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Once burned, twice shy.
Fantasy owners have a tendency to stay away from players who disappointed the previous season, likely hoping to avoid feeling foolish if the same player endures a second-straight forgettable year. But steering into the skid is often the right thing to do, and many of the 2018 busts listed below make fine draft-day targets at their current price tag.
2018 Yahoo ADP: 13
Current 2019 Yahoo ADP: 29
The 2016 NL MVP at just 25-years-old, Bryant seemed destined for roughly a decade of fantasy stardom. But after dropping to 29 homers in 2017 and going deep just 13 times in 102 games last year, he has left owners wondering if he can really be trusted as a power source. A lingering left shoulder injury that didn’t require surgery only further dampens his outlook for an immediate rebound. With just 125 RBIs across 253 games since the outset of ‘17, Bryant isn’t a good option at his current ADP.
2018 Yahoo ADP: 15
Current 2019 Yahoo ADP: 35
The sky was the limit when a 22-year-old Correa hit .315 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs across 109 games in 2017. But the youngster trailed off dramatically last year, batting just .239 and going deep 15 times in 110 contests. His hard-contact rate dropped by more than 10 points, but lingering back and oblique issues were likely major factors. With improved health, Correa could bring justice to his current ADP.
2018 Yahoo ADP: 17
Current 2019 Yahoo ADP: 52
Line drives are good, right? Well, not in the case of Votto last season. The super-skilled slugger boosted his line-drive rate to an exemplary 31.4 percent, which came at the expense of his fly-ball rate and led to fewer (12) graceful trots around the bases. Should he choose to make some slight adjustments in his swing path, Votto — who played in 145 games and led the National League with a .417 OBP last year — could reclaim his power numbers and justify his 2019 ADP.
2018 Yahoo ADP: 23
Current 2019 Yahoo ADP: 63
A second-round pick in many 2018 leagues, Sanchez posted a lowly .186 batting average and barely surpassed the midpoint of his ‘17 homer total. The slugger eventually underwent offseason shoulder surgery, which offers some explanation for his massive decline. When factoring in that Sanchez also dealt with a .197 BABIP last year, the backstop with 35-homer potential is an extremely enticing comeback candidate.
2018 Yahoo ADP: 29
Current 2019 Yahoo ADP: 80
Donaldson was arguably the biggest early-round bust of 2018, providing just eight homers and 23 RBIs to owners who tabbed him in the second or third round. Still, he slashed .280/.400/.520 during 16 late-season games with the Tribe and is now set to hit in the heart of a dangerous Braves lineup while trying to re-establish himself on a one-year contract. Even coming off two consecutive injury-riddled years, this slugger with massive upside feels like a good gamble at his current ADP.
2018 Yahoo ADP: 33
Current 2019 Yahoo ADP: 56
Seager’s 2018 season provides an excellent cautionary tale regarding the perils of ignoring Spring Training injuries. The shortstop was slowed by elbow issues throughout March before getting off to a slow start and requiring Tommy John surgery after just 27 games. And while he is expected to be ready for Opening Day, Seager simply lacks the sky-high ceiling to warrant overlooking his injury issues and tabbing him in the early rounds. After all, the 24-year-old possesses minimal speed and has yet to enjoy a 30-homer or 80-RBI campaign.
2018 Yahoo ADP: 36
Current 2019 Yahoo ADP: 146
Dozier cratered across the board last year, batting .215 and producing diminished totals in all four standard counting-stat categories. But the veteran maintained strong numbers in hard-contact rate and fly-ball rate, while being burned by diminished marks in BABIP (.240) and HR/FB rate (11.8 percent). With a price drop of more than 100 draft spots, Dozier makes for an attractive mid-round target.
2018 Yahoo ADP: 57
Current 2019 Yahoo ADP: 217
Just about everything went wrong for one of baseball’s fastest players last season, as he consistently dealt with injuries and bad luck (.224 BABIP) en route to posting an embarrassing .156/.183/.200 slash line. Still, the speedster managed to collect five steals on his meager totals of 14 hits and three walks, which should remind owners that there is an elite base stealer lurking behind marginal plate skills. With an ADP outside the top-200, Buxton is a nice late-round flier in shallow leagues but a risky mid-round target in deep formats.
2018 Yahoo ADP: 50
Current 2019 Yahoo ADP:152
An early-round starter who collected just one win while posting a 4.95 ERA across eight appearances, Darvish was likely the biggest pitching bust of 2018. Elbow and triceps woes that eventually resulted in September surgery were a big reason that his walk rate jumped to an ugly 11.7 percent. Darvish, however, claims that he has moved past those ailments and will be ready for Opening Day. Still, owners can likely find better mid-round targets than a 32-year-old who has reached 150 innings just once in the past five seasons.
2018 Yahoo ADP: 63
Current 2019 Yahoo ADP: 124
On average, Archer was the 17th starter to come off Yahoo draft boards last season. He finished the year ranked outside the top-100 at his position. Even a midseason trade to the Senior Circuit and pitcher-friendly Pittsburgh didn’t do anything to stop him from posting an ERA over 4.00 for a third straight year. Still, the promise of an obscene strikeout total (he has averaged 224 whiffs across the past four seasons) is enough to justify giving Archer one more chance at his current ADP.