2021 Fantasy Baseball Rankings (NL)
Expert Consensus Ranking (57 of 57 Experts) -
|Rank||Player (Team, Position)||Overall||Notes|
|1||Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD - CF,RF,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 (LAD - 2B,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||Francisco Lindor (NYM - SS)||10||10.0||‐||
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.
|4||Manny Machado (SD - 3B,SS)||11||13.0||+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.
|5||Ketel Marte (ARI - 2B,SS,CF)||32||32.0||‐||
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.
|6||Dansby Swanson (ATL - SS)||44||48.0||+4.0||
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.
|7||Didi Gregorius (PHI - SS)||65||72.0||+7.0||
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.
|8||Tommy Edman (STL - 2B,3B,SS,LF,RF)||72||68.0||-4.0||
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.
|9||Paul DeJong (STL - SS)||89||103.0||+14.0|
|10||Jean Segura (PHI - 2B,3B,SS)||86||88.0||+2.0||
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.
|11||Jake Cronenworth (SD - 1B,2B,SS)||95||87.0||-8.0||
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||Gavin Lux (LAD - 2B,CF,LF,SS)||96||100.0||+4.0|
|13||Chris Taylor (LAD - 2B,3B,CF,LF,RF,SS)||109||92.0||-17.0|
|14||Ha-Seong Kim (SD - 2B,3B,SS)||126||105.0||-21.0||
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.
|15||Willy Adames (MIL - SS)||133||161.0||+28.0|
|16||Garrett Hampson (COL - 2B,SS,LF,CF)||117||122.0||+5.0|
|17||Nick Ahmed (ARI - SS)||138||178.0||+40.0|
|18||Jazz Chisholm Jr. (MIA - 2B,SS)||158||200.0||+42.0|
|19||Joey Wendle (MIA - 2B,3B,SS)||188||156.0||-32.0|
|20||Jon Berti (MIA - 2B,3B,CF,RF,SS)||145||139.0||-6.0|
|21||Miguel Rojas (MIA - SS)||148||186.0||+38.0|
|22||Mauricio Dubon (SF - 2B,3B,CF,SS)||159||140.0||-19.0|
|23||Nico Hoerner (CHC - 2B,3B,SS)||210||183.0||-27.0|
|24||Brendan Rodgers (COL - 2B,SS)||184||195.0||+11.0||
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.
|25||Kevin Newman (PIT - 2B,SS)||183||165.0||-18.0|
|26||Scott Kingery (PHI - 2B,3B,CF,LF,RF,SS) MiLB||198||194.0||-4.0|
|27||Luis Urias (MIL - 2B,3B,SS)||206||204.0||-2.0|
|28||Brandon Crawford (SF - SS)||219||145.0||-74.0|
|29||Orlando Arcia (ATL - LF,SS)||220||247.0||+27.0|
|30||Anderson Tejeda (STL - 3B,SS) NRI||298||260.0||-38.0|
|31||Carter Kieboom (WSH - 3B,SS)||212||196.0||-16.0|
|32||Cole Tucker (PIT - 2B,CF,RF,SS)||266||278.0||+12.0|
|33||Johan Camargo (PHI - 2B,3B,SS,LF,RF)||287||216.0||-71.0|
|34||Luis Guillorme (NYM - 2B,3B,SS)||307||210.0||-97.0|
|35||Jose Barrero (CIN - CF,SS)||297||271.0||-26.0|
|36||Erik Gonzalez (MIA - 1B,3B,SS) MiLB||304||264.0||-40.0|
|37||Kyle Farmer (CIN - C,1B,2B,3B,SS)||336||279.0||-57.0|
|38||Oneil Cruz (PIT - SS)||337||237.0||-100.0|
|39||Logan Forsythe (MIL - 1B,2B,3B,SS) MiLB||359|
|40||Edmundo Sosa (STL - 2B,SS)||361||227.0||-134.0|
|41||Rodolfo Castro (PIT - 2B,SS)||365|
|42||Bret Boswell (COL - 2B,3B,SS) MiLB||366|
|43||Lucius Fox (WSH - SS)||371|