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2021 Fantasy Baseball Busts - RotoBaller Staff Picks

As you prepare for fantasy baseball drafts in 2021, it's crucial that you avoid the dreaded bust that could sink your team.

As we did with draft sleepers yesterday, our staff came together to share their thoughts on preseason ADP values, this time on their least favorite picks.

Let's find out who our experts have pegged for a decline or who may return a negative value based on preseason ADP in 2021. Here are the RotoBaller staff's draft-day busts to avoid.

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Which hitter ranked inside the top 100 is the biggest potential bust?

I'm not a fan of Jose Abreu going in the second round (23rd overall) of a 12-team league. The reigning AL MVP had a career-year last season but don't bet on him replicating a .617 slugging percentage or a .300 ISO over a full-162. You don't get last season's stats and, at 34, he's not getting any younger. This ranking is paying for his ceiling. -Mike Schwarzenbach

Luis Robert - The talent is off the chart, no disagreement when it comes to that. The problem is too much swing and miss with Robert. Also, rumors of LaRussa hitting Robert sixth or seventh in the lineup hurts his fantasy ceiling. -Brian Entrekin

Do I think Adalberto Mondesi can get 50+ steals and end the season as a top-10 player? Yes. But to achieve that, Mondesi will need to hit well enough to stay in the lineup as the Royals could make a sneaky run for a wildcard spot. The concern about Mondesi is the lack of ability to take walks (career 4.3% BB%) and the swing and miss approach (career 29.7% K%), which is something that could seem him slide down the batting lineup or see time on the bench more regularly. Add in the emergence of top prospect Bobby Witt Jr. and there’s a very real possibility that Mondesi loses his role if he struggles early in the season. A lot needs to go well for Mondesi to provide value at his current ADP but not much needs to go wrong for him to tank your fantasy rosters. -Jamie Steed

Count me among the skeptics that Alex Bregman will ever put up pre-2020 numbers again. It isn't just about the trashcans either. Bregman has been battling a hamstring injury and has yet to make his spring debut as of this writing. Take away George Springer and factor in declines by Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel and this Astros lineup isn't as good as it was before last year either. He no longer runs so you're solely depending on power numbers to produce top-50 value. I'll draft him only if he drops well past his ADP of 32 overall. -Pierre Camus

For Alex Bregman, I know the price is actually quite good for the potential ceiling we've seen from Bregman in the past. But you cannot convince me his past great seasons were not a product of cheating, and you cannot convince me that his awful 2020 was not a product of not being able to cheat. -JB Branson

Francisco Lindor will likely only return his near-first round draft price (16 ADP) if he hits 30+ HR and I'm just not bullish on those days returning. The Mets are a better team than Cleveland but he's going from a park that was slightly above average in terms of hitter power to a notorious pitcher's park at Citi Field (that now uses a humidor) in a season where MLB is purposely deadening the baseballs. And that says nothing of the fact that Lindor's Air% (100+ mph) has dropped from 33.7% in 2018 to 30.4% in 2019 to 23..6% in 2020. Does that sound like the conditions are ripe for a return to power? -Nick Gaut

J.T. Realmuto. He's just inside the top-50 and I'm not sure I can justify taking him that early. If he wasn't a catcher, there's no way he'd be going that early. He's now 30 years old and you aren't going to get those stolen bases like you did when he was younger and running more. -Dan Palyo

Aaron Judge's potential has pushed him up too high for a player who is hurt so often. There's no doubt that he can be a cornerstone for winning your league, but the impact of injuries is cumulative. The more times a player gets hurt, the harder it becomes to get healthy. At pick 100, Judge is a great value, at 50, he's a liability. -David Emerick

Whit Merrifield is solid, but he is at a point where he may fall off more than he can best what he has done. -Scott Engel


Which pitcher ranked inside the top 100 is the biggest potential bust?

I'll never get over Trevor Bauer launching the ball into Cleveland's centerfield when he got upset about Terry Francona removing him from the game. I think Bauer is a competitor and wants to win, but I'm genuinely concerned about how he is impacted by being the highest-paid player for a big-market team. If there were a longer history of dominance, it would be different, but Bauer has only been a good pitcher in 2018 and 2020. Bauer isn't necessarily a "bust" candidate for me, but he's someone I'm projecting to underperform his draft slot. I look at last season and know he benefitted from facing the weakest hitting division last year. While the NL (and lack of DH) will help compensate for that, the risk is too high to take him at his current ADP of 16. -David Emerick

The best troll trick that Trevor Bauer ever played was convincing the fantasy community that he's worth a top-15 pick. Top-15 pitcher? Sure. But using a first-round pick on a notorious tinkerer who's coming off his best year, one in which he saw a huge K% bump after dramatically (and naturally, wink-wink) increasing his spin rates? Bauer posted a career-high 1.73 ERA in 2020, beating his previous best of 2.21 ERA in 2018. In his five other full seasons in the majors, the best was a 4.18 ERA. Volatility, thy name is Bauer. -Nick Gaut

Whether you love or hate what went down with the Trevor Bauer drama this offseason, there's no doubt he was dominant in 2020 and may have landed in the ideal place with the Dodgers. That said, he isn't going to put up better numbers than Walker Buehler or Clayton Kershaw and shouldn't be drafted ahead of either. A favorable schedule, a short season, and a questionable jump in spin rate made his ratios shinier than they ever had before. He's still a top-10 SP for me but shouldn't be drafted in the second round where he currently is being taken. -Pierre Camus

Trevor Bauer is overrated and should be more exposed over a full season. He is not an elite starter. -Scott Engel

Tyler Glasnow is expected to be the ace of the Rays rotation now Blake Snell is in San Diego. And while it’s possible he does step up to that role, he’s yet to show his full potential over a prolonged period. He was excellent in 2019 with a 1.78 ERA but that was over 60.2 IP and 12 starts. Last year, Glasnow made 12 starts totaling 57.1 IP and had a 4.08 ERA. Since joining the Rays, Glasnow averages just over five IP per start. While Glasnow’s career strikeout rate (28.5% K%) is very good, he still walks too many batters (career 10.8% BB%) which is one of the reasons he doesn’t go deeper into games. The Rays aren’t going to change their pitching staff usage any time soon so getting fantasy value from Glasnow at his current ADP will prove difficult even if he does improve on his career 4.43 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. -Jamie Steed

Tyler Glasnow - Glasnow has two great pitches, the problem is the curveball had so much trouble finding the strike zone. This leads to hitters taking more pitches, which shortens Glasnow’s outings. Until this changes then he is off my draft board. -Brian Entrekin

Max Fried in the top-100 is nuts to me. He pitched to a 2.25 ERA last season, but a 4.05 xFIP and 4.32 SIERA scream regression. His hard-hit rate dropped by a full 15 percent last season, yet he wasn't missing bats as his swinging-strike rate was his lowest since his rookie year in 2017. He's a good, young pitcher for Atlanta, but not someone that excites me in fantasy, especially this high early in the draft. -Mike Schwarzenbach

Clayton Kershaw. His innings are down, the strikeouts are down. He's sitting at 32 in our rankings and I suppose he's a reliable consolation prize for anyone who may have missed out after a run on pitchers, but I don't see any reason to think he's going to be better than what he has been this year, or any real reason for the Dodgers to let him throw as many innings as he used to. -Dan Palyo

Clayton Kershaw. He's 33 years old, hasn't pitched 200 IP since 2015, has chronic back problems, the Dodgers have 431432 Starting Pitchers, managers are going to be limiting their SP innings this year, etc etc. I think it's going to be a frustrating year to own Kershaw. -JB Branson

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