5 Fantasy Baseball Overachievers to Avoid in Drafts – Fantasy Data

Overachievers to Avoid in 2024 Fantasy Baseball Drafts

Everyone knows which stats matter most when deciding which players to draft. In standard 5 x 5 roto, those are R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, K, ERA, WHIP, and SV. However, those stats don’t always tell the whole story. Underlying metrics can give you an idea of what a player was expected to do, and identify those who aren’t quite as good as they look on the surface. Here are five players that vastly over-performed in 2023 and aren’t worth drafting at their current ADP. The ADP I will be referencing is FantasyPros’ consensus ADP.

Blake Snell, SP, FA

2023 Stats: 14-9 / 180 IP / 2.25 ERA / 1.19 WHIP / 234 K / 99 BB 

ADP: 57.4 (SP 19)

You wouldn’t expect a reigning Cy Young champ to be labeled as overvalued when he’s being drafted as the 19th-best starting pitcher, but that is the case with Blake Snell. His 3.79 expected ERA was a far cry from his actual ERA of 2.25, making him the biggest overachiever in that category by far among starting pitchers. The bad expected numbers were due to his lack of control, which has plagued him for his whole career. His 13.3% walk rate was the highest of his career, and once again was the worst among all qualified pitchers. The great numbers that won him the Cy Young last season are simply not sustainable when he is walking one of every seven batters, and when things go wrong for Blake Snell, they tend to go very wrong. For example, in 2021 he was essentially useless for fantasy, delivering a 4.20 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. That type of downside is something I’m not comfortable having as my SP1 or SP2 on draft day. I’d rather draft other pitchers in this range such as Freddy Peralta (56.8 ADP), Kodai Senga (62.8), and Zach Eflin (80.6).

Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF, FA

2023 Stats: 95 R / 26 HR / 97 RBI / 20 SB / .307 AVG / .356 OBP / .525 SLG

ADP: 55.8 (1B 6, OF 14)

It may look like Cody Bellinger finally figured things out last year, playing at a level closer to his 2019 MVP-caliber season than his 2020–2022 seasons where he was one of the worst hitters in the league. However, his percentile rankings at Baseball Savant don’t look like anything you’d expect from a supposedly elite hitter.

He actually managed to have an average exit velocity, barrel percentage, and hard-hit percentage worse than he did in his 2022 season. To say he may have gotten a little lucky is an understatement. He hit for a .307 BA and .525 SLG, despite his expected BA and SLG being .268 and .434. I believe his 2024 production will fall somewhere between his 2022 and 2023 performances, and that is not worth a top 60 overall pick. There is true bottom-out potential, and I’d much rather have Mike Trout (55.8 ADP), Kyle Schwarber (63.4), and Nolan Jones (65.8).

Matt McLain, 2B/SS, CIN

2023 Stats: 65 R / 16 HR / 50 RBI / 14 SB / .290 AVG / .357 OBP / .507 SLG

ADP: 64.0 (2B 6, SS 11)

Matt McLain broke onto the scene last season putting up a 30 HR/25 SB 162-game pace. However, his .256 xBA (vs. his actual .290 BA) and his .436 xSLG (vs his actual .507 SLG) show that he was one of the biggest over-performers, and it makes sense. His high 28.5% K rate lands him in the bottom 16% of the league, and his 89.3 average exit velocity and 42.4% hard-hit rate are middling numbers that you wouldn’t expect from someone on a 30 HR pace. McLain doesn’t hit the ball hard enough for someone who strikes out as much as him, and I think a 15–20 home run season is much more realistic than him approaching 30. Those numbers certainly don’t deserve a seventh-round pick, especially considering the quality of second basemen later in the draft. Ketel Marte (102.0 ADP), Bryson Stott (110.6), and Zack Gelof (140.4) present better value at their current ADP.

Shane Bieber, SP, CLE

2023 Stats: 6–6 / 128 IP / 3.80 ERA / 1.23 WHIP / 107 K / 34 BB

ADP: 137.8 (SP 41)

I know it sounds crazy to think of Shane Bieber as an over-achiever after he just had his worst season in years. His ERA of 3.80 was indeed the worst since his rookie season in 2018, but what’s even scarier is his xERA was over a full point higher at 4.83. Bieber has been prone to giving up hard contact over the past few years, and it doesn’t help that his strikeout rate has also been on a fast decline. It’s not just a problem with one or two pitches, as all of his pitches have been missing fewer bats every year since 2020.

His cutter is his only pitch that hasn’t declined every single year since 2020, but his 29.1% whiff rate is still nowhere close to his 42.9% rate of 2021. In the new environment of the banned shift and more stolen bases, limiting base runners and balls in play is more important than ever. Bieber has always given up too much hard contact but would get enough swing-and-misses to still succeed. With his bat-missing ability now seemingly gone as well, there’s not much to like about his profile. I would rather draft a large portion of SP going directly after him in ADP, including Chris Sale, Mitch Keller, Michael King, Cristian Javier, Jose Berrios, Carlos Rodon, Bailey Ober, and his teammate Gavin Williams.

TJ Friedl, OF, CIN

2023 Stats: 73 R / 18 HR / 66 RBI / 27 SB / .279 AVG / .352 OBP / .467 SLG

ADP: 153.8 (OF 36)

TJ Friedl is the poster child of over-achieving expected stats. His xSLG was .321, an astronomical .146 difference from his actual .467 SLG. He hit 18 HR, which was 6 more than his expected total of 12. Even his xBA was much lower than his actual BA (.240 vs .279). His stats paint him as a speedster with some pop, who could potentially reach the 20HR/30SB threshold, but one look at his percentile ranks will erase those thoughts.

All of his quality of contact metrics are well below the league average. He could be a good source of stolen bases, but not as the 36th outfielder off of the board. The Reds have a very deep roster, so if Friedl struggles he could lose playing time very quickly. Around the same range in the draft, I’d prefer to spend a pick on Jackson Chourio (162.8 ADP), Jorge Soler (164.0), Riley Greene (169.2), and Chas McCormick (174.2).

Jeremy Heist

Jeremy has been playing fantasy baseball for almost 15 years, starting when he was just in middle school. An avid season-long, best ball, and daily fantasy player, he’s passionate about using advanced metrics and data to find an edge. He is a recent graduate of Penn State University, where he earned his B.S. in Statistical Modeling Data Sciences. He is a huge Philadelphia and Penn State sports fan. When not watching baseball, his other hobbies include playing tennis, golf, and video games.

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Raven Asher

Hey there, I'm Raven Asher, a writer and blogger currently studying at McMaster University. My passion lies in arts and culture, and I love exploring and sharing my thoughts on different aspects of this field through my writing. I've been fortunate enough to have my articles featured on several blogs and news websites, which has allowed me to connect with readers from all over the world. Apart from writing, I'm also an avid traveler, and I love experiencing different cultures and learning new things. Join me on my journey as I explore the world and share my insights on everything art and culture!

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