One thing every fantasy drafter wants to know is who are the top sleepers and busts at each position. Calling a player a bust does not mean that they will be a complete failure, only that they do not meet the value where they are drafted. This often happens thanks to “hype trains” – when the hype surrounding a player takes over and pushes up their ADP. Also, a player’s value can skyrocket thanks to a stellar season where they outplay their background metrics. To identify 1B busts for the upcoming season, I am using FantraxHQ ADP in comparison with my own rankings. Look no further for the top 1B busts for the upcoming season.
The season is not here yet, but why not get a head start and jump in a Fantrax Classic Draft contest? Get a jump on the season with a Best Ball league or maybe a Draft and Hold. Or put some green on the line with a new season-long league to try and conquer. There’s no better time than now to get your baseball on!
2023 First Base Busts
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals
Paul Goldschmidt has a FantraxHQ ADP of 25 overall and is the fourth first basemen off the boards. According to Rotowire’s Earned Auction Value calculator, he finished as the top first baseman last season and is projected by Rotowire for the eighth-highest dollar value overall this season.
This is a case of a player who outplayed his background statistics to have a career year in 2022. Among qualified batters, Goldy had the largest gap between his actual wOBA and xwOBA (not in a good way), and the same goes for his AVG vs xBA. Goldschmidt also posted the highest BABIP last season, which also happened to be the second-highest of his career. He did so with the second lowest line drive rate of his career. Players with higher LD% can usually sustain higher BABIPs, which makes Goldy’s 2022 BABIP look like an outlier.
Between 2021 and 2022, Goldschmidt saw decreases in his barrel and HardHit rates. His LD% and GB% each worsened. Additionally, 2022 was the third straight season where his contact and strikeout rates worsened.
Although projections view Goldy as a batter who is likely to post 30 or more homers with 90 each of runs and RBI, drafters should expect a stiff drop-off in AVG. Goldschmidt could still be a very good player in 2023, but drafters should be wary at cost, making him an easy 1B bust for the upcoming year.
Vinnie Pasquantino, Kansas City Royals
At pick 103, as the seventh first baseman taken in FantraxHQ drafts, Vinnie Pasquantino carries a huge risk. Perhaps no other player this season, aside from Taylor Ward, has had as much hype as the “Italian Nightmare.” This is not without warrant, though.
“Vinnie P” has hit at each level of the minor leagues, never finishing with less than a .277 AVG. He coasted through KC’s minor league system, reaching the Majors last season after being drafted in 2019. He even did well in a small stint in the majors in 2022, finishing with 10 homers, 25 runs, 26 RBI, 1 SB, and a .295 AVG, only adding to the hype.
According to the Bat X projection system, “Italian Beef” projects for 15 home runs, 64 runs, 67 RBI, 2 SB, and a .267 AVG. This projection is nearly identical to Bat X’s projection for Jose Miranda (1B number 20, 214 ADP) and is slightly worse than Miguel Vargas’s projection (1B number 33, 335 ADP). Of course, other projection systems have him performing better, but this is a realistic result for the young first baseman.
Rotowire’s projected value calculator views “Italian Breakfast” as a $12 player, which ranks 11th among first basemen. Here are some other players that Rotowire views as $12 players and their FantraxHQ ADPs:
- Ryan Mountcastle 179
- Devin Williams 142
- Justin Turner 274
- Hunter Renfroe 148
- Taylor Ward 120
- Jake Cronenworth 132
- Javier Baez 189
Pasquatch is certainly the definition of a high-risk high-reward type of player. But with the risk he carries as a rookie on a subpar team, his current ADP makes him a major 1B bust candidate for 2023.
Luis Arraez, Miami Marlins
Luis Arraez carries a 215 FantraxHQ ADP as the 21st first baseman drafted. This sort of ADP is hard to justify for a player that is essentially “empty average.”
Yes, Arraez is one of the best pure hitters in baseball; in four seasons, he has yet to finish with an AVG under .294 – but that is essentially all he gives to a fantasy team.
He has never hit double-digit home runs or driven in more than 50 runs, has surpassed 58 runs once, and has stolen eight bases in 389 career games.
Arraez is not a particularly hard hitter either. He had the 11th-worst barrel rate and 10th-worst HardHit rate among all qualified hitters last season. There is no pop in his profile.
Another reason drafters should not take Arraez this early is that his team situation changed after he was traded to Miami. Arraez’s former team, the Twins, bested Miami in home runs, runs, RBI, and AVG in 2022. This would not matter too much regarding this season, except Miami made minimal additions to their offense, including adding Arraez. Also, Target field in Minnesota is a better park for contact-hitting left-handed batters according to Statcast’s 3-year rolling average.
Neither his projections, past stats, nor team situation warrant a pick as high as 215, making Arraez a 1B bust for 2023.
Who are your first base busts for the coming season? Throw some shade in the comments below. For more great analysis check out the 2023 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit!