Here’s Taylor Tarter’s 2021 MLB Free-Agent sleepers list of 5 under-the-radar signings who could pay off in fantasy baseball leagues.
During what had been an otherwise quiet start to 2021 MLB free agency, James McCann kicked off the major “Hot Stove” signings by inking a 4-year $40.6 million deal with the New York Mets. Since then, other big names have been scooped up in free agency and trades. Players like Liam Hendriks (Chicago White Sox), George Springer (Houston Astros), J.T. Realmuto (Philadelphia Phillies), and Trevor Bauer followed when the market opened up to sign big deals.
However, the baseball world had a slew of under-the-radar signings this season that could pay off for MLB organizations and fantasy baseball teams. They can be considered fantasy MLB sleepers in their 2021 homes.
Catch our full fantasy baseball draft tips, including:
- 2021 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers, Breakouts & Undervalued Players
- 2021 Fantasy Baseball Busts & Overvalued Players
- Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Prospects for the 2021 Draft Season
2021 MLB Free-Agent Sleepers
Garrett Richards, SP, Boston Red Sox
If there is anything that 2020 told us about the Red Sox, it is that they severely lacked starting pitching depth. Chris Sale missed the 2020 season because of Tommy John surgery; Eduardo Rodriguez had complications from COVID-19.
16 different pitchers started games for Boston in 2020, and the only one who started a full season’s worth of games was Martin Perez, who finished with a 4.88 ERA. Tanner Houck’s 3.25 ERA was the best of any Red Sox pitchers who started more than 1 game.
It became obvious to the front office that acquiring pitching was a necessity, and that is exactly what Boston did. Garrett Richards isn’t a flashy name, but he’s seen success throughout his 10 seasons in the majors, while also dealing with some injuries. Richards has a 3.36 ERA over his last 31 starts, and despite the injuries, his fastball velocity has remained above 95 mph. His fastball and slider are his best pitches, and if used well in Boston, he could bring a lot of value to the team. He just has to stay healthy.
C.J. Cron, 1B, Colorado Rockies
C.J. Cron was signed to a minor-league contract with the Rockies, but he’ll likely break camp with the team. His main competition for the position is Josh Fuentes, who also has outfield experience.
Cron had his best season in Tampa in 2018. It’s the only season where he had more than 500 plate appearances. In that season, he hit 30 home runs with a .253 batting average.
If that season is his ceiling, then we have to factor in the “Coors Field Effect” when projecting his 2021 output. Pending he makes the team and receives 500 PA, you could be looking at a .260 hitter with 35-to-40 home runs, which interestingly might be better than Nolan Arenado does in St. Louis.
Like any of these new free-agent arrivals to help their teams? Place 2021 MLB Futures Bet with one of our featured sportsbooks.