Welcome Fantasy friends and foes to the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Players to Avoid.
As important as it is for every Fantasy manager preps to seek out breakout players and sleepers, it is equally important to pinpoint the players that will bust or to avoid. Being on the plus side of those two groups is the difference between you being in the playoff chase or you getting ready for Fantasy Football.
Here is a group of players listed by the position that Fantasy managers would be wise to ignore in the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Players to Avoid.
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Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals
Salvador Perez absolutely CRUSHED this pitch and looks ready for WBC action! pic.twitter.com/VNZNt0WK8S
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) March 8, 2023
Salvador Perez is currently being drafted as the fourth catcher off the board, and it seems that Fantasy managers are hoping to catch lightning in the bottle again as they did for his 48-homer season in 2021. The 32-year-old Perez was limited to 114 games last season due to a thumb injury, but he still produced 23 homers which still proved valuable, especially at the catcher position.
His 2021 career season notwithstanding, Perez should be avoided as a top-five catcher selected. With sophomore MJ Melendez now in the catcher mix in Kansas City, Perez should see less time behind the plate. However, Father Time is still undefeated, and planning for Perez to produce similar numbers seems too risky at this draft juncture.
Triston Casas, 1B, Boston Red Sox
Fantasy managers are enamored with finding the next big thing before everyone else. Capturing the breakout player before he breaks out. The line of players that were supposed to be the next superstar can make a long enough line to spread across our great country.
The Boston Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas is one of the following promising hitters. It seems that we have been hearing about Casas for more than a few seasons. Unfortunately, the Red Sox continues to try to trot someone else out there at first instead of allowing the monstrous Casas to shine.
Unfortunately, Casas had only displayed small flashes of his potential, including last season when he .197/.358/.408 with five homers, 12 RBI, and 11 runs scored. Casas currently projects as the Red Sox everyday first baseman in 2023, but it will be challenging to trust Casas as an option during your drafts. The best-case scenario is that Casas proves to be waiver wire gold as he finally learns to hit MLB pitching consistently.
Brandon Drury, 2B, Los Angeles Angels
Fantasy managers lucky enough to add Brandon Drury probably were playoff contenders last season. Drury hit .263/.320/.492 with a career-high 28 homers and 87 RBI while contributing from multiple positions. Instead, Drury cashed in on his career season, signed with the Angels this past offseason, and will play second base and hit toward the bottom of the Angels lineup.
Before last season, Drury was a journeyman MLB player whose best attribute was his ability to play multiple positions. Unfortunately, his career season notwithstanding, Drury will not be able to hit that level and will be overdrafted.
Jeremy Pena, SS, Houston Astros
?2022 gold glove
?2022 worldseries champ !
?2022 worldseries MVP
— ?Houston Astros ?? France (@AstrosFrance) March 11, 2023
Jeremy Pena had a fairytale rookie season, resulting in Pena winning the AL Championship and World Series MVP honors. Unfortunately, his postseason heroics overshadowed a second half of the season that saw his production nosedive.
The dog days of summer caught up with Pena, with the rookie shortstop hitting only .218/.250/.416 In July and then slashed .218/.231/.297 in August. It seems that Pena leveled off during the season, and was taking a step back.
Of course, he did get hot at the right time for the Astros, and in the what have you done for me lately fantasy world we live in, most Fantasy managers will buy into the hype.
Pena hit 22 homers during the regular season and then hit four more homers in the postseason. Conversely, he only hit 18 homers in three minor league seasons. The power outlier has to raise concerns about whether he will ever match those power numbers. Fantasy managers should let another manager worry about that.
Yoan Moncada, 3B, Chicago White Sox
Yoan Moncada has never lived up to the immense hype surrounding him entering the league. His 2019 season displayed promise, with Moncada hitting .315/.367/.549 with 25 dingers and 79 RBI, but it has been downhill ever since.
Injuries and inconsistency have not assisted Moncada in becoming a trusted talent for the White Sox or Fantasy managers. So don't draft the name, prepare the stat production, and stay away from Moncada.
Cody Bellinger, OF, Chicago Cubs
— Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) March 10, 2023
Fantasy managers are still hoping to see Cody Bellinger, who broke out and won the NL MVP in 2019 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But, unfortunately, that player does not exist any longer.
Bellinger has become injury prone and inconsistent to the point of being a liability for his team and your Fantasy lineups. Last season, he hit .210 with 150 strikeouts and hasn't come close to those breakout numbers.
A move to the Chicago Cubs lineup won't give Bellinger the opportunities to return to fantasy prominence, and another poor season looks likely.
Michael Harris, II, OF, Atlanta Braves
Michael Harris had an excellent rookie season and took home NL Rookie of the Year. Harris hit .297/.339/.514 with 19 homers and 20 stolen bases. However, there should be some trepidation that Harris can achieve the same type of production unless he drastically improves in two categories.
Harris produced a 55.2 % ground ball rate last season which is 12 percentage points higher than the league average. Unfortunately, those seeing-eyes singles will not discover those holes as frequently this season,, especially with theliminated defensive shift addition, Harris doesn't accumulate many walks, with only a 4.8 percent walk rate. Another indication that his Fantasy production might take a significant drop and cause him not to be worthy of a top ten OF selection. This downgrade should present hesitation to grab Harris early, making the Braves outfielder a player to avoid.
Dylan Cease, SP, Chicago White Sox
Dylan Cease, 2022 2nd Half...
79.1 IP, 2.27 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 4.27 xFIP, 4.11 SIERA, 1.01 WHIP, .215 BABIP, 87.4% LOB, 9.6% BB, 24.8% K, 13% SwStr, 55.9% F-Strike
Cease is a fun arm, but lady luck was on his side in the 2nd half.
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) January 8, 2023
Dylan Cease finally had the breakout season Fantasy managers always hoped to see. He struck out 227 batters, which was the fifth-most in MLB. In addition, cease sported a nifty 2.20 ERA and produced an 11.1 K/9.
His outstanding season did carry some red flags. He posted a league-worst 3.8 BB/9 and 10.4 % walk rate,, contributing to his pedestrian 1.11 WHIP. The strikeout numbers look tremendous, but his walks have to be concerning. The strikeouts decreased from 12.9 K/9 in the first half to 8.7 in the second half. The questions surrounding will he will be able to keep those self-imposed extra runners from scoring has to make Fantasy managers yield from selecting Cease as a top 15 SP>
Zac Gallen, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Zac Gallen is currently being drafted as a top-30 pitcher on the heels of a dominating second half last season. Gallen posted a 1.49 ERA and 3.3 WAR to finish off last season. His career year will lead Fantasy managers to target the Diamondbacks' right-hander. However, you should never pay for career seasons.
Gallen is a perfect pitcher but not elite like his late-season numbers suggest. His 10.1 swinging strike rate and a .237 BABIP provide concerns that hitters will see Gallen surrender more hits and run this season. This increase will see Gallen not live up to his current draft capital.
Alexis Diaz, RP, Cincinnati Reds
Diaz produced a 1.84 ERA and 0.958 WHIP on his way to creating ten saves once he took over the closer role last season. However, there is plenty of risks associated with Diaz. His outrageous 54.5% fly-ball rate and 4.7 walks per nine is a recipe for disaster. He also pitches in a hitter-friendly park and a Reds team that looks destined to lose 100 games in consecutive seasons. No, thank you.
Craig Kimbrel, RP, Philadelphia Phillies
— Chris (@ccalderon_76) September 28, 2022
After an exciting season with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, veteran closer Craig Kimbrel signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. Kimbrel was one of two reliever acquisitions that the Phillies acquired to shore up their shaky bullpen for this season.
In addition to Kimbrel, the Phillies traded for southpaw closer Gregory Soto from the Detroit Tigers. Soto saved 30 games for the Tigers last season. The Phillies bullpen will have flame-thrower Seranthony Dominguez and lefty Jose Alvarado to work out closing games for the Phillies.
Kimbrel will be a closing option, but just one of the options, and it is challenging to believe that he will be the top choice. Kimbrel recorded 22 saves for the Dodgers last season, posting a 3.75 ERA, 10.8 SO/9, and 112 ERA+ across 60 innings. However, he walked batters at an alarming 4.2 BB/9, and his 27.7 SO% was at a career-low rate. Kimbrel was an adventure to watch, and an uncertain role makes Kimbrel a player to avoid this season.
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