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10 Fantasy Baseball Bust Candidates

Mar 10, 2016

Sleepers and busts are all the rave when it comes to drafting and rightfully so. Some of our biggest decisions take place at the very top of the draft when the picks are “worth” more. After all, it’s tough to recover from a fantasy season when your top picks produce more like 4th or 5th rounders (or worse).

The truth is, we can’t predict the future, but we sure can make an educated attempt. To do so, we asked our featured experts to name their bust candidates on the hitting and pitching side of things. Based on our Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR), they’ve given a breakdown below.

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Q1. What hitter ranked in the top 30 of the expert consensus has the biggest bust potential this season?

Dee Gordon (2B – MIA)
“I like Dee Gordon quite a bit given the position scarcity and elite speed he brings. However, there really is no debate in this list as even last year, when Gordon had a .333 AVG and 58 steals, he still finished outside the top 30 in final value. In 2014, he was outside the top 50 hitters thanks to less RBI and a much lower average. Gordon needs to steal 60-plus bases, have an average of .330-plus AND total nearly 160 Runs+RBI to hit the top 30 in final value. Even if he manages a .300 AVG and just 50 SBs, he will fall way outside the top 30 again.”
Jake Ciely (RotoExperts)

Carlos Correa (SS – HOU)
“Correa’s hype has been earned, but at the end of the day, he’s a 21-year-old with 99 games of major league experience. That’s nearly twice as many games as he’s played at AA and AAA combined. Correa is a budding superstar, but major league pitchers have hardly had a chance to adjust to him. Look for him to see far fewer hittable pitches this season. While his numbers should be very good, don’t expect them to be 1st round worthy.”
Tim Young (Brewer Rat)

Nelson Cruz (RF,DH – SEA)
“Cruz turned 35 at the midway point of last season, which was undoubtedly the best of his career. He posted career highs in HR (44), BB (59) Hits (178), Runs (90), and WAR (5.2), while also batting over .300 for just the second time in his career (and first while playing more than 108 games). He has played 150 or more games in just 3 of his major league seasons, and despite coming off his 3rd consecutive All-Star appearance, I don’t anticipate him replicating those numbers as he approaches his 36th birthday in July, especially in a ballpark that ranked 22nd in HR factors in 2015.”
Justin Elick (Daily Fantasy Cafe)

Joey Votto (1B – CIN)
“Votto had a fantastic season last year hitting 29 home runs, the most since 2011 and he also stole 11 bags, most since 2010. That being said, last season is as good as it’ll get for Votto, that’s his ceiling. The 32-year-old only managed 80 RBI, failed to score 100 runs with a 20 percent walk rate (boring) and a .314 average. The Reds’ lineup will be much worse this year. The guys hitting in front and behind Votto won’t help his production in 2016. More upside to be had outside the Top 30.”
Chris Meaney (FNTSY)

Buster Posey (C – SF)
“I don’t advise paying much attention to positional scarcity in the first three/four rounds. You need raw, cumulative stats in roto and while Posey is about as consistent as it gets, he won’t return top-30 value this season. He’s the no-brainer top catcher-eligible option, and he’s aided by his spot starts at first, but I can’t pay the going rate that the ECR says I’ll need to.”
Ryan Noonan (The Fantasy Fix)

Q2. What pitcher ranked in the top 30 of the expert consensus has the biggest bust potential this season?

Cole Hamels (SP – TEX)
“Hamels has several factors moving against him in 2016. 1) He’s now 32 years old. 2) With that age comes injury concern – has now logged over 2,000 IP. 3) He’s pitching a full season in Arlington, TX. Hamels’ ERA held steady with the move to the AL last year, but his strikeout rate decreased and his home run rate jumped. That second factor is an important one, as Hamels will face plenty of power hitters, significantly more DH players and have half of his starts in the unfriendly confines of Globe Life Park in Arlington (yes, there was a name change and it’s not too catchy). Hamels could easily finish outside the top 50 for pitchers… after all, he was outside the top 40 last year.”
Jake Ciely (RotoExperts)

David Price (SP – BOS)
“Johnny Cueto and Felix Hernandez are obvious candidates here, but David Price is going as the 6th pitcher off the board. His K-Rate dropped last season, his walks per-9 jumped for a third straight year and his ground ball percentage has declined from 53 percent in 2012 to 40 last season. Very hard to predict injuries, but Price has a lot of innings on his resume and although he’s familiar with the AL East, I would like him a lot more if he wasn’t pitching inside that division. Let’s not forget Boston’s last two big signings and how they worked out.”
Chris Meaney (FNTSY)

Johnny Cueto (SP – SF)
“Cueto pitched an average of 239 innings over each of the last two seasons. That’s a big load to carry. Expect him to experience some of the same control issues that he had last season (3.60 BB/9). San Francisco is a nice place for him to pitch, but he doesn’t induce enough ground balls to mitigate the walks his tired arm is potentially going to dole out.”
Tim Young (Brewer Rat)

Zack Greinke (SP – ARI)
“It’s not that I think Greinke will be a complete bust but I do believe that he’ll have a difficult time returning value at his current ranking. Not only is he coming off an incredible, nearly-impossible-to-duplicate season, but he’s moving from one of the league’s best pitching environments to one of its most challenging. The defense behind him is also a step down in the desert vesus what he had in LA, and most notably is he’s gone from pitching to the best pitch framer in the game (Yasmani Grandal) to one of it’s worst in Wellington Castillo.”
Ryan Noonan (The Fantasy Fix)

Francisco Liriano (SP – PIT)
“Liriano is the top-30 pitcher that I’m hesitant to pull the trigger on this season. Here we have a pitcher with a career 3.8 BB/9 and 3.55 FIP who posted one of his better seasons last year in those categories (3.19 FIP, 3.4 BB/9). I’m not a big fan of targeting pitchers who struggle with command and Liriano always has me on the edge of my seat. Even with the improved numbers, Liriano finished 71st among SP in BB/9 and 19th in FIP. The other issue I have with him is his inability to pitch deep into games. Last season in 31 starts, he barely averaged 6 innings per start. A pitcher who doesn’t pitch deep into games and walks more than his fair share of batters is a red flag for me. I’ll find other options around his ranking.”
Justin Elick (Daily Fantasy Cafe)

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Busts, Featured, Featured Pros, MLB