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11 Most Overrated Players (Fantasy Baseball)

Jun 9, 2020

Aaron Judge’s health makes him a big risk at his current ranking

To think that “overrated” means “someone to avoid” is to oversimplify and distort the definition of the word. When analysts mention someone as being overrated, they are saying that specific athlete is unlikely to meet the expectations that we have placed upon him, which is very different from saying that player has little to no redeeming qualities about their game. These athletes aren’t busts, either. That label characterizes someone whose floor can completely bottom out on you, whereas guys who are merely overrated still have a decent baseline of production that you can expect from them. They may hurt you, but they won’t kill you.

With that being said, our featured experts have come together to share their thoughts on which athletes they believe are the most overrated heading into the season. Don’t interpret the following list as players who should be avoided, but instead perceive this as a word of caution.

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Q1. What one hitter stands out as being the most overrated based on our consensus rankings and why?

Aaron Judge (OF – NYY): Consensus Rank – H44 | 62nd Overall
“Remember when Judge had a fractured rib and some sort of lung injury and there was no timetable for his return to baseball action? If you do, you could be remembering March or you could be remembering yesterday because we’re still at the same place. The latest update had Judge not even swinging a bat yet and it makes little sense for the Yankees to try to push him in what will probably amount to an extremely abbreviated season. Even if he does play, he’ll be unlikely to have much of ‘renewed’ spring training and could very easily need time to get his swing in order once the season starts. That’s time that fantasy owners don’t have and although there comes a point where Judge presents enough of a value to warrant drafting, that’s not as the 44th hitter off the board.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Aaron Judge is the most overrated. This is not due to his talent; this is all due to health. If Judge was healthy or supposed to be healthy headed into a possible shortened season, he would be catapulting up rankings. As it stands now, he is still unlikely to start the season even if it begins in early July. I’m passing on Judge this year.”
– Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)

Javier Baez (SS – CHC): Consensus Rank – H20 | 26th Overall
“I am fading Baez at his current draft price. He has consistently outperformed his underlying metrics throughout his young career. At some point, I believe that will catch up to him. Even if that does not happen this year, I am selling him as a top-20 fantasy hitter. Of 250 qualifying hitters, Baez ranked 89th in xBA (expected batting average) and 118th in xwOBA (expected weighted on-base average) last season, per Statcast. He continues to struggle with plate discipline. Baez posted a 42.2 percent chase rate last year, his fourth consecutive season of at least 41 percent. His career 42.1 percent chase rate is nearly 50 percent above the major league average. That and his refusal to walk is going to impact his batting average at some point. I also do not expect Baez to run as much as he has in the past. Former manager Joe Maddon is a pretty aggressive manager when it comes to stealing bases. I do not know if new skipper David Ross will follow suit, especially considering Baez’s 11-for-18 mark on the basepaths in 2019. Baez also no longer has multipositional eligibility heading into 2020. He was eligible at three positions in some formats last season, which added to his value. With so many high-quality shortstops available, I would be hard-pressed to use a second-round fantasy pick on Baez in 2020.”
– Mick Ciallela (Fantrax)

Justin Upton (OF – LAA): Consensus Rank – H104 | 173rd Overall
“Upton is outside my top-100 hitters and the rationale behind it is only partially due to his 2019 injuries. He has always struck out above the league average and we should expect that to continue. Upton saw an eye-popping 61% fastballs in 2018, well above the league average, a trend that goes back to 2016. However, Upton saw 54.5% fastballs in 2019 — a big and unfortunate decrease. He has posted a .365-ish xwOBA since 2016 on fastballs, so seeing a high percentage of fastballs drives much of his value. Last year, Upton swung and missed at breaking balls nearly 46% of the time, compared to just under 22% on fastballs. The downward trend in fastball usage by pitchers league-wide, plus the concerning whiff rate on breaking balls, means that he may not make a full comeback.”
– Carmen Maiorano (FantasyPros)

Anthony Rendon (3B – LAA): Consensus Rank – H18 | 22nd Overall
“Rendon has one season in his entire career with more than 25 home runs (and it just so happens to be his most recent one — BIAS), three seasons of 24 or more homers, and no seasons with double-digit stolen bases since Obama was in office. He’s a great hitter and if batting average is a roster-building strategy of yours, then Rendon is a solid guy to build around, but most managers want to focus on home runs and stolen bases. He is more likely to swat 20 than 30 and steal zero than 10 in a full season. That drops him well below sluggers like Pete Alonso (who could hit twice as many home runs as Rendon), Yordan Alvarez, and George Springer, as well as dual-threat weapons like Starling Marte, Javier Baez, Ozzie Albies, and even Yoan Moncada. There is an argument that Rendon doesn’t belong in the top 50 and he is currently feeling the love of am 18th overall ranking among hitters. Faghettaboutit. Lunacy.”
– Chris Mitchell (FantasyData)

Tommy Edman (2B/3B/SS/OF – STL): Consensus Rank – H101 | 169th Overall
“I just can’t gt on board with Edman going in the first 15 rounds. Sure, he was good last season in a 92-game sample size, but this is a lackluster career minor-league hitter who carried a .769 OPS and hit just 23 homers in 1,597 plate appearances. More than likely, last year’s hot run was a fluke and won’t be sustained into 2020, and that is if he can even get in the lineup every day over Matt Carpenter, Tyler O’Neill, or Dylan Carlson.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Q2. What one starting pitcher stands out as being the most overrated based on our consensus rankings and why?

Tyler Glasnow (SP/RP – TB): Consensus Rank – SP20 | 82nd Overall
“Glasnow and his 82nd overall ranking represent the largest dropoff from one pitcher to the next in drafts (Yu Darvish is at 65th overall) because fantasy managers see a bright light between where the tier starts and ends. Glasnow’s ranking makes it a little easier to swallow, but he is being ranked as the 20th best starting pitcher when a case for drafting another pitcher can be made for almost every starting pitcher down to as far as No. 44-50. Recency bias is a dangerous thing and Glasnow’s steaming bright red. He pitched to a stellar 1.78 ERA and 0.89 WHIP with 76 strikeouts in 2019 … and wait for it … he only pitched in 60.2 innings. Yes, 60.2 innings pitched. He’s pitched more than 100 innings once in his career and if you remove 2019, he has never had an ERA under 4.20. There is potential here and maybe 2020 Glasnow proves 2019 was the real him, but as the 20th starting pitcher off draft boards, fantasy managers are paying for the ceiling, sacrificing upside, and hoping for a miracle. It’s bad value to draft him inside the top 150 and you don’t fill your PayPal overreaching for what’s likely to be underperforming assets.”
– Chris Mitchell (FantasyData)

Mike Soroka (SP – ATL): Consensus Rank – SP27 | 100th Overall
“I think Soroka will have a tough time living up to his current billing. There are a few red flags that I am a bit wary of when looking at last season’s numbers. First, his 2.68 2019 ERA is more than a full run lower than both his xFIP (3.85) and xERA (4.05). His underlying Statcast metrics also point to a bit of good luck. These numbers suggest that there may be some regression in store. Furthermore, the likelihood of a universal DH in 2020 would hurt Soroka as well. The same can be said of most NL pitchers, but he is not an overpowering pitcher to begin with. Of 42 qualifying pitchers who spent the entire 2019 season in the National League, Soroka ranked just 25th in K-BB%, per Fangraphs. Take out his 51.1 K-BB% against opposing pitchers and his rank would go down even more. Soroka is savvy enough even at his young age to work around some of his shortcomings. However, I would project him as more of an SP4 than SP3 given the circumstances.”
– Mick Ciallela (Fantrax)

Hyun-Jin Ryu (SP – TOR): Consensus Rank – SP33 | 120th Overall
“Notwithstanding Ryu’s ridiculous 2019 season, he’s been an excellent pitcher his entire career, with a career 2.98 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, both of which rank near the top of the leaderboard since MLB debut in 2013. However, he should not be drafted as the 33rd starting pitcher off the board or anywhere close to it. He’ll play the majority of his games against the American League East teams, where he’ll routinely face strong offensive lineups in pitcher-friendly environments, including his home park, the Rogers Centre. With a regional schedule surely forthcoming, Ryu will spend his entire season facing six of nine teams (Yankees, Nationals, Mets, Braves, Red Sox, and Phillies) that ranked in the top 13 in the league in wOBA against left-handed pitchers last year. At 33 years old with a sub-par strikeout rate and a difficult schedule, he should be outside the top-40 starting pitchers drafted.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Jack Flaherty (SP – STL): Consensus Rank – SP7 | 25th Overall
“Well, I guess I’m going with a second Cardinal, which is odd because I’m a Cardinals fan, but the hype has just gone too far on Flaherty this offseason. Much like Blake Snell last spring, we can look at Flaherty’s underlying metrics and see that he performed way over his head last season, finishing No. 3 in BABIP and No. 4 in LOB%. To put it more plainly, his skill-indicative ERA was 3.64, while his actual ERA ended up at 2.76. If he were going around SP15 I’d have some shares, but Flaherty is the seventh off the board.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Marcus Stroman (SP – NYM): Consensus Rank – SP56 | 190th Overall
“Stroman may not do us a whole lot of good in a very short 2020 season. His two main traits (being durable and inducing worm-killers) will have a lesser impact in a 50 or even 82-game season. While Stroman posted a 3.22 ERA last year, he hasn’t had a WHIP lower than 1.29 since 2015. Someone like Kyle Hendricks at least gives you a good WHIP despite not getting strikeouts, but we can’t say that about Stroman. It makes more sense to take a higher upside play like Lance McCullers or Carlos Martinez at this stage in drafts.”
– Carmen Maiorano (FantasyPros)

Dallas Keuchel (SP – CWS): Consensus Rank – SP65 | 219th Overall
“Kuechel is overrated. He is viewed as a safe ratio guy, but look again. Is he really? In the last two years, his ERA has been 3.74 and 3.75 and WHIP has been 1.31 and 1.37, respectively. With his low-strikeout rate, he won’t strike out enough guys to make up for what is becoming bloated ratios.”
– Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)

Thank you to the experts for giving us their overrated players. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast below for advice all year round.

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