2021 Toronto Blue Jays
After three straight losing seasons, the Blue Jays took advantage of the shortened baseball season to make the postseason for the first time since 2016. Their last trip to the World Series came in 1993. Toronto has two World Series titles (1992 and 1993) and eight appearances in the playoffs over its 44-year history.
The Blue Jays traded for SP Steven Matz in late January to improve the backend of their rotation. SP Robby Ray signed a one-year deal in November after moving to the Blue Jays late in 2020 in a deal with the Diamondbacks.
Toronto addressed their closing issue by signing RP Kirby Yates while also adding RP David Phelps and RP Tyler Chatwood. The Blue Jays need Yates to pitch at an elite level if they want to make another run in the postseason.
The starting lineup looks much deeper after investing in OF George Springer and 2B Marcus Siemen in late January.
The structure of Toronto’s batting order now ranks up with the American League’s top teams.
If the Blue Jays’ pitching holds up, they are a step below the Yankees in the AL East. I expect a postseason appearance while being a year away from pushing closer to the World Series.
1. SS Bo Bichette
Bichette played well at AAA in 2019 while flashing a 20/40 skill set if he repeated his stats over a full season. Unfortunately, three weeks into the year, he suffered a broken left hand after being hit by a pitch. His bat responded well for Toronto (.311 with 32 runs, 11 home runs, 21 RBI, and four steals over 196 at-bats) after a six week trip to the injured list.
In 2020, he flew up draft boards in spring training while looking elite with the Blue Jays over 15 games (.361 with five home runs, 13 RBI, and four stolen bases over 61 at-bats). Unfortunately, Bichette suffered a right knee sprain in mid-August, which led to about four weeks on the injured list.
When he returned to the starting lineup, the swing lost its momentum (.242 with no home runs and 10 RBI over 62 at-bats).
Over his 75 games in the majors, Bichette hit .307 with 50 runs, 16 home runs, 44 RBI, and eight stolen bases over 319 at-bats. This path over a full season would produce an impact bat. The only question that needs to be answered for fantasy teams is his value in steals. His short output in stolen bases in the majors has been tied to his two injuries.
Bichette will have a high contact batting average and his average hit rate over the past two seasons supports a run at 30 home runs. In 2020, his strikeout rate (21.1) moved closer to the league average, but he barely took any walks (3.9 percent – 8.3 in his minor league career).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: The shortstop position is loaded with talent again this season, but the attraction of Bichette is even higher (ADP – 25) despite a relatively short resume. There is no doubt he will offer an edge in batting average, runs, and home runs once he posts his first full season with the Blue Jays. For Bichette to support his high price point, he must deliver over 20 steals. He is trending toward a perennial first-round pick with a chance at hitting over .320 this season with a 100/30/80/20 skill set. The offseason additions should be a win for him in runs.
2. 2B Marcus Semien
The buzz in Semien’s bat wasn’t there last season. He failed to match his success in 2019 in contact batting average (.292 – .337), average hit rate (1.681 – 1.834), and RBI rate (12 – 20).
His projected over 162 games came to 77 runs, 19 home runs, 62 RBI, and 11 stolen bases over 570 at-bats.
Semien set career-highs in games (162), at-bats (657), runs (123), double (43), home runs (33), and RBI (92) while having the best approach of his career (strikeout rate – 13.7 and walk rate – 11.7) in 2019.
Last year his strikeout rate (21.2) reverted to his early career path from 2015 to 2018 (21.1), but Semien did maintain his improved walk rate (10.6).
His hard-hit rate (29.2) fell to 344th in the league (37.8 in 2019 – 209th). Siemen tried to hit more fly-balls (46.6 percent – 38.9 in 2019), but he finished with a step back in his HR/FB rate (9.3 – 15.3 in 2019) and a jump in his infield fly-balls (16.0 percent – 9.6 in his career).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: The Blue Jay will move him to second base. His experience and recent success in the majors should give him the inside track at hitting near the top of the lineup. Cavan Biggio has a better approach, and his all-around ceiling should be higher, leading to Toronto having a fluid lineup over the course of the season.
Siemen has an ADP of 127 in 12-team leagues in early February in the high-stakes market. I don’t like his falling hard-hit rate, and his struggles last year looked to be self-created by trying to high more home runs. Overall, he looks like a steady player in an improving lineup with the tools to help in five-categories while being one season off from an impact year.
3. OF George Springer
Before last year, Springer missed 84 games due to injuries from 2017 to 2019.
His stats from 2020 translated to 100 runs, 38 home runs, and 86 RBI over 510 at-bats.
He had a sharp decline in his contact batting average (.331 – .383 in 2019), despite a career-low strikeout rate (17.1). Springer walked over 10.0 percent of the time in each year in the majors (10.8 in 2020).
His average hit rate (2.021) supports 35-plus home runs with 550 at-bats. Springer has experience plus strength in his RBI rate over the last four seasons (17.8 percent), which points to him dropping to third in the Blue Jays batting order. In his career, he has never had over 380 RBI chances in a season.
Springer had the highest fly-ball rate (43.1) of his career while improving in each of his past five years (30.1, 31.5, 33.8, 34.6, and 35.7). He failed to match his breakthrough season (29.5 in 2019) in his HR/FB rate (21.2).
Over the last four seasons, Springer hit .278 with 347 runs, 109 home runs, 284 RBI, and 18 stolen bases over 1,760 at-bats.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Springer adds value to a fantasy team in runs and RBI. I expect him to be more productive driving in runs while on a path to reach 40 home runs. His ADP (50) makes him a steady piece to a fantasy team while playing in the middle of a developing offense. His batting average should be neutral with potential upside with a rebound in his contact batting average.
4. 1B Vlad Guerrero
The expected rise of Guerrero has come slower than expected. Over the last two seasons with the Blue Jays, he hit only .269 with 86 runs, 24 home runs, and 102 RBI over 685 at-bats. His lack of development in impact power is surprising while waiting for his high average bat to emerge.
His failure came from contact batting average (.338 in 2019 and .317 in 2020), an area of strength in 2018 in the minors (.426). His RBI rate (17) so far in his career supports a middle of the order opportunity, and Guerrero did have a rise in his average hit rate (1.759) in 2020. His weakness against lefties (.218 with nine home runs and 24 RBI over 188 at-bats) has been a problem early in his career.
Guerrero continues to hit a high number of ground balls (49.6 and 54.6 percent) with the Blue Jays, which is a significant huddle for developing his power. Last year he lowered his strikeout rate (15.6), and his walk rate (8.2) projects to be league average early in his career.
Guerrero will be tough to strike out when he reaches peak form while offering a favorable K:BB ratio. His highlight season in the minors came in 2018 (.381 with 67 runs, 20 home runs, 78 RBI, and three steals over 357 at-bats).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: This season, Guerrero looks to be overpriced (ADP – 57) based on his career resume in the majors, but he does have the talent to have a significant jump in production at age 22. His father hit .302 over 325 at-bats at age 21 with 11 home runs and 40 RBI. The following season he hit .324 with 102 runs, 38 home runs, 109 RBI, and 11 steals over 623 at-bats. My floor this season is .300 with a 100/30/100 foundation while being almost a gift on draft day.
5. OF Lourdes Gurriel
Based on his play over the last two seasons (.289 with 80 runs, 31 home runs, 83 RBI, and nine steals over 522 at-bats), Gurriel has arrived. His minor league resume (.265 with 16 home runs, 106 RBI, and seven stolen bases over 565 at-bats) painted him a light-hitting middle infielder.
In 2020, he had growth in his contact batting average (.400) paired with a lower strikeout rate (21.4). Gurriel won’t take many walks (6.3 percent), but he is improving his overall approach. In his career in the majors, his RBI rate (17) has been worthy of a middle of the order opportunity.
Last year his hard-hit rate (49.4) was the 17th highest in baseball while having the 14th most batted balls (80) over 95 MLB. Gurriel posted a high HR/FB rate in 2019 (20.2) and 2020 (20.4), but he did lose his loft last year (33.3 percent fly-ball rate).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: At 6’4” and 215 lbs., Gurriel has the talent and pedigree to develop into an impact bat. He won’t bring name value, but his ADP (88) shows that Gurriel will be respected in drafts. On the verge of being a .290-plus hitter with 90 runs, 30 home runs, and 90 RBI. If the top four batters play well for Toronto, Gurriel should have a higher ceiling in the counting categories.
6. OF Teoscar Hernandez
Over his three seasons with Toronto, Hernandez hit .246 with 174 runs, 72 RBI, 176 RBI, and 17 steals over 1,171 at-bats. When making contact, he can produce winning stats over short periods. His high strikeout rate (31.6 in the majors) will lead to some missed days.
Last year Hernandez continued to offer a high average hit rate (2.000) while seeing a jump in his contact batting average (.433). He hit .311 over his first 135 at-bats with 24 runs, 13 RBI, and 25 RBI.
His swing path has been balanced with a high HR/FB rate (21.3). Last season Hernandez did have the highest HR/FB rate (32.7) in his career.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Based on final stats in 2020, Hernandez will go down as a trap this draft season. His batting average isn’t repeatable, and I don’t see him earning a full-time starting job. His ADP (79) is out of line. He is only a low average power hitter that will fall short of expectations in runs and RBI. Hernandez does have more speed on his minor league resume (172 stolen bases over 2,799 at-bats).
7. 2B Cavan Biggio
Biggio now has 159 games under his major belt, leading to a .240 batting average with 107 runs, 24 home runs, 76 RBI, and 20 steals over 574 at-bats.
In 2020, he did lower his strikeout rate (23.0 – 28.6 in 2019) while maintaining an elite walk rate (15.5). His ability to get on base set a high floor in runs, and Biggio has ranked above the league average in his RBI rate (17 and 16) in his first two years with the Blue Jays.
Last year he did struggle with right-handed pitching (.229) while managing only one home run over 67 at-bats against lefties. His best play came in August (.278 with 21 runs, four home runs, 15 RBI, and three steals over 118 at-bats).
Biggio lost some loft off his swing in 2020, which led to some fade in his HR/FB rate (12.5).
Over four seasons in the minors, he hit .255 with 43 home runs, 212 RBI, and 47 steals over 1,288 at-bats.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: This season, his ADP (66) in mid-February is in a range where it would be difficult to roster him. Biggio has a foundation of a 20/20 player, but his batting average risk isn’t going away until he makes better contact. His power doesn’t look ready to push to an impact level, so the bet here may be more on the Blue Jays supporting cast around him in the batting order.
8. OF Randal Grichuk
After underachieving for most of his first five seasons in the majors, Grichuk showed growth over the past two seasons. He set a career-high in runs (75), home runs (31), and RBI (80) in 2019 while playing well in 2020 (.273 with 38 runs, 12 home runs, and 35 RBI over 216 at-bats).
His strikeout rate (21.2 – 27.7 in his career) was the lowest of his career last season while having a low walk rate (5.6).
Grichuk played well against lefties (.328 with four home runs and nine RBI over 61 at-bats), which was the reason for his career-high in batting average (.273). He finished with a weaker swing path (fly-ball rate – 36.7), but his HR/FB rate (19.4) was a career-best.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Grichuk is a low-average power hitter who has no chance of moving up in the batting order. The Blue Jays will give him plenty of at-bats as long as he doesn’t strike his way out of the lineup. Overpriced (ADP – 241) when considering the high number of similar players drafted later than him.
9. C Danny Jansen
Batting average has been a huge problem for Jansen over the last two seasons. His contact batting average regressed each year in the majors, but his average hit rate (1.955) came in at a career-high in 2020. He finished with the high HR/FB rate (17.1) of his career.
In his career with Toronto, Jansen beat the league average with his strikeout rate (20.3), and last season he pushed his walk rate (14.3) to an elite area.
Over the last two years, he hit .201 with 59 runs, 19 home runs, and 63 RBI over 467 at-bats. Most of his production in 2020 came over his final 45 at-bats (.244 with four home runs and 13 RBI).
Jansen hit .269 over 1,282 career at-bats in the minors with 33 home runs, 196 RBI, and 17 steals.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: There’s a better player here, and his approach suggests his batting average risk shouldn’t be a concern long-term. Even so, Jansen needs to produce when in the starting lineup, or he will lose crucial at-bats. This year Jansen has an ADP of 309 as the 18th catcher drafted.
C Alejandro Kirk
When Toronto needed a third catcher in 2020, they called up Kirk from High A. His bat looked ready based on his 24 at-bats (.375 with one home run and three RBI) while also flashing in his minor league career (.315 over 518 at-bats with 72 runs, 17 home runs, 101 RBI, and five steals).
Kirk had more walks (89) than strikeouts (60) in his career. His one negative comes from his enormous body (265 lbs.) for his height. His ability to hit will get him to Toronto quickly, but he needs to work hard to get in better shape to help his long-term value and success in the majors.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Kirk has the tools to be an upside C2 in deep leagues if the Blue Jays give him a major league job. You can’t teach his feel for the strike zone or the ability to make contact. He is a must follow this March and worth the investment if he makes the major league roster out of spring training. Kirk has a lot in common with Vlad Guerrero in his base skill set.
1B Rowdy Tellez
The opportunity for at-bats for Tellez was cloudy early in 2020. After going 5-for-35 to start the season with one home run and five RBI, he pushed his way into more playing time over the next month (.346 over 78 at-bats with 17 runs, seven home runs, and 18 RBI). His season ended with three weeks to go due to a right knee injury.
His average hit rate (1.906) has been strong over his time in the majors while cleaning up his approach in 2020 (strikeout rate – 15.8 – 25.8 in his career).
Over the last two seasons with the Blue Jays, Tellez hit .240 with 69 runs, 29 home runs, and 77 RBI over 483 at-bats. His minor league resume (.275 with 71 home runs, 348 RBI, and 26 steals over 2,217 at-bats) points to more upside.
Tellez has had a high HR/FB rate (22.2, 21.6, and 25.0) in all three seasons with Toronto.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: I’d love him to seize the full-time DH role for the Blue Jays, but I want Vladimir Guerrero to stay at first base to minimize his injury risk. Tellez looks to have high upside in power with some underlying speed on his minor league resume. He even has a chance to hit for a neutral batting average. His ADP (307) looks too high based on the recent signings by the Blue Jays.
3B Tyler White
The Blue Jays signed White to a minor league deal after a failed experience in Korea in 2020 (3-for-22 with one home run and four RBI).
He played well over six seasons in the minors (.305 with 87 home runs, 386 RBI, and 13 steals over 1,896 at-bats), highlighted by his success at AAA (.311 with 59 home runs, 230 RBI, and nine steals over 1,078 at-bats).
In 2018, White gave the Astros some good at-bats (210) off the bench (.276 with 12 home runs and 42 RBI). Over four seasons in the majors, he hit .236 with 26 home runs and 101 RBI.
White will take walks (10.1 percent), but his strikeout rate (24.2) was too high in his early at-bats with Houston. He has experience at third base in his career, but his body has ballooned to first base.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: White has no fantasy value heading into 2021. If he plays well in spring training, his bat can help Toronto off the bench.
Reese McGuire (C): He could be the odd man out in the catching rotation for the Blue Jay if Alejandro Kirk steals his opportunity. Over the seasons with Toronto, he flashed power (eight home runs and 16 RBI over 169 at-bats), but McGuire only hit .243.
Over two years at AAA, he hit .239 with 12 home runs, 66 RBI, and seven steals over 565 at-bats.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Only a platoon player while working as a borderline C2 in deep leagues. His defense will be an asset.
Santiago Espinal (IF): Over four seasons in the minors, he hit .285 with 21 home runs, 187 RBI, and 44 steals over 1,517 at-bats. In his first stint with Toronto last year, Espinal hit .267 over 60 at-bats with no home runs, six RBI, and one steal.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Espinal is an improving player with minimal power and speed. His only bump in playing time will come as a short-term injury replacement.
1. SP Hyun-Jin Ryu
The fear of moving to the AL East kept many fantasy owners away from Ryu in 2020. He proved non-supporters wrong by posting a 2.69 ERA and 72 strikeouts over 67 innings. Ryu went 26-10 over his past three seasons with a 2.30 ERA and 324 strikeouts over 332 innings.
In 2020, his strikeout rate (9.7) matched his career-high with a pullback in his walk rate (2.3). He dominated lefties (.220 with 11 strikeouts over 50 at-bats).
His AFB (90.2) was a career-low while offering three plus pitches (changeup – .208 BAA, curveball – .189 BAA, and cutter – .231 BAA). Batters did have success vs. his four-seam fastball (.346 BAA).
Ryu allowed two runs or fewer in nine of his final 10 starts (1.86 ERA and .218 BAA) before getting drilled in the playoffs (three runs and nine baserunners over 1.2 innings with three strikeouts).
This season he will be drafted as the 28th pitcher with an ADP of 77.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: With a career 59-35 record in the majors with a 2.95 ERA and success in 2020, Ryu looks to be a safer bet. The Blue Jays will score plenty of runs, giving him a chance at 15 wins. I still expect some regression in his ERA over the long haul. Keep an open mind, but don’t be naive either.
2. SP Robbie Ray
The chase of Ray’s arm looks to be over after a disastrous season in 2020. He’s always had a high walk rate (4.1 from 2014 to 2019), but finding home plate was a problem last year (7.8 walks per nine). Over the previous six seasons, his HR/9 rate rose each season (0.6, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, and 2.3).
Ray was much easier to hit (.261 BAA – .217 from 2017 to 2019), with righties having the most success (.283 BAA). Last year he didn’t pitch over five innings in any contest.
His AFB (93.9) still has plenty of life in velocity. He lost the feel of his curveball (.450 BAA) while still owning an impact slider (.157 BAA).
From 2017 to 2019, Ray went 33-15 with a 3.72 ERA and 618 strikeouts over 460 innings.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: With a winter to clear his head, Ray needs to improve his mechanics. The dream of better command looks to be nothing more than a gamble. His ADP (337) almost gives fantasy owners a free look if they are looking to buy some late strikeouts. Only a dart if the spring training reports show a bounce in his step.
3. SP Nate Pearson
The talk of a triple-digit fastball in spring training and a potential major league job pushed Pearson quickly up draft boards last spring. After shining in his major league debut (no runs over five innings with five strikeouts), his arm looked overrated over his next three appearances (12 runs and 21 baserunners over 11.1 innings).
The Blue Jays placed him on the injured list in mid-August with a right elbow injury. Pearson ended the year with one more appearance (no runs over 1.2 innings with two strikeouts).
His AFB came in at 96.6 MPH while featuring a slider as his second-best pitch (.250 BAA) and offering a low volume changeup and curveball.
Toronto selected him with the 28th pick in the first round of the June MLB Amateur Draft in 2017. His arm played well over eight short inning starts at Low A and Rookie Ball (0.90 ERA and 26 strikeouts over innings). After dominating at High A and AA (2.15 ERA and 104 Ks over 83.2 innings), Toronto pushed him to AAA. His arm held value (3.00 ERA) over three starts and 18 innings, but his strikeouts (15) did have less impact.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: I’m fearful of his right elbow injury, but I can’t dismiss his success in 2019 in the minors. His ADP (252) puts him in an area with some competitive arms. If Pearson throws the ball well in March, his value will soar again. Coin toss between the next big thing and a lost season.
4. SP Steven Matz
Last year Matz looked sharp in spring training and in July before the start of the season. He finished with a wasted season leading to a 90.68 ERA and 1.696 WHIP over nine appearances while batting a left shoulder injury.
Over the previous two full seasons, Matz made 60 starts with mixed results (16-21 with a 4.09 ERA and 305 strikeouts over 314.1 innings).
In 2019, he pitched well in April (3.68 ERA), May (3.38 ERA), July (1.80 ERA), and August (3.21 ERA) while getting torched over 11 starts in June and September (5.14 ERA, 62 strikeouts, and 12 home runs over 63 innings).
Hidden in his stats was excellent success at home (8-2 with a 2.31 ERA and 92 strikeouts over 89.2 innings) with no value on the road (6.62 ERA). He allowed 22 of his 27 home runs to righties with less value against left-handed batters (.270).
His AFB (93.6) is trending down while offering only one pitch of value (curveball – .216 BAA). Matz improved his walk rate (2.9), but home runs (1.5 per nine) remain a problem. He needs to improve his first strike rate (56) and his control within the strike zone.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Matz is a tough player to trust with a free-agent pool ADP (538). May surprise while offering help in strikeouts when on the mound.
5. SP Ross Stripling
Over five seasons in the minors, Stripling went 13-14 with a 2.86 ERA and 237 strikeouts over 258.1 innings. His development was cut short by TJ surgery in 2014.
The Dodgers used him as a swingman over five seasons, leading to a 23-25 record with a 3.68 ERA and 404 strikeouts over 420.2 innings.
In 2020, Stripling pitched well in two starts (2.92 ERA and nine strikeouts over 12.1 innings) before fading in August (7.17 ERA) thanks to a ton of home runs (10 over 21.1 innings) and a much higher batting average against (.330).
The Blue Jays acquired him in early September, but his arm never rebounded (6.32 ERA over 15.2 innings with 13 strikeouts).
His AFB (92.0) is below the league average while relying on a plus changeup (.167 BAA) and winning curveball (.225 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: The good in his career outweighs his failure in 2020, which was so out of line from his best seasons with the Dodgers. Stripling may have been battling an underlying injury. His ADP (507) puts him in the free-agent pool in most fantasy formats. Stripling is worth a ride if he's throwing strikes until he starts to take on some water.
SP Tanner Roark
From 2014 to 2016, Roark had a pair of career seasons (15-10 with 2.85 ERA and 16-10 with 2.83 ERA). Over the last four years, he went 34-39 with a 4.65 ERA and 511 strikeouts over 574.2 innings.
In 2019, his strikeout rate (8.6) and walk rate (2.8) suggested better innings, but Roark was easier to hit (.273) with a rising HR/9 rate (1.5). Last year he forgot how to throw strikes (4.3 walk rate), leading to a lower strikeout rate (7.7).
He had no answer for righties (.383 BAA with 10 home runs over 107 at-bats).
His AFB (91.2) was a career-low, with his best value coming from his changeup (.194 BAA) and curveball (.222 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Fading inning eater with problems giving up home runs and throwing strikes. Roark isn’t a lock to earn a starting job in 2021.
SP Ryan Borucki
After battling health issues early in his pro career that included TJ surgery, Borucki started to make a run at the majors in 2017. He pitched well at High A (3.58 ERA with 109 strikeouts over 98 innings) while being even better over eight starts between AA and AAA (1.72 ERA with 48 strikeouts over 52.1 innings).
Over seven seasons in the minors, Borucki had a 30-24 record with a 3.30 ERA and 420 strikeouts over 449.2 innings.
In 2018, he pitched well at AAA (3.27 ERA and 58 Ks over 77 innings), helping him reach the majors. Over his 17 starts with the Blue Jays, Borucki allowed two runs or fewer in 10 games while turning in two disaster starts (11 runs and 14 baserunners over 5.1 innings with two strikeouts).
In 2019, a battle with a left elbow injury led to Borucki pitching only 17.2 innings between AAA and the majors. He allowed 14 runs, 35 baserunners, and six home runs, leading to surgery in August to remove bone spurs.
Last season Toronto worked him in the bullpen (2.70 ERA and 21 strikeouts over 16.2 innings) after his slow recovery from elbow surgery. His walk rate (6.5) invited failure risk. The velocity rose on his sinker (94.9 MPH) while relying on a plus slider (.059 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Borucki can’t survive as a starter without developing his weak changeup (.375 BAA) that was a pitch of value in his successful year with the Blue Jays in 2018 (.222 BAA). Toronto may use him as a spot starter if his arsenal depth improves paired with better command. At the very least, Borucki will be a lefty specialist out of the bullpen.
CL Jordan Romano
Romano started his minor league career as a reliever in 2014. After missing the following season with TJ surgery, the Blue Jays gave him three seasons to develop as a starter. His lack of progress led to a push back to the bullpen in 2019.
Over five seasons in the minors, he went 25-18 with a 3.52 ERA, 425 strikeouts, and five saves over 419.2 innings.
With Toronto in 2020, his arm pushed toward the ninth inning after posting a 1.23 ERA with 21 strikeouts and two saves over 14.2 innings. He missed the last month of the season with a finger injury that didn’t require surgery.
Romano has an elite fastball (97.0) that was tough to hit (0.050 BAA) last season while also offering a plus slider (.219 BAA).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: In the early draft season, fantasy owners were placing their 2021 closing bet on Romano based on a short sample size. His ADP (401) fell almost 170 spots over the signing of Kirby Yates.
Romano allowed six home runs over his 30.0 career innings in the majors, which invites some failure risk. His ultimate value will come from his spring training reports, but save chances are on the back burner for now.
RP Alek Manoah
Manoah pitched well in his six games of work at Low A (2.65 over 17 innings with five walks and 27 strikeouts), which came after a successful campaign at West Virginia in college (2.08 ERA and 144 strikeouts over 108.1 innings).
Manoah battled his command (walk rate – 5.0) over the first two seasons in college before finding his rhythm in 2019 (2.2 at West Virginia and 2.6 at Low A). His fastball has a 90s upside while offering a developing slider. Once his changeup develops, Manoah will make a quick push to the majors.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: With no innings pitched at any level last season, Manoah will most likely start at AA. His first-round pedigree (2019 – 11th overall) gives him a chance to move quickly through the Blue Jays system if he’s throwing strikes.
SP Simeon Woods Richardson
In 2019, Toronto acquired Richardson in a deal with the Mets for Marcus Stroman.
Over his first two seasons in the minors, Richardson posted a 3.48 ERA and 152 strikeouts over 124 innings. He pitched at High A for the Blue Jays after the trade, which led to a 2.54 ERA and 29 strikeouts over 28.1 innings.
The Mets drafted him in the second round in 2018. Richardson offers a mid-90s fastball and a plus curveball.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Richardson will start the year at age 20, which means the Blue Jays won’t push him too fast. Live arm with high upside once his third pitch develops.
2021 Fantasy Baseball Team Outlooks