After seeing targets D.J. LeMahieu and Francisco Lindor end up elsewhere despite having tons of money to spend, the Toronto Blue Jays perhaps panicked a bit in handing out $155 million over 6 years to bring aboard outfielder George Springer. Having developed from a top prospect into an All-Star outfielder for the Houston Astros, Springer at 1 gets his payday at a bit of an older age which was the main reason why the cash-flush New York Mets refused to go beyond 5 years for him. That being said, Springer cracked 39 home runs in 2019 with 96 runs and RBI, 6 steals, and a .292 average to put forth a true five-category season for fantasy baseball purposes. So as we head into 2021, let's dig in a bit more here to see if an encore is possible.
Even in the shortened 2020 campaign, Springer was excellent with 14 homers in just 51 games; albeit with a .265 average. Still with a career-best 17.1 K/9 rate, Springer was a bit unlucky (.259) which depressed his average a bit. Now we have to say at this point we admittedly have not been big boosters of Springer in the past. What we didn't like about Springer is that he didn't steal many bases despite well above-average speed. In addition, Springer's batting average has not been great as it stands at just .270 for his career. Combined with an OF 1 fantasy baseball price tag, Springer seemed to be a bit overpriced for our liking. That being said, Springer's power uptick the last few years and stabilization in batting average has us rethinking that stance and at 31 he remains flush in his prime. The steals are never going to be more than a single-digit contribution but that is par for the course with the guy. Now serving in a major power ballpark in Toronto, Springer should easily clear 30 homers with 90-plus RBI and runs and maybe make a run at 40. Also, with his average having come around of late, Springer is still worthy of OF 1 consideration this season.
So when you put it all together, Springer works nicely as your outfield anchor for 2021 as four categories should end up being above average, with some steals added as a nice bonus.
2021 PROJECTION: .284 38 HR 95 RBI 105 R 5 SB