2021 Fantasy Baseball Rankings (NL)
Expert Consensus Ranking (56 of 56 Experts) -
|Rank||Player (Team, Position)||Overall||Notes|
|1||Manny Machado (SD - 3B,SS)||13||15.0||+2.0||
Machado was on pace to set career highs in most statistical categories other than steals after last year's 60-game season. He set career bests in strikeout and walk rates and, most importantly to fantasy managers, batting average, where he checked in at .304. Machado's batting average was earned (he had an identica .304 xBA), and came on the back of him cutting his ground ball rate to a career low 37.2% and his line drive rate to a career high 22%. Machado is still just entering his age-29 season, and will continue to bat in a loaded lineup. Expect some regression from his batting average, but all his other stellar numbers should remain on par, meaning it will be another outstanding season that is worth a second-round pick.
|2||Nolan Arenado (STL - 3B)||26||23.0||-3.0||
On the bright side, Arenado struck out just 10% of the time, a career-best. On the down side, there was everything else. Arenado batted just .253 and put up a 162-game pace of 27 home runs, 78 runs, 88 RBI, and zero steals. Those numbers won't kill your fantasy team, but considering Arenado's worst numbers over the previous five seasons were 37 home runs, 97 runs scored, and 110 RBI, they were a disaster. The good news, at least from the standpoint of projecting Arenado into the future, is that he was dealing with an injured AC joint in his shoulder for most of the season. In other words, fantasy managers can largely ignore Arenado's poor 2020 numbers, and focus instead on how he will perform now that he's been traded to the Cardinals. Although there's likely to be some dip in his numbers, we've seen hitters leave the Rockies and largely retain their value (or, in the case of DJ LeMahieu, increase their value), The best part is you won't have to pay that first-round price anymore, and if his ADP drops after the trade to St. Louis, it should be easy to turn a profit.
|3||Eugenio Suarez (CIN - 3B,SS)||31||33.0||+2.0||
Suarez's power numbers were again strong in last year's shortened season, but his batting average plummeted to just .202. He hit the ball as hard as ever, however, and ranked in the top 9% of the league in average exit velocity. Suarez's BABIP was just .214 (he has a .310 mark), and although he hit more fly balls than usual, there's nothing to suggest that his batting average should have fallen off a cliff. In other words, there's plenty of reason to expect Suarez to hit closer to his .261 career batting average this year. Add to that his potential for 40 home runs and 200 combined runs and RBI, and he'll likely be a value in this year's draft.
|4||Max Muncy (LAD - 1B,2B,3B) MiLB||49||49.0||‐||
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.
|5||Jeff McNeil (NYM - 2B,3B,LF,RF)||48||51.0||+3.0||
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.
|6||Kris Bryant (SF - 1B,3B,CF,LF,RF)||53||61.0||+8.0||
Bryant had a terrible 2020 season, but it seems like fantasy managers are forgetting how consistent he's been. Over the last four seasons, he has a 162-game pace of a .278 average, 29 home runs, 112 run scored, 80 RBI, and five steals. His quality of contact was awful last season, but hard contact has never really been his calling card anyway, and he battled back and wrist injuries. Bryant doesn't deserve a mulligan entirely for last season, but give it minimal weight in your evaluation.
|7||Alec Bohm (PHI - 1B,3B)||55||58.0||+3.0||
Bohm's major league debut was a success, in that he batted a robust .338 with an .881 OPS. But despite hitting the ball hard consistently (his 10.3% barrel rate and 46.8% hard hit percentage was well above the major league average), he hit just four home runs, and his xBA was just .286. The problem is he simply pounded the ball into the ground, putting up a 53.2% ground ball rate and just 4.8 degrees of launch angle. Bohm never showed a ton of power in the minors, but he's just entering his age-25 season, so there's always room for growth. But for redraft leagues, buy him as a high-average bat with unexceptional power.
|8||Mike Moustakas (CIN - 1B,2B,3B)||56||62.0||+6.0||
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.
|9||Ke'Bryan Hayes (PIT - 3B)||69||72.0||+3.0||
Hayes had an outstanding 24-game run with the Pirates last year, hitting five home runs with an 1.124 OPS and a 55.4% hard-hit rate, which would have ranked seventh best in the majors had he had enough plate appearances. But that was far more offensve production than he had shown in the minors, where he totaled just a .752 OPS with 25 home runs in 461 career games. Hayes makes a ton of contact and should bat near the top of the Pirates order this year, so even if he regresses some offensively, he should still find enough counting stats to be useful. But don't expect 2020's power levels.
|10||Justin Turner (LAD - 3B,DH) MiLB||83||96.0||+13.0||
Turner signed a two-year deal with the Dodgers, and it's a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, he remains a key cog in an incredibly strong lineup where he's had plenty of success for several years. On the other, he's almost certainly going to see a downtick in his playing time given his age and the presence of Edwin Rios. Turner is still a batting average asset, has shown little decline in his batted ball data, and almost always produces when he's in the lineup. But he's much more valuable in daily transaction leagues where you can swap him in and out of the lineup.
|11||Tommy Edman (STL - 2B,3B,SS,LF,RF)||84||81.0||-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.
|12||Ian Happ (CHC - 2B,3B,CF,LF,RF)||80||84.0||+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.
|13||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.
|14||Austin Riley (ATL - 1B,3B,LF)||102||109.0||+7.0||
Riley made some notable gains last year after he looked like he might fall out of fantasy-relevance entirely with the way he closed his 2019 season. He essentially traded off some power for contact, as his swing percentage dropped, his contact rate increased, and he improved on both his walk and strikeout rates. Although there was some question as to whether the Braves would add another third baseman in free agency, it appears they're content to roll with Riley to begin the year. That should make him a cheap source of power for fantasy, one whose batting average (.262 xBA last year) won't hurt you too badly.
|15||Eduardo Escobar (MIL - 1B,2B,3B)||111||135.0||+24.0|
|16||J.D. Davis (NYM - 3B,LF,DH)||112||137.0||+25.0|
|17||Brian Anderson (MIA - 3B,RF) IL60||116||136.0||+20.0|
|18||Ryan McMahon (COL - 1B,2B,3B)||138||120.0||-18.0|
|19||Jonathan India (CIN - 2B,3B)||188||224.0||+36.0|
|20||Tommy La Stella (SF - 1B,2B,3B)||151||155.0||+4.0|
|21||Maikel Franco (ATL - 3B) MiLB||161||214.0||+53.0|
|22||Evan Longoria (SF - 3B)||203||258.0||+55.0|
|23||Carter Kieboom (WSH - 3B,SS)||249||229.0||-20.0|
|24||Jon Berti (MIA - 2B,3B,CF,LF,RF,SS) IL60||167||149.0||-18.0|
|25||Asdrubal Cabrera (CIN - 1B,2B,3B,DH)||298||196.0||-102.0|
|26||Colin Moran (PIT - 1B,2B,3B,DH)||169||231.0||+62.0|
|27||Luis Urias (MIL - 2B,3B,SS)||243||238.0||-5.0|
|28||Edwin Rios (LAD - 1B,3B) IL60||235||218.0||-17.0|
|29||Yoshi Tsutsugo (PIT - 1B,3B,DH,LF,RF)||279||279.0||‐|
|30||Brad Miller (PHI - 1B,2B,3B,DH,LF,RF)||319||327.0||+8.0|
|31||Donovan Solano (SF - 2B,3B,SS)||215||189.0||-26.0|
|32||Rio Ruiz (COL - 1B,2B,3B) MiLB||258||302.0||+44.0|
|33||Scott Kingery (PHI - 2B,3B,SS,LF,CF) MiLB||233||227.0||-6.0|
|34||Nico Hoerner (CHC - 2B,3B,SS)||247||216.0||-31.0|
|35||David Bote (CHC - 2B,3B) IL10||248||271.0||+23.0|
|36||Matt Carpenter (STL - 1B,2B,3B,DH)||254||255.0||+1.0|
|37||Yolmer Sanchez (ATL - 2B,3B) MiLB||322||339.0||+17.0|
|38||Johan Camargo (ATL - 2B,3B,SS,LF,RF)||354||253.0||-101.0|
|39||Matt Beaty (LAD - 1B,3B,LF,RF)||363|
|40||Todd Frazier (PIT - 1B,3B) MiLB||401||240.0||-161.0|
|41||Phillip Evans (PIT - 1B,3B,LF,RF)||382||380.0||-2.0|
|42||Ryan Zimmerman (WSH - 1B,3B)||445||212.0||-233.0|
|43||Nolan Gorman (STL - 3B) MiLB||366.0|
|44||Ehire Adrianza (ATL - 1B,2B,3B,LF,RF,SS)||403||263.0||-140.0|
|45||Kyle Farmer (CIN - C,1B,2B,3B,SS)||418||343.0||-75.0|
|46||Chris Owings (COL - 2B,3B,SS,CF) IL60||447||361.0||-86.0|
|47||Logan Forsythe (MIL - 1B,2B,3B,SS) MiLB||453|
|48||Colton Welker (COL - 3B)||457||362.0||-95.0|
|49||Bret Boswell (COL - 2B,3B,SS) MiLB||461|
|50||Alex Blandino (CIN - 1B,2B,3B)||463|
|51||Jace Peterson (MIL - 1B,2B,3B,LF,RF)||464|
|52||Wyatt Mathisen (SF - 1B,3B) MiLB||466|
|53||Matt Duffy (CHC - 2B,3B,SS)||471|