To celebrate both baseball's return and the launch of our 2021 MLB Draft Guide, we're going to be taking looks at what we have to offer all the way up to Opening Day. With a loaded arsenal of content -- from positional rankings, ADP reports and season-long projections, to mock drafts, projected lineups and draft cheat sheets -- we are as proud as we've ever been of what we've put together and are eager to share it with you in the coming weeks. No matter the format or size of your league, we are confident we can deliver the tools you need to secure that championship hardware.
Today, we'll be giving you a look at the guide's exclusive Player Showdown column series with the below excerpt from the shortstops.
For all of the ink spilled on electronic pages laboriously debating the Mariana Trench-sized range of potential outcomes for speedster Mondesi, ever since he exploded onto the fantasy scene during the second-half of the 2018 campaign, we’re no closer to figuring out exactly what the 25-year-old’s realistic ceiling looks like over a full-season. His on-field performance was disrupted by a mid-July freak shoulder injury during the 2019 campaign and put together a truly bizarre freezing-cold to sizzling-hot performance during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. If you’re having Billy Hamilton flashbacks, that’s understandable, but he never possessed the level of exit velocity and over-the-fence pop that makes Mondesi a true unicorn in the fantasy landscape. Clearly, the upper-echelon floors established by Fernando Tatis Jr. Trea Turner, Trevor Story and Francisco Lindor make them safer investments, but if Mondesi stays on the field for a full season, reaches double-digit homers and swipes a league-leading 50 bases, there’s a chance he’s the most valuable hitter in fantasy baseball, period. There’s some serious downside, especially if he can’t stay healthy enough to maximize his potential, but his power/speed combination mitigates the risk of a total collapse. If you’re going to roll the dice in the early rounds, at least bet on the shortstop who has a chance to be the driving force on a potential fantasy title squad. – George Bissell (@GeorgeBissell)
When it comes to Bichette and Mondesi, we're talking about two talented shortstops who've flashed incredible skills in small samples but have yet to play a full season. They're going in the second round of most drafts purely on their upside of what can do over 162 games. The matter might just come down to how much risk you're willing to take early on. And to me, there may not be a more volatile player in the draft than Mondesi, who had Mondesi had the fourth-lowest in-zone contact rate among qualified hitters at 73.3%. It's what will make him so inconsistent on a month-to-month basis and limit his batting average. Meanwhile, Bo Bichette makes contact in the zone at an elite rate of 89.8%. Combined with a strong line drive rate, it's easy to buy into the .301 batting average of 2020 or the .311 in 2019. Sure, Mondesi can have you set at stolen bases, but there's a good chance you'll have some making up to do in four other categories. Bichette presents a safe base to build from across the board with 16 home runs, eight steals, and a .307/.347/.549 slash in 340 MLB plate appearances. – Jorge Montanez (@Roto_Nino)
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