We all want to draft the right players during the Fantasy baseball season. When it comes to understanding who to draft, you should also have an understanding behind who you should not draft. Throughout this article, I will go over some 2021 Fantasy Baseball Players to Avoid.
If a player is on this list, it does not mean they are not good anymore. It simply means that I will pass on them where they are going.
Most of these players have been studs for years, however, we all hit a point in life where we begin to decline. This year could be the year of decline for some of these players. For that reason, I will pass on drafting them. I do not want to take that risk. While I may take other risks, these types of risks are ones that rarely pay off due to where they're being drafted.
Some of my favorite tools to use are right here on the Fantasy Six Pack website. For redraft help, check out our 2021 Fantasy Baseball Rankings. And for those of you who play in Dynasty Baseball Leagues, check out our 2021 Dynasty Baseball Rankings.
For this article, I am using the 2021 NFBC ADP Rankings from the month of March. This tool shows the ADP of players in the recent pro drafts and is a great tool to get yourself accustomed to where each player has been trending recently in drafts.
And as usual, if you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please feel free to hit me up via Twitter @mikesollicito1.
2021 Fantasy Baseball Players to Avoid
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Ole Reliable, but For How Much Longer?
Max Scherzer, SP, Washington Nationals
First up is Max Scherzer. Now, I know. Scherzer has been the epitome of a fantasy ace over the past few years. He has been reliable and is usually a top-five starter by the end of the year. However, last year was a weird year for him. While it was a weird year for everyone, Scherzer just did not look like himself.
While Scherzer was hurt for some of last year, when he pitched, he did not pitch to what we are accustomed to. Scherzer finished the year with a 3.74 ERA and a 3.46 FIP. Scherzer will probably bounce back but he is 36 and will turn 37 during the season. He is getting older, so it is possible that the injuries begin to hit him as they do when you get older.
While I am not necessarily saying Scherzer is done, I would rather grab some of the other pitchers that are around his ADP of 25. Luis Castillo, Jack Flaherty, and Brandon Woodruff are all players going after Scherzer and I could see them all outperforming him.
Why not grab some of the younger stud SPs who are in their prime rather than a soon-to-be 37-year-old whose body may be catching up to him? For that reason, Scherzer is one of my 2021 Fantasy Baseball Players to Avoid.
The Playoff Hero
Randy Arozarena, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Randy Arozarena is a good ballplayer and will be a good player for years to come. But just how good is he?
Arozarena had a fantastic postseason, one that will go down in history. However, he mashed fastballs at a high rate. Over the last few regular-season games Arozarena played last year, he did not hit breaking pitches very well. Pitchers seemingly did not know this heading into the postseason, and so Arozarena took advantage of this.
Now that pitchers have a larger sample size of his tendencies, it is possible Arozarena is not the next coming of Babe Ruth. While he presents a nice speed/power base, the average should hover around .260+. It is not known how much or how little he will play since the Rays love to do weird things with playing time, but it can be assumed that he should play mostly every day.
So why are we not drafting Arozarena? Well, it's his ADP. He is being drafted around pick 56. That is way too high for someone who looks like a younger version of Tommy Pham with maybe a bit more pop. I would much rather draft other OFs like Michael Conforto or Trent Grisham 10-15 picks later. Or I'd even wait for Pham who is going almost 100 picks later.
You can draft players who are similar to Arozarena after the time he goes, so may as well stack up on other areas and be happy getting a Grisham or Pham later.
Will He Ever Breakout?
Joe Musgrove, SP, San Diego Padres
For years now, every offseason is full of people saying "Joe Musgrove is going to break out this year!" Only for it to be followed with a season of disappointment, followed by a great final month of the season for Musgrove where he garners the hype for the offseason. I am so over this guy.
He could really break out, as his pitch mix is fantastic but he is never able to really hold the velocity gains that would allow him to breakout. For someone many are expecting to breakout, or be a sleeper for this year, his ADP is fairly high.
Musgrove is being drafted around pick 120. That is ahead of other SPs like Pablo Lopez or Sixto Sanchez. I would much rather grab one of those Marlins SPs than take a chance on Musgrove breaking out or breaking down.
Between the injury history, the inconsistency, and the all-around uncertainty with him, I am passing on Musgrove. I would rather grab a Miami arm or perhaps just wait on pitching for that round and look to grab someone like Aaron Civale, Tyler Mahle, or Jameson Taillon 40-50 picks later.
If you're a believer in Musgrove finally breaking out, then take the chance. But for me, I have fallen for this guy way too many times in drafts that I am closing the door and moving on.
Can He Stay Healthy?
Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
Byron Buxton was projected to be a star. Man oh man has he become a falling star. Buxton presents some real nice power/speed combo, however, the man cannot stay healthy. To show you just how injury prone he is, take a look at this tweet:
Byron Buxton cracked a tooth eating steak and had to undergo a root canal this week. The Twins expect him back shortly.
— Betsy Helfand (@betsyhelfand) March 11, 2021
On top of Buxton being injury-prone, Buxton also struggles with strikeouts. He has had a strikeout rate above 23% every year in the majors. While he does strike out a lot, he also has some great power, as hit hard-hit rate and exit velocity are both in the 15th percentile.
While the hard-hit rate is beautiful, and will always leave me wanting more from Buxton, I just can't pull the trigger on his ADP. He is being drafted close to pick 100, and while he very well could finish there if he remained healthy for the full season, I would want to go elsewhere.
Between the high ADP and risk of injury, Buxton is someone I will stay away from this year as I do not want to worry about him when he misses time like he is destined to every season.
Is This His Last Year?
Charlie Morton, SP, Atlanta Braves
Charlie Morton re-invented himself with the Houston Astros. He became a very good starting pitcher during his few years there. On the Rays last year, Morton struggled with injuries and saw his velocity dip. While the dip in velocity has no known reason, perhaps it has to do with age. It could also be due to his shoulder injury last year.
His average fastball was 92.4 mph, down from his near 95 mph average fastball in 2018 and 2019. While pitching for the Braves and their stellar infield defense could help him, Morton is someone I am veering away from in drafts. In case you couldn't tell, I don't like drafting players who are injury-prone. Morton falls under that category.
Couple that with his decreasing velocity and high ADP, and he is someone I will pass on in most, if not all drafts. Morton is being drafted around pick 110, and I would much rather reach on someone like Lance McCullers Jr.with that pick.
Morton has the upside to be great, but with him being 37 and his fastball velocity declining, I don't want to take the risk that he gets hurt or struggles and then calls it quits after this season.
He has been mulling the idea of retirement around now for the past few offseasons, so he knows there is a limited amount of gas left in the tank. I for one do not want to be the owner in fantasy left with Morton's empty tank.
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