Dynasty Fantasy Baseball Players to Target (2021)
Unlike redraft leagues, dynasty leagues require a strategy that focuses on both the short term and the long term. The right strategy usually uses a mix of the two, and the offseason is when a lot of important decisions are made.
Is your team potentially one or two steps away from competing for a championship this season? Are you in full rebuild mode and focusing on acquiring young people? Are you somewhere in the middle, hoping to take short-term action while continuing to build your foundation for the future?
No matter where you are in the process, here are a handful of players to target in Dynasty Leagues this offseason.
Jarren Duran (OF – BOS)
Speed is harder and harder to come by in baseball, and Jarren Duran has a ton of it. In 2019, he stole 46 bases in 132 games between High Single-A and Double-A. And while he’s averaged high in the minor leagues in part because of his elite speed, he lacks power.
However, he would have worked on it.
Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic wrote an article on Durran in December and mentioned that the young outfielder was working with a batting coach to shorten and simplify his swing to allow him to better get behind the ball and generate more power. Looked:
Another day, another circuit for Jarren Duran. pic.twitter.com/rj89LpWtQm
– PawSox (@PawSox) September 12, 2020
Now we hear these stories of young hitters polishing their swing all the time, and it doesn’t always lead to results. But it’s certainly intriguing, and Duran could join the Red Sox sooner rather than later given their uncertain future in the outfield. At best, he’s called up in the second half of 2021, hitting a solid average while stealing a few bases and hitting a few home runs. At worst, Duran’s floor could be a hitter who offers little power but hits for a high average and steals goals in a Red Sox lineup that should be better in the years to come.
Since there hasn’t been a minor league season in 2020, the development of many prospects is relatively unknown. This gives fantasy managers opportunities to draft or trade for players like Duran before the price goes up.
Mike Clevinger (SP – SDP)
Clevinger recently had Tommy John surgery and won’t launch in 2021, so that would be a decision going forward. But how often do established high-end starters become available for what could be a bargain in dynasty formats? He recently signed a two-year contract with the Padres, so he’ll be in San Diego for at least the 2022 season (and probably longer if all goes well).
Clevinger has potential ace and has just turned 30, so he will only be 31 for the start of the 2022 season. You shouldn’t be paying too much for a starter who is going to miss a full year, but it does. worth contacting the manager of Clevinger and asking him what his price is. If this manager is eyeing a fantastic championship in 2021, there is a possibility that he will move Clevinger for much less than he would normally cost. This is a long-term move that shouldn’t cost you too much in terms of short-term assets.
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Zach Eflin (SP – PHI)
I covered Eflin in August in our Candidates for positive and negative regression series, and I explained at the time how he basically ditched his four seams in favor of his ballast. His final ERA was a 3.97 pedestrian, but his FIP (3.39), xFIP (3.23), and xERA (3.31) all indicate he threw even better than that.
I was on Eflin in 2018 and 2019, but I’m totally into this new version of him. His strikeouts have skyrocketed in 2020 (18.3% in 2019 to 28.6% in 2020), and he reduced his number of difficult contacts to 24.5% from 37.9% in 2019. He has also lowered his BAA to 0.262 despite a BABIP of 0.344, and his xBA had fallen to 0.224 from 0.251.
I never expect Eflin to turn into an ace, but he should become a reliable fantastic contributor who should be available for cheap this offseason. He may even be a free agent or draft-available in certain formats.
Ha-seong Kim (SS, 2B – SDP)
Kim signed with the San Diego Padres this offseason after .306 / .397 / .523 with 30 homers and 23 interceptions in 138 KBO games in 2020. I don’t expect him to replicate those numbers with the Padres in 2021, but he’s only 25 and should have enough time to adjust to the big leagues in a full roster.
Kim is expected to be available in the draft portion of most dynasty leagues, and he’s likely to make the first round of most of them due to his age and production in the KBO. He is expected to start at second base for the Padres, but it would be risky to jump into the 2021 fantasy season with Kim as the only fantasy second base option. He’s likely to encounter bumps in the road during his transition, but has a ton of benefits. Think of Kim as a long-term investment that has the potential to contribute in the short term, rather than the other way around.
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