Please see our player page for Max Kepler to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

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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The season is almost upon us which means it’s time to get your rosters all dialed in for the season. So, who’s set to breakout and who’s set to break our hearts. Breakouts are guys that I think will outperform their draft position. Heart breakers as you can guess, are the opposite. Guys that you have to spend a high pick to acquire that will only make you regret your decision. In most cases it’s not that I wouldn’t touch any of them with a 10 foot pole, but I don’t think they’ll return the investment required to roster them.  You don’t win  your league at the draft but a bad first or second pick can hamstring your team. 

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I’m sure many of you have spent countless hours pouring over Grey’s 2021 fantasy baseball rankings to see who he’s got way higher than anyone else. Grey’s rankings are great but they’re focused on categories so they don’t tell the whole picture for points leagues. For example, average isn’t important for points. Yes a higher average means more hits but you also get points for walks as well. What we’re really looking for is total bases. I still highly recommend that you check out Grey’s thoughts because he knows what he’s doing, but mostly he’s pretty entertaining. 

Now onto points leagues. I crunched some numbers behind the scenes to see who should get shifted in the ranks. Basically made my own simplified version of malamoney’s spreadsheet using the Razzball/Steamer projections and what seems to be the standard scoring system. The result is some cold hard data on who’s going to do what this season. 

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The top 60 outfielders for 2021 fantasy baseball are roughly around the top 150th overall to about the 225th overall mark. That’s in your late third outfielder to early fourth outfielder range, or very early fifth outfielder and did you even draft any other position? You might be doing this all wrong. Here’s Steamer’s 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers.  All projections included here are mine, and where I see tiers starting and stopping are included. Anyway, here’s the top 60 outfielders for 2021 fantasy baseball:

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This is what they call in the biz a GAP — a General Appreciation Post. It has not been a general appreciation type year, but Juan Soto (1-for-4, 3 runs, 3 RBIs and a slam (12) and double legs (4, 5), hitting .345) aka Sexy Dr. Pepper makes me wake up at quarter to 6 every morning, jump out of bed like Dicky Fox and scream, “I love Juan Soto!” Then Cougs rolls over and mutters, “865,” which is the number of times she’s said to stop screaming that first thing in the morning. Listen, it’s been a trying year, and I appreciate all of you sticking with us through what was the craziest year on memory, and I’m not gonna get choked up, because I’m way more appreciative of Juan Soto. HE’S BETTER THAN TROUT. Sorry, but Mr. Al Caps is right. Sexy Dr. Pepper is 12 years old and he’s doing things not seen since 2002 when a headless ghost Ted Williams was teaching a bone-sober and dead Babe Ruth why he was striking out so much. It’s an absolute joy to watch. I think I like Treat Urner (3-for-6, 1 run and his 11th and 12th steals) partially because he plays with Juan Soto. In 2021, I’m not sure yet if I’m going to have Juan Soto in the top two, three, four or five, but this is only the beginning of that discussion which will go until 2030, when we’re all finally stepping out of quarantine like a bunch of vampires. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The time is getting close. The possibility of a season ending that was barely a possibility in June is upon us. Fall is peaking around the corner and pumpkin spice (I SAID PUMPKIN SPICE) is everywhere! I mean, the NFL is back, not all of football but at least the NFL. So it’s the home stretch and Fantasy Baseball championships can still be won and lost in the last two weeks. Additions to the list of players like #90 Jeimer Candelario, who has 5 homers and a .417 batting average the past two weeks, can boost you in multiple categories. Someone like D.J. Stewart can too, but his 6 homers and .455 batting average were done in bulk the last 7 days so he’ll take a bit more to get on the list. His teammate #91 Ryan Mountcastle, however, has won a spot thanks to his 4 homer .367 last two week mark and slightly higher pedigree. Other additions include the practically homering in every game #98 Bobby Dalbec (sure, it was close with Stewart, but Dalbec set a Red Sox rookie record for homers so…), welcome back #92 Michael Brantley  and #96 Isiah Kiner-Falefa (a lone Ranger highlight). Of course, we can’t forget that sultan of swat, that bountiful Brave, #70 Adam Duvall. Are you serious with a 9 home run barrage, including hitting in the .290’s over the last 15?

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Here we are again with nine more changes to the Top 100. In general a drop happens either through flash in the pans that hopped on or season long slumps for highly touted guys or injuries. A hot two weeks can get someone on the list, but if there is no history it takes more time than if there isn’t. First the good news. The six newcomers are San Francisco treats #97 Brandon Belt and #96 Alex Dickerson, (welcome back) #84 Andrew McCutchen, #78 Willy Adames propping up Tampa, #77 Robinson Cano (the old man has ramped it up big time),  the San Diego boys #71 Jake Cronenworth (proving me wrong) and #70 Eric Hosmer, (welcome back) #68 Rhys Hoskins and #67 Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Those leaving are Aaron Judge and his injuries, Gary Sanchez, David Peralta, Edwin Encarnacion, Hanser Alberto and Christian Vazquez all batting around or under .200 with little power or slumping, and IL trips for Justin Turner and David Fletcher. The biggest blow is Anthony Santander. An oblique is probably the end of his season. It was tempting to move Trout back up to Number 1, but Tatis’ slump is too small to knock him off. #6 Trea Turner is hot as a pistol but couldn’t crack the Top 5 (Soto’s MRI came back clean), and #19 Charlie Blackmon all of a sudden isn’t squaring everything up. You can find last week’s list here. Now on to some of the other movers this week.

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As the 2020 season turns there’s plenty of ongoing changes in the Top 100. Things are very very good for some players, and bad and getting worse for others. Six players have left the list which means six have jumped on. #80 Jonathan Schoop, #85 Pedro Severino, #89 Austin Nola, #90 Renato Nunez, welcome back #92 Eugenio Suarez and #99 Kyle Tucker. These guys are obviously killing it in various degrees of goodness. In particular perhaps it’s time to take Baltimore seriously. With all those Yankee injuries, and all the great performances by various Orioles, it’s no wonder the Rays are looking to be active in the trade market. Those dropping off include Mike Moustakas, Ramon Laureano, Eduardo Escobar, Gleyber Torres and unfortunately Josh Bell. I have defended several of these players recently but their struggles, and the good play by so many others, have made these moves inevitable. As Suarez shows, a week or two of good play can make all the difference. You can find last week’s list here. Now on to the details for some of the movers this week.

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Welp, wasn’t expecting to be writing this lede today. I had gone over Ian Anderson already writing, “Expected to be called up. I already own him in one NL-Only league. *drops ass, twerks nasty-like, someone enters to TikTok me and I let them not expecting that to ever come back to haunt me* Would I own Anderson in a mixed league? Well…His command looks a little suspect and that could lead to a huge blow up and I’m not really interested in that in mixed leagues yet. Long-term for keepers? I’d guess he’s owned, or your league is shallow. He was on Itch’s top 150 dynasty pitchers, right behind Kyle Wright, who just did bad stuff to one of my teams, and I could see the same from Anderson.” And that’s me quoting me! Then, yesterday happened: 6 IP, 1 hit, 1 ER, 2 walks, 6 Ks, holding the Yankees hitless in 5 1/3 IP. Guess I have to dig in deeper. He was working a 96 MPH fastball, and a 87 MPH change, which had hitters off-balance. The arm speed looked to devastate Yankees’ hitters trying to pick up the change. It is apparently his best pitch. Appeared to be. He also has a solid curve that drops from above the zone into the bye-bye-thanks-for-playing. Don’t think his command is all the way there, but I’m interested now in mixed leagues vs. before yesterday’s game. See, I’m not as Thick as a Brick, Ian Anderson. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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We’ve got some great value plays today based on Rudy’s Robots (Bot 2) so there’s plenty of opportunity to put together a great lineup with some “discount” pieces. The bot’s top pitcher (Dinelson Lamet, SP: $9,300) for not the top price is always a good thing. He’s been blowing people away with some great K numbers (45 in 33 and a third) and has kept the walks in check (11). Lamet is breaking out and unlike most years, the Padres actually seem to know how to hit. Unfortunately they haven’t given him much run support while he’s on the mound, but that’s only a matter of time. He’s set up to dominate for you today.

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