2021 Fantasy Baseball Undervalued Outfielders

by Brandon Morrow
MLB DFS 10-7-21 AL Division Series Picks

Welcome to the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Undervalued Outfielders article,

After an unusual 2020 season, it is on us to figure out who's season was legit and who's season should be taken with a grain of salt.

There are plenty of values available because of what I believe to be an overreaction to a sixty-game season.

Here are some of my favorite 2021 Fantasy Baseball Undervalued Outfielders.

2021 Fantasy Baseball Undervalued Outfielders

Get prepared for the upcoming Fantasy Baseball season by using the Fantasy Pros Draft Wizard.

The Early Rounds

Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros (FantasyPros ADP: OF22 Overall - 76)

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Thanks to season-ending knee surgery, the Astros' young slugger appeared in only two games in the 2020 season. This injury robbed us of what many suspected would be a monster sophomore year and left us asking questions about his durability going forward. While the concerns are valid, he will play most of this season at DH, which should keep him on the field. 

Alvarez is only twenty-three years old which also bodes well for recovering from injuries.

In his lone season of MLB action, Alvarez mashed pitching as he has done throughout his years in the minors. He owns a .312/.410/.654 slash line with 28 home runs and 82 RBI in his 89 career games, which works out to be a mammoth 51 homer, 151 RBI pace through 162 games. If Air Yordan can stay anywhere near this pace, he will be a steal at pick 76.

Houston's lineup has lost some of its luster with George Springer now in Toronto and Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman not living up to expectations in 2020. This lineup is still plenty good, however, as 2020 brought on the emergence of Kyle Tucker. I am expecting a bounce back from Bregman and Altuve.

Alvarez can find himself hitting fourth after Altuve, Bregman, and Michael Brantley with Carlos Correa and Tucker protecting him in the fifth and sixth spots.

As much as I love Alvarez at this price, I recommend pairing him with a safe outfielder later in drafts. The injury risk is real and you shouldn’t throw all of your outfield eggs in one basket with Alvarez. Yordan has as much upside as anybody in baseball as a four-category contributor. Taking a swing at that upside near pick 80 is the type of move that wins championships. 

Nick Castellanos, Cincinnatti Reds (FantasyPros ADP: OF26, Overall -  90)

Castellanos suffered from some bad luck in 2020, as his BABIP reached a career-low .257. Prior to last season it never fell below .313 in his career. This helped contribute to a very underwhelming .225 average. With some positive regression here we should see more of the Castellanos who hovered around .300 the two seasons prior. 

He did make major strides in the power category, as he hit 14 home runs in just 60 games. Playing in Cincinnati was definitely a positive for him and it is certainly possible that Castellanos beats his career-high of 27 home runs relatively easily this season. As the average climbs up to even in the .260-.270 range you could be looking at a .270 35 home run and 100 RBI player with the 88th pick with potential for a much better average. 

If you’re into reliability, this is the player for you. Castellanos averaged 147 games played per season prior to 2020 and then played all 60 in 2020. He is as sure of a bet for 140+ games played as you can get nowadays. In what is going to be a season of postponements, having a guy who is always available is an advantage.

There were improvements in the exit velocity and launch angle for Castellanos in 2020. If you assume the soon-to-be 29-year-old gets some better luck this upcoming season, there will be even more improvements across the board.

He is currently going 30 picks behind Randy Arozarena, and I would be shocked if the Rays' young star is the more consistent and reliable player for your fantasy team. 

Middle Rounds

Austin Meadows, Tampa Bay Rays (FantasyPros ADP: OF28, Overall -  94)

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There is no sugar coating it, Meadows was bad in 2020. His counting stats and Statcast numbers took a huge hit after a breakout 2019 season. His K% jumped ten percent and he was just never able to find his footing. It was a very disappointing season. 

However, Meadows never has a chance to get going. He battled COVID-19 to start the season and then injuries piled up and continued throughout the postseason. I don’t want to say we should completely throw out his 2020 season because it truly was concerning. Although I do expect it to be the exception and not the rule in his career. 

Meadows does carry more risk than some of the other names mentioned here, but his upside is pretty intriguing at pick 94. This draft is going to have a ton of value after a weird 2020 season and Meadows should be one of the better bets to return positive value at his current draft position.

All in all, I am expecting a bounce back. He may never become the player he was in 2019, but I certainly see a path to a .270 average, 25 home runs and 10+ steals with potential for much more. A year ago he was viewed as a fantasy stud. Don’t let a 36 game sample size fool you. 

Tommy Pham, San Diego Padres (FantasyPros ADP: OF39, Overall - 132)

Pham is soon-to-be a 33-year-old who relies heavily on his speed to make a fantasy impact. Risky, right? Not exactly. Statcast clocks his sprint speed in the 84th percentile, and while he has hovered around the 87th percentile for years prior it isn’t a significant enough drop-off to be worrisome. 

It was a disappointing year for Pham. He only played 31 games due to injury and frankly wasn’t very good when he did play. His BABIP was the lowest it has ever been by .63 points and that will positively regress and help him get back on track. 

THE BAT X which is run by Derek Carty and was voted as the most accurate projection system of 2020 has Pham projected to hit for 19 home runs, 17 stolen bases, and a .269 average in 130 games. This is a player who can contribute in all categories and isn't likely to hurt you in one. 

Getting a potential 20/20 player at pick 132 is well worth the age risk. He has a much better track record than players being picked around him (Dylan Moore, Kyle Lewis) and isn’t nearly as one-dimensional as others (Soler, Gallo). I would feel very comfortable getting Pham as a third or fourth outfielder in fantasy this year. He can potentially play much better and consistent than some of the 38 outfielders going ahead of him.

Late Round Values

Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs (FantasyPros ADP: OF50, OVERALL 162)

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Ian Happ is one of my favorite values for 2020, as he is going low enough to mitigate almost all risk while still carrying tons of upside. While he’s never going to become Tony Gwynn, his xBA increased by at least 20 points for a second straight season. If he can keep it where it is now at .260 and hover around there, he’ll be an impact player in fantasy. 

As you might recall, Happ got off to a fantastic start in 2020. There was then an incident that seemed to derail and delay his breakout season for another year. Happ took a foul ball off the eye in September and really struggled afterward. According to Michael Cerami of BleacherNation.com, Happs splits looked like this before and after the foul ball. 

Before:(163 PA): .304/.420/.659 with a 182 wRC+, 16% walk rate, and 23.9% K rate

After: (68 PA): .159/.221/.175 with a 11 wRC+, 5.9% walk rate, and 35.3% K rate. 

He will be guaranteed tons of at-bats in Chicago, which is currently still a formidable lineup. With Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Willson Contreras behind him, he should see plenty of fastballs and run-scoring opportunities. 

Happ makes for a solid third outfielder and a good fourth outfielder with potential for much more. He is only 26 years old and now has enough major league at-bats to experience a breakout. I believe Happ is much closer to his numbers before taking the foul ball off the eye, rather than after. 

Kole Calhoun, Arizona Diamondbacks (FantasyPros ADP: OF72, Overall - 237)

Prior to 2019, he hadn’t hit 20+ home runs since 2015, then Calhoun mashed 33 home runs in 2019. He backed up his power outburst with a 16 homer 54 game season in 2020. His ISO jumped nearly 70 points for the second straight season, and his K% decreased.

Calhoun's average does turn some people away, but keep in mind he had career-low BABIP and his xBA was .264. He was always a lower BABIP guy, don't expect a huge jump but there should be some improvements.

When he was struggling in 2019 he made some swing adjustments, and his launch angle has increased steadily since then. Going from a launch angle of 12 to 15 to 17 over three seasons has helped him produce this power. Going nearly 30 picks after Jarred Kelenic, a Mariners prospect with an unknown ETA, Calhoun is currently a steal.

If Calhoun was 23, rather than 33, I believe he’d be going 100+ picks higher. Calhoun may not have many good years left, but in redraft at pick 237 I strongly suggest him. I’ll admit he’s not the sexiest pick in the world, but you’ll be glad you have him on Opening Day. 

Make sure you bookmark our Fantasy Baseball category page to consume all of our 2021 MLB content in the coming weeks!

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1 comment

2021 Fantasy Baseball Overvalued Outfielders - Fantasy Six Pack February 27, 2021 - 6:31 am

[…] 2021 Fantasy Baseball Overvalued Outfielders article!. If you haven’t already, check out my Undervalued Outfielders […]


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