2021 Colorado Rockies
After two progression seasons in 2017 (87-75) and 2018 (91-72), leading to two appearances in the postseason, the Rockies fell to fourth in the NL West in back-to-back years with a combined 97-125 record. Their only trip to the World Series in 2007 resulted in a four-game sweep by the Red Sox. Colorado made it to the playoffs five times in the team’s 28-year history.
The Rockies finished with the second-worst ERA (5.59) in baseball. They only had a league-average offense in runs (275 – 15th) while surprisingly ranking 22nd in home runs (63).
Colorado gave away 3B Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals for SP Austin Gomber, IF Mateo Gil, IF Elehuris Montero, RP Tony Locey, and RP Jake Sommers. They also picked up over $50 million of Arenado’s contract.
The Rockies lost OF David Dahl, RP Wade Davis, and OF Matt Kemp to free agency. The only two additions were RP Robert Stephenson, who came over via a trade for the Reds for SP Jeff Hoffman and SP Case Williams, plus the signing of 1B C.J. Cron to a minor league deal.
Their starting rotation has almost the same cast of underachieving characters from the past few seasons. SP German Marquez has flashes of upside, while SP Kyle Freeland and SP Jon Gray have been up and down over the previous two years.
Despite having the talent to offer competitive innings at times in the ninth inning from RP Daniel Bard's rebirth, the bullpen lacks star power.
Colorado shifted gears offensively. Their focus was to get younger and let some of their young players develop in the majors. SS Trevor Story and OF Charlie Blackmon lead the show, while the future upside comes from OF Sam Hilliard and 2B Brendan Rodgers.
The Rockies don’t have the correct structure to compete for a trip to the postseason in 2021.
1. OF Raimel Tapia
Over the last two seasons, Tapia had the best opportunity of his career in the majors (.289 with 80 runs, 10 home runs, 61 RBI, and 17 steals over 610 at-bats).
His strikeout rate (18.5) was the best of his major league career in 2020, with a slight bump in his walk rate (6.8).
Last year he had an empty average hit rate (1.254) while posting an impressive contact batting average (.404).
Over eight seasons in the minors, Tapia hit .319 with 50 home runs, 400 RBI, and 153 stolen bases over 2,993 at-bats. His bat had no problem with AAA (.330 with 13 home runs, 106 RBI, and 39 steals over 801 at-bats) over three seasons.
His hard-hit rate (30.3) came in a weak power-hitting area last year, along with his HR/FB rate (3.1 – 7.7 in his career). Tapia continues to have a ground ball swing path (51.7 percent in 2019 and 55.7 in 2020).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Tapia can hit for batting average with some value in steals. His approach isn’t ideal for batting leadoff, but the Rockies may have to use him in that role early in 2021. His ADP (245) is too high for me; when adding in, he could lose some playing time, and I consider him a two and a half category player—possible .300+ batting average with 80 runs, 10 home runs, 50 RBI, and 20 steals.
2. SS Trevor Story
Over the last three seasons, Story hit .292 with 240 runs, 83 home runs, 221 RBI, and 65 stolen bases over 1,421 at-bats. He ranked sixth in SIscore in 2019 (7.75) and 2018 (10.00) for hitters while coming in eighth last year (3.75 – would have been 10.13 over a full season).
His stats in 2020 projected over a full season came to 111 runs, 30 home runs, 77 RBI, and 41 steals over 635 at-bats.
Story finishes with the lowest strikeout rate (24.3) and highest walk rate (9.3) of his career.
His contact batting average (.405) has been outstanding in his five years with the Rockies. He had a regression in his average hit rate (1.794) for the second straight year while losing his edge with runners on base (RBI rate – 11).
Story was a better player at home (.333 with 20 runs, five home runs, 13 RBI, and three steals over 117 at-bats) in batting average than on the road in production (.246 with 21 runs, six home runs, 15 RBI, and 12 stolen bases over 118 at-bats).
His hard-hit rate (47.1) fell to 147th after finishing 44th in 2019 (45.8) and 34th in 2018 (46.0). He finished with the lowest HR/FB rate (13.4) of his career. Story hit the most fly-balls (47.7 percent) of his career.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: His ADP slipped to 13th in the early draft season. With a floor around 35 home runs and 25 steals, Story can’t help but deliver 180 combined runs and RBI depending on where he hits in the batting order. The loss of Nolan Arenado hitting in behind him does lower his ceiling in runs. His swing path change could lead to a slight step back in his batting average due to more easy fly ball outs.
3. OF Charlie Blackmon
In his first chance to bat in the third slot of the batting order, Blackmon finished with a sensational RBI rate (22) for the third time in four seasons (2017 – 23 and 2019 – 21). He maintained a high contact batting average (.379), but Blackmon never found his home run swing leading to weakness in his average hit rate (1.478).
His strikeout rate (17.8) and walk rate (7.7) fell in line with his career path.
Blackmon played well against lefties (.307 with 14 home runs and 29 RBI over 215 at-bats) in 2019 with repeated success in last year (.375 with two home runs and 16 RBI over 80 at-bats).
His hard-hit rate (40.1) finished 147th in baseball in 2019 with no change in his HR/FB rate (17.7). In 2020, his hard-hit rate (29.7) fell to 333th while seeing a shape decline in his HR/FB rate (9.5).
Over five seasons before 2020, Blackmon had fewer than 300 RBI chances while batting leadoff on most days.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: The loss of Nolan Arenado will hurt his ability to score runs, and Blackmon lost his edge in steals over the past two seasons. His ADP fell to 87 in the early draft season due to the downgrades in the Rockies' offense after losing their top power bat.
Blackmon hasn’t lost his high average swing. He plays well with runners on base, plus his approach looks intact. Even with a .300/90/30/90 season, he would still be a value based on his lower price points.
4. 1B C.J. Cron
A left knee injury that required surgery in mid-August led to Cron only playing 13 games in 2020.
Heading into his seventh year in the majors in 2018, Cron has never had over 501 at-bats in a season. His power (55 home runs over 959 at-bats) emerge over the next two seasons with Tampa and Minnesota.
He hit .266 over the first half of 2019 with 17 home runs and 54 RBI over 301 at-bats before going down with a right thumb issue in July that required surgery after the season. Even with his injury, Cron produced six home runs and 20 RBI over 84 at-bats in August.
In essence, he lost almost two months of playing time.
His bat worked well vs. left handed pitching with 11 home runs and 31 RBI.
Even with weakness in batting average for the last three years (.248. .253, and .253), Cron did have a league-average strikeout rate (21.4) in 2019, with minimal walks (5.8 percent).
His HR/FB rate has been about 20.0 in 2018 (21.4) and 2019 (19.5) while being supported by his average hit rate (1.945 and 1.853).
His next step is regaining some of his lost loft (fly-ball rate – 36.3 and 39.0 in his career).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: The Rockies signed Cron to a minor league deal in February, but fantasy owners believe he’ll receive the bulk of playing time at first base. His ADP moved to 332 in the 12-team high-stakes market.
With 500 at-bats, his swing has enough upside to deliver 80+ runs, 35-plus home runs, and 85+ RBI. Cron may also surprise in batting average.
5. 3B Brendan Rodgers
Rodgers was only on the field for 21 at-bats with the Rockies in 2020 due to a right shoulder injury, plus he failed to make the major league roster on opening day.
In his limited chances with Colorado over the past two seasons, Rodgers hit .196 with no home runs and nine RBI over 97 at-bats with 33 strikeouts.
Over five seasons in the minors, Rodgers hit .296 with 66 home runs, 245 RBI, and 24 steals over 1,526 at-bats. His strikeout rate (19.3) should be about league average in the majors while needing to improve on his walk rate (6.5).
The Rockies selected him third overall in the 2015 MLB June MLB Draft.
He now has a full season at AA (.270 with 23 home runs, 79 RBI, and 12 steals over 507 at-bats) with growth in 2019 at AAA (.350 with nine home runs and 21 RBI over 143 at-bats).
His season ended in late June 2019 with right shoulder surgery.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: There is no reason to hold Rodgers back anymore with Nolan Arenado traded away. His major league resume is minimal, and his ADP (492) is free. The bet here is on a full-time opportunity and his pedigree. At a minimum, .270 with 80 runs, 20 home runs, 75 RBI, and 10 steals.
Draft Rodgers with the idea of him being an early-season bench player while having possible matchup value when playing at home. When his bat hits its stride, he will be in your lineup every day.
6. 1B Ryan McMahon
After a breakthrough season in 2019 (.250 with 24 home runs and 83 RBI over 480 at-bats), McMahon had a step back in his strikeout rate (34.2), which has been a problem in the majors (30.8).
He was on pace for 62 runs, 24 home runs, and 70 RBI over 464 at-bats.
McMahon struggled against left-handed batters (.192 with four home runs and 10 RBI over 52 at-bats).
His average hit rate (1.946) was a career-high while seeing a slight drop in his contact batting average (.349).
McMahon had a high hard-hit rate (47.7 – 26th) in 2019 while fading to 115th last year (43.0). Even with a bump in his fly-ball rate (34.6) and strength in his HR/FB rate (24.3), he continues to have a ground ball swing path (50.6 percent) in the majors.
Over six seasons in the minors, McMahon hit .297 with 90 home runs, 440 RBI, and 43 stolen bases over 2,356 at-bats.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: His swing and miss approach pushes him lower in the batting order. McMahon has plenty of power, and he should see more playing time in 2021. His ADP (241) makes him a mid-tier low average power bat. Even with the Colorado markup in offensive production, I wouldn’t fight for him on draft day. Possible 30+ home runs with some underlying speed.
7. C Dom Nunez
The Rockies don’t have a strong option at catcher in 2021. Nunez comes to the majors with a combination of power and speed.
Over seven seasons in the minors, he hit .242 with 71 home runs, 279 RBI, and 48 steals over 1,968 at-bats. His walk rate (11.9) grades well with an above strikeout rate (18.8).
Nunez struggled at AA (.213 with 20 home runs, 70 RBI, and 15 steals over 621 at-bats) with some growth in AAA in 2019 (.244 with 17 home runs and 42 RBI over 213 at-bats).
His bat had risk in his first stint in the majors in 2019 (7-for-39 with two home runs and four RBI) due to a high strikeout rate (39.5).
The Rockies didn’t give Nunez any playing time last year.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: More of a player to follow due to the catching pool having weakness this season. Nunez has a waiver wire ADP (596).
8. 2B Garrett Hampson
Over four seasons in the minors, Hampson hit .311 with 22 home runs, 163 RBI, and 130 steals over 1,342 at-bats. His strikeout rate (15.2) is favorable in the minors while offering a top-of-the-order walk rate (10.4).
In 2019, he struggled over his first 202 at-bats with the Rockies (.208 with 24 runs, three home runs, 17 RBI, and five stolen bases). Hampson emerged as a late-season fantasy option after hitting .330 over his final 97 at-bats with 16 runs, five home runs, ten RBI, and 10 steals.
Last year, Hampson was a frustrating player to own while failing to build off his late 2019 success. His strikeout rate (32.6) continues to move in the wrong direction while being miles away from his minor league resume (15.2). Hampson also fell short of expectation in his walk rate (7.1)
Over the previous two seasons, he hit .242 with 65 runs, 13 home runs, 38 RBI, and 21 stolen bases over 465 at-bats.
He ranked 373rd in his hard-hit rate (25.7) in 2019, with more fade last year (23.4 – 402nd). Hampson did push his HR/FB rate (13.2) higher.
His average hit rate (1.641) is trending toward more power while adding improvement to his contact batting average (.364).
Hampson’s 2020 stats projected over 162 games came to 68 runs, 14 home runs, 30 RBI, and 16 steals over 451 at-bats.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: The Rockies would love for him to step forward in his approach to add speed to the top of the batting order. Based on his path in 2020, Hampson looks like a rotational player with more upside coming in speed. His ADP (246) shows that fantasy owners are still willing to fight for his skill set in drafts. I don’t trust his power, and his batting average will be a problem until he improves his ability to get on base.
1B Josh Fuentes
Over six seasons in the minors, Fuentes hit .291 with 66 home runs, 353 RBI, and 28 stolen bases over 2,238 at-bats. He has almost two seasons of experience at AAA (.296 with 31 home runs, 159 RBI, and four steals over 953 at-bats).
His average hit rate (1.614) set a bar of about 15 home runs with a full season of at-bats. He did have growth in this area in 2019 at AAA (1.765) and over his limited at-bats (55) that season with the Rockies (1.833).
Fuentes had a slightly better than league average strikeout rate (20.0), with a shallow walk rate (5.4) in the minors.
He hit .275 over 153 at-bats with Colorado over the last two seasons with five home runs, 24 RBI, and two stolen bases. He walked only three times with 49 strikeouts (30.8 percent).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Fuentes will compete for at-bats at first base. He looks to have a steady bat with developing power. His ADP (517) puts him in the free-agent pool in all redraft leagues.
OF Sam Hilliard
Hilliard offered some late-season power for fantasy teams after getting called up from the minors in 2019. With the Rockies, he hit .273 with seven home runs and 13 RBI over 77 at-bats. His strikeout rate (26.4) was high while showing strength in his walk rate (10.4).
In 2020, he struggled to make contact (strikeout rate – 36.8), leading to up and down at-bats with Colorado. Hilliard finished with 13 runs, six home runs, 10 RBI, and three steals over 105 at-bats.
Over five seasons in the minors, Hilliard hit .277 with 378 runs, 89 home runs, 358 RBI, and 124 stolen bases over 2,154 at-bats, highlighted by his success last year at AAA (.262 with 35 home runs, 101 RBI, and 22 stolen bases over 500 at-bats). His contact batting average (.403) and average hit rate (1.731) graded well in his minor league career.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Hilliard has upside in four categories, but he has a lot to prove in the contact department. His ADP (420) makes him a back-end outfielder in 15-team leagues. More of a wild card, but Hilliard may work well as a home player (.317 over 79 at-bats with six home runs, 12 RBI, and 18 strikeouts). In comparison, he has 47 strikeouts over 103 at-bats on the road.
Elias Diaz (C): Diaz flashed upside in 2018 for the Pirates in a part-time role. He hit .286 with 10 home runs and 34 RBI over 252 at-bats.
In 2019, his bat drew some attention in the fantasy market as a C2 in deep leagues, but Diaz lost his way (.241 with two home runs and 28 RBI over 303 at-bats). His season ended with a minor right knee injury.
Last year his bat was relatively quiet again for Colorado (.235 over 68 at-bats with two home runs and nine RBI).
Over ten seasons in the minors, he hit .262 with 27 home runs, 292 RBI, and 24 steals over 2,256 at-bats.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Diaz will be a split role at catcher for the Rockies this year. He’ll be found in the waiver wire in all leagues while having a chance to surprise if he finds his 2018 form.
Chris Owings (2B): Owings played his way to a bench role over the past three seasons (.187 over 502 at-bats with nine home runs, 41 RBI, and 17 steals). His career looked to be on the uptick in 2017 (.268 with 12 home runs, 51 RBI, and 12 stolen bases over 362 at-bats) with the Diamondbacks.
He struck out 37.1 percent of the time over the last two seasons, compared to 23.8 percent in his major league career.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Owings has eight years of major league experience, but his bat looks missing in action. He’ll compete for a utility role for Colorado in 2021.
1. SP German Marquez
After coming up short in ERA (4.76) in 2019, Marquez became a valuable backend fantasy starter last year. He led the National League in innings pitched (81.2) while posting a career-low in ERA (3.75).
His strikeout rate (8.0) regressed for the second straight season after setting a career-high in 2018 (10.6). Marquez still has a favorable walk rate (2.8), but it was well below his 2019 success (1.8).
He allowed three runs or fewer in 11 of his 13 games. A poor three-game stretch from August 20th to August 31st (18 runs, 31 baserunners, and four home runs over 16 innings) gave away a good portion of his 2020 gains in his stats. Most of the damage came in one game (10 runs and 12 baserunners over five innings).
Marquez missed the last five weeks of 2019 with a right arm issue.
His AFB (96.2) was the best of his career. He continued to have an elite curveball (.110 BAA) while regaining his slider (.154 BAA)
Batters have had a high level of success in his career against his four-seam fastball (.307 BAA), sinker (.348 BAA), and his low-volume changeup (.321 BAA).
Marquez has a rising ground ball rate (50.6). Last year, he corrected his shortfall in his HR/FB rate (9.4 – 16.1 in his career).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Tempting arm with command and strikeout ability, but his home ballpark (5.10 ERA in his career) invites too many disaster starts. Marquez can’t make a further without better location of his fastball in the strike zone. His ADP (165) is in a neutral area. Possible 200+ strikeouts with more upside in his ERA and WHIP if he surfs between the disaster waves at home.
2. SP Jon Gray
Gray allowed 19 runs and 29 baserunners over 9.2 innings over three of his eight starts in 2020. He finished with failure in his ERA (6.69) and WHIP (1.436). The Rockies shut him down in September with a right shoulder issue.
Over his other five games, he had 3.07 ERA, 0.9205 WHIP, and 19 strikeouts over 29.1 innings. Gray only struck out 5.2 per nine innings, with six home runs allowed over 39 innings.
His AFB (94.2) was two MPH lower than 2019 (96.2). Gray only has success with his slider (.188 BAA).
From 2017 to 2019, he went 33-21 with a 4.31 ERA and 445 strikeouts over 432.2 innings.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Gray is a tough player to ride in the season-long fantasy games. He battled injuries and disaster too many times in his career. His ADP (494) makes him a clear avoid unless he has double starts while throwing the ball better in 2021.
3. SP Kyle Freeland
Freeland went from a hero in 2018 (17-7 with a 2.85 ERA and 173 strikeouts over 202.1 innings) to a zero in 2019 (6.73 ERA). He lost value in both his walk rate (3.4) and strikeout rate (6.8) while not starting in an area of strength.
His arm was more than serviceable over his first 10 starts (3.54 ERA and 38 strikeouts over 56 innings) in 2020, but he only won one game. Over his final three games, Freeland allowed 12 runs, 26 baserunners, and three home runs over 14.2 innings.
He finished with the lowest walk rate (2.9) of his career. His strikeout rate (5.9) lost its pulse.
His AFB (92.5) isn’t an edge, and his best two pitches (slider – .246 BAA and cutter – .254 BAA) came in well below impact value.
Over his first 66 games in the majors, he went 28-18 with a 3.39 ERA and 280 strikeouts over 358.1 innings.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Freeland is only a backend inning eater with WHIP risk and minimal upside in strikeouts, but he may surprise over short stretches. Freeland will be found in the free-agent pool in all leagues.
4. SP Antonio Senzatela
Over eight seasons in the minors, Senzatela went 45-21 with a 2.63 ERA and 416 strikeouts in 564.2 innings. His walk rate (2.1) has been an asset in each season in the minor, but his strikeout rate (6.6) tended to fall short of expectations.
After flashing at times over his first two years with Colorado (16-11 with 4.56 ERA and 171 strikeouts over 225 innings), he lost his way in 2019 (6.71 ERA).
Last year Senzatela pitched at the highest level of his career over 12 starts. He finished with a 3.44 ERA and 1.214 WHIP while only striking out five batters per nine innings.
He allowed two runs or fewer in two-thirds of his starts with surprising success at home (3-0 with a 2.10 ERA and 19 strikeouts over 34.1 innings).
His AFB (94.5) is better than expected, considering his struggles to strikeout batters. Batters had success against his four-seam fastball (.313 BAA). All three of his secondary pitches (curveball – .217 BAA, slider – .165 BAA, and changeup – .222 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Senzatela has a better arm than his career major league stats. He pitches in a dangerous ballpark, but his stuff will induce ground balls (50.6 percent). I can’t get past his low strikeout rate as a fantasy option other than a one-week ride when he has double starts.
5. SP Austin Gomber
Gomber pitched well at every stop in his minor league career, which led to a 41-23 record over five seasons with a 2.92 ERA and 508 strikeouts over 520.1 innings. His walk rate (2.7) is favorable, with strength in his strikeout rate (8.8).
After pitching well over 12 games in AAA (3.42 ERA and 76 strikeouts over 68.1 innings) in 2018, the Cardinals called him up to the majors to add a lefty in the bullpen. His arm was up and down over 29 appearances (6-2 with a 4.44 ERA and 1.507 WHIP).
A biceps injury and shoulder issue cost him most of the 2019 season.
Last year Gomber finished with a 1.86 ERA and 27 strikeouts over 29 innings while battling his command (4.7 walks per nine).
He has a below-par fastball (92.9). In his time in the majors, Gomber had the most success with his slider (.237 BAA) and changeup (.195 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Gomber’s minor league resume gives him a chance at pitching well in the majors. The trade to Colorado crushes any fantasy excitement. He is nothing more than a deep flier in the fantasy market.
SP Ryan Rolison
The Rockies drafted Rolison with the 22nd overall pick in the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft.
Over two seasons at Mississippi, he went 16-7 with a 3.45 ERA and 84 strikeouts over 159 innings.
Rolison looked sharp over 29 innings at rookie ball in 2018 (1.86 ERA and 34 strikeouts) and A Ball in 2019 (0.61 ERA and 14 strikeouts over 14.2 innings).
After a push to High A in 2019, his arm didn't look ready (4.87 ERA and 118 strikeouts over 116.1 innings). Rolison posted a favorable walk rate (2.7) and strikeout rate (9.3).
His fastball sits in the low 90s with work needed with both his curveball and changeup.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: This season, Rolison should see action at AA after missing all of 2020 with no minor league baseball being played.
SP Robert Stephenson
The Rockies look to have no pitching prospects ready to make the jump to the majors, which may lead to Stephenson moving back into the start rotation if they don’t sign another free agent arm or two.
Last year he battled a back issue that was part of his failure in his 10 relief appearances. Over his final eight innings of work, Stephenson allowed nine runs, 12 baserunners, and seven home runs.
Stephenson failed as a starter for the Reds over his first three seasons in the majors (7-11 with a 5.47 ERA and 128 strikeouts over 133.1 innings).
Over eight seasons in the minors, he went 45-50 with a 3.77 ERA and 791 strikeouts over 742 innings.
Cinci moved him to the bullpen in 2019, which led to growth in his game. He finished with a 3.76 ERA and 81 strikeouts over 64.2 innings. His strikeout rate (11.3) was a career-best with improvement in his walk rate (3.3). Over his final 20 innings, Stephenson posted a 1.35 ERA, .130 BAA, and 22 strikeouts).
His AFB (95.0) had more life in the bullpen. He gained his edge with a plus slider (.125 BAA) and a low-volume changeup (.211 BAA) in 2019.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: To make a further step forward, Stephenson needs better control of his four-seamer (.293 BAA) while doing a better job keeping the ball in the ballpark (1.3 HR/9 in 2019 and 1.7 in his career). He has no fantasy value in 2021.
CL Daniel Bard
In 2010, Bard had the feel of an upside bullpen arm for the Red Sox after posting a 1.93 ERA with 76 strikeouts over 74.2 innings. He pitched well the following season (3.33 ERA and 74 strikeouts over 73 innings).
Over his best two years, Bard did walk too many batters (3.3) per nine innings. Batters only hit .177 against him.
Two years later, he was out of baseball due to significant command issues (6.7 walks per nine) and fade in his fastball (94.0 MPH), leading to a 6.27 ERA and 1.757 WHIP over 60.1 innings.
The return of the Bard came seven years later, in 2020. At age 35, he handled himself well out of the Rockies’ bullpen (4-2 with a 3.65 ERA, 27 strikeouts, and six saves over 24.2 innings). His walk rate (3.6) remained too high.
His AFB (97.4) still had plenty of life and velocity. Bard worked off a four-seam fastball (.244 BAA) and slider (.250 BAA) as his top two pitches while also mixing in two low-volume pitches (changeup – .125 BAA and sinker – .273 BAA).
Over the last six weeks of the season, Bard didn’t allow a hit off his changeup (36 pitches) or sinker (25 pitches), with improvement in his slider (.211 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Despite his success and growth, fantasy owners don’t fight for him in the early draft season (ADP – 302). To lock down the ninth inning job, Bard has to solve left-handed batters (.265 with two home runs and eight walks over 49 at-bats). I’m intrigued as his ceiling could be much higher with better command.
RP Scott Oberg
Oberg missed all of 2020 with a right shoulder injury (blood clots) that required thoracic outlet surgery (three surgeries).
Over the previous two seasons, Oberg showed growth as a bullpen arm. He went 14-2 with a 2.35 ERA and 115 strikeouts over 114.2 innings while picking up five saves in 2019.
His walk rate (1.8) drove his success in 2018, but he walked 3.7 batters per nine innings the next season.
Over his first 45.2 innings in 2019, Oberg posted a 1.18 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, and 49 strikeouts. He landed on the injured list in mid-August with blood clots in his right arm, which came after fading over 10.1 innings (6.97 ERA and .333 BAA).
His AFB (94.5) was about 1.5 MPH slower than in 2018. Oberg offered a plus slider (.183 BAA) and an upside four-seamer (.179 BAA).
In 2019, his fly-ball rate (30.9) was much higher than in 2018 (19.4).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Oberg is in the mix for the Rockies' closing job, but he’s never pitched 60 innings in any season in the majors. His ADP (563) is low enough where a fantasy owner could roster him as handcuff/tandem to Daniel Bard. His spring training success will drive his ADP if the reports are positive.
RP Mychal Givens
Baltimore never gave Givens a closing shot in 2020, despite pitching at a high level over his first 10 games (no runs, six hits, and 14 strikeouts over 10.1 innings).
After struggling in back-to-back games (two runs and two baserunners over 2.2 innings with five strikeouts), the Orioles sent him to where pitchers go to die (Colorado). Over 10 appearances with the Rockies, Givens posted a 6.75 ERA and 1.393 WHIP while allowing four home runs over 9.1 innings.
Over six seasons out of the bullpen, he went 21-17 with a 3.41 ERA, 1.144 WHIP, 412 strikeouts, and 21 saves over 345.1 innings.
Givens finished with a step back in his fastball (95.0) that had success (.169 BAA), but he lost the feel for his slider (.333 – .222 BAA in 2019) and changeup (.300 – .177 BAA in 2019).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Givens has a rising walk rate (4.0), and home runs allowed (18 over 85.1 innings) have been a problem over the past two seasons. This combination invites disaster innings, especially in Colorado. Givens has an ADP of 564 in the early draft season.
2021 Fantasy Baseball Team Outlooks