Welcome to the 2021 version of ADP Battles for the upcoming Fantasy Baseball season. Every year drafters must make tough decisions when deciding between two players at the same position. This year, drafting may be a bit harder than it usually is.
Because of the shortened 2020 season, we must decide just how much stock we want to put into several players’ performances. In this article, I will take a look at players of the same position who have a similar ADP.
It is important to be familiar with the draft rankings this year, as players have fallen or risen quite a bit after the 2020 shortened season. You are able to get some very solid discounts on players who simply had a down year due to the craziness of last season. Take advantage of these players, and walk away from the draft falling in love with your team.
For this article, I am using the 2021 NFBC ADP Rankings from the month of February. This tool shows the ADP of players in the recent pro drafts, and is a great tool to get yourself accustomed to where each player has been trending recently in drafts.
And if you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please feel free to hit me up via Twitter @mikesollicito1. Now let’s get into these 2021 Fantasy Baseball ADP Battles.
2021 Fantasy Baseball ADP Battles
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The SP Showdown
Clayton Kershaw – SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
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Clayton Kershaw is amazing, don’t get me wrong. He pitched to the tune of a 2.16 ERA last year backed up by a 3.11 xERA. He also managed to add about 1.2 mph to his fastball last year, which was a wonderful sight to see.
Kershaw limited walks last year, as he usually does. And, for the most part, managed to limit hard contact. However, there is one problem Kershaw has always had.
He’s injury-prone. You never know when those back problems are going to come up again. Kershaw started the 2020 season on the IL due to back problems. Of course, when he is healthy and pitching, he is among the best.
However, with Kershaw’s ADP hovering around 32, I am not so sure I would be willing to grab him there. While the injury risk is somewhat baked into the draft price, he is still a risk of missing multiple starts.
Because of Kershaw’s injury history, I may look another way in drafts. One pitcher who is going right after Kershaw in most drafts that I like quite a bit heading into this year is…
Brandon Woodruff – SP, Milwaukee Brewers
Brandon Woodruff broke out last year in a big way. Staying healthy for the full season and logging 73.2 innings. Pitching to the tune of a 3.05 ERA backed by a 2.97 xERA, Woodruff impressed.
His repertoire is highlighted by a 97 mph fastball. He also has a 97 mph sinker, an 87 mph changeup, an 88 mph slider, and an 84 mph curve. Woodruff is a five-pitch pitcher, and those are my favorite types.
He has the stuff to meander his way through a lineup multiple times, and if one of his pitches isn’t working one game, he has four others to rely on. Woodruff’s biggest knock thus far in his big league career has been health.
However, after an oblique injury plagued his 2019 season, Woodruff put those injury concerns to rest by staying healthy last year. While staying healthy in a 60-game shortened season isn’t anything to write home about, it is a step forward.
Take a look at Woodruff’s Baseball Savant page, and you’ll notice nothing but red, a very good sign. Woodruff minimizes hard contact and walks, two essential things for a pitcher. Woodruff is an easy top 12 to top 15 starting pitcher for me for the upcoming season.
I would much rather take someone entering their prime, than someone who is a bad back away from landing on the IL.
Give me Woodruff over Kershaw for the upcoming 2021 season. With Woodruff going one pick after Kershaw right now, I would rather play it safe as I believe that Woodruff could continue his breakout this year.
The Battle for 1B
Max Muncy – 1B/2B/3B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Max Muncy had a relatively down season last year. After suffering a fractured finger during Spring Training 2.0, it was clear the injury bothered him to some extent all last season. Muncy hit .192 but supplied us with 12 HRs.
Hitting in a packed Dodgers lineup is obviously a huge boost for his fantasy numbers, and his multi-positional eligibility is always a welcome sight. However, was his poor 2020 purely due to his finger, or was there something else?
Muncy did see dips in his hard-hit rate as well as his exit velocity. He still struck out at the 25% clip we are used to seeing, and continued his patience at the plate. Muncy walked 15.7% of the time last year, right around the norms he has supplied from past years.
The batting average will never be truly high, and while I am not sure we will see him continue to hit 35 bombs per year, he should still be a nice source of power.
It is clear that the finger affected him and his power last year, and he began to wake up towards the end of the season. Not only that, but Muncy proved to be a vital part of the Dodgers postseason run. I am not shying away from Muncy and his 90 ADP, but I am going in a different direction for someone who can provide similar stats, with perhaps a bit less power.
Paul Goldschmidt – 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
Paul Goldschmidt had a resurgent 2020 season. After a few years of decline, some were worried that perhaps Goldy’s best years were behind him. He managed to show us that he still had plenty left in the tank. Goldschmidt finished 2020 with a .304 average backed up by a .287 xBA.
Goldschmidt has seen his strikeout rate increase and walk rate decrease over the past few years. However, he did a complete 180 in 2020.
Goldschmidt lowered his strikeout rate to a solid 18.6% and increased his walk rate by more than four points to 16%. Do you now see why I like Goldschmidt just a bit more than Muncy? Goldschmidt has a lower strikeout rate and a similar walk rate to his counterpart.
On top of that, Goldschmidt can hit for average, whereas Muncy will struggle to hit around .250-.260. While the Dodgers lineup is eons ahead of the Cardinals lineup, the Cardinals made an effort to better it this year by adding Nolan Arenado.
While Goldschmidt may not hit for as much power as Muncy, I do believe he can provide similar runs and RBI’s, hit for a higher average, and walk the same amount as Muncy.
Goldschmidt also made an effort to hit the ball all over the field more instead of pulling it. He made more contact and struck out less because of this change. I believe that he can continue this for the 2021 season.
Goldschmidt is going a little after Muncy, and I would rather grab Goldschmidt and know what I am going to get than take my chances on Muncy bouncing back.
The Keystone Battle
Cavan Biggio – 2B/OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Cavan Biggio is a great player. However, does he carry more name value than fantasy value?
When you take a look at the underlying stats for Biggio, he hasn’t done anything to warrant being picked in the top 60 picks where he is currently going. Biggio makes fairly weak contact and strikes out roughly 23% of the time.
While he does walk a lot, the other underlying metrics are a bit concerning. He does have some solid sprint speed, and there is hope that he can one day he can be a true 20/20 threat.
However, with these concerns, and the fact that he should be hitting lower in a loaded Toronto Blue Jays lineup, I am passing on Biggio for the 2021 season. This is not a knock on him, but more of a knock on how high he is going compared to the stats he should put up.
While I do think that Biggio’s elite plate discipline will one day help him offensively, I am not sure it all happens this year.
Slated to be the Blue Jays third baseman due to the signing of Marcus Semien, Biggio should provide help with his multi-position eligibility but there are second basemen going after or around him that I like more. Draft him with caution. Don’t be surprised if he lacks some of the stats you thought you were getting when he was drafted originally.
Brandon Lowe – 2B/1B, Tampa Bay Rays
Going five or so picks after Cavan Biggio is Brandon Lowe. Brandon Lowe followed a breakout 2018 with a disappointing, albeit injury-filled 2019 campaign. He put all of the concerns that 2018 was a mirage to rest. With a strong 2020, Brandon Lowe again finds himself in a position where people are falling in love with him.
An exit velocity and hard-hit rate darling, Lowe lowered his strikeout rate from an unpalatable 34.6% in 2019 to a much better, but still not great 25.9% in 2020.
While the strikeouts will always be an issue, Lowe has slowly increased his walk rate as well. Lowe walks at an 11.2% clip. Couple that with the fact that he has legitimate power, should hit in a premium spot in the Rays lineup, and plays a shallow 2B position, Lowe is a player I am targeting heavy in drafts.
Lowe hits the ball hard with authority, and he figures to play a key role for the Rays this year as they look to once again make the playoffs. With 2B being so weak, and Lowe seemingly settling in as a very good big leaguer, I would take my chances and pass on the big-name Biggio for Lowe.
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