Many fantasy owners put a lot on emphasis on trying to identify sleepers and breakout candidates, however not drafting potential busts can go a long way towards helping you build a championship roster. Let’s take a look at several 2017 fantasy baseball busts or overvalued players not to draft too early, or avoid completely on draft day.
It’s hard to call Stanton a bust, considering I’ve seen him last into the sixth round in some leagues. That price tag is appealing, especially considering the talent he possesses, but a smart owner will just let someone else find out if this is the year he finally puts it all together.
Stanton’s hard hit rates are elite, and his power potential is obvious, but he’s only had more than 500 ABS once in the last four seasons. There’s simply too much risk to justify a third or fourth round selection.
Andrew Benintendi is a stud. I genuinely expect him to become an elite Major League-level outfielder in the not too distant future. But it probably won’t happen this year. And there’s no way he should be drafted ahead of guys like Stephen Piscotty and Kole Calhoun.
Temper your expectations if you decide to take a gamble on Benintendi in the 11th or 12th round. He’s not Mookie Betts, and most players don’t put it together at the Major League level as quickly as his Betts has.
Benintendi’s .367 BABIP over 36 MLB games was better than anything he experienced in the minors, and his 21.2% strikeout rate in 2016 was way too high. Benintendi is a great option in keeper formats and could produce excellent counting stats if he remains at the top of Boston’s lineup all year. Just don’t bank on that happening.
Story was a fantasy asset for much of 2016 – not just in his storybook, 10-home run April.
But there was ultimately more to Story’s rookie season than his first month, and some owners are forgetting that. NFBC ADPs have him going at the same time as guys like Edwin Encarnacion, Francisco Lindor and Robinson Cano.
Story should continue progressing toward becoming the elite Major League shortstop the Rockies have expected him to be. But with only four months of MLB experience under his belt, I’d much rather take someone proven in the 3rd round and wait 100+ picks before grabbing a different, but capable shortstop.
My instinct is to write off Jacob deGrom after the injury he had last year. Just let someone else gamble on a guy returning from ulnar nerve surgery in September, and be totally content if I’m wrong.
All reports are that deGrom has progressed well, though, and I do think he’s worthy of consideration in fantasy leagues this year – depending on the price. The problem is that deGrom is being drafted immediately behind Carlos Martinez and in front of guys like Cole Hamels and Kenta Maeda.
Add in deGrom’s worsened xFIP and K/9 rates in 2016, and the price is just too high for me.
I had high hopes for Salazar last year. And despite struggling with his control at some points, he was essentially the same guy he was in his 2015 breakout campaign.
Salazar’s 4.13 walk rate in 2016 was a problem, but that can at least partially be contributed to the elbow problems that derailed his season. In the end, I feel Salazar is just too great an injury risk to count on for anything substantial in 2017.
Salazar isn’t necessary a bad option, especially if you’re not aiming for volume, but I don’t want to be stuck in a position where my rotation is counting on him.
It’s likely that we’ve already seen the best of Justin Upton. He’ll turn 30 in August and he’s been trending downward since he left Arizona in 2012. Walk rates are down, strikeout rates are up, and in Detroit he’s not going to run as much as you want.
Justin Upton retains a reasonable floor, but 30 homers doesn’t really separate a player in the game today, and his other counting stats probably aren’t going to improve in a rapidly aging Tigers lineup.
An ADP of 83 is just too high. I’d much rather have a guy like Adam Eaton, Stephen Piscotty, or even Byron Buxton – 40, 50 or 60 picks later.
Ian Desmond signed a 5-year, $70 million dollar deal with the Rockies this offseason. An above-average offensive player coming off a career year and making the move to Coors seems like a solid bet heading into 2017. Maybe so, but not at that price.
Desmond had his fourth career 20-20 season last year in Texas, but he was also the beneficiary of a.350 BABIP. Now at age 31, the shortstop-turned-outfielder will be making his third professional position change, this time to first base. That will likely have at least some effect on him at the plate in 2017.
Desmond is being drafted right in front of J.D. Martinez and 20 picks before Mark Trumbo on NFBC boards. I’m not necessarily thinking Desmond will have a down year in 2017, but I don’t see him returning any value at that price, and there are a bunch of guys I’d rather have in the fourth or fifth round.
Christian Yelich’s career is trending in the right direction. At the very least, he can do just about everything at better than league average levels. The problem is that when his home run numbers come back to earth, fantasy owners will be left with a player who doesn’t do anything at an elite level, aside from hit for average.
Yelich’s 24% HR/FB rate was one of the highest in the league last year. It’s not sustainable. Add in his declining stolen base totals and the fact that he’s not that far removed from significant back issues, and you have a player with too much risk and too little upside to justify a fifth or sixth round selection.
If Trea Turner runs like he did last year he’ll probably return enough value to justify a second or third round selection. The problem is that he’s being drafted in the first round in most leagues – he’s even gone first overall in some NFBC leagues. That’s crazy.
Personally, I always look for safety over upside in my first couple picks of the draft. At the very least, I want someone who has produced at the Major League level for more than three months.
Turner is an elite baserunner whose speed alone can facilitate a .300 batting average. But that doesn’t fully explain the .388 BABIP he enjoyed last year. Couple that with a likely regression to his power numbers, and you have a guy who is just not worth a first round pick.
Billy Hamilton probably gets a worse rap than he deserves. The people taking him with the 50th pick in mixed drafts are more to blame for that than anyone.
I’ve never been someone to spend heavily on a guy who contributes to one and a half categories. And I really don’t understand why anyone would.
Despite elite speed, Hamilton’s never had a batting average above .260 and he’ll struggle to score 70 runs atop a really bad Cincinnati lineup. Even with a shortage of stolen bases in the game, I can’t see ever justifying a fourth round pick on someone with Hamilton’s makeup. Pass.