Fantasy Baseball

2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 2 Cactus League Update

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The 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 2 Cactus League Update is here. Spring Training is in full swing (pun intended) and players are just starting to hit their grove.

This second week of the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 2 Cactus League Update will give you the inside edge on what fantasy players will take your team to the top.

Last week we talked about a few stars who had a rough 2o20 and are looking to have a bounce-back season. This week we are going to talk about the opposite. Players who had a great 2020 season and how that will translate to the 2021 season.

I will also dive into a few pitching battles and how they are shaking out two weeks into the Spring Training. The pitching battles include a starter vying for that fifth rotation spot and also another pitcher who is looking to fill into the closer role.

2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 2 Cactus League Update

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Keep The Mojo Going

Trevor Bauer, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

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The reigning NL Cy-Young winner has a new home in L.A. Will his new home produce the same results that he did in Cincy? I can’t remember the last time that the current Cy-Young holder now places third in an already stacked rotation. When you have Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler locked in as the one and two in the rotation Bauer will have less pressure of not having to be the ace.

Bauer’s great 2020 has catapulted him into a top 15 in ADP. His Spring is off to a good start also, through eight and a third innings pitched he has only given up one run and has nine strikeouts. This a good sign that Bauer will have another good year. He is also on a much better offensive team so the pressure is off. He is going to have another solid year. Because of his inconsistency in previous seasons, you could see him fall down draft boards. Which could make him a steal in the third or fourth round of standard leagues.

Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals

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After missing all of the 2019 season Salvy came back in the shortened 2020 season to show why he is one of the best backstops in baseball. His offensive output in 2020 placed him in the top 5% in expected batting average, slugging, on-base average, and weighted on-base average. This is every power-hitting category that you are looking for in fantasy baseball.

He has kept the mashing going with three home runs in 22 plate appearances this Spring. Perez is one of the most consistent catchers in all of baseball and he now has plenty of players in front of him that set the table better than Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast! Okay, so maybe the Disney reference is not the right demographic here, it does show that Salvy is going to have a great year and is a steal of a catcher.

Pitching Battles

Chicago White Sox, SP, Carlos Rodon vs Reynaldo Lopez

With Michael Kopech already being announced by manager Tony La Russa that he will start in the bullpen. The fifth starter spot on the south side of Chicago is between two men, Carlos Rodon and Reynaldo Lopez. Both of these guys have starter experience even if Kopech down the road is the best option.

Carlos Rodon

Rodon, the elder of the had a breakout season as a rookie in 2015. In his rookie year, he posted a 3.75 ERA and averaged about one strikeout per inning (139 IP). Well, his ERA has increased every year since 2015 and has decreased his strikeouts every year (excluding 2016). This along with the fact that he has only pitched two innings this Spring is not boding well for Rodon.

Reynaldo Lopez

Once deemed as one of the top prospects in a loaded White Sox farm system Lopez has not lived up to the hype. If you look into his numbers he ranked in the bottom 10% in hitters exit velocity in 2020. In an era where the chicks dig the long ball having players hit you hard is not a good look. Even though Lopez has pitched more innings than Rodon, this Spring (five) he has given up five runs. Lopez has had the opportunity to claim the fifth starter spot and has yet to grab it.

Prediction

If you are looking to draft Rodon or Lopez in Mixed Leagues I would stay away from both. If you are drafting in an AL format league my money is going to be on Rondon nabbing the fifth spot in the rotation, I do caution that he may be on a short leash.

 Cincinnati Reds, CP, Amir Garrett vs Lucas Sims

With the trade of Rasiel Inglesias to the Los Angeles Angels, the closer role is up for grabs. Garrett who is seen as the odds-on favorite to be the closer for the Reds is getting some stiff competition from Sims.

Amir Garrett

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When Garrett has made his major league debut he had a four-pitch arsenal of a four-seam fastball, slider, changeup, and sinker curve. Last season he used mostly the slider and fastball and mixed in the sinker rarely. His career K/9 average of 10.33 makes him an enticing candidate to be the closer. Due to some early injury issues in Spring Training, he has yet to pitch. This shouldn’t hurt him too much unless the soreness continues.

Lucas Sims

While Garrett only relies on two pitches Sims used all four of his pitches equally in 2020. While his K/9 is lower than Garrett the four pitches give him a unique arsenal for a closer. He also has not pitched in Spring Training due to an elbow injury, however, he has been pitching a few bullpen sessions.

Prediction

Once both of these pitchers throw a few innings during Spring Training it will give a good indication of who will be the closer come to Opening Day. With Garrett standing an imposing six foot five and being a lefty hurler I give him the advantage to be the closer.

Next Week

Next week we will be looking at some of the top players from a fantasy standpoint and how they are doing in Spring Training. This will include some of the top fantasy hitters and pitchers and if the Spring has impacted their draft stock.


If there is a certain player or team you want me to highlight in a coming article tweet at me @MantelJosh. See ya’ll next week!


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About Josh Mantel

Love to mix Fantasy Sports and Pop Culture together in a unique blend that will keep everyone who reads satisfied. Follow me on Twitter @MantelJosh

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