2021 Minnesota Twins
The Twins extended their winning season streak to four years, with the last two resulting in AL Central titles. Over the past 19 seasons, Minnesota made the postseason nine times with no World Series trips.
They moved fourth in ERA (3.58) in the majors while finishing 19th in runs scored (269) and sixth in home runs (91).
Minnesota signed RP Hansel Robles in late December. Their offense lost OF Eddie Rosario, IF Marwin Gonzalez, and C Alex Avila. The key changes to the bullpen were RP Sergio Romo and RP Trevor May. The Twins need to replace SP Jake Odorizzi and SP Rich Hill.
On January 20th, Minnesota added SP J.A Happ to the back end of their starting rotation.
The starting rotation still has strength at the front end, with SP Randy Dobnak and SP Devin Smeltzer looking like the fourth and fifth slots' top two options.
The structure of the bullpen behind closer Taylor Rogers will be in transition this year. The Twins added RB Alex Colome in early February, which extends the deep of the bullpen.
The Twins hope OF Alex Kirilloff helps soften the blow for Rosario, and they decide to re-sign DH Nelson Cruz and add SS Andrelton Simmons.
Minnesota looks destined to fall back to the middle of the division unless they find some talent via the free-agent market.
1. OF Max Kepler
After a breakthrough season in 2019 in runs (98), home runs (36), and RBI (90), Kepler returned to his underperforming ways last season.
His average hit rate (1.923) remained in a favorable area where 30+ home runs are well within reach. His ceiling in batting average continues to be low due to five straight years with a low contact batting average (.307, .312, .273, .311, and .289).
Kepler repeated a top of the order walk rate (11.2) with some regression in his strikeout rate (18.4 – 15.6 in 2018 and 16.6 in 2019). He had no value against left-handed pitching (.208 with no home runs and four RBI over 47 at-bats) compared to winning success in this area in 2019 (.293 with nine home runs and 36 RBI over 147 at-bats).
Over the past three seasons, Kepler had a fly-ball swing path (46.2, 46.6, and 45.6 percent). Some of his downside in batting average is tied to many infield fly balls (2019 – 15.6 and 2020 – 16.1) that turn into easy outs. His HR/FB rate (18.0) was an edge in 2019 while fading back to 14.5 percent last year.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Heading into the latter part of February, the Twins lineup behind Kepler is much weaker, leading to a lower run rate. He doesn’t have a strong enough RBI rate (15) in his career to support a middle-of-the-order opportunity. With an ADP of 183 in the early draft season, Kepler looks overpriced. At best, he’ll have league-average value in runs and RBI with negative return in steals and batting average. The bet here is only on power unless Kepler figures out how to hit more line drives to his contact batting average.
2. 2B Jorge Polanco
After missing 80 games in 2018 due to a suspension, Polanco had questions about his upside in both power and speed entering 2019.
He also set career-highs in runs (107), RBI (79), and batting average (.295) with his best play before the All-Star break (.312 with 13 home runs, 42 RBI, and four steals over 356 at-bats).
In 2020, Polanco lost value in almost every part of his game. His average hit rate (1.370) was well below in 2019 (1.645) while also seeing a fade in his contact batting average (1.370 – .363 in 2018 and .361 in 2019).
Polanco had a weaker walk rate (5.8) with a favorable strikeout rate (15.5). From 2016 to 2019, he posted a middle of an order RBI rate (17).
Despite 22 home runs in 2019, Polanco only has a 9.6 percent HR/FB rate. Last year it faded to 5.8 compared to 7.7 percent in his career.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: This season, Polanco had an ADP of 229 as the 24th shortstop drafted. With his 2019 season still at the forefront of fantasy owner's memories, he tends to be overdrafted. There is clutch-ability here, but I don’t see an impact player in any area. I see a 75/15/75/5 type player with some help in batting average. I would be more interested in him as a middle infield option if his ADP came in over 300.
3. 3B Josh Donaldson
Donaldson battled a calf issue for most of last year, which led to over 30 missed games and a lost fantasy season.
After an injury-plagued season in 2018, the street talk wasn’t positive after a slow start in April and May (.262 with seven home runs and 22 RBI over 183 at-bats). Donaldson found his power stroke over the next two months (.249 with 18 home runs and 44 RBI over 193 at-bats). He drove the bus home with a steady final third of the year (.266 with 12 home runs and 28 RBI over 173 at-bats).
His average hit rate (2.111) remains elite, but last year Donaldson had a drop in his contact batting average (.316) while continuing to take a high number of walks (17.7 percent).
Donaldson posted a strikeout rate (23.5) above his career average (19.9) for the fourth consecutive year. Most of his struggles came vs. lefties (one hit over 15 at-bats with one home run). His HR/FB rate has been high in 2017 (25.6), 2019 (25.7), and 2020 (30.0).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: The Twins need Donaldson to pick up some of the slack due to the loss of Nelson Cruz. Injuries have been a problem in three of his past four seasons. His ADP (191) looks to be his highest since 2012. He brings a three-category skill set with a veteran presence in power. With 550 at-bats, his floor should be 85 runs, 30 home runs, and 85 RBI with a batting average between .250 and .270).
4. DH Nelson Cruz
Cruz has been at his best after the age of 32. Over the last seven seasons, he hit .286 with 260 home runs and 633 RBI over 3,506 at-bats.
Last year he was on a pace for 89 runs, 43 home runs, and 89 RBI over 500 at-bats. Cruz hit .308 with 114 runs, 57 home runs, and 141 RBI over his last 639 at-bats.
In 2019, Cruz missed about a quarter of the year with a left wrist injury, costing him most of May (.229 with two home runs and 24 RBI) and some at-bats in August and September.
Cruz had a step back in his RBI rate (12 – 21 in 2019) while repeating his elite contact batting average (.441).
Despite his success, he has a rising strikeout rate (27.1 – career-high). Cruz finished with an exceptional HR/FB rate (41.0), but a career-low fly-ball rate (30.7).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: A pure basher who would have come off two strong years at age 38 and 39. His ADP (93) is discounted due to his DH-only qualification. Playing well, but there are signs of regression in his ability to make contact. I’ll set his bar at .270 with 85 runs, 35 home runs, and 95 RBI.
5. 1B Miguel Sano
Sano continues to have one of the top average hit rates (2.342) in baseball, but he gives away so many at-bats due to a tremendous strikeout rate (43.9 in 2020 and 37.0 in his career). Last year Sano led the American League in strikeouts (90), which came over 186 at-bats.
Left-handed pitcher held him to a .159 batting average with two home runs and three RBI over 47 plate appearances.
He did play well in August (.284 with seven home runs and 15 RBI over 88 at-bats) while picking up 15 walks and 43 strikeouts. Pitchers made him chase outside the strike zone in September, leading to a .148 batting average with three walks and 39 strikeouts over 81 at-bats.
Over the last three seasons, Sano hit .222 over 832 at-bats with 139 runs, 60 home runs, and 145 RBI. His HR/FB rate has been over 20.0 each year in the majors, with his top value coming in 2019 (36.6) and 2020 (.34.2).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Sano only makes sense for a fantasy owner willing to punt batting average. His swing has a 50-plus home run upside, but his slumps tend to be lengthy and frustrating. At this point of his career, a 30 percent strikeout rate would be a win when adding in that Sano would probably hit well over .400 when he put the ball in play. With no season in the majors with over 440 at-bats, I’ll fade Sano based on his ADP (194).
6. SS Andrelton Simmons
A late July ankle injury cost Simmons three and a half weeks on the injury list. His season ended in the last week of September after opting out with concern about Covid. In the end, he finished with a lost season.
Simmons remains one of the toughest batters to strikeout (9.0 percent) in baseball, but he doesn’t take enough walks (6.2 percent) to hit at the top of the batting order.
His hard-hit rate (33.6 – 307th) is low in 2019 while maintaining a high ground ball rate (53.9). He had a regression in his HR/FB rate (6.1) for the second straight season.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Simmons has a great glove with some upside if/when he figures out how to hit more fly balls. For now, a .280 hitter with about 70 runs, 10 home runs, 70 RBI, and 10 steals, which equals a slight liability in four categories depending on league size.
7. C Mitch Garver
After an impressive breakthrough season in 2019, Garver battled a side injury that led to lousy investment for fantasy owners when he set career-highs in all categories.
When at his best in 2019, Garver had strength in his RBI rate (19) with an impressive average hit rate (2.306) and strength in his contact batting average (.379).
Over his four seasons with Minnesota, Garver hit .256 with 40 home runs and 120 RBI over 731 at-bats.
A big part of his failure in limited at-bats (72) in 2020 came from a considerable step back in his strikeout rate (45.7 – 23.3 over his first three seasons in the majors).
His success in the minors (.298 with 51 home runs, 286 RBI, and 15 stolen bases over 1,828 at-bats) supports a higher floor.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Garver saw his ADP slip to 218 in the early draft season after his disappointing season. I expect a neutral season in runs, home runs, RBI, and batting average for the catcher position with more upside if he can secure 450 at-bats.
8. OF Alex Kirilloff
Kirilloff appeared to be on the fast track to the majors after playing well in 2018 between A and High A (.348 with 75 runs, 20 home runs, 101 RBI, and four steals over 512 at-bats).
In 2019, his bat stalled at AA (.283 with nine home runs, 43 RBI, and seven steals over 375 at-bats) while missing some time due to a wrist injury.
His strikeout rate (16.1) was an edge with some work to do in his walk rate (6.5).
The Twins selected him in the first round (15th overall) in the 2016 MLB June Amateur Draft. Kirilloff missed all of 2017 with TJ surgery on his left elbow.
Minnesota gave him one game (1-for-4), which came in the postseason.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Kirilloff should have an inside track to a starting in Minnesota. Fantasy owners priced him 258th player drafted. He has the foundation skill set to hit for a high average with a yearly floor of 20 home runs and 80 RBI. The Twins need him to hit the ground the running.
9. OF Byron Buxton
Over six seasons with the Twins, Buxton only hit .238 with 51 home runs, 172 RBI, and 62 steals over 1,380 at-bats.
In 2019, he missed another 75 games, which came after seeing the field for only 28 contests in 2018. Buxton also missed two weeks with a left shoulder injury.
Last year Buxton saw a jump in his average hit rate (2.273), which put him on a path for 55 home runs and 114 RBI with 550 at-bats. His run rate has been exceptional in 2019 (53) and 2020 (54), with growth in his RBI rate (18) over this stretch.
Buxton continues to have a high strikeout rate (26.7 – 29.5 in 2020), while his walk rate (1.5) barely had a pulse.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: At age 27, Buxton has yet to reach his expected potential. He came to the majors with immense speed while looking for his power stroke. His bump in home runs last year sets the temptation of a possible breakthrough year. Buxton has an ADP of 113 in the early draft season. When adding in his injury history, he remains a bet on the come. If Buxton can add any speed to his game, he’ll be worth his 2021 price point.
2B Luis Arraez
A left knee injury led to Arraez missing about half of his sophomore season with the Twins.
In 2019, Arraez made the jump from AA to the majors in just one season at the age of 22. His bat played well in his minor league career in batting average (.331 over 1,428 at-bats) while taking almost the same number of walks (122 – 7.7 percent) as strikeouts (129 – 8.1 percent).
Unfortunately, he struggled to drive the ball (six home runs) with weakness in RBI (159) and as a base stealer (29-for-51).
With the Twins over two years, his batting average (.331) held value while showing some growth in his approach (walk rate – 9.0 and strikeout rate – 8.2).
His average hit rate (1.250) offers empty power. His hard-hit rate (31.4) improved to 274th (396 in 2019).
He played the best vs. right-handed pitching (.354 with four home runs and 29 RBI over 328 at-bats in the majors). His HR/FB rate (3.4) is weak, and Arraez has a low fly-ball rate (29.2).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Tough out for sure, but he looks dead in the other four categories until he gets stronger and moves up in the batting average (may happen in 2021). Viable follow as more strength will help his fantasy value in three categories (runs, HRs, and RBI). With an ADP of 404, Arraez may work as a bench rotational player if he earns starting at-bats.
OF Jake Cave
Over eight seasons in the minors, Cave hit .289 with 52 home runs, 290 RBI, and 64 steals over 2,799 at-bats. His bat showed strength at AAA (.301 with 33 home runs, 145 RBI, and 13 steals over 1,036 at-bats), paving the way for his opportunity in the majors.
In the minors, his strikeout rate (21.5) was about league average, along with his walk rate (7.7).
Over the past three seasons with Minnesota, he hit .254 with 25 home runs and 85 RBI over 594 at-bats.
Cave did have a much weaker approach (strikeout rate – 32.9 and walk rate 6.7) in the majors. His contact batting average has been over .400 each year since 2017 except in 2020 (.362). He has a high enough average hit rate (1.760) to produce over 25 home runs if given a full-time starting opportunity.
His bat has been much better against right-handed pitching (.265 with 18 home runs and 63 RBI over 449 at-bats).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Cave may have a platoon opportunity this season if the Twins don’t bring in another outfield bat. His swing offers sneaky power, but he needs to correct his swing and miss approach. Cave has a waiver wire feel in 2021.
Ryan Jeffers (C): Jeffers hit .296 over his two seasons in the minors with 21 home runs and 82 RBI over 609 at-bats. With Mitch Garver injured in 2020, the Twins gave Jeffers 55 at-bats (.273 with three home runs and seven RBI).
His walk rate (10.2) played well in the minors while minimizing the damage in strikeouts (18.5 percent).
Minnesota drafted him in the second round in 2018 after a successful college career (.323 with 27 home runs and 96 RBI over 434 at-bats).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: With career at-bats at AAA, the Twins may start him out in the minors this season. His bat is close to being major league. A viable sleeper as C2 in deep leagues. Jeffers had an early ADP of 368.
Travis Blankenhorn (3B): Blankenhorn looks to be a year away from the majors. Over five seasons in the minors, he hit .257 with 56 home runs, 244 RBI, and 38 steals over 1,742 at-bats. His best success came in 2019 at AA (.278 with 18 home runs, 51 RBI, and 11 steals over 388 at-bats).
His walk rate (7.3) is below the league average, with a high strikeout rate (23.5).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Blankenhorn has an outside shot as a utility infield option for Minnesota.
1. SP Jose Berrios
After trending slightly forward in his stats from 2017 to 2019 (40-27 with a 3.80 ERA and 536 strikeouts over 538.1 innings), Berrios lost his command (3.7 walks per nine) last year. He finished with a weaker ERA (4.00) and WHIP (1.317), but his strikeout rate (9.7) came in at a career-high level.
His regression came against right-handed pitching (.287 BAA). Even with success vs. lefties (.180 BAA), Berrios issued 19 of his 27 walks against them over 111 at-bats.
He allowed four runs or more in four of his 12 starts while pitching the best from August 20th to September 20th (4-0 with a 2.14 ERA and 37 strikeouts over 33.2 innings).
Berrios had improvement in his average fastball (94.9 MPH). His top three pitches (sinker – .224 BAA, changeup – .214 BAA, and curveball – .169 BAA) played well. Berrios lost the feel and command of his four-seam fastball (.339 BAA), which was a massive edge in 2018 (.221 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: This draft season, Berrios has a lower ADP of 85. His first step is regaining his command while needing to do a better job of keeping the ball in the park. Berrios is capable of a sub .350 ERA and 200-plus strikeouts, but he is 0-for-5 in achieving that level in his career.
2. SP Kenta Maeda
In his first four years pitching for the Dodgers, Maeda went 47-35 with a 3.87 ERA and 641 strikeouts over 589 innings.
In his first season in the American League, fantasy owners expected regression in his stats. The short sample size of 2020 led to him pitching at the highest level of his career. Maeda led the league in WHIP (0.750) while offering the best command (1.4 walks per nine) of his career. Batters only hit .168 against him (.227 for his career).
His AFB (92.0) faded for the second straight year. He earned his success with his slider (.192 BAA) and split-finger fastball (.149 BAA). Maeda also threw his sinker (.167 BAA) and four-seam fastball (0.086 BAA) at a high level.
He induced the highest number of ground balls (49.0 percent) of his career, but batters had a high HR/FB rate (18.8).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: In 2021, Maeda will have a much higher ADP (49). His career path doesn’t support repeated success over a full season. Without elite command, he looks more on a path for a 3.75 ERA with a chance at a career-high in strikeouts. I can’t overpay from his 2020 stats.
3. SP Michael Pineda
After missing a year and a half of action due to a right elbow injury that required TJ surgery in 2017, Pineda struggled to find his rhythm to start the year in 2019. He posted a 6.21 ERA and 22 strikeouts over 29 innings in April, with some progress in May (4.50 ERA and 28 strikeouts over 30 innings) and June (3.58 ERA and 25 Ks over 27.2 innings).
Pineda pitched well over his final 10 starts (6-1 with a 2.88 ERA and 65 strikeouts over 59.1 innings), highlighted by three stellar starts to end the year (four runs over 17 innings with 27 strikeouts).
His season ended with 21 games to go in the season due to a 60-game suspension for PEDs. The shortened Covid season in 2020 led to only five starts. Pineda allowed three runs or fewer in all of his games, with no home runs allowed over 26.2 innings.
His AFB (92.5) was well below his value in 2016 (94.8) and 2017 (94.3). Pineda featured two-plus pitches (changeup – .235 BAA, and slider – .119 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Pineda throws strikes with a competitive strikeout rate (8.6) over his last two seasons. He went 13-5 with a 3.91 ERA and 165 strikeouts over 172.2 innings over this span. This year Pineda has an ADP of 233 in mid-February in the 12-team high-stakes market. I expect him to pitch well while possibly being a target in the March drafts.
4. SP Randy Dobnak
For a fantasy owner looking for wins, Dobnak did that well over his first six starts in 2020 (5-1 with a 1.78 ERA and 16 strikeouts over 30.1 innings). He gave away all his gains with his three disaster showings over his final four games (15 runs and 32 baserunners over 16.1 innings with 11 strikeouts).
In the end, his weak strikeout rate (5.2) was a problem, and he struggled with left-handed batters (.296 BAA). Dobnak pitched well in his three home starts (3-0 with 1.17 ERA and 11 strikeouts over 15.1 innings). His failure came on the road (5.46 ERA and 1.564 WHIP over 31.1 innings).
His AFB (93.2) is about league average. Dobnak struggled with his sinker (.338 BAA), while his changeup (.233 BAA) and slider (.219 BAA) graded well. Last year batters hit a ground ball 62.1 percent of the time, leading to a low HR/9 rate (0.6).
Over three seasons in the minors, Dobnak went 24-9 with a 2.57 ERA and 216 strikeouts over 297.1 innings.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: His game is built on an excellent command while lacking that one swing and miss pitch to deliver a competitive strikeout rate. In 2020, his first-pitch strike rate (54) contributed to his poor starts. I view him as a manageable arm that should be an asset in ERA and WHIP. Fantasy owners have avoided him for the most part in the early draft season based on his ADP (521). Dobnak should work well as a double starter, which offsets his weakness in strikeouts. His next step comes from better success on the road and some growth in his strikeout ability.
5. SP J.A. Happ
Happ struggled in his first two starts in 2020 (eight runs and 15 baserunners over seven innings) due to poor command (eight walks). He went 2-1 over his final seven games despite a 2.34 ERA and 39 strikeouts over 42.1 innings.
Over the past two seasons, his walk rate (2.7) fell in line with his recent success, but Happ saw a decline in his strikeout rate (7.8 and 7.7) compared to 2017 (8.8) and 2018 (9.8).
Happ went 72-39 with a 3.74 ERA and 831 strikeouts over 900.2 innings from 2015 to 2020 while only underperforming in 2019 (4.91 ERA).
His AFB (92.0) came in at his lowest velocity since 2013. Happ still had upside with his four-seam fastball (.227 BAA) and sinker (.155 BAA), while his slider (.206 BAA) graded well. Over the previous two full seasons, each of his pitches had less value than his short sample size in 2020.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Happ is a veteran that offers better than inning eater value. The move to the AL Central should be positive, but the Twins may not have enough offense to deliver a high number of wins. His ADP (389) should rise now that Happ has a starting job in 2021.
SP Devin Smeltzer
Smeltzer didn’t look like much of a prospect over his three seasons in the minors (12-14 with 4.45 ERA and 254 strikeouts over 248.2 innings).
After five great starts at AA (3-1 with 0.60 ERA and 33 strikeouts over 30 innings), he made his push through AAA (3.87) to the majors (3.86 ERA) in 2019. Based on his walk rate (2.0) and strikeout rate (9.1) in the minors, Smeltzer has an upside feel.
With the Twins over limited innings (65) over the last two seasons, Smelter struggled with home runs (1.4 per nine) with repeated success in his walk rate (2.4) and a weaker strikeout rate (7.3).
His average fastball tends to be under 90 MPH while relying on a changeup (.271 BAA), slider (.239 BAA), and curveball (.322 BAA) to get batters out.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Smeltzer is a soft-tosser who threw strikes in the minors and outperformed his skill set in strikeouts. He needs more experience in the majors to be trusted in any fantasy leagues. Only a waiver wire watch in 2021 despite having a path to possible starts for the Twins.
SP Jordan Balazovic
The right arm of Balazovic started to make a push toward the majors in 2019. He went 8-5 with a 2.69 ERA and 129 strikeouts while spending most of his time at High A (.284 ERA).
His strikeout rate (10.0) grades well, with a solid floor in his walk rate (2.7). Balazovic went 18-12 with a 3.22 ERA and 252 strikeouts over 227.2 innings over four seasons in the minors.
His fastball sits in the mid-90s while developing a swing and miss slider. Balazovic needs to improve the value of his changeup to reach the majors quickly.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: This season, Balazovic will start the year at AA with his eyes on AAA in the summer.
CL Taylor Rogers
His arm's magic ran out in 2020, leading to some lost save chance and being easier to hit (.302 BAA – .216 in 2018 and 2019). Even with regression in ERA (4.05) and WHIP (1.50), Rogers offered strength in his strikeout rate (10.8) and walk rate (1.8) while throwing 68 percent first-pitch strikes.
From August 6th to September 14th, over 14 games, he posted a 6.36 ERA, 1.974 WHIP, and .367 BAA over 12.2 innings with two blown saves in eight tries.
Right-handed batters hit .311 against him with two home runs over 74 at-bats. His AFB (94.8) was a tick below 2019 (95.0 MPH), but batters drilled his sinker (.395 BAA – .246 in 2019). Rogers threw a slider (.227 BAA) as his second-best pitch while almost ditching his curveball (14 of his 397 pitches). In 2019, he threw his curveball about 28 percent of the time with much more success (.196 BAA).
In 2018 and 2019, Rogers posted a 2.62 ERA with 165 strikeouts and 32 saves over 137.1 innings.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Rogers doesn’t have a long enough resume saving games to be trusted as the full-time closer for the Twins in 2021. His ADP (140) is pricey if he ended up in a split role with a right-handed arm. Both his fastball and command look to be intact, so a bounce-back season should be expected. I won’t overpay as I expect closer to 25 saves than 40 if he does indeed keep the ninth inning role.
RP Alex Colome
Colome had successful two seasons as the closer for the White Sox. He converted 42 of 45 saves chances with a 2.27 ERA and 71 strikeouts over 83.1 innings.
His walk rate (3.2) remains too high while a much weaker strikeouts rate (6.4). Colome only had three strikeouts against right-handed batters over 39 at-bats.
Since moving to the bullpen in 2016, he has a 2.62 ERA, 272 strikeouts, and 138 saves over 274.2 innings.
His AFB (94.7) was a career-low while being tough to hit (.177 BAA). Colome relies on his cutter (.162 BAA) as his best pitch.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Plenty of closing experience with less than desirable peripheral stats pushes him lower in the closer rankings (ADP – 164) while being in a coin flip role with the Twins. His fade in his first pitch rate (56) paired with poor command may be the sign to get off the bus. Colome is trending to a 3.00 ERA with 65 strikeouts and 25 saves.
RP Tyler Duffey
After failing as a starter (5.41 ERA) early in his career with the Twins, Duffey developed into a trusted reliever over the last two seasons (6-2 with 113 strikeouts over 81.2 innings).
His walk rate (2.3) has been an asset in his whole career while seeing his strikeout rate jump from 7.9 in 2015 to 2019 to 12.5 over the past two years.
Duffey had success against RH (.136 BAA) and LH (.171 BAA) in 2020. His AFB (92.9) came in below 2019 (94.2 MPH) while settling into a two-pitch pitcher (curveball – .177 BAA and four-seam fastball – .180 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Duffey is trending toward some save chances, which was helped by Sergio Romo and Trevor May leaving town. That notion is dismissed with Alex Colome on the roster.
He has no experience closing, so Duffey has to prove he has the guile to finish games. For now, only a setup man with an ADP (539).
RP Hansel Robles
After an up and down career with the Mets (4.07 ERA and 229 strikeouts over 208 innings), Robles found the fountain of command in 2019. He posted a 2.0 walk rate, which was much better than his first four years in the majors (4.0). His strikeout rate (9.3) drifted downward slightly.
Robles wandered through his first 22 games in 2019 (4.26 ERA and 25 strikeouts over 25.1 innings). Over the final four months, he converted 17 of his 19 save chances with a 1.52 ERA and 50 strikeouts over 47.1 innings.
In 2020, it took him one outing (two runs and two baserunners over 1.1 innings) to dash fantasy owner’s dreams of a repeated season. By his fourth game, Robles allowed nine runs, 10 baserunners, and three home runs, leading to a 22.09 ERA and a lost closing job. Over his final 14 games, he posted a 6.92 ERA with seven walks and 16 strikeouts over 13 innings.
Lefties hit .360 off of him with three home runs over 25 at-bats. His walk rate ballooned to 5.4. He lost about two MPH off his fastball (95.6). Batters teed up his four-seam fastball (.371 BAA), but Robles still had success with his changeup (.240 BAA) and slider (.125 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Without a lower walk rate, Robles belongs nowhere close to the ninth inning. The weakness in his overall resume in command outweighs his one season of success in 2019. Only a dart if his arm looks improved in spring training.
2021 Fantasy Baseball Team Outlooks