Over the last few weeks, we have walked through the Top 100 Hitters for the 2021 Fantasy Baseball season.  In the early rounds, it is much easier to make a pick that might cost you the season than a pick that will win the season.  The middle rounds are often about rounding out your roster and making sure you have some category balance.  But when the late rounds come around and it is time thin the herd.  This is the time that we conjure our inner Billy Beane searching for the late round values that might be a little rough around the edges, but might just win the league.

In today’s article we will walk through a number of players I have been watching closely in Spring Training and I believe can jump into the top 100 during the season.  Each of these players has a dark side, but it is the upside that we will chase.

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Last week we dove into the first half of the top 100 hitters for the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Season.  This week, we will finish out the 100 completing our preseason baseline as we are weeks away from the regular season kicking off.  The themes of this sequel range between aging vets dropping down from the highest of highs to young upstarts with boundless potential.

Although we walked through tiers with the initial 50, as we move into the later portion of our rankings, tiers mean less and less.  What becomes critical at this point in our rankings is how you fill the gaps after the initial 6-7 rounds of the draft.  Did you lean towards power or speed?  Take a risk or two with the young potential star (looking at you Luis Robert)?  How about drafting 5 straight starting pitchers to start the draft like some crazy person?  No matter how you started, this portion of the draft is about shoring up your team and creating that much-needed balance to bring home the trophy.

Without further ado, here are the full top 100 hitters for the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Season:

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Draft season is upon us and it is time to unveil the inaugural Top 100 Hitter Rankings for the 2021 Fantasy Baseball season.  Throughout the year, I will be updating my rankings and calling out those movers and shakers.  This week we will be covering the first half of the top 100 broken down into six individual tiers.  Before we get started, we need to qualify how the rankings are developed and designed to be used:

The top 100 ranks are aimed at traditional 5×5 scoring with Yahoo roster eligibility and rules. There will be key differences for points and OBP leagues, so adjust accordingly.
Tiers are used to illustrate where there is fluidity in the rankings. It is more important what tier a player is in rather than their ultimate rank.  As the season progresses, we will look to break down the tiers.
Stats from the last few seasons drive much of the initial placement of a player and then adjustments are made based on potential for growth or potential for fluke.

Before we jump in, a quick overview of the top 50 tells us a few interesting notes:

There is only one Corner Infielder in the Top 10, which goes a long way to tell us that positional scarcity is not what it once was.
There is only one catcher and one utility player in the Top 50, however in many leagues with less forgiving eligibility there is one additional utility player (Yordan Alvarez).
Keeping in mind that we are double counting across roles there is decent balance across the diamond with 16 Corner Infielders, 18 Middle Infielders and 23 Outfielders.

Without further ado, we can get into the real reason you are here and begin to dissect the Top 100 Hitter Rankings for the 2021 Fantasy Baseball season.

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As we approach our first Top 100 hitters post of the season in the coming weeks, I was contemplating what types of hitter profiles would be be ideal during the run-up.  Then it dawned on me, my years of dynasty love for a certain Florida man beckoned for analysis as his ADP climbed.  His five tool potential and the disrespect of playing time in the Houston heat were about to be recognized.  But alas, the Kyle Tucker profile was not meant to be.  if you haven’t had a chance to read the work of art that is Grey’s Schmohawk, please stop now.  Do not pass go.  Do not collect $200.  Go forth and read up on Mr. Tucker.

Now that I have been preempted with an article better than any mere mortal would have provided, it is only right that we slip back down the draft board in the AL west outfield (Yahoo positional eligibility) ranks to see what awaits us at a much more palatable draft price.  We will review two Mariners including unanimous Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis and upstart Dylan Moore for this rendition of the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Hitter Profiles.

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The utility hitting position in fantasy baseball can be used in two different ways:

The “Matt Stairs” – This approach is using the position the same way Matt Stairs used baseball teams, as a revolving door. Stairs played for 12 different teams during his career always finding a new way to be useful.  In this strategy, the Utility position in the lineup is used to plug in the most useful player for that particular day whether based on matchup, hot streak or just plain guessing.
The “Edgar Martinez” – This approach is all about set it and forget it. Just like Edgar Martinez for most of his career, this strategy looks to bring in the most impactful player for the position.  What this approach will lose in flexibility for the roster, it will look to gain in production.

There is not a right or wrong strategy and often the best strategy will not be known until the ebb and flow of draft day opens an opportunity to follow one of these strategies.  In today’s column we are going to focus on two players that fit into the latter of these strategies due to their positional inflexibility.

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Catcher is a unique position in the fantasy game.  We sometimes play with a single catcher making the pool reasonably deeper while other times strapping ourselves with limited options in two catcher leagues.  The one thing the position is not known for is augmenting the lineup with flexibility.  A few years ago, the versatility and intrigue of speed from the catcher position drew us to Austin Barnes as he rose through the Dodger’s system.  While that may not have panned out with a fantasy superstar, when any player comes along in that mold it forces us to look at what else the catcher position can provide.

The last two seasons have introduced us to two unique players behind (and around) the dish in Austin Nola and Isiah Kiner-Falefa.  Looking at Yahoo eligibility Nola will enter the season with C, 1B and 2B capabilities while Kiner-Falefa will carry C, 3B and SS.  Now not all leagues are as forgiving as Yahoo and Isiah did not log a game at catcher in 2020 instead splitting time on the left side of the infield where he is expected to be for the 2021 season.  Alternatively, Nola saw 44 of 46 games played behind the dish.  Regardless of how they fall in your league, there is bound to be intrigue in these two versatile players.

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I am still amazed that Toronto seems to have cracked the genetic code of baseball. How in the world have they managed to dedicate a third of their lineup to the children of former stars? Outside of fantasy baseball, this game has always been perplexing and gives us wonderful nuggets like this. The other wonderful thing about baseball is that it gives us fantasy baseball and there is a good chance that is why you are here.

Despite their major league talent, the boys of the north (trademark pending) will be spending the upcoming season in Buffalo or Dunedin or maybe Toronto. Who really knows? Regardless of where they call home, the Jays host several interesting fantasy assets. Two of the boys are going off the board in the fifth round but could not be more different yet intriguing at the same time.  Let us spend a little time digging into the 2021 fantasy baseball profiles for Vladdy Jr. and baby Biggio.

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It is February!  We are less than two weeks away from Pitchers and Catchers reporting across Florida and Arozarena.  Sorry, does anybody else have nightmares of Randy dingers?  Just me?  So, as we turn the calendar and everyone is talking about the outlook for Nolan Arenado, I have decided to zig while the rest of the ‘normal’ writers zag.  We kick-off the month with a heavyweight battle between Tempe’s sweetheart Mr. Anthony Rendon and the baby face of Fort Myers in Mr. Rafael Devers.

While 3B has become deeper over the past few years, there continues to be a jockeying for position near the top of the positional rankings.  Looking at NFBC ADP since the beginning of the year Devers and Rendon are going back-to-back near the end of the fourth round.  So how do these two profiles look for the 2021 fantasy baseball season?

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The outfield is a special place on the ballfield.  Open grasses, the last line of defense to the long ball and nobody to hear the inevitable self-scolding when something does not go as planned.  Not only is it a special place, but over the years it has allowed us the opportunity to witness immensely talented defensive wizards such as Nelson Cruz, Kyle Schwarber, Matt Adams and even Jose Canseco (who had Canseco on the Razzball bingo board?).

Position scarcity is not what it once was, but outfield is still a rather deep position at the draft table.  Today I profile 3 players you have specifically requested, and all are coming off strong showings in the unique 2020 season.  Let us look and see if we have any diamonds in that rough outfield grass for the 2021 fantasy baseball season.

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This week we start getting into hitter profiles for the 2021 fantasy baseball season and what better way to start out than two guys battling it out for draft position at the end of the first round.  Not only that, but Trevor “walking pun” Story and Christian Yelich’s boyish looks are just too tempting to pass up for any writer.  The downfall being that there are way too many jokes to write and so little word count to do so.  Like honestly, we could go into a Story about the how good the Marlins could have been if they cared about winning when they had Yelich.  But alas, wasting time when I could have just stuck the pun in the title and moved on.

Alright, let us get to why you are reading, each week I will be grabbing two hitters that are close to each other in ADP and breaking down their 2020 (and likely 2019) with what I would expect in 2021.  Then we will make like a good old western, take everybody out back and have a true standoff until a winner prevails.  Let us jump into this and see where it takes us!

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Back in my playing days, coaches would always talk about playing to win.  If you are trying not to lose, then you have already lost the game as fear has let itself in.  They were right and maybe if I had listened, I would be dominating the little league circuit rather than writing this article.  Alas, here we are and playing not to lose is finally coming in handy!

There are three categories that can ensure a team does not win a championship at the draft table.  These categories are not sexy enough or simply forgotten in the draft before it gets too late.  For that reason, I take a specific yet simple strategy on these categories…Do Not Draft Player X!  Within the first 10 rounds of a draft, I will intentionally avoid certain players to ensure the floor of my team is where it needs to be going into the later rounds of the draft where I must fill out my roster.  I do not care how far a guy falls, he damages the overall picture I am trying to paint with my roster.  Here is the breakdown of those categories:

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There is just under two weeks left in the regular season.  In single-season leagues, there is no more waiting.  It is perfectly acceptable to drop the struggling star while playing for the category wins.  While this column all season has been focused on 2020, unless you are in the running at this point you are moving on to 2021.  Even if you are in the running, you might have one foot out the door of 2020.  I know most of the world does…

In keeping with the 3 Up, 3 Down and 3 to Watch theme, let us take a look at a few of my favorite names up the middle of the infield to watch going into 2021:

  • Dansby Swanson – I will admit I was not a believer in Swanson going into this season and it seems there is still some doubt in the industry. Is anybody else questioning why he is only 85% owned in Yahoo leagues?
  • Whit Merrifield – There was concern this year that Merrifield was not going to run enough to stay relevant. Not only has he been running, but he is on a 30/30 pace for an entire season.  Merrifield has a high floor and will be consistently undervalued playing for the Royals.
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