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Fantasy Baseball Busts

2015 Fantasy Baseball Hitter Busts

The 2015 Major League Baseball season is upon us and we all want to know who will underperform their projections (busts). There are many metrics you can use to find a hitter who will regress or not live up to expectations including abnormally high BABIP, high HR/FB%, K rates, etc. Here are some guys we dug up who might have disappointing seasons.


Tyler Flowers

Flowers hit .241 with 15 homeruns last year which are decent numbers for a catcher. But hold on. His BABIP was way too high, .355, and that is likely to drop about 50 points. He also has no plate discipline (25 BB to 159 K with a less than .300 OBP). Finally, his contact percentage was only about 63%, whereas the MLB average is 78.5%. This huge gap probably implies Flowers is an all or nothing kind of guess hitter who just takes his hacks. Well, I won't be taking a hack on him this year.

Devin Mesoraco

Mesoraco had a great year last year, especially for a catcher, when he hit .280 - 25 HR - 80 RBI. But let us start with the power surge. His HR/FB ratio was a whopping 15.2%, more than double from the year before. This will decline as it normally does. His BABIP does not seem so high at .309, until you compare it with his normal BABIP numbers, .234 in 2012 and .264 in 2013. His line drive percent of 29% is not sustainable at all (to put it in perspective, it was better than Mike Trout's 28% line drive ratio). His contact percentage was also 7% points less than the league average. These signs all indicate a decline for the Reds catcher.


Freddie Freeman

For some reason Freeman is ranked as the eighth best first basemen in fantasy baseball. People are factoring in a prediction for a breakout year, but I think we have already seen all there is to see. Our first baseman needs power, and simply put, Freeman does not have it. 11 players topped 30 HR last year and they averaged a 19.65% line drive rate and a fly ball rate of 42.7%. Freeman had a 31% line drive rate to go with a 32.5% fly ball rate. In other words, Freeman is a line drive, gap to gap hitter who will help you in average, but not necessarily in homeruns - and we need those homeruns from our first baseman. Not to mention the fact that Atlanta's lineup is putrid. Freeman's protection? Chris Johnson? Um, no thank you.

Victor Martinez

VMart had a monster year last year with a .335 average and 32 homeruns. Yet, upon closer inspection, we notice the 36 year old had a HR/FB ratio of a very high 11.5%, while his career rate was only about 7% and the league average is also around 7%. This ratio tends to revert back to normal, and this was also VMart's first 30 HR season in 12 years. Needless to say the HR total will go down. Martinez also had a career high .409 OBP and 70 walks, but 28 of those walks were intentional. This was probably because there was a guy on second, so that OBP will most likely go down. Lastly, at his age, we have to worry about Martinez's age and health history. Time is not on his side, and we probably saw the best he has to offer last year, not this year.


Jose Altuve

The Houston little man contributes in only 3 categories: average, runs, and stolen bases, but average was probably falsely inflated due to his league leading BABIP of .360, a number that just cannot be sustained from year to year. Without average, you are better off with the cheaper option of someone like Dee Gordon than you are with Altuve.


Josh Harrison

Josh Harrison came out of nowhere and hit .315 with an .837 OPS, but this could be due to a lucky BABIP of .353, a number that is likely to decrease this year. Another alarming statistic is Harrison completely lacks plate discipline and swung at 38% of pitches outside of the zone and he only had a 4% walk rate. Nothing before 2014 said Harrison could even be a major league regular, so I'm chalking up 2014 as a fluke.

Lonnie Chisenhall

Chisenhall hit .280 last year with 13 HR and 59 RBI in 142 games. That is pretty much a full season for a fantasy player and we just need more output from a corner infield spot. His .280 average was inflated due to a high BABIP of .328 (compared to a career .297 BABIP). I always like to see players finish strong and Chisenhall hit only .218 in the second half of 2014. His HR/FB% was a bit lowere than normal so we might see an increase in pop, but I do not predict the eventual breakout like some of the other analysts believe.


Troy Tulowitzki

It pains me to add Tulo to this list because he is one of my favorite players, but the guy just cannot stay healthy. In 9 years, he had less than 400 AB four times. He tore up the league last year but played in only 91 games. He hit .340 with 21 HR. But when we look closer, it was the Coors Field effect. At home, he hit .417 with 14 HR. Away, he only hit .257 with 7 HR. Now that Tulo is a possible trade candidate, if he moves away from Coors Field, I would be very leery of him as the elite shortstop option in the Major Leagues, due to his dominance in Colorado and injury history.

J.J. Hardy

Hardy is getting old and to be honest, he had mixed signals in 2014. In the first half he hit .280 with 3 HR, but in the second half he hit only .249 with 6 HR. I believe the years of 20+ HR are over. He had a very low HR/FB% rate at less than 5%, but there weren't enough doubles to justify the power is still there (28 doubles in 529 AB). Shortstop is a very thin position and if you want a chance at a better than average power surge, I would still look elsewhere as it seems Hardy's age is slowing hit bat down and decreasing his power.


Nelson Cruz

Cruz may not bust per say but he will be overvalued after leading the MLB in homeruns last year with 40. Cruz is already 34 and had only once hit the 30 HR mark before 2014. Cruz is also going to a terrible hitter's ballpark in Seattle with a fairly weak lineup around him. In his career at Safeco, Cruz's numbers are horrible: .234 with nine home runs and a .749 OPS in 184 at-bats. Add to that the fact that Cruz has problems staying healthy and he is atop many bust lists this year. Buyer beware.

Yoenis Cespedes

Cespedes is on my bust list because the name is greater than the output. There must be a reason Cespedes, now on Detroit, has played for 3 teams in 2 years. He had an awful .301 OBP due to a low walk rate of 5.4% and a low average of .260. The average is for real as his BABIP was pretty normal, .293. His HR/FB% is in line with the average at 8.7% so all the signs are there that we have seen exactly what Cespedes is, and nothing more. He gets drafted earlier than he should as just a .260 - 25 HR outfielder with just a .300 OBP.

Billy Hamilton

I am putting Hamilton on this list because he is a one trick pony, he steals bases. In rotisserie leagues, he was the 16th best outfielder, but in head to head leagues, he was way down to the 33rd best outfielder. This is because in rotisserie, Hamilton's 56 SB would help your team move up in the SB category a lot, but in head to head matches, his SB were worth probably only a point or two each week/day. I may be biased but I need power from my outfielders and Hamilton had only 6 HR and 48 RBI. So, sure he will get his SB, but do not overpay for an outfielder with only one strength.


List of 2014 Qualifying Hitters from Highest to Lowest BABIP

Regression candidates due for a fall are towards the top.

1Lorenzo Cain28KCR5020.3800.3010.3390.4120.751
2Starling Marte25PIT5450.3730.2910.3560.4530.808
3Jose Altuve24HOU7070.3600.3410.3770.4530.830
4Adam Eaton*25CHW5380.3590.3000.3620.4010.763
5Jose Abreu27CHW6220.3560.3170.3830.5810.964
6Yasiel Puig23LAD6400.3560.2960.3820.4800.863
7Christian Yelich*22MIA6600.3560.2840.3620.4020.764
8Andrew McCutchen27PIT6480.3550.3140.4100.5420.952
9Josh Harrison26PIT5500.3530.3150.3470.4900.837
10Giancarlo Stanton24MIA6380.3530.2880.3950.5550.950
11Dexter Fowler#28HOU5050.3510.2760.3750.3990.774
12Freddie Freeman*24ATL7080.3510.2880.3860.4610.847
13Mike Trout22LAA7050.3490.2870.3770.5610.939
14Howie Kendrick30LAA6740.3470.2930.3470.3970.744
15Miguel Cabrera31DET6850.3460.3130.3710.5240.895
16Dee Gordon*26LAD6500.3460.2890.3260.3780.704
17Adrian Beltre35TEX6140.3450.3240.3880.4920.879
18Chris Johnson29ATL6110.3450.2630.2920.3610.653
19Matt Kemp29LAD5990.3450.2870.3460.5060.852
20Jayson Werth35WSN6290.3430.2920.3940.4550.849
21Joe Mauer*31MIN5180.3420.2770.3610.3710.732
22Marlon Byrd36PHI6370.3410.2640.3120.4450.757
23Carlos Gomez28MIL6440.3390.2840.3560.4770.833
24Matt Adams*25STL5630.3380.2880.3210.4570.779
25Starlin Castro24CHC5690.3370.2920.3390.4380.777
26Marcell Ozuna23MIA6120.3370.2690.3170.4550.772
27Leonys Martin*26TEX5830.3360.2740.3250.3640.689
28Robinson Cano*31SEA6650.3350.3140.3820.4540.836
29Casey McGehee31MIA6910.3350.2870.3550.3570.712
30Alex Rios33TEX5210.3350.2800.3110.3980.709
31Michael Brantley*27CLE6760.3330.3270.3850.5060.890
32Justin Upton26ATL6410.3320.2700.3420.4910.833
33David Freese31LAA5110.3300.2600.3210.3830.704
34Justin Morneau*33COL5500.3300.3190.3640.4960.860
35Ben Revere*26PHI6260.3300.3060.3250.3610.686
36Denard Span*30WSN6680.3300.3020.3550.4160.771
37Lonnie Chisenhall*25CLE5330.3280.2800.3430.4270.770
38Nick Castellanos22DET5790.3260.2590.3060.3940.700
39Ian Desmond28WSN6480.3260.2550.3130.4300.743
40Alcides Escobar27KCR6200.3260.2850.3170.3770.694
41Yan Gomes26CLE5180.3260.2780.3130.4720.785
42Conor Gillaspie*26CHW5060.3250.2820.3360.4160.752
43Austin Jackson27TOT6560.3250.2560.3080.3470.655
44David Wright31NYM5860.3250.2690.3240.3740.698
45Jonathan Lucroy28MIL6550.3240.3010.3730.4650.837
46Adeiny Hechavarria25MIA5740.3230.2760.3080.3560.664
47Hanley Ramirez30LAD5120.3230.2830.3690.4480.817
48DJ LeMahieu25COL5380.3220.2670.3150.3480.663
49Daniel Murphy*29NYM6420.3220.2890.3320.4030.734
50James Loney*30TBR6510.3190.2900.3360.3800.716
51Buster Posey27SFG6050.3190.3110.3640.4900.854
52Matt Carpenter*28STL7090.3180.2720.3750.3750.750
53Hunter Pence31SFG7080.3180.2770.3320.4450.777
54Alejandro De Aza*30TOT5280.3170.2520.3140.3860.700
55J.J. Hardy31BAL5690.3170.2680.3090.3720.682
56Melky Cabrera#29TOR6210.3160.3010.3510.4580.808
57Victor Martinez#35DET6410.3160.3350.4090.5650.974
58Charlie Blackmon*27COL6480.3150.2880.3350.4400.775
59Nori Aoki*32KCR5490.3140.2850.3490.3600.710
60Anthony Rendon24WSN6830.3140.2870.3510.4730.824
61Kole Calhoun*26LAA5370.3130.2720.3250.4500.776
62Eric Hosmer*24KCR5470.3120.2700.3180.3980.716
63Jose Reyes#31TOR6550.3120.2870.3280.3980.726
64Torii Hunter38DET5860.3110.2860.3190.4460.765
65Adam Jones28BAL6820.3110.2810.3110.4690.780
66Anthony Rizzo*24CHC6160.3110.2860.3860.5270.913
67Billy Butler28KCR6030.3100.2710.3230.3790.702
68Alex Gordon*30KCR6430.3100.2660.3510.4320.783
69Martin Prado30TOT5730.3100.2820.3210.4120.733
70Aramis Ramirez36MIL5310.3100.2850.3300.4270.757
71Kurt Suzuki30MIN5030.3100.2880.3450.3830.727
72Todd Frazier28CIN6600.3090.2730.3360.4590.795
73Shin-Soo Choo*31TEX5290.3080.2420.3400.3740.714
74Jason Heyward*24ATL6490.3080.2710.3510.3840.735
75Brandon Crawford*27SFG5640.3070.2460.3240.3890.713
76Dustin Pedroia30BOS6090.3070.2780.3370.3760.712
77Gerardo Parra*27TOT5740.3060.2610.3080.3690.677
78Elvis Andrus25TEX6850.3050.2630.3140.3330.647
79Brett Gardner*30NYY6360.3050.2560.3270.4220.749
80Seth Smith*31SDP5210.3050.2660.3670.4400.807
81Ryan Braun30MIL5800.3040.2660.3240.4530.777
82Billy Hamilton#23CIN6110.3040.2500.2920.3550.648
83Chase Headley#30TOT5310.3010.2430.3280.3720.700
84Dioner Navarro#30TOR5200.3010.2740.3170.3950.712
85Ben Zobrist#33TBR6540.3010.2720.3540.3950.749
86Pablo Sandoval#27SFG6380.3000.2790.3240.4150.739
87Nick Markakis*30BAL7100.2990.2760.3420.3860.729
88Trevor Plouffe28MIN5820.2990.2580.3280.4230.751
89Matt Holliday34STL6670.2980.2720.3700.4410.811
90Erick Aybar#30LAA6420.2970.2780.3210.3790.700
 LgAvg per 600 PA  6000.2970.2490.3120.3830.695
91Xander Bogaerts21BOS5940.2960.2400.2970.3620.660
92Jacoby Ellsbury*30NYY6350.2960.2710.3280.4190.747
93Desmond Jennings27TBR5420.2960.2440.3190.3780.697
94Kyle Seager*26SEA6540.2960.2680.3340.4540.788
95Chase Utley*35PHI6640.2950.2700.3390.4070.746
96Jason Castro*27HOU5120.2940.2220.2860.3660.651
97Adrian Gonzalez*32LAD6600.2940.2760.3350.4820.817
98Derek Jeter40NYY6340.2940.2560.3040.3130.617
99Luis Valbuena*28CHC5470.2940.2490.3410.4350.776
100Yoenis Cespedes28TOT6450.2930.2600.3010.4500.751
101Jhonny Peralta32STL6280.2920.2630.3360.4430.779
102Alexei Ramirez32CHW6570.2920.2730.3050.4080.713
103Garrett Jones*33MIA5470.2900.2460.3090.4110.720
104Nelson Cruz33BAL6780.2880.2710.3330.5250.859
105Ryan Howard*34PHI6480.2880.2230.3100.3800.690
106Ian Kinsler32DET7260.2880.2750.3070.4200.727
107Jason Kipnis*27CLE5550.2880.2400.3100.3300.640
108Neil Walker#28PIT5710.2880.2710.3420.4670.809
109Jose Bautista33TOR6730.2870.2860.4030.5240.928
110Adam Dunn*34TOT5110.2860.2190.3370.4150.752
111B.J. Upton29ATL5820.2860.2080.2870.3330.620
112Evan Longoria28TBR7000.2850.2530.3200.4040.724
113Jordy Mercer27PIT5550.2850.2550.3050.3870.693
114Lucas Duda*28NYM5960.2830.2530.3490.4810.830
115Brandon Moss*30OAK5800.2830.2340.3340.4380.772
116Yunel Escobar31TBR5290.2820.2580.3240.3400.664
117Jed Lowrie#30OAK5660.2810.2490.3210.3550.676
118Josh Donaldson28OAK6950.2780.2550.3420.4560.798
119Salvador Perez24KCR6060.2780.2600.2890.4030.692
120Adam LaRoche*34WSN5860.2770.2590.3620.4550.817
121Aaron Hill32ARI5410.2760.2440.2870.3670.654
122Khris Davis26MIL5490.2750.2440.2990.4570.756
123Omar Infante32KCR5750.2750.2520.2950.3370.632
124Miguel Montero*30ARI5600.2750.2430.3290.3700.699
125Jean Segura24MIL5570.2750.2460.2890.3260.614
126Yangervis Solarte#26TOT5350.2750.2600.3360.3690.705
127Dustin Ackley*26SEA5420.2730.2450.2930.3980.692
128Asdrubal Cabrera#28TOT6160.2720.2410.3070.3870.694
129Domonic Brown*26PHI5120.2690.2350.2850.3490.634
130Jay Bruce*27CIN5450.2690.2170.2810.3730.654
131Brian Dozier27MIN7070.2690.2420.3450.4160.762
132Jimmy Rollins#35PHI6090.2690.2430.3230.3940.717
133Chris Carter27HOU5720.2670.2270.3080.4910.799
134Allen Craig29TOT5050.2660.2150.2790.3150.594
135Coco Crisp#34OAK5360.2660.2460.3360.3630.699
136Curtis Granderson*33NYM6540.2650.2270.3260.3880.714
137Albert Pujols34LAA6950.2650.2720.3240.4660.790
138Andrelton Simmons24ATL5760.2630.2440.2860.3310.617
139Dayan Viciedo25CHW5630.2610.2310.2810.4050.686
140Edwin Encarnacion31TOR5420.2600.2680.3540.5470.901
141David Ortiz*38BOS6020.2560.2630.3550.5170.873
142Zack Cozart28CIN5430.2550.2210.2680.3000.568
143Carlos Santana#28CLE6600.2490.2310.3650.4270.792
144Matt Dominguez24HOU6070.2440.2150.2560.3300.586
145Chris Davis*28BAL5250.2420.1960.3000.4040.704
146Mark Teixeira#34NYY5080.2330.2160.3130.3980.711
147Brian McCann*30NYY5380.2310.2320.2860.4060.692
*Left Handed Batter        
#Switch Hitter       

Be sure to check out our article featuring 2015 Pitcher Busts!

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