Bold Fantasy Baseball predictions for the 2021 season

Yahoo Fantasy experts Scott Pianowski and Dalton Del Don offer up some spicy takes ahead of Opening Day, including the starting pitcher who will outscore even the best hitters this season.

Video Transcript


SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Hey, hey, welcome to Yahoo Fantasy Baseball 2021. Today, we're giving bold predictions. We're gonna come in hot. And I predict that Jacob DeGrom will be the number-one player-- not number-one pitcher-- number-one player in fantasy baseball, OK?

He's got the Mets with their best roster and lineup since that World Series team a few years ago. There's not gonna be a DH in the National League. He'll probably do a little bit of win lock after the bullpen has basically kicked away so many DeGrom victories over the last few seasons.

So first overall pick, second overall pick, don't talk to me about Tatis. Don't talk to me about Acuña. Don't even talk to me about Gerrit Cole. You should take DeGrom first overall. I know this is a correct take. But Dalton Del Don, I guess we can get your feedback, too.

DALTON DEL DON: Absolute zero pushback here. He's my number-one fantasy player on my board-- no DH in the NL, baseball's best pitchers' park. Now they added Francisco Lindor's glove at shortstop. He should get better run support.

Hitting 100 miles per hour this spring, Tommy John surgery is in his rearview mirror. I'm all in. DeGrom's my number-one fantasy player. So I totally agree there, Pianow.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: What do you got for us? You got a nice spicy take to help our fantasy friends out?

DALTON DEL DON: Yeah, I'll throw a prediction your way now. I'm gonna say Shohei Ohtani wins fantasy leagues for players and possibly even wins the MVP. That lefty park, for the past three years, has been the best for homers, helping homers for left-handed batters. But he's a lefty in a righty-heavy lineup-- by the way, probably hitting in between Trout and Rendon.

From home plate to first base last year, Ohtani was the third-fastest player in baseball. There's stolen base potential here, even. I think he could get 25 homers, 20 steals, and it'll only take 500 at-bats-- 26 years old, still.

In Yahoo, I love him in daily fantasy formats the most. You can sit him against lefties, sit him when he's pitching. And I get that there's some attraction to making him just one player, but that presents the same problems in weekly fantasy leagues. And right now, you can get him both as a pitcher and a hitter pretty easily in Yahoo.

His ADP as a hitter is 222, pitcher is 186. This guy has already reached 100 miles per hour this spring, hit a baseball 470 feet. Bet MGM, you can get him at 30 to 1 to win MVP. All in on Ohtani.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: I am mostly going to agree. I wish the Angels would do two things this year. One is just shelve Ohtani as a pitcher. Make him a full-time offensive player.

And while we're talking about the Angels, let's just give Albert Pujols the rocking chair. Give him a framed jersey or give him tickets to Barbados. I don't care. Do not let him play ahead of Jared Walsh, because that's just gonna break my spirit.

But Ohtani the offensive player-- I thought, when he came over, he was gonna be a star pitcher and the offense was kind of a side dish. It's the other way around. He should be a full-time offensive player. And I think if that happens, he can blow up fantasy and can blow up the American League.

We'll stick in the AL West with one more bold prediction. I'm generally not somebody who takes rookies in redraft leagues. I think you got to kind of fade them. There's usually a lot of hype. You have to elbow people out of the way.

But Jarred Kelenic-- and that is how you pronounce it-- the Seattle outfielders, I think Kelenic comes up before May 1. I think he's a top-40 outfielder by the end of the season. He reminds me so much of Kyle Tucker. He can hit to all fields, certainly has a power stroke. He's gonna be a 30-home-run guy, eventually. And he's athletic enough to maybe steal 15 or 18 bases with a plus average.

Some really good pieces in the Seattle organization-- they probably won't be good this year. But I think Kelenic comes up sooner rather than later, and he's the rare case of a rookie I'm gonna drive proactively before this '21 season kicks off.

DALTON DEL DON: First off, Randy Arozarena has to be the most favored player to win Rookie of the Year, still rookie-eligible. And what he did in the postseason, I can't think of a player more-- you know, getting drafted more aggressively, still rookie-eligible.

We can't agree on everything, so I'll give you a little pushback here just because outfield is super deep and we don't know exactly when he'll get called up. But frankly, I'm all for being aggressive with young players.

And I'm proud of you, Pianow. It's not really a typical pick for you to go with a rookie. So really, honestly, I'm in on Kelenic, too. He's fine. I'm with you.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Well, you know what? Let's throw in one more final prediction. I don't even know if this will make the cutting room floor or not. I think the biggest profit potential this year is the Miami Marlins' pitching staff.

I don't care if you get Alcantara. I don't care if you get Sanchez. I don't care if you get some of the cheaper options. I even think Bass is a pretty affordable closer. When it comes down to what you pay and what you get-- the stats that you get-- I think the Miami Marlins in the middle of your draft is the way to go.

DALTON DEL DON: Yeah, it might be right behind the Mets as far as pitchers' parks go. And Elieser Hernandez, I've been getting far lower ADP than Alcantara. And as far as I'm concerned, they're similar pitchers, so with you on the Miami starters.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Well, now that we've given you the playbook, put it into action today. Yahoo Fantasy Baseball is ready. Get your group together or play with strangers on the internet. It's your call. Hit a home run in 2021.