The start of the fantasy baseball season is less than a week away, and this weekend will be huge for drafts as we approach Opening Day.
We’ve looked at players I like for the upcoming season due to their average draft positions and now we will look at players I don’t like because of where they are being drafted.
Players I Don’t Like:
Atlanta Braves Starting Pitcher Mike Soroka — The 22-year-old is due for regression after an impressive first full season in the big leagues. Soroka finished with a 2.68 ERA but had a strikeouts-per-nine mark of just 7.3. Soroka had an xFIP of 3.85, which is a better indicator of how well a pitcher is actually performing. Other analytical numbers show that the 2.68 ERA is unsustainable, and if we factor that the National League and American League East divisions will have a lot of good offenses, this is a prime spot for Soroka to struggle.
The righty has an average draft position of 88th overall and has been the 24th starting pitcher off the board, according to FantasyPros.com. When I see a pitcher like Sonny Gray of the Cincinnati Reds being drafted after Soroka, I’ll go that route all day long and avoid drafting a pitcher who is going to regress and not have the strikeout upside we need.
Toronto Blue Jays Shortstop Bo Bichette — Shortstop is a position fantasy owners need to invest in this season, as there are many talented players at the position. There are also many that are eligible at multiple positions, which is always the goal when constructing a roster. I’m a fan of Bichette, as I think he will be a strong fantasy performer for years to come. However, I’m not drafting a player who has played fewer than 50 games in his career in Round 5.
The 22-year-old has an average draft position of 66 and when you compare to other players at the position, I don’t think fantasy owners have to go this route. Jonathan Villar of the Miami Marlins and Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres are being drafted right ahead and I would rather have those guys. Also, Tim Anderson of the Chicago White, Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros — a player I like in 2020 — and Marcus Semien of the Oakland Athletics are being drafted after Bichette and should provide plenty of fantasy production.
Minnesota Twins Starting Pitcher Jose Berrios — The right-hander is a strong middle-of-the-rotation option in fantasy baseball in a 162-game season. As mentioned with Soroka, in a season that may see starters pitch 13 times if we are lucky, we need more upside. I have stated my opinion on starting pitchers for 2020, and if I’m investing in an arm in Round 5 or 6, I need them to dominate in a few categories. Berrios’ strikeouts per nine last season was 8.8, which ranked 27th for qualified pitchers. The Twins starter has never had an ERA better than 3.68, either, and his 1.22 WHIP ranked 27th in 2020.
Berrios has an average draft position of 70 and is the 21st starting pitcher being taken. That’s too high for a pitcher who doesn’t “wow” you in any category. Again, he’d be way more valuable in a normal season with 30 starts than he will be in a year when we need our pitchers to dominate every time out.