In last week’s article, we went over bargain bin players, so we’re going to go a different route here. This is going to be a two-part piece where we focus on players that I won’t draft. These are guys that simply won’t end up on any of my fantasy teams for a number reasons, as they’re all being drafted too highly. We compared last week’s bargain bin players to tasty donuts but these players in this article are closer to rotten milk. While they may look normal on the surface, you get a whiff of them up close and nearly fall to your knees because of that sneaky smell.
In this first article, we’re going BIG! We’re going to give you three guys in the top-50 that I’m going to fade. In the next article, we’ll pick players that are going between 50-100 that we want to avoid. While none of these guys are necessarily busts, I just have a hard time seeing any of them live up to their draft price because of numerous outlier statistics. So, with that in mind, let’s get started with an MVP.
Christian Yelich, MIL (OF)
Passing up on the NL MVP is probably a risky strategy but it’s my only option at this lofty price tag. Yelich is currently going in the middle of the first-round (7.5 ADP) according to FantasyPros and that’s simply too much to pay for someone with only one elite season under his belt. I’m not saying by any means that Yelich won’t be great but I am saying that he probably won’t live up to this price tag.
In his four full-time seasons before last year’s MVP campaign, Yelich was averaging 13.8 homers and 21 steals per year while posting a .291 average. While I do expect him to duplicate his runs, steals and RBI in this dominant lineup and friendly ballpark, his .326 average and 36 homers from last year are too outlandish from his previous four years.
The analytics back up that fact, as he posted a .373 BABIP and 35 percent HR/FB rate last season. Those are some super lucky statistics in his favor, as I expect him to land somewhere around a .300 average and 25 home runs. That would still make him a top-25 player but not a top-eight option.
Javier Baez, CHC (2B/SS)
Baez would have to match some pretty outlandish peripherals to match his season-long numbers from last season, as there’s a lot of red flags surrounding this guy. In 2017-18, Baez posted a .290 average while providing 34 home runs, 21 steals, and 111 RBI. Those are brilliant numbers but it’s hard to overlook his plate discipline. In fact, Baez had just 29 walks in over 600 at-bats last season, striking out 167 times. That’s no surprise considering he had a 26 percent K-rate and a ridiculous 44 percent O-Swing Rate. League average for O-Swing Rate is around 30 percent, as it’s clear that Baez still has major plate discipline issues. We actually have an exclusive photo from spring training to emphasizes the plate discipline Baez possesses.
Alright, obviously that’s not Baez but who knows? It could be his son. Anyway, his 21 steals appear to be an outlandish number too, as he never swiped more than 24 bases in any season, even in the minors. Not to mention, Baez posted a 24.3 percent HR-FB-rate last season, which is simply an unsustainable statistic considering he’s never been over 20 percent, like most hitters. While Baez is a decent bet to reach close to 30 homers and 20 steals, his batting average could drop 40 points if these statistics regress like we expect them to. I’d love to land Baez in the 40’s but paying a top-20 pick for someone with that poor of discipline scares me to death.
Edwin Diaz, NYM (RP)
This one really saddens me because I love Diaz and he carried me to numerous championships last season but this price is too much. Diaz is currently the top closer off the board, as he’s going 49th in drafts according to FantasyPros ADP. It’s even higher in my drafts thus far, as I’ve seen him go in the first four rounds of nearly every Yahoo draft I’ve done. I probably wouldn’t pay that price for any closer, let alone one who just pitched a career-high workload. Diaz led all closers last season with 57 saves and 73.1 innings pitched. That 57-save total is simply a ridiculous number, as he might not even see that many save chances in all of 2018-19.
The peripheral numbers are ridiculously good too but they’re just too absurd to duplicate. In fact, Diaz had a 44 percent K-rate and 6.1 percent BB-rate last season. He’s only been above a 33 percent K-rate once in his career and posted an 11.5 percent BB-rate in 2017. This is another case of a player that I like but I simply won’t pay this much for him. This is coming from someone who won’t draft any RP’s in the top-100 though, let alone in the top-50. Stack your lineup with stud hitters and aces and worry about closers late. There are so many cheap options out there at RP because of the volatility of that position, that you can take a flier on numerous guys late and land two or three closers with some of the final picks of your draft.
If you have any comments or questions, comment me here or contact me on Twitter @BartilottaJoel.
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