Fantasy Baseball Busts 2017: The Bigger the Better - Roto Street Journal
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Fantasy Baseball Busts 2017: The Bigger the Better

Full disclosure — I’m a breast man… oops, I mean breast dragon. I like them in all shapes and sizes but if I’m being honest, bigger is usually better. I imagine I’m not alone in this and many of you enjoy yourself a nice chest as well. Where am I going with this? Well, a woman’s chest is often referred to as a bust and today we’re going to be looking at some of my anticipated fantasy baseball busts for this year. Much like a woman’s bust, some of these names may be comforting and inviting to you, mesmerizing you with their endearing qualities. Make no mistake about it — if you fall for the charms of these players this year, don’t be surprised if you realize halfway through the season that they were stuffing the bra with tissues.

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Greg Bird (ADP 203)

Greg Bird has the lowest ADP of any player on my list and as such his ability to be a total bust is also lower than the rest. It won’t take as much of a commitment to draft him as the others and so if he doesn’t work out, it won’t sting as much. That being said, his ADP of 203 is lower than reality right now because it takes earlier drafts into account and Bird has picked up steam as a favorite sleeper over the past few weeks because of decent spring numbers and having been announced as the starting 1B for the Yankees by Joe Girardi. His true ADP is closer to 150 now because everybody is buying into the hype on him. I’m not buying it! Bird showed off some power during the 2015 season but missed all of last year due to shoulder surgery. Many power hitters before Bird have shown, it usually takes a bit before all of the power returns after shoulder injuries. Just because Bird has been able to take a few pitchers deep in the smaller confines of spring training parks does not guarantee that power will translate to major league parks (although in his favor, Yankee Stadium is a hitter’s park).

The bigger concern I have with Bird is the fact that his contact rate is in line with a .240-.250 hitter and scouts have spoken about holes in his swing which will likely be exploited by big league pitchers. Further compounding the issue with Bird is that the Yankees signed Chris Carter to back him up who is coming off a 40 home run campaign. Now Carter is known to swing and miss more than pretty much anybody else in MLB but if Bird struggles, the Yankees have a very powerful backup plan. Altogether, Bird’s lack of experience along with history of contact issues and possible lingering injury effects combined with Carter’s presence give me reason to worry that Bird may even end up back in the minors before the season’s end. At his new higher price tag, I’d much rather go with a more proven commodity than hope that this Bird can fly.

Bust size: C Cup

Felix Hernandez (ADP 118)

Felix Hernandez has been on the decline for a while but people still look at the name and feel the need to draft him. He has somewhere around a million innings on his arm at this point and that started to show last year when he was held to only 153 innings (his lowest since his rookie year in 2005). His K/9 rate has declined for the past two years and his HR allowed have increased along with it. Simply put, Felix always relied on his dominant stuff to rack up Ks and Wins but he’s just not that pitcher anymore. He’s being selected over up and coming players like Kevin Gausman and bounce back candidates like Dallas Keuchel and outside of name recognition, there is really no reason why. Don’t take your pitchers when they are in decline and hope they can be what they used to, it rarely works out. In fact, I would have said that I expect Felix to only be the 4th best starting pitcher on his own team earlier today with James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma and Drew Smyly out doing him. However, word just came out that Drew Smyly is dealing with an unknown arm problem (that’s not good) so at least for now I have to limit it to just Paxton and Iwakuma. Still, don’t expect more than 12 wins and 145 Ks from Felix this year with uninspiring ratios, which makes him hard to draft in most 10 team mixed leagues.

Bust size: Double D’s

The Boston Red Sox

Okay, this one is going to get me some crap at the office. Actually that’s not true because we don’t have an office, but I’m definitely expecting to hear about this one. Here’s my thing — the Red Sox were the worst team in their division two years ago, then everything went right for them last year and they vaulted from worst to first. It is a common feeling that they are one of, if not the, best team in the AL this year. I don’t completely agree, in fact, I think they are going to end up 3rd in the AL East behind Baltimore and Toronto. I am concerned about their lack of leadership with Ortiz gone. Farrell sucks as a manager, outside of Dustin Pedroia their oldest veterans are Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval who are known to be questionable leaders. Sale might be a leader, but he’s new to the team and he had battles with management in Chicago so he can’t be counted on. Aside from his leadership, losing Papi’s bat has been widely ignored but Mitch Moreland is a far cry from vintage David Ortiz. Yes, the Red Sox have some young improving talent and they were the top run scoring team in the AL last year, but repeating that feat would have been extremely difficult even with Ortiz.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t draft Red Sox players but everybody seems to be very high on all of them and I expect regression out of many, for example:

Mookie Betts has an ADP of 2. I think Mookie is great but I also think he had a career year last year that will be very hard to duplicate, especially the home runs for a guy with his size and frame. I would rather have Kris Bryant (my pick for NL MVP this year) and maybe even Jose Altuve because of the position eligibility than Mookie. Still a first rounder but expect regression not further improvement.

Chis Sale is being selected as the 5th starting pitcher off the board but he’s a guy with an odd pitching mechanic and a ton of innings on his arm pitching for a new team. There’s no guarantee he’ll fall off but I’d rather take the comfort of guys like Corey Kluber and Noah Syndergaard over him.

David Price and Rick Porcello have an ADP of 89 and 90. Price has already been discussed endlessly everywhere so I don’t think I need to explain why a pitcher with an elbow injury that’s starting on the DL is concerning. Porcello is healthy and coming off of a Cy Young winning year and his numbers have always suggested he should be better than he has been so I actually expect him to keep some of those gains he showed last year. That being said, 20 wins are extremely difficult to get to and even more difficult to repeat and Porcello is still prone to letting up home runs and crooked innings. He should be okay but he and Price are being taken over guys like Kenta Maeda, Danny Duffy and Gerrit Cole who I’d much rather have.

Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi have an ADP of 112 and 115. Bradley is the definition of inconsistency hitting .295 with 51 RBI in the first half of last year and .239 with 36 RBI the second half. He has his annual 2 or 3 week burst where everything he hits is gold and then spends the rest of the year stinking up the joint. Benintendi should hit for a high average and steal some bases but he does not profile to have a ton of power (at least for a little while), but some people are treating Benintendi like he is the next coming of Mike Trout. A year of Benintendi hitting .284 with 14 home runs and 14 stolen bases along with 91 runs would seem like a great year and solid ceiling for a player so young yet those are the exact numbers that Adam Eaton has put up for essentially the past two years and he is being selected after Benintendi and Bradley. Lorenzo Cain is another outfielder with high level talent that has already been proven who is going after the pair of Red Sox. Expectations need to be severely tempered here.

Basically, I don’t think the Red Sox as a team are going to completely collapse but they had stretches last year where they were scoring an ungodly amount of runs that don’t logically make sense to repeat. These guys could improve as players yet still take a step back in terms of fantasy production, but everybody is drafting them as though they will put up even better numbers than last year. I say they will be good but not elite and as such, most of the team will be a bust as compared to where they are being drafted.

Bust size: B Cup

Justin Verlander (ADP 40)

Going into last year, Verlander was essentially coming off multiple years of declining numbers and an injury. Naturally, he put up a near Cy Young winning effort. Here’s the thing, everybody was ready to write Verlander off after his previous three years of mediocrity and now after one rebound year, everybody is ready to treat him like fantasy gold again. I’m not buying into it. With an ADP of 40 that means Verlander is being selected ahead of guys like Yu Darvish, Johnny Cueto, Stephen Strasburg and Chris Archer. I want no part of Verlander at that price! If Verlander regresses closer to the K rate of his previous three years then you are getting a guy who has sporadic control problems (see 1.4 Whip in 2014 and 1.31 Whip in 2013), with a mediocre K/9 rate and ERA marks that are not close to elite. He will still get wins because Detroit has a solid offense, but he could very well end up pitching like a #3 or 4 starter in a 10 team mixed league rather than the ace that people are expecting.

Bust size: Bigger than his fiancée’s massive mammaries

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That’s all for this time. If I picked on some of your favorites, I’m sorry (but seriously watch out for them this year). If I called out all of the guys on your rivals teams – Congratulations! Either way, hit me up in the comments below and show me some love or throw me some shade.