Half-a-week later and you, Mr. Romeo, are still left wondering, 'Were those overpriced roses really worth it??'
OK, OK ... that's all part of the game and part of the charm. But, just because you do it for your wife or girlfriend once a year, doesn't mean that you should do it when drafting your fantasy baseball team this Spring. No, sir-ee! You have a choice. You have other options. You can say 'fughgeddaboutit,' and refuse to pay the draft day cost.
This week I have chosen a handful of players who are all good. They've proven that. But, when I see their current ADP placement, I feel that the 'rose' is just a bit 'overpriced.' I don't think that any of these guys (barring injury) will wilt quickly, but I do think they all require a more substantial investment than I'd agree to. Presenting ... the 2019 List of Overpriced Fantasy Baseball Roses ...
(Reminder: Each player is followed by his current NFBC (National Fantasy Baseball Championship) ADP mark. The following two numbers are the highest that player has been selected in an NFBC draft and then, the lowest that player has been selected in an NFBC draft. Entering late-February, these NFBC numbers come from a collection of 198 drafts.)
Walker Buehler (39 overall, high - 16/low - 55)
I had Buehler everywhere last year. It cost almost nothing. He was a bench round selection in four different industry leagues that I was a part of in 2018. Now, you could be jumping into a draft room where he's going before his teammate, Clayton Kershaw (36, 15/61). I'm out on both at that price point.
Both players will be handled with kids' gloves this Summer. I'm not feeling Buehler for 180 innings because the Dodgers won't be feeling him for 180 innings. LA has consistently rejiggered and played musical chairs with their five-man rotation. That will continue in 2019. Once Buehler hits 100 pitches, the bullpen phone will be ringing no matter how well he's throwing. Beyond that, Buehler will be lucky to match his BABIP-allowed (.249, which would have been the 3rd-lowest in baseball if he'd qualified), HR/9 (.80), and LOB% (78.4 ... a top-15 mark) from his 137 inning debut in '18.
Adalberto Mondesi (43, 20/80)
My radio partner, Ray Flowers, and I broached the topic of Mondesi on the show last week. I thought that Ray presented a logical and scary thought ... Mondesi back in the minor leagues by May 1st. It could happen. After 500 career PAs, he's hitting a pedestrian .238. His 14 round-trippers in 275 ABs last year don't fit his suit. He hit a home run on 20% of his fly balls last year. Let's stay with power for a bit longer. He had a .522 SLG% at Kauffman Stadium last year. Nobody does that. Two years ago, Mike Moustakas (152, 113/185 and now back with Milwaukee) crushed 38 home runs ... and had a .458 SLG% at 'The K.' Simply stated, Mondesi's power could crumble this year.
Of course, most everyone is drafting him for his stolen base potential. That's a definitive part of his game. But, as the old saying reminds us ... ya gotta get on base to steal. Mondesi isn't interested in drawing walks and doesn't hit enough ground balls - so far - to sustain that .335 BABIP of last year. Mondesi seems to have assumed the role that Billy Hamilton (161, 100/299) used to hold ... a no hit, all speed guy that will end up hitting so little that he can't make it on stolen bases, alone.
Ozzie Albies (52, 31/85)
Albies was the talk of baseball at the end of last May. He was smashing the baseball all over the diamond (.278/.323/.535) and appeared to be a cinch for a 20/20 showing. In fact, there was a silver slugging bat that already had 'OZZ ...' engraved on it.
And, then, he stumbled.
Albies hit .251 for the final two-thirds of the year. He didn't even reach base at a .300-clip. After 14 round-trippers in two months, he totaled 10 in the final four months. To his credit, he avoided a substantial jump in whiffs, but the contact he made softened. His final hard hit % (34.4) had him outside the top-100. To see the long-term dip raised concerns for me. It was obvious that pitchers made an adjustment, but we never got to see Albies really adjust. Heck, his September was the absolute nadir of the year when he didn't even get to the Mendoza Line for the month. I've got more questions than answers with him.
James Paxton (54, 38/85)
Seemingly nobody throws 200 innings. So, what difference is it that Paxton throws just 180 or so? Stop there. Paxton has NEVER thrown 180 innings. His 160+ of '18 were a personal best. He's been in the majors since 2013. He always has something pushing him to the sidelines. His K-rate is hugely enticing and a move to the Bronx is an overall bonus, but I just can't take an SP2 who I pray will get to 150 innings.
Jack Flaherty (63, 37/110)
I believe that Flaherty will be near-peak Adam Wainwright (646, 411/711) when all is finally written. I just don't think that it will happen this year. Flaherty can look masterful and dominant. He had a run in the middle of last summer that showcased him as a future ace with a total of five earned runs allowed over six starts and 37 innings. I do think he will get there ... eventually.
His current ADP is just too primetime for my tastes. He's still working on his command ... of his pitches and his reactions. Seeing eye singles. Bloop hits. Missed ball/strike calls. Those typical baseball things become major distractions for Flaherty who often fumes and stews when things aren't going perfectly. It leads to a loss of focus and sometimes a lost inning.
The right-hander will also be a part of a pitching staff that figures to be toying around with fantasy players all year. It's likely that Flaherty has multiple starts skipped so that St. Louis can work in some of their other young arms. When there are another five starting options behind you, any tiny hiccup or ailment could lead to a 'precautionary' hook or injured list stint.
I'm penciling Flaherty for around 25 starts and about 150 innings this year. I don't think the K-rate will maintain (10.8) and the walks should nick him a little more this season, lifting the ERA closer to 3.75. I often point to Zack Greinke (64, 43/94) as a guy going in the same spot as Flaherty, but as an epically more reliable option. The vet seems to always hit 200 innings, score 15 wins, and sport a plus-ERA and WHIP mark. Again, we're talking cost ... Flaherty is too expensive.
David Dahl (67, 41/119)
You can't go wrong with a Colorado Rockie hitter, right? Tell that to the owners of Carlos Gonzalez (495, 232/573) in 2018. Yikes! Dahl is now the replacement for Cargo and he's a super attractive option. Admittedly, I hesitated plopping him onto this list.
My biggest concern is probably just wanting to get a true capture of what Dahl is. He's been bouncing around as a playing candidate for the Rockies for about three years. He missed all of 2017 and then was quite slow to come back last year. He does look the part and has a power-speed combo that leads to visions of 25/15 with a .290-ish batting mark. I don't hate this cost, but he's currently surrounded by players who sport a track record. I'd prefer taking a shot on a Marcel Ozuna (75, 46/107) rebound, a Tommy Pham (62, 45/90) four-cat takeoff, or a much cheaper Nick Castellanos (89, 43/127) 20/90 posting.
Madison Bumgarner (73, 41/117)
All great things eventually end. Bumgarner wore the mantle of greatness quite well, for quite some time. But, now injuries have limited him and he hasn't looked the part of fantasy ace since the end of the 2016 campaign.
After a spring training hand injury last year, MadBum returned and posted solid numbers, but the K-rate cratered. 7.6-per-nine ... in this era? You can't have that from an SP2. The command was totally off as Bumgarner turned a career-worst three walks per nine. That caused his WHIP to be a league-average 1.25. None of this is awful, but all of it shows fraying. We've got a career load of innings to deal with here, plus the stop-and-start nature of his past two years. He's currently the 25th SP off the board, but I think we now have a pitcher more in the David Price (97, 63/130)/Charlie Morton (119, 79/158) range.
You can hear Kyle each weeknight on 'The SiriusXM Fantasy Drive' from 8-10 ET, Sirius 210, XM 87.