2021 Fantasy Baseball Bold Predictions

by Jonathan Chan
2021 Fantasy Baseball Bold Predictions

Hello everyone, and welcome to the 2021 edition of our Fantasy Baseball Bold Predictions! As we do every year, the writers at Fantasy Six Pack have looked into their crystal balls to give you their boldest predictions for the upcoming baseball season.

One writer believes the Red Sox will bounce back in a big way. Another predicts the San Diego Padres bullpen will be home to the MLB saves leader.

Let's take a look into the future at some of our bold predictions for the 2021 season!

2021 Fantasy Baseball Bold Predictions

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Lucas Gioltio wins 2021 AL Cy Young award - Mike Sollicito (@mikesollicito1)

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Lucas Giolito broke out in a big way in 2019. A top pitching prospect during his time with the Nationals, Giolito was sent to the White Sox. He was thought to be a bust after accruing over a 6 ERA with 90 walks to 125 strikeouts.

However, during that offseason leading up to the 2019 season, Giolito worked on a few things. During his breakout 2019 season, we saw him pitch to the tune of a 3.41 ERA while upping his strikeouts to 228 and lowering his walks to 57 over just 3 more innings pitched than he did in 2018. Giolito followed up this breakout 2019 with a just as amazing 2020.

While the season was shortened, Giolito still pitched to a 3.48 ERA backed by a 3.19 FIP. The strikeout gains remained, as did the decline in walks given. Giolito has some of the nastiest stuff in the game, backed by three pitches (4-seam fastball, changeup, and slider) that all have a whiff rate of over 29%. That is crazy!

Still only 26, I expect Giolito to continue making strides as he enters his prime. I think 2021 could be the year where Giolito is rewarded for his nasty stuff on what should be a winning White Sox team. My bold prediction for the 2021 season is that Lucas Giolito wins the AL Cy Young.

Corbin Burnes wins the 2021 NL Cy Young Award - Dennis Sosic (@CALL_ME_SOS)

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Corbin Burnes took a giant leap last season where he achieved elite status and finished sixth in the Cy Young award voting. In his mammoth 2020 breakout, Burnes struck a career-high 13.3 K/9 rate while posting a 1.02 WHIP and a minuscule 2.11 ERA.

He revamped his arsenal highlighted by a sinker/cutter combination that resulted in batters having a .250 batting average against and allowing one HR off the sinker last season. In each of his three seasons, Burnes has increased his strikeout rate and achieved whiff rates greater than the 90th percentile the last two seasons.

The Milwaukee Brewers right-hander generates flashy strikeout numbers and impressively low ERA. His elevation continues in the 2021 season on his way to emerging as the 2021 NL Cy Young award winner.

George Springer lives up to his contract and is an MVP candidate - Jonathan Chan (@jchan_811)

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The Toronto Blue Jays made a lot of splashy moves this offseason, the biggest of which was signing George Springer to the richest contract in franchise history at six years and $150 million.

The 31-year old had a good year in 2020, clubbing 14 home runs in 51 games. The former Houston Astro struggled through a wrist injury the first half of the season. It resulted in a .222 batting average and just five homers in his first 112 plate appearances. Once the injury was fully healed, Springer went on a tear to end the season, slashing .316/.380/.653 with nine home runs over his final 109 PA's.

With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping the Blue Jays out of Toronto for the foreseeable future, Springer will play his home games in one of two extremely hitter-friendly ballparks.

Sahlen Field in Buffalo, where the Blue Jays played last season, was incredibly friendly. It ranked as the second most hitter-friendly park (for run-scoring) behind Coors Field, in last year's small sample size.

TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida, where the Jays will start the season, is also very hitter-friendly. The home of the Low-A Dunedin Blue Jays has a 1.12 home run park factor according to EV Analytics.

Last season, Springer's xSLG and xWOBA were both in the top six percent of the league despite the poor start. If he can stay maintain his post-injury performance in an extreme hitter's park, the Jays' center fielder could hit 40 home runs and drive in 100 runs for the first time in his career.

Update: His grade two oblique strain is definitely not good news for the power numbers. They are also notoriously hard to recover from. But I'm going to stick with the same prediction because I'm too shook to write another one.

Mark Melancon will lead MLB in saves - Jeff Trela (@JTrela20)

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Melancon's low strike-out percentage doesn't make him the sexiest choice for your fantasy closer, but he may be just what the doctor ordered. With Drew Pomeranz poised to begin the season on the shelf with a throwing arm injury, the role likely will be Melancon's to start with and he just might run away with it.

Melancon brings experience to the role. He is sixth among active pitchers in career saves, having four seasons of 20 or more. The Padres are poised to win north of 90 games, so even if there is an eventual share of the role there will be plenty of opportunities to go around.

Melancon sports a 2.85 career ERA and 1.13 WHIP. He increased his curveball usage last year which yielded a very good 31% swing and miss rate, so the chance for an increased strikeout count is there. His ADP in March of 267 presents a great buying opportunity to jump on right now!

Luis Robert goes 30HR/30SB - Jason Beckner (@JRBecks)

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Since 2013 only 3 players have reached the 30/30 mark in a season, Mookie Betts (2018) Christian Yelich (2019) & Ronald Acuna (2019).

The power-speed combo is highly sought after, especially in the day and age when stolen bases are continually declining. Robert is here to make an exception to the downward trend.

Robert made his debut in 2020 and was able to show off his 70-grade speed and 60-grade power, compiling 11HR and 9SB in 56 games.
Now entering 2021 and a full slate of 162 games. Robert will reach the highly touted 30 home run and 30 stolen base marks.

We are only two years removed from Robert reaching the 30/30 mark (albeit across three levels of the minors). So Robert clearly has the skill set to reach the 30/30 club.

With Tony La Russa managing on the Southside now, the stolen bases attempts are going to be there and Robert is going to be a direct beneficiary.

The Red Sox will break the major league record for most home runs in a season - Nick Zaniboni (@nzaniboni93)

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In 2019 the twins hit 307 home runs to take the record from the 2018 Yankees. The Sox added some bop to their lineup this offseason with the signing of Hunter Renfroe and the trade for Franchy Cordero. Between the two of them, they could hit around 50-60 combined. If they can hit the lower end of that, that will leave 258 more home runs to own the record.

With guys like Xander Bogaerts/J.D. Martinez/Rafael Devers all hitting at least 25, that will leave 183. Now the question is, where do those home runs come from? Well, a full season of Bobby Dalbec should definitely help fill a decent portion of that. Also, it is not out of the question for Alex Verdugo to find his power stroke and hit in the mid-20s.

It all really will come down to Christian Vazquez if he can come back to his 2019 form and hit 23 or more. With that, that magic number would be around 100 more home runs between the rest of the roster. It is certainly unlikely, but as a Sox fan, I am certainly hopeful!

The 60 stolen base mark will be reached for the first time since 2017 - Josh Mantel (@MantelJosh)

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In 2017 Dee Strange-Gordon had 60 stolen bases (Billy Hamilton had 59). This season we will see a player reach 50 stolen bases again. Speed is making a comeback. My top potential guys to reach 50, Fernando Tatis Jr., Byron Buxton, or Trea Turner.

Make sure you bookmark our Fantasy Baseball page to consume all of our 2021 MLB content!

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1 comment

Shawnuel March 24, 2021 - 8:24 pm

I love the 50 stolen base prediction since I have both Turner and Buxton. However, Is predicting Giolito as CY Young winner even a little bit bold? I have seen at least 3-5 picks elsewhere for Giolito as Cy Young. I also have Burnes, Dalbec and Renfroe (And Jarren Duran as a rookie) so I hope those all come true.


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