Fantasy baseball owners should be wary of overhyped outfielders


March Madness is always full of surprises, like Farleigh Dickinson taking down Purdue to become just the second No. 16 seed ever to oust a No. 1 seed.

Or Princeton topping No. 2 Arizona, marking the third straight year a No. 15 seed has won a first-round matchup.

It truly is madness!

But, March Madness is not just relegated to college basketball. There is plenty of madness going on in fantasy baseball drafts.

The madness starts with Michael Harris — who was the 2022 National League Rookie of the Year after hitting 19 homers with 64 RBIs, 75 runs, 20 stolen bases and a .297/.339/.514 slash line in 114 games for the Braves.

With a stat line like that, there is bound to be excitement, right?

Well, maybe a bit too much excitement.

Harris may not live up to the hype he achieved during his rookie year.
AP Photo/Nick Wass, File

According to Fantasy Alarm, Harris’ average draft position is 37.87, but there are sites that have his ADP as high as 24.8 (Underdog Fantasy) or 26.1 (RealTime Fantasy). He is at 33.3 at Yahoo.

That means, in some cases, Harris is being drafted as a top-10 outfielder or among the top 25 overall.

That is a steep price for a player who has played just 114 games. There is no arguing the tools he brings to the table (and he really does bring a whole tool bag), but there are concerns that make Roto Rage believe Harris will be very good, but ultimately not live up to that lofty draft status.

Among players with a minimum of 400 plate appearances, Harris’ 41.7 percent chase rate (swings at pitches outside of the strike zone) was the 12th worst in the majors. That aided in his 4.8 percent walk rate, which was the 18th-worst in the league, and his 24.3 percent strikeout rate (the 23rd-worst mark in the NL).

Harris hit .297, but his far-too-high .361 BABIP indicates luck was on his side — and it is hard to believe that number is sustainable, especially when his expected batting average (.268) was nearly 30 points lower than his actual average and his insane 56.2 ground-ball rate was the fourth-highest in the majors.

Oh, his expected slugging percentage (.460) was more than 50 points lower than his actual .514 slugging percentage. Those numbers scream one thing: regression.

How about Harris’ struggles against left-handed pitching?

In 135 plate appearances against lefties last season, he hit .238 with 13 runs, 41 strikeouts (30.4 percent strikeout rate), a .649 OPS and just seven walks.

Teoscar Hernandez #35 of the Seattle Mariners reacts after an RBI double by Mike Ford #20 during the fourth inning against the San Diego Padres in a spring training game at Peoria Stadium on February 24, 2023 in Peoria, Arizona.
Hernandez joined the Mariners, which could mean a decrease in his hitting.
Steph Chambers/Getty Images

He also had a .337 BABIP against southpaws. That’s problematic.

The problem with Harris is not his upside or his talent, it is his current price tag. It’s just too high. In order to get a good return on him being drafted as a top-25 player, he has to duplicate his 2022 success (and then some), and that is no easy task.

There are just too many red flags to pay a premium price for an inexperienced player who has numbers pointing toward regression.

Roto Rage would rather target more proven outfielders — such as Kyle Schwarber (39.69), Randy Arozarena (47.84) and Cedric Mullins (51.64)

Other outfielders to be wary of include:

Teoscar Hernandez (76.31) goes from hitter-friendly Toronto to pitcher-haven Seattle.

That is not something fantasy managers should be considering good fortune.

Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds’ (77.31) is a really good player in a bad situation. He just doesn’t have enough support in the Pirates’ lineup to give fantasy owners the numbers he is capable of.

Atlanta Braves Ronald Acuna Jr. is greeted in the dugout after driving in a run during the sixth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Minnesota Twins in North Port, Fla., Saturday, March 4, 2023.
Acuña Jr. ranks at the top of fantasy baseball outfielders.
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

He will be good, but unlikely to be truly great … unless he finally getting traded.

The Mets’ Starling Marte (92.29) is an oft-injured 34-year-old with declining sprint speed who had offseason surgery and has missed 30 or more games in all but one season since 2016. You do the math.

Washington’s Joey Meneses (182.71) has Frank Schwindel (a la 2021 with the Cubs) kind of vibes — a career minor leaguer who got an opportunity to play on a team going nowhere and became a late-season fantasy hero.

He has got a powerful swing, but small sample size plus his .371 BABIP raises questions.

Cleveland’s Oscar Gonzalez (188.23) hit .296 with 11 homers, 43 RBIs, 39 runs and a .789 OPS in 91 games.

It was a solid debut, but his 3.4 percent walk rate was in the bottom 1 percent of the league (as was his 48.3 percent chase rate) and his .345 BABIP is a good indication regression is coming.


  1. Ronald Acuña Jr.=Atl
  2. Aaron Judge=NYY
  3. Julio Rodriguez=Sea
  4. Juan Soto=SD
  5. Kyle Tucker=Hou
  6. Mookie Betts=LAD
  7. Mike Trout=LAA
  8. Yordan Alvarez=Hou
  9. Fernando Tatis Jr.=SD
  10. Luis Robert=CWS
  11. Randy Arozarena=TB
  12. Kyle Schwarber=Phi
  13. Cedric Mullins=Bal
  14. Adolis Garcia=Tex
  15. Eloy Jimenez=CWS
  16. Daulton Varsho=Tor
  17. Michael Harris II=Atl
  18. Corbin Caroll=Ari
  19. George Springer=Tor
  20. Byron Buxton=Min
  21. Bryan Reynolds=Pit
  22. Starling Marte=NYM
  23. Steven Kwan=Cle
  24. Tyler O’Neill=StL
  25. Teoscar Hernandez=Sea
  26. Seiya Suzuku=ChC
  27. Anthony Santander=Bal
  28. Kris Bryant=Col
  29. Nick Castellanos=Phi
  30. Christian Yelich=Mil
  31. Giancarlo Stanton=NYY
  32. Jake McCarthy=Ari
  33. Ian Happ=ChC
  34. Taylor Ward=LAA
  35. Andrew Vaughn=CWS
  36. Brandon Nimmo=NYM
  37. Mitch Haniger=SF
  38. Hunter Renfroe=LAA
  39. MJ Melendez=KC
  40. Jeff McNeil=NYM
  41. Lars Nootbaar=StL
  42. Jordan Walker=StL
  43. Alex Verdugo=Bos
  44. Masataka Yoshida=Bos
  45. Cody Bellinger=ChC
  46. Oscar Gonzalez=Cle
  47. Riley Greene=Det
  48. Ramon Laureano=Oak
  49. Andrew Benintendi=CWS
  50. Lourdes Gurriel Jr.=Ari
  51. Wil Myers=Cin
  52. Bryan De La Cruz=Mia
  53. Seth Brown=Oak
  54. Jarred Kelenic=Sea
  55. Esteury Ruiz=Oak
  56. Whit Merrifield=Tor
  57. Jorge Soler=Mia
  58. Adam Duvall=Bos
  59. Austin Meadows=Det
  60. Michael Conforto=SF
  61. Alex Kiriloff=Min
  62. Garrett Mitchell=Mil
  63. Jesse Winker=Mil
  64. Joc Pederson=SF
  65. Trey Mancini=ChC
  66. Brendan Donovan=StL
  67. Austin Hays=Bal
  68. Jake Fraley=Cin
  69. Brandon Marsh=Phi
  70. Chris Taylor=LAD
  71. Charlie Blackmon=Col
  72. Avisail Garcia=Mia
  73. Max Kepler=Min
  74. Marcell Ozuna=Atl
  75. Juan Yepez=StL
  76. Lane Thomas=Was
  77. Oscar Colas=CWS
  78. Edward Olivares=KC
  79. Manuel Margot=TB
  80. Harrison Bader=NYY
  81. Trent Grisham=SD
  82. Andrew McCutchen=Pit
  83. Oswaldo Cabrera=NYY
  84. Bubba Thompson=Tex
  85. Kike Hernandez=Bos
  86. Randal Grichuk=Col
  87. Michael Brantley=Hou
  88. AJ Pollock=Sea
  89. Mike Yastrzemski=SF
  90. TJ Friedl=Cin
  91. Jose Siri=TB
  92. Matt Vierling=Dert
  93. Dylan Carlson=StL
  94. Mark Canha=NYM
  95. Jose Lowe=TB
  96. Harold Ramirez=TB
  97. LaMonte Wade Jr.=SF
  98. Alek Thomas=Ari
  99. Sal Frelick=Mil
  100. Nolan Jones=Col

Team Name of The Week

LuxYuli Tax

Submitted by Ralph LaNoce



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