10 Fantasy Baseball Draft Busts to Avoid for 2023

Ten fantasy baseball draft busts to avoid for the 2023 MLB season.
Ten fantasy baseball draft busts to avoid for the 2023 MLB season. / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Opening Day is almost here, which means it's time to start doing your research and drafting your baseball teams, if you haven't already.

Fortunately, The Duel has you covered with our annual fantasy baseball preseason prep. You can check out our top 100 fantasy baseball player rankings here, as well as our top 25 team names.

While there are plenty of sleepers you'll want to target in your fantasy drafts this year, there are also some players you should try to avoid. Here are 10 potential fantasy baseball busts you should stay away from on draft day (all ADP references from FantasyPros).

Fantasy Baseball Draft Busts 2023

10. Tyler Glasnow, SP (Tampa Bay Rays)

Glasnow is already hurt, which is not a great sign for a pitcher who's been injured a lot lately. The tall right-hander started just two games last year thanks to Tommy John surgery and will miss the start of this season with an oblique strain, which could cause him to miss most or all of April. The results have been tantalizing when he has pitched, but keep in mind that he's never started 15 games in a season and has only topped 90 innings once. His average ADP is 123, which is awfully high for a pitcher who still hasn't proven that he can survive a full season.

9. J.D. Martinez, DH (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Martinez was already in decline before leaving Boston, and the move out west won't help. Excluding the 2020 Covid season, Martinez's OPS has dropped in each of his last four full seasons, falling to his lowest mark (.790) since 2013. That trend is unlikely to reverse itself for the 35-year-old, who will no longer benefit from Fenway Park where he has a career .900 OPS. Dodger Stadium isn't nearly as friendly to right-handed hitters, so another season of middling power numbers likely awaits.

8. Taylor Ward, OF (Los Angeles Angels)

Ward's numbers were largely inflated by his hot start last year, as he was mediocre for much of the season. From May 26 onward, he batted .256/.323/.406 with 14 homers, 42 RBIs and 94 strikeouts in his final 105 games of the year. That's pretty much in line with his 2021 production (.250/.332/.438), so fantasy gamers should temper their expectations for him this year. Ward is already 29 and his larger body of work suggests he's merely an average outfielder rather than a borderline All-Star.

7. Blake Snell, SP (San Diego Padres)

Since winning the AL Cy Young in 2018, Snell has been two things: average and injury-prone. He's 25-26 with a 3.85 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 85 starts over the last four seasons, failing to replicate the dominance he flashed in 2018. That was also the only year he stayed healthy, as he's fallen short of 130 innings in his other six seasons. Snell's 30 now, too, so the combination of his volatile performance, questionable durability and rising age means he'll likely leave fantasy managers disappointed.

6. Byron Buxton, OF (Minnesota Twins)

Fantasy GMs just can't seem to quit Buxton, no matter how many times he burns them. He's been one of the most fragile players in baseball throughout his career, topping 100 games just once in his eight seasons. He only has one 20-homer campaign on his resume as a result and has never even reached 60 RBIs. The blazing speed he flashed early on in his career has faded somewhat, as he stole only 6 bases in 92 games last year. His average also sunk to .224 -- 20 points below his career mark. Add it all up, and there's just not a lot to love about the 29-year-old from a fantasy perspective anymore.

5. Xander Bogaerts, SS (San Diego Padres)

There are several reasons to expect a substantial drop-off from Bogaerts this year. For starters, he's on the wrong side of 30 now and his OPS has decreased in three consecutive seasons. He also just got a massive contract, which means he may not be as motivated as he's been in the past. But most importantly, he's going from one of the most hitter-friendly parks (Fenway) to one of the worst places for batters (Petco). Bogaerts will be hard-pressed to reach 20 homers playing for San Diego, and his batting average will likely fall a considerable amount as well.

4. George Springer, OF (Toronto Blue Jays)

Springer is similar to Buxton in that he's obviously talented but has a lot of trouble staying on the field. He's only surpassed 140 games once in his career, and that was all the way back in 2016. The 33-year-old is a good bet to spend some time on the IL this year -- the only question is how much? He's also coming off the third-lowest OPS of his career (.814), which means his age and injuries may be catching up with him as well.

3. Josh Hader, RP (San Diego Padres)

The fantasy community seems to be forgetting how awful Hader was last year, when he went 2-5 with a career-worst 5.22 ERA and lost the closer job for awhile. His time with the Padres was particularly ugly after he was traded from the Milwaukee Brewers, suggesting he wasn't comfortable in his new environment. Hader's sudden second-half collapse last year should give fantasy GMs pause, so make sure you handcuff him (Robert Suarez appears to be next in line for saves) if you do roll the dice on him.

2. Jacob deGrom, SP (Texas Rangers)

There's a reason some baseball insiders regarded deGrom's contract as one of the worst of the offseason. The Rangers gave a lot of money to an aging, brittle pitcher, so fantasy GMs should avoid doing the same if possible. The two-time Cy Young winner will turn 35 this year and has not exceeded 100 innings since 2019, so the volume just hasn't been there. If you're going to risk an early draft pick on a starting pitcher, you should go with someone more durable like Aaron Nola or Justin Verlander.

1. Bobby Witt Jr., 3B/SS (Kansas City Royals)

Witt is currently going in the first 20 picks in many fantasy leagues, which feels too high for him. Yes, he hit 20 homers and stole 30 bases as a rookie, but he also had a pretty meh .254/.294/.428 slash line. Witt had 4.5 times as many strikeouts (135) as walks (30), too, so his plate discipline is an issue as well. The 22-year-old has star potential and has played well in Spring Training so far, but you could get a much safer pick and better hitter in the second round than him.

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