Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2019 and Busts: Model that beat experts warns about Jack Flaherty, Luis Castillo

With 2019 Fantasy baseball drafts underway and pitchers and catchers already reported for spring training, the 2019 Fantasy baseball season is right around the corner and owners everywhere wondering how a strange MLB offseason might impact their seasons. Manny Machado, Bryce Harper and Dallas Keuchel are just a few of the high-profile free agents that remain unsigned and there will be dozens of Fantasy-relevant players landing on new teams in the coming weeks. Of course, as Fantasy baseball players research for their upcoming drafts, one key is always avoiding the busts that can ruin your season. Steering clear of players with inflated stats or sketchy injury histories is critical, and the 2019 Fantasy baseball rankings from SportsLine are all about helping you avoid the 2019 Fantasy baseball busts that could cause you nightmares.

Last year, their model warned that Orioles starting pitcher Dylan Bundy was being overvalued. Bundy was the No. 40 starting pitcher drafted on average in CBS Sports leagues, but finished at No. 68 thanks to a sky-high 5.45 ERA. The team at SportsLine was all over Bundy as one of its biggest Fantasy baseball busts from the start. Their model had him listed much lower than expert consensus Fantasy baseball rankings, and anyone who listened to their advice was well positioned for a league title. 

Their model is powered by the same people who powered projections for all three major Fantasy sites. And that same group is sharing its 2019 Fantasy Baseball rankings and cheat sheets over at SportsLine, helping you find Fantasy Baseball sleepers, breakouts and busts long before your competition. Their cheat sheets, available for leagues on many major sites, are updated multiple times every day. Any time an injury occurs or there's a change on a depth chart, the team at SportsLine updates its rankings. 

In fact, when it came to ranking players in Fantasy Football, SportsLine's Projection Model beat human experts last season when there were big differences in ranking. And the model was the closest to the hole overall, meaning it best pinpointed where every player would finish each week. That could literally be the difference between winning your league or going home empty-handed. 

One huge bust SportsLine is calling for this season: Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty. Flaherty went 8-9 last season with a 3.34 ERA while striking out 182 batters in 151 innings as a 22-year-old. And when such a young player enjoys that kind of success at the Major League level, it's natural to assume that the best is yet to come.

However, as we dig a little deeper into Flaherty's numbers there are a few worrisome indicators. For starters, Flaherty benefited from an extremely low BABIP of .257 in 2018. Even with Flaherty's impressive stuff to induce weak contact, that number should stabilize at around .300 for his career and there's also reason to be concerned that the strikeout numbers are inflated.

In 2015, 2016 and 2017 while in the minors, Flaherty struck out fewer than nine batters per nine innings and he wound up striking out 10.85 batters per nine innings last season in the Majors. If there's any regression there, it definitely takes some of the juice out of his Fantasy prospects. Which means he could still be an effective pitcher who stays Fantasy relevant, but that he might not live up to his ADP as the No. 20 pitcher off the board on average. SportsLine projects him to finish outside the top 40 for the position in 2019.

Another player that SportsLine's Fantasy baseball rankings 2019 are fading: Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo

Castillo is currently the No. 30 starting pitcher off the board in standard leagues. However, SportsLine's Fantasy baseball rankings 2019 project him to finish as just the No. 85 starting pitcher.

That's because there are a number of peripherals to suggest that what we saw in 2018 was more in line with who he actually is as a pitcher rather than in his impressive rookie year. In 89.1 innings in 2017, Castillo had a 3.12 ERA and struck out 9.87 batters per nine innings. He did all that while benefiting from an extraordinarily low BABIP of .247 (.300 is average). 

Last season, that BABIP rose to .282 and the effects were dramatic, as Castillo's ERA fell to 4.30. Even worse, he induced far fewer ground balls and saw his home run rate skyrocket from 1.11 per nine innings to 1.49, while striking out just 8.75 batters per full game. Anyone drafting Castillo in the top 100 picks of their Fantasy baseball draft is hoping he'll revert to his rookie season form, but there's not a lot in the numbers to suggest that will happen.

SportsLine is also predicting one of the consensus No. 1 players at his position to struggle mightily in 2019 and finish outside the top five. You'll want to avoid drafting him with an early pick, as that could be the difference in winning your league or going home with nothing. 

So which potential Fantasy Baseball busts should you avoid in your draft? Visit SportsLine now to get 2019 Fantasy Baseball rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Dylan Bundy's huge bust last season, and find out.

Our Latest Stories