2021 Fantasy Baseball: Favorite draft targets from the AL West

Dalton Del Don, Andy Behrens and Scott Pianowski
·6-min read

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

Houston Astros

Andy: Kyle Tucker’s fantasy profile isn’t so different from that of Luis Robert, another guy who made my list. Tucker has a clear shot at a 30/30 season with solid contributions across at least four categories.

Dalton: Myles Straw is slated to take over as Houston’s starting center fielder after George Springer’s departure, and there’s even been talk of him batting leadoff, something we can’t put past manager Dusty Baker. Straw doesn’t offer much power, but he can take a walk, and he’s put up big stolen base numbers throughout the minors. Straw projects to be among the league leaders in a category growing increasingly scarce, and he’s even SS-eligible in Yahoo leagues.

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Scott: Ryan Pressly isn’t a sure thing at closer, so the 109.7. ADP is in a reasonable area. But he can miss bats and he has plus control, and last year’s bloated WHIP is mostly about an outlier BABIP. Dusty Baker would like a push-button closer, and Pressly can run away with this gig. And for all the controversy and marks on this organization, it’s still a team likely to win 90 games (perhaps more) in a fairly weak division.

Los Angeles Angels

Andy: Nothing about Dylan Bundy’s 2020 season struck me as particularly fluky. His strikeouts climbed a tick (9.9 K/9), his swinging-strike rate held steady (12.9%) and he reduced the walks a bit (from 8.3% to 6.4%). I’m eager to see what he can do at 28, in a contract year.

Dalton: As many predicted, Dylan Bundy broke out after leaving the AL East and Baltimore’s organization last season, as the former No. 4 pick finished top-15 in K-BB% and top-10 in FIP (2.95) and CSW. This is a pitcher with a top pedigree who posted a 35:2 K:BB ratio with a 0.70 WHIP on the road last season, and he'll greatly benefit from a defense up the middle featuring Jose Iglesias, David Fletcher, and Max Stassi. Bundy is my favorite long shot to win the AL Cy Young this season.

Scott: The Angels have a lineup that’s about 65 percent fun, 35 percent toxic. Jared Walsh is part of the fun stuff. He conked 36 home runs in 98 Triple-A games two years ago — put whatever qualifiers you want on the PCL and modern baseball, that’s still silly — and then he slugged .646 in the OC last year. There’s not enough resume to consider Walsh a sure thing, but the reasonable ADP of 224 protects you in that area.

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Dylan Bundy
Dylan Bundy looks ready to live up to his potential with the Angels. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Oakland Athletics

Andy: I’ll gladly take Matt Chapman as a mid-round alternative to the third basemen going earlier. Even if the average is unhelpful, he has on-base ability and his power isn’t really a question mark. Chapman cleared the fence 36 times two years ago, then homered 10 times in only 37 games in 2020. In a healthy season, he’ll go 90-30-90.

Dalton: Trevor Rosenthal looks locked into Oakland’s closer role after signing a one-year deal with the team, a franchise that’s produced a ton of save opportunities over the last few seasons. He was terrific and finally looked fully healthy last season. He pitched 10.0 scoreless innings with a 0.40 WHIP and a 17:1 K:BB ratio after getting traded to the Padres to finish out the year (before struggling in the postseason, admittedly). With a career 31.2 K% and a ninth-inning role locked in, I have Rosenthal as a top-five fantasy closer.

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

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

Scott: Chris Bassitt has ordinary stuff, but he’s smart and doesn’t give anything away. And he’s slotted for success: In a big park, in a weak division, in front of a plus defense. A nifty support arm for the middle of your staff.

Texas Rangers

Andy: Texas has a roster rich with players I’ve overrated in prior years — Dahl, Calhoun, Odor, et al. — so it’s kind of a challenge for me to find a new name to overhype. Let’s go with Nate Lowe, acquired in an offseason deal with the Rays. He was a monster across three minor league levels in 2018 (27 HR, .330 AVG) and he’s still only 25.

Dalton: Dane Dunning has a first-round pedigree and struck out 35 batters over his first 34 major league innings last season with the White Sox. This year, he’ll be pitching in a new home park in Texas, where it’s far more difficult to hit homers, so Dunning’s a sleeper with a Yahoo ADP sitting outside 250.

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

Scott: This might be the most depressing roster in baseball. I wouldn't mind if we skipped Rangers coverage for a year, waiting for some of their prospects to blossom. I’ll mention reliever Jonathan Hernandez, who could be in line for saves if Jose Leclerc can’t do the job.

Seattle Mariners

Andy: Dylan Moore emerged as a serious power/speed threat last summer, hitting eight homers and swiping 12 bags in just 38 games. He had a 42-steal season in the minors, so you can believe in the speed. Second base is a tough fill in deeper formats, making Moore a player of interest.

Dalton: Ty France should replace Kyle Seager at third base next year, but he’ll act as Seattle’s full-time DH this season, making him an intriguing sleeper who’s eligible at 2B/3B. France struggled to find at-bats in San Diego, but he posted a 196 wRC+ in Triple-A in 2019 and followed that up with a 132 wRC+ across 141 major league ABs last season. Seattle is a pitcher’s park overall, but it helps boost righty power, so France might have the lowest ADP for a second baseman who’s going to swat 20+ homers.

Scott: Mitch Haniger appears healthy again and ready to retake his No. 2 spot in the order. I get it, he lost his way last year. But let’s not forget the .284/.361/.492 stud he was the two prior years, with 41 homers.