- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 27, 2018

While some say there is no such thing as a sleeper anymore, there certainly is still such a thing as a bust. A bust is a player that does not return the value that you paid on draft day.

Can a player be a bust and still be used in your lineup? Of course, but the goal is not only meet value on each of your picks, but to have players outlive value and set your team over the top. The busts in this article have red flags that should make you stay away at their current prices.

Daniel Murphy, 2B, WAS

There is no statistical evidence that points to Murphy being a bust this season. But, there is certainly reason to be scared off due to an injury. Murphy will soon be 33 years old, attempting to come back from microfracture surgery on his right knee. He has already been ruled out for the start of the season. Yet, according to FantasyPros he has an average draft position (ADP) of 70th overall and is the seventh second baseman off the board. The discount is not big enough to warrant the risk.

Miguel Sano, 3B, MIN

If Sano had enough plate appearances to qualify his .375 BABIP would have ranked the second highest in MLB. Despite that, he hit just .264 because he struck out 35.8 percent of the time last season. But hey, that was improvement from his 36 percent in 2016. While he has loads of power he has played in less than 120 games the past two seasons. While he can be a Joey Gallo type player, there are not only statistical red flags, but also injury scares and a possible suspension is looming over his head.

Chris Archer, SP, TB

This name might surprise you. Archer is certainly useful in fantasy baseball, but not as the 16th pitcher off the board. Archer has pitched to an ERA over four the past two seasons, while winning a combined 19 games (blame the Rays, not him). However, he’s different at home and on the road. Over the past two seasons he has a 5.21 ERA on the road, with a 1.38 WHIP and a 25.5 percent strikeout rate. Compare that to a 2.96 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 31.2 percent strikeout rate at home. Don’t pay up early for a pitcher you can’t trust on the road.

Jeff Samardzija, SP, SF

Samardzija is a solid pitcher, but for some reason the fantasy baseball community loves to hype him up every season. That’s understandable - he was one of 14 qualified pitchers with a strikeout minus walk percentage higher than 20. Yet, those numbers are inflated by a hot two months to start the season. In the first half he had a strikeout rate of 26.2 percent and walk rate of 2.9 percent. But in the second half the strikeout rate dropped to 21.6 percent while the walk rate climbed to 5 percent. Yet, he had just two months with a sub 4 ERA. He can be a great back end rotation SP with upside, but do not draft him as a top-40 starting pitcher, especially now that a pectoral injury will cost him some time at the beginning of the season.

Gio Gonzalez, SP, WAS

Of all qualified starting pitchers, Gonzalez had the fifth biggest negative difference in ERA and fielding-independent pitching. That means that he was pitching over his head as he had a 2.96 ERA and a 3.93 FIP. Add in the fact that his walk rate climbed back up to 3.54 walks per nine innings and he allowed more fly balls and it’s enough to back off drafting him as a top 40 starter.

Points Leagues Busts

You will want to avoid players who strike out a ton, such as Joey Gallo, who despite a real solid year in rotisserie categories, finished as the 20th first baseman in points leagues. You also want to avoid those who strike out and do not walk, like Javier Baez and Rougned Odor. Lastly, stolen base specialists like Dee Gordon, Billy Hamilton, and even Delino DeShields Jr. are not nearly as valuable in points as in roto. In roto, stolen bases is one of five offensive categories, yet in most points leagues they are worth just 2 points. Instead value hitters who draw walks, limit strikeouts, and hit doubles, such as Carlos Santana.

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This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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