• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

2021 Fantasy Baseball: Favorite draft targets from the NL West

Dalton Del Don, Andy Behrens and Scott Pianowski
·6 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Our fantasy baseball analysts reveal their favorite draft target on each of the five National League West teams. This could be a perceived draft value, an emerging star they're picking everywhere, or anything in between.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Andy: Good luck finding sleepers on this roster. It’s a well-known and thoroughly analyzed team, talent-rich in every way. A.J. Pollock might be the closest thing to a draft bargain on this club, as he’s an un-buzzy vet with an injury history. But he’s hit 31 homers for the Dodgers in 141 games over the past two seasons. If we get a healthy-ish year from Pollock, he can definitely go 30/10.

Dalton: I can see the concern buying-high on Trevor Bauer coming off a Cy Young winning season with a not so consistent track record, and it’s also true the Dodgers don’t typically allow their starters to throw a ton of innings. While Bauer’s not going to repeat last season’s video game like numbers, I’m a believer in him being a true ace, as he led MLB in spin rate (four-seamer) last season, including all relievers. Bauer is going to rack up wins throwing for the Dodgers in the NL West and should be treated as a first-round fantasy pick.

Scott: Julio Urias looked like a breakout star in the playoffs — remember, he’s the man they tabbed to close things out at the end — and it’s just a matter of finding the right role and innings count for him this year. I do not know what LA’s plan is; this team is overloaded with talent on the mound and can soft-pedal the regular season, feeling like it’s already qualified for the playoffs. But I want Urias on some of my teams.

San Diego Padres

Andy: This team is a blast, loaded with fun fantasy options up and down a draft board. I could hype a half-dozen players here, with enthusiasm. Let’s focus on Joe Musgrove, a terrific offseason acquisition who produced a ridiculous 33.1 K-percentage and 14.4 percent swinging-strike rate over his eight starts. He’s a favorite bargain pitching option for 2021 drafts (ADP 134.5).

AL Draft Targets: AL West | AL Central | AL East

NL Draft Targets: NL West | NL Central | NL East

Scott: Everything went wrong for Chris Paddack last year, but he’s back with a healthier body and a more modern approach. I’ll proactively try to get on board. To be fair, this is a pitching staff where almost everything looks good. Petco Park isn’t quite the extreme park it used to be, but it’s still favorable for pitching. And this group is loaded.

Dalton: Yu Darvish no doubt benefitted pitching 56.0 of his 76.0 innings last year in a place that decreased run scoring an MLB-high 28%, but he’ll continue to take advantage of his home park with it now being Petco. A fully healthy Darvish (who added a cutter) has put up silly numbers since 2019’s All-Star break, posting a 2.39 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP with a 211:21 K:BB ratio over 157.2 innings. Darvish is a first-round fantasy pick on my board.

PEORIA, AZ - MARCH 07: Pitcher Yu Darvish #11 of the San Diego Padres pitches against the Kansas City Royals at the Peoria Sports Complex on March 7, 2021 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)
Yu Darvish is one of several great fantasy pitching options on a revamped Padres staff. (Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)

San Francisco Giants

Andy: For fantasy managers of a certain age, it’s just nice to see the name “Yastrzemski” on a roster. Mike Yastrzemski’s lack of speed may take him out of the conversation in shallow mixed leagues, but he’s hit 31 homers (and 74 XBHs) over 161 major league games with an OPS of .892. He’s certainly legit.

Dalton: Kevin Gausman is a former No. 4 pick with good stuff who’s started to finally flourish later in his career after getting outside of Baltimore. He pitched far better than his 3.62 ERA suggested during his first year with the Giants, and it should be noted he did so while injured, facing a DH, somehow having to throw in Coors Field 20% of his starts and with Oracle Park suddenly transforming from one of the game’s best pitcher’s parks into one the best hitter’s parks. Gausman ranked top-15 in CSW last season and top-10 in K-BB% (directly behind Gerrit Cole and Yu Darvish) and bet on himself by accepting a big one-year deal during the offseason, which is hopefully a sign he’s feeling healthy. He’s a dark horse Cy Young candidate.

Scott: Tommy La Stella has a K/BB ratio that hovers around one, and that almost always means “professional hitter” — especially when you mix in a fair amount of pop. Hopefully the park changes the Giants made last year carry into 2021, because it was fun to see a higher splashdown ratio. La Stella could be a heavy-side platoon player, so some roster maintenance is required. But he’ll command an early batting slot and give you sneaky production for those deeper mixed leagues, in addition to multiple-position eligibility.

[Draft Rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | SP | RP]

Arizona Diamondbacks

Andy: Kole Calhoun would have been my answer here, as you can take him near the end of drafts despite the fact that he can hit 25 or more homers. But meniscus surgery is apparently going to delay his arrival. Gimme Zac Gallen instead, because he’s the one Arizona arm we can fully trust. He’s given us 152.0 MLB innings over the past two seasons, striking out 10.5 batters per nine with a 2.76 ERA. He should never fall beyond Round 4.

Dalton: Ketel Marte is one season removed from leading the NL in batting average and just finished in the top 1% of the league in K% last year, so he’s a perfect middle infield target at a discounted ADP.

Scott: Christian Walker’s 2019 breakout came out of nowhere, but he neatly validated it last year, posting an almost identical slash line. Get out the Whit Merrifield All-Stars list, it’s time for another entry, a no-pedigree player who found a chance in his late 20s. (You want a sexier one? Go draft Luke Voit.)

Colorado Rockies

Andy: I AM BEGGING THIS TEAM TO SIGN YASIEL PUIG. PLEASE. PLEEEEASE.

*Ahem*

If you’re forcing me to pick from Rockies who are actually on the current roster, gimme Raimel Tapia as a late-round flier for average, run-scoring and steals. He swiped 33 bags in the minors back in the day and topped 20 steals in three different seasons.

Dalton: C.J. Cron isn’t even guaranteed a roster spot after signing a minor league deal, but he should quickly prove to be one of Colorado’s best hitters. Cron finished in the top 5% of the league in Barrel% during MLB’s last full season in 2019, and THE BAT X projects him to be a borderline top-five fantasy first baseman in 2021.

Scott: I wrote down Cron in this spot, but Dalton throws more elbows than Charles Barkely. Okay, I’ll fall for the Garrett Hampson story one last time. He can play all over the field and if the Rockies would merely leave him alone, he’s capable of a 15-homer, 25-steal season.