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2021 Fantasy Baseball Rankings (NL)

Expert Consensus Ranking (56 of 56 Experts) -

Rank Player (Team, Position) Overall Notes
1 Jacob deGrom (NYM - SP) IL60 5 5.0
deGrom barely missed out on winning his third straight Cy Young Award last year, but it was yet another dominant season. For the third straight year, he came in with a WHIP under 1.00, an ERA under 2.50, and a strikeout percentage above 31%. deGrom is getting up there in age, but it's worth remembering that he has fewer miles on his arm than most pitcher entering their age-33 season, given that he didn't transition to pitching until late in his college career and missed significant time with injuries during his time in the minors. deGrom has shown no decline in his game, and should hopefully (finally) begin to pile on more wins this year pitching for a better team in front of an improved bullpen. He should be the first or second starting pitcher taken and is an obvious first-round pick.
2 Yu Darvish (SD - SP) 14 13.0 -1.0
After a career year in 2020, Darvish moves to San Diego in a trade that shouldn't affect his strong 2021 outlook all that much. Despite his advancing age, Darvish built on the gains he had made over the second half of 2019, finishing with a 2.01 ER, a 0.96 WHIP, and a 31.3% strikeout rate. Darvish's walk rate has declined to a level once thought unattainable for the veteran, a mere 4.7%, which was in the top 8% of MLB in 2020. Although he'll be entering his age-35 season, there's simply nothing in Darvish's numbers, metrics, or statcast data that points to a decline. If you are desperate to find a negative, it's a move from the weak-hitting NL Central to the much stronger NL West, but that's hardly a reason to avoid Darvish. Draft him as an easy top-10 starter, and more like a top-5 option.
3 Trevor Bauer (LAD - SP) RST 15 10.0 -5.0
Bauer capped off a Cy Young season by signing a massive deal with the Dodgers. There's no other way to describe Bauer's 2020 season other than utterly dominant. A 1.73 ERA, a 0.79 WHIP, and a 36% strikeout rate. Notably, the spin rate on almost all of his pitched jumped dramatically, and every single one of them was more effective than we'd previously seen. Bauer had an outstanding season in 2018 and followed it up with a sub-par 2019, so we shouldn't take for granted that he'll be the best pitcher in baseball for the second season in a row. But on the best team in baseball with a near bulletproof 2020 resume, he should be drafted as a top-five starter and a second-round pick.
4 Walker Buehler (LAD - SP) 16 16.0
Because the Dodgers wanted to closely watch Buehler's routine and workload, he got a late start to the shortened season, essentially using his first few starts as the end of his spring training. He also dealt with blisters late in the year. All that to say, Buehler's 36 2/3 regular-season innings are, for the most part, largely meaningless. He gave up a few more home runs and walked a few more batters than usual, and he won just a single game. But none of it matters. Value Buehler as you did after his 2019 season - as one of the true stud pitchers in the game. Once the big three of Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole, and Shane Bieber are off the board, Buehler should come under immediate consideration, as the type of starting pitcher who can be your fantasy ace.
5 Aaron Nola (PHI - SP) 17 17.0
Nola bounced back from his disappointing 2019 campaign, and looked much closer to the 2018 breakout version of himself last year. His set a career mark in strikeout rate (33.2%, which ranked in the top nine percent in the league) and swinging strike rate (13.4%), and brought his walk rate down to just eight percent. Nola also got batters to swing at pitches outside the strike zone at a rate of 38.1%, far better than he had ever done in his career, and they made contact less than ever, at a rate of only 59.1%. The reason for the change was Nola relying far less on his fastball and more on his changeup, which kept hitters off balance and made both pitches more effective. Nola doesn't throw particularly hard, so his success relies much more on command and finding the right pitch mix, both of which he excelled at in 2020. If he can keep that going in 2021, and it's a good bet he will, he should be considered a fantasy ace.
6 Max Scherzer (LAD - SP) 18 18.0
Scherzer had a decent season for a mortal, but for someone with his career track record, it was a major disappointment. His 3.74 ERA was his highest since 2012, his 1.38 WHIP the highest of his career, and his 7.8% walk percentage his worst in a decade. Scherzer still struck out plenty of batters but entering his age-37 season and with a ton of mileage on his arm, it's only fair to accept that the old Scherzer is gone for good. But though he may not be a consensus top-three starter anymore, he's still perfectly capable of being a fantasy ace. After all, Scherzer's velocity hasn't declined much, and his 31.2% strikeout rate was tied for 10th among starters. Scherzer likely won't reach 200 innings pitched again and his ERA seems destined to remain above 3.00 going forward, but he's far from someone to avoid in fantasy drafts.
7 Luis Castillo (CIN - SP) 22 20.0 -2.0
Castillo turned in another excellent season last year, cutting his walk rate and striking out batters at a higher rate than he ever had in his career. His WHIP increased to a career-worst 1.23, but that was largely due to bad luck, as batters hit .232 against him despite an expected batting average of just .212. Nevertheless, Castillo kept runs off the board, largely because he was able to avoid home runs (just five in 70 innings) and limit free passes. Castillo is capable of fronting a fantasy pitching staff, though he's more of a low-end ace, and there are plenty of trade rumors following him around. But, given his reliable production and increased strikeout rate the past two seasons, he can be drafted with confidence.
8 Jack Flaherty (STL - SP) 21 22.0 +1.0
Flaherty ended up with a 4.91 ERA, but that hardly represents his actual performance, given that he allowed nine runs in a three-inning start in September. If you take out that outing, Flaherty had just a 3.13 ERA, and he didn't allow more than three earned runs in any of his eight other starts. Given that Flaherty's season was shorter than most due to the Cardinals' COVID-19 issues, it's fair to essentially throw out at that one abysmal outing, considering his other numbers were relatively consistent from 2019. Indeed, his swinging strike rate improved, as did his K/9 rate and ground ball percentage. With his devastating slider, Flaherty should still be considered one of the top pitchers in the real and fantasy game, and is capable of fronting a fantasy staff.
9 Clayton Kershaw (LAD - SP) 23 21.0 -2.0
Kershaw turned back the clock a bit in 2020, as the shortened season allowed him to let things go a bit more and add some of the velocity he had lost over the previous two seasons. The result was his best WHIP and ERA since 2016 and best strikeout rate since 2017. Kershaw isn't going to reach 200 innings pitched at this stage of his career, not with his injury history and the Dodgers' depth in their rotation and World Series aspirations. But even entering his age-33 season, he offers next to no downside. Consider this: Kershaw had probably the worst season of his career in 2019 and pitched to a 3.03 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP with more than a strikeout per inning. Draft him as a strong SP2 but bank on 160 innings. Anything more is gravy.
10 Brandon Woodruff (MIL - SP) 25 25.0
There were some skeptics after Woodruff succeeded in 2019 based largely on one pitch - his devastating fastball - but he put those concerns to rest in 2020. His ERA (3.05) and WHIP (0.99) were incredibly strong, particularly when you consider that he struck out more than 11 batters per nine innings. Woodruff's fastball hits rests at 96 MPH and is one of the better pitches in baseball, but his slider and changeup both made strides last year. The Brewers are reportedly planning to add about 100 innings to their starter's workloads last season, so pencil Woodruff in for roughly 175 extremely strong frames. You can survive with him as your fantasy ace, though he's best as an incredibly strong number 2.
11 Blake Snell (SD - SP) IL10 27 27.0
Snell moves to the Padres fresh off a solid year, in which he pitched to a 3.24 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP, with a memorable early exit in the World Series. Snell has a checkered injury history and has pitched just 157 innings over the past two years, so don't expect him to be a big innings-eater in 2021. And, although he'll escape the dreaded AL East, he'll get a downgrade in park and defense, which largely makes the move a neutral one. All that said, Snell has plenty of talent as he's shown throughout his career, and should be able to pile up wins and strikeouts pitching for a strong Padres team. Draft him as an SP2 with upside.
12 Corbin Burnes (MIL - SP,RP) 35 31.0 -4.0
Burnes's raw stuff was apparent to anyone who saw him pitch in 2019, but he simply couldn't stop giving up home runs (17 in 49 innings). The culprit was largely his four-seam fastball, which he threw more than half of the time and against which batters hit .425 with an .823 slugging percentage. In 2020, however, Corbin cut his four-seam fastball usage from 52.5% to just 2.5%. In its place, he relied heavily on a sinker and cutter, both of which worked better for the natural action on his pitches and which were highly effective. Considering that his slider, changeup, and curveball are also huge swing and miss pitches, Burnes's 36.7% strikeout rate from last year shouldn't be considered fluky. Even coming off a Cy Young-caliber season, there's still upside for the 26-year-old, and you should ignore entirely his 2019 disaster.
13 Stephen Strasburg (WSH - SP) IL60 40 32.0 -8.0
Strasburg was limited to just five innings in 2020, with an injury that eventually required carpal tunnel syndrome. Although that's a minor surgery, the truth is that fantasy managers have very little data as to the impact and/or successful recovery rate after that surgery for pitchers. Strasburg's a tricky draft pick in any given year - he always provides strong value when he's on the mound, but has only topped 200 innings pitched twice in his career. Now entering his age-33 season, Strasburg will likely again provide excellent overall numbers assuming he is healthy. He looks great in the spring, though he's currently battling a minor calf injury, though it shouldn't keep him out for long. Draft him as an SP2, but anything more than 160 innings is gravy.
14 Kyle Hendricks (CHC - SP) 41 40.0 -1.0
Hendricks is the Rodney Dangerfield of fantasy pitchers in that he never gets the respect he deserves. He's had an ERA above 3.46 once in his career and he's never had a WHIP higher than 1.19. Yes, his strikeout rate is never going to help fantasy managers, but Dave Ross let him go deeper into games last year (Hendricks' 81 innings pitched were among the most in MLB), so he should make up for his lack of strikeout rate with some additional innings. The Cubs probably won't be a great team but the NL Central has mostly weak offenses, so Hendricks should find his way to enough wins to make a difference. Ignore the fact that he outperforms his expected metrics every year. Hendricks is a reliable, high-end SP3 for a fantasy team. Just be sure to take care of strikeouts elsewhere.
15 Max Fried (ATL - SP) 44 34.0 -10.0
In many ways, Fried regressed during his 2020 season. His strikeout rate dropped, his walk rate increased, and his xFIP and SIERA jumped significantly. Nevertheless, thanks to his ability to limit hard contact (his 83.4 MPH average exit velocity and 23.8% hard hit rate allowed were among the best in MLB) led to a massive drop in BABIP allowed, and kept both his ERA and WHIP in check. It's hard to buy a pitcher without an elite strikeout rate whose underlying numbers don't fully support his gains. Nevertheless, Fried was an elite prospect playing on an excellent team, and is just 27 years old. Don't pay for last year's numbers, but don't run away from him in drafts either.
16 Sonny Gray (CIN - SP) 46 48.0 +2.0
Two dreadful starts late in the season severely hurt what was otherwise a strong 2020 campaign for Gray, though it was a bizarre year. His strikeout rate surpassed 30% for the first time in his career, while his walk rate jumped to 11.1%. He was also far more hittable, particularly his slider and curveball, which had been dominant pitches in 2019. But even if Gray simply repeats his 2020 season, his strikeout rate and decent ERA and WHIP should be enough to make him a borderline SP2 for fantasy leagues. He will likely begin the year on the IL after experiencing back spasms in mid-March, but the injury doesn't sound like it will keep him out for long. Considering we've seen much more than that from him in 2019, fantasy managers should have little hesitation drafting him.
17 Zack Wheeler (PHI - SP) 47 46.0 -1.0
Wheeler's first season in Philadelphia was a success, in that he had the lowest ERA of his career (2.92) and a strong 1.17 WHIP. But his strikeout numbers plummeted, as he struck out just 18.4% of batters. The whiff rate on all of Wheeler's pitches, other than his "show me" curveball, dropped significantly, despite the fact that his velocity remained the same. If Wheeler can again excel at completely limiting hard contact like he did last season (his 85.7 MPH average exit velocity allowed ranked in the top 10% in baseball), then he can probably get away with the lack of strikeouts. Otherwise, he's unlikely to repeat his 2020 success. Given the shortened season, it's a good bet that Wheeler's strikeouts will bounce back, and you can slot him in as an SP3 without much worry.
18 Charlie Morton (ATL - SP) 50 57.0 +7.0
Morton's 2020 numbers were poor, without question. He was limited to just 38 regular season innings because of a shoulder injury, and pitched to a 4.74 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. His velocity was way down early in the season (when he got hit hard) and trickled up after he returned, but he got back to his normal 95 MPH fastball in the postseason and totaled a 2.70 ERA. Now 37 and with the Braves, the question is whether fantasy managers can write off Morton's down 2020 season considering his sterling post-season, or whether his age and injury history means they should avoid him. In reality, the answer is neither. Morton should still have gas left in the tank considering his playoff run, but should only be drafted as a value, meaning no earlier than a low-end SP3. Grab him there, at which point the risk-reward balance should reach an equilibrium.
19 Jesus Luzardo (MIA - SP,RP) 52 53.0 +1.0
Luzardo's 2020 campaign wasn't terrible, but it certainly left fantasy managers wanting more. The strikeouts were there, but not quite at the level that was expected. He rarely went deep into games. And he was just more hittable than he ever was in the minors or in his brief time as a reliever in 2019. Luzardo throws four quality pitches and is working to improve his arsenal as we head into the 2021 season, so there's little reason to downgrade your opinion of him too much from where it was prior to the 2020 campaign because of one nine-start stretch. He's an incredibly high-upside pitcher who carries with him plenty of injury risk, and the combination leaves him as a solid SP3 for fantasy leagues.
20 Chris Paddack (SD - SP) IL10 57 50.0 -7.0
Paddack followed up his stellar rookie campaign with a subpar sophomore season, as his ERA rose to 4.73 and his WHIP to 1.22, while his strikeout rate dipped below one per inning. Paddack's bread and butter changeup was as good as ever in 2020 (and even better than in 2019), but his usually outstanding fastball just fell apart. After batters hit .204 with a .391 slugging percentage and .275 wOBA against the pitch in 2019, they hit .308 with a .658 slugging percentage and .407 wOBA against it in 2020. Paddack added a cutter in 2020, and it's possible that the addition of the pitch impacted the way he threw his fastball, as the vertical movement of it fell significantly. Either way, Paddack has too much talent to see his ERA hover around 5.00. There's risk given what we saw last year, but it's baked into his draft price.
21 Ian Anderson (ATL - SP) 58 47.0 -11.0
After rising through the minor leagues, Anderson had an excellent debut season with the Braves in 2020, pitching to a 1.95 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with a 29.7% strikeout rate. He was even better in four postseason starts, allowing just two runs over 18 2/3 innings while striking out 24. Anderson led all starters in barrel rate (just 1.2%), and has an excellent fastball, curveball, and changeup. His control isn't elite, but his raw stuff and prospect pedigree suggest that his 2020 season was no fluke. Draft him with confidence as a No. 2 starter.
22 Joe Musgrove (SD - SP) 62 70.0 +8.0
Musgrove has been a popular sleeper the last two seasons and now that he's been traded to the Padres, his ADP is surely going to rise. In 2019, Musgrove continued to improve as a pitcher, upping his strikeout rate and adding velocity. But his 2020 season looked like a step back, until he returned from the IL strong, including finishing his season with back-to-back scoreless outings while getting back some of the lost zip on his fastball. Overall, Musgrove's 2020 numbers suggest a breakout waiting to happen, as he built significantly on his gains in 2019, increasing his strikeout rate to 33.1%. His chances for wins should improve dramatically in San Diego, and he's a fine fourth starter with upside.
23 Dinelson Lamet (SD - RP,SP) 60 56.0 -4.0
Lamet had a dominant curveball in 2019 which he threw 31.7% of the time. Batters hit just .105 against it that year with a .193 wOBA. But Lamet ditched it entirely in 2020, and instead replaced it by greatly upping his slider usage, from 12.2% in 2019 to 53.4% in 2020. And somehow, his slider was even better than his curveball ever was. Batters hit 0.80 against it with a .120 slugging percentage and a .141 wOBA. It was, simply put, the best pitch in baseball last year. Unfortunately, Lamet's arm couldn't hold up to the stress, and he missed the end of the regular season and the playoffs because of an elbow injury. He underwent PRP therapy on his elbow in October and is progressing well, but the Padres' focus on adding starting pitching this offseason suggests that they are not expecting to have Lamet for the full season. Monitor his health this spring, but understand that even if he begins the year healthy, there are plenty of injury concerns.
24 Zac Gallen (ARI - SP) 64 45.0 -19.0
Gallen has a hairline stress fracture of his right forearm at the radial head. He's reportedly going to be able to continue playing catch at a "low stress level" while recovering, though there's no indication of how much time he'll miss. When healthy, he's a solid SP2. He built on his excellent 2019 season with an even more impressive 2020 campaign. Not only did he drop his ERA slightly to 2.75, but he cut way down on his walks (10.8% to 8.6%), which led to a much-improved 1.11 WHIP. Gallen has a 28.5% strikeout rate in 152 MLB innings, and an excellent fastball, curveball, and changeup. There's just not much negative you can say about him when he's healthy other than he might again struggle for wins playing for a mediocre team in a good division. Because of the injury and surrounding uncertainty, you shouldn't draft him as anything higher than an SP4, but he should perform extremely well when he does recover.
25 Julio Urias (LAD - SP,RP) 71 65.0 -6.0
Urias had an interesting season (other than his postseason, which was dominant). His numbers overall were very solid, with a 3.27 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. But his strikeout rate dipped dramatically as a full-time starter, and his SIERA (4.88) and xFIP (5.06) suggest he got lucky. But the bottom line is that Urias is excellent at limiting hard contact, and he's allowed just a .257 BABIP over the last two seasons, which should keep his ERA in check. The Dodgers' rotation is overflowing, so it's possible they continue to limit Urias's innings. But for now, he should be considered an SP3, and as his playoffs showed, there's plenty of room for growth with his strikeout numbers.
26 Pablo Lopez (MIA - SP) IL60 73 77.0 +4.0
Despite his 5.09 ERA and mediocre strikeout rate in 2019, there was some buzz about Lopez heading into last season because of his outstanding changeup and his ability to keep his WHIP in check. He justified the expectations, cutting his ERA to 3.61 and striking out about a batter and a half more per nine innings than he had previously. He's still volatile, as he has seemingly random games where he lacks command with his changeup and gets hit hard. And he needs another pitch to complement his fastball and changeup. But if he can continue to develop either his curveball or cutter, he could be a true breakout candidate. Draft him as an SP4 with upside for more if his other pitches continue to improve.
27 Patrick Corbin (WSH - SP) 70 69.0 -1.0
Corbin had a disastrous 2020 season, during which he went 2-7 with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP. His strikeout rate plummeted, and his velocity dropped significantly, with his fastball seeing a dip of almost two miles per hour. Corbin leans heavily into his slider, and he needs it to be pristine to be an effective pitcher. And although it wasn't a terrible pitch in 2020, the swinging strike rate on it dropped from 28.1% to 21.2%, and the whiff rate from 52% to just 38.2%. If the loss in velocity and effectiveness of his slider were entirely due to the oddities of the shortened season, then Corbin is going to be a major value in drafts this year. But if not, then his days as a "set it and forget it" starter are likely over. Monitor Corbin's performance this spring, particularly with his velocity. If it's back up to prior levels, then push him up your board significantly.
28 Kevin Gausman (SF - SP,RP) 74 76.0 +2.0
Gausman had the best season of his career with the Giants last season, and accepted a qualifying offer to remain in San Francisco. Gausman not only put up an impressive 3.62 ERA, but he upped his strikeout rate by about nine points to 32.2%. He saw a nice velocity bump on his fastball and leaned into his excellent splitter a bit more than usual. The downside for Gausman is that he really is mostly a fastball/splitter pitcher, meaning that when his splitter isn't working, he's likely to get hit hard. But, we've now at least seen the upside over a full season, and he's a pretty ideal SP4/SP5 if you can get him in that range.
29 Sandy Alcantara (MIA - SP) 81 71.0 -10.0
Alcantara continued to build on what was a pretty strong foundation heading into 2020. He lowered his ERA to 3.00 and his WHIP to 1.19, and improved in both his strikeout and walk rate while adding velocity. He pitched only 42 innings last year because of COVID-19 issues, but he dominated over the latter three-quarters of the season, pitching to a 2.30 ERA with 30 strikeouts over his final 31 1/3 innings. There's not a ton to dislike about Alcantara, and there's room for continued growth. Draft him as a fourth starter with upside for more.
30 Sixto Sanchez (MIA - SP) MiLB 82 75.0 -7.0
Sanchez built on his strong 2019 season in Double-A with an excellent seven-start stretch in the majors, during which he put up a 3.46 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Sanchez throws really hard (his fastball velocity is in the 98th percentile), but he doesn't put up a ton of strikeouts, either in the minors or during his stint in the majors last year. But his outstanding changeup (.148 BAA, .148 slugging against, .158 wOBA against) keeps hitters off balance, and allows him to avoid giving up too much hard contact. Combine that with his well above-average control and his almost comical ability to avoid giving up home runs, and you have a quality pitcher who can slide into the middle of your staff.
31 Carlos Carrasco (NYM - SP,RP) 86 63.0 -23.0
Carrasco suffered a serious hamstring strain in mid-March which is likely to keep him out 6-8 weeks. It's a devastating blow to the veteran who returned strong from his battle with leukemia in 2019 to post a 2.91 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 2020. There was plenty to like about Carrasco in New York, including that the Mets will provide him with a better chance at wins, their infield defense should be above average, and Carrasco will play in a more favorable park. But at this point, he's nothing more than a bench starter for your fantasy team given his injury.
32 Tyler Mahle (CIN - SP) 91 90.0 -1.0
Mahle's solid 2020 season (3.59 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) will probably slip under the radar, but there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about him with a guaranteed spot in the Reds rotation. His strikeout rate jumped to 30% on the back of a 4.4% increase in his swinging strike rate, and he had just a .188 expected batting average against, top 10% in the league. The biggest change for Mahle was that he brought back a slider that he had shelved entirely in 2019, and batters hit just .180 against the pitch with a .249 wOBA. He could do well to cut down on his walks a bit, but still, as a fifth starter for your fantasy team, there's plenty of potential for profit.
33 German Marquez (COL - SP) 90 91.0 +1.0
If Marquez ever extricates himself from Colorado, you'd probably have a bona fide superstar on your hands. As it is, you have a very solid overall pitcher who won't really help you out tremendously in any category, but won't hurt you badly either. Marquez's control is above average, and although his strikeout rate has dipped in two consecutive seasons, he has the ability to miss bats regularly. His value rises in leagues with daily lineup changes as you can avoid him at home (career 5.10 ERA) and start him on the road (career 3.51 ERA). But, absent that, consider him a back-end of the rotation starter in deeper leagues.
34 Marcus Stroman (NYM - SP) 93 98.0 +5.0
Stroman missed the entire 2020 season after battling a calf injury and then opting out, but he'll return to the Mets after accepting the team's qualifying offer. Stroman's strikeout rate jumped after his trade to the National League, but with a career 58.7% ground ball rate, he'll need the Mets' infield defense to be better than it was in 2019. The trade for Francisco Lindor should help, as should his reported development of both a new split changeup and four-seam fastball. Stroman has always had a decent floor, but now out of the AL East and with some tweaks to his arsenal coming, he possesses plenty of upside as a late-round draft pick.
35 Mike Soroka (ATL - SP) IL60 94 89.0 -5.0
Soroka pitched in just three games last year before rupturing his Achilles tendon. He's progressing well but the best case scenario for him appears to be a late-April return. When healthy, he's someone who fantasy managers can rely on as an ERA and WHIP stabilizer, who should contribute plenty of wins. The strikeouts won't be there, however, and given that he's coming off a significant injury, the Braves will likely be extra cautious with him when he does start. All that to say, don't draft Soroka expecting much more than 100-120 innings out of him. If you do that, you'll likely be happy with your return on investment.
36 Zach Eflin (PHI - SP) IL10 103 94.0 -9.0
 
37 Dustin May (LAD - SP,RP) IL60 104 101.0 -3.0
May has been named the Dodgers' fifth starter by Dave Roberts, a surprising twist given the presence of David Price and Tony Gonsolin. Given the Dodgers' depth and their history, it's unlikely that he'll remain in the rotation from start to finish, but if you haven't drafted yet, move him significantly higher on your board.
38 David Price (LAD - RP,SP) 105 93.0 -12.0
Price was traded to the Dodgers along with Mookie Betts, but hasn't yet made a start with the team after opting out of the 2020 season. He'll be back for 2021, but his role isn't yet solidified according to reports, especially considering the extreme depth of the Dodgers' rotation. When healthy, even at his advanced age, Price is still a quality major league starter, with above-average strikeout and walk rates. The issue for Price is really health, as he's averaged only about 120 innings per season over his previous three years. His average draft position reflects the risk, and assuming he does end up in the rotation, he offers as much upside as anyone going in his range. There's still juice left for Price when he's healthy, so monitor reports out of the spring.
39 Elieser Hernandez (MIA - SP,RP) 117 130.0 +13.0
Hernandez was excellent in his six starts last season, tallying a 3.16 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, and a 32.1% strikeout rate. But he allowed a lot of hard contact along the way, including a 91.8 MPH average exit velocity (bottom three percent in the league). He worked on his changeup this offseason in an effort to add a reliable third pitch (he threw his fastball and slider 94% of the time last year), and it has gotten rave reviews in camp. He's fourth in the pecking order of the Marlins starters, but if his changeup can be an effective pitch, he might be the one to provide the most value given his extremely modest ADP.
40 Freddy Peralta (MIL - SP,RP) 121 132.0 +11.0
 
41 Tony Gonsolin (LAD - SP,RP) 127 129.0 +2.0
Gonsolin doesn't have a guaranteed spot in the Dodgers' rotation to start the season, and with the team signing Trevor Bauer, it's unclear just how much he'll start this season. His stuff doesn't blow you away, but he's got a 2.60 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP in 86.2 big league innings. And there were gains last year, as he cut his walk rate down and upped his strikeout rate. Gonsolin is an ideal candidate to have on your bench, because if he does get a spot in the rotation, he'll be a popular waiver wire add, and he can add value as a reliever in the meantime. So draft him late, and likely reap the rewards.
42 Drew Pomeranz (SD - SP,RP) IL60 125 107.0 -18.0
Pomeranz likely would have, at the very least, factored into the closer's mix for San Diego prior to the Mark Melancon and Keone Kela signings. After finally switching into a full-time reliever role last year, Pomeranz shined, with a 1.45 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP, and a 39.7% strikeout rate. Although he may still be in line for save opportunities, the presence of Melancon, Kela, and Emilio Pagan muddy the waters. That's especially true given that Pomeranz is currently the only healthy and reliable left-hander in the bullpen. Pomeranz is worth a late selection until and unless Jayce Tingler declares that he's not an option for the ninth inning.
43 Drew Smyly (ATL - SP) 132 145.0 +13.0
If you're willing to buy into Smyly's 2020 season, then he's likely to come at a major discount in drafts. He added more than two miles per hour to his fastball, struck out 37.8% of the batters he faced, and leaned more into his excellent curveball. There's reason for optimism after the Braves offered him a substantial one-year deal. Of course, Smyly's real issue is his health, as he missed two full seasons because of Tommy John surgery and even last year was limited to 26 1/3 innings. But there's reason to believe his gains last year are sustainable, so taking him late in your drafts, is worth the gamble.
44 Zach Davies (CHC - SP) 135 125.0 -10.0
Davies has quietly put together two quality seasons, with a 3.55 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 2019, and a 2.73 ERA and 1.07 WHIP last year. Notably, he started throwing more changeups in 2020, which led both to an increased swinging strike rate and strikeout rate. But his xERA was still 5.01, and although he routinely outperforms his expected stats, it's a reminder not to get too high on a pitcher who amounts to a command specialist. The upside is that after a trade to the Cubs, he'll face mostly weak offenses, which should help to boost his floor a bit.
45 Noah Syndergaard (NYM - SP) IL60 149 133.0 -16.0
 
46 Taijuan Walker (NYM - SP) 157 144.0 -13.0
 
47 Trevor Rogers (MIA - SP) 156 164.0 +8.0
 
48 Tejay Antone (CIN - SP,RP) IL60 153 160.0 +7.0
Antone's role wasn't entirely clear at the outset of spring training, but he now looks destined for a starter's job, if he can stay healthy. With Sonny Gray and Wade Miley likely to begin the year on the IL, Antone should begin the year in the rotation, assuming he is healthy enough to do so. He's currently battling a groin strain, and his status is uncertain. When healthy, he's got a wipeout slider, enough to pile on the strikeouts, and has enough upside to be worth a late-round dart throw. Monitor his, Gray's, and Miley's health status closely heading into your drafts.
49 Josh Lindblom (MIL - RP,SP) MiLB 171 192.0 +21.0
 
50 Kwang Hyun Kim (STL - RP,SP) 172 148.0 -24.0
If you want upside with a late-round pitcher, you're looking in the wrong place with Kim. Although he put up a 1.62 ERA and 1.07 WHIP last year, his xFIP and SIERA were each about three runs higher than his ERA. He also struck out just 5.54 batters per nine innings, and never showed much strikeout potential in the KBO. That said, for a pitcher who is basically free in drafts, he offers some decent stability, and is worth taking late if you have an otherwise strong staff, particularly with strikeouts. Back tightness may put him on the IL to start the year, but there does not appear to be any long-term concerns.
51 Madison Bumgarner (ARI - SP) 155 147.0 -8.0
 
52 MacKenzie Gore (SD - SP) MiLB 176 167.0 -9.0
 
53 Mitch Keller (PIT - SP) 185 183.0 -2.0
In his brief MLB career, Keller is the author of one of the unluckiest (2019) and luckiest (2020) seasons in recent memory. So, the best course of action is to essentially ignore his 69 major league innings and focus on his stuff and minor league career. If you do that, there's a lot to like. Keller has a mid-90s fastball to go along with an above average slider and curveball. Over more than 500 minor league innings, he had a 25.5% strikeout rate, a 3.12 ERA, and a 1.15 WHIP. He will likely struggle for wins on the Pirates, but he'll also get a long leash given the dearth of reliable options, and he should face mostly weak offenses in the NL Central. Keller likely won't be a star, but he'll probably outperform where you need to draft him.
54 Logan Webb (SF - SP) 175 250.0 +75.0
 
55 Caleb Smith (ARI - RP,SP) 186 166.0 -20.0
 
56 Luke Weaver (ARI - SP) 178 226.0 +48.0
 
57 Lucas Sims (CIN - SP,RP) 179 224.0 +45.0
Sims had a fine 2020, going 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA a 0.94 WHIP, and plenty of strikeouts. He'll be in the mix for the Reds' closer job with Amir Garrett and Sean Doolittle, though his early bout with elbow soreness this spring doesn't help him. Monitor the reports out of spring training, but he's a late-round speculative draft pick at best at the moment.
58 Rich Hill (NYM - SP) 168 223.0 +55.0
 
59 J.A. Happ (STL - SP) 198 182.0 -16.0
 
60 Jose Quintana (SF - SP,RP) 192 205.0 +13.0
 
61 Miles Mikolas (STL - SP) 217 238.0 +21.0
 
62 Seth Lugo (NYM - SP,RP) 182 180.0 -2.0
 
63 Brent Suter (MIL - SP,RP) 209 200.0 -9.0
 
64 Anthony DeSclafani (SF - SP) 191 231.0 +40.0
 
65 Adbert Alzolay (CHC - RP,SP) 211 209.0 -2.0
 
66 Merrill Kelly (ARI - SP) 213 234.0 +21.0
 
67 Alex Wood (SF - SP,RP) 243 294.0 +51.0
 
68 Carlos Martinez (STL - SP,RP) IL60 229 170.0 -59.0
 
69 Dakota Hudson (STL - SP) 227 379.0 +152.0
 
70 Adrian Morejon (SD - SP,RP) IL60 241 281.0 +40.0
 
71 Adam Wainwright (STL - SP) 233 150.0 -83.0
 
72 Jeff Hoffman (CIN - SP,RP) 272 367.0 +95.0
 
73 Matt Moore (PHI - RP,SP) IL60 197 313.0 +116.0
 
74 Jon Gray (COL - SP) 200 253.0 +53.0
 
75 Kyle Gibson (PHI - SP,RP) 220 187.0 -33.0
 
76 JT Brubaker (PIT - SP) IL10 216 262.0 +46.0
 
77 Johnny Cueto (SF - SP) IL10 224 190.0 -34.0
 
78 Alec Mills (CHC - SP,RP) 268 172.0 -96.0
 
79 Danny Duffy (LAD - SP) IL60 234 251.0 +17.0
 
80 Chad Kuhl (PIT - RP,SP) 313 302.0 -11.0
 
81 Adrian Houser (MIL - SP,RP) 232 263.0 +31.0
 
82 Joey Lucchesi (NYM - SP) IL60 226 314.0 +88.0
 
83 Matt Strahm (SD - SP,RP) IL60 277 388.0 +111.0
 
84 Kyle Wright (ATL - SP) MiLB 240 277.0 +37.0
 
85 David Peterson (NYM - SP) IL60 254 236.0 -18.0
 
86 Daniel Norris (MIL - SP,RP) 285 353.0 +68.0
 
87 Matt Shoemaker (SF - RP,SP) MiLB 290 274.0 -16.0
 
88 Chris Stratton (PIT - SP,RP) 288 368.0 +80.0
 
89 Josh Tomlin (ATL - SP,RP) IL10 300    
 
90 John Curtiss (MIL - SP,RP) IL60 305 202.0 -103.0
 
91 Vince Velasquez (SD - SP,RP) 291 315.0 +24.0
 
92 Austin Gomber (COL - SP,RP) IL60 357 259.0 -98.0
 
93 Tyler Clippard (ARI - SP,RP) 298 386.0 +88.0
 
94 Kyle Freeland (COL - SP) 331 257.0 -74.0
 
95 Jon Lester (STL - SP) 287 197.0 -90.0
 
96 Jimmy Nelson (LAD - SP,RP) IL60 355 377.0 +22.0
 
97 Tyler Chatwood (SF - SP,RP) DFA 325 352.0 +27.0
 
98 Antonio Senzatela (COL - SP) 317 268.0 -49.0
 
99 Cole Hamels (LAD - SP) IL60 343 343.0
 
100 Brett Anderson (MIL - SP) 324 339.0 +15.0
 
101 Noe Ramirez (ARI - SP,RP) 356    
 
102 Joe Ross (WSH - SP,RP) IL60 419 306.0 -113.0
 
103 Cam Bedrosian (PHI - SP,RP) 336    
 
104 Shaun Anderson (SD - SP,RP) MiLB 359    
 
105 Trevor Cahill (PIT - SP,RP) IL60 345 211.0 -134.0
 
106 Bryse Wilson (PIT - SP,RP) IL60 411 322.0 -89.0
 
107 Huascar Ynoa (ATL - SP) 370    
 
108 Steven Brault (PIT - SP,RP) IL60 350 292.0 -58.0
 
109 J.B. Bukauskas (ARI - RP,SP) MiLB 388    
 
110 Corbin Martin (ARI - SP) MiLB 366 326.0 -40.0
 
111 Austin Voth (WSH - RP,SP) 353 348.0 -5.0
 
112 Taylor Clarke (ARI - SP,RP) MiLB 365 403.0 +38.0
 
113 Matt Liberatore (STL - SP) MiLB   397.0  
 
114 Trevor Williams (NYM - RP,SP) 380 329.0 -51.0
 
115 Edward Cabrera (MIA - SP,RP) 358 318.0 -40.0
 
116 Nick Lodolo (CIN - SP) MiLB   370.0  
 
117 Eric Lauer (MIL - SP) 407 369.0 -38.0
 
118 Sean Newcomb (ATL - SP,RP) 360    
 
119 Taylor Widener (ARI - SP,RP) 425    
 
120 Max Meyer (MIA - SP) MiLB   389.0  
 
121 Wade Miley (CIN - SP) IL10 383 320.0 -63.0
 
122 Tyler Beede (SF - SP) IL60 427 387.0 -40.0
 
123 Brandon Finnegan (CIN - SP,RP) MiLB 402    
 
124 Josiah Gray (WSH - SP) 374 356.0 -18.0
 
125 Ross Detwiler (SD - SP,RP) 399    
 
126 Jordan Yamamoto (NYM - SP) MiLB 420 285.0 -135.0
 
127 Jon Duplantier (ARI - SP,RP) MiLB 428    
 
128 Erick Fedde (WSH - SP,RP) 404 411.0 +7.0
 
129 Chi Chi Gonzalez (COL - RP,SP) IL10 410 290.0 -120.0
 
130 Braxton Garrett (MIA - SP) MiLB 422 402.0 -20.0
 
131 Hunter Greene (CIN - SP) MiLB      
 
132 Touki Toussaint (ATL - SP,RP) MiLB   404.0  
 
133 Ryan Weathers (SD - SP,RP)   390.0  
 
134 Cody Ponce (PIT - RP,SP) 442    
 
135 Johan Oviedo (STL - SP) MiLB 456    
 
136 Sean Reid-Foley (NYM - SP,RP)      
 
137 Jhoulys Chacin (COL - SP,RP) 424    
 
138 Shelby Miller (PIT - SP,RP) 430    
 
139 Wil Crowe (PIT - SP) 462    
 
140 Wade LeBlanc (STL - SP,RP) IL10 436    
 
141 Colin Rea (MIL - RP,SP) MiLB   271.0  
 
142 Ryan Castellani (COL - SP) MiLB 469 282.0 -187.0