2021 Re-Draft Top 25/Dynasty Top 200

Prospects have become increasingly key to winning re-draft fantasy leagues. They have always been major in-season acquisitions, but now they are more prevalent than ever at the draft table. With more fantasy managers knowing the prospects who are likely to make an impact in that season, the battle for their services has become much more fervent, leading some to just stash them for a month or two rather than take the chance of being able to pluck them off the wire once they are called up and risk losing them.

These rankings are now available on The Board on the 2021 Fantasy Rankings tab, where you can also see the Top 200 Dynasty Rankings!

The average draft position (ADP) data used is for 12-team NFBC Online Championship leagues that have a standard 23-man roster and 7-man bench with no IL spots.

Randy Arozarena | TB, OF | Top 100: 4; ADP: 58

Arozarena’s playoff run (10 HR, 1.273 OPS in 86 PA) is getting all the attention, but it is worth noting that he put together a great 1.022 OPS with 7 HR and 4 SB in his 76 PA during the regular season. Throw in a healthy set of projections that have him flirting with or putting up a 20/20 type season, and the 26-year old has surged into the top six rounds of most drafts, regardless of size. The surprising jump in power production did bring a hefty 29% K% in the regular season, though he trimmed it to 22% in the playoffs, and that rate seems more likely given his minor league track record. The power/speed production gives him a strong floor even if the strikeouts are more of a problem than anticipated. The price is high, but the upside is massive and at 26 years old, he is close to being a finished product.

Ian Anderson | ATL, SP | Top 100: 13; ADP: 104

It is hard to have a better debut than what Anderson managed in both the regular season and the playoffs. He steamrolled through six starts in the regular season with a 1.95 ERA and 1.08 WHIP across 32 IP only to then drop 16.7 innings of scoreless ball in the playoffs before the Dodgers finally clipped him for a pair of runs in the third inning of his Game 7 NLCS start. I am a sucker for a prospect arm with a strong changeup and Anderson’s is the best pitch in his arsenal. Eric graded it as a 70 while the fastball and curveball are both average or better, aided by a deceptive delivery that kept batters off balance. He is a key piece for the Braves and there is no reason to believe he won’t break camp with the club.

Ke’Bryan Hayes | PIT, 3B | Top 100: 7; ADP: 156

Speaking of scintillating debuts, Hayes quietly decimated the opposition in a brief 95 PA look with the Pirates in September. He hit .376/.442/.682 with 5 HR and 1 SB. He might have stolen more bases if 14 of his 32 hits hadn’t gone for extra bases! Since they started the clock at the end of 2020, it seems unlikely that Hayes will be relegated to Triple-A at the outset of 2021 even as the Pirates are firmly in rebuild mode so I’m ranking him with the idea of a full season during which I could see him hitting 20 HR with 12-15 SB and a strong AVG of .275 or better.

Dylan Carlson | STL, OF | Top 100: 16; ADP: 159

A fantastic 2019 line mostly done at Double-A (142 wRC+ in 483 PA) with a sprinkle of Triple-A excellence (161 in 79 PA) drove Carlson’s stock through the roof. An unimpressive 119 PA debut (65 wRC+) tamped down the hype a bit, but there’s plenty to like here. The switch-hitting 22-year-old is expected to make the Cardinals team and get a full season to let his scouting report loaded with 50s and 55s shine through in the form of a 20 HR/10 SB kind of season.

Sixto Sánchez | MIA, SP | Top 100: 28; ADP: 122

Remember what I said about ready-made changeups for prospects? Sánchez absolutely fits the bill, and the pitch was front and center during his 39-inning debut with a 6.6 Pitch Value. Throw in an upper-90s heater that pops 100 regularly – or rather heaters, as he throws a four-seamer and sinker – along with a solid average slider and you can see all the pieces for stardom.

There is a disconnect between watching him and his results, particularly with his strikeout rate, as you would expect this arsenal to deliver a strikeout-per-inning at worst with the upside to be a 30% guy, but he was at just 21% in his debut and posted a 22% mark in 335 minor league innings. His 13% swinging strike rate at the majors was great, but his 58% groundball rate ends a lot of plate appearances before he gets to the punch-out. The foundation is strong, the upside rich, and Sánchez has stardom in his future.

Triston McKenzie | CLE, SP | Top 100: 58; ADP: 175

I have a particular affinity for McKenzie as we share a body type at 6-foot-5, 170 pounds. That said, his slight frame has been a source of injury issues throughout his career and lingers as a concern going forward. McKenzie probably has the most raw talent of those churned out by the Cleveland Pitching Factory lately and while that doesn’t necessarily mean he will match or exceed the excellence of Corey Kluber or Shane Bieber, it does have me excited about his future.

He has paired tremendous swing-and-miss ability with great walk rates throughout his career and unlike most of the Cleveland stud arms, he actually has a quality fastball. Cleveland has specialized in secondary arsenal development, so if there is improvement coming in McKenzie’s curveball, changeup, and slider, the AL Central is in some trouble.

Leody Taveras | TEX, OF | Top 100: 121 ADP: 193

While we rarely associate defense with fantasy baseball, Taveras could leverage his fantastic glove in center field into a starting role on Opening Day. He batted leadoff in his 134 PA debut (93 wRC+, but also 4 HR and 8 SB) and will likely fill that role again in 2021, whether immediately or after a Triple-A stint. Speed drives the fantasy profile as that power surge in his debut in not indicative of things to come, but there is some AVG upside as he gets his strikeout rate back in check (32% in his debut; 18% in the minors). His solid eye (10% MLB BB%; 9% MiLB) should help him maintain SB opportunities even if the hit tool lags a bit in his first full season. I could see a 10 HR/30 SB campaign and while you should plan for a .245-.250 AVG, there is the upside to crush that and hit something more in the .280-plus area.

Jarred Kelenic | SEA, OF | Top 100: 5; ADP: 232

This is great example of the difference between re-draft and dynasty league considerations. In the latter, Kelenic is quite a bit higher and could even be the first prospect drafted ahead of Franco. In the former, we just don’t know when he will arrive, which clouds his immediate upside. Barring a pre-debut extension, the Mariners are unlikely to have Kelenic on the Opening Day roster and they could even play around with the Super-2 deadline and delay his arrival until the summer.

He has just 21 games above High-A, so some extra seasoning in the minors isn’t totally unwarranted and sadly with the rules currently in place, it makes the most sense for Seattle. Once up, there is so much to like with a premium hit tool, burgeoning power, and even some decent speed that could deliver a few double-digit SB seasons at the front end of his career.

Ryan Mountcastle | BAL, 1B/OF | Top 100: 94; ADP: 153

Mountcastle’s complete lack of defensive value keeps him lower on prospect lists, but fantasy folks need to realize that this a strong bat and that that lack of glove doesn’t really impact us, as it won’t cost him playing time in Baltimore, at least in the short-term. A sharp debut (141 wRC+) has earned him some attention, as he seems set for a full-time role in 2021. With half of his games coming in Camden Yards, there’s a .270 AVG/30 HR vibe here.

Cristian Pache | ATL, OF | Top 100: 8; ADP: 351

The glove has always driven his profile, but that has led to him slipping a bit on the fantasy radar, as he can hit a bit and has premium speed. He can play Gold Glove caliber defense immediately, but there is still work to be done on his plate approach. While he did get a little taste in the playoffs as an emergency replacement, we are still talking about someone with just 26 game at Triple-A on his ledger. From the Braves perspective, they probably don’t see a huge difference between Pache and 4-6 weeks of Ender Inciarte so that’s why his price is so low in the early market. His ultimate upside could deliver a 20 HR/30 SB season, but upon arrival he should be a more powerful, less speedy version of Leody Taveras.

Alex Kirilloff | MIN, OF | Top 100: 17; ADP: 261

Kirilloff is a super-charged Mountcastle profile with great hitting and a poor defensive outlook, but he slots lower due to his uncertainty with the Twins, at least at the outset of the season. There is an opening in left field, but Jake Cave or Brent Rooker could be tabbed to fill that role initially or even run a platoon. The plus hit and plus power tools had some thinking Kirilloff could be thrust into the DH role with the hopes of being a baby Nelson Cruz before Cruz was re-signed. The bottom line is the bat plays, so once they deem him ready, he will be someone to roster in all formats.

Nate Pearson | TOR, SP | Top 100: 10; ADP: 234

The flame-throwing righty was 15th on this list last year and despite an unimpressive 18-inning stint with the Jays that included an elbow injury, I have moved him up a few slots because the stuff is still excellent and the ceiling is sky-high. With a pair of 70-grade pitches, Pearson projects to be a strikeout stud who can just overpower the opposition and work his way through a potentially elevated walk rate (though in fairness, he had just a 7% BB% in the minors) if he has trouble commanding his triple-digit heater.

Eric highlighted two key things to remember when assessing Pearson’s fantasy outlook for 2021. First in regard to his volume, Eric notes, “Pearson might spend his first couple of big league seasons in some kind of truncated starter’s role or as a multi-inning relief weapon.” This is particularly important for 2021 as innings expectations should be tempered. Secondly, Eric mentioned the potential stickiness of the bullpen, stating, “There’s a chance Toronto eventually does with him what the Reds did with Aroldis Chapman, where the team is competitive and Pearson is thriving in a relief role, so they just leave him there,” though that might actually add to his fantasy outlook or at the very least be neutral. Sure, we would love to see him develop into a frontline stud or even a solid No. 2/3 gem, but turning into one of the league’s best closers is a heck of a consolation prize if we miss his ultimate ceiling.

Vidal Bruján | TB, 2B | Top 100: 24; ADP: N/A

You probably expected to see a different Tampa Bay middle infielder on this list first. Remember, this is a re-draft list, though, so 2021 is the focus. Even if you are necessarily drafting the play in March, this is still only about this season and Bruján seems certain to debut at some point. The 24-year-old switch-hitter would’ve spent the bulk of 2020 at Triple-A and might have even debuted over a standard six-month season.

His positional flexibility could be instrumental in earning him a major-league look as he can play all around the infield and possibly even dip into the outfield, if necessary. The speed and hit tool will drive his fantasy success, with some latent power on tap for those invested in the long-term. Eric mentioned both Ketel Marte and Ozzie Albies in Bruján’s write up, both of whom are fantasy staples. I became enamored with Bruján at the 2019 Arizona Fall League and definitely think he could follow an Albies-like trajectory.

Nick Madrigal | CWS, 2B | Top 100: 39; ADP: 198

This one is straightforward. Obscenely good contact ability drives this profile while plus speed makes him a nice fantasy consideration, but you have to construct a plan to roster him given the complete absence of power (4 HR in 705 MiLB PA). For a shorthand projection, take David Fletcher’s 2019 and add 10-12 SBs.

Wander Franco | TB, SS | Top 100: 1; ADP: 251

This one might feel even weirder than Kelenic, but again this is about re-draft leagues and I just don’t feel confident saying Franco will get enough time to be a major contributor this year if he gets any at all. He is 20 years old with 52 games of High-A on his ledger in an organization notorious for slow roasting their prospects. I mean it wouldn’t even be their normal slow roasting if he debuts in 2021, which is what many expect. He has absurdly good plate discipline and coverage skills with a raw power foundation that could deliver plus game power as he develops. Eric had a great quote from someone who comped Franco to a Michael Brantley-type who can switch-hit while playing shortstop and that’s if the power doesn’t quite hit its full upside.

The market hasn’t gone overboard with Franco yet, but even 251 is a bit high in the NFBC format where you only have seven reserve spots (no IL-specific spots), so he is just eating a precious spot until he comes up. He is being taken over 100 picks higher than incumbent shortstop Willy Adames, who obviously doesn’t share Franco’s brilliant upside but has something very important Franco doesn’t: a job. I’m of the mind that Franco won’t even debut in 2021, but I did hedge that a bit by still putting him here on this list because I know I could be wrong and once up, he’s a monster.

Dane Dunning | TEX, SP | Top 100: N/A; ADP: 289

Dunning is the only player on this list to not make Eric’s Top 100 as he is 26 years old and there isn’t any real projection here. That highlights another difference between real life and fantasy, especially in a list like this that is focused solely on this year, as Dunning being a finished product makes him much more viable in the draft. The former first rounder returned after missing all of 2019 and looked good in his 34 innings with the White Sox (4.33 SIERA, 16% K-BB%). A deep arsenal gives him a kitchen sink approach while solid command helps all of the pitches play up. A firm double-digit swinging strike rate should have him at or around a strikeout-per-inning and if he continues to limit home runs, then a mid-3.00s ERA over a boatload of innings seems likely.

Andrew Vaughn | CWS, 1B | Top 100: 14; ADP: 335

Vaughn is a difficult player to consider in 2021 re-draft leagues. The talent is there and immense. It certainly feels like he could roll into Guaranteed Rate stadium and hit .270 with a strong OBP and decent pop, but he also has 29 games at High-A and appears to be blocked off with José Abreu at first base and Eloy Jiménez at DH. The latter is less concerning, as teams find a way when a premium bat is ready to deliver (see also: Bellinger, Cody) and the former was dealt a dose of hope when GM Rick Hahn made clear that Vaughn has a chance to break camp with the big league club.

Spencer Howard | PHI, SP | Top 100: 33; ADP: 354

Nothing about his first taste of the majors really knocked anyone’s socks off (5.92 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 12% K-BB), but consider that Howard skipped Triple-A after just 30 innings at Double-A. The tools are here, and the debut pushed him into the post-hype realm, so now is the time to invest if you like him. He showed a solid three pitch mix while flashing a show-me curve (6%) and if his command develops, there is substantial upside that could start paying off as soon as this year. The Phillies need him, though his place isn’t guaranteed immediately. Joe Girardi said he is definitely competing for a spot and Matt Moore shouldn’t keep him from it if Howard performs in spring, so he is still someone to consider at the draft table.

Michael Kopech | CWS, SP | Top 100: 34; ADP: 276

We last saw Kopech in 2018 as he was felled by Tommy John surgery after an electric 14-inning debut. He recovered in 2019 and then opted out of 2020, but he is back and ready to go for 2021. The upside is massive, but with so much time off, I understand having some uncertainty about what we will get in 2021. The signing of Liam Hendriks does remove that fantasy safety net of possibly shifting to the closer’s role, but we want five innings and gobs of strikeouts every outing anyway. Even without a guaranteed starting role, I’m open to drafting him just for the upside. Obviously, as we get more clarity on his 2021 status, we can make a better determination of just how draftable he is in re-draft leagues. Until then, a 19th-round pick in 15-team leagues is a fair price.

Tarik Skubal | DET, SP | Top 100: 22; ADP: 323

A nasty 2.5 HR/9 rate saddled Skubal with a 5.63 ERA in his 32-inning debut, but a 4.12 SIERA and 1.22 WHIP hint at the solid underlying skills (28% K%, 8% BB%). An excellent fastball and ample secondary offerings give Skubal a bright future with a No. 2/3 upside. He was informed at the outset of spring that he wouldn’t break camp with the club as some veteran additions have given the Tigers the coverage needed to take their time with the trio of premium arms they are developing. He will be back in the majors at some point in 2021, though, so consider drafting him in leagues with deep reserve lists or any kind of minor league component.

Casey Mize | DET, SP | Top 100: 32; ADP: 355

Mize might actually be the third-best of the Tigers stud prospects, but I slotted him just above Manning due to already having some major league experience. Like Skubal (and Manning, who is coming up next), Mize has been informed that he isn’t breaking camp with the big league club, which obviously makes a lot of sense for a rebuilding organization that is still expected to be on the wrong side of a winning record. Mize likely won’t ever be a fantasy superstar due to the lack of an overwhelming strikeout pitch, but the Masahiro Tanaka comp that Eric put on him is just perfect. It gives you a great idea of the kind of ratios and strikeout rate to expect from a splitter-heavy stud and also puts it in a cloud of injury concern, which Mize also carries — Tanaka reached 180 IP just twice, but averaged a solid 168 across six seasons.

Matt Manning |DET, SP | Top 100: 18; ADP: N/A

Manning leapfrogged Mize on Eric’s lists last year due in large part to a clean injury record, but then a forearm strain put the first negative mark on his resume. That said, he appears healthy as he threw over the offseason and thus remains ahead of Mize on the Top 100. We haven’t seen Manning yet but should at some point in 2021, and he has all the makings of a stud, both in real life and fantasy.

His plus fastball/curve combo will drive his strikeout rate while his budding changeup and power frame (6-foot-6, 215 pounds) will help drive through lineups multiple times and consistently pitch 6-plus innings. He is probably more of a 2022 asset for fantasy leagues, but I can’t rule out an Ian Anderson-esque debut once he arrives, and I mean that from a skills perspective — I wouldn’t project anyone for a sub-2.00 ERA even in a small sample.

JJ Bleday | MIA, OF | Top 100: 35; ADP: N/A

We are kind of flying blind with Bledays as he was drafted in 2019 and played just 38 pro games before dealing with the COVID season, so we aren’t really sure where he is on the development track. I’m a big fan, though, so I am planting my flag a bit by including him here. There are guys with a clearer outlook but lower ceiling who I could’ve included, but I woke up and chose chaos. He is already 23 thanks to a brilliant college career at Vanderbilt, which is why a 2021 debut is expected. There isn’t a single carrying tool for fantasy, but the sum of his parts yields a quality mid-tier outfielder at peak. The addition of Adam Duvall likely seals Bleday’s fate to head to Triple-A after spring training, but he might not need much time there to push his way to Miami.

A.J. Puk | OAK, SP | Top 100: 99; ADP: 333

This is another one of my guys and the only reason I slotted him lower than Bleday is his health profile and the fact that he might be relegated to a middle relief role at the outset of 2021, which doesn’t carry all-formats fantasy appeal. On the plus side, he has a pair of plus pitches in the fastball and slider that will consistently allow him to miss a ton of bats. Meanwhile, the changeup and curveball are the keys to turning him into a firm mid-rotation stud. I’m willing to bet on the talent and see how it plays out this year.

Ryan Jeffers | MIN, C | Top 100: 59; ADP: 334

I don’t love drafting prospect catchers all that often, but many leagues require two catchers and Jeffers has the bead on that role in Minnesota after a rough 2020 for Mitch Garver. He made a strong impression in his debut (119 wRC+ in 62 PA), showing the kind of bat he can wield behind the dish while also capably handling the defensive responsibilities. Even if you give Garver an edge with the bat, it’s not that substantial and Jeffers has a massive advantage defensively, so it would make sense to see the Twins favor him.





Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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RainmakerMichaelcarterEddie Bajekchbg24 Recent comment authors
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VottomanEmpire
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VottomanEmpire

Thanks to Kevin Mather’s big blathering mouth (may he be fired by EOD today), I think we know exactly when Jarred Kelenic will arrive in MLB.

chbg24
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chbg24

Fortunately, he got the boot. I live in Seattle and can’t wait to see this kid!

Eddie Bajek
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Eddie Bajek

The opposite may be true due to the risk of a grievance if he is held down.