Yesterday, we looked at potential breakouts at second base. Today, we turn our attention to the potential busts.
Identifying the next big star is undoubtedly more fun, but as any fantasy owner can tell you, steering clear of the players whose performances will disappoint may be even more critical to a successful season.
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Second Base Bust Candidates
Trea Turner, Washington Nationals (ADP: 10)
I see you over there sharpening those pitchforks! Hear me out. Turner was amazing as a rookie last year. That is irrefutable. The hype here is easily understood. Even factoring in the likely regression in homers and the certain BABIP decline, Turner's a good bet to hit for average and steal a lot of bases, with double-digit pop and plenty of runs. That's excellent, especially for a guy who will be eligible at both middle infield positions and the outfield.
But! One half-season, no matter how transcendent, isn't enough for me to rubber stamp a guy as a first-round pick. Don’t be so quick to forget the lessons we should have learned from Carlos Correa last year, or Brett Lawrie back in the day: Ignore downside risk at your own peril with high-priced youngsters.
Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins (ADP: 36)
Dozier was nearly a Dodger, but the Twins held out for more than Jose De Leon and L.A. called their bluff. He struggled early last season before playing out of his mind in the second half. He wound up finishing the season with 42 home runs, nearly as many as he’d hit in the previous two seasons combined. Dozier also hit .268, easily a career best.
There is evidence of a change in approach here. Dozier, as he has every season of his MLB career, increased his fly ball rate. Unfortunately, his infield fly rates also increased every year – until 2016, when he cut them to a career low. Dozier also added several points to his hard contact rate. Still, a repeat seems unlikely. Owners would do well to recall the floor we saw from Dozier and not simply the ceiling. Through the end of May, Dozier was hitting .202/.294/.329 with five homers and three steals.
Jean Segura, Seattle Mariners (ADP: 54)
After dazzling in the first half of his rookie season in 2013, Segura was one of the worst hitters in baseball for the next two and a half years. So naturally, last year he set career highs in batting average (.319), OPS (.867), home runs (20), and runs scored (102) while also stealing 33 bases.
Though Safeco Field doesn’t play as pitcher-friendly as it used to, it’s still not Chase Field. Segura did the bulk of his damage there and at Coors, hitting 40 points higher at those two parks than anywhere else, and 13 of his 20 home runs. It’s also worth noting that the Mariners as a team only stole 56 bases last year. With Segura and Jarrod Dyson, they have the personnel to increase that total quite a bit, but it remains to be seen how often Seattle will run.