2021 Fantasy Baseball: Arizona Diamondbacks Team Outlook - No Chance in Top-Heavy NL West

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

The Diamondbacks missed the postseason over the past three years, but they did have a winning record in 2018 (82-80) and 2019 (85-77). In the team’s 23-year history, Arizona has one World Series title (2001) and six playoff appearances.

They slipped to 20th in ERA (4.84), 18th in runs (269), and 29th in home runs (58).

Arizona signed RP Joakim Soria and RP Chris Devenski to improve their bullpen depth. The Diamondbacks didn’t lose any star players to free agency (SP Mike Leake, RP Junior Guerra, RP Hector Rondon, and OF Yasmany Tomas).

Their bullpen has a below league-average feel, with no dominating option to close games.

SP Zac Gallen continues to develop into a top-tier pitcher. SP Madison Bumgarner needs to reinvent his career, while SP Luke Weaver has failed to find consistency in the majors. SP Merrill Kelly looks serviceable as a backend inning eater.

The Diamondbacks are in rebuilding mode offensively with only one player (2B Ketel Marte) that looks to star potential.

I don’t see a playoff contender, especially with the Dodgers and Padres expected to fight for the NL West title. Arizona needs to find another developing ace, a lockdown ninth-inning arm, and find a minimum of two middle-of-the-order foundation bats to push toward the postseason.

Arizona Diamondbacks Ketel Marte

Starting Lineup

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1. OF Daulton Varsho

After hitting .335 over 594 at-bats in college with 121 runs, 24 home runs, 124 RBI, and 32 steals, Arizona drafted Varsho in the second round of the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft. He played catcher, outfield, and second base.

Over three seasons in the minors, he hit .301 with 169 runs, 37 home runs, 142 RBI, and 47 steals over 905 at-bats. Varsho walked 8.7 percent of the time with a favorable strikeout rate (16.2). His highlight season (.301 with 85 runs, 18 home runs, 58 RBI, and 21 steals over 396 at-bats) came at AA in 2019.

The Diamondbacks gave him 101 at-bats last year, leading to a low batting average (.188) and a much weaker strikeout rate (28.7). Varsho scored 16 runs (50 percent of the time when on base) with three home runs, nine RBI, and three steals.

His swing came in short vs. left-handed pitching (.143 over 35 at-bats with no home runs and 12 strikeouts).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Varsho comes into 2021 with a catcher qualification while expecting to play many games in the outfield. Despite making the jump from AA to the majors in 2020, I expect him to earn a starting job for the Diamondbacks this year.

His balanced skill set and a chance at 500+ at-bats will create a massive edge at the catching position. His ADP (161) ranks him as the eighth catcher drafted this season.

Varsho should be a fun ride while offering the skill set to bat leadoff for the Diamondbacks possibly. His average hit rate (1.688) gives him a floor of 20 home runs. I view him as a must-own while expecting to hit .280 with 75 runs, 20 home runs, 70 RBI, and 20 steals.

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2. 2B Ketel Marte

Marte ended up being a bust for fantasy owners in 2020. Despite owning a low strikeout rate (10.8), he lost his patience at the plate (3.6 percent walk rate and 3.55 pitches per at-bat [3.77 in his career]).

His contact batting average (.325) came in well below 2019 (.387) while falling more in line with his major league resume. Marte also had a sharp decline in his average hit rate (1.423 – 1.802 BAA).

He missed 10 days in September due to a left wrist injury, which was a big part of his power outage.

Marte drilled left-handed pitching (22-for-52 with one home run and three RBI). In 2019, his bat also played well against lefties (.333 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI over 165 at-bats).

His HR/FB rate (3.8) was well below his breakout season in 2019 (19.0). Marte did finish with almost the same hard-hit rate (40.5) as 2019 (40.0).

Over the last three seasons, Marte hit .294 with 184 runs, 48 home runs, 168 RBI, and 17 steals over 1,270 at-bats.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: The story here becomes fact or fiction. Marte was a difference-maker in his breakout season in 2019 while also owning more upside in speed. He’s tough to strike out with a ground ball favoring swing (48.2 percent in his career). Marte has an ADP of 83, which requires at least a 20/10 skill set in power and stolen bases. I’m neutral on him, which means I probably won’t fight for him in any drafts. I fully expect his batting average to be an asset.

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3. OF David Peralta

Over the past three seasons, Peralta posted a middle-of-the-order RBI rate (18, 18, and 21), but he only hit 17 home runs over his last 585 at-bats. He had a pop in contact batting average (.386 .356 in 2019) last year while seeing his average hit rate (1.443) fall well below 2018 (1.762) when Peralta hit 30 home runs.

His strikeout rate (20.6) remains slightly better than the league average, with almost the same results in 2018 (20.2) and 2019 (20.6). He had a regression in his walk rate (6.0 – 7.2 in his career).

Peralta continues to have a sub 30 percent fly-ball rate (28.7 – 28.1 in his career). He’s hit over 51 percent ground balls in his career while only once posting an impactful HR/FB rate (23.4 in 2018 – 10.9 in 2020).

His hard-hit rate (36.3) is below the league average while being much more substantial in 2019 (41.2) and 2018 (46.8).

From 2017 to 2020, Peralta hit .290 with 224 runs, 61 home runs, 235 RBI, and 13 steals over 1,670 at-bats.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Peralta is a solid major league player. His swing path and low hard-hit rate suggest more than 20 home runs would be a lot to ask. He hits well with runners on base while offering no real value in speed. Peralta has a backend outfield ADP (281), which comes down to structure when deciding to roster him.

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4. 3B Eduardo Escobar

After a career season in 2019 (35 home runs and 118 RBI), Escobar never found his rhythm last year. His approach (strikeout rate – 18.5 and walk rate – 6.8) was almost identical over the previous seasons, but he finished with a much weaker contact batting average (.265 - .338 in 2019) and average hit rate (1.581 – 1.901 in 2019).

His swing path remains almost balance, but Escobar finished with a significant drop in his HR/FB rate (6.1 – 15.2 in 2019 and 10.2 in his career).

He continues to have a low hard-hit rate (31.7 – 31.5 in 2019).

Over the past four seasons, Escobar hit .260 with 253 runs, 83 home runs, 295 RBI, and 13 steals over 1,862 at-bats.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: His ADP (335) fell 215 spots from 2019. Escobar doesn’t hit many balls hard, but he still has the swing to deliver a 20/80 season with a rebound in his RBI rate (12). His batting average projects to be closer but below the league average while not being a lock to bat clean for the Diamondbacks.

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5. OF Kole Calhoun

Calhoun fell short in batting average (.226) for the fourth straight year. He did bounce back from a down season two years ago to set career-highs in runs (92) and home runs (33) in 2019 while being on pace for 95 runs and 43 home runs last season.

His average hit rate (2.316) pushed higher from his career-high level set in 2019 (2.016). His contact batting average (.328) remained well below his best years in the majors.

He finished with a rebound in his strikeout rate (21.9), and his walk rate (12.3) was the best of his career.

Calhoun lost momentum in his hard-hit rate (38.2 and 42.6 in 2019 and 42.9 in 2018). His HR/FB rate (28.6) was well above his career average (15.2).

Over the last four seasons, he hit .229 with 275 runs, 87 home runs, 242 RBI, and 16 stolen bases over 1,802 at-bats.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Calhoun picked up the pace in power over the past two seasons, but he continues to be a significant liability to batting average. His ability to take free passes helps his value in runs. Arizona may need his power more in the middle of their starting lineup than letting him hit in the top two spots in the batting order. His ADP (273) puts him at the backend of the outfield pool in 12-team leagues.

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6. 1B Christian Walker

Walker has a respectable seven-season resume in the minors (.285 with 125 home runs and 484 RBI over 2,882 at-bats). He repeated AAA five times (.279 with 92 home runs and 342 RBI over 2,042 at-bats).

The Diamondbacks gave him starting at-bats (529) in 2019, leading 86 runs, 29 home runs, 73 RBI, and eight steals while hitting .259. He had risk in his strikeout rate (25.7) while doing a good job taking walks (11.1 percent).

Last year he was on pace for 95 runs, 19 home runs, 92 RBI, with a bump in his batting average (.271). Walker did push his approach closer to the league-average (strikeout rate – 20.6 and walk rate – 7.8).

His average hit rate (1.695) slipped below his previous three seasons (1.931, 1.897, and 1.839) in the minors. Walker needs to improve against lefties (.238 with eight home runs and 21 RBI over 201 at-bats). His hard-hit rate (48.4) has the 16th highest value in baseball in 2019 and 36th in 2020 (48.5).

He set a career-high in his HR/FB rate (20.1) at any level in 2019 while regressing to 12.1 percent last year. Walker also lost some of the loft off of his swing (fly-ball rate – 33.9).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Walker has an ADP of 197 in the early 12-team draft season. His overall game did improve last season, even with a step back in power. He is trending toward a middle-of-the-order bat with a chance to offer a neutral batting average with a run over 30 home runs. His runs and RBI hinge on his playing time against left-handed pitching.

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7. C Carson Kelly

Over the last two seasons, Kelly hit .239 over 436 at-bats with 57 runs, 23 home runs, and 66 RBI.

His walk rate (13.2) was an edge in 2019, but it fell to 4.7 percent last year. His strikeout rate (21.6) came in just above the league average.

Kelly had strength in his average hit rate (1.894) over the last two seasons with the Cardinals. His swing has been better against left-handed pitching (.261 with eight home runs and 24 RBI over 157 at-bats).

Over seven seasons in the minors, Kelly hit .255 with 52 home runs and 284 RBI over 2,249 at-bats. He played well in three years at AAA (.278 with 17 home runs and 96 RBI over 651 at-bats) while offering a high walk rate (12.2) and a better strikeout rate (13.9).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: The presence of Daulton Varsho will cause a problem for Kelly’s upside for playing time in 2021, plus his struggles against right-handed pitching invite a platoon role. He has the power to hit home runs with 450 at-bats, and his minor league resume points to more upside in batting average. Kelley has a C2 ADP (246) in the early draft season.

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8. SS Nick Ahmed

Ahmed set career highs in at-bats (556), runs (79), hits (141), home runs (19), RBI (82), and steals (8) in 2019.

Last year he was on pace for 78 runs, 14 home runs, 78 RBI, and 11 stolen bases over 537 at-bats.

Ahmed finished with a league-average approach (strikeout rate – 21.2 and walk rate – 8.3). His contact batting average (.346) was the best of his career.

Before 2020 (AVH – 1.509), his average hit rate (1.723) almost repeated his growth from 2018 (1.752) while continuing to have a low hard-hit rate (34.0).

Ahmed has a low fly-ball rate (29.1) with a step back in his HR/FB rate (11.4). His RBI rate (19) played well over the last three seasons.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: He is an improving player who moves closer to a league-average player at shortstop. Ahmed needs to hit the ball harder to help his batting average and his ceiling in power. His ADP (472) is mispriced based on him finishing 80th in SIscore in 2020 (-.30) and 92nd in 2019 (-1.11) for batters. Ahmed is the 236th hitter drafted this year. He is an underrated player who would be helped by a push higher in the batting order.

Bench Options

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1B Pavin Smith

Smith has a major league approach (walk rate – 11.6 and strikeout rate – 12.2), but his bat is trailing in power. Over three seasons in the minors, he hit .281 with 159 runs, 23 home runs, 148 RBI, and seven steals over 1,074 at-bats. His highest level completed is AA in 2019 (.291 with 62 runs, 12 home runs, and 67 RBI over 440 at-bats).

His average hit rate (1.517) in the minors only translates to 15 home runs with a full year of at-bats.

Arizona gave his 37 at-bats in 2020, which led to seven hits with one home run, four RBI, and one steal.

The Diamondbacks drafted him seventh overall in the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: This season, he’ll compete for a starting job. Smith doesn’t have any playing time at AAA, but he should be able to handle major league pitching. His approach may lead to him moving to the second in the batting order. I don’t expect his power to be a factor early in his career. Pavin has a deep sleeper ADP (600).

Stephen Vogt (C): Vogt gave the Giants 255 good at-bats (.263 with 10 home runs and 40 RBI) in 2019, which came after missing 2018 with a right shoulder injury that required surgery. In his first season with Arizona, he struggled to make an impact (.167 with one home run and seven RBI over 72 at-bats).

From 2015 to 2018, he hit .250 with 44 home runs and 167 RBI over 1,214 at-bats.

In 2019, he hit .271 with eight home runs and 32 RBI over 210 at-bats against right-handed pitching.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Vogt will compete for a backup catching job this year, but he projects as the third option if the Diamondbacks plan on giving Daulton Varsho meaningful playing time behind the plate.

Josh Van Meter (2B): Van Meter hit .266 over 2,223 at-bats in the minors with 48 home runs, 270 RBI, and 63 stolen bases in seven different seasons. His bat played well at AAA (.287 with 25 home runs, 88 RBI, and 13 stolen bases over 513 at-bats).

He has 298 at-bats of experience in the majors, leading to 10 home runs, 29 RBI, and 10 stolen bases.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Van Meter will compete for a bench role in 2021 while offering a 15/15 type skill set.

Tim Locastro (OF): Locastro flashed speed off the Diamondbacks bench over the past two seasons. He hit .260 with 53 runs, three home runs, 24 RBI, and 21 steals over 281 at-bats.

In his minor league career, Locastro hit .292 with 36 home runs, 221 RBI, and 171 stolen bases over 2,234 at-bats.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Losastro is only a fourth outfield option with some experience playing second base and shortstop.

Josh Rojas (OF): Rojas had growth in his game between AA and AAA in 2019 (.332 with 89 runs, 23 home runs, 83 RBI, and 33 stolen bases over 416 at-bats).

Over three seasons in the minors, he hit .288 with 41 home runs, 178 RBI, and 71 stolen bases over 1,103 at-bats.

In 2019 and 2020, with the Diamondbacks, Rojas hit .206 with two home runs, 18 RBI, and five steals over 199 at-bats. Last year he did miss time late in the year with a back issue.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Rojas an upside resume, but he has to prove his worth in the majors with his bat. Rojas can’t play center field, so he’ll need an injury to get a starting opportunity.

Arizona Diamondbacks Zac Gallen

Pitching Staff

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1. SP Zac Gallen

Gallen pitched well over three levels in 2017 (2.93 ERA), but his arm regressed the next season at AAA (3.65 ERA and 1.470 WHIP). His failure came from a high batting average against (.281) and a pullback in his walk rate (3.2).

In 2019, he blossomed at AAA (9-1 with a 1.77 ERA and 112 strikeouts over 91.1 innings). Gallen set a career-best in both his walk rate (1.7) and strikeout rate (11.0). Over 15 starts in the majors, he went 3-6 with a 2.81 ERA and 96 strikeouts over 80 innings. His strikeout rate (10.8) held value while struggling to throw strikes (4.3 walk rate).

Last year, Gallen almost repeated his rookie season (2.75 ERA and 82 strikeouts over 72 innings) with a slight improvement in his walk rate (3.1). He allowed two runs or fewer in 10 of his 12 starts while having one disaster showing (seven and 12 baserunners over five innings).

His AFB (93.3) is league average. Batters struggled to hit his four-seam (.185 BAA), changeup (.206 BAA), and curveball (.189 BAA) while struggling with a slider (.278 BAA).

Over four seasons in the minors, Gallen went 27-18 with a 2.87 ERA and 384 strikeouts over 382 innings.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: The next step for Gallen is finding his minor league walk rate (2.4). His ADP (38) ranks him as the 14th starter drafted in 2021. He is on a path for 225 strikeouts with 32 starts with sub 3.00 ERA and an improving WHIP. Wins may be an issue.

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2. SP Madison Bumgarner

Over 10 seasons with the Giants, Bumgarner went 119-92 with a 3.14 ERA and 1,784 strikeouts over 1,836 innings.

He turned into a wood tick in his first year with Arizona thanks to three disaster starts (21 runs, 29 base runners, and eight home runs over 11.2 innings). Bumgarner finished with an ugly ERA (6.48), WHIP (1.440), and 13 home runs over 41.2 innings.

Even with a lousy season, he did have a 2.70 ERA, 1.033 WHIP, and 24 strikeouts over his other 30 innings.

His strikeout rate (6.5) was well below his career average (8.7).

Bumgarner lost three MPM off his fastball. Not one of his pitches graded as an asset.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: The Diamondbacks own him $79 million over the next four years, while fantasy owners are scared to death to draft even with a bench role in 2021 based on his ADP (410). Bumgarner has a sliding fastball, leading to his mistakes landing in the seats. He does have guile and a long resume of success. I’ve seen much worse darts in deep leagues.

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3. SP Luke Weaver

Heading into 2018, Weaver had an exceptional resume in the minors (25-11 with a 2.03 ERA and 275 strikeouts over 279.1 innings) with success at AA (6-3 with a 1.40 ERA and 88 strikeouts over 77 innings) and AAA (11-2 with a 2.46 ERA and 87 strikeouts over 87.2 innings). In the minors, he had elite command (walk rate – 1.7) with strength in his strikeout rate (8.9).

He pitched well in 2017 (3.88 ERA) and 2019 (2.94 ERA) in the majors over short innings (124.2 combined). Weaver was a losing investment in 2018 (4.95 ERA and 1.496 WHIP) while blowing up again last year (6.58 ERA, 1,558 WHIP, and 10 home runs over 52 innings). He never threw more than 93 pitches in 2020 or competed six innings.

His AFB (94.1) fell in line with his last two seasons. He has a plus changeup (.235 BAA) in his career. Weaver lost the feel of his four-seam fastball (.313 BAA), cutter (.313 BAA), and curveball (.500 BAA).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Fantasy owners jumped off the Weaver bus in 2021 based on his ADP (466). I’m still concerned with a season-ending elbow injury. He has a 3.00 ERA and 200 strikeouts upside if Weaver regains his command and eliminates the damage in home runs. With a free price, there is no real downside other than a couple of bad starts.

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4. SP Merrill Kelly

Kelly pitched well over his first five starts (2.59 ERA and 29 strikeouts over 31.1 innings). He developed a blood clot in his right shoulder in late August that led to thoracic outlet syndrome. Matt Harvey had a similar surgery in 2016, and he never regained his form.

Kelly had pitched well at times in 2019, but the negatives outweighed the positives. He pitched at a high level in June (2.75 ERA and 34 strikeouts over 39.1 innings) and September (4-1 with a 2.18 ERA and 35 strikeouts over 33 innings). Still, Kelly crushed fantasy teams in May (5.70 ERA), July (6.49 ERA), and August (6.84 ERA).

His walk rate (2.8) was favorable, with a low strikeout rate (7.8) while serving up 29 home runs over 183.1 innings.

His AFB (92.5) came in short in velocity, but batters struggled to hit his four-seam fastball (.243 BAA) with only one pitch of value (curveball – .219 BAA).

Kelly pitched well in his five seasons in the minors (39-26 with a 3.40 ERA and 379 strikeouts over 527.1 innings), but he had a high walk rate (3.3) and a low strikeout rate (6.5).

His lack of progression to the majors led to him taking his ball to Korea for four seasons (48-32 with a 3.86 ERA and 641 strikeouts over 729.2 innings) highlighted by his 2017 season (16-7 with 3.60 ERA and 189 strikeouts over 190 innings).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Kelly expects to be ready for training. He throws strikes while expecting to pitch about six innings per start. A fantasy owner will need to evaluate a resume at a lower level (Korea) and a small sample in 2019. His ADP (518) puts him in the free-agent pool in all formats in redraft leagues. More a start-to-start option if his spring reports are positive.

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5. SP Caleb Smith

A battle with Covid led to Smith only five appearances last year while never building up his arm strength. He walked 12 batters over 14 innings.

Based on batting average against (.223) and strikeout rate (9.9), Smith had the look of a much better pitcher in 2019. His WHIP (1.226) didn’t match his ERA (4.52). He led the National League in home runs allowed (33 – 1.9 per nine). Smith still has a high walk rate (3.5), even with some improvement.

His AFB (91.8) in 2019 was well below 2018 (93.3). Batters hit .210 against his four-seamer while offering a slider (.224 BAA) of value. He lost the feel of his changeup (.257 BAA).

Over the last two full seasons, Smith pitched up in the strike zone (fly ball rate – 52 and 50.8 in 2018).

2021 Fantasy Outlook: His ADP (314) places him as the 125th pitcher off the board. There is plenty of intrigue with more value strikeouts with a full season of starts. Many fantasy owners will focus on his good innings, while his dark side may be the force that drives him in 2021. Real coin flip for me as his sliding fastball disappears over the fence too many times to ignore. Here are some stats to think about: in 2019, Smith allowed seven home runs on the first pitch, 11 home runs when trailing 1-0 in the count, and 15 home runs when ahead 0-1 in the count.

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SP Corbin Martin

The Astros drafted Martin in the second round of the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft after an unimpressive career at Texas A&M (11-5 with a 4.01 ERA and 149 strikeouts over 132.1 innings).

His arm played better in the minors (11-4 with a 2.58 ERA and 210 strikeouts over 192 innings) over three seasons. Martin pitched well at AA in 2018 (7-2 with a 2.97 ERA and 96 strikeouts over 103 innings) while having similar AAA success in 2019 (3.13 ERA with 45 strikeouts over 37.1 innings).

Houston called him up that season, but he struggled over five starts (5.59 ERA) before blowing out his right elbow that required TJ surgery in early July (2019).

His AFB came in at 95.5 MPH while working off a slider, changeup, and curveball combination of secondary pitches.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Martin should be good to go in 2021 after having more than 18 months off to recover from his elbow injury. His ceiling is high enough to push for a starting job with the Diamondbacks, but he looked miles away in his first stint in the majors with his command (5.6 walks per nine and eight home runs allowed over 19.1 innings). Player to follow this spring with a waiver wire ADP (586).

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SP Alex Young

Young came into 2020 with a down season at AAA (5.96 ERA) with more failure overall in the minors in 2019 (6.09 ERA). Somehow his arm outperformed his minor league resume (28-25 with a 4.34 ERA and 375 strikeouts over 448 innings) with the Diamondbacks (3.56 ERA and 71 strikeouts over 83.1 innings).

He struggled with home runs (1.7 per nine) in his two years with Arizona. His walk rate (2.7) improved slightly last season while posting a low strikeout rate (7.6) so far in the majors.

Last year, the Diamondbacks used him in a split role between starting (0-4 with a 6.03 ERA) and relieving (2-0 with a 4.20 ERA). Young pitched well at home (3.97 ERA) while blowing up too many times on the road (6.85 ERA). His failure came against right-handed batters (.292 with nine home runs over 130 at-bats).

His AFB (91.4) had more velocity than 2019 (89.9) while offering a changeup (.195 BAA) and curveball (.167 BAA) of value.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Young can’t succeed without locating his fastball better in and out of the strike zone. His secondary stuff grades well except for a fading cutter (.333 BAA). At best, a low upside inning eater with minimal value in strikeouts.

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CL Joakim Soria

Despite 223 saves on his major league resume, Soria only had 21 saves over the past five seasons with a 3.74 ERA and 310 strikeouts over 274.2 innings.

Last year he posted a 2.82 ERA and 24 strikeouts over 22.2 innings with the A’s, but he did issue the most walks (4.0 per nine) since 2013 (5.3 – came off TJ surgery).

His AFB (92.8) has never been above the league average in his career. Soria relies on a plus split-finger fastball (.167 BAA – .181 over the past five seasons) and a winning curveball (.235 BAA – .208 from 2016 to 2020). His slider (.267 BAA) regressed in 2020, and he had no real edge with his four-seam fastball (.259 BAA).

In 2020, right-handed batters hit .250 against him.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: The closing job in Arizona will be in flux in 2021. Soria has the most experience, but he is well past his prime at age 36. I expect a rebound in his command, and he should be able to saves games over short spurts. His ADP (326) ranks him behind Stefan Crichton (ADP of 278) by fantasy owners in the early 12-team draft season. For now, a spring training follow as we wait for the coach-speak in Arizona to see who has the best path to saves games this season.

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RP Kevin Ginkel

Over four seasons in the minors, Ginkel went 10-5 with a 2.60 ERA and 239 strikeouts over 166.1 innings while picking up 22 saves.

He posted a 1.82 ERA at AA and 1.62 ERA at AAA, which fell in line with his success in 2019 in the majors (1.48 ERA). Ginkel didn’t have a problem with either right-handed (.152) or left-handed (.200) batters with Arizona.

In 2020, Ginkel looked to be a possible upside closer in waiting, but he crushed any fantasy owner that supported that theory with two disaster games. The first poor showing came in his first appearance (four runs and five base runners over two-thirds of an innings). Nineteen days later, he failed to record an out while allowing four more runs and four baserunners.

Over his other 15.1 innings of work, Ginkel posted a 2.35 ERA, 1.630 WHIP, and 16 strikeouts with one save in September. His regression came from a much weaker command (7.3 walks per nine – 3.3 in 2019 with Arizona).

His AFB (95.6) was 1.8 MPH faster than 2019 (93.8). Hitters struggled to contact his elite slider (.185 BAA), but his four-seam fastball (.413 BAA) was a losing pitch.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Ginkel has a live arm with the minor league resume to support a closing opportunity. He has a lot to prove in 2021, which starts with his fastball location in and out of the strike zone. His price point is free (ADP – 592), which works well as a flier draft in championship-type leagues. Keep an open mind here.

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RP Stefan Crichton

Just by having five saves on his 2020 stat line, fantasy owners will gravitate toward Crichton as the 2021 closer for the Diamondbacks.

Despite a subpar August (3.95 ERA, .288 BAA, and 1.610 WHIP over 13.2 innings), Arizona moved him into the closer role in September. Crichton only allowed one run and five hits over his final 9.1 innings with one walk and five strikeouts while converting five of his six save chances.

Over the last two seasons with the Diamondbacks, Crichton has a 3.04 ERA and 56 strikeouts over 56.1 innings. He walked 2.7 batters per nine innings with a reasonable strikeout rate (8.9).

His AFB (92.8) doesn’t offer an edge in velocity. Batters hit his sinker (.279 BAA), and his show-me split-finger fastball has become a pitch of value in the majors (he only threw it 27 times over his 56.1 innings over the last two years). Crichton does have a plus curveball (.109 BAA).

Over seven seasons in the minors, he has a 3.80 ERA, 311 strikeouts, and 11 saves over 343.2 innings.

2021 Fantasy Outlook: Crichton has no chance of holding the closing job all season for the Diamondbacks. I view him as a bad investment based on his ADP (278). I would much rather roster Kevin Ginkel 300 picks later. 


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