Happy All Star Break! As far as I’m concerned, it’s time to rest our brains for a bit and take a moment to just be thankful for the good things the first half(fish) of 2021 provided for our deep league fantasy baseball teams. I missed out on plenty of deep league hidden gems this year, but I’m grateful for the ones I got. So, here’s my personal, deep league, offensive All Star team: hitters that I drafted on at least one team and have been on my roster ever since — providing more production, in some cases, than even I was realistically hoping for. While a few of these guys are now mainstays in even the shallowest leagues, all were true deep leaguers on draft day, being selected outside the top 500 ADP per NFBC when the season began.
C: Mike Zunino. (NFBC ADP at the end of March: #619). Yes, the .198 average is hard to stomach, but 19 homers in 61 games is a beautiful thing on a few of my teams where I’m not getting as much power as I’d hoped. While the average is more likely to repeat itself in the second half than the homer total, I’m afraid, I’m holding on to Zunino with the hopes of getting 10-15 more bombs before October.
1B: Yandy Diaz. (ADP #574). Oh, if I had a dollar for every word I’ve written about Yandy Diaz at Razzball I’d be much, much richer than I am now… and Diaz still hasn’t really done anything to warrant much fantasy consideration at all. But one thing I learned doing this exercise is that there were very few ultra-deep bargains that came through at 1B or 3B, at least on my teams, so Diaz ends up a Laura Holt all star. He has only 4 homers and is without a steal in 2021, and his average is a meh .250… but at least that average didn’t hurt me too much, and his 36 runs and 30 RBI have helped keep me afloat in my deepest AL-only league.
2B. Adam Frazier (ADP #527). Sadly, I only drafted him once, and who would have thought they’d want to draft him more than that, given how boring it is to draft Adam Frazier to a fantasy baseball team. He’s the first member of our list that is a real-life all star (probably not too surprising given his lackluster Pirate competition to make the squad), and his numbers don’t jump out at you at first (just 4 homers and 5 steals). His .330 average over 348 at bats, as well as his impressive 53 runs scored, are what’s driving his sneaky fantasy value.
SS. Brandon Crawford. (ADP #623). I don’t think many of us who drafted Crawford, probably out of deep-league desperation, expected anything close to what he’s provided so far in 2021. He has a .289 average/.364 OBP, with 18 homers (which still doesn’t look right to me when I see it!) One would expect him to slow down considerably in the second half, but that one should still be thankful for what he’s provided up until now.
3B. Josh Fuentes. (ADP #695). As I mentioned a couple blurbs ago, I really didn’t strike it rich at either 1B or 3B this year with deep league reaches, so the mediocre-at-best Fuentes gets to fill this spot. 7 homers, 27 runs, 32 RBI… no, it’s not very good, but once again better than nothing in my draft and hold league where my other 3B options are down for the count.
OF 1. Cedric Mullins (ADP #522). I didn’t realize just how important Cedric Mullins had become to me until I heard myself making an off-handed comment calling him “the light of my life” on the Razzball podcast a few weeks ago. His numbers are insane (in addition to his .316 average, he’s gone 16/16 so far this season), and even if he can’t keep up that pace I’m convinced we’re seeing a player who is going to be a fairly solid fantasy contributor for years to come. Perhaps the tidbit I heard about the 2021 MLB All Star team being the first all star team Mullins has ever made at any level of professional baseball should scare me in terms of his future production, but instead it just makes me appreciate him even more.
OF 2. Odubel Herrera (ADP #666). I didn’t like drafting him in a deep draft and hold league, and I don’t like rooting for him, but I can’t deny that he’s helped that particular fantasy team of mine quite substantially this year. He hit the IL with an ankle injury heading into the break so the second half could be darker than the first for him. For now though, his 6 homers, 4 steals, 33 runs scored, and 25 RBI were a big help at a lineup spot that would have basically been a zero if he hadn’t been called up and given the chance to start regularly this year.
OF 3. Akil Baddoo. (ADP #701). Baddoo’s situation in my AL-only keeper league kind of imitated his real-life rule 5 MLB situation; I had to keep him on my roster all year (simply because I had no other options) just as the Tigers had to keep him on theirs. Things got pretty rocky there for a while after his hot start, and he no doubt would have been demoted in most situations… but after that rough patch he’s been playing much better lately. That’s been a boon for both my AL-only team and the Detroit MLB team, as Baddoo is now hitting a very solid .271 with 6 homers and 13 steals.
When Kimbrel is traded who closes Chafin or Terpera or ?
Good question; most depth charts I think list Chafin next, which makes sense, but I’m holding Tepera in one NL only ( and even Brothers in another just in case).
Nice list, right there with you with Zunino. What are you doing with Adolis Garcia in keeper leagues? I’m going to finish in the middle this year thanks to slumping first rounders and Eloy/Robert, but have a minimum salary Adolis (keep 8 forever, $3 inflation, $260 budget standard roto).
Would you be shopping him for a more established keeper bat? If so, what are some names you’d be hunting that aren’t crazy for me to ask for?
Hey Duda, hope the all star break is treating you well! You may have noticed that Garcia did not make this list; i.e. I wasn’t smart enough to pick him up anywhere despite the fact that I suggested to others months ago that it might be a smart idea to do so! I’ve also had a lot of trouble figuring out when to trade a come-out-of-nowhere type guy who suddenly has huge keeper value, but I do think now is a smart time to shop Garcia. His numbers on the year look super impressive, but when you look at them month by month he’s been just OK for a while now and you can see what an outlier his May was. Given that he’s 97% owned in CBS leagues/82% owned in fantrax (I don’t care much about ownership numbers for my own purposes, but I don’t mind using them in trade talks to help underscore a player’s perceived value) and you have a keep forever format, Garcia feels like a guy that should net you a solid return. Depending on what position/skill set you’re looking for, I’d browse through players with similar (or even higher) ownership numbers and if there’s anyone who you covet for your team that you think is a better long term investment.
Trade away Yordan Alvarez and Alcantara for Scherzer? 5×5 QS league
I’d hold (granted, I’m extra partial to Yordan b/c he helped me win my AL-only keeper league in his ROY season) but if you must trade for pitching and do decide to trade Yordan, I think you should be able to get an ace/Scherzer level SP for him straight up.
Just traded away Mullins for Franimal and Eddie Rosario. What a time to be alive.
Biggest regret this year was dropping Cedric Mullins.
Laura, very nice article! I’m in a 12-team mixed h2h league. Which of these three catchers would u drop—or, would u hold all three (i have a lot of power and have no overt ‘needs’):
Zunino, stassi, Haase — and, i have Garver coming off the DL soon. Which two would u keep? And thx!
Thanks Yaz! Hmm… I guess I’d drop Stassi, since he’s not providing much in the way of counting stats and I have to think that his .296 average is bound to regress in the second half, given that he’s a .231 hitter in his career.
Traded Ynoa-Burger-Bart for Moncada….I have Ruiz and Murphy so I figured Bart expendable….do think Moncada bounces back…18 team dynasty league 5×5 thanks!
Hey Jimmy! I’m having trouble figuring out what to make of Moncada… I really thought his issues last year were COVID recovery related and he’d have a solid year this year — or at least a biggish power year with maybe a disappointing average. Instead, his average is solid but the power has been basically non-existent, so go figure. Anyhow, even though I don’t think it’ s sure thing that he regains his form, I do like him as a buy low candidate. He might not be stellar, but I think he’ll be a solid contributor for you in the second half in that format, especially as the weather keeps getting warmer, and the pitchers get more tired. Good luck and hope this trade pays off for you!
Living in Chicago, I watch a fair amount of White Sox games, even though I am more of a Cubs fan. When Moncada had a good year in 2019, he was super aggressive at the bat and attacked. BB% fell to 7.5% from 11-13%. This year, he has gone back to being super passive and BB% has ballooned to 16.5%. In 2019, he had a career high 1st pitch swing percentage of 30.2%. In 2021, it is a career low 18.3%
It is frustrating as hell watching him. At times, it looks like he doesn’t want to swing. He is just a hitter that needs to be aggressive and attack.
Hi h.c., thanks for checking in! Those are really insightful comments — hopefully someone can point all that out to Moncada and maybe he’ll get his act together in the second half! ; )