2021 Fantasy Baseball: Chicago Cubs Team Outlook - Pitching Staff Shortcomings Hold Back Growth Potential

Get the inside scoop! 2021 fantasy baseball player profiles, team analysis and stat projections for Chicago Cubs hitters and pitchers
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2021 Chicago Cubs

After missing the postseason in 2019, the Cubs took advantage of the 60-game schedule to make the playoff for the fifth time in six seasons. Chicago won the World Series in 2016, which was their third championship (1907 and 1908) over the team’s 145-year history.

They moved to 10th in ERA (3.99) while slipping to 20th in runs (265) and 17th in home runs (74).

The Cubs didn’t re-sign 2B Jason Kipnis, SP Tyler Chatwood, OF Kyle Schwarber, SP Jon Lester, and SP Jose Quintana. Their top players added were OF Joc Pederson, SP Jake Arrieta, C Austin Romine, RP Brandon Workman, OF Jake Marisnick, and P Trevor Williams. 

Chicago picked up SP Zach Davies and four minor league players for SP Yu Darvish and C Victor Caratini.

In essence, the Cubs gutted their fading starting rotation (except Darvish) while lowering their team spending on salaries. SP Kyle Hendrick and SP Zach Davies bring steady arms with minimal impact in strikeouts. Chicago can’t make a deep playoff push until they find a new pair of front-end aces.

The bullpen should be competitive in the 8th and 9th innings if CL Craig Kimbrel can unlock the key to his success earlier in his career.

Offensively, the Cubs have two edge bats (SS Javier Baez and C Willson Contreras). OF Kris Bryant continues to fade, leading to a significant question about his profile going forward. 1B Anthony Rizzo and OF Joc Pederson should add steady power.

Chicago won’t make the postseason in 2021. Their offense can carry them over short spurts, but the lack of starting pitching will leave them with stretches of losses.

Chicago Cubs Anthony Rizzo

Starting Lineup

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1. OF Joc Pederson

Pederson enters his eighth season in the majors, but he has never had over 480 at-bats (2015) in his career. The escape from Los Angeles may lead to the best opportunity of his career.

In his career, Pederson hit .191 against left-handed pitching with nine home runs, 33 RBI, and 111 strikeouts (28.8 percent).

From 2017 to 2019, he had strength in his walk rate (10.1) while improving his strikeouts rate (20.6) to above the league average. Last year, his approach regressed in both areas (8.0 and 24.6).

He continues to have an explosive average hit rate (2.087). Pederson finished with a weak swing path in 2020, leading to the highest ground ball rate (48.2) in his career. His HR/FB rate (22.6) with a step below his top level in 2019 (25.9).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: I expect the Cubs to use him as their leadoff hitter against right-handed pitching due to his ability to take walks. His playing time vs. lefties will hinge on his success when given opportunities. Pederson has a bench ADP (365) in the early 12-team high-stakes markets. A workable player who offers batting average risk despite an improving approach. His starting point looks to be .250 with 75 runs and 30 home runs with 450 at-bats.

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2. 3B Kris Bryant

After burying fantasy teams over his first 18 games (11-for-62 with nine runs, two home runs, and four RBI), Bryant landed on the injured list for two weeks with a left wrist injury.

In September, he battled an elbow issue after getting by a pitch and a slight oblique injury. Bryant ended the season with more emptiness in his bats (.232 over 69 at-bats with two home runs and seven RBI).

His approach was the worst of his career (strikeout rate – 27.2 and walk rate – 8.2).

In 2018, Bryant had a price point around the 30th pick in the high-stakes market. He finished with value in runs (108) and home runs (31) with about league average stats in batting average (.282) and RBI (77), but his ADP slipped to 58 in the next draft season.

His contact batting average (.384) has been in a tight range over the past four seasons before 2020 while owning strength in his average hit rate (1.850).

He tends to get low RBI chances (330 in 2019, 281 in 2018, and 379 in 2017), but Bryant has been a poor player of late with runners on base (RBI rate of 14 or less) from 2017 to 2020.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Bryant has underachieved his expected upside in power coming to Chicago while failing too many times with runners on base and losing his initial value in speed. His ADP (131) is on a free fall as fantasy owners want to stay clear of his struggles with injuries. I want to believe, but I’ve been beaten by him twice over the past three years. Think .280 with 90 runs, 30 home runs, and 75 RBI with 550 at-bats.

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3. 1B Anthony Rizzo

Rizzo had a sharp decline in his contact batting average (.273) and regression in hard-hit rate (34.7). His average hit rate (1.867) fell in line with his 30 home run seasons in 2016 and 2017.

He was on pace for 70 runs, 30 home runs, and 65 RBI with 550 at-bats. Rizzo became a much easier out with runners on base (RBI rate – 12). His infield fly-ball rate (17.7) was 8.5 percentage points higher than his career average, showing that his timing was off.

His walk rate (11.5) remains an edge with a favorable strikeout rate (15.6).

Over the previous two seasons, Rizzo lost his value in power (25 and 27 home runs), especially when compared to the rise in home runs in baseball.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: When reviewing the Cubs players, it’s interesting to see Chicago will pay Bryant and Rizzo a combined $36 million in 2021, yet fantasy owners coin flip if either player delivers stud stats again. His major league career resume paints him as a neutral hitter in batting average with 85 runs, 25 home runs, and 85 RBI. He has upside across the board. Rizzo has an ADP of 108 in the early draft season.

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4. SS Javier Baez

The theme in 2020 was empty bats for the Cubs top hitters. Baez set a career-high in his strikeout rate (31.9) and career-low walk rate (3.0). His contact batting average (.306) came in well below 2018 (.401) and 2019 (.397) while delivering a light-hitting RBI rate (12).

In August, Baez whiffed 40 times with five walks over 103 plate appearances. He only took one walk in September over 98 at-bats.

His swing path delivered a high number of ground balls (49.7 percent – 50.3 in 2019) with fade in his HR/FB rate (17.0 – 24.4 in 2019).

After a breakthrough season in 2018, Baez underperformed his draft position in 2019 due to a broken left thumb in early September. He also battled a heel issue in May.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Baez is a free swinger who needs to change his swing path to push toward 40 home runs. His batting average downside can be offset by his ability to hit for a high average when putting the ball in play. His ADP (74) is more favorable in 2021, but his failure last year does create doubt in his ability to repeat his success in 2018. I’ll lower his bar to 90 runs, 30 home runs, and 90 RBI with a neutral batting average and double-digit steals.

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5. C Willson Contreras

The addition of the DH to the National League led to Contreras playing in 57 of 60 games (18 at DH). He was on pace for 510 at-bats with 100 runs, 19 home runs, and 70 RBI.

His run rate (56) looks out of line when looking at his 46 hits and 20 walks. Contreras has a league-average walk rate (8.0), but his strikeout rate (25.3) continues to rise.

Contreras struggled against left-handed pitching (.186 with no home runs and four RBI over 43 at-bats). His best play came in September (.305 with 17 runs, three home runs, and 14 RBI over 82 at-bats). He also had a better bat when starting at DH (.298 with four home runs and 16 RBI over 57 at-bats).

His ground ball rate (47.4) was the lowest of his career (50.2 in 2019). Contreras gave up his gains in his HR/FB rate (15.9 – 27.3 in 2019).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: With the catching position being relatively weak throughout the player pool, Contreras is the fourth catcher off the board with an ADP of 123 in 12-team leagues. I expect his batting average will settle in the .260 to .270 range with a chance at 70 runs, 25 home runs, and 75 RBI with 475 at-bats.

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6. OF Ian Happ

The extended starting roster for hitters due to Covid helped Happ in 2020.

He jumped right into the starting lineup with a hot bat over his first 24 games (.315 with six home runs and 14 RBI over 73 at-bats). Over his final 125 at-bats, he hit .224 with six home runs and 14 RBI.

His strikeout rate (27.3) remains a liability while offering a top of the order walk rate (12.2 in his career with Chicago). Happ was a much better hitter against right-handed pitching (.260 with 11 home runs and 26 RBI over 150 at-bats). When batting leadoff, he hit .239 with a .333 on-base percentage.

Over four different seasons with the Cubs, Happ hit .248 with 170 runs, 62 home runs, 170 RBI, and 19 steals over 1,089 at-bats. His minor league resume (.265 with 209 runs, 49 home runs, 184 RBI, and 37 stolen bases over 1,202 at-bats) paints a higher ceiling in speed.

Happ has a high HR/FB rate (27.3 – 23.4 in his career).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: There’s a 30/15 hitter here with batting average risk with a full-time job. The Cubs will give him at-bats in the leadoff position when he’s playing well. His ADP (165) falls in a challenging part of the draft as fantasy owners will be looking for pitching depth and closers from round 10 to 15. He does have a high-hard hit rate (48.5) and rising contact batting average (.378), which takes away some of his downside in batting average. If the shoe fits your plan, the good outweighs the bad.

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7. OF Jason Heyward

Based on approach (strikeout rate – 20.4 and walk rate – 16.6), Heyward could be in the mix to bat leadoff for the Cubs in 2021.

His bat showed a pulse in his average hit rate (1.718) in back-to-back seasons while improving his contract batting average (.358) for the fourth straight season.

He struggled with runners on base (RBI rate – 14). Heyward doesn’t belong in the lineup against lefties (.196 with three home runs and 17 RBI over 148 at-bats) over the past two years.

His hard-hit rate (40.2) finished 147th in baseball while showing a second spike in his HR/FB rate (20.0 – 15.2 in 2019 and 11.4 in his career). He still has a ground ball favoring swing path (45.5 percent – 48.6 in his career).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Heyward checked enough boxes last year, where his bat might have a big step forward in 2021. I don’t see enough playing time against lefties to predict over 500 at-bats. His ADP (491) is free in shallow leagues. The Cubs still owe him a lot of money, so he isn’t going anywhere. Not a buy for me, but an open-minded follow.

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8. 2B Nico Hoerner

The Cubs drafted Hoerner with the 24th draft pick in the 2018 June Amateur Draft. Over his short at-bats (337) in the minors over two seasons, Hoerner hit .297 with 49 runs, five home runs, 28 RBI, and 14 steals.

With Chicago, he flashed over 20 games in 2019 (.282 with 13 runs, three home runs, and 17 RBI over 78 at-bats), but he struggled last season (.222 with no home runs, 13 RBI, and three steals).

His hard-hit rate (36.8) came in better than 2019 (23.5) while offering a ground ball swing path (54.2 percent).

Hoerner does bring to the table a high average bat with a low strikeout rate (9.5 in college, 9.6 in the minors, and 16.8 in his limited at-bats with Chicago).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: A good season at any level would be a .300 batting average with a chance at 80-plus runs, 10 home runs, 50 RBI, and 15 steals. Only a bench option for now with a waiver wire ADP (480). Hoerner should start at second base for the Cubs in 2021.

Bench Options

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C Austin Romine

The excitement of Romine earning a starting job for the first time in his career at age 31 was short-lived in 2020. His RBI rate (18) and contact batting average (.373) held value, but he struggled to make contact (34.8 percent strikeout rate).

Over his previous four seasons as the backup catcher for the Yankees, Romine hit .247 with 24 home runs and 124 RBI over 864 at-bats.

His bat played much better in 2018 and 2019, leading to temptation for fantasy owners if he repeated that success (.262 with 59 runs, 18 home runs, and 77 RBI over 470 at-bats) with a starting opportunity.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Romine will have a minimal opportunity as the Cubs backup catcher in 2021. If given a short-term starting job, his bat should be productive enough to work as an injury cover at catcher.

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2B David Bote

Bote has almost a full season of at-bats (612) in the majors over the past three years (.240 with 85 runs, 24 home runs, 103 RBI, and 10 Stolen bases). He finished 2020 with an exceptional RBI rate (21) and growth in his average hit rate (1.960).

His batting average weakness came from a much lower contact batting average (.294) and repeated struggles in his strikeout rate (27.6 – 27.1 in his career). Bote continues to take a high number of walks (11.3 percent in his career).

He struggled against lefties (.185 with four home runs and 119 RBI over 119 at-bats) over the past two seasons. Bote has a ground ball swing path (52.2 percent with Chicago), but he does own a high HR/FB rate (24.1).

Over eight seasons in the minors, he hit .262 with 52 home runs, 278 RBI, and 43 stolen bases over 2,100 at-bats.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Bote continues to show growth, but he can’t make a push for a starting job without lowering his strikeouts. His bat plays well with runners on base, and Bote can chip in with some steals. With a more balanced swing path, his home run total would push over 30 with a full-time job. His ticket to more playing time comes with the DH added to the National League. Bote offers injury replacement value in deep leagues with a starting job.

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OF Brennen Davis

The Cubs selected Davis in the second round of the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft out of high school.

Over two short seasons in the minors, he hit .303 with 42 runs, eight home runs, 33 RBI, and 10 steals over 234 at-bats. His walk rate (10.1) has top of the order upside while posting a strikeout rate (18.1) better than the league average.

Davis posted an average hit rate of 1.722 at single-A, which is a sign of 25-plus home runs. His average hit rate (.388) in 2019 also pushed higher, setting a high floor in his batting average.

His low at-bat total (177) in 2019 was due to an injury to his right hand after getting hit twice in the same area.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Davis should have reached AA in 2020, but the Covid cancelation of minor league baseball led to no playing time. His base skill set grades well. He may be a year away from the majors, while I expect he’ll see some time at AAA this season. Player to follow in 2021.

Ildemaro Vargas (IF): Vargas worked as the top infield option for Arizona in 2019. He hit .269 with six home runs and 24 RBI over 201 at-bats. Last year he struggled to get at-bats with the Diamondbacks, Twins, and Cubs (10-for-51 with one home run and three RBI).

Over 12 seasons in the minors, Vargas hit .293 with 38 home runs, 378 RBI, and 83 steals over 3,570 at-bats. His highlight season came in 2017 at AAA (.312 with 10 home runs, 65 RBI, and eight stolen bases over 487 at-bats).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Vargas played well over four different seasons at AAA (.326 with 21 home runs, 161 RBI, and 32 stolen bases over 1,346 at-bats), giving him a chance to win a utility role for Chicago in 2021.

Chicago Cubs Kyle Hendricks

Starting Pitching

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1. SP Kyle Hendricks

Hendricks doesn’t come with a sexy arm or an impactful strikeout rate (7.6), but fantasy owners would do well with a six-pack of him on their fantasy roster.

Over seven years in the majors, he went 69-448 with a 3.12 ERA and 882 strikeouts over 1,047.1 innings.

His walk rate (0.9) was the lowest of his career while having fade in his strikeout rate (7.1). Even with success in his ERA (2.88) in 2020, Hendricks struggled with right-handed batters (.274 with five home runs over 146 at-bats).

His AFB (87.9) came in a tick higher than his previous three seasons. Batters were challenged by his two lowest usage pitches (four-seam – .204 BAA and curveball – .1158 BAA). His changeup (.228 BAA) regains some of its lost value (.260 in 2019).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: This season, Hendricks will assume the ace role for the Cubs, leading to him drawing some tougher matchups when lined up with the opposing team’s top arms. His ADP (87) is 73 spots higher than 2019 while offering the same foundation skill set. Hendricks has never pitched over 200 innings in his career. His career resume paints a sub 3.25 ERA with 150 strikeouts. I view him as an SP3, meaning I won’t draft him at his current price point.

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2. SP Zach Davies

Davies has a soft-tossing arm (88.7 MPH fastball) that parallels Kyle Hendricks. His best pitch in a changeup (.199 BAA), which he threw over 40 percent of the time in 2020.

He finished last year with great success in San Diego (7-4 with a 2.73 ERA and 63 strikeouts over 69.1 innings). Davies posted the highest strikeout rate (8.2) of his career. Like Hendricks, he did have a more challenging time with right-handed batters (.254 with seven home runs over 138 at-bats) while owning lefties (.171 BAA).

Even more impressive was his success on the road (2.39 ERA over 37.2 innings with 32 strikeouts), which included starts in Colorado (2), Los Angeles, and Texas.

Davies didn’t allow over three runs in any start while pitching a minimum of six innings in six games.

He has a rising fly-ball rate (37.0 – 31.5 in his career), with failure in home runs allowed (1.2 per nine).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Davies proved to be more than an innings eater over the past two seasons (17-11 with a 3.30 ERA and 165 strikeouts over 229 innings). The rise in strikeouts made him a week-to-week starter in 2020. His ADP (235) is much higher than in 2019 (487). When adding in the change in parks and win being harder to come by, Davies will be more up and down each start, leading to fade in his ERA and WHIP.

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3. SP Adbert Alzolay

Alzolay struggled his two appearances (7.30 ERA and 1.784 WHIP) in 2019, despite allowing two runs and two hits over 8.2 innings with nine strikeouts. Last year he pitched better in Chicago (2.95 ERA) over short innings (21.1). His walk rate (5.9) is much too high to be trusted over a long season.

His arm looked to be on the rise in 2017 between High A and AA (7-4 with a 2.99 ERA and 108 strikeouts over 114.1 innings). Alzolay struggled over the last two years at AAA (4-8 with a 4.54 ERA and 118 strikeouts over 105 innings) with improvement in his strikeout rate (10.1).

Over seven seasons in the minors, he has a 3.63 ERA and 448 strikeouts over 491 innings.

His AFB (94.8) had a slight edge in velocity in his short time in the majors while working off a curveball (.080 BAA), slider (.040 BAA), and changeup (.063 BAA).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Alzolay isn’t a young prospect. The offseason changes in the starting rotation clear the way for him to pitch every fifth day. His ADP (356) makes him a seventh starter in 15-team leagues. Alzolay is worth a flier while expecting some disaster games until he throws more strikes.

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4. SP Alec Mills

Over the last two seasons for the Cubs, Mills went 6-5 with a 3.84 ERA and 88 strikeouts over 98.1 innings. Home runs were a problem in 2020 (13 over 62.1 innings), with a step back in his strikeout rate (6.6).

In his short career in the majors, batters only hit .222 against him.

His AFB (90.3) ranks well below the league average. All three of his secondary pitches (changeup – .191 BAA, curveball – .184 BAA, and slider – .051) in his career with the Cubs grade well.

Mills went 32-39 with a 3.69 ERA and 601 strikeouts over 649 innings in his eight seasons in the minors. He struggled over four years at AAA (17-19 with a 4.73 ERA and 265 strikeouts over 300.2 innings), which delayed his chance at winning a job in the Cubs’ rotation.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Mills threw strikes in the minors (walk rate of 2.2), with some improvement with Chicago in 2019 (2.8) and 2020 (2.7). There are flashes of a better arm while owning an edge with his off-speed pitches. Mills needs to locate his fastball better in and out of the strike zone. He has a waiver wire ADP (468) in early February. Possible short-term ride when Mills is one his game.

5. SP Jake Arrieta

The sun set on Arrieta’s arm in 2017. His ERA (5.08) regressed for the five straight years of regression while adding weakness in walk rate (3.4) and a diminishing strikeout rate (6.5).

Without his one disaster start (seven runs and nine baserunners over 1.1 innings), he had a 3.77 ERA and 1.349 WHIP over 43 innings with 32 strikeouts. Arrieta allowed three runs or fewer in six of his nine starts.

His FB (93.4) was a tick over his last three seasons but below his peak in 2013 (95.1). His curveball (no hits over 46 pitches) and changeup (.243 BAA) still had life while regaining his slider (.175 BAA). Batters teed up his sinker (.391 BAA).

Arietta is a ground ball pitcher (51.8 percent), but his HR/FB rate has been extremely high in 2019 (19.4) and 2020 (17.6).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Only a risky inning eater at this point in his career with a free-agent pool ADP (693) in mid-February. Arrieta may surprise over short stretches in 2021.

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SP Trevor Williams

Williams went from a trusted inning eater with low value in strikeouts (7.0 per nine) in 2017 and 2018 (3.56 ERA and 243 strikeouts over 321 innings) to a train wreck over the last two years (9-17 with a 5.60 ERA and 162 strikeouts over 201 innings).

His walk rate (3.4) was the highest of his career in 2020, along with his strikeout rate (8.0). Williams led the National League in home runs allowed (15 over 55.1 innings).

Over his first five starts last year, he had a 3.70 ERA and 1.356 WHIP over 24.1 innings. He allowed 27 runs, 48 baserunners, and 11 home runs over his next 25.1 innings.

His AFB (91.9) fell in line with his last two seasons, but below 2016 (94.2) and 2017 (93.3). His low-volume curveball (.125 BAA) was the only pitch of value in 2020.

His fly-ball rate (35.4) moved closer to his career average (36.1), but Williams allowed a massive HR/FB rate (24.2).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: The Cubs added him to fill some innings in their fifth starting slot. Williams did have a productive minor league career (25-26 with a 3.12 ERA and 321 strikeouts over 427.1 innings). He has no fantasy value while needing to find some velocity on his fastball.

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SP Brailyn Marquez

After signing at age 16, Marquez went 16-12 with a 3.19 ERA and 287 strikeouts over 257 innings over four seasons in the minors. His command (3.5 walks per nine) needs work while owning an edge strikeout rate (10.1).

His highest level of the minors is High A (1.71 ERA and 26 strikeouts over 26.1 innings). The Cubs gave him one appearance in 2020, leading to a disaster showing (five runs and five baserunners over two-thirds of an innings with one strikeout).

His AFB (97.9) was electric in his short pitches with Chicago. His slider has swing and miss upside while the growth in his changeup is trailing.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Marquez has an impact arm, but his mechanics aren’t quite there yet. The Cubs have weakness in the backend of their starting rotation, which may lead to a quick call to Chicago after some good innings in the minors. His next step is trusting his secondary stuff while getting ahead in the count. When that happens, Marquez will push toward a front end ace.

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SP Cory Abbott

After struggling in 2016 (4.24 ERA) in college, Abbott hit his stride the next year (11-2 with a 1.74 ERA and 130 strikeouts over 98.1 innings). The Cubs added him in the second round of the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft.

Over three seasons in the minors, he went 16-14 with a 2.84 ERA and 315 strikeouts over 275.2 innings. His walk rate (3.1) still needs some work while posting a healthy strikeout rate (10.3).

Abbott has a full season at AA (3.01 ERA and 166 strikeouts over 146.2 innings), leading a trip to AAA in 2020.

His fastball sits in the low 90s while relying on an upside curveball and good slider. Abbott continues to work in his below-par changeup.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Abbott is a live dark horse to make a push for a starting job with Chicago. His arm could come fast with better command.

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CL Craig Kimbrel

The trust in Kimbrel looks to be long gone after two lousy seasons with the Cubs (0-5 with a 6.00 ERA, 1.528 WHIP, and 58 strikeouts over 36 innings). His walk rate (6.0) came in well below his career average (6.0) while serving up 11 home runs (2.8 per nine).

His AFB (97.2) regained one MPH from 2019 (96.4). Batters struggled to hit his four-seam fastball (.205 BAA) and curveball (.130 BAA), which came close to his career averages with these two pitches (.180 and .123).

Despite crooked numbers across the board, Kimbrel posted a 1.42 ERA, .098 BAA, 26 strikeouts, and two saves over his final 12.2 innings. Almost all of his damage came over his first four appearances (seven runs and 11 baserunners over 2.2 innings).

Over his last three full seasons with Boston, Kimbrel went 12-7 with a 2.44 ERA and 305 strikeouts over 184.1 innings while converting 108 of 119 saves.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Kimbrel has an early ADP of 202 in the 12-team high-stakes market. His finish to 2020 does show his arm still has closing upside, but regaining his command is a must. He looks like a cheat closer if his spring reports are positive. I expect his price point to rise in March.

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RP Rowan Wick

Over five seasons in the minors, he went 9-6 with a 2.63 ERA, 208 strikeouts, and 32 saves. His downside as a lockdown closer has been his walk rate (4.1), which made a step forward in 2019 at AAA (2.3).

With the Cubs, Wick walked 3.5 batters per nine innings with a strength in his strikeout rate (9.5). Over the last two seasons in Chicago, he has 2.66 ERA, 55 strikeouts, and six saves over 50.2 innings. His 2020 season started with one run allowed over eight innings with eight strikeouts and four saves. Wick gave back his gains in back-to-back games in August (four runs and four baserunners over one innings).

His AFB (95.3) came in below 2019 (96.0). His four-seam fastball (.290 BAA) and curveball (.286 BAA) lost value while his low-volume cutter (.143 BAA) played well.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Wick will be one of the better closers in waiting in 2021, especially for the fantasy owners that don’t believe in Craig Kimbrel. His ADP (587) makes him an easy handcuff in deep leagues.

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RP Dan Winkler

In 2013, Winkler flashed upside in the Rockies’ system as a starter (13-7 with a 2.98 ERA and 175 strikeouts over 157 innings). He missed all of 2015 with TJ surgery on his right elbow while failing to add value at any level in 2016.

Over the past four seasons, Winkler went 8-2 with a 3.53 ERA, 127 strikeouts, and two saves over 142.2 innings.

His strikeout rate (10.0) created an edge while having a high walk rate (3.8).

Winkler had a league-average fastball (93.3), but his success is driven by a high volume cutter (.216 BAA) and a winning slider (.200 BAA).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: In 2021, he’ll compete for the top seventh role for the Cubs. 

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2021 Fantasy Baseball Team Outlooks

American League

East: BAL / BOS / NYY / TAM / TOR
Central: CWS / CLE / DET / KC / MIN
West: HOU / LAA / OAK / SEA / TEX

National League

East: ATL / MIA / NYM / PHI / WAS
Central: CHC / CIN / MIL / PIT / STL
West: ARI / COL / LAD / SD / SF