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  • Michael Simione

SP Streamer Collaboration: Early Round Busts

Photo Credit: Newsweek/Washington Post

Here at SP Streamer, we decided to put together our early round busts. Each player has an ADP of 150 or earlier and shouldn’t provide a lot of draft day value. A huge thanks to all of the awesome writers involved and I highly suggest everyone give them a follow!

Taylor Bauer: Jonathan Villar (ADP 39)

Since February 1st, Villar has gone on average at pick 36 in online championship drafts on the NFBC, the end of the third round. Last year Villar finished inside the top 20 players in fantasy in standard roto leagues, however, his underlying stats show that he is in line for some regression. His xBA - BA was -.25, his xSLG - SLG was -.41, and his xwOBA - wOBA was -.26. Suggesting that he overachieved in every major category. Equally concerning is the fact that he is going to a much less favorable situation when it comes to offense. He is going from Camden Yards, one of the most hitter-friendly parks to Marlins Park, one of the most pitcher-friendly. What makes the park shift so concerning is the fact that home runs were such an integral part of his fantasy value last year, and he hit two-thirds of his home runs in home games. The other concern I have with Villar is his abysmal defense. Last season he posted -12 outs above average, a -15.1 UZR, and -11 DRS, across multiple positions in 2019. Bad defenders with career 97 wRC+ tend to lose playing time. Being on a bad team that doesn’t care to win games has carried his fantasy value in the last 2 years. Although he is on another bad team, he is entering the last year of his contract, and the Marlins should be looking to move him midseason for anything they can get. If Villar is traded to a contender, he would be best served as a bench player. Villar poses way too much regression, and potential playing time risk to be taken anywhere near the third round.

Jonathan Geense: Shohei Ohtani (ADP 119)

Obvious caveat aside that this pick is more geared toward leagues where Ohtani is 2 players, but I will still say buyer beware in leagues where he's one. My main issue with Ohtani in the top 150 is why would I pay top 150 freight (NFBC pick 107) when there are pitchers with easily better upside (see Carlos Carrasco, Sonny Gray, and Zack Wheeler) being selected within 10 picks of him. Don't get me wrong - Ohtani is a generational talent, and it's an absolute joy to watch a new generation's, Babe Ruth. But for fantasy purposes, a Steamer projection of 18 games started and 100 IP is optimistic, especially since Ohtani will get the kid-glove treatment when he first starts pitching again. At pick 107, you can do much better than a 2 month DH who strikes out at a 26% clip who won't pitch till May. Someone else can gamble on that one.

Dave Swan: Victor Robles (ADP 57)

Let's start this off with the only thing Victor Robles does well; he steals bases. Although not with a high success rate, as he was caught nine times in 37 attempts. Might I suggest far superior speed option, Jonathan Villar, perhaps? Speed aside, his hitting tools all tilt to the bottom of the league. His Statcast metrics put him in the bottom 10% of the MLB with regards to xBA(.233), xSLG(.370), and xwOBA(.292). Even worse, Robles' hard hit % is 23.0, putting him in the 4th percentile. When you thought it could not get any worse, his exit velocity of 81.0 MPH plants him firmly in the 0th percentile. Yes, the very bottom of the MLB. His 3.2% barrels per plate appearance makes him the 69th outfielder overall in that category. His lack of efficiency in a batter's box makes him seem more like a benefactor of the juiced ball. Plate discipline leaves you wishing for more as well. A 5.7% walk rate dips below the league average(8.3%) and his 22.7% strikeout rate more than league average(21.7%) as well. With an ADP of 58, you are investing heavily in a flawed batter that needs to make significant improvements before returning the value.

Michael Simione: Madison Bumgarner (ADP 120)

After missing most of the season in 2018, Bumgarner made a solid comeback last year posting a 3.90 ERA in 207 innings pitched. He became a free agent over the summer and decided to go to the Arizona Diamondbacks. For me, I don’t see the value in drafting Bumgarner and it is mainly because of his splits. The San Francisco Giants home park is a favorable pitching park while the Diamondbacks stadium isn’t. On the road in 2019 Bumgarner had a 5.29 ERA, 4.51 FIP and a higher walk rate and home run rate. I’m just not willing to trust a pitcher going to a new team that has had a lot of issues on the road.

Joe Barbuto: Cavan Biggio (ADP 135)

On the surface, Cavan Biggio’s raw statistics (16 HR, 48 RBI, 14 SB, 66 Runs - in 100 Games) look quite appealing for a youngster entering his first full MLB Season.

Upon further look, the underlying stats/details paint a much bleaker picture than the counting stats, alone. Biggio has extremely poor plate discipline outlined by his abysmal 28.6% Strikeout Rate last season. I get that there’s an adjustment to MLB-level Pitching to be made, but his 2017/2018 Strikeout Rates in the Minors were 25.2% and 26.3%, respectively. Last year, he piled up an ugly 123 Ks paired with only 71 Walks. Furthermore, his weak .234 Batting Average was supported with a .309 BABIP. With an average Exit Velocity in only the 41st Percentile and Hard Hit % in only the 56th Percentile, I can see that BABIP declining fast. If this scenario comes to fruition, I could easily see his Batting Average dipping below .220. Is that really something you’re looking for in a guy you’ll have to take in the first 10-12 Rounds of Draft?

Also, these issues could certainly lead to Toronto removing him from his projected #2 spot in their lineup. If that happens, he’ll be protected in the Order by the likes of Randal Grichuk, Derek Fisher, and Danny Jansen.

Overall, I think the total hype around Toronto’s 3 Young 2nd Generation kids is starting to get a bit overblown. I’d pump the brakes on Biggio at this price and let a league-mate wallow in his poor plate skills and inevitable prolonged slumps that can truly kill a week and/or categories for you.

Doug Ishikawa: Tim Anderson (ADP 85)

Tim Anderson stole my heart on April 26th, 2019. In the bottom of the ninth in a tied ball game against the Tigers, Anderson launched a Joe Jimenez fastball deep into the night for a dramatic walk-off win. What followed next was a bat flip by Anderson that was so exuberant even Jose Bautista had to take notes. Jerry Maguire might have had Dorothy Boyd at hello but Tim Anderson had me at bat flip. I love me some Tim Anderson, and that one magical moment put it over the top. I even went so far as to go out and buy not one but two White Sox hats. Sadly, that’s where this love affair ends for me. I just can’t justify taking Anderson at his current ADP of 96. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t appreciate what Anderson did in 2019. He batted .335 taking home the American League batting crown while tacking on 18 HRs and 17 SB. He also boasted a ridiculous .357 OBP and .508 SLG. Last year, by all accounts, was a career year for Anderson. But this, after all, is a bust column and as a fantasy analyst, I have to go with the numbers over my heart. So as hard as it is for me to write this, Tim Anderson is my pick to bust in 2020. Steamer projects regression for Anderson with a .276/.308/.441 line with 21 HR and 17 SB. The main concern I have with Anderson is the below-average hard-hit rate (32.2%) and the fact that he only drew 15 walks last season. With the SS position already so flush with talent, I would much rather draft a player like Amed Rosario who is projected to have a similar stat line but is being drafted almost 40 picks later. If we could win weekly matchups based on personality, flair, swagger and bat flips then I’m definitely taking Tim Anderson first in all my drafts. Unfortunately for Anderson, that’s not the case no matter how many White Sox hats I buy.

Cory Ott: Pete Alonso (ADP 34)

While I don’t believe that Pete Alonso will completely bust this season, I do believe that a continued strikeout rate of 26% or greater will lead to imminent regression in his second year. The Polar Bear is undoubtedly an exciting player to watch on the baseball diamond, as he proved why in 2019 by setting the All-Time Home Run Record for any Rookie player in the history of the MLB. With that crown now atop his head, there is a realistic probability that he isn’t going to replicate his 2019 stat line in his upcoming sophomore season. This seems like a feasible hypothesis for me. I am simply not buying him at his current ADP of 37 in pure faith that he can launch another 50+ HR. It is also worth considering the fact that the ball may very well not be as “juiced” as it was last year, depreciating his value right off the bat. Alonso has to replicate his rookie campaign in order to be worth the elite price tag being associated with his current ADP, which is why you can just wait for one or two rounds to land Matt Olson – who actually possesses a more desirable profile than Alonso, while also playing in a slightly more HR friendly environment. There are player profiles that I would rather take at this particular range in ADP, as I simply cannot bring myself to draft him at this price when a similar caliber of power upside can be found outside of the Top 50-75 picks. He possesses a very desirable profile coming off of a record-breaking season, but all I can say is to proceed with caution!

Garrick Autler: Joey Gallo (ADP 89)

I’ll preface this by saying Gallo should be a very useful piece for a fantasy owner who knows what they’re getting, and at the right price I would gladly roster him. Unfortunately his ADP of 85 feels like you’re paying a bit extra for the batting average mirage. Some extremely good fortune on batted balls allowed him to finish his shortened 70 game season with a misleading .253 AVG. His .368 BABIP was sitting about 100 points higher than his career average, and his BABIP against lefties was an outrageous .500! Making hard contact and elevating against lefties was never a problem for Gallo, his 2019 saw about the same hard hit and fly ball rates he’s had throughout his career. He did make changes to his approach before getting injured last season, swinging less than ever at pitches both in and out of the zone. With both his O-Swing% and Z-Swing% falling about 8% each, his overall Swing rate was a career low 40.7%. His contact rate remained constant, and when he made contact he really made contact, sitting at what would have been a career high (and league leading if he qualified) 26.4 Barrel rate. Despite this change, his strikeout rate was even higher than his previous 2 seasons at an alarming 38.4%. With an xBA of .229 also being right in line with his ‘17/’18 seasons, we should fully expect his batting average to fall back to the .220 range. If the ball remains juiced, a top 90 pick in standard leagues could be better spent. For example, Franmil Reyes could have similar counting stats with a higher AVG and he is going about 50 picks later. Again, if Gallo's ADP was about 40 picks later he becomes worth it for me, but the days of 95/40/95 being a scarcity look to be over...for now anyway.

Will Garofalo: Tyler Glasnow (ADP 70)

I know… I’m crazy, right? How could I pick one of the communities’ fan favorites? Don’t hate me Yancy! I get it, you go to his Statcast page, and it’s like a bag of red berry skittles. That’s sexy and shows a lot of his stellar work last year was legit. But his skills are not so much my concern. Where my concern lies is are we dreaming too much on what could be? And does that cloud our vision on the fact he may not be a 160+ IP type of pitcher? Allow me to explain.

While his 2019 surface numbers were sterling in 60 innings, I think it’s fair to expect some regression to his 1.78 ERA (3.18 SIERA), and LOB% (84.7%). So we’re likely talking about a 3 to 3.5 ERA, with great strikeout numbers, WHIP, and chances for wins on a good Rays team. But how many innings can we expect? Since he broke into pro ball in 2012, he has only reached 120 innings twice with the last time being in 2017.

For fun, let’s say he throws 140 innings. He’s currently being drafted around the SP 20-23 range. According to the Razzball.com player rater filtered for 15 teams Yahoo leagues, the top finisher with around 140 IP is Domingo German (fueled by 18 wins), at #23. Other top 40 SP finishers with sub 160 innings pitched in 2019 include Jake Odorizzi (159), James Paxton (150), Chris Paddack (140), Kenta Maeda (153), and John Means (155). That’s it. 5 out of 40. So we’re threading the needle here, but it’s possible. Are Glasnow’s skills better than those above, probably. His devastating fastball/curve combo is definitely tantalizing, but I would like to see a reliable third pitch developed to allow the curve to stay crisp, and give hitters another dynamic to think about at the plate. However, I do not think a splitter is the right pitch for him, and wouldn’t be surprised if we hardly see him use it during the season. A splitter puts significant pressure on the arm, and although an off-season can fade injuries into a distant memory, he did have a mild forearm strain that cost him more than a couple starts. Translation: it wasn’t mild. As we’ve already seen with Sale, Severino, and Sale, 2019 injuries are not 2020 non-issues.

So are we taking the shot that he stays healthy for most of the season, turns in around 150+ IP, and thus wins people leagues? We know the Rays are smart, and it wouldn’t be the wildest thing they’ve done if they monitored his workload throughout the year in an effort to keep him fresh for the postseason. There are also so many bats I like in this ADP range, such as Moncada, Bichette, Machado, Goldy, and Cruz that I couldn’t (and haven’t) passed on in lieu of Glasnow. So while I see the potential for a top 10 SP, I think we’re probably another year away from that type of finish. There are just too many contributing factors for me to ignore that another sub 120 IP season could be in store.