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Points League Busts: First Basemen Set to Fall Short of ADP in 2022

This article will examine a few eligible first basemen for the 2022 MLB season that are being selected earlier than their Steamer projections suggest they should in points leagues and H2H points formats. RotoBaller's fantasy baseball points analyst Antonio Losada will be offering a few picks for both potential overperformers (sleepers) and shortcomers (busts) when it comes to the following baseball season at each of the six (C/1B/2B/3B/SS/OF) rosterable positions through the remainder of the offseason gearing up to training camps and the preseason. ADP figures come from point-format contests over NFBC.

In general, points leagues and H2H points formats are extremely underserved by the fantasy baseball community and fantasy baseball outlets. But in case you weren't aware, here at RotoBaller we really take pride in and specialize in points leagues. All through the preseason and MLB season, we'll be publishing rankings, tools, and analysis articles all geared for fantasy baseball points and H2H points leagues.

Before we get to the players themselves, let's quickly review points leagues and how they are different than other formats. Typically, points leagues have different league settings and scoring formats than other fantasy baseball leagues. Different MLB stats and categories are assigned different point values, and those can vary by individual league settings. Those different point buckets are then added up over the course of a scoring period or season. In many cases, hitters who walk more and strike out less are preferred for points leagues. Also, many league formats tend to give more weight to pitchers than normal as they can easily accrue points through categories like Innings Pitched. Without further ado, let's get it popping!

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Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox

ADP: 51.5 - OVR Rk: 55 - POS Rk: 9

Jose Abreu doesn't get appreciated enough. It's been eight seasons in a row for him playing at top-12 1B levels. He's been a top-52 player (ESPN scoring) in seven of those eight seasons. Do you know how many years has he played in the MLB? Eight. In other words, Abreu knows no slump. Is he poised to enter that gloomy realm, though? Could be the case (if not entirely, at least partially) and that might turn into a very serious hit for those out there drafting him with a near top-50 pick these days.

Abreu, again, is a bona fide star doing it on a yearly basis for his fantasy GMs. There's no arguing that. But it's been three years in a row for him striking out above 21.5% of the time while walking at a rate below 10%. That hasn't been incredibly bad judging by the final-season results, of course, but the BB/K Abreu posted last season (career-high 0.43) had nothing to do with his career-long numbers prior to the 2021 campaign. To wit: 0.31, 0.24, and 0.34 in the past three seasons and a career average of 0.32 prior to last year.

The games, plate appearances, and locked top-of-the-order role in Chicago will stay high and there. No doubts about that. The power, though, is a little more questionable with Abreu's XBH going from 82 in 2017 to 59, 72, and lastly (not counting 2020) 62 last year. While the BABIP was at his lowest through his eight-year career last season, it was still reasonably average-ish (.293), yet the AVG cratered to a career-low .261 while the OPS fell below .834 for the first time since 2017.


Jared Walsh, Los Angeles Angels

ADP: 96.3 - OVR Rk: 57 - POS Rk: 10

There was a time, believe it or not, when there was no Walsh. That time wasn't long ago, in fact, that time was just two years ago. That's mostly because Walsh is entering his age-28 season and only his second full-time playing for the Angels if we consider 2020 a wash. And hey, the man has looked great so far. The 2020 average of 3.09 FPPG was absolutely delicious and pro-rated to 600PA, it'd had been worth 550 FP in ESPN leagues! Just imagine! Only, nope.

Regression was coming and you could spot that from a mile away--or the moon, for that matter. Pandemic Walsh: .293/.646/.971; Last-Season Walsh: .277/.509/.850. Pandemic Walsh: .256 BABIP; Last-Season Walsh: .335 BABIP. Pandemic Walsh: 13.9 K%; Last-Season Walsh: 26.0 K%. Makes sense he posted 336 FP in his 585 PA instead of that unheard-of 550 FP the Pandemic FPPG mark told us were on the horizon.

What worries me most of all is that underlying stuff such as the sky-high BABIP didn't even help Walsh that much. It's been back-to-back years of virtually the same BB/K ratio at 0.32, which sucks for us point-format nuts. The <50 BB + >150 SO surely was a red flag from 2021 Walsh, and Steamer still sees the 28-year-old 1B as a 58-walk, 166-strikeout (!) man for next season. That sucks. The XBH project to a solid total of 66 broke down into a 31/2/33 split, which is the fourth-highest among 1B-eligible mates. But all of those positives are going to get über-neutralized by the cold negatives. Not seeing this fully paying back the ROI at this top-100 price, honestly.


Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles

ADP: 163.5 - OVR Rk: 94 - POS Rk: 14

The Orioles have two viable non-pitcher players for fantasy GMs this season, and one of them is Mancini. Only, he might not be one. Mancini is a borderline top-100 player as Steamer projections have it for the 2022 campaign. Not bad, not good either, definitely not great. Oh, and we're assuming the 657 PA turn into a reality, which we'll see as Mancini is the DH of the O's as the 1B spot will most probably be handed to youngin Ryan Mountcastle.

Mancini is only 29 years of age. That's good. Age alone shouldn't be a deciding factor for a soon-to-come decline. But there are tons of things already on the low for Trey that I don't like at all. Peep quickly at his Statcase profile, and there's not a lot of stuff to like from that quick glance. The K% and BB% figures are ranked in the 41st percentile or lower. The HardHit% is approaching 50-levels dangerously. And the Chase Rate and Whiff% are already into the first quartile. Ugh.

Mancini missed 2020. Cut him some slack because of what he had to go through recently, of course. That said, it's hard to bet on a huge bounceback. That fantastic 2019 season looks more like an outlier than something in the wait for a redo, as the 132 wRC+ back then was the highest of his four full-time MLB years by--at least--16 points of margin with the second-best figure. It's been four years in a row for TM trademarking 139+ SO without topping 63 walks. Last season looks like a good average for Mancini's floor and ceiling, and if that's the case, there are more than a few more appealing names out there with lower ADPs and higher levels of production in their projected numbers.

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