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2016 Fantasy Baseball Busts

Who's the biggest bust? Plus, a look at others who didn't live up to their ADP.

Was Andrew McCutchen the biggest bust this season?
Was Andrew McCutchen the biggest bust this season?
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

'Bust' is a very subjective term.

Via Webster:

3 bust

2 a : a complete failure : flop

This is the best description in terms of how fantasy owners relate to the word 'bust'. But even the word 'failure' can be subjective! If you were drafting Albert Pujols, for example, in hopes he would hit 40 HR again, you may consider him a failure and even a bust this year. And although Pujols is having a bit worse year than most hoped, he is still valued at player #100 overall. In my opinion, he would not be a 'bust'. Another example is fellow Angels teammate Mike Trout. Now Trout was the consensus #1 overall pick in almost every format and draft this season. He is currently ranked as the #3 overall player in fantasy... Do you consider him a 'bust'? OF COURSE NOT! I think you may be seeing my point.

So in order to find the biggest fantasy busts this season I first looked at the top 100 players in terms of ADP. This kept players like Pedro Alvarez or Jorge Soler from being considered a bust. Those players were not who you built your team around. Of the top 100, 68 players have underperformed their ADP. From there I have to look at the players who have underperformed by a significant amount (I.E. excluding Trout for 2 spots of value). Injuries factor in greatly when dealing with this data. With that in mind, let's first look at players who's value is low due primarily to injuries:

Busts due to injury

Player, Team Pos ADP %Owned PR Rank Difference Games Played
Jose Bautista, Tor RF 13.6 95.3 393 -379.4 81games
Dee Gordon, Mia 2B 17.8 87.7 382 -364.2 46games
J.D. Martinez, Det RF 30.1 96.5 145 -114.9 86games
Matt Harvey, NYM SP 30.8 22.5 578 -547.2 17games
A.J. Pollock, Ari CF 40.2 63.7 N/A N/A 0games
Carlos Gomez, Tex CF 41.5 23.9 492 -450.5 86games
Kyle Schwarber, ChC LF 56.9 14.4 N/A N/A 2games
Prince Fielder, Tex DH 69 7.6 739 -670 89games
Trevor Rosenthal, StL RP 79.3 22.9 497 -417.7 40games
Michael Brantley, Cle LF 83.1 25.4 N/A N/A 11games
David Peralta, Ari LF 90.2 16.4 725 -634.8 48games
Hunter Pence, SF RF 90.6 81.7 396 -305.4 74games
Ben Revere, Wsh LF 96.4 17.6 592 -495.6 83games
Yasiel Puig, LAD RF 98.2 24.1 399 -300.8 81games

All of these player are major busts when considering their ADP. Fortunately for owners of these players, most of them suffered injuries, suspension, benching, or demotion and their owners were able to replace them and not take the negative or zero stats they provided. They still bare mentioning because 1) the premium draft pick was still used to acquire them on draft day 2) the replacement level of who was available would often be a tremendous downgrade.

Carlos Gomez, Prince Fielder, and Yasiel Puig are probably the biggest bust options of this list. Owners who used high draft picks on those 3 were forced to use them during their immense struggles. A.J. Pollock, Kyle Schwarber, and Dee Gordon owners knew the extent of their players injuries (or suspension) and were able to make moves accordingly.

Busts due to poor performance

Player, Team Pos ADP %Owned PR Rank Difference
Bryce Harper, Wsh RF 3.4 99.4 73 -69.6
Giancarlo Stanton, Mia RF 8.5 66.8 209 -200.5
Andrew McCutchen, Pit CF 8.6 97.9 198 -189.4
Carlos Correa, Hou SS 10.3 99.2 80 -69.7
Jose Abreu, CWS 1B 20.3 98.7 160 -139.7
Chris Davis, Bal 1B 23.7 97.7 164 -140.3
David Price, Bos SP 27.2 98.8 96 -68.8
Buster Posey, SF C 29 99.4 126 -97
Todd Frazier, CWS 3B 29.4 96.2 140 -110.6
Jacob deGrom, NYM SP 35.4 98.9 109 -73.6
Gerrit Cole, Pit SP 37.2 95.1 286 -248.8
Matt Carpenter, StL 3B 42.6 96.9 184 -141.4
Yoenis Cespedes, NYM LF 44.2 98.3 118 -73.8
Dallas Keuchel, Hou SP 44.6 91.8 244 -199.4
Miguel Sano, Min DH 44.8 76.5 297 -252.2
Zack Greinke, Ari SP 45.8 98.1 193 -147.2
Troy Tulowitzki, Tor SS 47.6 95.6 235 -187.4
Adrian Gonzalez, LAD 1B 51.6 94.6 134 -82.4
Chris Archer, TB SP 52.7 95 162 -109.3
Lorenzo Cain, KC CF 55.5 91.1 169 -113.5
Justin Upton, Det LF 55.9 75.7 230 -174.1
Craig Kimbrel, Bos RP 59.4 94.8 136 -76.6
Wade Davis, KC RP 59.4 87.5 174 -114.6
Felix Hernandez, Sea SP 64 98 183 -119
Jason Heyward, ChC RF 68 59.3 483 -415
Sonny Gray, Oak SP 68.8 41.9 747 -678.2
Eric Hosmer, KC 1B 79.1 95.7 135 -55.9
Adam Wainwright, StL SP 89.5 87.8 313 -223.5
Jacoby Ellsbury, NYY CF 92.4 76.6 190 -97.6
Ken Giles, Hou RP 93.7 58.9 343 -249.3
Marcus Stroman, Tor SP 96.8 92.1 217 -120.2
Danny Salazar, Cle SP 97.2 93.8 172 -74.8

This next list of players have a tougher time making up excuses for not living up to ADP. Some of them did battle injuries, but they were not as extensive as those in the previous list.

Although Bryce Harper's overall numbers may not look horrible, owners who drafted him inside the top 5 were expecting a lot more from the Nationals All Star. He shows up here for that reason. His draft ranking in 2017 is sure to be heavily debated.

This data sheds some light on which star OF is the biggest bust between Andrew McCutchen and Justin Upton. Although McCutchen has performed better, when factoring in ADP,  the Pirates outfielder is the bigger fantasy bust. A sigh of relief for Upton there. Luckily for those two, there is an even bigger bust this season.

The biggest fantasy bust this season is Jason Heyward. I'll be candid when I say I have been a HUGE Heyward supporter since his rookie season. I have owned multiple shares of him every year. He currently only remains on 1 of my teams. The league is a deep keeper and he remains on my bench most weeks, but even there I am having a tough time keeping him owned. .225AVG 6HR 34RBI 8SB 47R The batting average is the most damning but none of these numbers are helping any owners out. Incredible to think he belongs to one of the most fantasy friendly offenses as well.

Sonny Gray may have a worse ADP vs PR difference, but he has a few DL stints to his name to keep him from being my personal Biggest Bust selection. Being a SP, also helps his case. Owners started Heyward everyday until they didn't (some still do: 58.8% OWNED!), Gray owners could sit him in tough matchups and still got some value in a number of outings. Plus, his ownership is a bit lower, showing more owners have bailed on him throughout the season. For those reasons, I'll put him as the 2nd biggest bust this season!

One can make the case for several players on each of these lists as the #1 Fantasy Baseball Bust of 2016.
Who would you pick?

Please leave comments if you have any questions for me and feel free to let me know what you found most interesting in this research. Thanks for the read!