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2021 Fantasy Baseball Rankings (NL)

Expert Consensus Ranking (56 of 56 Experts) -

Rank Player (Team, Position) Overall Notes
1 Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD - SS) 3 2.0 -1.0
Tatis Jr. has a bit of a shoulder issue, but nothing suggests he'll need to miss any time. He had an outstanding rookie year, but because he had outperformed his Statcast data so significantly, many fantasy managers were worried that his numbers would regress in 2020. Although his batting average did come down (to a still respectable .277), he not only staved off regression, but he improved significantly in most areas. He cut his strikeout rate by 6%, upped his walk rate by 2.5%, and led the league in average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and barrel percentage. The fact that he's likely to throw in 25-30 steals over the course of a full season is just the cherry on top of elite fantasy production. He's a top-five overall pick with little or no downside and massive upside even off his incredible 2020 numbers, so long a there are no further developments with his shoulder.
2 Trea Turner (WSH - SS) 6 6.0
Turner was the best version of himself in 2020, slashing his strikeout rate to below 14% and setting career bests in batting average, OBP, slugging percentage, wOBA, and wRC+. Above all, Turner locks down two incredibly scarce categories for fantasy managers, stolen bases and batting average, while offering production in the other three hitting categories. Still just entering his age-28 season, Turner is in the prime of his career, and should continue to put up stellar numbers. He's a top-eight pick in rotisserie leagues.
3 Trevor Story (COL - SS) 8 9.0 +1.0
Story had his usual stellar year in 2020, putting up strong overall numbers and offering a rare power and speed combination. As usual, he greatly outperformed his expected statistics, but that's been the norm for Story throughout his career and isn't all that unexpected since he plays in Colorado. Story is entering his walk year, so the chances of a trade, which would diminish his value, remain a possibility. But there are few safer players in the game as of this moment, and he's a locked-in first round pick. The only question surrounding Story is whether he or Trea Turner should be the first shortstop selected in drafts.
4 Francisco Lindor (NYM - SS) 12 12.0
Lindor's season wasn't particularly impressive, as his surface numbers regressed fairly significantly from his previous three seasons. But, under the hood, not much changed. His walk rate and strikeout rate were largely steady, and his statcast data remained on par with his career marks. He also got much better to close the year, batting .285 with a 122 wRC+ over his final 39 games. Just 27 years old and now with a stronger lineup with the Mets, Lindor should put up numbers closer to his 2017-2019 levels, especially since he'll be playing for a new contract after this season. He'll come at a bit of a discount in the second round this year, and he's well worth your investment at that price.
5 Corey Seager (LAD - SS) IL10 19 19.0
2020 was essentially a perfect season for Seager. More than a year removed from Tommy John surgery, he morphed into the player that most people expected him to be at this stage of his career. Seager increased his barrel rate from 7.3% to 15.8%, his average exit velocity from 88.8 MPH to 93.2 MPH, and his hard hit percentage from 38.2% to a remarkable 55.9%. Seager's 2020 season does not look fluky, but rather the product of a highly-touted prospect being fully recovered from injury and entering his prime. Seager may not reach the nearly 50-homers he was on pace to hit last year, but a 30-homer season with above a .300 average is well within reach. In other words, his performance over the shortened season is not one to write off.
6 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.
7 Javier Baez (CHC - SS) 31 43.0 +12.0
Everything went wrong for Baez in 2020. His already high strikeout rate increased to 31.9%. His already low walk rated fell to an abysmal 3.0%. He swung less, made contact less, and did not hit the ball as hard as he used to. In the end, Baez earned every bit of his .203 batting average and poor counting stats. But how much weight do you put into a 59-game stretch for a veteran like Baez, particularly when he complained that his inability to watch video between at-bats affected his overall performance. The answer is a little, but not all that much. Baez had a stellar three-year run as a reliable power-speed combination, and he'll be just 28 years old this season. The Cubs lineup won't be overly strong, but Baez should certainly put up numbers closer to his 2017-2019 totals than those he put up in 2020.
8 Dansby Swanson (ATL - SS) 52 55.0 +3.0
Swanson's four-year trend in OPS is .636, .699, .748, and finally .809 last season. There's little to dislike about his profile at this stage in his career. He makes consistently good contact, has improved his launch angle enough to where that contact translates into home runs, and his walk and strikeout rates are strong enough so that his batting average should remain a benefit to fantasy managers. He also ranked in the 90th percentile in sprint speed last season, so he should reach double digits in stolen bases this year, as he had done in the two years prior to 2020's shortened season. In short, Swanson's skill level and output should no longer be in doubt, and he makes a strong starting option at the shortstop position.
9 Ketel Marte (ARI - 2B,SS,CF) 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.
10 Didi Gregorius (PHI - SS) IL10 76 84.0 +8.0
From a fantasy standpoint, Gregorius isn't special. He doesn't walk much, he's injury prone, and his Statcast data from 2020 was downright awful. But there is no denying that Gregorius knows how to take advantage of his home parks, first Yankee Stadium, and now Citizens Bank Park. With Gregorius back with the Phillies, you should again bank on his typical 25-homer power, good counting stats, and a handful of steals. Considering that he's rarely someone who fantasy managers target, his ADP will likely remain discounted, and he's a fine fallback option if you miss out on most of the early- or mid-round options.
11 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.
12 Paul DeJong (STL - SS) 101 117.0 +16.0
13 Jean Segura (PHI - 2B,3B,SS) IL10 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 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.
15 Chris Taylor (LAD - 2B,SS,LF,CF) 119 105.0 -14.0
16 Jonathan Villar (NYM - 2B,3B,SS) 127 106.0 -21.0
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.
17 Willy Adames (MIL - SS) 144 190.0 +46.0
18 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.
19 Garrett Hampson (COL - 2B,SS,LF,CF) 140 139.0 -1.0
20 Nick Ahmed (ARI - SS) 168 210.0 +42.0
21 Mauricio Dubon (SF - 2B,3B,CF,SS) 186 179.0 -7.0
22 Jon Berti (MIA - 2B,3B,SS,CF,RF) 165 150.0 -15.0
23 Miguel Rojas (MIA - SS) 193 222.0 +29.0
24 Jazz Chisholm Jr. (MIA - 2B,SS) 197 236.0 +39.0
25 Kevin Newman (PIT - 2B,SS) 219 207.0 -12.0
26 Donovan Solano (SF - 2B,3B,SS) 196 189.0 -7.0
27 Nico Hoerner (CHC - 2B,3B,SS) IL10 250 218.0 -32.0
28 Brendan Rodgers (COL - 2B,SS) 195 231.0 +36.0
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.
29 Scott Kingery (PHI - 2B,3B,SS,LF,CF) MiLB 236 224.0 -12.0
30 Luis Urias (MIL - 2B,3B,SS) 246 240.0 -6.0
31 Brandon Crawford (SF - SS) 262 192.0 -70.0
32 Orlando Arcia (ATL - SS) MiLB 263 305.0 +42.0
33 Carter Kieboom (WSH - 3B,SS) MiLB 252 229.0 -23.0
34 Cole Tucker (PIT - SS,CF,RF) MiLB 337 354.0 +17.0
35 Johan Camargo (ATL - 2B,3B,SS,LF,RF) MiLB 365 257.0 -108.0
36 Luis Guillorme (NYM - 2B,3B,SS) 397 248.0 -149.0
37 Jose Barrero (CIN - SS) MiLB 387 344.0 -43.0
38 Erik Gonzalez (PIT - 1B,3B,SS) 395 329.0 -66.0
39 Mike Freeman (CIN - 2B,3B,SS) 409    
40 Kyle Farmer (CIN - C,1B,2B,3B,SS) 447 356.0 -91.0
41 Ehire Adrianza (ATL - 1B,2B,3B,LF,RF,SS) 430 269.0 -161.0
42 Chris Owings (COL - 2B,3B,SS,CF) IL60 479 377.0 -102.0
43 Jose Peraza (NYM - 2B,SS,LF) 459    
44 Oneil Cruz (PIT - SS) MiLB 449 291.0 -158.0
45 Logan Forsythe (MIL - 1B,2B,3B,SS) MiLB 485    
46 Edmundo Sosa (STL - 2B,SS) 490 275.0 -215.0
47 Rodolfo Castro (PIT - 2B,SS) MiLB 495    
48 Bret Boswell (COL - 2B,3B,SS) MiLB 496