In an incredible turn of events, I’ve done all the infield 2021 fantasy baseball rankings. Less incredible, you’ve read them. It’s like that time your favorite team won because they played better than that other team but you convinced yourself they won because you cheered louder. When I win the Fantasy Baseball Blogger of the Millennial in 2099, and my frozen head is accepting the award, I’m going to thank you, the readers, but I’m secretly going to be thanking myself. Without me, none of this would be possible. You’re a close second though! Okay, enough ranking of you and me, let’s rank some outfielders! 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 20 outfielders for 2021 fantasy baseball:
NOTE: All 2021 fantasy baseball projections are based on a 162-game season, and will be until we hear definitively there will be less games.
NOTE II: All my rankings are currently available on Patreon for the price of a Starbucks coffee, if you get one of those extra grande frappuccino jobbers. Don’t wait for the rankings to come out over the next month, and get them all now.
NOTE III: Free agents outside the top 100 are not yet written up or projected. They are approximately ranked, obviously subject to change.
9. Eloy Jimenez – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Ozuna. I call this tier, “Drinkin’ my forty-oh.” This tier is two guys whose best case scenario is 40 homers and zero steals. What, you thought a forty-oh was something else? Who are you, Billy Dee Williams? I know Lando Calrissian, and you, sir, are no Lando Calrissian. You ain’t got no spice, and can’t make Tunisian without wanting everything harissian. I ain’t dissin’ ya! Sorry, felt a whiff of my rap alter ego, B. Fire, drawing dragon’s breath just below the surface. Unlike the top 20 shortstops and top 20 3rd basemen, I didn’t contemplate these guys for the top 20 overall. I like Eloy, and OZUNA, but their “old school corner outfielder” type production didn’t leave me conflicted about wanting them higher. As for Eloy, Steamer’s got some hot naughty love for him. Thinking he’s a 40/.289 guy, and I could see it, but — and sorry about the but, it goes everywhere I go — his lowered Launch Angle last year put his fly ball rate at 28.5%, which I guess is doable for a 40-homer guy, but would need some heavy lifting from his HR/FB. Not out of the question work, like Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe — yo, I’m glad someone is cleaning out sewage, I can’t even look into the toilet when it’s backed up, so one love, but yikes. The assumption I’m assuming is Eloy’s fly ball rate will bounce back after 2020, but making an assumption while assuming makes an assump out of U and Ming the Merciless. Of course, he still hit 14 homers in 55 games last year, and has 45 homers in 177 career games, and the HardHit% is gorge, and, well, yeah, Eloy is really good, which is why I would draft him this high, but I’m slightly lower than Steamer on him. 2021 Projections: 89/36/107/.281 in 589 ABs
10. Marcell Ozuna – Still a free agent, but as NOTE III tells us, I’m projecting and writing up free agents in the top 100, so away we go… Though, remember, this is subject to change if he signs somewhere great or terrible. This is a neutral projection. Okay, it’s unlikely to change much. Marcell Ozuna stops, looks up, and takes a photo of himself in his new uniform with an imaginary camera. Then, he stops, looks up and takes a photo of himself in his old uniform. Then he looks at the two imaginary photos and it’s hard to see any differences in the two. Ah, there it is! The stop light in the background is different! These Spot the Difference bar games are so hard. Imaginary photos are the same because Ozuna hasn’t changed. OZUNA keeps true to self. OZUNA wondering where arm is. OZUNA put on green spandex sleeve and–oh, it’s a green screen for advertisements. There’s OZUNA arm. Photos are identical because Ozuna’s car’s in neutral on Luck Hill, and Ozuna’s a 35-homer, .275 hitter. Wheels of justice crank a bit in his favor, and Ozuna hits .300+, but can he go higher on homers? A question I ask myself, after me, a name I call myself. He hits the ball hard all the time. The direction of the ball has been mostly flat, right over the shortstop’s head, sometimes into the gap. Have you seen Ozuna take a swing? He wields mad bat, like The Joker. I love OZUNA, but I don’t know where that 12 steals in 2019 came from, or if we ever see them again. UPDATE: Signed with the Braves, which many believed would happen since there’s only five teams signing people and the Braves were the only ones needing an outfielder. At one point, it was announced the Rays were in the mix to sign Ozuna, and I was trying to figure out who leaked that report and why. There’s no way the Rays were actually interested, and, if you’re the Rays, you don’t leak it because it points out how unlikely you are. Would the Marlins leak it to take the heat off themselves? Are teams leaking other teams’ interest just so no one asks if they’re interested? Would the Mets or another team that is signing people leak it to drive up price on the Braves? Am I starting to sound like a Q Facebook post from your uncle? Who’s to say really. As for Ozuna, nothing’s changed from my above blurb. 2021 Projections: 94/34/109/.279/3 in 581 ABs
11. Kyle Lewis – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Castellanos. I call this tier, “Are you crazy or am I?” The old cliché goes that if you think you’re crazy, then there’s no way you’re crazy. Then I see how some people are drafting and think they’re crazy, but if I’m thinking they’re crazy does that make them not crazy or does it make me crazy because I don’t think I’m crazy? What if I think they’re crazy with their drafting but they also think they’re crazy, then they’re not crazy? Crazy, right? This whole tier is guys who somehow fell out of favor, are being underdrafted or people are crazy for not drafting them higher. But by me saying that, it might mean I’m crazy, but by me thinking I’m crazy I’m not crazy…Hmm… As for Lewis, what on earth is going on with projections? Kyle Tucker is 100% considered a lock for continuing what he did last year, and maybe more, but Lewis is going to collapse? Lewis has question marks but Randy Arozarena doesn’t because he had a good postseason? Fine, Arozarena has a better ball ball profile for a higher average, but Lewis is a borderline 70-grade power guy, who is just waiting to hit 35 homers with a dozen steals. What’s he waiting for? Me figuring out the puzzle to who is crazy and who is not? Seriously, though, you thinking I’m crazy makes me not crazy or do I have to think I’m not crazy to nullify my craziness? Fine, but how does Kyle Lewis steal five bags in a short season, then Steamer projects him for six steals in 2021? Who’s crazy here?! 2021 Projections: 82/31/94/.251/13 in 567 ABs
12. George Springer – Signed with the Jays, and finally the Jays get their big free agent. Everyone’s happy. Except people who wanted to watch Grichuk play center field. A loss of comedy with one misplaced fielder is a loss of comedy for all. That’s also what Avisail Garcia said when he saw the bed was floating two feet off the ground because Prince was trying to hide under it to catch him and his wife. Not so sneaky, Mr. Fielder! Any hoo! Springer averages 33/7/.270 every season across his career. Okay, maybe he falls off suddenly, but am I crazy to think he’s going to be just as good as always, or are the people expecting him to fall off the crazy ones? I don’t think I’m crazy, which means I am crazy, but I think those others are crazy, which means they aren’t crazy. Do you see my dilemma? Who is crazy here? Someone tell me! Then, if the Toronto Blue Jays are the Buffalo Bleu Cheese, can I shout a chef’s kiss off a high peak at how Springer could have a 40-homer season? 2021 Projections: 101/32/81/.272/5 in 524 ABs
13. Michael Conforto – His BABIP was obscene last year, but no one thought Conforto was hitting .320 every year. If he still does 32/7/.260 in the heart of a solid lineup, is that really different than Springer? Did we decide Springer was ranked correctly? No? Then I don’t know. I see the Kyle Tuckers and Arozarenas of the world being drafted way before Conforto and I see: 32/7/.260 vs. 25/17/.250 vs. 22/17/.285, and think kinda six of one, two half dozens of the others, and two half dozens is a dozen, which is greater than one sixpiece, but that sixpiece is one vs. two. Do you see how this is crazy making? But, seriously, if those lines are all kinda the same, which of those three is safest? The guy who’s done it for 4 seasons (prorated last year), the guy who’s done it for one half season or the guy who did it over two weeks in October? 2021 Projections: 83/32/97/.263/7 in 556 ABs
14. Charlie Blackmon – I can’t believe I’m the one pushing for people to draft Chazz Noir. This really is crazy. I’ve told you to forget Noir for a few years now, but when did everyone decide they were done with him? Due to a bad month of September? Because he was great in July/August. Yes, it’s crazy to take anything away from a month-plus of July/August, but isn’t it just as crazy to take anything from one month of September after he’s had a solid career and: Coors! Or is my questioning here making all this not crazy? Or does that make it crazy? 2021 Projections: 104/28/81/.288/6 in 571 ABs
15. Nick Castellanos – Another guy I am shockingly the high man on after not being interested in him for many years. Honestly, if you don’t draft at least one guy from this tier, you’re just not following my rankings, so, ya know, why bother? The Greek God of Hard Contact has been doing hard contact in Greek since Plato was boinking heads in his cave with a rubber mallet like the first Whack-A-Mole ever. Castellanos’s 60-game season last year was highlighted when “I pride myself and think of myself as a man of faith, as there’s a drive into deep left field by Castellanos and that’ll be a home run. And so that’ll make it a 4-0 ballgame,” which is appropriate because the GGHC found himself a lot of power last year. It also found him striking out more, and tilting up on his Launch Angle. What’s cool is if he continues to be this newfound power guy — to which I say, “Why not?” — he could hit 35 homers and rediscover his plate discipline, making him a .290 hitter, too. 2021 Projections: 89/31/92/.277/3 in 594 ABs
16. Kyle Tucker – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until the top 40 outfielders for 2021 fantasy baseball. I call this tier, “Miss Martian.” Until a martian wins Miss Universe, I will continue to question the legitimacy of the title. Until the guys in this tier do exactly what they just did, I will continue to question the legitimacy of them. Some of these guys I might draft. They’d have to fall from their ADP, and I might have to be drunk. I just have so many questions and am wondering if we’re overestimating a 60-game season. Like a poorly endowed man to a sex worker, “Do I really have to pay full price for a small sample?” As for Tucker, where do I start? Here, I guess. He did what we expected of him. Speed/power and won’t kill you on average. He might be the most interesting Astros hitter (though I’m kinda into Yordan). Tucker didn’t have the Cheaty Cheaty Bang Bang scandal hanging over his head and he impressed — 44% HardHit, 15 Launch Angle, 42% FB% — all pretty in-line with minor league numbers. Is he going to be 24/24/.265, 30/30/.280, 30/15/.255 or something in-between? Anyone who tells you they know is very dangerous, because no one knows and that ‘pert is full of themselves. You can like the gamble, but Tucker wouldn’t be the 1st player who struggled in his 2nd full-ish year and was given his walking papers to go get Dusty more toothpicks. 2021 Projections: 86/23/83/.248/17 in 541 ABs
19. Starling Marte – Another name for this tier could’ve been, “Will he go 20/20 off a 2020 that no one saw even in 20/20 hindsight?” Miss Martian is more whimsical. Or Mr. Marteian in Starling’s case. “Do I hate the guys in this tier? Not really. Do I love them for their current ADP? Not especially either. If Marte falls far enough in a draft, I guess I could see drafting him. Marte is still hopefully one more year away from becoming Lorenzo/15/15/Cain. Big time emphasis on that ‘hopefully.’ Put some of those movie premiere lights on that ‘hopefully.’ And not just for Marte’s age leading to fewer steals, his fly ball rate was 27.9% last year. When you sort by worst fly ball rates, and you’re in the bottom 16, it’s not great, Bob.” Which is what I said last year. Sneaky me quoting me! Starling is exactly the same. I still don’t see the 20 homers possible for his 20/20 nor 20/21 in 2021. 2021 Projections: 85/16/69/.277/24 in 547 ABs
20. Trent Grisham – I’ve often repeated William Goldman’s quote, “No one knows anything,” which he said about Hollywood, but applies to baseball, and specifically baseball projections. Some are better than others. I think ours with Steamer are the best, but I’m paid to say that. I get three dollars a year and it’s paid in nickels. With that said, it is odd how Steamer projects just about everyone from this post (minus Conforto, Springer and Marte) for way more power than speed. Speed plays no matter what, power can go boom or bust super fast, so, while Steamer’s saying these guys you can trust for power, I say you’re better off trusting them for speed. Grisham’s a particular mystery, and I don’t mean the adaptions with McConaughey. All right, all right, all right, I loved Grisham last year, and still like him, but I worry people might’ve lost the brief with Grisham and think he’s the rainmaker about to put up a 30/30 season. Also, the hit tool? Hey, I’m fine with a goofy .230 average, but are you drafting him in the top 50 overall? 2021 Projections: 83/22/72/.247/25 in 542 ABs
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