The New York Mets proved they’re in it to win it in 2021, acquiring All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco from the Indians in a bold trade. The six-player deal sent infielders Amed Rosario and Andrés Giménez, pitching prospect Josh Wolf and outfield prospect Isaiah Greene to Cleveland.
Lindor, 27, is a four-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove Award winner and arguably one of the best all-around players in baseball. He is coming off a down year that saw him hit .258 with only eight home runs in a short season, but he averaged 34 homers with a .278 batting average from 2017-19. Lindor will be a free agent after the season.
Carrasco, 33, was honored as the 2020 American League Comeback Player of the Year, returning from a life-threatening chronic myeloid leukemia diagnosis to start 12 games for the Indians with a 2.91 ERA. Overall, Carrasco is 88-73 with a 3.77 ERA in 11 seasons, finishing fourth in AL Cy Young Award voting in 2017.
Fantasy managers should know that these two players will transform the dynamics of the Mets’ roster. In Lindor, the Mets are receiving one of the most dynamic starting shortstops in the game. In Carrasco, they have found another proven starter to join a rotation that includes Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman atop the rotation.
Lindor is projected to bat second behind Jeff McNeil, with Michael Conforto, Dom Smith and Pete Alonso hitting behind him. This not only raises Lindor’s ceiling for producing runs and RBI, but it also raises the stock value of the above-mentioned players, along with Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis and James McCann.
Of course, there are other stars shining brightly across the MLB. Here are another dozen players that I like that should be on your radar when it’s time to draft. Keep in mind that it’s very early, and a lot can change before opening day. It’s also important to see where these players will be drafted. Keep an eye on their ADP.
Ozzie Albies – The Braves second baseman, 23, scored more than 100 runs in 2018 and 2019 and stole 14 and 15 bases respectively in 2018 and 2019. He’s worth a fourth or fifth round pick.
Tim Anderson – The 27-year-old White Sox shortstop is undervalued year. He’s had two seasons in a row with a batting average above .320, and he can hit for power and steal bases.
Cody Bellinger – The 25-year-old Dodgers first baseman took a big step back last year after a breakout year in 2019. But he can contribute in five categories and is worth a second-round pick.
Bo Bichette – The 22-year-old Blue Jays shortstop has flashed potential, playing parts of the last two seasons. He hits over .300 and can steal a few bases but lacks the power of an elite player.
Xander Bogaerts – The 28-year-old Red Sox shortstop has a career batting average of .289 and .805 OPS. Unlike many players, 2020 was not a down year for this four-category contributor.
Freddie Freeman – The 31-year-old Braves first baseman seems to be getting better with age. He bounced back from COVID to play all 60 games and bat .341 with a 1.102 OPS.
Eloy Jimenez – After a good start in his rookie year, the 24-year-old White Sox outfielder built on that in 2020, with a 14 home runs, a .296 batting average and .891 OPS in 55 games.
D.J. LeMahieu – A career .305 hitter, the 32-year-old Yankees infielder has thrived in New York. He hit .364 with a 1.011 OPS last year, but he’s a free agent this year and may go to LA.
Manny Machado – His second year in San Diego was good, with 44 runs scored, 16 homers and 47 RBI in 60 games. It’s noteworthy that Machado has been largely free of injuries in his career.
Whit Merrifield – He has a lifetime .295 batting average and has been healthy during his career. Lacking in power, he had 12 steals in 60 games last year, scoring 38 runs and adding 30 RBI.
Yoan Moncada – Managers who drafted him based on 2019 production were disappointed, and it looks like that season was an outlier in his short career. But he could be a buy-low prospect.
Adalberto Mondesi – After a slow start, he closed out the 2020 on a tear in the final weeks, finishing with 33 runs, 22 RBI and 24 stolen bases, which led the league in the shortened season.