In the fantasy sports world, nothing is more important than your draft. Think of it as an exam. You pick the wrong answer? You fail. Draft the wrong players? Your fantasy team fails. With baseball season right around the corner, many of you are getting ready to make some important draft decisions. As you probably know, the beginning of your draft can either make or break you. Below is a list of very talented players that have a good chance of not living up to their potentially high draft pick.

Fantasy Baseball Busts 2017

Gary Sanchez C NYY

Gary! Gary! Gary! Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez took the league by storm in 2016. The 24-year-old crushed a whopping 20 home runs in his first 51 big-league ballgames, solidifying him as one of the top backstops in fantasy baseball. His .298/.361/.486 slash line has attracted fantasy owners by the boatload. If you were lucky enough to add him off of waivers last August, then you struck fantasy gold. Sadly, all good things must come to an end.

It is evident that Sanchez’s historic home run pace will come back down to Earth. His .225 batting average and 29.7 percent strikeout rate from September on are a huge cause for concern. 51 games is too small of a sample size to evaluate a player’s full capability. His minor league numbers weren’t exactly overwhelming, so a sophomore slump could be lurking around the corner for the quick-handed Sanchez. I would only draft Sanchez if he slipped far enough to where it made perfect sense, but reaching for him wouldn’t be worth it.

Trea Turner 2B/OF Wsh

Up-and-coming Trea Turner is without a doubt a game changer. In just 70 games with the Nationals, the speedster batted an impressive .340 with 13 home runs and 33 stolen bases. Some would say he had the most impactful second-half performance from a fantasy standpoint. Lately, his ADP has been through the roof on most 2017 draft boards. Labeling Mr. Turner as a bust is a bold prediction to say the least, but living up to where he is being drafted is going to be tough.

Trae Turner on 2nd base
Photo credit: Keith Allison

70 games is a minuscule body of work when ranking players amongst the top in the world. ESPN has him as an early-to-mid second rounder, but I’ve seen him go as high as the first round in mock drafts. If Turner repeats his success for the full season, then I would feel much more comfortable drafting him in 2018, but for now, I will go with the most established player available for that round.

Wil Myers 1B SD

Wil Myers be worth it? It’s hard not to admire Myers’ ability to get full extension on his swing. The 26-year-old has set high expectations for himself since winning AL Rookie of the Year back in 2013 with Tampa. The young first baseman is just one of three players to hit 25 HR and steal at least 25 bases last season (the others being Mike Trout and Mookie Betts). Although his overall stats in 2016 were respectable, (.259/.306/.461 with 28 HR and 94 RBI) his red-hot start to the season would cease to continue into the second half.

Following the All-Star break, Myers hit for a depressing .223/.316/.381 slash line with just 8 home runs. His 27.6 percent strikeout rate was certainly nothing to write home about, raising questions regarding his ability to handle the daily grind of a 162-game season. Fantasy owners should consider staying away from Myers in this year’s draft, especially if he’s being drafted inside the Top 50.

Giancarlo Stanton RF Mia

I know what you’re thinking, Here we go again…another Stanton injury prediction… Well can you blame me? Since 2010, the mammoth-sized slugger has averaged 118 games per season. That number has been cut to just 96 games over the past two years. If Stanton were to play in at least 140 games, he would have a shot at leading the league in home runs, and God knows what else. Given his unfortunate track record, I wouldn’t count on it.

Don’t get me wrong, I root for Stanton just as much as the next guy. I found myself scratching my head after realizing that one of the games most elite power hitters has yet to cross the 40 home run plateau in his career. The Marlins have failed to find solid protection for Giancarlo in the lineup, giving opposing coaches the easy decision to pitch around the superstar if needed. Most fantasy owners would love to have a name like Stanton in the middle of their lineup, but at this point Giancarlo has the potential to be much more of a risk than a reward.

Kris Davis OF Oak

Kris Davis had a phenomenal 2016 season. The ex-Brewer clubbed an eye-popping 42 home runs, and knocked in 102 RBI for the Swinging A’s. Too bad Kris was the only player on the team who happened to be swinging. His power is obviously legit, but the chance that Davis matches his offensive production from last year is highly unlikely. Some months he seems like the hottest hitter in baseball, others not so much.

Stats show that he had the highest swinging strike rate on pitches within the strike zone last year, making him an obvious batting average liability. Davis plays on a team that lacks star power, raising doubt about whether he will see a healthy dosage of pitches to hit with runners in scoring position. Fantasy owners should expect around 30 big flies off of the bat of Davis, but due to last year’s overachieving season, even respectable stats could have this blossoming slugger labeled as a bust in 2017.

Rich Hill SP LAD

Over the Hill? The A’s and the Dodgers both shared Rich Hill’s late career success last season. His 2.12 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 10.52 K/9 certainly resemble the numbers of an elite starting pitcher. Sadly, injuries and blisters continue to be an issue for the 37-year-old lefty as he has only made 24 starts since 2010. Hill hasn’t finished a season with 32 starts and 195 innings in almost 10 years.

The veteran southpaw was a handy fantasy waiver acquisition early in the season, but turned useless after he was later traded to the Dodgers and shut down due to a nagging injury. If Hill pitches, he’s lights out, but that’s a gigantic “if.” Despite the risk factor, fantasy owners are still drafting him within the Top 35 pitchers. I suggest using your pick on a younger, more durable starter with enough upside to get you through the entire season.

Jeurys Familia and Travis d'Arnaud
Photo credit: Keith Allison

Jeurys Familia RP NYM

Familia’s 51 saves were the most in baseball last season (94 in the past two seasons). The Dominican flame thrower is ranked as a Top 5 relief pitcher, but there’s a catch (no pun intended). An October domestic violence charge could keep the 27-year-old off of the field for 30 games. Once he returns from his suspension to start the season, it is assumed that he will take back his role as Mets’ closer, unless set-up-man Addison Reed has tremendous success as the teams closer. I would stay clear of Familia in this years draft, unless the rest of your league passes on him and he happens to fall in your lap.

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