Bust, like sleeper, is a dangerous term. Please understand, we aren’t necessarily saying the players below are frauds. We don’t like ’em at current draft prices. Buyer beware.
• Just for the record, I think Shohei Ohtani is the most interesting individual story in baseball this season, if not this decade. I’m thrilled it’s happening. The major leagues have not seen a two-way player with his potential in a hundred years. Ohtani is a party. Hooray, Shohei. Woo.
But when we assemble our fantasy rosters, we’re trying to accumulate as much talent as possible at the best prices. And this is where Ohtani becomes a problem. Right now, he’s the No. 19 starting pitcher off the board in a typical Yahoo draft, and that’s too rich for me by 8-10 spots. I have every confidence that he can produce quality fantasy ratios — let’s say 3.60 and 1.20 — along with a stellar strikeout rate. But we also know his injury risk is somewhat elevated, plus we have to deal with the fact that the Angels are rolling with a six-man rotation. So even in a healthy season, we can’t expect more than 140-160 innings from Ohtani. Every other starting pitcher drafted among the top-25 has at least a shot at pitching 200 frames.
Again, Ohtani should be a blast. Fun story, terrific talent. But his current draft price reflects the best-case scenario for his performance. —Andy Behrens
• I love Carlos Carrasco and have named him as a dark horse Cy Young candidate a couple of times in the past, and there’s little reason to question whether last season’s performance was real. Sure, he gave up more flyballs than ever yet wasn’t overly damaged by home runs despite them crazily up leaguewide. He also has to deal with throwing in a hitters’ park (Progressive Field is tied for fourth at increasing run scoring over the past three seasons), as he recorded a 3.99 ERA at home last year despite terrific peripherals.
But really, Carrasco’s pitching ability isn’t in question here, as I fully believe he could win that Cy with 225 innings pitched. But a third round price is awfully costly for a pitcher with such an alarming injury history (last year’s 200 innings marked a career high), some of them fluky like taking a line-drive comebacker but others include arm issues, such as TJ surgery, shoulder inflammation and even elbow swelling as recently as last spring. I hope I’m wrong, but Carrasco won’t be on any of my teams at his current ADP. — Dalton Del Don
• Look, you’re either a Stephen Strasburg guy or you’re not. Maybe the word “bust” is too harsh, but I’m confident he won’t be on any of my teams, and that’s what you’re looking for in these pieces — guys we like and guys we don’t like at their expected cost.
Strasburg averages a mere 25 starts and 147 innings over the last seven years. He’s a sports car that requires consistent maintenance. He’s only passed the 183-inning mark once. He’s also someone who usually looks better in the peripheral stats than the surface numbers we score by, though he did beat his expected ERA last year.
Strasburg flies off the board around Pick 24-27, be it in Yahoo leagues or NFBC pools. I’d rather take one of the reliable bats in that pocket, feeling the arms you get a round or two later aren’t much different than Strasburg anyway. Sure, every pitcher is an injury risk on some level. But some carry more risk than others. Say no to Stressburg. — Scott Pianowski