||Bret Boswell (COL - 2B,3B,SS) MiLB||496|
|63||Matt Duffy (CHC - 2B,3B)||504|