We have reached the final weekend of the fantasy baseball season, and I hope many of you are fighting for a championship. I’m optimistic that when we meet again, we will be preparing for a full 162-game schedule in March and getting back to why we love fantasy baseball so much. The strategies were certainly different this season and unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of time to adjust as any early-season struggles made the climb to the top much more difficult.

After recapping the pitchers, we will now look at the hitters who helped fantasy owners and those that let us down.

Hitters Who Exceeded Expectations In 2020:

1. Atlanta Braves Outfielder Marcell Ozuna — It was really good seeing Ozuna back to being a strong fantasy contributor. After two down seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, it appears Ozuna has found his power stroke with the Braves. The outfielder enters the final weekend batting .327 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs. All three of those marks rank in the top 10, which is amazing for a hitter that was drafted 100th overall and as the 68th hitter. It would appear Ozuna will now settle in as a mid-round draft pick in 2021.

2. New York Yankees First Baseman Luke Voit — The signs were there for a big season after Voit showed power in 2019. The first baseman finished with 21 home runs last season, which suggested he could be near 30 in a full season. However, Voit was drafted as the 20th first baseman and comes away as one of the top value picks this season. Heading into the final weekend, the slugger has already hit 21 home runs in this shortened season and has 49 RBIs. To get that kind of power production from a pick after Round 15 is amazing.

3. Atlanta Braves Outfielder Adam Duvall — The shortened season allowed for outliers to stand out and help fantasy owners in a big way. This was the case with Duvall, as he finished with not one but two games in which he hit three home runs. That led to Duvall having 16 home runs heading into the final weekend. This was good enough to be tied with the likes of Mike Trout, Nelson Cruz and Manny Machado. I’m still not sure if Duvall would have been a consistent fantasy contributor throughout a full season, but for a season like this, he was more than enough.

Hitters Who Fell Short Of Expectations In 2020:

1. Milwaukee Brewers Outfielder Christian Yelich — This hurts my soul, as Yelich is one of the best players in baseball. However, like in the case of Duvall where catching fire can go a long way, starting slow can be too tough to overcome. I have no doubt Yelich would have turned his season around in a normal season and by the end of the year would be one of the better fantasy hitters like he has always been.

It just wasn’t meant to be in 2020 for Yelich, as he could never get it going and is easily one of the biggest disappointments of the season. The outfielder heads into the final weekend batting .210 with only 11 home runs and 21 RBIs. I really hope this doesn’t hurt where he’s drafted next March, as he should still be a top-five pick. If it does, then we need to take advantage as Yelich will once again be a fantasy force.

2. Chicago Cubs Shortstop Javier Baez — Another strong fantasy option in recent years who couldn’t find his groove in the shortened season is Baez. Drafted before the fourth round, more was expected from Baez and for good reason. The shortstop has had a slugging percentage better than .500 in each of the last two seasons. However, in 2020, Baez heads into the final weekend slugging a lowly .344 with a batting average of .196. Baez will be another buy-low candidate next season, as I see him falling outside the top 10 at the position.

3. New York Mets First Baseman Pete Alonso — After slugging 53 home runs with an OPS of .941 during his rookie season, Alonso was a shell of himself in 2020. The first baseman heads into the final weekend with an OPS of .730 and a batting average of .211. Voit had the season many expected Alonso to have. Alonso was drafted as the third first baseman prior to the shortened season. The positive is he did at least hit seven home runs in the month of September. I’m not worried about Alonso, as I think he will easily approach 40 home runs in 2021.

Phil Backert

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