Outfielders will be common picks at the top of the draft and it is difficult to argue that many of them are undeserving and labeled as outfield busts.
Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are the most talented players in the game, and exciting developing players such as George Springer, Starling Marte, and Charlie Blackmon are now top picks as well.
Writing an article about outfield busts was actually quite difficult to me because it seems as if outfielders are being valued correctly in most instances.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some picks that appear to be a disaster waiting to happen and are ready to be labeled as outfield busts.
Without further ado, here are my 2016 outfield busts.
Mixed League Busts
Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs
Schwarber’s numbers from his major league debut are impressive and we have all seen his prodigious power. Dig a bit deeper into the 2015 numbers, however, and a number of advanced measures such as wRC+ and wOBA fell with each month Schwarber was in the bigs.
This indicates that pitchers began to make adjustments as they started to get a book on Schwarber, and while it is not certain Schwarber can’t adjust back, he has yet to prove he will. Whether he adjusts well or not, there will be a ton of swings and misses for Schwarber this season that caps the upside of his average.
Defense doesn’t count for Fantasy Baseball (in most cases), but a player still has to have a position. As of right now, the plan is for the Cubs to hide Schwarber in left field where he will be subpar. If his defense is bad enough, Schwarber could lose out on at-bats throughout the season.
This isn’t to say he will be removed from the lineup for extended amounts of time, but it increases the chance he will receive more days off than your typical left fielder.
The final piece of Schwarber’s puzzle is the helium attached to his name that will undoubtedly continue into draft season. There is certainly potential for a 30 home run season, but I have little confidence Schwarber will surpass a .250 batting average.
That value aligns him more with players like Matt Kemp or Curtis Granderson, not J.D. Martinez, Ryan Braun, or Nelson Cruz as he is currently being drafted. His catcher eligibility does add value, but not enough to avoid him being a Fantasy bust this season.
Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians
Brantley was a great Fantasy asset the past two seasons and he could still be in upcoming seasons. But this year he won’t be. By now you probably know that Brantley underwent surgery on his right shoulder in November to repair a torn labrum. Reports vary, but some have said that Brantley will not return until June.
The time Brantley is likely to miss makes it difficult to see the benefit to taking Brantley as the 27th outfielder as he is currently being taken in NFBC drafts. When Brantley returns to the field, there is no guarantee he will return to his pre-surgery form immediately. It is possible, meaning those who draft Brantley could get four months of good Fantasy production, but that’s not a proposition I am willing to bet on.
With players who can post similar numbers to Brantley but come without guaranteed missed time, Hunter Pence, Kole Calhoun, and David Peralta to name a few, Brantley is being valued too highly and is one of the outfield busts for 2016.
Deep League Sleepers
Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins
Buxton is a player with inescapable potential but he has not shown he is ready to deliver on it yet. There has been talk of him starting the season in the minor leagues at the Winter Meetings from Paul Molitor, and while this seems unlikely, it shows the Twins won’t hesitate to bench him if he starts slowly.
On the other hand, he could prove those who doubt him this year wrong, but the price is too high for what amounts to a flier. Mainstay, if unexciting, names litter the draft board after Buxton is taken such as Alex Gordon, Dexter Fowler (if he lands in the AL), and Mark Trumbo.
There is a time for high-risk players to stash that can pay off big, but I’m not bullish enough on Buxton to pay the price of the 122nd overall pick, his current ADP in AL–Only leagues.
Yasmany Tomas, Arizona Diamondbacks
Not a whole lot went right for Tomas last year, and while some of those struggles can be attributed to it being his rookie campaign, I don’t see a ton of upside in his profile.
Tomas failed to show plate discipline, which led to a lot of swing and miss in his game. A look at his average for the season isn’t alarming at .273, but it was propped up by a .354 BABIP. Tomas had pop in his bat, as he posted a respectable 13% HR/FB rate, but he hit 54.9% of his balls in play on the ground giving his hits fewer chances to leave the yard.
While it is possible and maybe even likely that Tomas improves certain parts of his game heading into his second year, he has a lot of improvement to make in his game before he is a good Fantasy option. Tomas is currently the 55th overall outfielder off the board and 30th from the National League. It is possible he returns that value, but he lacks the upside of Marcell Ozuna and others currently taken behind him. For that reason, he is a Fantasy bust.
|Early 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings|
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