UPDATED 3/5 @ 8:34pm ET

When it comes to fantasy baseball drafts, everyone loves to talk fantasy baseball sleepers and who will outperform expectations for the season ahead. However, at the same time, it’s just as imperative to pinpoint those dreaded fantasy baseball busts that could overshadow those sleepers and late round picks you nailed!




We’ve already talked about my top 10 fantasy baseball sleepers for the 2024 MLB season, but now it’s time to identify my top 10 fantasy baseball busts for the season. By using the “bust” label, I’m not saying these guys are going to have terrible years per se, but more so that they will not live up to expectations, provide the proper return on investment, have a down year, etc. You’ll see some big names and early selections below that I would be wary of drafting at their fantasy baseball ADP this season.

Elly De La Cruz, SS Cincinnati Reds

I talked about it last year, but De La Cruz is going to be one of the most polarizing players in fantasy baseball this season. I don’t think it’s possible to only like De La Cruz, as it feels like you either love him or hate him this year. For me, De La Cruz as a second-round pick is a risk not worth taking with other solid options on the board around him. Yes, he plays in a great park, and he is as electrifying as they come. Yes, he hit 13 home runs and stole 35 bases in just 98 games last year. However, he hit just .235, struck out 33.7 percent of the time, and hit a ground ball 53.9 percent of the time! That strikeout rate and ground ball rate combo isn’t something I’m particularly fond of to say the least.

Also, he couldn’t hit lefties to save his life last year, as he posted a .184 average, 40.2 percent strikeout rate, and 28 wRC+ against southpaws! With the amount of infielders Cincy has, they could choose to sit De La Cruz against lefties! There are a lot of questions around De La Cruz and his offensive profile, far too many for someone routinely going inside the top 20 to 25 picks in drafts.

Corbin Burnes, SP Baltimore Orioles

If we remove Shohei Ohtani from current ADP data, since he won’t be pitching in 2024, Burnes is currently the third pitcher off the board in drafts, trailing only Spencer Strider and Gerrit Cole. Burnes is coming off a productive year where he posted a 3.39 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over 193.2 IP, compiling a 10-8 record. He has a 2.94 ERA and 30.3 percent strikeout rate over the last three seasons, so why is he a bust candidate for me? Well, his strikeout rate has decreased each of the last three seasons, coming in at 25.5 percent last year, which was his lowest mark since 2018, and his 12.2 percent swinging strike rate was far and away the lowest of his career. 

On top of that, you won’t be surprised when you hear that opposing batters made far more contact against him last year. Was he trading strikeouts for outs so that he could work deeper into the game? Perhaps, but at Burnes’ price, we need innings and strikeouts for him to return the value that equates to an elite starting pitcher. I know wins don’t matter, and he does have a good bullpen, but are you confident in this Milwaukee lineup to help him out? Projections are lukewarm on Burnes, and if his ERA this year is closer to his 3.81 FIP or 4.02 SIERA from last season, he’s going to have a hard time returning value.

UPDATE: Corbin Burnes being traded to the Baltimore Orioles gives him a better home park and better offense backing him. Baltimore is a solid defensive team, so that will help, too. However, there are some potent offenses in the American League East that Burnes will have to face, but the increasing contact against him and decreasing whiffs over the past couple of seasons is a concerning for me when selecting a guy as one of the first three or four pitches off the board and as my fantasy ace. I expect his ERA to slip a bit closer to 3.50 this season, and without an elite strikeout rate, is 180 IP and 15 wins enough to justify selecting him as the third starter off the board? I'll wait and take Pablo Lopez or Aaron Nola and get relatively similar production a round or two (or three) later.

CJ Abrams, SS Washington Nationals

Prior to 2023, Abrams played just 90 games in the big league as a member of the Padres and Nationals. In 2023, he burst onto the scene, hitting 18 home runs and going 47-for-51 in stolen base attempts across 151 games for the Nats. His .245 average and .300 OBP were a bit underwhelming, but he was one of four players to hit at least 18 home runs and steal 40 bases. In case you were curious, the other three were Ronald Acuna, Corbin Carroll, and Bobby Witt At just 23 years old, why can’t Abrams get better and be a fantasy superstar in 2024? 

He’s a liability against left-handed pitching, and the book is going to be out on him a bit more. I don’t think he’s a 20-homer guy, and while the power output was nice last season, I think there could be some more ground balls this year, and despite above average max exit velocity, Abrams may only be a 10-14 homer guy. Abrams saw a lot of fastballs last year, and that should change in 2024, especially if he hits .213 with a 31.7 percent whiff rate on breaking pitches again in 2024. I’m fine being lower than consensus and a bit more pessimistic than the masses on Abrams. I can’t justify taking Abrams at his price with guys like Matt McLain and Oneil Cruz going rounds later.

Jose Altuve, 2B Houston Astros

The second base position this year has a lot of intriguing options, and Altuve inside the first three or four rounds isn’t what it used to be. He was limited to just 90 games last season, and he’s heading into his age 34 season. His Statcast metrics are trending the wrong way in general, and his .248 xBA and .424 xSLG paint a far different picture than his 2023 statline indicates. His hard contact is down, his ground balls are up, and his 18.3 percent HR/FB rate was his second-highest mark in the last five seasons. His contact rate has dropped each of the last two seasons, and last year’s 82.9 percent contact rate was his lowest mark since the shortened 2020 season.

Lastly, his sprint speed was in the 37th percentile, and he hardly ran at the end of the year. In fact, over the final 26 games, he attempted just one stolen base attempt, and over the last 41 games he attempted just two stolen base attempts. The aggressiveness on the base paths at the end of last year is concerning and he’s not getting any younger. Give me Matt McLain two rounds later.

Jazz Chisholm, OF Miami Marlins

This one hurts, because I do really like Chisholm as a player, but I simply can’t do it at this price point. He’s going to be a popular guy that gets pushed up the board, because he nearly went 20/20 last year in under 100 games. However, as talented as he is, he’s oft-injured, and missed time last year due to turf toe and an oblique strain. Back in 2022, he had a lower back strain. It’s not freak injuries that seem to occur with Chisholm, and he’s only played over 100 games once in his career. Aside from that, he strikes out a lot, he’s a career .207 hitter against southpaws, and his swinging strike rate has increased each of the last three seasons, culminating in last year’s 15.2 percent swinging strike rate! 

If he had enough at-bats to qualify, his 65.5 percent contact rate would have been the second-worst in baseball, besting only Brent Rooker (32.7% K%). His quality of contact is solid, aside from a slightly higher than desired 45.5 percent ground ball rate for his career, but the diminishing quantity of contact is concerning, and last year’s .224 xBA certainly catches my eye.  Ultimately, as talented and toolsy as he is, can I spend one of my first five or six picks on an oft-injured yet talented guy who might lose at-bats if the team “protects” him against lefties?

Walker Buehler, SP Los Angeles Dodgers

Buehler isn’t going to cost you fantasy ace draft capital, but as a top 100-125 pick, is everyone just overlooking the risks here? Since throwing 226 innings between the regular season and postseason in 2021, Buehler logged just 65 innings in 2022, and then didn’t pitch at all in the majors last season. Just how much of a workload will the Dodgers give him in 2024? I’m not saying that the massive jump in 2021 had anything to do with it per se, but it’s worth noting, nonetheless. 

He’ll be returning from his second Tommy John surgery now, and he’s far from a guarantee to return to the 2021 version of himself. Even that year, a .247 BABIP helped him out, and his peripherals had his ERA north of three, rather than being sub-2.50. His ADP is only going to rise, especially with all of the helium around the Dodgers right now. In his first year back from Tommy John, don’t be surprised if Los Angeles is cautious with the 29-year-old right-hander and watching his innings, because the Dodgers are solely focused on October. I don’t like the first year back from Tommy John surgery narrative for a guy at his price point.

UPDATE 2/22: Buehler's price is sliding in drafts, but he's still a guy I'm avoiding. Far too many questions, and he'll be having a delayed start to the season. Despite the drop in his ADP, he's still a bust candidate there, too.

Bryan Reynolds, OF Pittsburgh Pirates

By no means has Reynolds been a slouch in the batting average department in the past couple of seasons, but he hasn’t been the .314 or .302 hitter we saw in 2019 and 2021 respectively. Now, the power has come along nicely, as he’s hit at least 24 home runs in each of the last three seasons, but 24 home runs with a .302 average is far more lucrative than 24 home runs with a .263 average. 

The batted ball profile from last year is encouraging, and one could argue that he should have had more than 24 home runs, as his expected numbers indicate that. However, as a Pirates fan, while I love Reynolds, I’m not digging the price in drafts. While the batted ball metrics are nice, let’s not overlook that his contact rates have dropped each of the last two seasons, and if you play in an OBP league, he’s not a difference maker there either.

His 12 stolen bases last year were a big boost to his fantasy value, but when you look into it further, five of his 12 stolen bases came in April, and eight of 12 came before the end of May. He had just five stolen base attempts over the final 69 games of the season! Injury, perhaps? Maybe. In OBP leagues, Reynolds’ diminishing walk rate makes him less appealing, and if he hits .260 with 20-24 home runs again this season, but only steals eight bases with a .335 OBP, is he worth a selection as a top 25 outfielder? 

Adolis Garcia, OF Texas Rangers

Postseason inflation is a real thing, ladies and gentlemen. He was exceptional in the postseason last year, slashing .323/.382/.726 with eight home runs and 22 RBI in 15 games. Garcia also had a career year in the regular season, posting career bests in home runs (39), runs scored (108), RBI (107), ISO (.263), SLG (.508) and WAR (4.8). 

However, I don’t love paying full price for a player the following season after they had a career year, especially those that do it in their age 30 season no less! His batted ball profile remained impressive, and Garcia always makes a ton of hard contact. The power surge last year was aided by a career low 36.8 percent ground ball rate, but he was also fortunate to post far better numbers on fly balls than in years past.

Fly Balls






Hard Contact%



















When you make as much hard contact as someone like Garcia, you have higher odds of success with fly balls, so it’s no surprise he’s far above the league average in these metrics. Moving away from his batted ball profile, his sprint speed is dropping quickly, bottoming out in the 49th percentile last season. Back in 2021, he was in the 83rd percentile! I don’t expect him to run a ton this year, and his home run total should come back closer to the low-to-mid 30s. He basically needs to replicate last year to provide an equal return on investment, and I just don’t see that happening. Oh, World Series hangover, anyone?

Kenley Jansen, RP Boston Red Sox

Jansen is a fine option in reality, but in fantasy, he’s no longer the guy he once was. His 3.63 ERA last season was his highest since 2019, and his 27.7 percent strikeout rate is the lowest of his career. He’s a strikeout or fly ball pitcher, and when the former isn’t happening as often, the latter occurs more frequently, and that’s not great when your home park is Fenway! His 3.86 SIERA and 4.61 xFIP were both the worst marks of his career, and his cutter isn’t generating the whiffs it once did.

Opponents hit .237 off him last season, which was the highest of his career, and he posted a 4.87 ERA and .278 BAA at home last season! His season was cut short due to injury, and Boston has some other good options, a la Chris Martin, to whom they could turn, and with Jansen a free agent after this season, they might be more inclined to make a move of sorts. Jansen’s draft price falls right at the end of what I call “the closers you are comfortable with” tier, which means he likely gets pushed up a bit, and fantasy managers will be disappointed with him in 2024.

Justin Verlander, SP Houston Astros

Verlander doesn’t cost the same draft capital that he once did, but be wary of pushing the 40-year-old up your draft board. He had a late start to the season, and his strikeout numbers (21.5 K%) were his lowest since 2015! His fastball velocity was down a smidge, and a lot of his peripheral numbers point to his 3.22 ERA last year being a bit, well, fraudulent. He was hit hard last year, allowed more contact, and I don’t expect much of a bounceback in terms of his strikeout rate in 2024.

Listen, at the end of the day, he turns 41 in February, and has spent time on the injured list in each of the last four seasons. Verlander’s name carries far greater weight than his fantasy production in 2024.

UPDATE 3/5: Verlander will begin the season on the injured list, and he's going to have a slow ramp up to get up to speed. His price will surely fall in drafts, but the juice just isn't worth the squeeze, and he's not getting any younger.