MLB Fantasy Baseball 2021: Top 100 Big Board, Positional Rankings, Top Sleepers

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured Columnist

MLB Fantasy Baseball 2021: Top 100 Big Board, Positional Rankings, Top Sleepers

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    It's fantasy baseball draft season once again, with spring training wrapping up and Opening Day right around the corner.

    Before we dive into this year's fantasy rankings, a bit of clarification is needed.

    First, everything is based on 10- or 12-team mixed leagues with standard five-by-five rotisserie scoring for hitters (batting average, runs, home runs, RBI, stolen bases) and pitchers (wins, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, saves).

    Second, lineup construction assumes 22 active roster positions, consisting of one each for catcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, corner infield, middle infield and utility, along with five outfielders and nine pitchers.

    Finally, to be eligible at a particular position, players must have accrued at least 10 games there in 2020 or be projected to play there regularly in 2021.

    With that established, it's on to the Big Board, followed by our positional rankings and, finally, five deep sleepers.

Top 100 Overall

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    Mookie Betts
    Mookie BettsEric Gay/Associated Press

    Before we dive into our positional rankings, here are the top 100 overall fantasy baseball players for the 2020 season:

    1. Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, ATL
    2. Mookie Betts, OF, LAD
    3. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, SD
    4. Juan Soto, OF, WAS
    5. Mike Trout, OF, LAA
    6. Jacob deGrom, SP, NYM
    7. Trea Turner, SS, WAS
    8. Jose Ramirez, 3B, CLE
    9. Gerrit Cole, SP, NYY
    10. Christian Yelich, OF, MIL
    11. Trevor Story, SS, COL
    12. Shane Bieber, SP, CLE
    13. Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL
    14. Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF, LAD
    15. Trevor Bauer, SP, LAD
    16. Francisco Lindor, SS, NYM
    17. Manny Machado, 3B, SD
    18. Bryce Harper, OF, PHI
    19. Anthony Rendon, 3B, LAA
    20. DJ LeMahieu, 1B/2B/3B, NYY
    21. Yu Darvish, SP, SD
    22. Alex Bregman, 3B, HOU
    23. Bo Bichette, SS, TOR
    24. Walker Buehler, SP, LAD
    25. Lucas Giolito, SP, CWS
    26. Nolan Arenado, 3B, STL
    27. Xander Bogaerts, SS, BOS
    28. Corey Seager, SS, LAD
    29. Ozzie Albies, 2B, ATL
    30. Aaron Nola, SP, PHI
    31. Rafael Devers, 3B, BOS
    32. Max Scherzer, SP, WAS
    33. Jose Abreu, 1B, CWS
    34. Luis Castillo, SP, CIN
    35. Eloy Jimenez, OF, CWS
    36. Kyle Tucker, OF, HOU
    37. Jack Flaherty, SP, STL
    38. Clayton Kershaw, SP, LAD
    39. George Springer, OF, TOR
    40. J.T. Realmuto, C, PHI
    41. Marcell Ozuna, OF, ATL
    42. Blake Snell, SP, SD
    43. Brandon Woodruff, SP, MIL
    44. Whit Merrifield, 2B/OF, KC
    45. Zac Gallen, SP, ARI
    46. Adalberto Mondesi, SS, KC
    47. Trent Grisham, OF, SD
    48. Tim Anderson, SS, CWS
    49. Tyler Glasnow, SP, TB
    50. Josh Hader, RP, MIL
    51. Max Fried, SP, ATL
    52. Aaron Judge, OF, NYY
    53. Liam Hendriks, RP, CWS
    54. Nelson Cruz, DH, MIN
    55. Michael Conforto, OF, NYM
    56. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, STL
    57. Alec Bohm, 3B, PHI
    58. Luis Robert, OF, CWS
    59. Lance Lynn, SP, CWS
    60. Kenta Maeda, SP, MIN
    61. Corbin Burnes, SP, MIL
    62. Starling Marte, OF, MIA
    63. Gleyber Torres, SS, NYY
    64. Charlie Blackmon, OF, COL
    65. Luke Voit, 1B, NYY
    66. Ketel Marte, 2B/OF, ARI
    67. Stephen Strasburg, SP, WAS
    68. Sonny Gray, SP, CIN
    69. Patrick Corbin, SP, WAS
    70. Aroldis Chapman, RP, NYY
    71. Brandon Lowe, 2B/OF, TB
    72. Pete Alonso, 1B, NYM
    73. Jose Altuve, 2B, HOU
    74. Max Muncy, 1B/2B/3B, LAD
    75. Teoscar Hernandez, OF, TOR
    76. Joe Musgrove, SP, SD
    77. Hyun Jin Ryu, SP, TOR
    78. Randy Arozarena, OF, TB
    79. Cavan Biggio, 2B/3B/OF, TOR
    80. James Karinchak, RP, CLE
    81. Austin Meadows, OF, TB
    82. Zack Wheeler, SP, PHI
    83. Jose Berrios, SP, MIN
    84. Eddie Rosario, OF, CLE
    85. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, CHC
    86. Eugenio Suarez, SS/3B, CIN
    87. Giancarlo Stanton, DH, NYY
    88. Kyle Hendricks, SP, CHC
    89. Zack Greinke, SP, HOU
    90. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B, TOR
    91. Wil Myers, OF, SD
    92. Jesus Luzardo, SP, OAK
    93. Sixto Sanchez, SP, MIA
    94. Ian Anderson, SP, ATL
    95. Javier Baez, SS, CHC
    96. Carlos Correa, SS, HOU
    97. Kris Bryant, 3B, CHC
    98. Julio Urias, SP, LAD
    99. Salvador Perez, C, KC
    100. Edwin Diaz, RP, NYM


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    J.T. Realmuto
    J.T. RealmutoCarlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Top 20 Catchers

    1. J.T. Realmuto, PHI
    2. Salvador Perez, KC
    3. Will Smith, LAD
    4. Willson Contreras, CHC
    5. Yasmani Grandal, CWS
    6. Travis d'Arnaud, ATL
    7. Gary Sanchez, NYY
    8. James McCann, NYM
    9. Sean Murphy, OAK
    10. Christian Vazquez, BOS
    11. Buster Posey, SF
    12. Mitch Garver, MIN
    13. Carson Kelly, ARI
    14. Jorge Alfaro, MIA
    15. Daulton Varsho, ARI
    16. Wilson Ramos, DET
    17. Yadier Molina, STL
    18. Max Stassi, LAA
    19. Tom Murphy, SEA
    20. Pedro Severino, BAL


    Overvalued: Daulton Varsho, ARI (ADP: 211)It's intriguing to grab a guy with catcher eligibility who could see everyday playing time in the outfield, and Varsho was a highly regarded prospect for a reason. But he looked lost last year with a .188 average and 33 strikeouts in 115 plate appearances. Drafting him as your starting catcher is a huge risk.

    Undervalued: Max Stassi, LAA (ADP: 442)The 30-year-old journeyman hit .278/.352/.533 with seven home runs and 20 RBI in 31 games last season, taking over primary catching duties after Jason Castro was traded. He'll split time with Kurt Suzuki but should see the bigger piece of the platoon.

First Basemen

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    Freddie Freeman
    Freddie FreemanJohn Bazemore/Associated Press

    Top 25 First Basemen

    1. Freddie Freeman, ATL
    2. Cody Bellinger, LAD
    3. DJ LeMahieu, NYY
    4. Jose Abreu, CWS
    5. Paul Goldschmidt, STL
    6. Luke Voit, NYY
    7. Pete Alonso, NYM
    8. Max Muncy, LAD
    9. Anthony Rizzo, CHC
    10. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR
    11. Matt Olson, OAK
    12. Josh Bell, WAS
    13. Mike Moustakas, CIN
    14. Dominic Smith, NYM
    15. Rhys Hoskins, PHI
    16. Hunter Dozier, KC
    17. Jeimer Candelario, DET
    18. Eric Hosmer, SD
    19. Christian Walker, ARI
    20. Bobby Dalbec, BOS
    21. Ryan Mountcastle, BAL
    22. Carlos Santana, KC
    23. Miguel Sano, MIN
    24. C.J. Cron, COL
    25. Jared Walsh, LAA


    Overvalued: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR (ADP: 53)Count me among those who believe everything is eventually going to click for Guerrero. Until he takes that next step, though, drafting him ahead of Luke Voit (ADP: 57), Paul Goldschmidt (ADP: 73), Anthony Rizzo (ADP: 95) and Max Muncy (ADP: 98) is a stretch.

    Undervalued: Jeimer Candelario, DET (ADP: 287)After failing to deliver on his breakout potential in 2019, Candelario was a useful post-hype pickup last year when he hit .297/.369/.503 with seven home runs and 29 RBI. He'll be eligible at first base and third base, which adds to his appeal as a bench option, and the rebuilding Tigers will give him every opportunity to build on his 2020 success.

Second Basemen

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    DJ LeMahieu
    DJ LeMahieuGene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Top 25 Second Basemen

    1. DJ LeMahieu, NYY
    2. Ozzie Albies, ATL
    3. Whit Merrifield, KC
    4. Ketel Marte, ARI
    5. Brandon Lowe, TB
    6. Jose Altuve, HOU
    7. Max Muncy, LAD
    8. Cavan Biggio, TOR
    9. Keston Hiura, MIL
    10. Jeff McNeil, NYM
    11. Mike Moustakas, CIN
    12. Tommy Edman, STL
    13. Gavin Lux, LAD
    14. Nick Solak, TEX
    15. Jean Segura, PHI
    16. Nick Madrigal, CWS
    17. Jonathan Schoop, DET
    18. Dylan Moore, SEA
    19. Ha-Seong Kim, SD
    20. Kolten Wong, MIL
    21. David Fletcher, LAA
    22. Jake Cronenworth, SD
    23. Enrique Hernandez, BOS
    24. Andres Gimenez, CLE
    25. Cesar Hernandez, CLE


    Overvalued: Keston Hiura, MIL (ADP: 67)It's easy to look at Hiura's stellar 2019 debut and write off last year as a fluke. However, ugly exit velocity (26th percentile) and hard-hit rate (50th percentile) metrics raise some bigger red flags. Drafting him ahead of guys like Ketel Marte (ADP: 74), Jose Altuve (ADP: 88) and Max Muncy (ADP: 98) is an unnecessary risk.

    Undervalued: Jonathan Schoop, DET (ADP: 352)Schoop averaged 30 doubles, 25 home runs and 77 RBI in the four years leading up to the shortened 2020 campaign, and he hit .278/.324/.475 with eight home runs and 23 RBI in 44 games last year. If you want a contingency plan for someone like Gavin Lux or Nick Solak, he's a great target.

Third Basemen

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    Jose Ramirez
    Jose RamirezPaul Sancya/Associated Press

    Top 25 Third Basemen

    1. Jose Ramirez, CLE
    2. Manny Machado, SD
    3. Anthony Rendon, LAA
    4. DJ LeMahieu, NYY
    5. Alex Bregman, HOU
    6. Nolan Arenado, STL
    7. Rafael Devers, BOS
    8. Alec Bohm, PHI
    9. Max Muncy, LAD
    10. Cavan Biggio, TOR
    11. Eugenio Suarez, CIN
    12. Kris Bryant, CHC
    13. Josh Donaldson, MIN
    14. Matt Chapman, OAK
    15. Ke'Bryan Hayes, PIT
    16. Yoan Moncada, CWS
    17. Jeimer Candelario, DET
    18. Brian Anderson, MIA
    19. Tommy Edman, STL
    20. Gio Urshela, NYY
    21. Justin Turner, LAD
    22. Austin Riley, ATL
    23. J.D. Davis, NYM
    24. Kyle Seager, SEA
    25. Eduardo Escobar, ARI


    Overvalued: Yoan Moncada, CWS (ADP: 93)After hitting .315/.367/.548 with 64 extra-base hits in 2019, Moncada crashed back to earth with a .225 average and a sub-.400 slugging percentage last year. Those stellar 2019 numbers were propped up by a ridiculous .406 BABIP, so don't assume he's going to return to that level of production.

    Undervalued: Brian Anderson, MIA (ADP: 260)Anderson is not 100 draft spots less productive than guys like Tommy Edman (ADP: 148) and Gio Urshela (ADP: 155). The 27-year-old hit .255/.345/.465 with 11 home runs and 38 RBI last season, and he tallied 33 doubles and 20 home runs in 2019.


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    Matt York/Associated Press

    Top 25 Shortstops

    1. Fernando Tatis Jr., SD
    2. Trea Turner, WAS
    3. Trevor Story, COL
    4. Francisco Lindor, NYM
    5. Bo Bichette, TOR
    6. Xander Bogaerts, BOS
    7. Corey Seager, LAD
    8. Adalberto Mondesi, KC
    9. Tim Anderson, CWS
    10. Gleyber Torres, NYY
    11. Eugenio Suarez, CIN
    12. Javier Baez, CHC
    13. Carlos Correa, HOU
    14. Dansby Swanson, ATL
    15. Marcus Semien, TOR
    16. Didi Gregorius, PHI
    17. Paul DeJong, STL
    18. Tommy Edman, STL
    19. Willy Adames, TB
    20. Jorge Polanco, MIN
    21. Willi Castro, DET
    22. Kevin Newman, PIT
    23. Andres Gimenez, CLE
    24. Elvis Andrus, OAK
    25. David Fletcher, LAA


    Overvalued: Adalberto Mondesi, KC (ADP: 28)—Mondesi has shown zero ability to adjust his approach to this point in his career, posting an ugly .294 on-base percentage last year while striking out at a 30 percent clip. The steals are great, but with Bobby Witt Jr. coming fast, he's not going to hold onto his everyday job unless he makes significant adjustments.

    Undervalued: Kevin Newman, PIT (ADP: 552)Baseball fans have quickly forgotten Newman hit .308/.353/.446 with 38 extra-base hits and 16 steals in 531 plate appearances as a rookie in 2019. He's been red-hot this spring with 11 hits in 16 at-bats and looks like the guy at shortstop for the rebuilding Pirates.


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    Ronald Acuna Jr.
    Ronald Acuna Jr.Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Top 50 Outfielders

    1. Ronald Acuna Jr., ATL
    2. Mookie Betts, LAD
    3. Juan Soto, WAS
    4. Mike Trout, LAA
    5. Christian Yelich, MIL
    6. Cody Bellinger, LAD
    7. Bryce Harper, PHI
    8. Eloy Jimenez, CWS
    9. Kyle Tucker, HOU
    10. George Springer, TOR
    11. Marcell Ozuna, ATL
    12. Whit Merrifield, KC
    13. Trent Grisham, SD
    14. Aaron Judge, NYY
    15. Michael Conforto, NYM
    16. Luis Robert, CWS
    17. Starling Marte, MIA
    18. Charlie Blackmon, COL
    19. Ketel Marte, ARI
    20. Brandon Lowe, TB
    21. Teoscar Hernandez, TOR
    22. Randy Arozarena, TB
    23. Cavan Biggio, TOR
    24. Austin Meadows, TB
    25. Eddie Rosario, CLE
    26. Wil Myers, SD
    28. Tommy Pham, SD
    29. Alex Verdugo, BOS
    30. Byron Buxton, MIN
    31. Mike Yastrzemski, SF
    32. Dominic Smith, NYM
    33. Michael Brantley, HOU
    34. Joey Gallo, TEX
    35. Ramon Laureano, OAK
    36. Kyle Lewis, SEA
    37. Ian Happ, CHC
    38. Max Kepler, MIN
    39. Clint Frazier, NYY
    40. Kyle Schwarber, WAS
    41. Dylan Carlson, STL
    42. Hunter Dozier, KC
    43. Anthony Santander, BAL
    44. Victor Robles, WAS
    45. Ryan Mountcastle, BAL
    46. A.J. Pollock, LAD
    47. Jesse Winker, CIN
    48. Brandon Nimmo, NYM
    49. Joc Pederson, CHC
    50. Jeff McNeil, NYM


    Overvalued: Luis Robert, CWS (ADP: 39)—A .136 average with 32 strikeouts over 94 plate appearances in September should give reason for pause. Robert is going to be a special player, but it could take him a few years to reach his full offensive ceiling. Kyle Tucker (ADP: 40), Marcell Ozuna (ADP: 43) and George Springer (ADP: 44) are better picks in that same range, and I'm even more optimistic about Trent Grisham (ADP: 66) in 2021.

    Undervalued: Hunter Renfroe, BOS (ADP: 354)Lost in the shuffle in a crowded Tampa Bay outfield and non-tendered at the start of the offseason, Renfroe is just a year removed from a 33-homer season. His plus defense should help keep him in Boston's everyday lineup.

Starting Pitchers

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    Jacob deGrom
    Jacob deGromLynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Top 50 Starting Pitchers

    1. Jacob deGrom, NYM
    2. Gerrit Cole, NYY
    3. Shane Bieber, CLE
    4. Trevor Bauer, LAD
    5. Yu Darvish, SD
    6. Walker Buehler, LAD
    7. Lucas Giolito, CWS
    8. Aaron Nola, PHI
    9. Max Scherzer, WAS
    10. Luis Castillo, CIN
    11. Jack Flaherty, STL
    12. Clayton Kershaw, LAD
    13. Blake Snell, SD
    14. Brandon Woodruff, MIL
    15. Zac Gallen, ARI
    16. Tyler Glasnow, TB
    17. Max Fried, ATL
    18. Lance Lynn, CWS
    19. Kenta Maeda, MIN
    20. Corbin Burnes, MIL
    21. Stephen Strasburg, WAS
    22. Sonny Gray, CIN
    23. Patrick Corbin, WAS
    24. Joe Musgrove, SD
    25. Hyun Jin Ryu, TOR
    26. Zack Wheeler, PHI
    27. Jose Berrios, MIN
    28. Kyle Hendricks, CHC
    29. Zack Greinke, HOU
    30. Jesus Luzardo, OAK
    31. Sixto Sanchez, MIA
    32. Ian Anderson, ATL
    33. Julio Urias, LAD
    34. Dylan Bundy, LAA
    35. Charlie Morton, ATL
    36. Zach Plesac, CLE
    37. Kevin Gausman, SF
    38. Tyler Mahle, CIN
    39. Lance McCullers Jr., HOU
    40. Dinelson Lamet, SD
    41. Carlos Carrasco, NYM
    42. Marco Gonzales, SEA
    43. Pablo Lopez, MIA
    44. Chris Paddack, SD
    45. Sandy Alcantara, MIA
    46. Zach Eflin, PHI
    47. Chris Bassitt, OAK
    48. Corey Kluber, NYY
    49. Marcus Stroman, NYM
    50. Mike Soroka, ATL


    Overvalued: Zach Plesac, CLE (ADP: 76)Among pitchers who threw at least 50 innings last season, Plesac had the fourth-lowest BABIP (.224) but a middling exit velocity allowed (58th percentile). You should be skeptical of that combination of statistics. He's a good pitcher, but regression is coming.

    Undervalued: Tyler Mahle, CIN (ADP: 178)Lost in the shuffle of Trevor Bauer, Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray at the top of the rotation, Mahle posted a 3.59 ERA with 60 strikeouts over 47.2 innings in 2020. We have not yet seen the best the 26-year-old has to offer.

Relief Pitchers

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    Josh Hader
    Josh HaderJeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Top 25 Relief Pitchers

    1. Josh Hader, MIL
    2. Liam Hendriks, CWS
    3. Aroldis Chapman, NYY
    4. James Karinchak, CLE
    5. Edwin Diaz, NYM
    6. Raisel Iglesias, LAA
    7. Brad Hand, WAS
    8. Trevor Rosenthal, OAK
    9. Will Smith, ATL
    10. Nick Anderson, TB
    11. Craig Kimbrel, CHC
    12. Devin Williams, MIL
    13. Kenley Jansen, LAD
    14. Amir Garrett, CIN
    15. Kirby Yates, TOR
    16. Rafael Montero, SEA
    17. Jordan Hicks, STL
    18. Jose Leclerc, TEX
    19. Richard Rodriguez, PIT
    20. Joakim Soria, ARI
    21. Drew Pomeranz, SD
    22. Greg Holland, KC
    23. Alex Colome, MIN
    24. Matt Barnes, BOS
    25. Daniel Bard, COL


    Overvalued: Kenley Jansen, LAD (ADP: 117)One of baseball's elite closers for the better part of the last decade, Jansen is clearly in decline. Manager Dave Roberts seemed to lose confidence in him during the postseason, turning to Julio Urias and others in clutch situations, and the decision to re-sign Blake Treinen means another potential in-house replacement.

    Undervalued: Amir Garrett, CIN (ADP: 253)With Raisel Iglesias traded and Archie Bradley non-tendered, Garrett appears to have a clear path to the closer's role. The 6'5" left-hander has elite stuff with a mid-90s fastball and a lethal slider, and the Reds have a good-not-great outlook that suggests they'll be playing a lot of close games.

5 Deep Sleepers to Know

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    Ronald Guzman
    Ronald GuzmanSue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    These players were not ranked in the top 100 overall or among the positional rankings, but they are worth monitoring on draft day:

    1B Ronald Guzman, TEX

    It looked like Guzman might be on the outside looking in after Nate Lowe was acquired from Tampa Bay, but he is hitting .321 with three home runs this spring while showcasing a revamped swing. The 26-year-old won Dominican Winter League MVP honors, hitting .360/.450/.523 with five home runs and 13 RBI in 30 games for Gigantes del Cibao, and he appears poised to break out.


    OF Josh Naylor, CLE

    Buried down the depth chart in San Diego, Naylor finally has an opportunity to prove himself in Cleveland after he was acquired in the Mike Clevinger blockbuster last summer. The 23-year-old went 5-for-7 with three doubles and one home run in the postseason last year, and he has the raw tools to be a dangerous middle-of-the-order threat.


    OF Myles Straw, HOU

    The Astros opted against finding an outside replacement for George Springer in center field, instead turning things over to Straw. He had a 70-steal season in 2018 between Double-A and Triple-A, and he's a .305/.394/.379 hitter in five minor league seasons. He won't help in power categories, but the batting average and speed should translate.


    SP Drew Smyly, ATL

    Overshadowed by the strong bounce-back season Kevin Gausman put together, Smyly was also a great buy-low pickup for the San Francisco Giants last year. Pitchers don't suddenly post a 42-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 26.1 innings by accident. Something clicked last year, and that's why the Atlanta Braves were willing to hand him $11 million on a one-year deal.


    SP/RP Tejay Antone, CIN

    Antone put together an excellent rookie season with the Reds last year, posting a 2.80 ERA and 1.02 WHIP with 45 strikeouts in 35.1 innings spanning four starts and nine relief appearances. The Sonny Gray injury could open the door for him to break camp with a rotation spot, and he has the swing-and-miss stuff to seize the role and never look back. Even if he winds up back in a relief role, he'd be a useful roster piece with hold and save potential in a revamped bullpen.


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. ADP numbers come via FantasyPros.