Truth be told, I could write an optimistic paragraph or a pessimistic paragraph about every player in the 2020 fantasy baseball pool. In the end, smart drafting is all about blending the best- and worst-case scenarios, assigning a fair value to each player, and then determining a fair draft spot for everyone in the Majors.
Based on my assessment of the following players, they are unlikely to produce at a level that matches their 2020 ADP.
Pete Alonso (1B, ADP: 26), New York Mets
Alonso is coming off one of the most memorable rookie seasons in memory, one that included a Major League-leading 53 home runs. But his homer total could drop to the mid-40’s this year, as his 30.6 percent HR/FB rate was especially high for someone with a 42.2 percent hard-contact rate. Unable to help in steals or batting average, Alonso doesn’t belong in the initial three rounds of mixed-league drafts. His spot on this list is an acknowledgment that in this fantasy landscape, a power hitter must provide either a helpful batting mark or some steals in order to receive early round consideration.
Jose Altuve (2B, ADP: 32), Houston Astros
Altuve is clearly a batting-average stud, but he lacks elite status in the other standard categories. The diminutive second baseman has averaged 23 homers across the past four seasons, which is hardly an eye-popping total in this environment. Altuve will need to reestablish his speed game in order to warrant early round status, and his steals potential is currently in question after he followed up a 17-steal 2019 season with just six bags last year. Add in the general uncertainty that surrounds the entire Astros team, and this feels like a good year to let someone else take a chance on Altuve.
David Dahl (OF, AD: 139), Colorado Rockies
I rarely steer away from Coors Field hitters, but fantasy managers remain too optimistic about the oft-injured Dahl. The outfielder has endured significant IL stints in each of his first three seasons and has appeared in just 240 games since he debuted early in 2017. He offers little speed (14 career steals), and his power skills are no better than average (15 homers in 374 at-bats last year). Also, Dahl’s lofty lifetime .297 average has been substantially fueled by a .369 BABIP. Although Colorado hitters always have massive upside, Dahl isn’t worth the risk at his current ADP.
Miguel Sano (3B, ADP: 146), Minnesota Twins
As is the case with Dahl, lengthy injury history is a major reason that Sano finds himself on this list. A veteran of five Major League seasons, the 26-year-old has yet to play in more than 116 games. His power is without question (34 homers in 2019), but he is a complete zero in the speed department and owns a depressing lifetime .245 batting mark. While fellow Yahoo analyst Dalton Del Don disagrees with me on Sano, the slugger is an unnecessary risk in my eyes at his current ADP with power in plentiful supply.
Bryan Reynolds (OF, ADP: 160), Pittsburgh Pirates
Reynolds’ 2019 fantasy value was fueled by a lofty .314 average that came mainly from a .387 BABIP. This isn’t a hitter with great contact skills (22.2% strikeout rate), and he should hit at least 30-50 points lower this year. Armed with below-average power and minimal speed (16 HR, 3 SB in 2019), the 25-year-old will end up on waivers in shallow leagues by the All-Star break.
Gavin Lux (2B, ADP: 170), Los Angeles Dodgers
Lux has massive long-term potential but is unlikely to outperform his current draft price in redraft leagues. The left-handed hitter will almost certainly bat lower in the lineup, and he could end up on the heavy side of a platoon due to the incredible depth on the Dodgers roster. Of every pick in this article, Lux is the one I am most likely to regret. But in this hitting-laden fantasy environment, the 22-year-old will need his career to take off in a hurry in order to meet fantasy managers’ expectations.
Wilson Ramos (C, ADP: 169), New York Mets
Ramos is almost defensible at his current ADP in two-catcher leagues, but most Yahoo leagues are one-catcher formats, which makes the 32 year old an uninspiring option. Ramos has produced more than 16 home runs just once, has one career steal and has never scored 60 runs in a season. I put him in this article to remind those in one-catcher leagues to either go big (J.T. Realmuto, Yasmani Grandal, etc.) or wait until the end of their draft to find a backstop.
Salvador Perez (C, ADP: 163), Kansas City Royals
See the Ramos paragraph. Also, Perez missed all of last season after hitting .235 in 2018 — and the Royals lineup is terrible. Perez is unlikely to significantly outperform a catcher you can draft five rounds later.
Aristides Aquino (OF, ADP: 194), Cincinnati Reds
Aquino burst onto the fantasy scene last August (14 HR, 1.158 OPS) before opposing pitchers brought his career to a screeching halt in September (5 HR, .619 OPS). He now enters 2020 as a major question mark with no starting role in a crowded Reds outfield. Although he may slug his way to a starting spot or grab a bench job, Aquino will likely get more Minor League seasoning in the opening weeks of 2020.