The top 40 starters for 2021 fantasy baseball fall roughly in the 75 to 125 overall for those of you who are wondering where we are overall, and, of course, when the rankings are done I will be along with a top 500 overall to show you exactly where we are. Think of this set of starters as your number twos and number threes, but, again, I will have a pitchers’ pairing tool to help with that too. I give and you receive. Ho, ho, ho, that’s me giving and you receiving. Here’s Steamer’s 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. As always, where I see tiers starting and stopping are included with my projections. Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters 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.
21. Tyler Glasnow – This tier started in the top 20 starters for 2021 fantasy baseball. This tier ends at Gallen. I called this tier, “The Butcher of Bologna.” As for Glasnow, at some point it’s all going to come together for Glasnow, and at some point you’re going to be able to see your ding-dong, if you skip dessert for the next five years. Good luck to both Glasnow and you! I’ll be here rooting you guys on. 2021 Projections: 10-7/3.92/1.22/164 in 133 IP
22. Zac Gallen – This is a mini tier of guys who are being projected for HOW MANY INNINGS?! Caps and interrobang for emphasis not aesthetics. Gallen’s being projected for 198 IP by some. Those “some” are on some cool new designer drugs.
Opens trench coat, “You wanna try some IPprofen.”
“Why are you shadily trying to sell aspirin?”
“This isn’t ibuprofen. This is IPprofen. It makes you think a starter’s IP will be high this year.”
I feel like some of you are trying to make up for the terrible season we just saw by overcompensating. Guys and five girls, it sucks we just had a 60-game season, but you can’t expect a guy to throw 125 more innings year over year. Just because Gallen threw 72 IP this past year and was around the league leaders, it doesn’t mean he’s going to come back and be amongst the league leaders in IP again when the league leaders are near-200 IP. I love Gallen, but everyone needs to chill on expectations or get off the IPprofen. UPDATE: Suffered a hairline fracture while taking batting practice. Geez, if there was only some way to avoid that. Zac Gallen: Injured by a bargaining chip. I’ve moved him into my top 40 starters, sloppily just putting him in a tier of starters I wouldn’t draft, because, well, I would no longer draft him. Hopefully, if you have already, he’s not out that long. So, he can get back to hitting! 2021 Projections: 8-5/3.07/1.14/132 in 118 IP
23. Dylan Bundy – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Berrios. I call this tier, “Bon varyäge.” The tier name is what you say when you’re taking a number two in a fancy joint. You want a cheap number one? Well, that ship has sailed, but how about an expensive number two? I will go over how to draft starters when I do my pairings post, but this tier is essentially when you think your number one might be a little weak, and you wanna bulk up on a number two. As for Bundy, I started writing a sleeper post for Bundy, then stopped. He already broke out. Felt like old news. Gotta keep it fresh up in here, nah’mean? What sticks out the most for me with Bundy is his huge drop in Z-Swing%. If he were just flat-out wild, I’d prolly scoff like an em-effer scoffer, but he had a 2.3 BB/9 last year. That Z-Swing% is indicating something wild, but more like a wild and crazy good time! Yes! High five me, man! No? Okay. If you’re throwing strikes and people are not swinging, they’re baffled. If you’re teaming that with a 13% SwStr and a 32.4% O-Swing%, well, let’s just say people no longer recognize what Dylan’s dealin’. That’s good too! More high fives! No? Okay, fair. Seriously, pairing 60% or lower Z-Swing, 13% SwStr and 32+% O-Swing is: Bundy, that’s it. Pairing those and in close proximity: Darvish, Nola, Gallen and, yeah, nothing but aces. 2021 Projections: 13-8/3.43/1.06/187 in 178 IP
24. Zach Plesac – Much like my degree in poli-sci, it’s academic saying I would draft Plesac, then not ranking him high enough to draft him. He wouldn’t be my first starter, which is the big difference between a lot of people grabbing Plesac, which is different than grabbing the Bozack. Zach Bozack would be perhaps the greatest name ever though, maybe I could call him that. *thinks for a half a blink* Yes, I can! Just not now. I gotta sneakily work it in when you’re not paying attention. Plesac is a 8.5 K/9, incredible command, low-3 ERA guy, who was spit out of Cleveland’s starting pitcher mill. Too bad their mill has a conveyor belt that leads directly to another team when arbitration hits. 2021 Projections: 10-7/3.42/1.01/152 in 162 IP
25. Jose Berrios – We shouldn’t be guessing this is the season when Berrios finally goes from a number two to a number one, but what fun is not guessing? I’m always guessing. Do you just walk down the street and not shout out weights of passersby? Geez, I guess I’m the weird one. See, another guess! Berrios consistently tempts with an ace year, then falters at some point to give a solid, if not ace year. Some numbers were trending the right way — SwStr% up, velocity up — other numbers trending the wrong way — no command, getting barreled. You Jose Berrios or you Jose Barrelios? Hmm…? My guess (there I go again!) is he just didn’t have the feel for his fastball last year, and had no time for adjustments in a short season. 2021 Projections: 13-7/3.76/1.19/196 in 191 IP
26. Jesus Luzardo – This is a new tier. This tier goes until Lopez. I call this tier, “Get fitted for a tuxedo shirt now.” After the season, there’s gonna be so much excitement and congratulations rolling in from your fantasy baseball championships, you won’t have time to get fitted for your tuxedo shirt then, so now’s the time. This tier is gonna get yo’self some championships. This is the tier where you’re going to win or lose your league. This is the tier last year where you found Woodruff, Lamet, Ryu, Gallen and Odorizzi. Okay, they’re not all gems. But these are the starters I am most excited about and will be drafting repeatedly without caution over and over again and again same sentiment same sentiment same sentiment! I love all of these starters. You’ll notice some sleeper posts, and, if I didn’t feel like I had gone over Urias, Luzardo and Lopez a lot in the past, I would’ve wrote sleepers on them too. In case you get the one starter this year that ends up like Odorizzi, I’m not advising it, but you could prolly just draft three starters from this tier and stream, and be fine in shallower leagues (or maybe even deeper ones). At least four of these guys will be in the top 20 starters next year. Also, you might find yourself thinking, “Yo, Grey, if I were a female or into males, you and I would snog, but some of these guys are ranked way too high.” That’s fine, draft them when you need to, i.e., look at their ADP and draft them a round or two before that, but let’s just say there were people last year saying I was too high on Woodruff, Lamet, Ryu, Gallen and Odorizzi too. Again, oops on Odorizzi. Oopsizzi? As for Luzardo, sorry, I’m a broken record with this, but how does anyone project Luzardo to throw 175 IP this year. Sorry, I’m a broken record with this, but how does anyone–Was skipping too. I think there was a flaw in the Matrix when it came to projecting starters this year for some. Luzardo threw 66 2/3 IP this past year (with postseason), which was roughly 85% of the max for innings by anyone, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to throw 85% of 200 IP this year. I mean, I guess he could, but I fear for his arm if he does. He has a career high of 110 IP and he’s 23 years old. I’d love to see him throw 175 IP, but whoa on expectations. Still, again with stank, STILL! I love him. We’re just waiting, twiddling thumbs, for the huge breakout, and, at that point, Luzardo will become a top 10 starter for a good seven years. He will be special. 2021 Projections: 10-6/3.24/1.21/137 in 135 IP
27. Julio Urias – I’ve made a pretty firm determination at the start of my rankings to not judge what guys did in the postseason with too large of a microscope. Circumstances change so much in the postseason. You’re facing one team over and over–wait, that was this past season too. Well, there was a park change for the Dodgers midway thru postseason, and I just didn’t look at anyone’s output in the postseason that closely, aside from Randy Arozarena and Julio Urias. Urias and Arozarena have other similarities, too, but we won’t talk about who I wouldn’t want my daughter to marry. Plus, I don’t have a daughter. So, Urias’s 7.4 K/9 changes to 8.5 if you include his 23 innings in the postseason (11.4 K/9, 1.17 ERA, 2.95 xFIP), and while not weighing it the same as regular season, when a guy only has 55 IP in the regular season, it’s, well, it’s there! I can’t remove it from my brain — yet at least, but fingers crossed for science qniasiug25–sorry, fingers were still crossed. Urias, much like another Dodgers starter Dustin May, has better stuff than his numbers indicate early in his career, but the breakout feels imminent. As for the Bauer signing and how that affects Urias, maybe Urias gets rested a bit more or piggybacks after May or Gonsolin, but those two latter starters took the biggest hits to their value. People panic during draft season that a guy won’t get his innings, but there’s always plenty to go around, especially when you have Kershaw and a guy who didn’t even pitch last year in your rotation. 2021 Projections: 11-5/3.41/1.10/131 in 139 IP
28. Corbin Burnes – Slight “come clean” before I go into why I love Burnes. He’s going way before this in some leagues where people think they’re smarter than everyone else. It doesn’t mean they’re smarter, they just think they are, so they overdraft some guys. Or they think others in the league are smarter than the average bear, so they outsmart the out-smarters and draft guys way early. Burnes will almost 100% be drafted after this point in 12-teamers with ESPN or Yahoo’ers. So, Burnes is still a steal this late. If I’m proven wrong and ESPN and Yahoo rank Burnes before this, then I will take my L and just not draft Burnes, because I think he’s worth a draft pick around here and not in, say the top 20 starters, where he’s going in some leagues. As for Burnes, it’s all gorge, and I am engorged. He should be going where Woodruff went last year, with a similar outlook, but a shortened season has made his numbers stand out a bit more. He’s a 13 K/9 guy if we’re talking 80 innings, but hopefully we’re not. That’s gonna be the peach we’re canning, which is totally a saying. If the Brewers don’t want to wrap Burnes’s arm in gauze to make him into the Invisible Man for 2022 thru 2023, they won’t throw him for anywhere near 160 IP. Could and likely will be a fantastic 120-ish IP from him, but that feels like upper limits before the returns are diminished by that law. 2021 Projections: 8-8/3.06/1.19/167 in 124 IP
29. Kevin Gausman – Already gave you my Kevin Gausman sleeper. It was written by HAL 9000. 2021 Projections: 10-9/3.49/1.09/188 in 154 IP
30. Chris Paddack – Wild yet true fact that isn’t that wild but is true! Podcaster Ralph texted me about Paddack just as I was about to write this blurb, and convinced me to take another look at him, and move him out of the next tier of guys I don’t want. Then a few weeks later, Ralph told me he’s no longer into Paddack, so do we trust December Ralph, or January Ralph? Welp, too late for me, because I’ve already dug in on him, and I dig it. Turns out Paddack tried to add a cutter and he would’ve been better adding an eephus pitch or just rolling the ball to the plate. That cutter hurt his fastball, and produced a batting average against of .500 and a SLG of 1.167. The back of his shirt when he’s riding a Harley should say, “Ditch the *itch.” And we can wonder why he edited the word pitch. That cutter screwed up everything. In a normal season, you have time to adjust and figure out yo’ shizz. In a 60-game season, you don’t even have time to hit a phantom IL stint and talk to someone about what’s going wrong. Me telling you to draft Paddack again is also about his price. He’s so cheap this year. A 9 K/9, 1-something BB/9 and in Petco is that cheap? Won’t be for long. 2021 Projections: 12-8/3.61/1.06/165 in 161 IP
31. Pablo Lopez – I was tempted to just make one tier of all the Marlins starters. Call that shizz, “Fish,” and flap around on the ground like a carp out of water while I type that shizz up! Ya feel me? You do? Okay, stop touching me then. Pab-Lo is my favorite of the Fishmen, and will be smacking my own face numerous times during drafts to not draft four of five Marlins starters. “He’s my starter!” Smack! “He’s my daughter!” Smack! “He’s dating Randy Arozarena!” What? Lopez is a high-8 K/9 with lovely command who is just coming into his own. The 94 MPH fastball was a top fastball last year, and he had the 14th lowest HardHit%, producing a silly 6.7 Launch Angle. Ya think he produced some ground balls? Um, yeah. Ks and ground balls is as good as it gets. Let’s just hope the Ks don’t regress, giving us blues balls, as he lets everyone hit grounders to Jazz. 2021 Projections: 10-10/3.71/1.14/169 in 164 IP
32. Ian Anderson – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Wheeler. I call this tier, “Raining cold water on the pants tent.” This is just a tier of guys who could be good, but Redd Foxx would call you a big ol’ dummy if you drafted any of them. Ain’t no thing in my chicken and wing combo, but hell if I’m paying full price for any of these guys. I am ye of little faith while listening to Faith No More after ripping Faith Evans out of my Word Up magazine. As for Anderson, already gave you my Ian Anderson fantasy. It was written while picking needles out of my teeth after eating a hedgehog. 2021 Projections: 8-7/3.78/1.24/157 in 132 IP
33. Sixto Sanchez – Already gave you my Sixto Sanchez fantasy. It had a special collector’s hologram in it. 2021 Projections: 8-5/3.31/1.12/101 in 105 IP
34. Stephen Strasburg – He could be fine, but here’s a very hard piece of advice to follow: Don’t draft him. Can you do that? Are you up to the task? I believe in you, but do you believe in yourself? Ya know when it will be very hard to “Don’t draft him?” When we get to the spring and he’s throwing and looking good and you’re like, “I trust Mike Rizzo, the Nats GM, more than the handsome-faced jerk Grey!” I hear ya, but Mike Rizzo is paid to tell you Strasburg is healthy, and I’m paid a lot less to tell you it’s not worth the risk if Rizzo, Strasburg and others are lying. Save yourself an ulcer and avoid. 2021 Projections: 7-9/3.66/1.12/134 in 123 IP
35. Zack Wheeler – Yes, last year is easily discardable like my Gregg Jefferies rookie cards, but in this case I want to hold onto them *points to glass case surrounded by lasers like you’d see in an action movie that is filled with my Gregg Jefferies rookie cards* Their price will rebound! Any hoo! Wheeler was awful last year! A 6.7 K/9, with a huge uptick in ground balls that illustrates a pitcher who decided, “Hey, let’s throw to contact!” On a new team, it’s even more suspicious because maybe that is a new game plan. I don’t know, but I’m not paying to find out when there’s roughly a dozen guys I want instead of him where he’s being drafted. Wheel on, Wheela. 2021 Projections: 13-8/3.87/1.12/161 in 182 IP
36. Lance McCullers – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until the top 60 starters for 2021 fantasy baseball. I call this tier, “Sideways bosom.” There’s safety in numbers. The number three, for unstints, is safe. The number 3 also looks like a sideways bosom. What’s more comforting! These pitchers should be a fantasy number 3 like a sideways bosom. This is a repeat of last year’s fantasy number three tier name, because I like to keep things samesies for when I put together my pitching draft tool. It makes things easier for me. Sorry, you’ll get over it. As for McCullers, McCullers, Cullers-Cullers–Sorry, Ice T always pops in my head. You can imagine how convenient that is when I’m drinking lemonade. Watch out, here comes Arnold Palmer! McCullers is one of maybe ten pitchers who really benefitted the most from 2020. What a great excuse to go out and essentially rehab for 55 IP in a wonky season. Not only do I think McCullers is someone to draft, I think he’s safe, and has some upside. Yummo for me! 2021 Projections: 12-6/3.81/1.19/166 in 154 IP
37. Kyle Hendricks – He’s such a prototypical number three starter. You google “number three starter,” and it returns just a picture of Hendricks in a life vest. Hendricks is such a prototypical number three, he doesn’t even smile. Not smiling is what a number three starter does. Emotion is for ones and twos, and fours and fives. Threes don’t smile! They just put on their hard hat, life vest and go to work making everything safer. 2021 Projections: 12-9/3.39/1.14/154 in 191 IP
38. Patrick Corbin – I get the urge to write off Corbin like it’s your cocker spaniel you adopted. Pupi Cholo is a dependent, but not for taxes, so you can’t write him off. Sorry. Also, Corbin is still someone I would draft, so can’t write him off either. Yes, his K/9 fell, but so did his walk rate. Okay, his velocity fell. All the way to the same velocity he had when he threw 200 IP in 2018 when he had a 3.15 ERA. His career BABIP is around .310, and last year it was .362. He did give up a bit too many homers, but he’s been an ace for two straight years, and you can’t give a guy a pass in that wildly dumb year? I’m not even asking you to give him a pass, and draft him as your ace, which he could be. I’m merely saying as a number three starter bounce back? This is a no brainer, which is my speciality! 2021 Projections: 11-8/3.89/1.24/181 in 184 IP
39. John Means – Already gave you my John Means sleeper. It averaged out the Means. 2021 Projections: 10-13/3.78/1.10/167 in 172 IP
40. Chris Bassitt – Already gave you my Chris Bassitt sleeper. It was written while trying to touch my toes. 2021 Projections: 12-8/3.49/1.18/156 in 162 IP
CONTINUE ON TO THE TOP 60 STARTERS FOR 2021 FANTASY BASEBALL
Villar to the Mets – now we can see the conspiracy at work… I totally think Villar is a Mets fan considering how god awful his ABs were against them last year.
Interesting take on Urias. I have to ask, though, especially after what Urias did in the postseason last year. Do you think that if Jensen falters early or just falters whenever, that the Dodgers might move Urias back to the bullpen and even drop him into the closer’s role immediately?
Urias has never pitched a lot of innings and still has that shoulder surgery issue that might make LA want to limit his innings. Also, Kenley seems to be weakening. Also, the Dodgers have a boatload of talented starters to throw. Also, Urias was extremely poised and polished as a closer for the Dodgers at the end last year, even picking up saves in a couple of big World Series games, including Game 7.
I would rather see Urias as a starter, don’t get me wrong. But part of me thinks the Dodgers might have closer plans for him as soon as this year. What’s your take on that situation? You seemed to be following the starter path strictly.
Thanks. Good work!
Urias won’t move to the bullpen. If they move Jansen out of that role they’ll go to Treinen or Graterol. Urias is too good to not have in the rotation.
Good point. He really belongs in a starter’s role. I think you’re right.
Didn’t Cindy Mancini end up dead from heroin?
hey Mr Grey in order who are your top 3 mlb prospects that will be promoted to a major league club this year – this would be for a keeper league and thank you sir
Arozarena, Mountcastle, Sixto
They are all owned via yahoo from last year
I should just keep guessing who isn’t owned?
Steamer seems to hate Plesac. My thoughts were he’d be more in line with yours. I have to make a keeper decision on him. Do you see your projections as ceiling-ish or floor-ish.
Why does Steamer hate him?
Realistic? Prolly closer to floor — Steamer prolly hates him bc it doesn’t trust his new Ks
Received a trade offer:
I give up: Jake Cronenworth ($7), Minor league prospect Corbin Carroll and $11 in salary cap space
I get: Xander Bogaerts ($29) and minor league prospect Matthew Liberatore.
Make the deal or no
thanks as always
Which minor league prospect would u rather want Nick Gonzales or Robert Puason?
so my friend shouldnt trade gonzales for puason
what about him offering Daulton Varsho for Puason
Works for me
or jazz chisholm
Close, prolly go Chisholm if for future
tell him to offer Chisholm for Puason?
No, offer Varsho
hesaid no to varsho
Meh, forget it
i’ll tell him that. thanx buddy
I thought I was out on Paddack too and now I don’t know!
My last keeper choice is between Voit(10th) or Paddack (16th)
Apparently they’re deadening the ball a bit this season. Go back and change all your HR projections.
Haha, are people still drafting SPs high too?
I heard 5 humidors too, woof!
Great stuff. Loved your Gausman article, plan on keeping him in my 12-team dynasty league. Thanks.
Related keeper question for same league, kind of a value vs cost question. Keepers cost the value of one round higher than the draft pick where they were acquired, or if they were FA acquisitions they cost a final round pick (or as close to it as possible). Can keep 5 players.
Planning to keep:
Kyle Tucker – cost 23rd rd pick
Yasmani Grandal – cost 22nd rd pick
James Karinchak – cost 24th rd pick
Kevin Gausman – cost 21st rd pick
…for the 5th keeper, players in contention are:
Luke Voit – cost 8th rd pick
Carlos Carrasco – cost 9th rd pick
Marco Gonzales – cost 20th rd pick
Which of those players would you recommend keeping at their cost?
Between Voit and Carrasco, I’d go Voit
6 player keeper – shallow 12 team points league (9 starting bats/5 SP). Typically guys keep 4 bats and 2 arms, but I have a wealth of pitchers so the cut is tough to make. Preliminarily I’ve got Acuna, Alonso, Bregman, Scherzer, Giolito, Gallen as my 6. I think I have it right, but would you replace any with the below, or keep a 4th bat over an arm?
Hmm…Prolly between Ozuna and Gallen as last toss up…But in a points league, I can’t argue with what you have
Hey Grey – I have a keeper question that may be tough to answer from the outside looking in but thought I would still ask just to see another perspective.
In a shallow keeper league with 8 teams and no keeper restrictions (no $ value, round value, etc.). There are lots of trades and only about 6 teams truly keep up with players and their team (an old league with old friends). Since it’s so shallow, I put about 50% weight on current rankings and 50% weight on keeper rankings to determine who I like each year.
Knowing all this, who would you say you like better out of Machado and Devers? Like I said, may be tough to answer such a specific question but just wanted to see if you could provide some wisdom – thanks!
What do ‘Adj Grey’ dollar amounts refer to?
They’re my $ amounts
You referring to top 500? Usually I just remove Adj (it’s short for adjusted — internal jargon for rudy)
ah i see ! thanks FMLda
Getting more and more focused for my home league’s 38th season (est 1984) thanks to you. 12 team re-draft, 5X5 standard roto, salivating over a core group of SP’s you have justified my love for. Guys going a bit later that I’ll be targeting are Carrasco, Luzardo, Framber, Gausman, Urias and the Sherriff, Matter of fact can I just take those 6 and call it a day? Ha very doubtful. There is 1 SP I’m interested to see where he lands, an OG most of the industry is discounting.
Very informative, thanks Grey!
Thanks! Honestly, I think you can likely do fine with those six, but bit more risky than having someone like Lynn 1st
Agree, need an anchor.
Different sport but how about #12 yesterday? Would’ve won some $ in Vegas!
Yeah, game was kinda boring tho, no?
Did drag a bit towards the end, but not boring. Watched a TB team built much the same way as the TB Rays, with superior personnel decision makers, and astute talent evaluators hold down a very good KC team. That Buccaneer defense was very impressive, flying around, pressuring Mahomes, smothering their WR’s, giving the short stuff underneath and rallying to the ball. TB coaches deserve a ton of credit.
Honestly, I don’t know anything about the Bucs…I mean, I know football basics, but that’s about it
Bucs have the lowest winning % in NFL history (.393). Brady goes there, talks Gronk, Antonio Brown and Fournette into coming with him and they win the Super Bowl. Pretty amazing story. I’m sure Fournette is happy Jacksonville cut him earlier in the season. Now he’s got a ring.
First five rings on one hand, 6th ring on pinkie of other hand — where do you put 7th ring tho?
Wherever Giselle wants !
That’s pretty amazing, I didn’t know that about the Bucs historically
How many starts do you think Urias will make ? 16 ? 18 ?How many innings ? 120 ? Remember they also have to feed May and Gonsolin.
Urias will have his starts and innings reduced now.
Hey February Grey,
Good to see you! Who do you like as my last 2 keepers?
keep 11 15 team obp slg league that counts k’s for batters as well:
thinking of keeping : Olson, Albies, Tatis, SMarte, Merrifield, Mondesi, Buehler, Maeda, Carrasco and for my last two some combo of:
Pressley – have no picks till round 8 (10 round draft) so think I need to keep a closer
Gausman – we have both K and K/9
KHendricks – great for QS but not for K and K/9
Greinke – great for wins but wasn’t great last year
Suarez – awful in short season, got a pile of high k guys already, could draft HR / hits / obp guys later I think (would need to fill C 3B and LF) but high HR upside
Good to see you!
This is a saves only league? Gausman and Pressley or Hendricks, either I’m fine with
yes saves only
I could also move Pressley and a non keeper for Iglesias..any benefit here?
That sounds better to me
Agree time for Seth to play
120 innings from Corbin Burnes… it feels like you are the only web site taking the under on 150 innings and quite frankly I don’t know why. Dude has not thrown more than 80 innings in the major leagues. It is just logic… and funny enough you use logic in the rest if your rankings too! This is why I keep reading Razzball.
I hear ya, Ryan, I’m not sure what’s going on with other people this year…A lot of these feel pretty obvious
Burnes going @56 is way too expensive for me. If he’s never thrown more than 80, anything over 120 is negligence on the club’s part.
Anything over 120 innings would be gross negligence on the club’s part.
Grey, what can I say you are a cure for the pandemic blues. :)
Mixed league 12 team keeper. So I gave a three year contract to Benintendi after 2018 ($21 per year for three years). I suffered through 2019 and due to COVID we did not play a season so for contract purposes 2020 never happened.
I have an opportunity to drop Benintendi for a 21 dollar cap hit (21/2*2) which I can move into the 2022 season. ( I will worry about 21 dollar cap hit in 2022)
I have to do this right? If I gamble and lose on a Benintendi comeback it will cost me not only 21 bucks this year and next but i will lose the opportunity to draft a better player.
Lose Benintendi for $21? Yes, lose him
Framber Valdez or Yasiel Puig actually on a team 16 man 6×6
Will I see the most expensive 4/5 starter in baseball when the top 60 SP list is published? The year off for price may be good for him since there is a lot of mileage on that arm. Thanks
I don’t buy a year off is good for him
And I’m just waiting to hear he’s taking another year off
Yeah you can do that when you’ve been making $30m a year
Thanks for all your work. I’ve been quietly reading the Patreon posts and feeling smug about how good my keeper roster looks for this year. I feel like we’re now deep enough into my pitchers that I can justify bragging on here about my team.
12 team, H2H, 5×5+OPS+QS+H.
C – Vasquez
C – Sisco (or maybe he gets thrown back)
1B – Bellinger
2B – Biggio
3B – Chapman
SS – Mondesi
OF – Betts
OF – Harper
OF – Grisham
OF – Laureano
UT – Javy Baez
UT – Teoscar
BN – Eddie Rosario, Andres Gimenez (Renato Nunez and Hanser Alberto potentially on the chopping block for our roster cut downs).
SP – Bieber
SP – Scherzer
SP – Gallen
SP – Maeda
RP – Hendricks, Devin Williams, Evan Marshall, Richard Rodriguez (Sergio Romo, Yusmiero Petit on the chopping block)
P – Plesac, Lopez, Musgrove, Gonsolin, Odorizzi (presuming he signs), Dunning, Kim, Turnbull, EdRod
Mostly just wanted to brag about what a pitching staff looks like after reading Razzball every morning for years.
But, any input? Thoughts on cuts?
I have to eliminate at least three. I’m still hoping to shop another two-for-one though.
Again, keep up the good work.
Ha, nice! Thanks!
That pitching does look dope, you know how I feel about all those guys…EdRod, Turnbull, Kim are all kinda bleh, and Gonsoln got hurt by Bauer
Just flipped Ed Rod and Petit for Gausman.
Boing baby boing!
Haha, why am I having deja vu?
No on Seth Brown or is he worth a bench bat slot in a 60 player, 10 team roto dynasty or go with Hilliard or Rowdy
OK, Rowdy it is. Seth or Sam?
Ok, thanks. Hope you had a good weekend. My brother is home, resting, Doc said it could be a couple of months until he is 100% again
Damn, but at least he’s on road to recovery
Do you think the K Davis trade cuts into willie calhouns playing time and does it change your projections for him? I realize someone is going to have to play LF when dahl is out for half of the year, but I thought calhloun was going to be primary DH. Thanks
I didn’t change my Willie Calhoun projections, can’t see the Rangers actually playing Khris Davis enough to change Calhoun’s outlook…If they do, then they’re dumber than I give them credit for
Paying Davis $16.5 mil. to not play. Makes no sense unless Oak. ate his contract.
Khris Davis and Joey Gallo in the same lineup would be perhaps the worst lineup in history, but I won’t put anything past the Rangers
Look forward to these rankings every year Grey. Good stuff. I have a keeper question for you—Pete Alonso vs Bo Bichette. I also have Wander waiting around as I did not want anyone picking him up as I’m in a yearly keeper league. My keepers are Luis Robert, Eloy, Bo, Wander, and Cole. I figured once Wander comes up I could just trade Bo for some assets. So what do you think? Bo or the Polar Bear for a keeper?
One more question Grizzle!
For 15-team draft-and-holds, I know you don’t like to use too many of your 50 picks on RPs. I checked the top 5 overall from last year. On average, they take their 1st RP after 110 picks are gone like you and their 2nd sometime between 150-200 overall…which makes sense. Where they differ from you, is that they end up drafting 8-10 total RPs!!
These seem like wasted picks except for a couple of darts that paid off (Montero/Rosenthal).
Do you see any benefit in taking this many stabs for possible closers (or I guess the occasional sub when you can’t find 7 SPs to start in a given week)?
Laura posted an article at the beginning of last season on this subject. Crappy starters unlikely to get a win can trash your ratios and leave you paying for a few strikes. Good non-closer relievers can pick up wins and the occasional save whilst improving your ratios and adding a few strikes.
I draft a few RPs for speculative saves, not for ratios. You shouldn’t be starting non-closers in that format.
Would just like to respectfully disagree with Cram about not starting non closer relievers in a draft and hold format. I did this many times in my league winning team last year. My crappy starters whom I usually left on my bench. Lindbloom, Minor, Gibson, Junis and Rodon. 41 starts 5 wins. My non Closers Jackson Duffey Sims and Green 9 wins. Not insisting I’m correct here, just saying there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
I’m glad it worked for you, but I think this is an outlier. Your starting SP was crap, as you showed, so you were basically forced to start your RPs and they happened to get you more wins. I don’t think anyone should be going into that type of draft with an RP over SP strategy.
I think most SP is going to be crap in a 750 player draft for about the last third of it. My intention is to start the best pitcher available be it a SP or RP. About 360 Pitchers will be rostered. Steamer will have a load of non closing RPs in the top 360. Think we’re both convinced we’re correct here, so let’s agree to disagree on this matter.
Good luck with all your teams, especially your defence of your RCL title.
Terrible pitcher like Jhoulys Chacin vs. any RP? Any RP, but it’s hard to have a staff full of RPs for a long stretch, you will fall behind in Ks, wins dramatically
Not for the first time I have made my point very badly. The majority of my Pitchers will be SPs. As you correctly point out a starting lineup with too many RPs would be disastrous. Just trying to say that at times 6 SPs 2 Closers and another RP can be better than 7 SPs and 2 Closers.
Yeah, totally — agreed!
Haha. Ignore my last comment then. We’re on the same page. Surely there are times when you’re better off starting an extra RP week to week.
It sounds like you won last year with that strategy, a severely shortened season, with RPs lucking into as many wins as some bad SPs. But it’s math…3 Shane Greenes will leave you too far behind in Ks and Wins of 3 Mike Minors in a full season.
Thanks for the well wishes! I’d love to see your strategy win again!
Agree with Cram, in 50 picks, you have a few spare picks to try for speculative closers…Usually grab 2 or 3
ESPN update in progress. ?
Grey, thanks for this. Much appreciated.
Question on one portion: ‘Get fitted for a tuxedo shirt now’. I’ll be fine picking up one of the NL 5 from this section in an NL only league.
For my AL only league, can you drop maybe 1 or 2 more names in case Framber & Luzardo are gone? I’m confident Luzardo will be taken. Framber might be possible, but I’d love to have 1 or 2 AL backups just in case.
Muchos Grey, muchos.
I had some free time Friday night so I decided to draft my first team of the year on Yahoo the other night not knowing what the SP 21-40 would look like, but I like the team considering!
Got Olsen, Albies, Devers,Story on the IF
Bellinger, Castellanos, Santander OF
Muncy and Hoz at UT
What excites me most is Maeda, Carrasco, Framber, Gausman, Bassitt at SP. Plus Eovaldi, Mahle, and Eflin late. Thankfully from the sleeper posts!!!
Closers are wreck, but that’ll sort out later on.
Thank you Gray! Can’t wait for the top 100 next week1
That pitching staff is stacked, nice team!
Thank you. A little light on SB but SAGNOF!
Great stuff Lothario!, uh mean Grey. Love getting me rankings early via patreon for early draft season. Apreesh!
Queshion on Kyle Hendricks: Averaged approx $15 in 15-team value last 3 years (roughly 80-90 overall)…still in his prime although team is on the decline…yet you have him ranked well after that (though your comments on him are positive.) I could see slotting him between Berrios and Framber…perhaps even higher given small risk profile. What say you, my mensch?
He’s a number 3 starter, about as number three as they come
Love this list! I had some of this players last year so hopefully can get them again this year.
Question, I am in a league where pitchers are taken very early. I have the 2nd pick and we are 14, so unless Shane Bieber falls to the end of the second round, I don’t see myself picking a pitcher until round 4 or 5, so I’ll have to choose between the pitchers off this list to be my first pitcher.
So, off this list (and let’s include Lamet because I see him falling), What would you say is the best one to pick as my number 1 pitcher? Or what other strategy should you suggest?
I go over which pitchers to draft: https://razzball.com/top-20-starters-for-2021-fantasy-baseball/
Hey Grey – really
enjoying your rankings and great write up!
I’m in a 10 team H2H keeper league (we get 10 keepers) with R,H,HR, RBI, AVG, BB, SB (7×5). My keepers heading into the draft are:
2 – Ketel
SS – Trea
OF – Soto
OF – Acuna
OF – Harper
OF – Yordan
Bn: Julio Rodriguez, Adell
I was offered a couple big trades for Harper by two
1) Harper for Machado, Kelenic and Grisham
2) Harper for Devers and Mondesi
Harper is a beast in our pool because of the settings. If I keep Harper I could likely trade Adell and another player I draft for Rendon to fill out my 3B. Given we have 7 hitting categories and it’s a weekly H2H I think it dings Mondesi’s value slightly in my league settings but he’s still got for huge upside.
Would you take one of the trades and if so which one or would you hold Harper and make a cheaper move to get Rendon?
I bet with players like those, your team was probably terrible like mine about 5 years ago. That’s a nice group of talent you have. I would definitely trade Harper for Machado, Kelenic and Grisham if that’s a keeper. Would pass on the other deal.
They’re both decent…I’d take Devers/Mondesi
“Max Fried-man is trying to pull a Ronald McDonald Miller scam on us.”
“Relax, man. He’s harmless.”
“I’m sending him back to the minor leagues.”
Appreciate the work on the lists so far. I’m in a 20 team league so obviously it can be a bit more risky to wait on SP. However, how much would your SP strategy change (if at all) in a deep league, given the depth but also the current pitcher landscape after a shortened season?
Thanks! I don’t change my strategy for NL or AL-Only leagues which are equally deep, so I wouldn’t change much…If you don’t trust yourself to get a good pitching staff, then you need to do what you need to do
Very nice top 40 for starters!
a. Love that Get fitted for a Tuxedo shirt tier! Who wouldn’t??!!
b. Continuing on the corona timeline, not great yet still alive.
c. MLB quote of the day for February 8, 2021
[Caveat Alert! Someone mentioned a few Mondays ago, Hey! Ante! My birthday was over the weekend and you missed it, shame on you. Then Grey chimed in, yeah Ante! Shame on you. So here I am for the weekend and today’s quote. If it were just today, it’d be only Bush and that’s not good enough for the Land of RazzBall.]
1. Babe Ruth, born February 6, 1895
‘The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.’
Babe Ruth in Pinstripe Quotes: The Wit and Wisdom of the New York Yankees (Henry Clougherty, Sports Publishing, 02/22/2013, Page 201) [Babe Ruth Quotes]
2. Lew Burdette, died February 6, 2007
‘I make my living off the hungriness of the hitters,’ Lew Burdette used to say. That was when he was beating the Yankees for the Milwaukee Braves in Games 2, 5 and 7 of the 1957 World Series. By “hungriness” he meant eagerness to kill pitches chosen to be not killable.’
Sportswriter Leonard Koppett in the Seattle Post Intelligencer (11/08/2001, ‘The Thinking Fan: Playoff pitching proves point’, Source)
3. Ralph Kiner, died February 6, 2014
‘I think one of the most difficult things for anyone who’s played baseball is to accept the fact that maybe the players today are playing just as well as ever.’
Ralph Kiner in Voices from Cooperstown: Baseball’s Hall of Famers Tell It Like It Was (Anthony J. Connor, Galahad Books, 03/1998, Page 295) [Ralph Kiner Quotes]
4. Carney Lansford, born February 7, 1957
‘I don’t think I ever saw a regular third baseman who had less range than Carney Lansford. The reason is, he dived for everything, and I meant everything. You could not hit a ball so close to Carney Lansford’s left or right that he wouldn’t dive for it. You could hit the ball three feet from Lansford on his glove side, and he’d dive for it and come up short half the time. And the cheerleaders in the press box used to rave about his defense because he made all those diving stops. His range was however far he could dive; not a step and a dive, just a dive. He was a good hitter, but he was an awful third baseman.’
Author / Historian Bill James in The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract (Free Press Publishing, 06/13/2003, ’39. Carney Lansford,’ Page 564)
5. Burton Hooton, born February 7, 1950
‘The memory that sticks out for me was just my first day at Wrigley Field. Coming off the University of Texas campus and into that Cubs clubhouse [Straight To The Major Leagues]… I was just a 21-year-old-kid. I was watching Ernie Banks and Billy Williams and Ron Santo and Don Kessinger and Glenn Beckert and Randy Hundley and Fergie Jenkins. These were guys I had been watching on TV the previous eight or nine years. Then all of a sudden, here I am wearing the same uniform and I am one of their teammates. I will always remember just the way they accepted me and how nice and professional they all were.’
Burton Hooton in Game of Chicago Cubs: Memorable Stories of Cubs Baseball (Lew Freedman, Sports Publishing, ‘Where Have You Gone? BURT HOOTON,’ 05/01/2007)
6. Dan Quisenberry, born February 7, 1953
‘Reggie Jackson hit one (a home run, July 26, 1980) off me that’s still burrowing its way to Los Angeles.’
Dan Quisenberry in Babe Ruth’s Incredible Records and the 44 Players Who Broke Them (John A. Mercurio, S.P.I. Books, 07/01/1993, Page 138) [Dan Quisenberry Quotes]
7. Frank Robinson, died February 7, 2019
”I won the fight.’ His teammates, who had seen the one-sided affair, stared questioningly. ‘I had a homer and a double,’ explained Robby, ‘drove in one run, scored another and made a catch that robbed (Eddie) Mathews of an extra-base hit. We won the second game 4-0. I won the fight.’ Interesting logic? Maybe so. But it is the kind of thinking that has made Frank Robinson one of the most startling men in baseball and a nostalgic carry-back to the old days of the game – the days of hard hitting and harder fielding, of bench sniping, occassional brawls and plain old cussedness. Robinson has variously been called a sorehead, a sadist and a ‘black Ty Cobb.’ He has been dismissed as a loafer and criticized as a viciously agressive player. Says Robinson himself, in phrases reminisecent of Cobb: ‘I am not a fancy guy, not a glamour boy. I don’t believe I intrigue the fans and obviously I don’t interest the sportswriters. All that I am is an uncomplicated, single-minded guy. And my single-mindedness is baseball.”‘
Ebony Magazine (September 1966, ‘FRANK ROBINSON: HAWK AMONG THE ORIOLES’, Page 88) [Frank Robinson Quotes]
8. Matt Bush, born February 8, 1986
‘When I was the first pick and I wasn’t performing the way a first pick should have, I couldn’t handle it. I felt like a failure. I hated myself at practice or during the game until the end of the day, when I could grab my keys and hop into my nice expensive car and feel like somebody. Those were my devils: money, fame and expectations. I was hollow inside.’
Matt Bush (David Schoenfield, 05/13/2016, ‘Matt Bush becomes 30-year-old rookie with Rangers,’ Source)
B. Ain’t we all!
C. 6. We should have a Reggie quote every day for just me — also, Quiz passed away a while ago
a. RIP Quiz!
b. I thought you might like the Lew Burdette quote. It blew me away, hitting an unhittable pitch.
A. Yeah, only 23 years ago, but feels like maybe 18 or 19 years ago
B. Yeah, that was good too!
Epic stuff as always Ante.