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AL Outfielders Set to Bust for Fantasy Baseball

In previous seasons, the outfield position has been one of the deepest positions to find top-end talent as well as deeper talent. In 2022, this appears to be the case again as the top-250 players based on ADP are littered with talent at the position. That being said, there are several land mines sprinkled throughout the top-250 that likely should be avoided.

This article will take a deeper look into AL outfielders that are being drafted too high based on ADP and are not likely to meet their current projections for several reasons. These are outfielders that should be avoided, or at the very least, drafted later than their current ADP.

The outfielders we will look into today include Byron Buxton, Robbie Grossman, and Adolis Garcia.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best MLB Series, NFL Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins

Current ADP: 65

There is no doubt that Buxton has the talent to have earned this ADP inside the top-six rounds of 12 team leagues. In 2021, he posted a .306/.358/.647 slash line with 19 home runs and nine stolen bases in just 235 at-bats. The problem here is the 235 at-bats. Sure, he posted a solid home run and stolen base total that extrapolates to around 45 home runs and 22 stolen bases over a full season, but he has played a full season of baseball in just one of his six full seasons in the big leagues. He has not even eclipsed 90 games played since 2017, and that was just one of two seasons in which he has done so.

While Buxton did have an extraordinary 2021 season in terms of Statcast metrics, his career metrics leave a bit to be desired, likely due to injuries. For his career, he has rated as below MLB average in terms of Xba (.226),  xSLG (.397), and xwOBA (.292). He has also posted a career K rate of 28% and has been above 25% in all but two seasons, so there is plenty of swing and miss in his game. He struggled quite a bit against offspeed pitches in 2021 as noted by his .333 SLG and 36.8% whiff rate as well.

Add in the fact that the Twins' offense ranked in the middle of the pack in terms of run production in 2021, and could suffer further with the loss of Nelson Cruz in the middle of the lineup, and you have the makings of a possible bust at his current ADP.

 

Robbie Grossman, Detroit Tigers

Current ADP: 161

Robbie Grossman had a tremendous 2021 camping in which he slashed .239/.357/.415 with 23 home runs and 20 stolen bases. He set career-highs in home runs, stolen bases, and walks in his age-32 season. The reason for him being in this article is that this appears to be a tremendous outlying season for him.

In no season before 2021 had Grossman ever hit more than 11 home runs or stolen more than nine bases. He posted a career-high 7.8% barrel rate after never having posted a rate above 5.5% while also posting a .399 xSLG after having averaged .377 for his career. The numbers look a bit worse when we compare his lefty vs. right splits as well. He posted an .857 OPS vs. left-handers compared to a .734 OPS vs. right-handers. He also ranked in the 35th percentile or worse in terms of xSLG, hard-hit rate, and exit velocity, which are all categories you would expect to see him doing well in if we were to be able to sustain this output.

Grossman currently has an ADP of 161, which makes him a 13th round pick in 12-team, mixed leagues. Other players in this range that should be considered instead of him include Dylan Carlson and Alex Verdugo.

 

Adolis Garcia, Texas Rangers

Current ADP: 170

Adolis Garcia had a tremendous first half of 2021 in which he slashed .270/.312/.527 with 22 home runs, 62 RBI, and eight stolen bases before the All-Star break. He then followed that up with a pedestrian .211/.256/.370 slash line with just nine home runs and 28 RBI after the All-Star break. This appears to be the case of a player who was figured out by pitchers in the second half as he was unable to adjust.

On the season. he posted a miserable .186 AVG and .310 xBA against offspeed pitches while also posting a 38.4% whiff rate against the pitch. Overall, he posted a K rate of 32.1%, which was ranked in the bottom five percent of the league. He also paired this with an abysmal 5.1% walk rate, which ranked in the bottom six percent of the league. We are talking about a guy that had a breakout first half of the season, but has a ton (!) of swing and miss in his game and does not supplant that with an ability to get on base via the walk; a terrible combination.

We also do not have much of a track record to go off of in the majors with Garcia as he posted just a combined 24 plate appearances before 2021. In the minors, Garcia was a career .266 hitter with a K rate of 26% and a walk rate of just five percent. This tells us his first half of 2021 could likely be an outlier. He also plays in a stadium that ranked 22nd in the league in terms of overall park factor. With a current ADP putting him off the board in the 14th round of 12-team mixed leagues, one might be better off selecting a player like Akil Baddoo who is going just six selections later in drafts.



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