Overrated doesn't mean bad, y'all, so let's not even go there with this.
I just think these players are being drafted too early, judging from FantasyPros ADP. It's especially glaring when there's someone I like just as much, if not more, going later.
I will have a separate "busts" list for players that I think are at genuine risk of bottoming out, but these are those. Think of these more as an inefficient use of your draft capital than a disaster waiting to happen.
Of course, I'm not promising there won't be any crossover between the two lists ...
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LAD L.A. Dodgers • #21 • Age: 26
Drafting Walker Buehler in the middle of Round 2 feels like a reflexive response to a season that offered little in the way of new information. "Well, it's where we were taking him last year, and I think he's just as good now." Maybe he is, but here's the problem: After stringently safeguarding his innings the past two years, having him more or less skip spring training and build up in-season, how do you think the Dodgers will respond to him throwing only about 60 innings last year, regular season and playoffs combined? He may have the stuff of an ace, but the workload could be sorely lacking.
Bo Bichette SS
TOR Toronto • #11 • Age: 23
To live up to this ADP, Bo Bichette would need only sustain the pace he has already set with a career .307 batting average and .896 OPS. But believe it or not, his career has lasted all of 75 games -- not even half a full-length season. Might we be jumping the gun here by sinking a second-round pick into him, especially given that there's not exactly a shortage of high-end shortstops? Isn't Xander Bogaerts already proven to be what you're hoping Bichette is: a .300 hitter with the capacity for 30 homers and 15 steals? Well, he's available 10 picks later.
Jose Abreu 1B
CHW Chi. White Sox • #79 • Age: 34
A season that lasts only 60 games is bound to result in some outlier performances that are directionally correct but blown out of proportion because there wasn't a chance to regress to the mean. Jose Abreu's MVP campaign strikes me as exactly that. It's not like his entire profile changed, which would have been weird for a 33-year-od. He has long been a plus hitter, but hitting the ball exceptionally hard over a short span of time took it to plus-plus. A third-round pick presumes genuine growth, but a fifth-round pick is probably more appropriate.
Blake Snell SP
SD San Diego • #4 • Age: 28
It may look like my stance on Blake Snell is in lockstep with ADP, but note that I rank starting pitchers higher in general. I'm highlighting Snell here because of where he's drafted within his position -- most specifically, half a round ahead of Kenta Maeda and a full round ahead of Lance Lynn. I think the workload disadvantage is simply too great for him to compete with those two even if he's better on a per-inning basis (which is no guarantee). Not even once in his 17 starts between the regular season and payoffs last year did Snell last six innings, which makes it awfully hard to secure wins, the most valuable pitcher statistic in most scoring formats.
TB Tampa Bay • #20 • Age: 27
At least Snell has some hope of his new team loosening the reins. Tyler Glasnow, who's also drafted before Maeda and Lynn, is still stuck with the Rays. They've actually let him go seven innings from time to time, but they've been just as likely to pull him after a dominant 4 2/3 innings. After a year in which he threw only 86 innings between the regular season and playoffs, he'll probably be on a tighter pitch count than ever. After all, he hasn't thrown even 120 innings in a season since 2017, and this organization isn't one to test the limits of its highest-impact arms.
TOR Toronto • #27 • Age: 22
I'd so love to love Vladimir Guerrero, the 22-year-old with the hall of fame lineage, the chart-topping exit velocities and the minor-league numbers to die for. But nobody's backing down from him even as his actual production continues to underwhelm. Maybe one these years, he stops putting the ball on the ground so much and turns the theoretical into the actual. Maybe this year is that year. But after getting burned by that presumption the past two years, you'd think we'd know better than to pass up proven standouts for him.
Max Fried SP
ATL Atlanta • #54 • Age: 27
I suspect people take Max Fried's numbers from last year -- the 7-0 record, the 2.25 ERA, the fifth-place Cy Young finish -- as evidence he's made it as an ace, but he actually regressed in the areas I care about most. He seemed to embrace a pitch-to-contact profile, throwing his four-seamer less than ever as he leaned into an elite ground-ball rate. It makes for a high floor, perhaps, but the 4.05 xFIP suggests he's not coming close to that 2.25 ERA again. And seeing as he went less than six innings in seven of his 11 starts, a big win total also isn't a given.
Sonny Gray SP
CIN Cincinnati • #54 • Age: 31
I just don't know anymore. Sonny Gray has faked us out so many times in his career. He said a year ago that the Reds had given him the cheat code for unlocking his slider's full potential, and I thought for his first five starts in 2020 that his big finish to 2019 was carrying over. But then the whiffs dried up, he wound up on the IL with a strained back, and when he came back ... I don't know. He just didn't seem as dominant. I'm back to being reluctant to invest much in a guy who has twice followed up an impressive season with an ERA around 5.00.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #25 • Age: 24
It's not that I think 2020 is the new standard for Gleyber Torres, who seemed among the more bankable middle infielders going into last season. It was a weird year where everyone was off routine and the data sample was too small and yadda, yadda. The real issue for Torres is that he's no longer second base-eligible and has little hope of getting it back with DJ LeMahieu re-upping and Luke Voit sustaining. As just another shortstop, Torres doesn't stand out nearly as much. The position's two other bets for a big rebound, Javier Baez and Carlos Correa, go much later and probably have more upside.
Alec Bohm 3B
PHI Philadelphia • #28 • Age: 24
As far as paying for upside goes, I like Alec Bohm at 107 more than Guerrero at 54, but I still think it's presuming an awful lot for a guy whose success last year was built on a .410 BABIP. I do think there's more power in there, but he'll clearly need to do better than four home runs in 160 at-bats at a corner infield spot. Meanwhile, Matt Chapman is going 111th overall, and Kris Bryant is going 113th. Shoot, Ke'Bryan Hayes, who outhomered Bohm in about half the at-bats and has higher ceiling overall, is going 147th. I liked Bohm as much as anyone when he got the call last year, but I don't understand what we're doing here.
Tommy Edman 2B
STL St. Louis • #19 • Age: 25
I've recently had to move Tommy Edman up my rankings in acknowledgment that Kolten Wong's ouster likely makes him the second baseman and leadoff man for the Cardinals, and that news might have bolstered the 25-year-old's breakout case a year ago. But he was looking like a premium base-stealer back then, and now, a mere two steals in six chances later, not so much. His power is middling at best, and clearly, the batting average is less than a certainty as well. He might be a lesser version of David Fletcher when all's said and done, so we're really stretching for steals by targeting him in Round 12.
OAK Oakland • #40 • Age: 32
I firmly believe that for a pitcher to find success in this modern iteration of Major League Baseball, he has to do one of two things (if not both): miss a bunch of bats or put a bunch of balls on the ground. Chris Bassitt does neither, ranking in the bottom quarter of the league in swinging-strike rate and the bottom half in ground-ball rate. It's not surprising, then, that his xFIP was 4.49, making for one of the biggest disparities between it and actual ERA. His 3.78 xERA isn't much more promising. Give me instead the upside of Triston McKenzie, Tyler Mahle, John Means or any number of other interesting pitchers who are drafted outside the top 50.
So which 2021 Fantasy baseball sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which undervalued first baseman can help you win a championship? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy baseball rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Will Smith's huge breakout last season, and find out.