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2019 Fantasy Baseball Overvalued Candidates

March 22, 2019
I don't like using the word bust, as sometimes a player can fail to live up to his draft-day expectations but still have a good season. We are trying to minimize the risk early in drafts, as we need this to be the base of building a championship roster. Injuries will always happen and that is out of our control, but if a player has shown to consistently get hurt, we shouldn't be using an early pick on him.

Toronto Blue Jays Third Baseman Vlad Guerrero Jr.

I don't recall a player that hasn't played in the big leagues getting as much hype as the 20-year-old currently is, but Guerrero finds himself being drafted in the fourth round. The prospect who was hyped last year was Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., but it wasn't at this level.

Guerrero will begin the season in the minors and is currently dealing with an oblique injury. My best guess is he will miss at least the first month of the season, but his average draft position has stayed steady at 54 overall. 

Acuña had a strong rookie season in which he hit .293 with 26 home runs, 78 runs scored, 64 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. Even with that performance, Acuña finished as the 53rd-best fantasy player, according to ESPN's player rater in 2018. 

Can Guerrero have a better season than that? He doesn't steal bases, so you are really banking on him hitting for more power. If he misses 20-30 games, then you are again banking on him not having any rookie struggles. I'd compare him to Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, who came up to the big leagues and was an immediate success. However, even with his great rookie season, he finished as the 98th-ranked fantasy player. That is probably what we can expect from Guerrero in 2019 and yet we are drafting him 40 spots higher. 

I think Guerrero is an elite talent and is going to be a first-round draft pick for years to come. I'm just not investing a fourth-round draft pick on a player that we really don't know when he will debut and will hope he performs like Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado.

Los Angeles Dodgers Infielder Max Muncy

This screams regression, as Muncy finally became an everyday player at the age of 27. The infielder finished 2018 with a .263 batting average and 35 home runs. Prior to last season, Muncy had two stints in the big leagues and totaled just five home runs. Even in his minor league career, he was never a 30 home run guy. 

Muncy is currently being drafted in the ninth round, but should probably be going a couple of rounds later. If he finishes with a .250 batting average and 25 home runs, he isn't returning value. The biggest benefit for Muncy is his multiple position eligibility. However, that isn't enough to keep him as a player drafted in the first 10 rounds, as I can find a hitter later in the draft that will hit me 25 home runs.

New York Yankees Starting Pitcher James Paxton

We can't chase wins, but there's no doubt that Paxton is in a better situation this season after being traded in the offseason from the Seattle Mariners to the Yankees. However, the move has some drawbacks as he is now in a division that features a lot of small ballparks and strong offenses.

Paxton is currently being drafted in the fourth round despite never making 30 starts in his career. The left-hander also allowed the most home runs per nine innings of his career in 2018, which isn't a good sign when he will be pitching in a ballpark like New York that ranked sixth in home runs per game last season. If we look closer, Toronto's ballpark and Baltimore's ballpark ranked in the top 10 as well. 

Paxton finished last year with a 3.76 ERA, but I can see that approaching 4.00 in 2019. The lefty will have an elite strikeout rate which is attractive, but I think there are too many negatives for me to invest in the 30-year-old to be my top starting pitcher or my second starting pitcher.