The 2021 Fantasy Baseball AL West Division Preview is the best place to get you ready for the fantasy baseball season. The AL West is gearing up to be a competitive division, with three teams in contention at the top. With new additions coming to Los Angeles and big players leaving in Houston and Oakland. The AL West is up for grabs.
The reigning AL rookie of the year and the No.4 fantasy player in Fantasy Six Packs 2021 Dynasty Rankings highlight some of the great talent in the AL West.
We are going to cover everything to look out for to start the season to put you in the best position to draft the keepers, sleepers, and potential busts that will give you a distinctive edge for the 2021 Fantasy baseball year.
2021 Fantasy Baseball AL West Division Preview
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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
With one of the most dominant players in the game, Mike Trout, in the fold, expect the Angels to always have a fighting chance to make the playoffs in the AL West. Trout is truly one of the most consistent and best fantasy players year in and year out. Expect him to have another MVP caliber year.
Now that the innings limit has been lifted from Shohei Ohtani, expect the two-way player to take a leap to be a true fantasy gem in all leagues. His value as both a pitcher and hitter shoots him up draft boards even if he has not been elite in either category. Ohtani has league-winning potential if he is able to stay healthy. This year is the year that he takes his fantasy and real team to the promised land.
The acquisition of Jose Quintana gives a boost to the mediocre Angels pitching staff. Having only pitched 10 innings in the shortened 2020 season, expect Quintana to fit into the second or third spot in the rotation. I believe he will have a bounce-back year, with the pressure of pitching for the Cubs lifted off his shoulders.
Two years removed from being the World Series MVP, Anthony Rendon is in his first full season with the Angels. Fantasy Pros ranks Rendon as the No.3 third baseman, ahead of Nolan Arenado, Rafael Devers, and Alex Bregman. I think he’s a reach at that rank, especially with two of the three aforementioned players being on clearly better offensive teams.
Rendon is now 30 years old and I think his production will diminish and the former World Series champ could find himself dropped to fifth or sixth in the lineup by years end.
Jo Adell is one of the top prospects in baseball. He did not have a good 2020 season and manager Joe Maddon believes Adell needs more time in the minors. Even if he is not on the opening day roster, expect him still to be batting in the middle of the order by mid-season. Adell is not necessarily a player you need to draft in fantasy because he doesn’t hold that much value unless you have prospect spots. I would keep an eye on him in Triple-A and see how he does. As the Angels are looking to compete, he will be called up as soon as his bat gets hot.
Arguably the most hated team in baseball last season, the 2021 Astros are a little lighter when it comes to superstars but still have more talent than most teams. With the exit of George Springer to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Astros have a hole to fill in centerfield. Check out the AL East Preview by Jonathan Chan for more info on Springer in the East.
Even with a down year from Jose Altuve, I believe he will bounce back and should still be seen as a top-three second baseman. Alex Bregman is just hitting his stride as one, if not the top third basemen in baseball. He is a five-tool hitter and has plenty of opportunity for production with a good lineup around him. Even with Bregman only having a batting average of .242 last season expect him to be like Altuve and have a bounceback season.
Kyle Tucker has some big shoes to fill with the loss of George Springer. He was starting to pick it up towards the end of the season last year having nine home runs in from August to October. Tucker will look to improve on those numbers in the 2021 season with him projected to be batting in the number two hole. He will now be an everyday player and an important bat at the top of the Astros’ order.
With the resigning of Michael Brantley to a two-year deal, the ‘Stros expressed confidence that Brantley will still produce at a high level. Fantasy owners should not express as much confidence. His 2019 WAR dropped from 4.9 to 1.7 last season. I expect to see a rapid decline now that he is 34 years old.
Carlos Correa is another Astros player to keep an eye on who plays better in big games than he does over the duration of a season. Even though Correa is only 26, he is not considered a top 10 fantasy option at the shortstop position.
Forrest Whitley is the only Houston prospect that cracks the top 100 in many rankings and he should be a player to keep an eye on coming out of Spring Training. If he has a good Spring Training he can be plugged in as a back of the rotation pitcher with plenty of upside.
Now is the time to buy-low on #Astros Forrest Whitley in dynasty leagues. He appears healthy and ready to get back on the mound this season. He has an impressive 5 pitch arsenal and produces elite spin rates. Few pitchers in MILB have the upside he does.
🎥: via his Instagram pic.twitter.com/PMVSGgoKP9
— Chris Clegg (@RotoClegg) February 4, 2021
Matt Chapman is the best player in Oakland and it’s not even close. He is the only player that is worth considering when it comes to positive fantasy value. His numbers have steadily improved year over year and I expect him to finally eclipse 100 RBI’s in the 2021 season.
With Sean Murphy yet to play a full season in the Majors he is a great candidate to breakout. If you are looking for a steal in the catcher position, he could be your guy. The Athletics are not the most potent lineup (they scored right below the league average in runs per game and still won the division). This gives Murphy an opportunity to hit higher in the order to be one of the top producing catchers in fantasy.
The other Matt in the Athletics lineup, Matt Olson, has been a low-key fantasy sleeper for the past few seasons. I think his time is coming to an end for fantasy value. His only value still lies in the home run category. His average last season was a paltry .195 and his OBP was .310 both below his career averages. With 1B becoming one of the deeper positions over the past few years in fantasy baseball, it’s best to stay away from a two-category producer.
Hard-throwing lefty A.J. Puk‘s arrival has been a long-awaited event. However, injuries and the pandemic have hindered his rise to the major league rotation. He is another young to pitcher to keep an eye on during Spring Training. How does he bounce back from TJ surgery? If he can prove that he can get outs, he has a spot in the rotation.
Is the reigning Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis considered a star? I wouldn’t go as far as saying he is one of the top outfielders in the game as FantasyPros ranks him at No.150 overall and the No.40 outfielder. However, I think this is the best category to put him in or even consider a subcategory, should we call it “budding superstar” or perhaps ” a star is born”? Anyways I digress.
On a team that doesn’t have many great fantasy options, Lewis is your best bet. He will bat in the heart of the order and if he parlays his 2020 season and builds on it, expect his fantasy value to rise.
Because the Mariners are such a young team they have plenty of players who could have a breakout season. One of the guys that I have my eye on is Justus Sheffield. Formerly a top prospect for the Yankees who was acquired in the James Paxton trade. Sheffield has the potential to be a top of the line ace for Mariners for the foreseeable future. I think you can snag him in the later rounds and he can provide you plenty of upside.
Another guy to keep an eye on is Dylan Moore. Even though he is not a big power guy, his batting average, stolen bases, and on-base percentage jumped tremendously in his second season in the majors. In fact, he had more stolen bases in 2o2o than he did in 2019 and he did this in 75 fewer games. If you have a team with a bunch of power guys Moore could be a good complimentary piece to fill out your fantasy roster.
With such a young core of upcoming talent that has not proved themselves as major league talent. The Mariners only one player that should be on the bust radar. He goes by the name of Mitch Haniger. Seeing a major drop in his batting average from 2019 to 2020 should not be a cause of concern, yet. If Haniger starts the season slowly, keep an eye out for the Mariners to make a move and ship him off which could potentially hurt his value.
Taylor Trammel could see some playing time if he has a good Spring Training. His elite speed could make him a viable stolen base candidate if he does make the major league roster.
The big prospect that could cause an overcrowded outfield in Seattle is Jared Kelenic. Ranked as the fourth-best prospect in major league baseball, Kelenic could be a true five tool player for many years to come. He is definitely a player to keep an eye on to see if what level he starts the season at. Heck, if he has a great Spring he could force the Mariners hand and make the big league roster.
Jared Kelenic pic.twitter.com/0AuWhqwjfY
— Trey Hannam (@TJHannam10) February 3, 2021
The only true star on the lowly Texas Rangers is feast or famine king, Joey Gallo. What he lacks in OBP and Average he makes up for in home runs and RBI’s. With the trade of Elvis Andrus this past week it is now Joey Gallo’s team (as if it wasn’t before). The Rangers will most likely be at the bottom of the AL West this season but that should not deter fantasy owners from drafting Gallo.
His upside as a power hitter still remains strong. If Texas can get runners on base, expect him to produce solid counting stats. I would look at drafting Gallo in the fourth or fifth round of a 12-team league.
Look for the new starting shortstop, Isiah Kinner- Falefa, to break out in a big way. Even if IKF is not a big power guy he will get on base and hit for average.
IKF has been moved all over the field and broke into the majors as a catcher. He transitioned over to third base full-time last season and won a gold glove. With that confidence and his value being at both 3B and SS position he is a valuable sleeper target that could do wonders for fantasy teams.
The Rangers were active this offseason, even if they made moves that are not going to push the needle. One of those moves is David Dahl. He has always been plagued by injuries and has never reached his potential. Now that he is no longer playing at Coors expect his hitting numbers to also drop.
Dane Dunning was the key prospect piece in the trade for Lance Lynn this offseason and looks to fill into the back of the rotation for the Rangers this season. Dunning has three to four pitches that he throws well. He could be the ace of the future for the Rangers as they start their rebuilding process.
One of the biggest holes defensively for the Rangers (and they have a lot of holes) is third base. Unfortunately, top prospect Josh Jung is not ready for the majors. With the shortened season last year and the Rangers in no rush to be competitive, don’t expect Jung to make his debut until September. If he even makes an appearance at all. The only way that Jung is called up earlier is if the Rangers are in the hunt and Jung tears in up in AA/AAA.
Final Projections for the AL West
- Los Angeles
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