2020 Fantasy Baseball Players to Avoid: The Overvalued Players

by Mike Sollicito
Fantasy Baseball Players to Avoid

Every year there are always articles on players you should draft. However, in this article, you'll learn some 2020 Fantasy Baseball players to avoid.

While this list is consists of players I consider overvalued, these are not the type of overvalued players you're used to. They are overvalued because of either their recent track record or history. Usually, when a player is good a year prior or has been good for many years, they are drafted in the earlier rounds. I am here to help you narrow down some of these players and discuss which of these players just won't cut it for you this year.

While some of these guys have been doing it for years, others are one-year wonders. It's time to cut some of these guys off of your draft list. Making key decisions about whether to trust an aging player or know when they're beginning to decline is important. It is especially important if you're using a high draft pick on them.

2020 Fantasy Baseball Players to Avoid

Every year before draft time, I make sure to do a few mock drafts. I do these to just get a feel for where my pick in the draft is and the players that will be available. It is usually hard to let some of the usual players pass in your draft, but everyone gets older. You have to realize that sometimes when a player is getting into their 30's it is possible that they start to decline.

Injuries are another sign of when you should let a player pass. Sometimes getting discounts on hurt players can really help, but injuries are too unpredictable to hope for someone to come back soon.

Helpful Resources

For this article, I am using the High Stakes Fantasy Baseball ADP Rankings. Not only that, but I am mixing in the Fantasy Six Pack's 2020 Fantasy Baseball rankings.

As usual, for those in dynasty leagues feel free to use the Fantasy Six Pack's 2020 Fantasy Baseball Dynasty rankings. Now let's hop right into who to avoid.

Chris Sale, SP, Boston Red Sox

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The once fantasy darling is now seemingly in a whirlwind of constant injury. After experiencing soreness, the Boston ace is seeking a third opinion on his elbow (I didn't even think two opinions was good).. He will be out to start the year and is still being taken relatively high in fantasy drafts. Being drafted around the 70th pick in most expert drafts, I don't think he can fall anywhere that I would be comfortable taking him. I am steering completely clear of him.

Yes, he still has the upside (if healthy) to be a top ten, maybe even top-five starting pitcher. A career 3.03 ERA and a 162 game average of 204 innings, Sale has failed to pitch more than 160 innings in the last two years. Durability is a huge concern, and playing for a Red Sox team that is clearly not what it once was is also not ideal. His ERA ballooned to 4.40 last year, and his HR/9 was up to 1.5, higher than his career .9 HR/9. Perhaps the juiced ball played a role.

The strikeouts are still nice, and while his FIP showed he was quite unlucky last year, with where he is going I am passing on Sale. Give me pitchers like Jose Berrios or Noah Syndergaard after him.

Whit Merrifield, 2B/OF, Kansas City Royals

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Whit Merrifield is another player who has been a fantasy darling the past few years. Since coming up to the majors, Merrifield has only hit and stolen bases, while providing nice dual eligibility at 2B and OF. However, his draft price this year and recent decline in play are two reasons why I'll avoid him this year.

Merrifield is on the older side at 31 years old. He was a late bloomer, arriving in the majors at age 27. Since then, he has a career .296 average coupled with an average of 32 stolen bases per 162 games. Speed and average seem to be the two things that drive his price up. However, what if I told you that his speed was diminishing? Well, it is and he is no longer the elite baserunner we once saw.

Merrifield stole just 20 bases last year after stealing a career-high 45 in 2018. As he gets older, his legs will too and so will his steals totals. While the average is nice, you can draft players like Jeff McNeil or Tommy Edman many rounds later, who should be able to provide you with similar value to Merrifield. He continues to soar up my list for 2020 fantasy baseball players to avoid.

Eduardo Escobar, 2B/3B, Arizona Diamondbacks

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Talk about one-hit wonders, right? This guy came out of relatively nowhere at age 30 and had a career year. Now, he's being drafted ahead of guys like Cavan Biggio, Gavin Lux, and even Scott Kingery. These are three players who all have nice power/speed upside and should hold down premium spots in good lineups.

While Escobar also has a good lineup around him, the big question will be his ability to replicate his career year. I am not usually one for one-year wonders. He had never had more than 84 RBI, 23 HR, or  75 runs. Then in 2019, he posts career highs, hitting 35 HR with 118 RBI and 94 runs. I am on the "he cannot repeat" train, and I firmly stand by it. While the lineup around him is nice, he doesn't hit the ball very hard for someone who managed 35 HR.

Also, it would be hard for him to do better than he did last year. Posting a new career-high after a career year is hard to do, and for someone at age 30, I doubt it. I would much rather grab one of the more legit power hitters in this area than draft a guy who could be sitting on my bench if he doesn't produce like last year. I won't have him to find that out, though. Good luck to whoever does!

Lance Lynn, SP, Texas Rangers

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Ahh, Lance Lynn. As a Yankees fan, this man is useless to me. What a waste of a trade. But that's beside the point, let's talk fantasy.

I have actually always been quite fond of Lynn, as he was very good when he was younger. Then he had surgery and was out for about a year and a half and kind of fell off the planet. He resurfaced again with the Cardinals and was pretty solid. Since then, he's been traded around but seems to have found a home on the Rangers.

Expected to hold down a top-three rotation spot for them, Lynn will play a key role for the Rangers. That doesn't mean he needs to play a key role for you.

Lynn saw his K/9 jump to 10.6 last year, as his fastball was lively all year long. He also eclipsed 200 innings for just the third time in his career, and the first time since 2014 (he did it back to back in 2013 and 2014). His FIP checked in at 3.13, suggesting that what he was doing can be backed up. However, I don't buy it. Yes, he was a great fantasy asset who gave you strikeouts and nonstop quality starts, but at age 32 and after a few arm surgeries, what does he have left in the tank? Sure he can still provide value for you and the Rangers, but look at where he is being drafted.

He is being taken ahead of Zac Gallen, Madison Bumgarner, Max Fried, and even his own teammate, Mike Minor. Let someone else grab Lynn so they can be disappointed as he comes back to Earth. Grab one of those other guys in the later rounds and watch them finish the year better than Lynn.

Yasiel Puig, OF, Free Agent

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How in the world is this man a free agent still? He is a dynamic bat, who is 27 years old and adds a spark and fun to the game. There are many teams that could use some outfield help right now *cough Indians cough* but the financials just don't seem to be working out. Perhaps he values himself a bit higher than the market is willing to pay him right now.

Nonetheless, he is still being drafted around guys like JD Davis, Willie Calhoun, Ryan McMahon among others. Why grab a free agent over one of these guys who should have guaranteed playing time? Yes, there is the possibility that he could still sign with a team and make an impact this year. But do you remember what happened last year for Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel? Yes, they're pitchers, but they clearly had some rust on them after missing Spring Training.

Maybe the suspension of games will help Puig get signed and give him time to shake the rust off before the season starts. But I am not willing to take that risk, and I would rather grab someone who I know will play the entire year in an established role. Skip Puig and let someone else hold out hope on him all season long. He is one of my top players to avoid in 2020.

Keep an Eye Out

As per usual, keep an eye out for other articles from the Fantasy Six Pack! We will continue to be pushing out articles amid the coronavirus scare, so why not stay safe and read up on some fantasy! Be sure to check out the other writers and be ready for more articles this week. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @MikeSollicito1. Stay safe everybody and good luck in your fantasy baseball drafts!

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1 comment

Kenneth Bridges March 14, 2020 - 2:35 pm

Regarding Escobar, it boils down to opportunity. Give a guy 700 plate appearances out of the three hole, and good things are likely to happen. I think 700 PAs with the Martes in front of you is likely to produce 30/100. And from a guy eligible at both 2B/3B, I will take that all day long.


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