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.

 

Justin Turner

Justin Turner is 36 years old and coming off a world series championship, however I continue to find myself drafting him as one of the last reliable bats at a corner infield position.  Over the past four seasons he has hit .300 or better three times while driving 20 or more balls over the fence twice.  Did you know he has hovered around a 50% hard hit rate for the past two seasons?  Clearly the Dodgers believe he still has a few years left in the tank thanks to a two-year $34 million dollar contract.  For a guy with an ADP over 200, you can do much worse.

 

Mitch Haniger

Mitch Haniger last played an injury riddled season in 2019 and unsurprisingly has an ADP over 250 in NFC leagues.  Trusting a player that hit just .220 two years ago is really a ballsy move.  However, that .220 in 2019 was driven by poor luck and when healthy he has shown 25-30 homer power with solid batting average upside.

Haniger is projected to hit atop a lineup that could be surprisingly productive in 2021.  He has also looked fully locked in this spring hitting .275 with three long balls.  I do expect the Mariners to handle Mitch with kid gloves as he appears to be made of glass, but at his draft price there is not much better upside to be found.

 

Jarred Kelenic

Staying in the Seattle outfield picture, we take a look at Jarred Kelenic and realize there is upside abound in the northwest.  There should be no mystery that he is one of the top prospects that will debut early in 2021.  While he was slowed by an adductor strain during spring training, he is now back in action and just keeps hitting like he has done at every stop in the minors.  His profile reminds me of another young outfield from the AL West in Kyle Tucker.  While Tucker spent much more time in the minors thanks to the Astros dragging their feet (insert trash can reference), I expect less competition to keep Kelenic from seeing the field.  An AL Rookie of the Year and 15/15 season is the floor in my book.

 

Victor Robles

Victor Robles is only 23 years old, yet this will be his 5th season with major league experience.  While Robles struggled mightily in 2020, his 2019 season was much more productive than many may remember.  In his last full season, he delivered 85 runs, 17 dingers and 28 thefts.  For a guy going off the draft board near the 150 mark, there is a lot of profit potential here.

The risk we must watch with Robles is where he will be in the lineup.  If he continues to hit at the top of the order like we have seen much of this spring this is a legitimate 100/15/30 bat coming at a significant discount.  I personally wish I had more shares as I watch him run and hit for power this spring.

 

Honorable Mention

I could spend another 1,000 words on guys that I like at the end of the draft or even available on the waiver wire, but we are now less than a week away from opening day and our Hitter Profiles for 2021 Fantasy Baseball will cease as we enter the season.  Throughout the year, I will be bringing you an update to the Top 100 Hitters for the rest of the season every few weeks.  If you have read this spring, thank you for stopping in and I will leave you with the honorable mention of the ‘watch list’:

Garrett Hampson, Mitch Garver, Max Kepler, Willi Castro, Ty France, Andrew Vaughn

Let’s play ball!

 
  1. Matt says:
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    So, what can be expected with India? I remember he was well thought of early on but quickly dropped down prospect lists. 20-15 potential or avoid?

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      I have been grabbing India at the end of deep league drafts, but he is better on the waiver wire in shallow leagues. Although he has been killing the ball in the spring, I haven’t heard anything beyond more video work indicating a change in approach.

      If I was guessing at the most likely outcome, we around probably talking a guy going 13-10 with a decent average. Nothing that will blow you away, but on the chance he made a major step forward, the price of admission is worth a look.

  2. Kevin says:
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    You like turner more than Donaldson?

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      They are close in my book. I believe the market is leaning towards Donaldson. However, this is easily Turner for me. He has a better lineup and the 2020 underlying metrics are surprisingly strong. I worry Donaldson might not hit over .240 this year which requires the power to be elite.

  3. CanuckDave says:
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    Ok, you wonderful Houdini’s…I just got offered: K. Hayes/C. Bassit for Starsburg. Standard H2H league with 14 players. I punted RP so I have ten starters. Would you pull the trigger???

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
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      I take it but I’m the lowest ranker in the industry on Stras, so keep that in mind. :)

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      Because I like to disagree with Blair and am relatively low on Hayes, I would be sticking with Strasburg. Granted, he has quite the injury risk. When healthy there is no comparison in my mind!

  4. Anodyne says:
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    I share your love of Justin Turner. I was targeting him toward the end of a recent 12-team auction at $5, and he went for $7. I was bummed.

    What are your thoughts on Nick Senzel? What do you need to see from him for him to make it into your top 100?

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      I really like Senzel’s talent but really can’t stand how Cincinnati has moved him around and never given him a chance to really establish himself. If he starts hot and can hold down a consistent spot in the field and lineup then I think he will flourish.

  5. Matt says:
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    Hey, so I drafted Kepler in a slugging/K league, wasn’t thrilled with the pick, but at #220 in a three player keeper league I said why not. Should I drop him for Kelenic? I already have ball boy Haniger and don’t want to be taking too many eggs from Seattle’s basket. Whatcha think?

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      Thanks for stopping by Matt. To me Kelenic has the higher ceiling of those two. If you can sneak by until he gets called up in a month, I would be making that move. While I doubt he sneaks into you keepers for next year, he does have an outside shot to get there.

      • Matt says:
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        Thanks Jeremy!

  6. Sean says:
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    Great list, I would personally add Shohei Otani to at least the watch list if not the top 100 overall, he provides all 5 categories and I expect his average to rebound from last years numbers to the 260-280 range. He provides steals at a good clip hits close to trout and rendon, I think not having him in the top 100 or at least consideration for watch list is overlooking his league winning potential at the plate. Yes I know the two way health is always a risk, but he is a pick that can win your league if you are getting him after pick 100-125 I could see him returning top 50 value or better imo

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      Great call out Sean. If the Angels stick to their once a week pitching strategy for Ohtani then I think he could provide a bit more reliability at the plate than he has in the past. One of those situations where the league settings really impact value. His value is much greater in a daily league than weekly.

      • McKinzie says:
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        Lover the stuff Jeremy thanks!!

        I may be naive but Mountcastle with his great BA and power could slip into the top 100 with a 300/25 year

        Hey regarding Ohtani, in a league with daily rosters and Ohtani being “one player” am I nuts thinking he should be drafted around 100-120?

        • Jeremy Brewer

          Jeremy Brewer says:
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          I am the last person to judge anybody as nuts, unless we are talking about John Rocker, Brian Wilson or even Bill ‘spaceman’ Lee. Those guys were nuts!!

          If Mountcastle can put up those numbers then he is no question a top 100 bat. He has looked strong this spring and I would be surprised by many other things before being surprised with him jumping up the ranks.

          On Ohtani in a daily league, you are absolutely correct with a few big IFs…If he can stay healthy and If you can remember to check your lineup judiciously! I am too lazy to get that right.

  7. Sal says:
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    I did draft garver last night. You like him to somewhat bounce back to 2019 form?

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      There is definitely so Razzball love for Mr. Garver. I think he will bounce back and reward investors well for sticking with him. Hope the Twins give him the playing time he deserves!

  8. david parker says:
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    Just had a 12 team ESPN draft. Waited on Starting Pitching. May drop a relief pitcher and stream.Thoughts? Thanks for everything y’all do.

    C James McCann
    1B Jared Walsh
    2B Keston Hiura
    3B Rafael Devers
    SS Trea Turner
    2B/SS Tommy Edman
    1B/3B Matt Olson
    OF Cody Bellinger
    OF Marcell Ozuna
    OF Michael Conforto
    OF Nick Castellanos
    OF Victor Robles
    UTIL Jean Segura
    Bench David Fletcher
    Bench Nick Senzel
    Bench Jake Cronenworth
    IL Empty
    IL Empty
    IL Empty
    PITCHERS
    P Dinelson Lamet
    P Dylan Bundy
    P Pablo Lopez
    P Kevin Gausman
    P Tyler Mahle
    P Richard Rodriguez
    P Greg Holland
    P Chris Martin
    P Hector Neris
    Bench Tanner Scott

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      Definitely a strong hitting team and love Senzel as bench depth. The pitching is pretty thin, but Bundy and Lopez are under the radar good pickups. If Lamet is healthy and you find some saves on the wire, your staff could surprise. Good luck this year!

  9. Harley Earl says:
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    I think I’d add Jonathan India to the honorable mention list. Just seems like a worthy speculative play to me.

    Good stuff. As usual!

    • Jeremy Brewer

      Jeremy Brewer says:
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      Harley! Thanks for the late night drop in! Absolutely. I am intrigued by India with reports out of Spring Training saying he has been one of the most impressive bats the scouts have seen. It most certainly could be false hope, but for a guy that can be grabbed in the last few rounds, I like the lottery ticket on a power/speed guy.

      • Harley Earl says:
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        Yeah, I definitely like him as a late-round flyer!

        I really liked this article because I own both Haniger and Kelenic in a couple leagues lol! I’ve also got Ty France in two leagues and Julio Rodriguez in my two dynasty leagues, and I swear I’m not a Mariners fan. Cardinals all the way.

        Good stuff. Keep up the good work!

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