With the MLB season quickly approaching, it is time for Fantasy managers to ensure they have the best possible rosters.
While there are plenty of players out there that you should be targeting, there are some who simply are not worth it.
Whether it be due to new locations, injuries, or simply regression, the following players should be avoided for the 2022 MLB season.
2022 Fantasy Baseball: Players to Avoid
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Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston Astros
Since he came into the league in 2016, Alex Bregman was the cream of the crop at third base. He averaged an OPS+ of 146 from 2017 to 2019. Since then, the numbers have tailed off. At first, I was willing to overlook his poor 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But his 2021 season was just as poor, despite being able to stay on the field.
Bregman totaled almost 21 WAR in his three best seasons but only has accumulated 3.2 combined in his last two years.
One has to wonder if the decline in Bregman's play is due to the Astros cheating scandal during the 2019 season. I am disinclined to believe this, as Jose Altuve had an excellent 2021 season despite all the speculation. Bregman has suffered from multiple injuries in the past year or so which have hampered his talents. It is unlikely we will see the Bregman of 2018-19, as you will be getting a shell of him in drafts.
Tyler O'Neill, OF, St.Louis Cardinals
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A breakout player in 2021, O'Neill balled out with 34 home runs and 80 runs batted in. He also displayed incredible speed, with 15 stolen bases and great OF play. O'Neill benefited from a higher hard-hit percentage and a lower strikeout rate than his career norms.
While his 2021 was very good for fantasy, some underlying numbers would suggest that regression is due in 2022. O'Neill saw a remarkable increase in his BABIP, isolated power, and a career-low in pulled balls. O'Neill's career strikeout percentages have typically resided in the mid to high 30s, yet he saw a decrease to 31% last year. His home run percentage also saw a boost to career-high levels.
These numbers suggest that they could be an outlier for his career. His career averages are more in line with his previous seasons. More strikeouts, less power, and more pulling the ball. He will have value as a power bat, and more so if he can use his speed more. Yet he will not see as much success as he did this past season.
Jared Walsh, 1B/OF, Los Angeles Angels
JARED WALSH OFF THE TV TRUCK
— Dillard Barnhart (@BarnHasSpoken2) March 22, 2022
Walsh is a player who relies almost entirely on his power, and he ripped 29 home runs last season. There is some skepticism as to whether or not he can replicate that performance in 2022. His fly ball percentage was very low, under 20%, and he put the ball on the ground just under 50% of the time. The average exit velocity on his balls in play was under 90 mph, very low for a power hitter.
All of these numbers suggest that Walsh had a fluky 2021, where he saw some luck on fly balls. The other problem is that Walsh does not provide much value elsewhere for fantasy. He strikes out a lot (154 in 2021), has no speed, and puts the ball on the ground. Not the greatest look for a supposed power hitter. It doesn't help that he plays in a division that is very friendly to pitchers either. This puts him firmly in the "Avoid" category in 2022.
Aroldis Chapman, RP, New York Yankees
Aroldis Chapman blows 98 MPH by Bryce Harper to complete a scoreless inning 🔥 pic.twitter.com/rSboNOCey9
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) March 25, 2022
It was not long ago that Chapman was one of baseball's premier relievers. He certainly started out that way at the beginning of 2021. He did not allow a single run through late May and was throwing pure filth. Yet something turned sour as the season went on. Chapman saw a decrease in velocity and began to get pummeled. He recovered somewhat towards the end but was still unspectacular.
The Yankees have already announced that Chapman could potentially be used in an 8th inning role. New York also has more valuable relievers in Chad Green and Jonathan Loaisiga. This immediately drops Chapman's value, especially in leagues where saves are valued more than holds.
Combine the above facts with Chapman's increasing age (34) and you can see the package is a player whose game will not age well. Get ahead of the curve, and leave him off of your rosters.
Chris Sale, SP, Boston Red Sox
A little Chris Sale update; The Red Sox expect him back by mid to late May.
— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) March 25, 2022
This is simply a classic case of potentially paying for an old version of a player, but getting a different one. Sale has been an unquestioned ace in his past, but his 2020 and 2021 were anything but.
His numbers were solid, but you are not drafting Sale for solid production. A previous Tommy John surgery, plus a recent stress fracture in his rib, is leading me to stay away from Sale.
He will be a decent pitcher, but nowhere closer to being worth his ADP of 83, towards the back end of the aces and high-quality pitchers.
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