Busts are always tough to write about but they are a necessary evil. Truthfully, I want every player to perform to the best of their abilities but the reality is it can't work that way. As a result, there will be disappointments up and down the draft board.

Knowing who to avoid might be as important as knowing who to draft. Yes, you want all the sleepers and breakouts who will provide excess value later in drafts but it won't matter if you step on land mines along the way. Here are five more players I'm avoiding at current average draft position.

Zac Gallen, SP, Diamondbacks

Zac Gallen
ARI • SP • #23
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Shield your eyes, Zac Gallen fans. That's right. This is the second year in a row I'm writing up Gallen as a bust and, uh, we all know how that turned out in 2023. Gallen had an awesome season, finishing as a top-five starting pitcher in both Roto/Categories and H2H points leagues. Maybe I'm just being too nitpicky with Gallen but that's part of the job! The first thing that stands out is that he threw 243.2 innings between the regular season and postseason combined. That's unheard of in today's game and I wonder if it could create some kind of hangover affect here in 2024. Gallen is aware of last year's workload and touched on it in the clip below.

Perhaps we saw that workload start to take its toll on Gallen. In 21 starts between the second half and the postseason combined, Gallen pitched to a 4.16 ERA with a 1.24 WHIP. Aside from the workload, Gallen doesn't get as many whiffs as other "aces" and he allows a good amount of hard contact, too. Those things usually don't pair well together. Gallen's 11.2% swinging strike rate ranked 27th among qualified starting pitchers last year. His 91.5 MPH average exit velocity against ranked in the third percentile. His expected ERA was 4.18, according to Statcast. Of course, there's a chance that Gallen makes me eat my words again this year. I just have a lot of concerns for somebody being drafted as a top-10 starting pitcher. 

Luis Robert, OF, White Sox

Luis Robert
CHW • CF • #88
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Luis Robert finally stayed healthy last year and had a breakout season, batting .264 with 38 home runs and 20 steals. He was one of just three players to provide 35-plus homers with 20 steals, joining Ronald Acuña and Shohei Ohtani. How did Robert finally unlock this level of power? He raised the launch angle and started pulling the ball more than ever. Pulled fly balls have been all the talk this offseason and are the clearest way to maximize a hitter's power output. With all of that being said, there are very clear downside risks with Robert, too. 

First, Robert is a very aggressive hitter. His chase rate and whiff rate both ranked in the bottom 10th percentile of the league. He doesn't walk much and had a 29% strikeout rate, which limits the batting average upside. The lack of plate discipline also hurts Robert in H2H points leagues where you lose points for strikeouts. Second, Robert managed to stay on the field for 145 games last year, which was a career-high. Before that, Robert hadn't played more than 98 games in a Major League season. He's constantly dealt with injuries and, in fact, he ended the season on the Injured List with a sprained MCL in his left knee. Lastly, even with his breakout 2023, he managed only 170 runs plus RBI. The White Sox are projected to be one of the worst teams in baseball, so I don't think we should expect much more in the counting stats. I understand that the power and speed is tantalizing but these are significant downside risks for a player going inside the top-40 picks.

Luis Arráez, 2B, Marlins

Luis Arraez
SD • 2B • #4
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It feels weird to write about Luis Arráez in a negative context. He posseses a skill no other human on the planet does. Arráez led baseball with a .354 batting average, 17 points higher than Acuña who hit .337. Arráez became the second player in the modern era to win a batting title in each league and the first to do so in consecutive years. The problem for Fantasy Baseball is that he's a one-trick pony. Outside of the batting average, Arráez provided just 10 home runs, three steals and 140 runs plus RBI. According to the Razzball Player Rater, Arráez earned $13.9 in a 12-team categories Salary Cap league. His batting average alone provided $14.4 of value. That means his other four categories combined for negative value.

Well, he must have been a standout in H2H points leagues where plate discipline matters so much, right? Arráez averaged 3.0 fantasy-points-per-game last season, which was tied for 13th among second baseman. Think about that. He needed to hit .354 with a 5.5% strikeout rate just to be the 13th best second baseman on a per-game basis. In all likelihood, he isn't going to bat .354, either. His expected batting average was .325 last year and his career batting average is .326. While he hit .383 in the first half, that dropped to .314 in the second half. Arráez is an immensely talented baseball player but the truth is that his skillset doesn't translate well to Fantasy Baseball. He won't sink your team. He just needs to be part of a very specific roster build, one that's loaded with power and speed everywhere else.

Esteury Ruiz, OF, Athletics

Esteury Ruiz
OAK • CF • #1
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Esteury Ruiz is a lot like Arráez, except with stolen bases instead of batting average. Ruiz racked up 67 steals last year, second most behind only Acuña. His .254 batting average wasn't awful but his five home runs and 94 runs plus RBI certainly were. Outside of shortcomings in power and counting stats, there are many ways this can go wrong. As you might have guessed, Ruiz does not make hard contact. His 82.7 MPH average exit velocity ranked in the first percentile. His expected batting average was just .234 while his expected slugging was .316. 

Can we even count on him to be an everyday player? That might seem ridiculous considering he plays on one of the worst teams in baseball but it's not. Ruiz lost playing time in the second half last season. He's incredibly fast and an average defender but doesn't offer a Major League team much else. Ruiz has issues with splits, too. While he hit .274 with a .734 OPS against left-handed pitching, he was down to just .245 with a .619 OPS vs. righties. According to this article, each of Ruiz, Lawrence Butler and J.J. Bleday are expected to see time in left and center field for the A's. That's three players for two spots. Butler and Bleday are left-handed hitters, too, which makes more sense as strong-side platoon options. Ruiz offers a unique skillset but there are clear downsides. I'd rather build my team with a bunch of hitters that offer 15-25 steals rather than one lump sum from Ruiz. 

Tanner Scott, RP, Marlins

Tanner Scott
MIA • RP • #66
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Tanner Scott just had a huge breakout season where he was one of the five best relievers in baseball. He ranked top five in both K-BB rate (26.1%) and SIERA (2.66). According to FanGraphs, Scott was worth 2.8 WAR, tied with Felix Bautista for best among relievers. A huge reason for Scott's success was his improvement with control. From 2017-2022, Scott allowed 5.8 BB/9 with a 14.2% walk rate. Last year he dropped both of those down to 2.8 and 7.8%, respectively. My guess is we'll see regression in 2024.

In fact, the regression may have already started. I don't want to overreact to spring training stats but through two appearances, Scott has a 94.50 ERA and a 12.0 WHIP. He's recorded two outs while allowing five walks and seven earned runs. He could go out and throw three perfect innings with nine strikeouts over his next three outings and none of this will matter. What does matter is that Scott struggled mightily with control before 2023 and there are capable relievers behind him. Andrew Nardi is another lefty who pitched well last year and actually picked up three saves. There's also Anthony Bender who missed all of 2023 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. If you remember, Bender was starting to take over as the team's closer towards the end of 2021 and the start of 2022 before getting hurt. Scott has all the talent in the world to perform like a top-five closer in Fantasy. I just fear the walks will become untenable again.