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03-10

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0

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Relief Pitchers
by
Alex Chamberlain

03-03

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8

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Starting Pitchers
by
BP Fantasy Staff

03-03

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4

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Long-Term Starting Pitchers
by
Baseball Prospectus

02-21

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2

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Long-Term Outfielders
by
BP Fantasy Staff

02-20

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3

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Outfielders
by
BP Fantasy Staff

02-10

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3

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Shortstops
by
BP Fantasy Staff

02-03

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14

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Third Base
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-27

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5

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Second Base
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-20

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12

Fantasy Players to Avoid: First Basemen
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-13

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6

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Catchers
by
BP Fantasy Staff

03-11

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8

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Relief Pitchers
by
BP Fantasy Staff

03-04

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4

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Starting Pitchers
by
BP Fantasy Staff

02-23

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10

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Outfielders
by
BP Fantasy Staff

02-12

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6

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Shortstops
by
BP Fantasy Staff

02-05

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5

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Third Base
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-29

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4

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Second Base
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-22

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18

Fantasy Players to Avoid: First Base
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-15

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7

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Catchers
by
BP Fantasy Staff

03-06

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6

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Relief Pitchers
by
BP Fantasy Staff

02-27

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17

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Starting Pitchers
by
BP Fantasy Staff

02-13

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19

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Outfielders
by
BP Fantasy Staff

02-06

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4

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Shortstops
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-30

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16

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Third Basemen
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-23

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6

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Second Basemen
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-16

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1

Fantasy Players to Avoid: First Base
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-09

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8

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Catchers
by
BP Fantasy Staff

03-07

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9

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Relief Pitchers
by
BP Fantasy Staff

02-28

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25

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Starting Pitchers
by
BP Fantasy Staff

02-21

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20

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Outfielders
by
BP Fantasy Staff

02-14

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16

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Third Basemen
by
BP Fantasy Staff

02-07

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18

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Shortstops
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-31

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11

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Second Basemen
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-24

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17

Fantasy Players to Avoid: First Basemen
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-17

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6

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Catchers
by
BP Fantasy Staff

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March 10, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Relief Pitchers

0

Alex Chamberlain

You might want to let someone else draft or buy these bullpenners in your leagues this spring.

Craig Kimbrel, Boston Red Sox
Craig Kimbrel is not a bad closer. He's a very good closer. Since 2011, he leads all relievers in saves by a mile, trails only Aroldis Chapman in strikeout rate (K%) and ranks third in ERA (although not behind anyone who has logged as many innings). That'll do. Last season didn't go so well, though. Don't blame the torn meniscus -- Kimbrel's ERA improved after he returned from surgery and rehab. But that ERA remained inflated all season, and potentially irreversible trends could be to blame.

Kimbrel walked more than five hitters per nine innings last year. Five! Maybe that one can be chalked up to his injury -- he walked almost seven hitters per nine upon returning -- but it had hovered above 4.0 BB/9 even prior to his stint on the disabled list. Ironically, Kimbrel threw more first-pitch strikes than ever before, and it's not even close; you'd think that'd portend better control. Yet he threw fewer pitches in the zone than ever before -- a stark contrast. Combine that with the fact he kept leaving pitches up in the zone, and it all may be enough evidence to suggest he's losing it a bit. His velocity dipped ever so slightly last year, making me wonder if he reached back a bit extra to maintain his velocity at the expense of control.


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March 3, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Starting Pitchers

8

BP Fantasy Staff

Our fantasy team thinks you'd be better off letting other owners invest in these hurlers in dynasty formats.

Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers
Don't get me wrong, I really like Michael Fulmer. He made significant improvements with his changeup last year to give him a strong third pitch to add to his mid-90s fastball and nasty slider. His pure stuff has clearly moved past the "future reliever" tag because of how much his changeup improved last season. He also pitches in a good home park for pitching, and has shown the ability to be difficult to square up when hitters do make contact against him. My main concern with him is in a long-term dynasty format. His delivery is pretty high-effort and violent, and I'm not sure how long he's going to hold up as a starter. Maybe he's conditioned enough and built enough to handle it over the long haul without a problem, but it's enough to give me a little pause before investing in him in a dynasty format. —Tim Finnegan

Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
It feels very weird to say people should be avoiding Justin Verlander is fantasy drafts this year. He is, after all, among the best pitchers of his generation and very likely a future Hall of Famer. Not only that, but he’s also coming off one of the best years of his career and one in which he was a favorite to take home the American League Cy Young. He was the fifth-rated starting pitcher on ESPN’s Player Rater in 2016. After a couple of seasons in which he looked like he was firmly in the decline stage of his career, Verlander came back last season to strike out ten batters per nine innings while keeping his typically strong control.



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March 3, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Long-Term Starting Pitchers

4

Baseball Prospectus

You might be better off letting someone else invest in these hurlers over the long run.

Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks
Greinke’s first year in the desert likely didn’t go as well as he hoped it would. It definitely didn’t go as well as the Diamondbacks hoped it would. The $200 million man struggled with both injuries and poor performance in 2016, leading to a 4.37 ERA (highest since 2005) and a 1.27 WHIP (highest since 2008). His fastball velocity ticked down, and the strikeouts followed suit, as he fanned only 134 batters in 158 2/3 innings.


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February 21, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Long-Term Outfielders

2

BP Fantasy Staff

Our staff feels these players might be overvalued in dynasty formats this spring.

Manuel Margot, San Diego Padres
In terms of real baseball value, Manuel Margot is one of the more exciting outfield prospects in the game. He’s right on the verge of contributing in a meaningful way, and should do it in most areas of the game. He’ll hit a little, he’ll fly on the bases and his athleticism and defensive instincts will play well in San Diego’s spacious outfield. Unfortunately, much of that skill set doesn’t translate into fantasy value.


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February 20, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Outfielders

3

BP Fantasy Staff

You might want to let someone else draft or buy these players in your leagues this spring.

Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
Sometimes I wish that real baseball could be a little more like MLB: The Show, and you could have the option to turn off injuries. In this alternate universe, how many homers would Stanton have had in the last four seasons, 175? 200? At one time Stanton flirted with the top three of fantasy drafts, and you could have talked yourself into taking him at number one if you were feeling frisky (or had a severe fish allergy). Unfortunately, his stock is tumbling, mostly due to injuries depriving him (and us) of being able to suit up for a full season.


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Our staff thinks you might be better off letting someone else draft or buy these six-spotters in your leagues this spring.


Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
I'm a dinosaur in the Statcast era—still getting used to this whole newfangled thing. But allow me to throw some numbers at you.



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February 3, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Third Base

14

BP Fantasy Staff

You might be better off letting someone else buy or draft these players in your leagues this spring.

Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox
Moncada has monstrous raw talent and he’s obviously a premium asset in dynasty leagues, especially with his speed and power combination. Moncada might be a 30/30 player someday if everything goes right. He is probably the best fantasy prospect in baseball, and I absolutely love him long term.


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January 27, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Second Base

5

BP Fantasy Staff

You might want to let someone else draft or buy these players in your leagues this spring.

Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins
Dozier has been a worthwhile second baseman since entering the league; no one's doubting that. He's virtual lock to crack double digits in every non-rate category and has somehow scored 100-plus runs on the lowly Twins for three straight years.

But everything that made Dozier a top-25 hitter in 2016, and not just a barely-top-100 hitter in 2015, is tied up entirely in the circumstances of last season's power surge. It depends if you believe Dozier's power stands on its own. Color me skeptical: per StatCast, his average exit velocity (on both flyballs/line drives and overall) and his Barrels per ball in play don't rank particularly well relative to his contemporaries, and neither of those metrics fundamentally changed from 2015 to 2016.


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January 20, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Players to Avoid: First Basemen

12

BP Fantasy Staff

You might want to let someone else draft or buy these players in your leagues this spring.

Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Man, this has a chance burn me badly and make me look really stupid at the end of 2017. Paul Goldschmidt is still an awesome, amazing fantasy asset, so don't think I'm disparaging his skills or anything. It's just that he had some declines in a few areas last year that I want to shed light on.

In a year where power was up across baseball, possibly because of a juiced ball, Goldschmidt had a noticeable drop in power. His .192 ISO was exactly league average for a first baseman, and was down about 50 ISO points from where it was the prior 3 seasons, where it sat at .247. He slugged under .500 for the first time since 2012 and ranked 10th among qualified 1B in slugging, down from ranking 2nd from 2013-2015, when he slugged .556. His park and league adjusted OPS+ fell from an incredible 162 from 2013-15 to 134 in 2016, a drop of almost 30 percentage points.


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January 13, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Catchers

6

BP Fantasy Staff

You might want to someone else draft or buy these players in your leagues this spring.


Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
Molina was panned in this space last year, and the market was down on him. We were out to lunch. In 15-team mixed leagues, Molina finished 108th overall per the PFM, beating his NFBC ADP of 258 by a fair amount. But last year isn’t this year, and many of the concerns that dogged Molina in 2016 carry over into this season. Much of Molina’s value is predicated on his batting average. While Molina certainly does have a history of .300+ seasons, 2016 was his first campaign over .300 since 2013. He hasn’t stolen more than three bases since 2012 and more importantly hasn’t had more than eight home runs since 2013. Batting average tends to fluctuate, and betting on another .300+ season from an older, slow-footed catcher is suboptimal.



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March 11, 2016 6:00 am

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Relief Pitchers

8

BP Fantasy Staff

You might be better off letting someone else draft or buy these closers in your leagues this spring.

A bad hitter who bombs stings, but will likely stay in the lineup and give your fantasy team something. A bad closer will lose almost all of his value once he starts getting saves. Here are some relievers who run the risk of being that kind of pitcher in fantasy baseball.

Brad Boxberger, Rays
Boxberger is currently the 16th reliever coming off of the board in NFBC drafts, and the Rays reliever strikes me as the leading candidate among the top 20 to lose his closing job for performance-related reasons in 2016. Boxberger’s earnings in 2015 were masked by his shiny 41-save output, which was good for fourth overall. After putting together a sparkling 2014 season in which he struck out 42.1 percent of opposing hitters and held them to a .152 batting average against, Boxberger struggled with his command virtually all of the 2015 season, seeing his strikeout rate dip nearly 15 points to just over 27 percent and allowing baserunners by the truckload, as evidenced by his 1.37 WHIP. Boxberger’s high-wire act led to a 3.73 ERA, which could have actually been worse, as his 4.23 FIP and 4.63 DRA would suggest. Boxberger’s velocity dropped slightly in 2015, but along with the increase in his walk rate (just over eight percent in 2014 to almost 12 percent in 2015), he also saw his line-drive rate jump to a career-worst 21.3 percent (up from 16.7 percent in 2014) and watched his groundball rate tumble to 36.3 percent—also a career low.


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March 4, 2016 6:00 am

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Starting Pitchers

4

BP Fantasy Staff

Our fantasy staff thinks you'd be better off letting someone else draft or buy these players in your leagues this spring.

A bad starting pitcher in fantasy can knock your team out of contention, push you into the second division, and make you curse the day you started playing fantasy baseball. Our fantasy staff has put together a list of arms that we think you should avoid on draft day.

Yu Darvish, Rangers
Look, I like Yu Darvish a lot. He’s on the short list of pitchers I actively want to watch when they toe the rubber, and I’m stoked that he’ll be back on a big league mound this year. I look forward to hopefully drafting him in future years. But he’s currently going off the board 34th among starting pitchers, in the eighth round. Let’s take a best-case scenario here, where he jumps right in, doesn’t miss a beat, and puts up a similar line to his 2014 campaign (144 1/3 innings, 10 wins, 3.06 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 11.3 strikeouts-per-nine, 3.1 walks-per-nine). That effort was worth $13 of mixed-league value. Toss another three or four bucks onto the tally for the 60 replacement-level innings you’ll need to log over the first six weeks of the season (this is the best-case scenario, after all), and you’re looking at maybe, possibly scraping your way to a marginal profit on that draft price.


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