Limiting risk is always a key factor when building a fantasy roster. We can take risks later in drafts, but we should try to avoid that in the first seven to nine rounds. Unfortunately, fantasy owners fall in love with a specific category, catapulting players to be drafted higher than they should.
We will discuss overvalued pitchers later, but here are the overvalued hitters heading into the 2022 season.
Kansas City Royals Infielder Adalberto Mondesi
The speedster cracked this list last year and we were correct. Mondesi is once again high on draft lists despite never playing more than 102 games in a season during his career. The infielder currently has an average draft position of 71 overall, according to FantasyPros.com, and there’s one reason for it — stolen bases. Mondesi, who has 128 stolen bases in 343 career games, is among the best in all of baseball at stealing bases. However, the ability to actually stay healthy has been lacking.
The injuries have been such an issue that Royals general manager Dayton Moore said the following on Kansas City radio last August:
“We’re going to expect him to be healthy, be positive about that, but he’s proven he just hasn’t been able to do that. We’re learning we’re going to have to manage his workloads in ways that he may not be a guy that plays more than 100 games a year, best-case scenario.”
That should send up red flags immediately, but Mondesi still is being drafted in Round 5. Things change and the hope is that the shortstop can still be an everyday player, but this is just not worth the risk. There are really good hitters being drafted after Mondesi, including Alex Bregman, J.D. Martinez, Jorge Polanco and Carlos Correa. They may not get the stolen bases, but the overall production will be fine. We can’t chase one category this early in drafts, especially for a player who has failed to stay healthy.
Seattle Mariners Outfielder Jesse Winker
This one pains me. Winker is a really good hitter, but he has a few things working against him. Winker was traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Seattle Mariners on March 14, meaning he went from a top-five home hitter’s ballpark to a pitcher-friendly park. The other issue with Winker is his struggles against left-handed pitching. The outfielder is a career .188 hitter against lefties and finished 2021 hitting .177 against southpaws. This means Winker will rest most days when a lefty starter is on the mound, limiting his overall upside.
Winker currently has an average draft position of 99, which I would think is still too high even if he were still on the Reds, but the trade to the Mariners takes him off the board for me. We’re investing in Winker for his power, but if that will decrease due to the trade along with a lack of plate appearances against lefties, it’s a recipe for disaster.
New York Yankees Outfielder Joey Gallo
As previously mentioned, chasing one category is never wise. But when we chase one category at the expense of another, that is setting us up for failure. Gallo has elite power, as he has hit at least 38 home runs in three seasons. However, his batting average is a team killer. The slugger didn’t hit .200 the past two seasons and has had four seasons below .210.
I don’t think Gallo is really as bad as he was with the New York Yankees last season after he was traded over from the Texas Rangers. The left-handed batter only hit .160 while striking out 88 times in just 58 games. The Yankees’ lineup will be stacked with power and Gallo should benefit from a short porch in right field. But even if Gallo approaches 45 home runs, I don’t see the average being over .220, which fantasy owners can’t afford.
I will point out that Gallo is elite in an on-base percentage league. Despite his low batting average, he draws a lot of walks and his .351 on-base percentage in 2021 ranked 46th in all of baseball. In leagues that use batting averages, Gallo is someone I will avoid in 2022.