Have you seen my handy chart for position eligibility for 2021 fantasy baseball? Yeah? Cool. This is the opposite of those guys. These hitters have no eligibility. They are Utility-Only hitters. These are not all hitters who work for your UTIL slot. These are guys who won’t work for any slot but your UTIL slot. Haven’t done this post in a while, but due to last season’s wonkiness, there was a few guys who didn’t get any position eligibility that I needed to go over, so here we are. All 2021 fantasy baseball rankings are there for all the other hitters, and 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 5 utility hitters 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.
1. Yordan Alvarez – This is the first tier. This goes from here until Cruz (assuming he signs somewhere at some point). I call this tier, “Knee’r, far, wherever you are….My heart will go on.” A tier name I sing and sound identical to Celine Dion. People are saying this. They’re like, “Grey, your handsomeness is silly but then to have such beautiful dulcet tones too? C’mon, man, share your gifts with us regular Joes.” I am sharing those gifts, RJs, by singing directly into your inner monologue. By the tier name, I mean I’m worried about the knees on these guys. Was that tough to understand? As for Yordan, I did a Wikipedia googling to see if Yordan had a nickname, because he really should, but it’s not like if he had a nickname I’d ever use it, and not give him one of my own. The day I call Josh Donaldson, Bringer of Rain, will be the day you can call it a wrap on my brain. Bringer of No Brain, that would be me. Hey, Donaldson, do you make condensation? No? Then please eff off. Any hoo! I’m toying with Captain Woo Cubano for Yordan. Swish it around in your mouth, and let me know what it tastes like. The price for Yordan if we knew he was healthy? Well, just think back to last year, borderline top 25 overall. Now, he’s going around 60+ overall, so, yes, there’s an actual buying opportunity this year. That price could get some helium if he shows up at camp (if there is a camp), and looks 100% healthy. My guess, as someone who has just read WebMD, he’s going to be healthy. He looks like one of maybe three guys who could hit 50 homers easily, even in 140 games. The one drawback is the Astros would have to be especially nuts to ever play Yordan in the field, after his injury, so unlike a few of the guys in this post, he’s going in as Util-Only and unlikely to change that, except in Yahoo where they’re supposedly not changing any eligibility from 2019. That’s right, not last year, but two years ago. My biggest thought on this is Yahoo doesn’t want to pay someone to change their eligibility requirements after a 60-game season, so they’re just not changing anything in their system. Yahoo’s been running on empty for a long time now, not just their fantasy, I mean their entire company, and they are likely refusing to invest any money in their product. My guess is within five years there’s no such thing as Yahoo, fantasy or otherwise. 2021 Projections: 91/42/108/.281 in 583 ABs
2. Nelson Cruz – Twins re-signed him. You know they were going to, even if baseball writers were trying to push the narrative: Cruz is holding out to see if the NL would have the DH, like 15 more teams would be competing for his services. There’s only three teams in the NL signing anyone, and those three teams have DHs if it gets implemented. Like the Marlins are gonna suddenly be like, “We can sign a DH for $18 million per year? Where do we sign up!” Or how about the Rockies who spent $50 million to trade away one of their best hitters? Hmm, no? Okay. 2021 Projections: 70/33/89/.273 in 502 ABs
3. Franmil Reyes – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until here. I call this tier, “The $54 Vending Machine Steak.” The tier name is self-explanatory if you speak nonsense. Also, that’s my nickname for Franmil. As for Reyes, already gave you my Franmil Reyes sleeper. It was written while spraying champagne on myself after successfully parallel parking into a tight spot. 2021 Projections: 84/40/96/.267 in 572 ABs
4. Giancarlo Stanton – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Ohtani. I call this tier, “Debunking the debunking equals bunking?” This tier is guys who we all have witnessed do terrible things to our fantasy teams, but a lot of people are debunking that and pretending they are safe to draft. Well, I say HA! I am debunking their debunking, so I’m just bunking, I guess. As for Giancarlo, I saw Giancarlo’s Steamer projections of 41 homers in 138 games and I had myself a nice, sad chuckle. Followed by a long, mournful sigh. What could be, indeed. It’s like watching the first half of most M. Nightmovies. “Okay, cool, crop circles, this is rad, man, I love it—Wait, what’s with the water? Aliens came to a planet where the most plentiful thing is what kills them?” Giancarlo’s career has been one long M. Night movie, only problem is every twist ending is a season-ending injury. “Giancarlo is awesome, man. I love him. This is so cool…Wait, he’s only good if he stays healthy? This twist ending sucks!” 2021 Projections: 71/33/82/.254/2 in 461 ABs
5. J.D. Martinez – Anyone telling you that he will stop his backslide and is now reasonably priced? Well, I don’t know what to do with that information. Could he bounce back and take the career route of, say, Nelson Cruz and be good for 35+ homers every year for the next decade? Su’pose, Cap’n Know-it-All. Last year his BABIP was a career low, but that can’t just be written off as bad luck. BABIPs do drop when a player ages and doesn’t hit the ball as hard. Fenway is a good place to assuage the bad BABIP, but how much heavy lifting are hoping from The Wall. Just Dong could just as easily becoming what we’ve seen so many before him. Name in this ranking that is just one example is Khris Davis. He’s obviously a more dramatic example, but not far off as to what could happen to Just Dong. Guys like Dong start getting older and before you know it they’re hitting .240 with 30 homers and you’re like, “Couldn’t I have just drafted a Renato Nunez-type 150 picks later?” 2021 Projections: 81/31/94/.257/2 in 551 ABs
6. Shohei Ohtani – If I were the Angels, I’d do everything in my power to get Ohtani to stop pitching. I’d hire a skywriter to fly a banner saying he should hit; hire a Michael J. Fox lookalike to wake him in the middle of the night with headphones, blasting he needs to hit because it’s his ‘density,’ and take away the ball when he tries to throw it! Sadly, I think the Angels want him to pitch. Smart, they are not. Yoda, I talk like. Because of the unknown pitching and bat usage, Ohtani is one of the biggest wild cards. If he were to just hit, I’d rank him in the top 100 overall and above Nelson Cruz here. Because he could pitch, and that will either sideline part of some weeks as he recovers, or just sideline indefinitely when the very likely arm injury happens, I’d take the flyer on Ohtani, but not until pretty late. 2021 Projections: 52/20/63/.273/9 in 381 ABs
7. Miguel Cabrera – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until the end of the list. I call this tier, “Old AF.” The AF stands for “and funky.” No one uses AF to abbreviate anything else, right? As for Miggy, all I hope for him is he doesn’t do anything stupid and try to egg out one more great season by injecting anything into himself that can be detected by someone in a lab coat. Please, Miggy. We all remember you were once amazing, and one of the best ever. Just fade away gracefully. 2021 Projections: 52/16/64/.252/2 in 445 ABs
8. Edwin Encarnacion – FREE AGENT 2021 Projections:
9. Daniel Vogelbach – The Jelly Donut of Swat would be helped by the NL DH, but by how much, I ask rhetorically to a still pond on a crisp, cold day, as I ponder how frogs pee. 2021 Projections: 41/18/52/.211 in 321 ABs
10. Khris Davis – Feel like he should write a country music song titled something like, “My Baby Left Me, and My Baby’s Got My .247.” Wonder if Darius Rucker has any interest in co-writing something. Will reach out to the Grand Ole Opry helpdesk for his contact info. UPDATE: Traded to the Rangers to act as…Backup DH? The Rangers better not think of playing Khris Davis in front of Calhoun. i.e., Khris Davis better not be a, uh, Willie-block. 2021 Projections: 38/18/49/.207 in 312 ABs